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Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve – Day 3

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Morning Dew

My third day at Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve took an entirely different path than the first two days. On this day, I stayed away from the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan, and the wildlife bog inside the park. Instead, I took a forest path through the park leading to a set of stairs that descended down to the beach.

Along the way, the morning light illuminated the wildflowers and highlighted the morning dew still present on the leaves and the berries. This photo clearly shows the dew on the leaves – but in addition you can see the strands of spider webs still undisturbed. I used my telephoto fully extended (300 mm) to get a closeup on the dew – but there was plenty of light (ISO 400, f/6.3) to maintain a fast shutter speed (1/250 sec.) eliminating any camera shake.

Fallen Tree

Arriving at the beach, I found a small inlet with fallen trees. Since the inlet is protected from the waves tumbling in from Lake Michigan, the water acts as a mirror providing a reflective surface to add interest to the photo. In fact, the log and the water seem to merge and even finding the water line along the tree trunk is difficult.

For this photo, I was without my flash – which would have allowed me to highlight the tree trunk without overexposing the background. Without the flash, however, the background is overexposed in order to draw out the detail in the tree trunk. This photo was taken for 1/400 sec. at f/5 (ISO 400) with a focal length of 77 mm.

Lake Michigan

Finally, I turned to the beach. The lake and the beach were still covered in a rolling morning fog which was rapidly burning off. This was high tide, so not much of the beach was exposed, and the waves were subdued, giving a very peaceful feel to the scene.

The beach is at the very north end of Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve – this scene is on the beach looking north to Port Washington, Wisconsin. If you make the journey here, make sure to enjoy the sights and the sounds of the forest as you make your way to the beach.

To see more photos from day 3, click here.

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Kewaunee Sightseeing

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

OK, so I saw an article in the paper this weekend that said this is a great time of year to watch the steelhead trout spawning on the Kewaunee River. The DNR traps migratory trout on the river and brings them to the C. D. Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility (there’s a mouthful) where they claim the fish ‘leap, climb, and splash‘ up an enormous ladder structure that resembles a multileveled waterfall.

Kewaunee River

Kewaunee River

I thought this would be a great opportunity to photograph some fish in action, and although I don’t do a lot of wildlife photography, I thought I could handle this. Unfortunately, it was not to be – as you can see in the picture, there was nary a ripple in the water. No observable fish – in the water, out of the water – anywhere.

This is often the case in photography – you start out with one plan, which doesn’t pan out, so you need to make the best of the situation. This photograph isn’t the best, with the man-made waterfall and the lack of any interesting features in the sky, but it is a tranquil scene in early spring. The water provides an opportunity to play around with shutter speed to get different effects in the water – crisp and clear water with a faster shutter speed, and silky, flowing water with a slower shutter speed. This picture was taken at 1/125 second at f/11 (ISO 200), giving a crisp and clear look to the water coming down the waterfall.

Tugboat Luddington

Tug Ludington

Disappointed with the fish facility, I proceeded into the town of Kewaunee, which is located on Lake Michigan near Door County. The Kewaunee harbor provided a few more photographic opportunities.

Moored in the Kewaunee Harbor was the tugboat Ludington. This tugboat was built for World War II, and participated in the D-Day invasion at Normandy. Although the tugboat is in an urban environment, the use of tight, close shots can ensure that the focus of a picture is the tugboat, or of parts of the tugboat. This picture was taken for 1/80 second at f/11 (ISO 200).

Kewaunee Beach

Kewaunee Beach

Before I left Kewaunee, I explored the lake a little more, and came across Kewaunee Beach – oddly deserted at this time of year. Of course, water temperature in Lake Michigan is about 38 degrees F – might have something to do with the reason the beach is deserted.

So while I went to see fish jumping, it was not to be – still, there were other opportunities to photograph, which is the point of this post – when the original plan doesn’t work out, look for other ways to take advantage of the trip.

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