This site is about photography and the inner thoughts of photographer Andrew Plath.

Keywords & SEO: Promoting a Business and a Community

I set out to do this photo not really knowing what to expect but just a chance to do some really great photography. While I was over there, I met with Lisa Carlson who owns The Glass Hat, a neighborhood bar just south of the Walkway. Lisa caught on to the fact that I had photographed certain things around the bar such as the bikes in back.

Lisa gave me a little talk about how keywords work. She really insisted that I mention the name of her bar The Glass Hat. While Lisa might not have had the right words, she did have the right idea.

Think metadata! Think keywords! Think SEO! Major search engines like Google and Yahoo thrive on this! What good does it do to have great images to sell if you don’t have those.

Lisa’s goal is to promote and grow her business. Tavern owners are no different than any other business people. They need to draw in paying customers. So do photographer-artists like me. So I will be packing my images with keywords. Keywords are names of people and places, events and other subjects. So my Diamondback Bike becomes a keyword as a name of the image.

A solemn occasion happens every weekend around the world.  Christians of all denominations gather for worship.   It may be a regular Sunday service or mass.   It may be a special occasion such as an installation service.

Pastor Zach Holdorf giving a children’s message at Trinity Lutheran in Wausau.

It may be a wedding.

Regardless, all worship services at a local congregation or parish are a part of the worship life of that particular faith community.  I have been documenting the worship life at my church for several years now.  I work to treat the subject of worship  with a great deal of reverence.

The thought of this might have started long ago when I was a student at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire.  I remember that the University’s Media Development Center had called the offices of University Lutheran Church  where I worshiped those years  for images of Lutheran pastors at work.   I had a few slides that were taken at Valparaiso University at a national assembly of the Lutheran Student Movement.  These were pictures of pastors leading bible studies  etc.  The pastors were not vested and the images were not taken inside.  The Media Development Center wanted pictures of pastors leading worship.  I won’t tell you how that went.

Some years later, my mother was on a pictorial directory committee.  They needed an image of worship at Trinity.  I went to the church in one afternoon and took pictures of the sanctuary and came up with empty pews.  Not good enough!  It was then that I realized that people make up the church.  Not just bricks, mortar, and stained glass.

You see, the church is more than that.  Much more!   My mind goes to the story of the Call of St Francis of Assisi.  Christ calls to Francis to build his Church.  Francis first goes out and gets some masons, carpenters, and laborers to restore nearby church sanctuaries.  Christ calls again from the cross.  “Francis, build my church!”  This time Francis gets it.  Jesus meant people.    When Jesus gave Simon his new name Peter in Matthew 16, he calls Peter the Rock on which He will build his church.   Jesus meant people so my photos have to include people.

The knack for my worship photography includes above all reverence and respect.  Every church sanctuary, every place of worship, is a holy place where people come together to be in the presence of God, to hear His Word, and to receive the body and blood of our Lord and Savior  Jesus Christ.   So the photographer must respect that  at all times.    I work hard at being discrete and not to draw attention to myself.   My purpose is to show the world what goes on in my church.

In many traditional or Gothic style churches there are places where a photographer can be out of the way.   At my Trinity, I generally prefer just to be near the back of the church, or , even in the choir loft.   I  also found areas like that in the auditoriums at Wausau’s Christian Assembly and Immanuel Baptist where I did capture weddings and other events.

You want to capture people at their best.  If you, the photographer, draw attention to yourself or your gear, then you might as well stow away your camera and just sit back.  You are showing to the world what Christian worship is all about with awesome reverence for an awesome God.  Learning to do this is a process.  On the technical side, mistakes can be made.  Mistakes are okay.  Just don’t let people notice them.

I think of the shepherd window featured here.  When I took this, I let the atmosphere of the sanctuary lead me to it.  God’s in charge here.  This is His house.  If the image is meant to be photographed and shared, it will be!

Shepherd Window

Jesus the Good Shepherd at Trinity Lutheran in Wausau.


Lighting dedication of the new “Wishing Bridge”.

Perhaps this is a prelude to a greater project.   My neighbor across from me is artistically trained.   She saw my photo of the Chippewa River State Trail bridge at Eau Claire and thought that I could develop a collection based on bridges.  Bridges over what, I wondered.  Even a crazy idea of a “Bridges of Madison County”  type of book could start to flow from this.    Digging into the collection of images that I already have on my WordPress account and adding to them with the Chippewa Trail bridge, I started to create this blog at first.  I even added Wausau’s new “Wishing Bridge” which crosses a newly formed creek on the east side river front.   It is another step in the redevelopment of this area.  I would bet that many marriage proposals will happen here.


So I started with the HH bridge over the  Green Circle Trail in Stevens Point.  How cool is it to pass under traffic and enjoy all this great scenery that the Green Circle Trail offers.   Minimal interference from automobile traffic.   Just great!  Then I move to a stark wintry scene in Wausau on the pedestrian crossing over the east channel of the Wisconsin River.   Icy good black and white subject.  Truly a Wisconsin winter!


Then I move to the one bridge that I actually fell in love with.   This one is the concrete arch bridge that carries the Tomorrow River State Trail over the Tomorrow River at Amherst.    What a beautiful piece of bridge architecture.  So simple and serene with steps to lead many a trout angler to his favorite spot and a deck that carries lovers to a coffee shop in Amherst.


My new  favorite is a re-decked trestle that forms a part of the Chippewa River State Trail in Eau Claire.  Eau Claire is easily my second home town.  Most people can easily see why.  It is a cyclist’s paradise with all of its off-road trails and shared use paths connecting right into the Chippewa River State Trail.  The trail system even connects right to the Water Street side of the campus of the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire!    I can imagine students and faculty riding in from Chippewa Falls or Durand on this incredible asphalt paved rail-trail. Or even a trip into Carson Park .  Or even a cruise into Downtown!    Why not!   The system will get you there!


