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Category Archives: Landscape

There is something inherently beautiful in the starkness of a landscape during a Minnesota midday when the temperature hovers around 3-5° F.

There is an subtle awesomeness to a wide-open landscape, such as this one in northern Montana.  It beckons one’s thoughts toward the future, toward what Emily Dickinson referred to as dwelling in possibility.

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There are certain places on Earth that have moved me more than others, places that motivate within me a sense of awe and humility.  On a recent first visit to Glacier National Park, hiking Logan Pass as the sun set was one such place.

Looking closely at the photography above will yield a place carpeted in wildflowers of myriad hues, surrounded by mountain peaks, and dotted by a taiga of conifers.  Logan pass is one of the most beautiful places I have yet to experience.

There are also special views  that remind one, however briefly, that we live on a Planet imbued with beauty beyond measure.  Mt. Oberlin at sunset is one such reminder.

Duluth is a special place to visit, the last city of any size before one enters Northern Minnesota.  One of the city’s best features is that it is located at the westernmost tip of Lake Superior.  The inland sea can be treacherous, but it can also offer much beauty.

On a recent flight to Washington, D.C., I was reminded of the benefit of carrying some glass on a trip.  I was traveling for a weekend conference, and after some thought had left my camera gear at home in order to minimize the weight and size of my backpack.  The colors of the sky were sublime above 30,000 feet on the way east, and I had no real camera with which to shoot out the jet window.  Such situations continue to prompt me to consider purchasing a secondary camera, specifically a point-and-shoot with manual exposure controls.  This is not the easiest piece of equipment to find, certainly not at the price and size points I would consider validate such a purchase.  Thus, the search goes on.  The photo below was taken on an iPhone 3GS, which has a substandard camera, even for a phone.  However, as I am fond of saying to myself, what matters is to make the shot.

Historically, I have not made it a point to wake early in order to shoot in the morning twilight.  My preference has typically been to remain out in the evening so that, after the potential for golden light in the evening, I can then be privy to a sky full of stars.  Nonetheless, not too long ago I was hiking in the Bay Area for an early morning walk.  The temperature hovered in the low 30s, and the sun was not to come up for awhile.  Sometimes, a day can begin very, very well.

There is something peaceful about the sound of snow falling upon one’s hat and through branches of overhead.  There is something wonderful about the first major snow of the season and the way is transforms the land.

Occasionally, auspicious weather can afford the opportunity for beauty even amidst the city.  Those are the mornings it pays to carry one’s camera.

Increasingly, I have come to understand that for me a photograph is an encapsulation of an experience with nature.  It is a method of not merely facilitating my attention to the moment as I stand upon the rocks of a wilderness lake, but an almost visceral reminder of time and place.  I have come to understand that the practice of photography is for me a way to internally as much as externally document my travels and the learning that ensued.  It is an invitation to take a moment to pause and consider the myriad ways in which beauty manifests all around.  I am truly grateful for all of this.

During a week this past summer on the Gunflint Trail in the far reaches of northern Minnesota, my wife and I ventured for an overnight into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) Wilderness.  I had hiked into the BWCA a few times over the years, and my wife had paddled there in her youth, but this was the first time I would actually “do” the Boundary Waters.  So, with the little time we had available to us, we paddled several miles in, camped overnight above the shore of beautiful Alder Lake, and then paddled out.  We paddled into the wind both ways; the paddle out was especially vigorous and offered a real taste of the range of Boundary Waters weather.  Yet, there was beauty all around and true joy within.  It was a simply wonderful experience.  As we completed taking down camp that next morning and loading the canoe, my wife called for me to turn around.  There over the lake so close it seemed we could almost touch it was a double rainbow glorious to behold.  It was as if the Boundary Waters had welcomed us.  It was as if the gratitude I felt within was mirrored all around.