Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day 365 > One Year Later...

My friends, here you have it...the 365th photo on this 365th day of 2009.
I'd spent the last couple of weeks contemplating how I'd end this project but only in the last day or two it has become clear to me that there was really nothing I could do that wouldn't seem anti-climactic. In a year filled with photos, just one more pretty picture hardly seemed like the answer.
So instead you get this self-portait of your humble photographer. Still, it's only fitting that I took this final shot in one of the places that has offered me so much over the past year. Fonferek Glen was one of my greatest local discoveries of 2009 and it has proven to be a worthwhile subject in all seasons.
For me, this photo documents myself at the end of one of the most ambitious undertakings I have ever or likely will ever attempt in my lifetime. I present it with a mix of emotions...a bit of sadness, certainly relief, a few regrets, and of course great pride in my accomplishment. But most of all I feel thankfulness that my life is such that I was able to make this journey. It has shown me so many amazing things, tested my resolve, at times pushing me beyond my limits, and has certainly made me an all-around better photographer than I was 365 days ago.
At this writing 80 people around the world have felt this project worthwhile enough that they chose to follow my progress and to all of you, both my personal friends and those I may never know, I say thank you. I have read every comment and word of encouragement posted to this blog and they have made all the difference. Without your support I am not sure I would have reached this day for without others to appreciate the things I see, this endeavor would have seemed rather pointless.
So this is it. The end. I look forward to waking up tomorrow without having to think about photos or new subject matter, or weather predictions or travel conditions or time constraints..tomorrow I have the day off! :)
But I will not forget one of the most important lessons this project has taught me...and that is that the world is full of amazing things and it's only those who are willing to make an extrordinary effort to be there who will have the pleasure of seeing it with their own two eyes.

Thank you all again!
I hope you'll join me at my new blog Wish You Where Here.

I'll see you again somewhere down the road...


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 364 > Icy Kewaunee Pier

I just can't stay away from the lake these days. The reason for this, however, is NOT the balmy temperatures. Take my word for it, conditions here were (even) colder that they "a pier". brrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 363 > Algoma Morning Light

7:30 am.
7 degrees F.
Sunrise on Lake Michi gan.
I fell in love with photography all over again at this moment...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day 362 > Snowburst

I raced to the east shore of the bay this morning to try to catch a snow shower I'd noticed moving across the horizon just after sunrise this morning. I arrived in time to grab several shots before the scene changed and the shower began to dissipate and was quite happy with the resulting images. Then, just as I was retreating from the shore and the icy north wind that had been blowing in my face, I noticed the sunlight begin to creep across the iced over bay... first as a thin band of light along the west shore, then growing wider and wider. Suddenly, the still rising sun fully burst through low scattered clouds and cast long shadows over bay from the trees directly behind me. I had just set up the camera again when this happened. The effect through the lens was stunning.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 361> Icy Aftermath

I went back to Cave Point this morning to see the icy aftermath of yesterday's wild waves and weather...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day 360 > Wild Winter Waves / Lake Michigan

Oceans-sized waves. Just one of the reasons the Great Lakes feel more like an inland sea than mere lakes.
I awoke feeling discouraged and uninspired this morning despite the fact that I had just six days left to complete this project. With no new ideas for a subject and after wasting an hour or two trying in vain to come up with something, I finally grabbed my coat and gear and headed off, having decided to let fate guide me. An hour or so later I found myself once again on the shore of Lake Michigan at Cave Point. If fate was indeed what led me there, then perhaps I should put more faith in it in the future. Cave Point had not been among the places I had even considered before setting out but this visit turned out to be yet another of those amazing "right place, right time" moments.
I arrived there to find the lake a churning cauldron of massive storm spawned waves. My last visit to the Point had offered some impressive surf but this...this was like nothing I've seen since I last stood on the edge of an ocean. Unquestionably, these were the largest waves I've ever seen on Lake Michigan. These were scary big!
The waves crashed into the cliff and submerged cave below with such forced I could actually feel the ground shake beneath me and in places the water was flung 25 feet into the air, showering the shoreline trees and one unlucky photographer (namely ME) with the spray.
Just as I began shooting this morning, another visitor reconfirmed for me just how impressive the show the lake was putting on really was when she glanced my way, gestured toward the wild waves and commented " This is the most wonderful day I have ever seen in my life". I definitely know how she felt at that moment...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Day 259 > Christmas Morning

The last of my cats to be featured in the photo project, Isa saved me from having to venture out on a rainy, slushy Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day 258 > St. Anthony Chapel / Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve inside the tiny St. Anthony of Padua Chapel in the woods on the University of Green Bay campus. I packed in the candles to add a little atmosphere...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 257 > Old Rock Mill Winter

Winter at the old Rock Mill.
I doubt I'll find a prettier or more suitable wintry image than this so let this be my holiday card to all of you. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 356 > Winter Storm Over Lake Michigan

