“Our Magnificent Planet”

I submitted three photographs to Lenswork Magazine today for possible inclusion in a book they will publish this fall titled, “Our Magnificent Planet.” They will select 300 photographs from those submitted. Fingers crossed, they will select one of these. (Click on images to see them full size.)

Favorite photos of 2019

As the year comes to a close, it is a good time to look back at the year’s batch of photos and assess how I did. Ansel Adams said, “Twelve significant photos in any one year is a good crop.” I can’t claim significance for these twelve photos but they are my favorites of 2019.

Each time I look at the photos, I see imperfections, which to me is a good sign since it tells me I am learning my craft, both the field work and the post processing. I have edited most of these photos several times with the goal of attaining what I envisioned when I was on location. Hopefully, they do not look over-processed to you.

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The first snowfall comes to the Absaroka Range on the east side of Paradise Valley, Montana, in September.
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Sheepeater Canyon in Yellowstone National Park.
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Undine Falls in Yellowstone National Park. This photo is a vertical panorama, combining three photos.
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The Gibbon River as it approaches the Virginia Cascades in Yellowstone National Park.
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The granary on the Pete and Jenny Burfiend farm in the Point Oneida historic farm district of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
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Pete and Jenny Burfiend bought their Point Oneida farm in 1882. They initially lived in a log cabin, but sometime in the 1880s hired Martin Basch to build this farmhouse.
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Warm morning light breaks through the forest at the Houdek Dunes Natural Area on the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan. The Houdek Dunes Natural Area is owned by the Leelanau Conservancy.
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The Roosevelt Arch at the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana. Mount Electric is in the background.
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A huge wave hits the breakwater at Point Betsie, north of Frankfort, Michigan.
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The Gardner River as it flows out of Yellowstone National Park to the town of Gardiner (spelled differently than the river), Montana, where it flows into the Yellowstone River.
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I came upon this doe and her two fawns on a foggy morning near Clarksville, Michigan. They were kind enough to allow me to do a U-turn so I could shoot out the driver’s-side window of my car.
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The Royal 7 Motel in Bozeman, Montana. This is a composite of several photos I made to balance the light. I wanted to capture the garish light of the neon sign and well as the warm, inviting light in the windows of the motel lobby. I loved the reflection of the sign on the wet pavement. (I stood out in the rain to get the shot.)

A visit to Yellowstone National Park – Album #1

We spent a week exploring Yellowstone National Park.  What an incredible place! I have lots of photos to edit.  Here is the first bunch.  We spent our first night in Bozeman, Montana, and then drove down Paradise Valley from Livingston, Montana, to Gardiner. We traveled along the Yellowstone River, as it flowed north to its eventual meeting with the Missouri River in North Dakota._mg_9975

It had snowed in the higher elevations.  These mountains are part of the Absaroka Range on the east side of Paradise Valley._MG_0029

We stayed at the Grizzly Den Cabin, an Airbnb about 5 miles north of Gardiner on the Old Yellowstone Road. (Click an image to see it larger.)

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a beautiful double rainbow._MG_0044_MG_0053
In the river just outside are cabin was an island. The owner told us that bears liked to bed down on the island. But, all we saw were these elk. Within a few hundred yards of our cabin were about 100 elk in what looked like three different harems._MG_1225
A prominent landmark near our cabin was Cinnabar Mountain, with the unusual red formation that the sun nicely highlighted in this photo. The feature was named “the Devil’s Slide” by members of the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition in 1870 and captured in a drawing  byThomas Moran the following year when he was part of the Hayden Geological Survey. _mg_0218
The drive from the Grizzly Den Cabin to Gardiner was along the Old Yellowstone Road, a dirt road that traveled along the base of the Gallatin Mountain Range._mg_1414
At 10,969 feet, Electric Peak is the tallest mountain in the Gallatin Range. Electric Peak was given its name by members of they Hayden Geological Survey in 1871._MG_1424
I loved the texture of the landscape along the Old Yellowstone Road._mg_0223_mg_0226-1_mg_0207_MG_1161
A pronghorn seen along the Old Yellowstone Road._MG_0070_MG_1312

