What a busy month June has proven to be! My picks for the Hardy Gallery
"Wall to Wall Party" were selected by the jury and will be
on exhibition at the Hardy through
July 9th. Stop by if you get a chance.
never ceases to amaze me with it's myriad of high quality locations
in which to photograph. Some of these locations are hard to get to,
others you might not even notice until you get out of your car and actually
walk out into the landscape to take in the amazing sights, sounds, and
On this particular occasion I had chosen North Bay, as its one of those
locations you frequently speed by without notice, and I thought I'd
take a closer look.
It was easily 6:00 am when I arrived at a small turn-out at North Bay.
Clouds were thick but moving off to the east. For the quiet side of
the peninsula, North Bay was alive with an amazing array of sounds this
morning. Even without my prompting everything from common seagulls to
killdeer to Canada geese and sandhill cranes could be heard amongst
the din of bird calls. It was amazing to witness.
For the last few years North Bay has been relatively dry, so I assumed
I might be able to venture out to the current waterline and shoot some
emergent lakebeds. Not today, the lake had risen! Though only an inch
or two deep the entire bay was saturated.
out into the water and composed a few photographs when I noticed a stick
flowing from the lake toward the shore. A noticeable current was evident
amongst the grasses. At first I was reminded of the Everglades, which
are often referred to as a "river of grass". I pondered that
for a moment and then I looked down to discover that those one or two
inches of water had risen to about six to eight inches of water! I was
experiencing my first Great Lakes seiche!
A seiche is like a
small ocean tide, though not predictable, as forces other than the sun
and moon act upon the water to create a localized change in the level
of the lake. Typically wind will blow across a distance of the lake
and waves will pile up, and like a giant tea cup, water will get pushed
up against one side of the lake and fall on the other side. I had always
heard about seiches, but never witnessed one first hand. I had always
thought it was just a myth, but there, in my soggy boots I knew the
phenomenon known as seiche
So if you have the patience and the time, go to one of those out-of-the-way
places in Door and sit and wait for a seiche.
You'll be impressed. The lake does some amazing things.
Later in June I had the opportunity to shoot in Bayfield County, Wisconsin.
I took a weekend to explore the amazing coastal wetlands between Port
Wing and Ashland on the Lake Superior shore.
The wetlands on the south shore of Lake Superior are amazingly delicate.
It takes generations of growth to build up the layers of sphagnum moss
and peat to current levels. So with that in mind I was very conscious
of my explorations out into the muskeg and bog lands. I decided to follow
established game trails which were more soggy on my feet but I felt
I was doing the right thing by limiting my trampling to existing "paths"
over the moss.
The fascinating thing to me was the sensation I felt while walking on
the bog. Even though a bog looks like solid ground it felt more like
a massive saturated sponge; with every step I felt the "ground"
quake around me. Needless to say this actually made it very difficult
to shoot any long exposures unless I approached a Tamarack and found
a more solid base of sphagnum in which to plant my tripod. Pitcher plants
were everywhere. The many sedge grasses made interesting motion-texture
studies. The bogs of the south shore are by far the most challenging
landscape I have photographed yet. Access is difficult but rewarding.
With an extra pair of dry socks (and maybe chest waders) I'll be back
to explore some more.