Another busy weekend come and gone. We had planned on taking the wieners for a paddle this a.m., but we woke up to rain. That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day. Very lazy day lounging around doing very little. I did manage to work on a few photo’s from last Friday in between naps.
From the backroads to backwaters. Kayaking is great; I can’t believe it took me 37 years before I tried it.
The Mississippi backwaters are immense; especially in the area we live. There are so many aquatic avenues to paddle. Here are some shots from our weekend trek from Bay City to Goose Lake. It is a lovely stretch of water with a gentle current. Although I liked these in color, I think black and white was a better choice to showcase the scenery of this perfect morning of paddling.
We haven’t spent much time working in the yard this last month. It has been entirely too hot and kayaking always sounds more fun than yard work. I took a few moments to capture the fruits of our labor though. Here are a few shots of what is in bloom in the backyard garden at this very moment. I do not know what half of them are called as I just dig holes, move dirt and build rock walls; Cyndie is the flower and plant lady.
Cyndie and I were in Pine City, MN on Saturday enjoying the weather; soaking up the sun and swimming in the Snake River with friends. Since we were already in Central MN, I figured we could check out a river in the area. As luck would have it, I have a co-worker that lives in the area just North of Pine City in Kettle River country. A few pre-weekend emails and it was all set.
Cyndie and I met Bonnie and her husband Dale along with Bonnie’s sister, Anita and her husband Mike in Rutledge, MN. We were a titch late after I completely missed some details on the map and we toured Interstate 35 for 20 extra miles or so after dropping the car off at the Hwy 23 bridge. When we did get river-side, the mosquitoes motivated us to get settled and into the water. They were vicious, but once we hit the water it was fairly bug-free.
If you Google the Kettle River you will likely run into information on the rapids in Banning State Park. The likes of Blueberry Slide, Dragon’s Tooth, and Hell’s Gate look pretty exciting, but that really isn’t our speed though. That whole stretch of crazy water lies South of the Hwy 23 bridge; there is a nice orange warning sign on the upstream side of the bridge advising every one of what is in store for you if you proceed. This is exactly the spot we planned on exiting the river.
The stretch of the river we paddled began in Rutledge, MN just off Hwy 61. The drop-point is down a short road just across the street from the Endzone Bar & Grill. This is an excellent stretch for beginners like myself or for anyone who enjoys a leisurely paddle down a mostly calm section of river. I say mostly because there where a few rapids, but nothing major. Well…I guess I was the only on in the group that got hung up, turned sideways and pinned to the rocks on Rustlers Bend (rapids on the left side of picture below). They don’t look like much, but if you are not paying attention – they will get your attention. It’s too bad Cyndie didn’t have one of the cameras with her to capture my folly. I did get a bit nervous initially when I got pinned against the rocks and I started to take on water with my camera around my neck and not in the dry sack. I was able to get out and drag the kayak towards the island in the middle of the channel and get re-situated without further incident. I did decided to bring a DSLR along for this trip. I brought my backup camera, a Nikon D60, to test the waters so-to-speak. I don’t think I will be bringing my other camera in a kayak ever.
There is a campsite in this very spot that has a terrific overlook of Rustler’s Bend. There are some very unique rock formation a short distance down river from this spot. You can access the shoreline through a narrow passage through the rock. It is a bit of a tight squeeze to say the least. Cyndie made the decent with ease and I hung out on top and took in the view. It was a great day; it was really nice exploring this stretch with people who know it well. Thanks Bonnie, Dale, Anita and Mike!
There is just something about those spring creek valleys that keep me coming back. Maybe it is the lush greenery. Perhaps the meandering stream. it could be the little treasures you find along the way. Or it could be all that.
Here are a few shot of one of our favorite spring creek valley’s – The Isabelle River around Esdaile, WI. We drover through on our way back from Porcupine Valley the other day. There are a half-dozen or so bridges along this particular stretch. There seems to be something of interest to photography at each…like cows hanging out in the stream on a hot day.
