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Moonrise shutterbugs

Posted byLee Radzak on 08 Feb 2012 | Tagged as: Events, Nature, Observations, Photography, Seasons, Uncategorized

This may have been a poor winter on the North Shore for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing but it has been a good winter for watching the full moon.  Each year, between November and March, photographers line up on the shoreline of Lake Superior in the state park to catch the full moonrise lined up behind Split Rock Lighthouse.
Moonrise, 7February12 
With the lack of snow and the unseasonably warm temperatures this winter more people than ever have set up tripods at sunset to catch the moon rising out of the lake right off of the lighthouse cliff.  Last night I spent about an hour on the rocky shoreline with a half a dozen or so shutterbugs who came equiped with an amazing array of equipment.  I snapped a few shots then mainly got out of the way.  Some of these people are very serious and focused on the sole mission of capturing “the” shot.  It was like watching a choreographed dance as the group scampered with tripods across the icy rocks to try to rearrange their equipment to keep up with the rising moon and to keep it in line with the distant lighthouse and cliff.  Full February moon
I seems that there is (or should be) an unspoken photographer’s etiquette, or maybe it’s just a gentleman’s agreement, that implies that a photographer not set up their tripod and camera directly between the subject and cameras already shooting the same scene. 
photographersAnyway, it ended up being more fun capturing the activity in front of and behind me along the shore.p10600461 
The moon will be there once a month, but then again so will the shutterbugs.

The Shutdown is Over!

Posted byLee Radzak on 21 Jul 2011 | Tagged as: Events, History, Nature, Observations, Photography, Seasons, Uncategorized

After 21 days, the State of Minnesota goverment shutdown is over!  Split Rock, and the other Minnesota state historic sites will be open tomorrow, so we can get back to business.  The shutdown was frustrating in that it came at the time when so many people are traveling on the North Shore and wanting to visit all of the sites and state parks, all of which were closed.  The shutdown created an unfortunate situation with the closing of all the state parks and state historic sites, such as Split Rock Lighthouse.  Tourists had to walk in to the parks as no vehicles were allowed.  This caused some traffic congestion at the entrances to places like Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse State Parks. 

During the state shutdown state park users had to park along Highway 61 and walk into the park.

With no one allowed on the historic lighthouse grounds during the shutdown some of the wildlife got a little bolder and made themselves at home.  A young cow moose dined on the Virginia creeper planted near the lightkeeper’s houses on a couple of quiet mornings.  This will change tomorrow when the site reopens for its regular hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. 
This moose was as curious as nervous as she browsed on the Virginia creeper.
This moose was as curious as nervous as she browsed on the Virginia creeper.

Split Rock moose

Photographing the January full moon over Split Rock

Posted byLee Radzak on 21 Jan 2011 | Tagged as: Events, Nature, Observations, Photography, Seasons

The full moon breaking through the parting clouds a half hour after sunset.

The full moon breaking through the parting clouds a half hour after sunset.

Each year more and more photographers are wise to the fact that the January full moon is the best moonrise of the year for catching a full moon rising out of Lake Superior behind Split Rock Lighthouse.  On Wednesday afternoon about a dozen people, some like me who are not professional photographers waited in anticipation for the clouds and frost smoke over the lake to break and the full moon to show itself. 

The sun breaks through

A break in the clouds as the sun sets gives a glow to the lighthouse cliff.

This tradition began in 1983 when Paul Sundberg and I skiied down to Little Two Harbors from the lighthouse (that was away back before any roads or trails were developed in the state park). We had it all to ourselves on those January nights for the next few years. By the 1990’s we were noticing other photographers picking up on the idea and the cooperative and scenic full moonrises of January. 

Come prepared and this is a special time to visit with other photographers and folks who like to take pictures, who like the quiet of the frigid open waters of Lake Superior at sunset, or the view of the lighthouse from Pebble Beach and Little Two Harbors.  Dress warm, bring extra camera batteries and a flashlight, and you are often treated to some good conversation or some amazing solitude and scenery

Not all of the good scenes include the lighthouse.  Ellingson Island in the dusk.

Not all of the good scenes include the lighthouse. Ellingson Island in the dusk.

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