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

Posts from the ‘Landscapes’ category

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.  For more of my work, please go to http://www.capturewisconsin.com.   Much of my work is available online in a book called “Hidden Gems of Central Wisconsin” at http://www.blurb.com. You might want to check out their special holiday discounts at  http://www.blurb.com/gifts.

autumn-at-home-1-of-1-7 autumn-at-home-1-of-1-6 autumn-at-home-1-of-1-8 autumn-at-home-1-of-1-9 autumn-at-home-1-of-1-10 autumn-at-home-1-of-1-11

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 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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Bay_and_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.

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

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 andrewplath@frontier.com and I will see what we can do.  I have a PhotoShelter site too.

Mosinee In Winter

One of the little known gems in Central Wisconsin is the City of Mosinee, WI http://www.mosinee.wi.us/.   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 http://www.mosinee.wi.us/parks/Wisconsin%20Riverwoods%20Trail.html 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. http://www.mosinee.wi.us/parks/maps/Wisconsin%20River%20Trail.jpg

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

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 CaptureWisconsin.com.   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 CaptureWisconsin.com.

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, http://www.wildlightphotography.photoshelter.com.   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.

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

Images of an Early Spring

A hike to the parks on Wausau's riverfront brings home some gems.

A hike to the parks on Wausau’s riverfront brings home some gems.

The first flowers of spring.

The first flowers of spring.

Spring on the Wisconsin-1-4

Spring on the Wisconsin-1-2Spring on the Wisconsin-1-3I went around some of Wausau’s riverfront parks yesterday morning searching for images of spring.  Instead I saw the jewels that the river makes as it begins to open up in springtime.

Stopping a shutter down or increasing the speed for a greater depth of field makes the pictures stand out.  The color is there.   I just try and bring it out.     I also make adjustments in my post-processing too to create the maximum effect such as I did with the tulip.

Lines and Perspective

This farm was very much a part of my life.  It belonged to my great Uncle Bernard "Ben" Rusch.

This farm was very much a part of my life. It belonged to my great Uncle Bernard “Ben” Rusch.

Downtown Play Holes_032

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.

SnowWausau-1Way back when I was a student at Trinity Lutheran in Wausau, John Kupsky had us do an assignment in his Art Class to draw perspective.  Simple perspective means lines converging to a point on the horizon.  ERailroad tracks easily lend themselves to this as the two rail tracks converge on each other.

This is a spur line and  I am facing south from Bridge Street just east of Walgreen ‘s on Wausau’s west side.  These tracks feed into the Graphics Plus packaging plant just to the north of Bridge Street.

Even the lines of the snow fence form a degree of perspective using parallel lines.

Some of these images are going to be in the black and white category on CaptureWisconsin.com.   So log on to that  site.  There is a link to it on this blog site.  Just get on it and vote!

Building Art

One of the oddest looking buildings in Wausau is the Black Purl knitting store on 3rd Street just north of the downtown district.  If you take a walk  on Wausau’s River Edge Parkway or pass by on 3rd Street, you cannot help but notice the stark overtones  of this building.  To the naked eye, it looks like it could have been in a fire with its blackened siding.  It must seem odd to the railroad locomotive operators to see these colorful chairs sitting as if they were waiting for a train to come by on the main line.  It is outdoor art!

Art comes in all forms and shapes and in all colors including black.   Take a walk with me through my hometown, and you will see all of it and wonder why.

One of the most distinctive buildings in the Wausau area.

One of the most distinctive buildings in the Wausau area.

The River

Water running over the rocks at the Dells of the Eau Claire County Park..

Water running over the rocks at the Dells of the Eau Claire County Park..

Downtown Play Holes_032

Water pouring over the rocks at the Dells of the Eau Claire River.

Water pouring over the rocks at the Dells of the Eau Claire River.

Rivers are wild living things always flowing, always meandering,  working their way down hill.     These pictures remind me of springtime when the forces of nature awaken from a long wintry sleep.

These rocks are part of the gorge  created  by the Eau Claire River in eastern Marathon County, WI.  A fine stop on the Ice Age Trail.

The Wisconsin River itself flows through the heart of the City of Wausau on its own journey to the Mississippi and to the Gulf of Mexico.  The Wisconsin is a part of life here in Wausau.  On it’s east channel near downtown paddlers challenge the rapids and play holes of the racecourse at Whitewater Park, while, over on the west channel, anglers work to land walleyes.   Each in their own way see the river as  a natural resource to be shared by all people..

Ice Age Trail In Winter

This is the trail going north from Popular Lane.

This is the trail going north from Popular Lane.

