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

A Summer Night at the Airport With Balloons

Getting ready for the glow.

Getting ready for the glow.

Sorry, folks.  I did not stick around for the fireworks like I should have.  There are technical reasons for that.  These pictures come from plenty of study of when and how to photograph a balloon glow.   Others were shooting these balloons with iPhones, and for them, that’s fine.  For me, a good basic DSLR like my Nikon D-80 is a fun thing.

I like to tweak things.   Call me a control freak, but that is how I learn.  I kept adjusting the ISO (film speed) levels as the evening went on.   The balloons and their crews did the rest of the work.

It is an investment, and it is fun.

GlowUp On The Ground

Glow

Glow

Glow

Let Us Brighten Our Spirits

The first flowers of spring.

The first flowers of spring.

Spring Celebration 2-1Spring Celebration 3-1Spring Celebration 4-1Tulips In PinkTulips From the TopTulip FireFlowers of Spring & Summer

The first flowers of spring.

The first flowers of spring.

A Solitary Rose

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

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

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.

Ressurrection

The Flower of Easter  is a symbol of hope in the promise  of life.

The Flower of Easter is a symbol of hope in the promise of life.

With all of my southern friends boasting about having their gardens already in bloom, I thought I could search for an image of an Easter Lily to show that there still is hope for spring here in Wausau,  WI.  It is hard for us to even think about Easter when we look outdoors and it still looks like winter.

The hope of Easter comes not in the change of seasons, for  we who live in the north country know that seasons do change.  In Wisconsin, we have a saying that, if you don’t like the weather, just be patient, it will change.   The hope of Easter is in the promise of life made full when the Son of God won victory over death.

 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.  1 Corinthians 15:21-22.

“Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24 Oh that with an iron pen and lead
they were engraved in the rock forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.[b]
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in[c] my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see for myself”

Job 19: 23-27a

 

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.

Winter Along The Wisconsin River in Wausau

These are rocks that make up the Kayak course at White Water Park in Wausau.

These are rocks that make up the Kayak course at White Water Park in Wausau.

Snow adds to the beauty in Riverside Park.

Snow adds to the beauty in Riverside Park.

Wisconsin In Winter-12 Wisconsin In Winter-13

The natural beauty of the Wisconsin River never takes a vacation in Winter.   In these scenes  water continues to flow past snow-covered rocks in the channel past Whitewater Park where water still ripples, splashes and falls even in the cold dark nights and sunlit days of winter.

On the other side at Riverside Park, one can hear the crack of ice as the water continues to flow underneath.   The river is never silent even in winter.

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.

Christmas Home Alone Again

For the second year I put up a tree alone.

For the second year I put up a tree alone.

I love to play with my camera around a Christmas Tree.

I love to play with my camera around a Christmas Tree.

A year ago, I had my doubts as to whether or not I would put up a real Christmas Tree.   It is a challenge when you live alone and no extended  family really visits this house anymore.   Who would see it?

This house is awash with memories of friends and family that last more than a century.  It as seen over a 100 Christmases.  It has seen the laughter and the tears that come with life.   It has seen the solemn joy of many weddings, baptism, confirmations, and greeted each life’s passing with remembrance.

Christmas continues to bring the joy of peace on earth, goodwill among men even in times when that seems so far from reality.   Christmas brings the hope for all mankind for real peace.  It came quietly 2000 years ago in an obscure small village in one of the far-flung quarters of the Roman Empire.   It came with the birth of a baby in a manger who would grow up to take on the sins of this whole world.

For me there is an interplay between light and its reflection in the ornaments.

Christmas is after all a season of light.  It’s reason to celebrate is simply that 2000 years ago, the Light of the World was born.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Isaiah 9:1-3

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.

Autumn Along the Wisconsin River in Wausau

I like to take long walks in town just as much as I like to hike wooded trails out in the country.   A walk along Wausau’s riverfront this morning yielded these gems.   Most were taken with a Nikkor 20 mm lens on my D-80.   I walk these trails quite often and it is nice to have peace in a city full of hubbub.

Color is not always high in the air.

The aspens on Barker-Stewart Island glow in late autumn.

The yellow leaves of a maple tree glow as the river calmly passes by.

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.