Finally thoughts take me to my home rail-trail, the beautiful Mountain-Bay State Trail  with the long low trestle that crosses wetlands west of Norrie Lake in Eastern Marathon County.  There are so many journeys and bridges to cross.   This bridge has legends to it  of derailments that happened long ago with box cars  or locomotives lost in the swamp.   The journey calls us to hike or ride…

A historic landmark bridge awaits to take riders and hikers across the Tomorrow River.

This is the Quarter-mile bridge on the Mountain-Bay State Trail as viewed from the seat of my Trek 920 mountain-bike.

The Green Circle Trail

Green Circle Trail HH Underpass-1Green Circle Trail Pifner Pioneer Park-1-2Green Circle Trail Plover River-1Green Circle Trail Plover River-1-2One of the greatest gems of the Stevens Point area in Central Wisconsin is it’s  Green Circle Trail system.   27 miles of off-road trail, shared use path, on street bicycle routes and side walks make for a really great day in the city.  The people of Stevens Point have something to really proud of here.   As you can see in these photos, the Green Circle trail passes though a lot of wilderness areas within the city and in the Town of Hull.Green Circle Trail McDill Pond-1These photos cover stretches of trail along the Plover and Wisconsin Rivers.  In many spots, one can forget that they are in an urban area.   I took a ride on it and I saw much more than I photographed.  I will be back!Green Circle Trail Approach to Wisconsin River-1

Water Resources In Marathon County

Not long ago, in fact last fall, I offered  to submit these photos to the University of Wisconsin – Marathon County Extension office for an exhibit that they had planned for the Stratford Library.   They were made into 8×10 canvass wraps which is unusual for me.   Usually when I get stuff printed, I tend to think big like 20×30.   Nonetheless, they helped the UW Extension convey a message that our water resources are vital and important.

What would Wausau be without the Wisconsin River coursing through the city center?   Or Eastern Marathon County without the Eau Claire and Plover Rivers.   The beautiful Dells of the Eau Claire which makes a nice stop on the Ice Age Trail.  Or the many ponds that cyclists and hikers alike pass by on the Mountain-Bay State Trail.


Water is important.  It is the source of all life on Earth.  We can’t live without it.   It provides us with food and sustenance.   We need it.   

After The Winter Storm

Sometimes in photography there are days when everything just falls into place. I did not use any filters in these images . They are as they are. The atmosphere of winter makes for the cobalt blue skies. When combined with the whiteness of snow, nothing but purity is the result.

I count my snowshoes as a part of my photographic gear as they allow me to get to places off-road and out of the way.  The Dells of the Eau Claire is a part of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.  Whenever possible, Ice Age Trail Alliance has always tried to put a part of the route through public lands such as parks or forests.

The Dells provides an appropriate place for people to stop and relax.  Every time I go out there, it is like a mini vacation away from the cares of every day life.    The Dells offers its own sense of peace even on the coldest of days in a Wisconsin Winter.

In Marathon County, the Dells of the Eau Claire  symbolizes all that is good in our part of the world.   In winter, it is clean and quiet.  It is so peaceful you could walk with God out there.


Experiments With A Zoom

Call these things mistakes or a waste of time and money or even an insult to creative marketing genius.  Like a lot of photographers in the Wausau area, I could not help but spend some time on Third Street in Wausau’s downtown this past month.  These lights were strung up in place of the umbrellas that hung there just a few months ago.  They are part of the creative marketing genius of Mark Craig, General Manager of Compass Properties, the major real estate development company that owns much of the downtown.first-thursday-1-of-1-7

festival-of-lights-1-of-1-3third-street-1-of-1third-street-1-of-1-2 As you can see the transformation in these pictures from umbrellas to lights  hanging from wires strung across the 300 Block from building front to building front.  As a photographer, I tend to look at things and ask myself what do I see in them.   The umbrellas and the lights were to be an attraction to draw people into the downtown to visit the bars & restaurants and shop the stores that line the street in this area.  They cause  people to pause and look up.

Once the lights were up and lit, I looked for a way to interpret them.  At first I came downtown to just simply take one or two wide-angle shots like the one you see just below the umbrella photo.  Then I though I should try something that I had never did before.  My 70-210mm telephoto zoom works like the slide on a trombone.  At that I could create the effect of the streaks of light by pushing the lens forward or pulling the front elements back while shooting exposures at slow shutter speeds.  With film photography, this can be disgustingly costly in what seems like wasting materials.   With digital photography, it is just an image file that can be deleted  if it is not worth keeping.

I have already submitted these things to Capture Wisconsin where they do get critical review from some of the best photographers  around the state.  I feel like I am in a crowd there where we all give each other pats on the back for the work that we all create.

Wausau is a beautiful city and I am not boasting because it is my hometown.  It is a city that fights to move its way forward, and the downtown shows it.  If you have not visited our downtown, please do so.


A Challenge For Rib Mountain or Why We Fight Encroachment

It even looks good in black and white.
It even looks good in black and white.

Turkey Vulture On  A WingOver a year ago, I was approached by someone who wanted me to show some concern over the prospect of a nearby golf course expanding into Kohler-Andre State Park near Sheboygan, WI.   I did not act on that.   Now Rib Mountain State Park near the City  of Wausau where I live is being challenged.  The local Ski-hill operator who leases land at Rib Mountain State Park from the Wisconsin DNR under the name Granite Peaks plans to expand further into the park, and that means further to the west of of the present ski runs.

