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

Posts from the ‘Rib Mountain’ 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

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.

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

%d bloggers like this: