• Todd

Summertime Blues

This summer was to be our first trip to Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. Covid and boarder closures decided that was not going to be the case. As choices were few, we decided to give the Upper Peninsula a try. It did not disappoint! We found a great place that was central to all the touristy hot spots. Tahquamenon Falls, Whitefish Point, Pictured Rocks, The Soo Locks, Mackinaw Island - got it all in. We had some great weather, my sun-worshiping wife was so happy! The lake was beautiful, quiet, relaxing and loaded with some fantastic fishing! The kids had wifi and satellite tv! So you probably want to see all 1200 pictures, right? There really are some good ones! But I wouldn't do that to you. I will share a few, but not the kind you might think.

The night sky wasn't nearly as dark as some other places I have been, but I did my best to make the most of it. Long exposures are not my norm, but this is 2020 and nothing is the norm anymore. So, with a rented lens and a new wireless remote, I gave it a try. This first one is about 3am and I left on the kitchen light in the cabin to use as a mark. The stars and the Milky Way did the rest.

A little closer to the house, looking almost straight up.

Using a headlamp, I was able to light the front of the house a little and came up with this.

To take those long exposure pictures you need a good tripod and a camera that can be set manually to leave the shutter open for 10 seconds or longer (as a rough idea). These pictures were taken at about 20 seconds each. This allows the dim lights to reach camera senor and then you have yourself a picture. Well, it's something like that anyway. Leaving your shutter open for 20 or more seconds can cause a little bit of a problem sometimes. Here a firefly made a guest appearance!

What I was going for was this.

The next picture was taken from the dock, again, around 3am. A little longer exposure than the others. The reason the horizon is lit so well - the moon was setting.

I've only tried to do Star Trails once before. This involves a little patience. Using the remote, you open the shutter for that magic 20 seconds, close it, open it right away for another 20, close it and continue this for, in this case, 20 minutes. Then you bring in your favorite photo editing software and layer one picture on top of the other.

If you stay out there long enough, you'll get that sunrise (and then hop in the boat and go fishing!)

There was one other surprise on this trip. It involved a lot of fur.

The comet NEOWISE got a lot of press this year. Maybe because it's such a rarity or maybe because people just needed something to do. I admit, when I first started hearing of it, I blew it off as no big deal. Then I started seeing some pictures and got the itch. Both my son and daughter got to see it and they made good company while I tried to figure out how to photograph this comet. The first picture was from Stony Creek Metropark and the other, my favorite, the Blue Water Bridge. Not sure why I enjoy photographing that bridge at night, I just think it's the way the lights all make stars and the longer exposure lays that water flat.

Everybody loves butterflies, right? I mean, what is there not to like? I know absolutely ZERO about butterflies. However, I do know that many people, myself included, mistake some moths as butterflies. I'm going to take a stab at ID'ing these things and if I am wrong, I apologize in advance. Let me know the correct answer and I will change it. We will start with the easy one, the Monarch.

Not sure, but I believe below is a Mourning Cloak.