After traveling four miles or so along the Old Yellowstone Road, you come over a hill and get your first view of Gardiner. Montana. On the right in this photo you can see the Roosevelt Arch, the north entrance to the park. The large building in the foreground of the town is the Yellowstone research building._MG_1293

A view of main street Gardiner._MG_8990
I took several pictures of the iconic Roosevelt Arch. The arch was build by the U.S. Army in 1903. At the time, the Army supervised the park from Fort Yellowstone in Mammoth Springs. The National Park Service was not established until 1916._mg_0803
President Teddy Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the arch in 1903._mg_8789
“For the benefit and enjoyment of the people,” words from the Organic Act of 1872, which established Yellowstone as the first national park in the world._MG_8956_MG_8957
The light on the arch seemed to be different each morning._mg_8781
This bull elk was keeping a watchful eye on his harem near the arch. The harem spent most of its time in and around Gardiner. We often saw them on the high school football field._MG_8806

As soon as we entered the park the first day of our visit, we came across on confrontation between this bull elk and another that was showing a little too much interest in this bull’s harem. _MG_0073

The rut was on during our visit and the air frequently filled with the bugling of male elk.

The Gardner River (spelled differently than the town) as it flows out of the park to the town of Gardiner, where it flows into the Yellowstone River._MG_8914

Looking back toward Gardiner from Mammoth Hot Springs, the headquarters of Yellowstone National Park._mg_8949

The Faust Cabin at Inspiration Point

If you have visited Inspiration Point on Big Glen Lake, you have undoubtedly seen the old log cabin. I set out yesterday to take some photos and learn about its history. The cabin was built for Mary and George Faust, of Chicago, in 1929, on land purchased from D.H. Day. The architect was Frank Sohm, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Mary lived there nine months each year until her death in 1977. Her children continued to use the cabin for some years before selling it to the National Park Service in order to preserve it._MG_9464-HDR

_MG_9472A lily nicely framed by a basement window of the Faust cabin

_MG_9476The basement door.

Just steps away from the cabin is this stone bench overlooking Big Glen Lake.

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Trying my hand at ICM

I recently got a new mid-range zoom lens for my camera. My old lens was frustrating me because it was hit or miss whether a photo would be tack sharp. So now that I have a better lens, what do I start shooting? ICM, which stands for “intentional camera movement.”

This past weekend I saw the photos of a British photographer Andy Gray (www.AndrewSGray.photography). Andy uses ICM to create some remarkable abstract landscape photos. I had taken some ICM shots last fall, and seeing Andy’s work, I thought I would give it a go once again.  Here are some ICM photos I took last evening in a swamp a few blocks from our house.

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Exploring the burn at Sleeping Bear Dunes

The National Park Service conducted the first ever controlled burn in the park in May. The Service burned about 917 acres west of M-22 between Trail’s End Road on the north and Peterson Road on the South. I visited the area on Saturday.

The morning started at Bass Lake at the end of Trail’s End Road.  The sky was covered with clouds, but a hint of reflected sunlight peaked through the clouds about twenty minutes before sunrise.

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The shore of Bass Lake is lined with cedar trees.  The roots of this upturned cedar are a work of nature’s art.

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As I hiked the trail from Bass Lake to the burn area, I at first did not recognize it. I had imagined that the large trees would be burned more than they were. The leaves covering the ground had not burned. And ferns had spouted.

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The area south of Deer Lake was in the burn area, but this small area was spared the flames.

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After exploring the burn area and grabbing breakfast in Glen Arbor, I went to the dune overlook on the Pierce Stocking Drive, hoping to get photos of a storm coming. The storm, however, passed far to the south.

The roots of these trees at the dune overlook on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive have a precarious hold on the shifting sand.

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The struggle of plants to stabilize the dunes is ongoing.

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These trees give a large hint to the direction of the prevailing winds at the top of Sleeping Bear Dunes.Sleeping Bear Dunes 8439 b+w