Even in Black and White, the trail looks good.

Even in Black and White, the trail looks good.

Looking Towards My Favorite Erratic Rock

Looking Towards My Favorite Erratic Rock

Ice Age Trail Best inMid-WinterIce Age Trail Best inMid-WinterIce Age Trail Best inMid-WinterIce Age Trail Best inMid-WinterSo seldom in Wisconsin do we get winter snow that actually remains on trees.  Usually by the time the skies clear, the wind has blown the fluff off.

On January 26, 2013, I ventured out to the Plover River segment of the Ice Age Trail near Aniwa, WI.   It was an awe-inspiring experience  just to be out there.  It was so peaceful to get away from the hubbub  of life in Wausau and experience this.

I love breaking a trail through new fallen snow in the quiet stillness of winter.  The peace is there.  It is my hope that you feel just as moved by these images as I was when took them.   It was a great day just to put on my snowshoes and take a walk through the woodlands of eastern Marathon County.   We are really blessed in living here with so much so near and four seasons to boot.

I will be out on the trail somewhere this weekend.

The rock seen here was one that I encountered while working with Will Sanford on a clean-up crew from the Marathon County Chapter back in 1996 on the Ringle segment near the landfill just north of the Mountain- Bay State Trail.   We laughed at it because it was right in the way of the trail.

It is an erratic moved into position by the last Ice age glacier.  As such, we were not even going to try to remove it.   It is a part of the trail in Marathon County.

The Snow Fence

SnowIt is amazing how common ordinary objects can make one think about how they look.

The snow fence is one of those ordinary objects where form follows function.    It has a pattern all of its own.  Digital photography allows one to shoot in color, but think in black and white.

Through the White Pines of MarathonPark in Winter

Marathon Park In Wintermarathonparkwinter-7

A wintry walk amidst the White Pines o

A wintry walk amidst the White Pines of Marathon Park.

Gone is is the excitement of carnivals and the bustle of animals in people in the fairgrounds.  The cold silence remains.  The time is there to focus on the towering majesty of these living remnants of Wisconsin’s past in the “pinery”.

These are the giants that once dominated our forests with their towering beauty.  These giants are decorated for the season with fluffy white snow.  They are the silent watchtowers guarding Wausau’s western entrance.   They continue to shelter birds and other wildlife.  Nature decorates these trees for Christmas in her own way.

Autumn’s Change

This is from just along the river at Rothschild.

Even though the colors have changed and the trees have all dropped their cover, I somehow thought there was something worth catching in this image from my own backyard.   So, with my D-80 and a 60 mm Micro-Nikkor with a star filter attached, I set out to see what there is to be seen.

Frost on bee balm flowers in the diffused light of morning.

And The Trails In Wausau Grow

The Wisconsin River from the west bank north of Bridge Street in Wausau.

Northern end of the Rivers Edge Walkway on the west side.

Wausau is continuing to expand my favorite walkway in the city.

While these photos were taken from the newest stretch of the River Edge Walkway on the west side, the city has acquired a 16 acre parcel on the east side to connect two existing sections of trail there. http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/article/20121006/WDH01/310060147/-1/7daysarchives/Wausau-river-trail-expand-again

For the meantime, you can sample some of the fall scenery in my images here.   Many of my best images are available for sale at http://wildlightphotography.photoshelter.com/ and others are also seen on Capture Wisconsin http://www.capturewisconsin.com/photos where prints are also available.

If you have trouble ordering through Photoshelter, tell me about it.   I can help you select the print and give you a wide range of choices through myphotopipe.com   I have ordered prints through Myphotopipe.com and they have always come out on top with quality high-resolution emulsion-based prints and wraps of almost any size to fit your walls.   If you are looking for images for calendars, etc, my work will fit fine.   Just let me know.   Leave me a comment, and I will get back to you ASAP.

The Quarry

It even looks good in black and white.

 

 Some of the great places that make for powerful landscape imagery are never really too far from where we live.  A few years back, with the help of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship fund, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was able to make another great addition to Rib Mountain State Park.  Years ago, 3M mined quartzite from Rib Mountain before developing a much larger quarry north of Wausau in the Town of Maine.

When the Wisconsin DNR purchased the old quarry on Rib Mountain, The Friends of Rib Mountain State Park immediately went to task to develop new hiking trails  to add to the existing 4 miles of trail already in the park.

In doing so, they also added history as one of the new trails passes through the site of the Knopf family homestead where Rib Mountain”s first settlers lived.  There is also the remains of an old dynamite shack where explosives for blasting out huge seams of quartzite were stored.