I Went to Visit My Grandfather Falls Today

I had not hiked on this segment recently. The boardwalk was a project of a mobile skills crew.

I went to visit my grandfather today.    That is Grandfather Falls on the Wisconsin River.   This is a fascinating and beautiful segment of the Ice Age Scenic Trail located north of Merrill, WI just off of State Highway 107.  The dense hardwood forest that surrounds this section of the Wisconsin River makes for a gorgeous hike in the fall.

Rocks in the river. This is a tranquil section just south of Poskey Rapids.

Ice Age Trail: A Gem in the Making

I had a taste of the life of a mobile skills event over this past weekend on the Plover River Segment of the Ice Age Trail in Marathon County.   A Mobile Skills event is almost like an old time threshing time .    A lot of people come into to a major job.  For this one, people came in from many parts of the state and even from neighboring Iowa to open up the corridor and develop the Plover River segment of the Ice Age Trail running between Wisconsin’s State Highway 52 and County Highway HH  in the far northeastern corner of Marathon County.

Camping was offered at the Dells of the Eau Claire  County Park in the group campground there, and a crew of women provided some top notch meals.   No one goes to bed hungry at one of these events.   All of this happens to make a dream come true of a 1,000 mile trail following the terminal moraine from the last glacier.    Working among the  erratic boulders and the muck of the swamps, they built the boardwalks that snake through the trees so that hikers can make their way through without falling into the muck.

Gemutlicheit can happen when people work together for a common purpose and it did out there last weekend.

Update:   This segment of the trail is now completed connecting the the trail between Highways 52 and HH for a total of 6 miles or so.New Trail

New board walks were put in by mobile skills group during the week of September 18-23 as the Plover River Segment is extended north of State Highway 52 in Marathon County..

More board walk construction.

Green Valley Road

I spend a lot of time taking rides into the countryside northeast of Wausau.  The roads up there are quiet save during the weekday when the granite quarries are active.   There are only two industries in the Town of Texas and they are farming and mining.   Not much other development is encouraged.

 

I like riding bike up there because of the low traffic and the closeness I feel with the environment around me.  I had a laughable experience the other day when I found myself directing  a steer back to his herd.   He had broken through the barbed wire fencing that was keeping the rest from wondering off the field and into the roadway.   This animal found his way across the road from the herd.   I waved and pointed my finger to the others while keeping eye-contact on this animal.   He got the message and rejoined the herd.

Perhaps maybe we are like the steer when we wander away from safety into dangerous situations with our lives.    We too need someone to point the way back home.

Spiritual Solitudes

If anyone would have guessed that a central theme to this blog might be in the spiritual solitudes, they would be right.

They surround us all.  Sometimes these places are there right in front of our eyes, and sometimes we have to seek them out.

One such place in my life has been Trinity Lutheran Church in Wausau, WI.   I have been a part of this congregation since I was baptized in January of 1958.   This sanctuary became a quiet place of retreat on September 11, 2001 when a group of sadly miss-lead men caused the death of 3,000 souls.   The congregation would not hold a service until later on that week, yet I came here that night for the peace that passes all understanding.

Even when the sanctuary is vacant, it is still a place to come and worship in peace the awesome God who created it all.  

Pastor Gary Schultz delivers a sermon from the pulpit at Trinity Lutheran on Stewart in Wausau, WI.

We all need the silence to appreciate God in our lives.   In that still small voice, he speaks to us through the turmoil of our lives.  In Jesus, he became the good shepherd who came to seek and to save that which was lost.

You are all welcome to check out my place of spiritual solitude.  Check it out at trinityonstewart.org/.  If you are in the Wausau area next week, please check out the schedule for Holy Week.   Come and see what He did for you!

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

What Rain Will Do

A close up from my back yard.

A close up from my back yard.

This is the thing that happens when rain falls.  It doesn’t always go to the ground.   It lingers on leaves of trees and everything else.   In the sunlight, the droplets sparkle and glisten.

Look closely and you will see the droplets clinging to the needles of this balsam from my backyard.

I call the tree the Gardy tree as it is a living memorial to an aunt of mine who lived for nearly a century.   My Aunt Gardy knew that I lost one seedling to a rabbit.  This seedling was from one of the trees in her yard.  She told me if I could dig it out I could take it home and transplant it there.  That was nearly 25 years ago.  The tree has grown to nearly 20 feet or more providing shade for the yard and protection for birds and small animals during winter.

