Posts from the ‘Lake Superior’ Category

Ice Art on Stoney Point

My photographic mind has not been thinking about landscape images lately…It has been focused on film making and bird photography…and mainly up in the Sax-Zim Bog.

But an email tip from Paul Sundberg about the ice-covered trees up the North Shore at Tettegouche State Park got me thinking about landscapes again. It was the “best ice in 10 years,” Paul said. But, alas, Continue Reading

You’ll Probably HATE these Photos

You’ll probably hate these photos…But I love them!

It is a dilemna photographers deal with all the time…What do you do when you have a subject but the light is horrid? Well, you can go home…You can shoot regular images that you’ll probably throw away soon after downloading…Or you can put on your creative thinking cap and experiment!

First, I must confess that I love “seagulls.” I am a birder who’s been birding for over 30 years and I’ve seen most of North America’s regular species. Birders love a challenge and gull identification is a challenge! Most species have three or four plumages and many more variations. Lake Superior attracts quite a few species including some rarities from the Arctic and Siberia.

So one gloomy fall day, while scoping the gulls at the Superior Entry (between Duluth’s Park Point and Superior’s Wisconsin Point), I decided to start a feeding frenzy by chucking old Wonder Bread (old, but disturbingly not moldy after a month in my car) into the canal. Ravenous gulls converged on the soggy snack. I slowed the shutter to 1/15 or 1/8 second just to see what would happen. Instant impressionistic art! I love the motion of the gulls wings and the splashing water. At home, I played with the colors in Aperture…I tried black-and-white but it did nothing for me…But the pastel aquas and pinks I got by super saturating the images created a pleasing look.

There is no right or wrong in art. If it pleases you, the creator, then it is good. I know most of you will not like these at all…But for me they are a really interesting and pleasing result from a gloomy day.

Saltwater Bird on a Sweetwater Lake

Lake Superior is dotted with several thousand Ring-billed Gulls, leisurely floating on a placid surface. An unexpected pair of Western Grebes joins them. A lone Bonaparte’s Gull floats by. But I’m on the sand beach of Wisconsin Point primarily in search of a nasty species of bird. The bird is the Parasitic Jaeger and it makes its living blatantly mugging gulls in broad daylight. The photo above details their sinister m.o. Winging hard and low, the jaeger flies towards a flock of unsuspecting gulls. The flock erupts in panic as the jaeger singles out a gull, possibly noticing that that gull has a full crop. The jaeger dives and pecks at the terrified gull, harassing it mercilessly. After several attacks the gull may actually vomit up its last meal. This is exactly what the jaeger wants. It then turns its attention from the gull to the vomit, scooping up the predigested treat in mid-air. Amazingly, this is their most common method of feeding. It may not be surprising then to learn that jaeger means ‘hunter’ in German.

Migrating from their winter home on the open ocean of the Gulf of Mexico to breeding grounds in the High Arctic, the vast majority of Parasitic Jaegers travel up either the Atlantic or Pacific Coasts. But some overland wanderers find themselves on Lake Superior, which is ocean-like enough for them. If there are gulls to be terrorized, then there will be food. Mid September to mid October is jaeger time.

And right on cue, a Parasitic Jaeger comes in for some fun about 300 yards off shore. I rip off about 50 shots. Not my best jaeger images but a memory of a neat encounter.

Canon 7D, Canon 400mm f5.6, f5.6 at 1/2000 (1/3000 for chase image), ISO 200