A Lovely Day at the Beach

There’s nothing like a little sun, a lot of water and some time to wander the shoreline.  Even in the cold of northern Minnesota there is reason to explore the nooks and crannies of the rocky shore of Lake Superior.  Being an ice hunter, I go searching for the creations of nature while they persist, but knowing that what exists today will be gone tomorrow.  However, in it’s place will be new creations formed by wind, water and cold.

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The Photographer

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Challenging weather days around Lake Superior brings out photographers trying to get that great storm shot.  It amazes me just how many people will brave the elements to come out and witness Lake Superior when the strong northeast winds bring big waves to Duluth.  We may not have hurricanes here, but Gitche Gummi can do her best impression of one.

The Wild Side of Lake Superior

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High winds from the northeast are building big waves on Lake Superior today and everyone is out enjoying the view.

The Shape of Snow, Last One…Maybe!

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Who knows if I’ll catch sight of another set of snowdrifts as I drive along a road in an open area prone to drifting?  But, I suppose if that happens, and I have a camera, I’ll stop the car and spend time searching for the right combination of light and shadow inherent in snowdrifts everywhere.

Sony RX100 Mk5, ISO 100, 8.8mm, f/2.2, 1/1000 sec.

Silver Efex Pro 2, Preset 032 Film Noir 3, Kodak Tri-X 400TX Pro

The Shape of Snow, Pt. 2

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Winter seems to lend itself to black and white photography.  Most color has left for the season, leaving only the play of light and shadow on the landscape of mostly white.  It’s at this time I enjoy seeking out the flowing, organic forms of snowdrifts.  With the right lighting, the curves and edges create wonderful abstract forms similar to those found in areas where water and wind have worn the soft rock into amazing shapes.  But, where those took thousands, if not millions, of years to form, these can form in minutes.

Sony RX100MV, ISO 100, 12.2mm, f/2.8, 1/1250 sec

Processed with Silver Efex Pro 2, Preset 031 Film Noir 2, Llford FP4 Plus 125

Moments

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A brief moment by the lake before the cool breeze pushed back, then the moment was gone.  But, for that moment, an opportunity to commune with the Great Lake, to listen to the song of the waves, to be touched by the fingers of wind as they move through her hair.  How many more of these moments exist for her, for any of us?

Life and Death

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Hospitals…a place to find healing and where healing is no longer possible.  Entering a hospital can be a positive experience, especially when going in for a treatment that will improve one’s quality of life.  But it also can be where a patient can discover that healing is not possible, that our time on this planet is drawing to a close, that it’s time to put affairs in order and prepare goodbyes.

Two years ago I made this journey with my father.  Years of fighting a battle that could not be won, finally a few months in hospice before moving on to the next big adventure.  Now, two years later, I prepare to walk this journey with my mother.  A trip to the hospital, tests run, diagnosis determined, hospice prescribed.  She will spend her last days?, weeks? or months? on the shore of Lake Superior.  She may see the lake once or twice, or not at all.  It all depends on her energy level.  But at least she is nearby rather than two hours away.  She is minutes away from my home, near the lake that means so much to my wife and me.  The winds that blow down the lake carries its spirit over the sand dunes and through the health center, bathing her in the peace of Gitchi Gummi.  After ninety-four years, she can rest as the power of the lake carries her, guides her and comforts her on her next grand adventure.  As her last breath sighs forth from her frail body, the wind off the lake will carry that breath onward, taking it to places we can only imagine until each of us breathes our last and joins all the other breaths dancing and swirling in the wind.