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

Posts from the ‘Landscapes’ category

Winter Fun In Iola

Ski-jumping at Iola

The hearty Danes and Norwegians that settled Iola, WI knew how to bring fun into a cold Wisconsin Winter.   They created the ski-jumps at Iola’s Winter Park just for that reason.   In the cold of Winter they celebrate their carnival.

The Bowl at Winter Park has long been the site of many competitions including the Olympic styled Badger State Games.    A day filled with competition shows here in this image.   Nestled in the terminal moraine from the last Ice Age, this area is filled with scenic beauty of kames, eskers, and drumlins.  Winter Park is a bowl or kettle just perfectly shaped as a landing  area for ski-jumpers from all over.

A River Runs Through It

I had spent much time at the Dells of the Eau Claire and taken numerous photos.  Each time I am out there, my eyes catch something different.   The Dells is the largest system of water falls in Central Wisconsin.   There are always new angles to explore.

The park is only 145 acres, but it holds a mixed forest filled with evergreens and flowering trees of all species.  In the fall, it is the most gorgeous.   For photographers, flowing water is always a challenge to stop the shutter down and get that silky stream in the image while keeping everything else crisp and sharp.   The park is often thought of as Marathon County’s answer to the Grand Canyon in miniature.

Water is a force which in time will erode away the stones in places like the Dells.  For now, places like these are ours to enjoy.

The Farm Economy

Hay Feeds The Cows of America's Dairyland

Not too long ago, I began to follow through with Galen Rowell’s suggestion that i not be a photographer who bicycles but rather be a bicyclist who does photography.  I never thought that this could be possible with the bulk that even a 35mm SLR or a DSLR can mean.    You’ve got  or two camera bodies plus lenses and other stuff in a camera bag making that a little awkward for carrying on two wheels.   My solution is a backpack design that holds one camera body and two lenses.   All I need to do is to ride to the point where I want to shoot.

With the image stability built into my Nikon D-80,   I just went after this.

Farmland is a vital part of the Wisconsin economy and dairy farming is king.   It is not hard to get out of the metro area here and into farm country.  Your eyes, ears, and even your nose will tell you where you are.  The pungent aroma of cow-manure is a powerful clue.   Still,  getting out there is part of it.  Two wheels can take me away from hubbub and into peace and tranquility in a matter of minutes.

Rugged Serenity

Rugged Serenity

A Visit To a Country Cemetery

Cemeteries are the museums of human activity.   People come to these places to lay the bodies of their lost loved ones to rest.  The tombstones bear the records that these people really did exist.  The only way one can know anything about the people who lived before you is to visit a cemetery, especially one in the country.

Like many parts of rural Wisconsin,  the Town of Stetin was founded by immigrants.  Many of these people came from middle and northern Germany.   Most were Lutherans fleeing the oppression of the state church.  Many were looking for freedom and economic opportunity in the right to own their own farm.  Many were just looking for peace away from the quarreling nations of Europe.

I had often visited this cemetery in the Town of Stetin here in Marathon County, Wisconsin.   My mother , and an aunt of mine, planted flowers in an urn on the family grave-site of some of my ancestors.   The people that are buried in places like this come from sturdy pioneer stock.   They grew corn, raised cows and chickens, and made a living as farmers in a free country.

Some who are buried in places like this are veterans who fought for this their country in its wars.   It is here, and in many places like this, that they can rest in peace.   In all seasons, this is a place of peace.

Colors

The colors of the countryside change each fall.

Can We Really Paint The Town?

Artistry Can Be on Public Bulidings Too

This Building which houses a well for the Marathon City Water Utility is decorated with murals showing the people and things that once existed here.

How Do We Draw People Into A Vacant Area
The Villiage of Wittenberg wanted to spruce up its downtown, so they called in artists.

I normally do not talk political in this blog, but this is an opportunity I could not miss.   There is a plan for a neglected part of Wausau’s River District in the works.    The near-west side part of the River District is a gateway to the main part of downtown.  The smaller village of Wittenberg has a possible solution: murals.