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.

Valley Fest

The first band to play at the Wisconsin Valley Lutheran High School’s Valley Fest.

Sometimes you just have to go out and have fun.   On July 28-29 of this year I got invited to go to Mosinee, WI and shoot these images from the first ever Wisconsin Valley Lutheran High School “Valley Fest”.   Being not much of a concert photographer, I still decided to be there.

Saturday’s bands featured  Without Excuse, http://www.withoutexcuseband.com/index.html , Lightswitch, http://www.lightswitchband.com/, and KT Country.   Lightswitch and Without Excuse are Christian Rock Bands made up of youth working to reach out to youth through music.

Sunday afternoon took a different pace with the hop and a skip of a polka beat from the Hayes Boys Orchestra http://www.thehayesboys.com/about/.   It was a good time for all.

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.

And There Were Winners!

Men’s C-2 finals at the 2012 Junior World Championships in Downtown Wausau.

Awards were given out just as if it was the Olympics. Each country had a team that they could be proud of!

The Wausau Canoe and Kayak Corporation really provided our community with a sense of the Olympic Spirit this past weekend.   For the 2012 Junior World Championships, the Kayak Corporation should be commended for putting together such a spectacular event with teams from 27 nations participating.   Even former enemies were together in peace!

Strangers at the Wausau Balloon Rally & Glow

I have done photography before at Wausau Balloon Rally & Glow. But this time some unique and different things happened. Beginning with the woman who struck a chord with me over my Rails to Trails bike jersey and going on to a guy who kept giving me tips on how to get great pictures of the balloons I felt a little like some how these strangers saw a connection with me in a peculiar way.

The photography comes natural. It is a little bit of trial and error in finding that right exposure setting. To do the kind of stuff I was doing tonight with a film camera would be difficult if not impossible. I doubt if you could make one shot with an ISO of 250, the next at 400, and the next at 1000. It is just not possible.

I am confident, though. What I saw on my camera’s rear LCD screen was brilliant! At a hot air balloon glow, one just lets the glow from the burners light the images!  The color shown here is proof that digital photography can carry color.  I did no adjustments to these images.   They are in their natural tone!

Junior World Championships

The Biggest event on the kayak course at Wausau’s Whitewater Park is about to happen this week.   The city is a buzz with teenagers from around the world for the Junior World Championships.   So come on down to the river and enjoy the competition!

Riding Through Central Wisconsin Farm Country

 

The best places to ride a bike are not always found on city streets    Marathon County has made some serious efforts to make our highways safer for bicyclists.  County  NN is a fine example.   11 miles of gently rolling hills and curves make this road idyllic for cyclists of all types.   State Highway 107 north of Marathon City makes a little more challenge with more traffic.

i grabbed my D-80 and headed out to bike these roads.   On my bike, I see things that others miss or just plain do not pay attention too.   I notice things that are happening in the area.   I smell the smells of the country around me, and I see progress.

Looking North on State Highway 107

 

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.

 

The Begining of Spring

Cattails to me epitomize the wilderness.  They usually grow in swampy marsh like areas.   This is the beginning of spring and the end of winter.

This last Saturday I got frustrated with eBay and UPS will trying to ship out an old typewriter. I grabbed D-80 and just started heading south to Lake  Wausau and across to the Town of Rib Mountain.

DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex.   Reflex is just what happens when I find some thing that takes me away from the world around me .   I through every thing out of my head and focus on the subject at hand.   Often is something that others seem to take for granted like the cattails growing just off the side of a frontage road along Highways 51 & 29.   County Highway R has a walkway along its entire length from  junction with Highway 52 Parkway in Wausau to the junction with County Highway N in Rib Mountain.

The road actually gets quite scenic as it crosses the Rib River into the Town of Rib Mountain.  It is a feeling of wilderness so close to civilization.

This is genuine wetlands preservation at its best when we can stop, pause, Zone out and think of nothing but the warmth of spring.   Wisconsin’s winter is ending.   Time for new growth.

 

 

Snakes in God’s Plan

A snake in the wild.