Take a look at these photos.   These are from the Quarry at Rib Mountain State Park.    The quarry was purchased from 3M Corporation several years ago.   It is a part of our local history in many ways.   To bury history is to destroy it.   Before the quarry was developed, 80 acres of that land belonged to the Knapf family who had homesteaded there between 1880 and 1904 when they sold their property to the then Wausau Mining Company.

The quarry is habitat to turkey vultures as seen here.  Streams often flow down the mountain side near the quarry too.   All of this would be destroyed should Granite Peaks be allowed to expand.   If you have a diamond in your hand would, would you throw it away?   These are the diamonds in our back yard place of respite that we call Rib Mountain.   

Andrew Plathmini-waterfall-1-2 mini-waterfall-1

A Turkey Vulture searches for carion in and around the quarry at Rib Mountain State Park
A Turkey Vulture searches for carion in and around the quarry at Rib Mountain State Park

Changing Seasons

Every once in a while I like to take a walk along a river.  My river of choice is the Wisconsin which flows for 500 miles from Land O Lakes up north on the border with Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Prairie du Chen on the Mississippi.   This river amazes me in ways that might seem odd to some people.   It never stops to inspire.

I caught these leaves on the Cedar Creek Trail in Rothschild, WI just south of the Domtar Dam.   In one spot, I could find so many possibilities.    It really is amazing what a simple macro lens like the 60 mm Micro-Nikkor f2.8D could capture.   The way the light fell on these young oak trees fascinated me.   With the river in the background, I was able to capture the effect of the changing season with a shallow depth of field.

May these images be a feast for your eyes.   Much of my work is available online in a book called “Hidden Gems of Central Wisconsin” at You might want to check out their special holiday discounts at

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Can We Enjoy The Wisconsin River?

northern-wausau-section-1-of-1-2 This is the Wisconsin River.   This is what makes the quality of life in Wausau, WI .   All this beauty is found on the city’s River Edge walkway.  I picked a good day for capturing the fall colors here.  The cloudy skies softened the light quite a bit and brought out the natural colors of the leaves here.  This is a part of Wausau that people might know about, but really do not get out and see.

At any given time of the year, the Wisconsin River offers  its own little getaway right here in town! Our city is shaped by this river.   In its own way, it brings home the wilderness of the great northwoods of Wisconsin.  It brings in wildlife and recreational opportunities.  Because of the Wisconsin River, Wausau has a world class competition kayak course.  So come and enjoy!northern-wausau-section-1-of-1-3 northern-wausau-section-1-of-1-4 northern-wausau-section-1-of-1-7

Julie Gloede Phelps. along with Kris Tiles and others compete in a women's heat at Cross of the North.

Julie Gloede Phelps. along with Kris Tiles and others compete in a women’s heat at Cross of the North.

On a warm Sunday in September, riders from around the area gathered at Sunnyvale Park on Wausau’s far west side to challenge cycling’s newest competitive sport.  Cyclocross is a like taking road racing machines with slightly wider tires and putting them through courses once thought only for mountain-bikes.

For men and women both this is an aggressive sport.  Like all racing, it is not just a leisurely Sunday ride.

This was the first ever event of it’s kind in Wausau.  At Sunnyvale, spectators could come and cheer on their favorite competitor.  Since this event was sponsored by Red Eye Brewing Company, quarter barrels were scattered around so spectators could soak up their favorite suds while watching some amazing competitions.

Rounding the curves at Sunnivale Park.

Rounding the curves at Sunnyvale Park.

The Work of Lutheran Pastors

Jesus the Good Shepherd at Trinity Lutheran in Wausau.

Jesus the Good Shepherd at Trinity Lutheran in Wausau.


A long time ago when I was a student at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, I was called by the university’s media development center.   They were asking for pictures showing Lutheran pastors “at work.”   When I think back at that, it begs me to ask the question about how the work of a pastor is defined.

The people at UWEC’s Media Development Center were trying to set up a multimedia presentation on Lutheranism.   What they were looking for were images  coming from the liturgical worship services that happen in Lutheran congregations.  Today, some LCMS congregations call that worship “Divine Service”.     I had images of Lutheran clergy leading bible studies, etc.  I did not have images of pastors presiding over a worship service.  At least not yet.

Over the years, I had gotten to know my pastors and the work that they do both that which is seen and that which might be a little obscure.   Celebrating the liturgy and presiding over Holy Communion is just part of the working life of a pastor.   Preaching is a part of it.

One of the things that pastors love to do is visiting.  Pastors bring the bread and wine; the body and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to the sick, the elderly and shut-ins.  At this, they bring the assurance of hope to the dying.

The title “pastor” stems from the latin meaning “shepherd”.  the chief pastor of the church is Jesus Christ.  After all, He is the Good Shepherd.

Pastors are often caught up in the dirty work of the day-to-day affairs of the congregation.  That part is the most taxing.  The business of the church is people.  Imperfect human beings who are often stubborn unsupportive to change, etc.  So I pray for my pastors and the valuable work that they do.


The King of Love

The Wisconsin River takes on brilliant colors along its banks each fall.

The Wisconsin River takes on brilliant colors along its banks each fall.

Water flows through a new man-made creek in the East Riverfront Development site.

Water flows through a new man-made creek in the East Riverfront Development site.

Cows at a waterhole

Hay Feeds The Cows of America's Dairyland

Hay Feeds The Cows of America’s Dairyland


The colors of the countryside change each fall.

The King of Love My Shepherd is

Whose goodness faileth never.

I nothing lack if I am His

And He is mine forever.

