Even though we offer this North Shore workshop up to 4 times a year, each in a different season, the winter version, strangely enough, continues to draw the most people. The weather is always hard to predict, the snow and ice comes and goes throughout the winter months, and travel conditions can be tricky.
But here we are again, braving over 15 below zero on Valentine’s Day, standing on the shore of Lake Superior watching the sun come up over the lake. But this time the cold weather gave us something new, ” sea smoke” as it is known. With the water temp just above freezing ( 34 degrees) and the air temp almost 50 degrees colder, “steam” rose from the lake, lifted by the slightly warmer air. Then the steam would get up about 30 feet, hit the cold air, turn into a snow blizzard and drop back into the water. This offered us quite the variety of photographs on Friday. Clear blue sky above, but steam and snow near the ground/water. We spend the entire day at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, even watching the “Venus Belt” rise behind the lighthouse after sunset.
Saturday was warmer but with a mixture of sun and clouds. Morning was spent Gooseberry Falls, near the shoreline, the picnic area, and the water/ice falls. Then on to Two Harbors Lighthouse, then to Stony Point and finally for a sunset at Wisconsin Point Lighthouse. At Stony Point, we had a big surprise! It was the only place that had ice into the lake. The ice was only a few inches thick and was being broken up and pushed into piles on the shore. A amazingly beautiful site. We took our class photo there ( above).
Our workshop wrapped up on Sunday with a 10 image critique and review of what it takes to capture a great photograph.
Now here is a student perspective of the workshop.
This semester’s trip up to the North Shore was centered around Two Harbors, a small town of 3,000 people just half on hour north of Duluth. This trip was my second North Shore Photography Workshop adventure with Dakota Country Technical College. My first trip was last summer. That time we went up to Grand Marais. Going to the summer trip made me want to go and see what it shores looked like during every season. I know that landscapes are not a strong suit for me when it comes to photography, but I love to learn tips and tricks and that is the reason that I go on these trips time and time again. It also allows me to practice all weekend on skills I want to sharpen.
The workshop started with us going up to Split Rock on Friday at 6:00 am to get the sunrise. This was also the coldest day we had all weekend with most of the day being below 0 degrees. After sunrise shooting, we had a brief lecture and then set out to photograph the lighthouse from the beach. The lake that morning was full of sea smoke. It was so much fun to shoot. After the sun came up and everyone was freezing, we went back to have another brief lecture. We went back to the beach to get the lighthouse later in the morning. The sea smoke had doubled by then, so it makes our pictures look more mysterious.
The next morning started bright and early at 6:00 am as well. We started the morning off at Gooseberry for sunrise. Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side that day. We started the morning down at the shore and it was just a grey day.
After lunch the skies had cleared up and it was sunny and partly cloudy. At Stoney Point (south of Two Harbors) we stopped at a shoreline that had sheets and sheets of ice that had traveled overnight from Wisconsin. We spent over an hour there then raced to Wisconsin Point to catch the sunset on the lighthouse. We got to see the Venus Belt clearly there and it reflected pink off the lighthouse. It was a great way to end the photographing portion of the trip
On Sunday, the day started at 9:30 am and we showed our Top 10’s to the rest of the class. Everyone had vastly different images for being in the same area which goes to show you that everyone sees the world differently. During this trip, not only do you get to learn about photographing landscapes and nature, you also get to learn more about your own equipment. You also get to go home with images you wanted to take and hopefully will print and hang on your own walls…
See you on the shore!