A couple of years ago, community leaders in the Village of Wittenberg, WI decided that they needed something to attract people into the business district.   Wise thought.  After all, once passenger rail service stopped, nothing brought people into the downtown.   After all, State Highway 29 and US Highway 45 passed through on the edges of the village, and not really going through it as the railroad once did.   Visitors stayed on the edges or did not stop at all.   There had to be something special that would draw them in to visit the downtown.

Another reason was that Wittenberg sits on the Wiowash State Trail corridor.   This rail-trail brings in bicycle peddling tourists.   The murals work to get people to stop, go into the cafes and shops and generally look around and enjoy the view.

While the near west-side area of the River District is not the Village of Wittenberg, the idea of using artwork such as murals  in this gateway area really is not all that bad.   In a way, like Wittenberg’s downtown,  it  gets by-passed by people following the Business 51 and State Highway 52 into and through the downtown area.   The city is taking an interest in this because it is a blighted area, and blighted areas are like a cancer.  They are a distraction to the economic viability of a community and they downgrade a city’s tax-base causing city assessors to raise up the anti and put on an increased tax burden in other areas to make up for the revenue difference.   This once was a viable  area.   Locals will remember  Mickeys Beer Depot.  Some in my generation will remember the Kings Knight discotheque,    Still others might think of the original M&J Store.

The idea of having major public art work in this area is nothing new.   Ed Schoenberger’s “Pinery”, designed as a reminder of Wausau’s logging past was nearby for sometime after Stewart Avenue was rebuilt as a four lane highway connecting directly to Scott and Washington Streets on Clark Island.  The Pinery sculpture was disassembled  because it stood in the way when the eastbound lanes of Stewart Avenue (Highway 52) were re-aligned  to connect with a new eastbound span across the west channel of the Wisconsin River.

The point is, Wausau just needs to have this area cleaned up and be a blessed addition to our local economy and environment.

Artists at Work

These are two of the artists that were doing this work on the hardware store in Wittenberg.

Am I a Late Bloomer?

Ever since

Old farms make great black and white subjects.

At first when I launched the Photoshelter website,  I thought that, there would be little effort from me and the $$$ would just come rolling in from sales.  Not quite so.   It is taking a lot of work.   I have learned much in terms of what metadata is and how it works.   I learned how simple it can be to watermark an image with a copyright notice,

Ansel Adams went into photography as a landscape and fine arts photographer like almost full steam ahead in his twenties.   An equally gifted concert pianist, he nearly abandoned the piano for the camera in the 1920s and went off into the wilderness of southern California to Yosemite to capture the shapes of El Capitan and the Half Dome.   His fascination was with how the sun lit the images.   He was in his zone for creativity!

For me to photograph in the outdoors is an act of worship.   I am in aw of creation.  I want people to see things as I see them and enjoy what they see.  Adams did not set out to be a great environmentalist with the images that he captured.  That only came after the interstate highway system had been built.  Then the thought occurred to Adams that perhaps we made these great places a little too accessible.

Adams was never successful at selling his work until 30 years after he had started.

My own thought was that, when digital technology replaced film that black and white photography as we know it would cease to exist because a digital image would never have captured the tonal qualities of good black and white film with the use of the various red lens filters.    I think that I am wrong,   Tell me what you think.

Winter Tranquility

Loneliness

The loneliness of a snow covered park bench facing a desolate shoreline in the middle of Winter at Lake Wausau's D.C. Everest Park.

I often admired the stillness that Winter brings to Wisconsin.  It has a peace and tranquility all of its own.

This photo was taken by following the book on digital black and white photography.   I started by shooting the scene as a normal camera RAW file using a 20mm lens (35mm format) on a Nikon D-80 which really means 30mm.  With the camera ISO set at 100, I took this image hard focused at 1/80 second +7EV.   The real thing is in seeing a color scene in black and white by looking at the tonal differences.   After uploading this onto my PC, I went into Capture NX2 and converted the image to black and white and adjusting the exposure accordingly.  It is shooting in color, but thinking in black and white.

The bench on the lake shore carries that thought  quite well…..

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