What Does Water Mean To Me

I am at a little lost.   The University of Wisconsin Extension – Marathon County office is planning for a display at the Stratford Library in mid-October on water. I have been struggling with that a little with what to include and somewhat with pricing as I will have to turn to a printing lab to get it all done and how should it look.

I decided that, part of my process would include checking out to see what I already had posted on WordPress over the years and I came up with these pics  from the Wisconsin River.   I live in Wausau, but these come from  points all along the river from Grandfather Falls to Mosinee.   The river shapes each community and makes each place livable bringing in wildlife and recreation for all.  Mosinee, for example, though small, has almost more river frontage than any other city along the Wisconsin.

So, perhaps by writing out this blog, I might be helping myself come up with the ideas necessary to help make a successful display.

I am also concerned, as rivers, lakes, ponds, etc are fragile.  They have been abused as dumping grounds for human waste ranging from all sorts of chemical industrial pollution to just plain litter.   Maybe my photography should be there to remind people that you don’t know what yu have till it is gone.

Rib Mountain In The Fog

Foggy Trail

Foggy Trail

Morning Mist (1 of 1)-7 If you have ever wondered in the woods in the fog, you will find that everything has a mystery all its own.  On a foggy day, I set out to walk one of the lower trails  in Rib Mountain State Park near Wausau, WI  An eerie stillness is set in the woods when one can only see the blazes that mark the trail and make out a haze.

You don’t know what can be around the next corner, or even why.  Will you see deer or stumble into a bear or what?  That is the mystery.

It made a good chance to experiment and explore with my D-80 and a few lenses to see what can’t be seen and what can be.

Rib Mountain is not a true mountain in a sense.  It is nowhere near like the 14,000 or so high peaks that make up the Rockies, the Tetons, or the Bitterroots.  It is not even like any of the Appalachians.  Yet we call it a mountain here in central Wisconsin as it is one of our highest peaks and it does affect weather to a degree.  It is always a few degrees cooler than in the city of Wausau itself.

Rib Mountain may not be a true mountain, but we can call it our mountain.  It has a cragginess of its own. Morning Mist (1 of 1)-8 Morning Mist (1 of 1)-9 Yellow Trail (1 of 1)

One of the many views of Rib Mountain's Quarry

One of the many views of Rib Mountain’s Quarry

I took this photo awhile back.   Today I hiked up there again after work.   This is a solitary place full of breathtaking views.  It is a challenging hike to get there but a good one.

On this day there was no haze like this photo shows.  Only breathtaking clear sky.

Places like this, although it is man-made, it can be a place for worship and prayer to be alone with nature and with God.   It is one of my favorite places and, truly a hidden gem for Wisconsin.

It looks like a huge gash in the mountain from the distance, but it is not all that bad.  A worthwhile place to see and experience.

It is amazing to me as to what others see in my images.   Here I photographed this bridge as I have many times since it was converted from a railroad to a pedestrian bridge.  Like all of my images, I start shooting in RAW and in color.   The day lent itself better to black and white.   For that, I went into post-processing and used the wonderful tools in Adobe Lightroom 4.


Some photographers dislike Lightroom, but I have grown to love it.   In Lightroom, I converted this image from color to black and white and made a jpg copy with all the keywords for search engines to guide people to this image and this and other sites that I might have it uploaded on.  The picture says winter is here!

Here we are looking west towards Barker-Stewart Island on a dreary December Saturday.   Even on dreary days, nature provides us with something to see.  Icey Bridge (1 of 1)

A historic landmark bridge awaits to take riders and hikers across the Tomorrow

A historic landmark bridge awaits to take riders and hikers across the Tomorrow River near Amherst, WI.

A hillside cut-through.

A hillside cut-through.

On a whim and a fancy, I decided to take a chance on one of Wisconsin’s newest state rail-trails.  I had known about the Tomorrow River State Trail for a number of years.   I “fell in love with this bridge at first sight.   This is the concrete arch bridge that crosses the Tomorrow River, a well known trout stream in eastern Portage County, and for me, a key as to what this trail has to offer.

I could have done a full trail ride, and maybe I will soon.   The Tomorrow River State Trail begins at Hoover Road in the Village of Plover and extends eastward for 34 miles to Manawa on  a former rail line once operated by the Green-Bay & Western Railroad

I chose to just ride the section from Amherst to Ogdensburg for a number of reasons.  For one, I made some stupid mistakes the last time I tried riding out from Plover (like forgetting the front wheel of my bike).   The section between Amherst and Ogdensburg proved to be a scenic gem.

I carry a backpack laden with a DSLR and several lenses whenever I ride a rail-trail.   I have come to know that each of Wisconsin’s numerous rail is going to offer up some of the best scenery.

On a bicycle, and especially on a rail-trail, it is not so much about “getting there” as for what you find along the way.  The Tomorrow River Trail passes through glacial moraine giving riders a scenic, but rugged, landscape to pass through on a gentle 3% grade at best.  You will find many large boulders called erratics.  Many of these boulders were deposited by ice age glaciers.

It even becomes a journey through time as you pass through land that railroad locomotive crews once saw as  a part of their job.

Like many of Wisconsin’s rail-trails, The Tomorrow River State Trail is paved with crushed limestone and can get a little grassy in places.   There is an equestrian trail along side in most places in Portage and Waupaca Counties, so you don’t have to run into horses and goo for the most part.

It is a gorgeous journey so get your trail pass and take a ride.




Highway 49 Overpass at Scandinavia.

Highway 49 Overpass at Scandinavia.

A view from the bridge looking upstream.

A view from the bridge looking upstream.

The wheel chairs symbolize limitations.  But on the water, there are no limitations.

The wheel chairs symbolize limitations. But on the water, there are no limitations.

Disabled Vets on the water in training.