The trails have become immensely popular for park visitors.   The Turkey Vulture Trail provides an alternative access route for hikers to the park, and yes, if you look up, you will see these vultures circling near the southern rim of the quarry looking for carrion to provide them with food.  On one of my hikes, I had a turkey vulture pass over me by just ten feet.

With the influence of men like Ansel Adams or Galen Rowell in me, I could not resist dragging a camera to capture these views.  The quarry is man-made and small compared to Yosemite  or other far flung  places, but it is still much worth the hike.   The quarry takes on a different look with each passing season.   The rocks reflect different hues and the water levels in the basin change with each season.   3M’s mining trucks no longer rumble up and down the haul road which remains as part of the Turkey Vulture Trail.   The rocks now sit in silent witness to changing seasons.

http://wildlightphotography.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Wild-Light/G0000mpaI11NQ7gY/I0000TwSTCjVIerU

A River Runs Though It

From Lac View Dessert on the Wisconsin – Michigan border to its meeting with the mighty Mississippi at Prairie du Chen, the Wisconsin River is always flowing.   The Wisconsin is a living thing that man has merely harnessed but never contained.   As it flows through Rhinelander, Tomahawk, Merrill, Wausau, and Mosinee, it brings to each community a sense of character and purpose.

The river shapes the way people live in each community.   It makes Stevens Point special with its riverfront festivals.   It draws international class paddlers to canoe and kayak competitions in Wausau.   Loggers once used it to transport lumber to sawmills.   Today the waters of the river flow through countless turbines  to make the electricity that powers this man’s computer.

It is constantly flowing, constantly moving, like the stream of time since the dawn of creation.   It brings wildlife into the cities, and along with it, the thrill of the spring walleye run.   If you live along a river like the Wisconsin, it is a part of your life.

Enter My Lightroom!

The Quarry in Black and White.

Uncle Harry's Lamp-7

Carriage pull competition at the Draft Horse Invitational in the 2011 Wisconsin Valley Fair

Adobe is known as the premier producer of imaging software.   CS and Photoshop are their best known brands of photo editing software.   Add to that the Lightroom series and they have cornered the market.

I once took in Photoshop 7 on a trial basis.   It opened up like a Hollywood production with all the names of the software developers who worked to put it all together.   It works in layers (for those of you who remember film) each color is in a layer and how you expose it or under expose it affects the outcome.   I loved the software.  I just could not afford it.

Lightroom  is a different kind of imaging software.  Because it has its own separate folder, it has separate storage for the images that were worked on with it.  It does not exactly replace a regular editor software, but it can enhance the images and, if wisely used, improve workflow.

I am just beginning to learn how to use it.  Watch this blog and see what I learned.

I am learning a lot in Lightroom.   I will be able to add on Color Efex 4 to the software.  That is something I could not do with just Capture NX2 which is no longer in production.

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Lupines do add their color.

A long time ago, when my father gave up on roses, he set up the perennial bed in that spot in the garden.   It is an amazing chorus of color that comes alive each spring with each species blooming in sequence as if there was one conductor orchestrating the whole thing.

The lupines with their spikes of color are just part of that sequence.    I now work hard to keep the flowers blooming, keep the weeds in check, and to keep this space as a garden of peace and solitude.    The Lord God does the rest, and the result is magnificent.

 “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Matthew 6:27

Apple Blossom Time

The flowering crab apple blossoms come t\from the south side of Trinity Lutheran on Stewart.

Spring time means many things to me.  It means the warmer weather that is just around the corner.  It triggers memories of the happy times of the past when the snow was gone and kids could look forward to summer and the freedom that comes with it.

 

Springtime means growth and rebirth.   The celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord comes in spring with renewed hope.

My neighbors had an apple tree growing in their yard that blossomed just in time for the backyard picnics and for Confirmation Day.   The perfect backdrop for the family gathering.

That tree is gone now.   I sort of replaced it  with an evergreen.  A balsam at that.  That tree is a living gift from a now sainted aunt of mine.

These blossoms are from a tree growing on the south side of a place of worship and a place where I like to be gathered with my family to worship the Creator, Redeemer, and Holy Spirit.

Springtime.

I have what some might call a multicolored flower garden in my back yard.   This was a lasting gift from my Mom & Dad to this place.  What had previously been a rose garden is now a patchwork of many colors, hues, and shapes.   It is a genuine tease for my eyes, and for anyone who visits this place.   Right now, if you came to visit me at my house, the back yard is the first place I will take you too.