Snakes are part of God’s creation even though their place in the Bible is a bit maligned.   Tonight our assistant pastor had caused quite a lot of attention bringing in two live constrictors for the second mid-week lenten worship service under the theme: Curse: Satan’s Curse.

Where do snakes come in?  In Genesis, Satan appears to Eve in the form of a snake who tempts her to eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden.   God curses the snake for this.   14 The LORD God said to the serpent,    “(M)Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And (N)dust you will eat
All the days of your life;
15 And I will put (O)enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
(P)He shall [d]bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”   Genesis 3:14-15 NASB  God curses the snake and announces his plan for the salvation of mankind.

 

The serpent has always been  depicted as sly.  A perfect form for the Great Deceiver to take.  In the Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson had the snake appear from under Satan’s cloak in the Garden of Gethsemane when our Lord prayed to his Father wrenched with fear for the suffering and pain he was about to experience while taking on the burden of our sin and going to the cross.   When Jesus went to the cross, he crushed the snake, and we are free.

“Christ the Lord of hosts unshaken

By the devil’s seething rage,

Thwarts the plan of Satan’s minions;

Wins the strife from age to age;

Conquers sin and death forever,

Slams them in their steely cage.  LSB 521 v1”

Getting Published as a Photographer

A walk down to the Everest Landing a couple of years ago with my old N8008s generated this image.

Nearly two decades ago I had purchased my first AF film SLR, Nikon’s N8008s.   This was the first “serious'” camera system that I owned .   It led me into a number of things.    It certainly led me into the Nikon family of cameras and lenses.

That led me into a venture in getting images published.  I pursued opportunities to submit my images to a number of publishers on my own, in particularly, with Wisconsin Trails,http://wisconsintrails.com,  then part of the Trails Media Group.  They had me for a while on their mailing list.   They would send me a hard copy lists  of their needs for each quarter.   Some of those “needs” turned out to be like assignments, and some were in things right out of my own part of the state that I really wanted to promote.

In 1998, I joined the local Friends of the Mountain-Bay State Trail, a local citizens group that exists to promote and enhance the use of the Mountain-Bay State Trail, an 82 mile long rail-trail running from  the Village of Weston, WI just outside of Wausau to the Village of Howard, WI just outside of Green Bay.  Wisconsin Trails had planned to publish an article on rail-trails in Northeastern Wisconsin.   That meant both the Mountain-Bay and the WioWosh State Trails.  I had a photo of one of my bicycles parked on a bridge from the WioWosh just south of Eland, WI.   The editors matched that with one from the eastern end of the Mountain- Bay State Trail by Darryl Beers, one of Wisconsin’s better known outdoor and landscape photographers.

My sister,  Julie Walraven, was then operations manager for the Wausau Canoe & Kayak Corporation http://wausauwhitewater.org/.   Julie  had talked me into coming down to the course on the Wisconsin near Downtown Wausau on the east channel of the Wisconsin River without realizing  that this was action sports photography which caused me to use my camera’s motor drive.   That meant the expense of purchasing film and getting it processed en-mass.   With film technology, this meant 35mm slides which had richer color than negative films and allowed for more selectivity in post-processing editing.  Both of those factors were important to publishers.  Julie was very good at feeding  me connections with photo editors, and one of those editors was Kristen McClarty, then working for National Geographic’s  Adventure Magazine.   It was a big thrill for me to come home from my day job and find out that either Kristen or one of her partners at NGA  had called for images.   I scrambled to go through my files and package these things as quickly as possible to ship them out via Fed-Ex.   I’d get a copy and a check for my work.

Kristen was the main factor in getting me to buy my first computer and establish an e-mail account.   She simply was tired of playing phone tag and did not like to call me on my cell phone because she never knew where I was or what I was doing when I got the call.

It has been a while since  I have been published in magazines and I miss that rush.   But magazine publishers also change.  National Geographic had closed down on publishing National Geographic Adventure about 3-4 years ago, and, Kristen McClarty had also moved on first as a free lance agent, and now with the Bonnier Corporation as an editor for an entirely different kind of magazine,   Wisconsin Trails had also changed hands, and corporate headquarters.   Originally owned by Howard Mead,  it was sold to former Congressman Scott Klug who had the headquarters moved from Madison to nearby Black Earth, a small town just west of Madison.   A few years later, Wisconsin Trails was purchased by  Journal Communications http://www.journalcommunications.com/ and the magazine’s headquarters was also moved to Milwaukee.   Wisconsin Tails is currently staffed by Journal-Sentinel personnel.