Disabled Vets on the water in training.

The Wausau Kayak & Canoe Corporation has supported and promoted some amazing things on our Wisconsin River in Downtown Wausau.  But this is kind of special, and, most certainly heart-warming.   You see, these paddlers are not your ordinary athletes that come here to compete.  They are special.   The wheel chairs symbolize their disability earned in war.   These paddlers are disabled vets.

The wheel chairs symbolize their disability is only on land.   While on land, they cannot walk, run, or ride a bike like normal healthy people.  On water, they are free.

Time Shows Its Age

Even in small cities like Wausau, buildings age.

Occasionally in the countryside I’ve come across an old barn or two.   In some cases just a foundation remains.  Sometimes you wonder what happened there.

Wausau has a lot of old housing stock, but then any city as old as Wausau is would have this.  Eerie and spooky the things of the past seem.  You wonder what went on there.   You wonder how many different cars did this garage house or how many horses did it shelter or how many families lived in the house nearby.

The Old Garage (1 of 1) The Old Garage 2 (1 of 1)-2The Old Garage 2 (1 of 1)-3The Old Garage 2 (1 of 1)-4

A New Hope

Water flows through a new man-made creek in the East Riverfront Development site.

Water flows through a new man-made creek in the East Riverfront Development site.

This is my city, and this is how we do things.

Wausau is changing.  Change is good.  Here we have taken vacant land once home to shuttered industries and a place where crime happened and started a new.  The city has come together with developers to bring this land back to life.

A park and new places to live will take shape here.  It will add to the pride we have in our town.

Wausau is a great place to live.

Back To The Beginning

Waiting In Line Whitewater Rodeo-2
Whitewater Rodeo-4
Boat-acrossI chose the title and these images to me represented a part of a major foray into becoming a published photographer albeit in 35mm film as the world was changing to digital.

I spent a lot of time at the Whitewater Park Kayak Course on the Wisconsin River in my home town of Wausau, WI.   This called me into the challenging world of getting these images published as well as other subjects.

My sister had talked me into shooting images of this sport, and I walked off the course in a state of half shock because I had just ran through $100.00 worth of film and processing because I was learning how to judiciously use my camera’s motordrive.   I learned that shooting action sports is a lot of hit and miss.

Being a somewhat avid cyclist, I found a commonality with these guys in their spray skirts on a warm Sunday afternoon.   Some sports are ageless.   In the events last Sunday, I saw young gals and old men with the stamina of youth.   As I near retirement, I am inspired by that.

No one in their right mind retires to the rocking chair right away.   We all want to get the joy out of life with our mind and our bodies because we all know that our time on earth is limited and the years after age 65 go by so fast to the point where all we can do is look back.

The river is always flowing and the trail is always leading somewhere.   You just have to be ready to follow it.   More work will be coming.  Perhaps it will be in the form of a book.  Perhaps, I will get to set up that dream sales site.   Perhaps I will get to sell my work in a gallery somewhere.

This is the Quarter-mile bridge on the Mountain-Bay State Trail as viewed from the seat of my Trek 920 mountain-bike.

This is the Quarter-mile bridge on the Mountain-Bay State Trail as viewed from the seat of my Trek 920 mountain-bike.



The Flag of Freedom

The flag still flies.  She may be old, but never out of date.  Men have fought and did for what this flag stands for in places as close to home as Cold Harbor, and Antietam, and as far away as Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.   That a nation conceived with liberty and justice for all shall not perish from the face of the earth.

This nation has been torn apart many times through the most bloody civil war and the demonstrations for civil rights 100 years later.  We’ve endured attacks by foreign enemies  of all types that wanted to bring our people to their knees.   The flag has been spat on and burnt and yet it still flies high.     For many, it still symbolizes the hope of freedom and justice to worship the Lord in the way that they choose without any interference.  It means for the right to assemble and speak out without fear.

i pray that this flag may continue to fly.  May this always be a symbol of freedom for all mankind.

I always wanted to do a shot of the American Flag against the sky.

I always wanted to do a shot of the American Flag against the sky.

Mosinee, A City On the Move

I have often ventured in to Mosinee on a number of different occasions throughout the year.  Most of my readers might have seen my other blogs like Mosinee in the Mist.   Mosinee has more frontage on the Wisconsin River than many of the larger cities like Wausau or Stevens Point.  The river adds character Mosinee.  With Mosinee Papers now known as Expiron, this city is a mill town.   It is the southernmost community in the Wausau Metro Area and it is on the Metro Marathon County bike route system.


I ride with my eyes wide open.  I can see things that others miss.  Mosinee struggles with attracting customers to local businesses in its downtown.  For too long, it has been seen as place that you just have to go through to get someplace else.  State Highway 153 is often seen as a route  to get from the interstate to places like Marshfield.  There is a lot right here for people to stop and explore.   So get out, check the shops out.  Spend some time in beautiful Mosinee!Mosinee, A City On The Move

The winter here in Wisconsin just does not want to stop.  Last Saturday, I found some time to get out and check out the conditions of the Mountain- Bay State Trail.  Unfortunately, I did not have the time to get out there with the bike and start to build my distance.  Rail-trails offer a chance to travel more slowly off the highway from community to community while seeing nature at its best of all time.  As the webmaster for the Marathon County Friends of the Mountain-Bay State Trail group, I get to promote all this to the public.   I also get to do the photography and having a good high resolution DSLR helps.Spring Is Happening Somewhere

Storm Creations

Late winter storms can be hard on people with the amount of ice, but then ice adds  its own sense of art work.  Here along the River Edge Walkway and in Oak Island Park in the City of Wausau, WI along the banks of the Wisconsin River,we see what nature has done with trees and shrubbery.   Many trees around Wausau were covered with ice on Saturday Morning.  People woke up wondering if it really was April 4, or were the calendars wrong when they saw the slippery glass-like coatings on everything.   This is nature.Spring Conditions-1-5Spring Conditions-1-3Spring Conditions-1April Storm-1-3April Storm-1-2

Wausau’s Northern Riverfront in Winter

I was looking for open water when I took these images.   Some will grumble that winter is dragging on too long.  But there still is a mystery to it.


