Tag Archives: landscape photography

Sometimes It’s A Stumble In The Park

26 Jun

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge Buck Lake-1

Jiminy Crickets! Whadda’ evening!

I was on my way to Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge in Sherburne County last Saturday evening.

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

Now….I don’t have the greatest capacity for long-term memories but for some reason I remembered the last time I was in that refuge. Years ago, my wife, sister, mother and I went to one of the trails there called Mahnomen Trail. A chuckle or three (and I confess – soon followed by laughter) started to rise out of my throat as I reminisced our short visit there.

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The Stars Of Mount Charity

12 May

Mt Charity Overlooking The Mississippi River-1

Ever sit back on a dark night and just look at the stars? Whenever I do this, I can’t help but feel tiny. Stars have a way of making even my hefty frame feel diminutive. When I see the layers upon layers of stars that are visible to my eyes, I feel a sense of wonder, of awe, of an affirmation that, speaking of my own personal beliefs here, this is no mere happenstance. Rather, I personally believe this is the work of Intelligent Design, or to be frank, Jesus. Among the resources that you can google and find, here are the words of one scientist which aligns with Job 38:6 and 7 written so many years ago …

‘He said: “Essentially stars resonate like a huge musical instrument. Stars make sounds naturally but we can’t hear this as it is has to travel through space.

“Like a musical instrument, stars are not uniformly solid all the way to their core, so the sound gets trapped inside the outer layers and oscillates around inside.

“This makes the star vibrate causing it to expand and contract. We can detect this visually because the star gets brighter and dimmer and so we can reconstruct the sounds produced from these vibrations.” ‘

Here’s that article for further reading.

Star’s Song

Mount Charity is a bluff within John A. Latsch State Park in southeastern MN that had been on my mind for awhile as a potential night shoot. I was trying to think of a less populated place to shoot the Milky Way and decided to give this bluff along the Mississippi River a shot. I knew light pollution could be an issue as this state park is near various light sources. However, the sense of adventure of a 1/2 mile vertical hike of 450-500 feet gave this hearing-impaired 55 year old body the impetus it needed to continue to refuse to settle for less. Here’s a link for more insight about John A. Latsch State Park.

John A. Latsch State Park

I did a check of what living monstrosities I needed to be on the lookout for. It turned out the worst, if I were to believe Wikipedia and we all know the internet to be reliable and truthful, could be timber rattlesnakes and coyotes. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was pretty sure it was too cool to happen upon a rattlesnake as long as I stayed on the path and coyotes generally avoid humans. I knew I would be hiking in pitch dark so I grabbed my trusty headlamp and two flashlights – one for each hand to dispel the darkness like a gunslinger dispelling bad guys – to provide a little light. Also of help is that there is a steep – and I mean STEEP – stairway that leads to the top so the hiking on uneven ground is minimal. Oh, I also came armed with Deet to combat ticks and mosquitos. Deet is every Minnesotan’s cologne of choice in every season but winter. It’s quite a lovely smell. You’ll know a visiting Minnesotan to your state by their cologne. Come winter, we dispel with colognes. Who can smell you under 15 layers of clothes?

I walked the 100 feet or so to the base of the stairs and began the ascent. Every few minutes, I’d have to stop to rest due to the steepness and weight of my pack harboring my tripod and camera gear. Just to be sure, I’d take that time to shine my light all around and make sure those monstrosities (which according to Wikipedia also included the likes of the deadly red fox, the peeing antic of the white tailed deer [you did see that in the documentary Grown Ups 2, didn’t you?] and the rascally opossum) were not surrounding me. Here’s one image of what I saw taken with my iPhone…


About a half hour later, shortly after midnight, I reached the summit of the bluff. I took it all in for a while before I even began to set up my camera equipment. Looking straight up into the vast numbers of stars is always mind boggling to me. Sometimes we just need to be in the moment. Don’t be so busy with stuff that you forget to live in the moment. No doing…no thinking…no speaking…just be silent and be still. Take it all in. Breathe in deep and admire the scene before you. Much like Sean O’Connell tells Walter Mitty…

Sean O’Connell In The Moment

After a while of stargazing and taking in the view over the Mississippi River, I set up my equipment and enjoyed some time photographing the views above me and in front of me. There was too much light pollution to see the Milky Way but I was just as enthralled with the stars and the lights of Lock and Dam No. 5 spanning the mighty Mississippi River. I left and headed back down the steep incline with indelible memories and captured images on my camera’s memory card.

If you have any thoughts or comments, share them in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you.

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