 

 

An Ice Age Trail Winter

A stone bridge was created to cross the Plover River.

One of the many sites on the Plover River Segment

Whoever said that Wisconsin Winters are cold and drab has never walk through the wilderness of this great state.  I spend one morning in late February 2012 on the Plover River segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in northeastern Marathon County.   I experienced warmth from the sunshine reflecting off the whiteness of the snow.  The cobalt blue sky adds to the colors.  Even the brown colors  of vegetation along with the deep rich greens of pines and balsams add to the scene.

Further on along the trail, one hears the bubbling and gurgling of the Plover River itself as it makes its way downstream from the headwaters near Antigo to meet with the Wisconsin in Stevens Point on the long journey to the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico.   Rivers like the Plover never  give in to the chilling cold of a Wisconsin winter.  They are too busy.  They have that journey to make.

During the warmer months, the Plover is a place for anglers.  Long known as a trout fishery, its cold waters continue to curve ant cut their way through the land.   The sound of a flowing river is music to my ears.

Since I often carry a Nikon DSLR with me on these journeys.  I record every thing I see, because what I see is good.

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!

 

Mosinee In Mist

I spent this afternoon shooting and snowshoeing in Mosinee at River Park.     Even in Winter, this place has an up north feel to it.   It was the first day in which we had real snow in Wisconsin thick enough to snow show.   The mist in the air added my desire to get out and shoot.  To get the snow on the trees before it either falls or is blown off.   Fog and mist may not be suitable for Country, but I could not resist to spend some time in this special place.

New Add-ons Make For Stronger and More Interesting Images

This afternoon, after seeing a prompt for downloads  from Nikon for Capture NX2, I decided to take a shot at Color Efex 3.0.   Take a look at this already strong image of downtown Wausau’s 400 Block taken on a Saturday in early December of 2011.   I was able to add more brilliance and put in a  graduated filter effect resulting in the crisper color of the scene.

 

As I had put Color Efex to work, my eyes opened wider and my heart began to beat a little faster.   The red brick of the buildings, the gradient blue of the sky, and the over all brilliance of the image make me feel good about this.   I have already sent an image file to Dawn Follendorf of Wausau Mainstreet, and Tracy Balz of the Wausau/Central Wisconsin Visitor’s Bureau for a user-end review.

Color Efex is capable of doing more wilder things.   It could even lead into High Dynamic Range Photography.   I have it on a 30 day free trial during which time I will continue to experiment  with it.

 

 

A New Walk Along The River

  Last fall, the City of Wausau opened up a new section of the River’s Edge Walkway this time on the northwest side.   This section has already become popular with joggers and walkers alike.

Though it passes Beloit-Regal (Marathon Electric) it is somewhat separated from the noise of industry by white pines.   The trail”s gentle curves follow the river down to Knox Street from its confluence with Bos Creek at Schofield Park.

It is just one more step towards full-filling the dream of Wausau’s River Edge Commission of completing a walkway running the length of the Wisconsin River on both sides through the city.  This greatly adds to the quality of life here in Wausau by making the river as much publicly accessible  as possible.

What was once sadly called “the nation’s hardest working sewer” is there for all to enjoy.

As the trail curves up and away from the river at its northern end at Randolph Street and Burek Avenue near Schofield Park, you can hear a gurgling noise.  Even in winter, small streams like Bos Creek rarely freeze over.    Even in a city, there can be places where nature is free to give us the best and most peaceful of places.

Now that spring has come, I continue to walk this trail, and it has become  very popular, especially with 50 something adults.   It is a quiet walk despite the low pounding sounds from Regal-Beloit’s (Marathon Electric) foundry.

The company seems to be working to improve their share of the riverfront near the walkway.  It is a shining example of how industry can work with the River’s Edge Commission.   Other industries along the riverfront would, indeed, do well to follow.

A big part of what sells a community is in how industry treats the environment around their facilities.  Aesthetics can mean a lot to the company as a good corporate citizen.

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