Underneath that smooth surface of a river is a torrential current that is still flowing.  Soon, we will hear the noises, the cracking and crunching of the ice as the river begins to open up.  These scenes come from Wausau’s northeast side where the river, the railroad, Horseshoe Spring, and North 6th Street seem to come together.  It is where two of Wausau’s most unique and somewhat exclusive neighborhoods of Forest Park and Riverview come together.   Both, like the rest of the city, are shaped by the Wisconsin as it makes its journey down to the Mississippi.   From Brokaw to Big Bull Falls, the river slows a little and the journey ponders each moment.

The boat landing at Forester Park longs for the spring when it will be open to anglers as they get ready to go after the walleyes that populate the once polluted waters of the Wisconsin.  It  is clean again, and the dream of warm summer days on the river is going to be real again.

The river front takes a person away from the hubbub that makes up city life.  Can we say that a river flows through it?  Yes we can.

Enjoy the blog.  It might be in hardbound books later on.
Gilbert Park 2

Gilbert and Forester Parks are situated between the Wisconsin River and North Sixth Street on Wausau's East Side offering splendid views of the river.

Gilbert and Forester Parks are situated between the Wisconsin River and North Sixth Street on Wausau’s East Side offering splendid views of the river.

Horseshoe Spring Horseshoe Spring

lilacs (1 of 1) lilacs (1 of 1)-2

Petunias in a hanging Pot

Petunias in a hanging Pot

A Solitary Rose

Lupines do add their color.

Lupines do add their color.

Spring Celebration 4-1Tulips From the TopTulip Fire

The first flowers of spring.

The first flowers of spring.

With the depth of snow and cold, I thought that we needed something to look forward to.   I decided to check my archive on WordPress and found these gems from my yard.  Take a close look at the lilacs, and you can just smell the aroma.  Within 6 weeks the crocuses should start to push their heads through to the surface and begin blooming followed by tulips and all of the other perennials.

Some of these things were planted by me. Others were planted by the generations that lived here before me.   In the effort to beautify Wausau’s near west side neighborhoods, I think I am ahead of the game.

The temperatures are sub-zero today and I had hopes to do some snowshoeing and move a little further along on the photography for “Faith In the Heartland”  which is something that I really want to put together.   However, I needed to help people become a little more optimistic for the season to change.  This is after all Wisconsin and not the arctic.

All of the photographs that I use in my blogs are high-resolution and would make quality enlargements.  So, if you really love them and have walls to decorate, e-mail me at and I will see what we can do.  I have a PhotoShelter site too.

Faith In The Heartland

St. Paul's Lutheran, Town of Berlin

St. Paul’s Lutheran, Town of Berlin

This part of a project that I hope to engage in over the next few months.  It could result in a book.  St. Paul’s Lutheran, Town of Berlin, shown here is one of those places where the Gospel is being preached to the country side.   Like many rural congregations, St. Paul’s membership traces its linage back to the original settlers who immigrated from the northern German region of Pomerania to the United States in the 19th century.

These people came here for many reasons.  Freedom of religion is chief among those for “old Lutherans”  who were simply looking for a place to live and worship their Lord without government interference.

This project that I am aiming to start may result in a hardbound book looking at the faith of those who settled this land and the roots of many who live here now.

The faith communities which I intend to showcase are not  boarded up pieces of  old architecture with nothing but decay.  I will be providing the  website URL’s for congregations like  St. Paul’s so you can see that they are alive, growing places of worship where all are welcome.



Winter Sports: Fat Tire Bikes

When I first saw one of these things in a bike shop, my thought was “you’ve got to be kidding”.   On Saturday, January 18, 2014, the Central Wisconsin Off-road Cycling Coalition held its first ever snow bike race out on the newly carved trail system in Sunnyvale County Park.   I decided that I should check these things out.   I wanted to see how they performed. I should have stayed around for more.


The weather was cold, but beautiful.   It was a good day to see cyclists slug it out with these big tire bikes in the snow.Fat Tires-0256 Fat Tires-0239 Fat Tires-0243 Fat Tires-0241

Mosinee In Winter

One of the little known gems in Central Wisconsin is the City of Mosinee, WI   Not too long ago, much like the other communities along the central stretch of the Wisconsin River, Mosinee managed to develop a riverfront trail.   The Wisconsin Riverwoods Trail is a beautiful example of public-private cooperation.   Much of the river frontage in Mosinee was owned by the local paper company which also has a  hydroelectric dam.

It is a very scenic trail meandering through much of the wooded shoreline of the Wisconsin River in Mosinee past the dam south of Main Street and the Highway 153 bridges.   I walked up from Chuck’s Landing, one of three boat landings on the Wisconsin River in Mosinee.   Chuck’s landing is south of the dam on the west side of the river and is accessible from Third Street in Mosinee at Freemont Street.

So, if you are traveling through Central Wisconsin, take the Highway 153 exit off of I-39, go into downtown Mosinee and do check out the Wisconsin Riverwoods Trail any time of the year.

Mosinee River Trail Boardwalk-0213 Mosinee River Trail In Winter-0209 Chuck's Landing-0216

Another Look

If you really think of what digital photography has done, you might realize just how things have changed.   Not too many years ago, to take photograph in both color and black and white, you would have to either shoot the image with two identically equipped cameras, or hope to make a print usually from a color negative on pan-chromatic black and white emulsion paper.