It is almost automatic in which these flowers and bushes come alive each spring.  The yard is small and is dominated by both the garden and two now towering balsams which provide for plenty of shade and shelter from the morning sun.     It is so natural and requires little work other than an occasional weeding to take out any undesirables.   This was something that my dad had planned for back in the late 1970s.     The Roses were nice, but they are more subject to freezing and thawing  than other perennials.

Some perennials generate from their own seeds. Others come from their roots.   Its all natural.   Yet while my earthly father planted the original seeds, etc, my Heavenly Father continues to make things come back each year.

 

The Strenght of Farming

It is amazing what you can see on a ride through the country in Central Wisconsin.   Dairying and Beef are big things in Wisconsin.  So the site of cattle is a common thing.   With these sites and sounds, you know you are in the country.

Bridge Over Big Sandy Creek

A Bridge Over Tranqil Water

Sometimes taking a camera along on a bike ride can bring in images like this.

On many of my bike rides, I often get absorbed into the scenery.  This gives me time to meditate, to pray a little, and basically praise my Creator for even the smallest things.

There is a hymn verse that comes to my mind.  “Where streams of  living waters flow, my ransomed soul He leadeth.   And where the verdant pastures grow, with food celestial feedeth.”  The King of Love My Shepherd Is  v2

Sometimes the best parks are the smallest.  This was taken from the banks of Big Sandy Creek just off of County Highway J in eastern Marathon County about 5 miles east of Wausau, WI.   This is a wayside park off of County Highway J  just south of Sunset Corners.   We need tiny little places in our lives to deal with all of the hubbub.   I look for these places.  These are the little gems in the State of Wisconsin.

Rib Mountain In Spring

Runoff from the ski slopes creates streams on Rib Mountain

Earlier in springtime the tranquil beauty of Rib Mountain is interrupted by the gentle roar of small streams like this one flowing down the hill side.   This is nature at its finest waking up to the spring time.

Note:  All of these photos would look great on your walls.   Check them out at my portfolio website.   If you cannot order the image the way you want them, then e-mail me Andrew Plath through the comment section below and I will see what I can do.   All I want is for people to enjoy the rich beauty of things in my images. http://wildlightphotography.photoshelter.com

Springtime

Sometimes the early spring brings up strange shapes.   Being fortunate to live in a city that is divided by a major river, I can see things that are naturally unique.   You can see what you want to see in this image.   You can either see a mass of roots or two whitetail bucks in rut fighting for the right to mate. Or you could see a crown of thorns symbolizing the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. Form follows function and function follows form at the same time.

Black and white images require the photographer to think in terms of tones and shapes rather than color. The water may be brown or reflective blue.  It does not matter.  The gnarled root structure makes the image.

Texture

Fungi on a tree.

A Facebook “Friend”  is offering a photo contest of her own.  http://www.cheyennerouse.com   I have gotten to know the photography of Cheyenne Rouse.  Cheyenne makes her living doing what I wish I could be doing with my own work.   Cheyenne  is running her own online contest.   Though I have been entered in at least a few others including current submissions to Capture Wisconsin, http://www.capturewisconsin.com/, I am not above letting an expert like Cheyenne review my work.    I sent her a color version of this image.   I should have sent the black and white.

Black and white conveys a grittier texture than color.    This subject practically calls for it.   I did not have to go far for  it either.   It just meant a Sunday afternoon walk to a neighborhood park.    I started with a color image in RAW.   Later on I converted to black and white.   That conversion is not too difficult to do.

Black and white does require a different way of thinking shifting from colors to tones and shades.  It really is black, white and various shades of gray in between.   With film, this was often determined with the use of  red, orange, yellow, or even green filters on the front of the lens.  With digital, those filters don’t work in that same way as the sensor doesn’t “see”  the image in the same way that film does.

Most editor software including Photoshop includes electronic versions of these filters for the same effect.   This allows rank amateurs like me to come up with some powerful images.

 

Who Says Winter is Bad?

I was originally going to hike the newest segment of the Ice Age Trail near Aniawa on the day that I took this.  I realized that a Dodge Avenger wasn’t an SUV and I could not push a button and have it instantly turn into a Caliber or much less a Durango.  I could not make it into the snow-bound lots of the Plover River State Fishery.  So I made my way west on Sportsman Drive to find a more civilized place to park after having a friendly guy with a pick-up pull me out and nearly getting stuck again while trying to park on the road.

While driving westward on Sportsman, I was surprised at this cut-through.  I was still in the hummocky land of the Ice Age Trail full of kettles and moraines.  Yes, this is the terminal moraine that covers much of northern and eastern Wisconsin and even as far south as Baraboo where the hills meet the coulee region of Wisconsin’s southwest.