I drove up the penin sula today, and encoun tered first, pockets of heavy fog and then, further north, dark skies and intense snow showers. But as I approached my destination, the town of Bailey's Harbor, The sky suddenly cleared ahead of me. I had temporarily left the dark snow clouds behind me but as I arrived at Cana Island to begin my photo hunt, the clouds arrived too.
I crossed the dike and cut across the island past the lighthouse and came out on the backside facing Lake Michigan where I was immediately hit by the bone-chilling wind. Before me, ice chunks piled by the waves crowded the shore and beyond the ice, big waves generated by the wind churned the water. Yet further out to sea, the storm I had driven through half an hour before was now sweeping across the horizon back lit by open sky. It all lasted just five minutes before the whole scene changed.
And yes, it WAS as cold as it looks! As amazing as the view was, it felt great to get back to the warm car and get some feeling back in my face and hands.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day 355 > Winter Solstice At Wequiock Falls

Winter officially arrived today at 12:47pm but as always here in Wisconsin, Autumn seemed to have passed some time ago...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 354 > Church And State

As the court house clock will attest, this was another late night/early morning shoot.
I'd been trying to find a way to capture both these buildings together for some time but never before saw it the way I did this night. The lighting was tricky due to the varying degrees of brightness of the spotlights illuminating the buildings but with some experimentation using exposure compensation, I was able to balance things as well as possible. I'm quite happy with the end result.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 353 BONUS > On Location At Cave Point

I don't know exactly why I shot this with the camera bag and tripod in the frame but I did and now I sort of like it.
Be sure to check out yet another photo from the day at Cave Point on my new blog Wish You Were Here.
While visiting there, please consider becoming a follower of the new blog if you haven't already for the 365 day project will be ending very soon and all future submissions will be appearing over there. Thanks!

Day 353 > Cave Point Winter Wonderland

A PERFECT winter's day at the shore...
The crashing waves of Lake Michigan.
Falling snow.
And amazing ice formations transforming the rocky shore and the trees.

Any questions why Cave Point is one of my most favorite place at this time of year????

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day 352 > Footbridge

Yet another place I've never bothered to explore while out shooting. This long, gently arching footbridge spans a deep ravine on the university campus connecting the wooded hiking path around the campus. I had thought perhaps that arching shape seen through the trees might prove to be an interesting photo but I decided I liked the lines of this shot much better. I sort of regret not seeing this in Autumn when I think it would have been a really beautful shot. This is one to keep in mind for next year...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 351 > Cave View / Fonferek Glen Falls

Back to Fonferek Glen this morning. Though I'd been here only days ago, the shot for that day showed nothing of the wintry scene within the river gorge so my aim today was to capture that and hopefully from a different viewpoint than anything I'd done there before. After trying this vantage point and that but seeing nothing that really wowed me, I decided to get dirty and climbed up into a small cave in the gorge wall to the right of the falls to see how the view was from there...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day 350 > At Wequiock Falls

I had already settled on the image I wanted to capture when I set out again this morning for Wequiock Falls and upon arrival did, in fact, work for 30 minutes at doing this shoot exactly as I had planned.
However, I'd also brought the video cam on this trip and in the process of capturing the frozen falls and gorge from this perspective and that, I happened to walk down the old tunnel through which the creek flows and over which the nearby road passes. I walked through and back and as I returned to the side nearest the falls I suddenly saw the whole scene framed by the tunnel's opening. Oddly, I had been pondering this very idea from home one day, wondering if it could be an interesting composition being quite a different perspective on the scene. My test shots did indeed look interesting but still seemed to be missing something now that I had captured the falls with more of an urban feel. Enter ME.
I was hesitant at first to model but after promising myself that we could finally get out of the cold and enjoy a hot cup of coffee back in the car, I agreed and I have to say I'm quite happy with the result.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 349 > Anyone Up For A Picnic?

The weather man lied to me this morning about the conditions saying that we'd have cloudy skies and snow flurries until later morning. An hour later, after I had blown off my road trip to the lake for sunrise based on that forecast, the day dawned partly cloudy and with a really pretty sky to the east. Grrr.
Irritated, and with a vow not to pay any further attention to weathermen in planning my shooting, I headed off anyway toward the lake. By luck I arrived at the shore at Kewaunee just in time to catch the last passing clouds that helped diffuse the bright sun. An impressive bank of clouds still hung over the water on toward the horizon adding drama to the scene. Within minutes the light changed and then so did the scene but I managed to grab this image in a rush before the good light was lost.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 348 > Wequiock Falls Reflecting Pool

I scouted out this shot yesterday afternoon following the shoot at Devil's River and have been dying to reshoot and post it today. Freezing rain this morning made the trip out to the falls a bit more of a challenge than I had bargained for but wasn't I saying that the adventure in getting there is half the fun?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day 347 > Devil's River Winter