The way I use digital photography for this end is to make a black and white conversion of the image in post processing with my editing software on my pc.  I think like that.   I look first at an image in color .  Then I think about how it will look in black and white.

In black and white landscape photography, there are two great photographers who I consider to be mentors.  Clyde Butcher and Ansel Adams, whose primary tool has been the large format film cameras called field cameras for their ability to fold up compactly and be transported to the location with the greatest of ease, produced large images that transported the viewer into the environment where the scene was shot.  While I am not sure that my 10 megapixel D-80 could do that, the enlargements that I have gotten from images taken with that camera do hold up quite well.

To create a black and white image and make it work, it changes the way one thinks.  I generally change from thinking about color and more about tone and texture.   I think more about the surface of that piece of quartzite or the texture of this piece of granite than whether one is red or gray.   I think more about the tone of the image.  I think more of grayscale and the zone system that was originally conceived by Ansel Addams.

The cameras work differently.  With film cameras, this is done with different colored filters on the lens ranging from red to green.  Adams used Red #25 most often.   In digital photography, this is done with the electronic filters in software.

However, you look at it, these scenes are yours to enjoy.

The Quarry in Winter - Black and WhiteThe Quarry Wall in Black and White

On December 28, 2013, my birthday, I joined in with the Friends of Rib Mountain State Park for a day-time snowshoe hike.   I love this park and the big hill that it gives a name to.  I’ve hiked its trails many times.   What a beautiful day it was.  The trees were frosted in a way that nature provides Rib Mountain with its own Christmas decorations.   It speaks to me.  It calls me to come out and help show off the beauty.   My D-80 is almost always in tow on these hikes.   I stop the camera down to ISO 100, use shutter priority and exposure compensation and hold on still since I was not carrying a tripod-pod or even a monopod.

Looking Towards the Valley

TFrom the southern side of Rib Mountain near the top.
From the southern side of Rib Mountain near the top.

The Quarry In Winter

Hello Winter

Cones forming on a tree that my aunt had given me about 15 years ago.

Cones forming on a tree that my aunt had given me about 15 years ago.

The Tree-0080 The Tree-0071I have a passion for the things I see and I have grown to love life in Wisconsin even though it means enduring cold.  The river here in Wausau is so much a part of life.   It offers lot of fascination at each season.  I even doubt  that Wausau could be Wausau without the river.

It shapes our lives from season to season.   Even in the stillness of winter, it is still flowing under the ice and snow churning and driving the turbines that make our electricity.

Christmas happens in winter.  It may also be the winter of our lives when all seems dismal and dark.  God comes to us with the Light of the World.  He comes to us as a baby born in a forgotten manger in a nondescript village in a far corner of the earth.

Winter On The Wisconsin RiverWinter On The Wisconsin

Each year, I become more fascinated with Christmas.  Christmas is, after all a season of light.   The Light of the World was coming and the angel appears ready to proclaim it.  In Luke’s gospel angels appear right in the beginning.   To Zechariah, a temple priest, an angel appears in the Holy of Holies to tell him that he and his wife were going to have a son who will be the forerunner of the Savior.  To Mary, a poor young maiden in the small village of Nazareth, an angel tells her that she will give birth to the Savior of the World!   To shepherds,, an angel proclaims the virgin birth.

The Christmas Angel

Cones forming on a tree that my aunt had given me about 15 years ago.

Cones forming on a tree that my aunt had given me about 15 years ago.

Even at the onset of winter, there is the hope of new life.  The evergreen trees bear cones and each cone contains the spores that provide that new balsams, spruces, pines, cedars, and other conifers can start anew.

The trees remain green all year.  That is a refreshing sign against the stark reality of the cold whiteness  of winter.

This tree is from my backyard right here in Wausau, WI.

Nature's Ornaments

Vose & Sons Quality

Music and Photography: Food For The Senses

Vose & Sons Quality

This is the keyboard to an old upright piano which sands in my downstairs living room.

This is the piano which I never quite learned to play.    I only took one year of lessons on this instrument.   I somewhat regret not pursuing it further.

Here the piano sits with soft sun light on its aging keys.   I never thought much of it, but the Vose name did have a reputation for quality.   This quality for sound comes from the availability and the quality of old growth hardwood lumber that was quite common in the 1890s especially in the northeast.There is something common between a great photographer and many composers.   I think it is the ability to see or imagine things  which are not in plain view.   For instance, many people have visited Yosemite and some have even climbed El Capitan.  Yet few people  have really noticed the interplay of light and shadow like Ansel Adams or even paid attention to the thought of when the best light comes like Galen Rowell.  That is half of the stuff right there that makes a good photograph  or any work of art great.

This is a quality sounding piano, if it gets fixed up.    I want to get it assessed and find a good buyer for it.  I want people to enjoy the music from this instrument.   These pianos were built to play anything from Bach to Joplin.  This was often a center for entertainment for my family for generations.  It accompanied many sing-alongs.

This photo of a church window, for example was taken in my film days using Kodak Ektacolor 160 color negative film.    It was taken on an ideal day because the skies outside were cloudy during that afternoon.   The solitude of the empty church on a Sunday afternoon made for a good time to just play with the camera and see what comes out.

The film recorded the colors in their natural tones.  The cloudy skies eliminated any bright spots.   The sanctuary lights were off therefore leaving the walls darkened to the point of blackness so nothing else shows but the content of the window itself.   Shooting this was a moment of prayer quietly worshiping the Good Shepherd.

