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Notes From The Field

 

 

June 2006

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.

 
 

Door County 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 smells.

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.

 
 

I ventured 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 was real.

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.

 
 

 

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Notes 2006

 

May 17, 2006

I will be exhibiting my work at the annual Hardy Gallery "Wall To Wall Party" on Saturday, May 27th from 7-9pm. The event will be held at the Francis Hardy Center For The Arts, located at the historic Anderson Dock in Ephraim, Wisconsin. So if you're in DC over the holiday weekend, please come on out! I'll be exhibiting New Day at Cave Point and Clouds and Rocks - Toft Point, each in the 22 x 28 print size.

 
 

March 10, 2006

My wife and I like to escape to Door on a regular basis and our favorite times to go are when no one else is around. Most of the shops are closed, its not the best time of year for swimming and JJ's La Puerta is only open certain days of the week - still we love it. The parks are quiet, minutes go by between cars on the main highways and you generally get the sense that the peninsula is yours.

This time around didn't disappoint. On the day we were set to depart, the temperatures warmed to record levels in the 50's. I knew if any bays still had ice on them, today would be the day to see them break up. We headed out to Europe Bay and were pleasantly surprised by a scene that looked more like Hudson Bay than anything else - the bay and lake were littered with floating bergs of ice, some the size of Spider Island, from the looks of it, though I'm sure my eyes must have been mistaken!

I quickly broke out the Holga and the berg-hopping began.

 
 
 
 

 

 
 

January 2006

Here in Minnesota there really is no escaping winter, so it's a good time to contemplate what lies ahead, lay down plans and embark upon new journeys. By nature I'm a visual person so I prefer to reveal my vision through photography, and not so much words. Nonetheless, I hope to share some of my adventures and insight on the creative process here in Notes From The Field. Thanks for reading!

 

 
     
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All photographs and text © 2006 Brett Kosmider