WHAT A MORN ING!! I had almost for gotten how much fun it is to be out shooting on a perfect winter's day. I strapped on my snowshoes this morning and walked down to Devil's River. The temperature was comfortable, the wind was light, the snow was deep and fresh...and as I passed into the cedar forest and into view of the river it was like walking directly into a Christmas card. This place is spectacular in ALL seasons! I had been hopeful to find "my" river and waterfall still free of ice and I had been encourage as I neared that I could hear the water still flowing...but as I feared, the subzero temps had done their worst in the past few days. I found the scene at the falls had been dramatically altered from that of a week or so ago. The water still flowed hard but invisibly now under a shell of ice that had formed over nearly the entire area of the cascades. Still, falling water escaped in a few places and gurgled through open spots in the ice. Above the falls, the river still held some water that reflected the snow covered trees around it and jutting out from the opposite bank, the old stone dam stood partially obscured by the snow. Just a wonderful scene.
It may take a little more preparation to enjoy the outdoors this time of year but it can be so worth it! There is a sense of adventure that I feel when I have to work a little harder to get where I'm going, especially those places that most people would never bother. And when the place I'm headed is as amazing as this, it makes for a special day that I won't soon forget.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Day 346 > Waterfall Still Life

Behind the frozen waterfall at Fonferek Glen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Day 345 > Feathers In Crystal

I ventured out into the knee deep snow (should have worn the snowshoes) and subzero temperatures at Baird Creek this morning feeling like a project-worthy photo would be difficult to find under such conditions but I was quickly reminded as I trudged along the creek's edge that there are treasures to be found in nature even at minus 3 degrees F. Incredibly fine, feather-like crystals had formed in snowless pockets on the surface of the ice that now entirely covers the water.
The really amazing thing was that the crystals visibly grew just in the time I spent getting my shots.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day 343 > A Beacon In The Storm

The first signi ficant snowfall of the winter arrived over night in the form of a furious blizzard. I'm snowed in this morning, roads are impassable, so its a very good thing I chose to venture out into the storm after midnight as Mother Nature was just beginning to get herself whipped into a frenzy. I had my shooting location in mind, saving me from the hunt but once there, 30 mile per hour wind gusts and wet snow made shooting a nightmare and I very nearly gave up before I ever got started. I finally managed to find an angle I liked and developed a wipe and shoot and wipe and shoot and wipe and shoot method for keeping the lens clear while using my body as a shield and somehow got the shot I was looking for. What a night...I am now officially a crazy person.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day 342 > Falling Water, Falling Temperatures

Our first major snowstorm of this winter began to move into the area as I ventured out this morning, quickly reminding me that shooting under heavy snow can be only slightly less difficult than in rain. The road conditions had already begun to deteriorate by 9am so I decided to play it safe and stick close to home and since I had not visited Baird Creek in a while, I headed over to check to see if the creek still flowed or if it had entirely frozen over by now. I found that much of the creek has indeed frozen but as with Devil's River yesterday, the little falls have still managed to keep moving...although they are rapidly losing that battle. Extreme cold following the storm will almost certainly bring the creek to a complete standstill.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 341 > Devil's River Winter Cascades

Back to Devil's River. (I should just move here...put up a tent)
Winter has finally begun to claim my favorite river and falls. Following just a week's worth of freezing temperatures, sections of the river have already entirely frozen over. For now the fastest moving sections remain in motion but given another couple weeks I expect even the falls themselves will succumb to Old Man Winter's touch, remaining in suspended animation until the Spring thaw.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 340 > Blue Morning

I was up at 5am...ok 5:10 am....and on down the road to the lake shore once again in hopes of capturing a few first rays of sunshine sneaking under the cloud cover at dawn but no luck. Instead I was greeted by steadily falling snow and a moody blue lake with only the red signal light of the lighthouse to interrupt the gloom. Still...not such a bad morning...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 339 > Cairo, Wisconsin

I know nothing of the reason for the Egyptian theme of this Two River Cemetery mausoleum but it is undoubtedly the most unique (and out of place!) I have ever come across.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 338 > The Dead Season

Back to the Two Rivers Cemetery today.
A dull, lifeless morning with a dusting of freshly fallen snow blanketing the headstones and monuments. I was struck by the starkness of the scene and found it strangely beautiful.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day 337 > The Face Of An Angel

One of my favorite cemeteries to shoot is in the little lakeside town of Two Rivers. Some cemeteries, even in large cities, can be quite boring...completely devoid of large old monuments and statues. But this place is graced with many, many large crosses, an Egyptian-styled mausoleum (appearing here very soon) and a nearly life-sized angel statue, who's face you see here, located centrally on the grounds.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 336 > Once Upon A Time...

What was once almost certainly a fairy tale scene...the little wooden house...the pretty yard full of apple fallen into complete ruin. Even the trees seem dead. Perhaps not such a happy ending to this story...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 335 > At The Center Of The Water Wheel

I set out with the intention to highlight the whole of the water wheel of this mid 1800's mill and I did get the shots I had intended but my eye was drawn again and again to lines and shadows at the center. The other photos where nice but sort of standard stuff and in the end I found the lines of this shot much more interesting.