Sometimes there are pictures begging to be photographed.

Jesus the Good Shepherd at Trinity Lutheran in Wausau.

Winter in Black and White

SnowA View From Klaver Kame Winter in Black and WhiteThe All Season TrailThese photos are my entries in the black and white challenge on   Please go to that site and vote!

Autumn On the Ice Age Trail

This is what people see as they leave the parking lot.

This is what people see as they leave the parking lot.

This is what the Ice Age Trail  is all about.  This is the Plover River Segment just north  of Sportsman Drive in the Town of Plover near the eastern border of Marathon County.

This segment in Marathon County first opened in 2010.   The great scenery is made accessible by many volunteers in the Mobil Skills program of the Ice Age Trail Alliance.   I have been on this segment already in different seasons, but autumn produces these stunning colors as the trees ready themselves for winter.   It is the change of the season and the crispness in the air.    Nature is taking its course.

This is Wisconsin at its best.  Our weather is not boring here.  It changes with the seasons, and all nature responds to it.   Though definitely not as popular as the Dells Segment, the Plover River Segment has its own experience  with kames, kettles, eskers, and drumlins that make up the terminal moraine.

My hope is that you will enjoy these images and want to get out and explore the Ice Age Trail here in Wisconsin.   Come see our changing seasons.

There is more to see on

Look Up and see the ColorSavanahA View From the FieldField & ForestYoung Elms (1 of 1)Young Oaks (1 of 1)Meadow

Autumn in My Hometown

Autumn shows it's colors on 4th Avenue in Wausau, WI

Autumn shows it’s colors on 4th Avenue in Wausau, WI


The Paff Woods in Autumn

Paff Woods Paff WoodsThe Wisconsin River takes on brilliant colors along its banks each fall. The Wisconsin River takes on brilliant colors along its banks each fall.


Paff WoodsPaff WoodsThree Boats

Living in the north country gives one a real sense of the seasons. Just by taking a walk down my street here in Wausau in either direction, there is a rich collection of maples, elms, and oaks with leaves of every color.   Add in the greens of evergreen trees and you have it all.

Looking across the river from almost any point in town, you can see the rich colors that the Wisconsin flows by on every day.   The Wisconsin River makes the character of every city and village that it passes through or by.  Wausau is nestled in a valley with hills that come alive with color each fall.   Some, like, Forest Park, almost touch the river.

If you enjoy these images  and wish to have one for your own, then journey over and pay a visit to my sales site,   Images can be printed on a wide variety of materials  from matte and lustr papers to canvass wraps to metalic.

They make great gifts and will make for any decor.

I will also license images to businesses and corporations for calendars, etc. too.

Christ The Good Shepherd

Jesus the Good Shepherd at Trinity Lutheran in Wausau.


Earlier today, my pastor, the Rev. Gary Schultz at Trinity Lutheran here in Wausau, used this image as a Power Point slide for a sermon based on Luke 15:1-10 entitled “Lost, but Not the TV Show.  The weather conditions outside were exactly the same  as when the photo was taken, cloudy.  Those conditions provide perfect lighting for stained glass windows as the light is even.  Otherwise Jesus would have an over-powering halo that would wash everything else out.

Instead, we see Jesus as he is.  He is the good shepherd who will seek and save the ones who are lost.   All of us, especially me, would be lost.

I do photography because I have the gift of sight and I want to share with the world the things that I see and are beautiful.   This window stands out because it is displayed as it was photographed with only the light that shines through it.  The house lights in the sanctuary were off that afternoon and I had the sanctuary to myself.   The darkness that surrounds the window with its wooden tracery allows the light from outside to bring the image alive in itself.   After all, Jesus is the light of the world!

Old Glory Still Flies

Tomorrow is the 12th anniversary of a date that lives in infamy.   This flag is from my house, but it could have been like the one that the firefighters raised on that frightful day when the Towers of the World Trade Center came crashing down and 3,00 souls lost their lives.  Tomorrow is Patriot’s Day.   We remember a time when the true patriots stood tall when terrorists wanted us to cower in fear.   We remember all of those who responded to the call.  The police, the firefighters, the soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen who stood tall to face the enemy.Old Glory-3

I always wanted to do a shot of the American Flag against the sky.

I always wanted to do a shot of the American Flag against the sky.

Old Glory 5

Black-Eyed Susans

Black-Eyed Susans often line the banks of Wisconsin's Rivers.

Black-Eyed Susans often line the banks of Wisconsin’s Rivers.

Not every image leaves a digital camera perfectly.  Sometimes you have to correct the image in Photoshop or, in my case, it’s Capture NX2.   To bring out the color, you often have to adjust brightness, etc.  Capture NX2  allows for this by letting the user adjust the histogram graph which I did.  I then adjusted the primary colors.

I wanted to bring out the water of the river in the background.  I then turned up the blue setting.  I also made adjustments to red and green as well.  The results are what you see.   The flowers were photographed using my 70-210mm f4.5-5.6 Nikkor Zoom.   And I lost a lens cap in the process…

On A Wing

A Turkey Vulture searches for carion in and around the quarry at Rib Mountain State Park

A Turkey Vulture searches for carion in and around the quarry at Rib Mountain State Park


I had looked at photographing these magnificent flyers as a change both for me  and the focus tracking system on my D-80.  To my amazement,   I was able to track these birds in flight with my 70-210 f4.5-5.6  Nikkor zoom pushed  out to the max with an ISO setting of 500.

Last time I did this, my end results were not so good.  But the focus points were lighting up in my viewfinder and the camera was picking the birds up.  What an amazing day!

On A WingOn A Wing-8On A WingOn A WingTurkey Vulture On  A WingOn A Wing

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