We just returned home from a wonderful 5 hours of kayaking 10 or so miles of the Cannon River. There were lots of tubes, canoes, and a few other kayaks on the water. The really nice a peaceful stretch is down river from Welch village (the end point for the tubers). The last five miles consisted of complete peace and quiet. Several juvenile Bald Eagles were flying overhead. The Goldfinches, Kingfishers and Killdeers were plentiful and fun to watch as well.
We started out at the Miesville Ravine County Park (one of the drop off site for Welch Mill Canoeing & Tubing) and ended at the bridge on Hwy 61. There are a lot of dead tree in the water, but nothing that you can’t paddle around. The water level was good too, although I would have to think some areas are shallower now than before with all of the bank erosion. There was one spot down river from Hidden Valley Campground that was narrow with a huge tree in the water. You can stop and walk around it easy enough; other than that is was smooth kayaking. It was a great way to spend the better part of the day. Here are a few shots from the trusty point-and-shoot…no DSLR on the kayaks…not ready to attempt that yet.
After several days of humidly-heated days some relief came. A sizable front move through late yesterday evening just North the town I live in. The cloud to cloud lightening was incredible. The flicker show went on for a couple of hours. Realizing this may be a perfect opportunity to finally get some lightening shots, Cyndie and I quickly loaded up and headed out. Across the river and through the woods to a hilltop on high in Wisconsin we stood. I shot about 100 frames of 30-60 second exposures. The light show was amazing to say the least; it was about 11:45 p.m. when the bolts busted through the cloud bank from the tail end of the front as it went by.
90% of the shots where at 100 ISO – F2.8 @ 17mm.
Torrential rains fell during the afternoon and evening of June 14 in Goodhue, Rice and Dakota Counties. Hardest hit was northern Goodhue County with reports of six to eight inches. The highest 24 hour total found so far is 8.83 inches from a National Weather Service Cooperative observer located in Cannon Falls. Another volunteer observer reported 8.40 inches in Stanton Township in northwestern Goodhue County. Another observer located in Northfield in Rice County recorded 7.13 inches. The 8.83 inches measured at Cannon Falls is the largest 24-hour total June rainfall measured at a Minnesota National Weather Service Volunteer Cooperative station in the history of the program. The previous record was 8.67 inches measured on June 17, 1957 at Minnesota.
The focus for the heavy rain was a stalled warm front that was draped across southern Minnesota. The heavy downpours caused flooding in basements in the hard hit areas, as well as rapidly rising rivers. The Little Cannon River near Cannon Falls rose twelve feet in about ten hours and set a new record crest. The Cannon River at Welch was near a record crest by 10am June 15. Numerous roads were closed in Goodhue County, including Highway 52 during the evening of the 14th. People were being asked to evacuate their homes in parts of Cannon Falls.
July 1, back-roads around Welch, MN area.
You don’t have to study the topography of the area that much to get a sense for what that kind of water would have looked like raging down all those valleys. Well over two weeks have passed and roads and bridges are still being repaired. The damage is incredible.
Large trees strewn about a flood-damaged corn field
You can see the piles of debris along the treeline next to the river.
This road is in pretty good shape compared to others we were on.
Deep, cavernous trenches lined many of the country roads…where they weren’t missing large sections or even washed out completely.
Here are a few other shot from our drive about looking at storm damage.
Wheeew…it’s that time already. Where did June go? It was a great month for photography; there was beautiful weather, unlike the current situation of 90-100 heat with 70+ dew points.
This crazy-hot weather has given me a bit of a reprieve from the seemingly never-ending backyard garden construction though The light is brighter at the end of the tunnel still – Cyndie and I accomplished a lot this month and the to do list is getting smaller. Pergola is almost complete, two pathways to do and a couple of stone retaining walls are all that remain. Can’t wait.
Over half of these were not posted yet as they were part of different projects or I hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Here is my June recap with black and white conversions. I think the bull and the gas station are my favorites.
A few shots from last nights fireworks show in Red Wing, MN.
Shot on manual, focused to infinity; F22 & F11, @ 33mm on bulb. A little bit of post-processing in Lightroom. + Exposure, – Highlights, + Clarity & +Vibrance.