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Minnesota’s “North Shore”

Split Rock Lighthouse - July, 2010

Some of you are thinking (mercifully) he’s finally done with the Alaska stuff.  I’m not.  Still some of the best to come, photographically.  But I thought it was time for a little intermission.

A few months back, I dedicated a Blog to a “farewell” to my good friend, compatriot, and fellow photographer, Rich.  Earlier still, I attempted to “wax philosophical” (I know, terrible grammar – but I think it’s a quote) about whether internet board acquaintances were really friends.  One of these folks is photographer, teacher and writer, and my good friend, Al Utzig.  Al’s work can be seen at GoldImages.

I “met” Al some 5 years ago on the Scenes of Vermont (SOV) foliage forums and we immediately found much common ground in things other than photography.  Over that period, we have been saying we need to get together for a shoot.  Well, we made that happen on the weekend of July 30, and as an added bonus, Rich joined us for a great photography weekend on the Minnesota North Shore.  It was a real pleasure for me to meet Al in person and spend some time shooting with him.

Al Utzig - July 2010

Rich had moved to the Twin Cities and Al already lives there.  We were looking at dates, and Al discovered that the Split Rock Light was celebrating its centennial this summer and was scheduled to be lit Saturday night, July 30.  So we planned around that.

Arriving Friday afternoon in a gray drizzle, we used the time to scout several proposed photo locations; most importantly, Split Rock State Park.  This light is particularly photogenic and can be shot from many different vantage points.  If you are like me, and don’t especially like people in the photo, that may be the only real challenge, photographically.

We arrived back in the park in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday morning, to more gray skies and overcast.  But photographers are eternally optimistic and we “hung around,” waiting for something to happen.  It did.  I got some really nice silhouettes, The unexpected, but very pleasing result was this starburst image.

Split Rock Light - July 2010

Later, we headed out for some breakfast and shooting some of the many North Shore waterfalls (more at a later date on those).  Returning to the park in the mid afternoon, we were surprised to find 12-15 tripods lined up on the beach south of the Light.  We met a number of photographers that afternoon and learned, to our delight, that not only would the light be lit at dusk, but fireworks were coming after dark.

What a “right time, right place” opportunity!

The afternoon light is nice from this vantage point and there is a rock island in the foreground with some wonderfully colored yellow-orange streaks.  The only thing that “marred” this afternoon was as the “golden light” developed, a rather ugly (think buccaneers) sailboat motored in and anchored right in the foreground of the shot.  Too bad, because the late afternoon light created some gorgeous reflections of the rock on the water.  But alas, for another time, I guess.

Split Rock Light

As dusk approached, the light was lit as advertised, to applause from viewers on the beach (by this time, the tripods numbered closer to 35-40!).

There’s an old, near-hackneyed– photographer’s saying: “f8 and be there.”  So, as darkness approached, I set my camera to manual, f8 and waited.  It was well worth the wait and couldn’t have more accurately underscored the saying!

Split Rock Fireworks Finale

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6 Responses

  1. Andy: I really enjoyed this piece! Not only the beautiful photos of the lighthouse, but mostly the description of how your friendship with Al Utzig evolved from the SOV foliage forum. This is a sweet story of friendships – old and going strong (Rich) and new (or rather renewed – as you “knew” Al but had not yet met until now). Moreover, all of you share a passion for photography. What a great way to bond! I’m sure you will have more shoots together in the near future and am looking forward to meeting you in October. Well written! And a great break indeed from ALASKA!!!! (BIG GRIN) …..

  2. Thanks, CT. Me too 🙂

  3. Very nice write up Andy! It’s great the trip was all you had hoped for and more. Yes, it was a nice diversion from Alaska, but I have really been enjoying your Alaska series. It’s one place I probably will never get to see in person, so I have been enjoying visiting it through the lens of your camera and through your writings. I look forward to find out where “we are going” next. 😉

    • I’ll bet you are wrong. I’ll bet you will see Alaska some day. In the meantime, you’ll just have to do it vicariously, through me :-). Remember, I only have seen a small fraction of it though.

  4. These photographs are absolutely beautiful….There’s something about getting out in nature with the challenge of capturing some of the amazing beauty around us.
    Over the past year, I have found myself in the freezing cold, (I’m from Canada) braving snowfalls, and sliding over the ice in winter, then attacked by mosquitoes and black flies in summer, all in the hopes of capturing a glimpse of nature’s beauty with my camera… If you would like to view my website please go to http://marilyns-photo-shoppe.partnersaroundtheworld.com…Thank you..

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