Coming Home

When people think of home, it usually is their house, a family home or perhaps their hometown.  I arrived back in Duluth late last Friday night to my house, but wasn’t truly “home” till the next day when I was out enjoying nature.  As I walked the trails along the St. Louis River as it passes through Jay Cooke State Park, I came to the realization that this was part of my true home.  Not just this park, which is quite beautiful, and not just northern Minnesota, but all of nature.  It is the place where my spirit resides and is renewed after absences.  As I look back at the past year, a year that started in early March when I got the call from my father’s doctor informing me of his hospitalization, followed by three months in hospice before he passed away which lead to spending a lot of time at their home.  While there, I began doing sports photography on the side and as often as possible, I would head north on weekends to be back in Duluth for a couple of days.  As I think back, I realize that one of the first things I would do upon my return north was to head out for a visit to Lake Superior, a hike along a river or into the forests or perhaps just climb the hills near my house and sit on a rocky outcropping and enjoy the view.  Those are the moments when I feel at home.  No matter where I am, I know that I am never far from home.  I can see it as I drive along the Great River Road of the Mississippi, the scenic back roads of pre-freeway America, driving through a national forest or sitting at a roadside stop with a view of the countryside.  The place my spirit calls home, is everywhere, it can’t be contained in a man-made structure, it’s far too vast for that.  Perhaps those places are good for being with others who share your belief, but so are the places I go to commune with spirit.  I know that many I pass on the trail share a similar belief, but in a much larger cathedral. Our altars are waterfalls, giant redwoods, dense pine forests, winding rivers, shimmering lakes and granite cliffs.  Our pews are fallen logs, rocks, flower filled prairies and sandy beaches.  We tithe by supporting our parks and natural areas, picking up trash as we hike, by taking nothing but photos and leaving nothing but footprints.

All images are of Jay Cooke State Park, February 27, 2016

A Piece of Rock

As I previously mentioned, Tettegouche is one of my favorite Minnesota state parks and one of its most famous landmarks was the stone arch.  On one of our trips to the park,  my wife and I had the chance to kayak through the arch.  However, in late August of 2010, the bridge portion of the landmark collapsed into the lake and left behind a stack rather than an arch.  Because of its location, this part of Lake Superior’s north shore is often subject to large waves from storms and when that happens during frigid winter weather, the blowing spray can create unusual ice formations along the rocky shore and on the trees.

In case you haven’t figured it out, the three bottom images are from the same day, but from opposite sides.  The first two are looking south from Shovel Point, the Watcher is looking north.

The Moody Lake

Tettegouche State Park on Lake Superior’s north shore is one of my favorite places to visit in Minnesota. With the addition of the new wayside rest area, the park is open to everyone traveling along the north shore.  The park offers fantastic views of the lake, miles of hiking trails, camping and the highest waterfall contained within the borders of Minnesota.  But the lake is the big draw and no matter the season, its personality is always on display.

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Minolta DiMAGE S404, ISO 64, 7.38mm, f/ 6.7, 1/250 sec, Nov. 20, 2005

The Spirit of Winter

Winters can get very cold around Lake Superior, so cold in fact almost anything can become frozen.  This truly is the spirit of winter in the northland.

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Feb. 21, 2010, Canon EOS 40D, ISO 250, 76mm, f/ 11, 1/500 sec.

Retrospective: By A River

I went through a period of fascination with the whorls and swirls of river foam.  I managed to collect a large collection of images from different bodies of moving water.  Although I haven’t captured any photos recently, whenever I see the patterns on a river or stream, I always take time to enjoy the creation of this unique natural art form.  As is usually the case in nature, the patterns may, for awhile, seem to remain the same, they are in constant motion, evolving as the movement of the water keeps them swirling about.  This particular image makes me wonder if Vincent Van Gogh would have found inspiration in the patterns, perhaps creating a variation of “The Starry Night” with water.

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Retrospective: “Escher Was Here”

A bit of fun from October, 2012, using an iPhone and a creative use of one of my photo apps for something other than it was intended for.

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