The crispness of the air in Winter makes for great outdoor photography anywhere in Wisconsin.   Cobalt blue skies combined with evergreens and the whiteness of snow add to the color that makes winter what it is up here.   It is fresh and pure.

Yes, some people complain about it and long for the warmer seasons to come, but I am not one of those.   If anything I complain about all the seasons being too short.   That is just because I want to enjoy all of them.   I tell people that, if winter gets them down, then the right thing to to is just get out and enjoy it.

Even in winter there is warmth.   When the sun shines on snow, it reflects back upward.   I feel the warmth on my face.  I feel it on my back through my winter jackets and all my layers.   Its there.  Oh what a wonderful feeling!

 

What To Be Thankful For

The things we are thankful for.Growing up in Wisconsin, I learned to appreciate the seasons in the countryThanksgiving.   We have much to be thankful here and giving thanks should never be relegated to just one day.

We can be thankful along with the farmers for the food that graces our Thanksgiving Day tables.  We should be thankful for decent housing and income.    I thank the Lord for creating all things.  I thank the Lord for the sunshine.  For making things grow.  For caring people ready to share the Gospel to those that society often rejects or has no place for.

Most of all, I thank the Lord for taking our place on the cross making possible a victory that we could have not won!

End of A Season

The small farm on a hill.

Once upon a time, a family in Wisconsin could raise a family on 40 acres and a few cows.

My work with the Wausau Blind Outreach Center has put me in contact with older people who live on small farms like this one.  I admired its location.   I wanted to get an image of the farmstead at sunset.   This farm, recently owned by Gilbert and Francis Jacobi, intrigued me so much that every time I rode bike out northwest of Wausau, I tried to figure out where I could get the best view of it.

I looked at a vantage point along County Highway U which was looking up at the farm from this same angle.   There was too much traffic, and a high-voltage line really messed up the view.    A view from Decator Drive, one mile further to the north might work.   So I ride out on Decator, climb the hill west of 44th Avenue, and I found this clear shot.   I check the time and find out when the sun will hit this angle and light up the red barn!

When I got out to take this picture, I put my D-80 with the 70-210mm tele-zoom fully extended (the sensor in the D-80 is smaller than the normal 24×26 mm film plain in a 35mm film camera so when 210 mm is multiplied by a factor of 1.5, its focal length is 315 mm.)   I carefully composed this image aiming the camera so to avoid the water tower immediately to the east of the farmstead.

God is often at work here.  I’m just the guy who loves to document what he sees.  God made the light, the hills, the trees, and everything that the light reflects off of.    I am thus moved by all that I see.   The real wonder is that, when digital photography really started to take the place of film, people doubted that the colors in color photography would ever be this strong or whether the gray-scale in black and white photography ever be as intense.

The fact is that the actually image that my D-80 puts on a memory card is so much larger than anything a 35mm film camera could produce.   This image alone could easily be reproduced on a poster sized print with no loss in resolution and certainly no grain!  God made this world, and he gave guys like me the tools to show his handiwork.

Autumn’s Glory

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

http://wildlightphotography.photoshelter.com/gallery/Inspirational   These are some of the latest editions to my sales sight.  Autumn for me has always been a time when we mere humans seem to get a taste of  God’s glory in nature.    The hues are amazing right here in Wisconsin.   Many of my images were taken within a few blocks of my home here in Wausau.    This blog will change from time to time as I have come to know how the slide-show feature of WordPress works.

Yes, all of these images are for sale.  Just go to http://wildlightphotography.photoshelter.com/gallery/Inspirational and take a look at what you see there.   Christmas is coming.  Each one of my images would make good gifts.

Wausau’s Little Known Nature Preserve

I took a hike across town this morning just for some exercise on this warm autumn day.   Wausau is surrounded by color in the fall with wooded hills on all sides.  This makes for a pretty site to see in the fall.  The Paff Woods  is a part of that  on a ridge on Wausau’s far east side and is a part of Wausau’s park system, so there is a network of trails.

Compared to larger parks in Marathon County like the Big Eau Pleine County Park http://www.co.marathon.wi.us/Departments/ParksRecreationForestry.aspx  and Rib Mountain State Park , http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/parks/specific/ribmt/, both at about 1400 acres, this park is small.  Yet it allows neighbors a peaceful place to get out, exercise, enjoy nature, and it allows elementary students at nearby Hawthorn Hills  School to experience  nature.

I just had to get out and walk this morning and I knew my feet would carry me there.  Sans camera, I knew I had images on file from this park.  Good reason to write.

%d bloggers like this: