More and more signs of spring are appearing daily in the northwoods. We have had some great spring weather and the rivers are free from winters icy grip and flowing free to Lake Superior. The inland lakes are still melting and we have had recent rain. The waterfalls are fantastic right now for spring viewing! The woods are almost free of snow in our area, though some pockets of good snow cover still exist in some areas. Just over a week ago I saw minus 17 one morning… The coming of spring has brought out the wildlife in force, too. In the past month I have seen many grouse, both roughed and spruce. Pine marten and fisher, a few of both. The robins, flickers, geese and ducks are all back on the roadways and open waters. Signs of wolves on the roads have also been observed. I had one brief sighting and i’ll include a photo below. And the moose! The moose seem to have reappeared after being fairly scarce the past few winter months. Nice to see things coming “alive” in the forest.
Things will be greening up soon, flowers blooming, boats on the lakes, fish on the stringer and before we know it, we’ll be cooling our way into fall, wondering where spring and summer went. Get out often and enjoy the seasons as they come and go.
Here are photos from the past few weeks as winter let go…
Thank you all for taking a look at some spring scenes from the past couple weeks. I’ll update y’all next month. In the meantime, you can find weekly photos on Facebook and prints and other photos to view HERE. Take care, and Happy Spring!
Happy New Year, friends! I thought I’d share some recent photos from the past week or so. Winter has been slowly trying to arrive in the Northland. Inland there is plenty of snow for skiing and some snowmobiling and the ski hill at Lutsen is open with a brand new gondola servicing Moose Mountain. The lakes are frozen, though not where they should be for this time of year. It was 33 degrees this morning by the shore and rain/snow mix all day. It does not feel like January! I have had some oportunity to capture some fun scenes and photos that I haven’t shared on Facebook so here are some recent ones. Hope everyone is having a great start to the New Year.
These first photos were taken on New Year’s Eve Day at a jobsite I have been working at. The shore was coated with spray from big waves when the temps were colder and the winds were right. Amazing ice…
New Year’s Eve was pretty great too. After an early NYE party with family, I planned to go see the fireworks at Lutsen Mountains. On my way up Highway 61 I noticed some great northern lights through a hole in the clouds. I knew we had mostly thick clouds forecast, so I hadn’t planned on aurora. I was able to get the camera and get to a spot for about five photos before the clouds closed up and the sky went dark with clouds. The skies started clearing later and the lights were very faintly visible over the course of the evening. I never made it out to the fireworks! Here are a couple of the northern lights over the Temperance River along the Sawbill Trail near Tofte…
These last few are random photos from the past week or so. Nice waves in Grand Marais, MN and some friends that hang out in my trees.
Thanks for taking the time to check out this post. I appreciate all the support, print purchases, new followers and feedback on Facebook and here. Check back for updates and Photos Of The Week(link on the sidebar) Stay warm, friends.
Fall is a great time in the Northwoods. This has been a busy and rewarding season for photography and exploring the woods. Most of my explorations and photography have shifted inland this year. I have not been visiting The Lake for sunrise as often as I am most often into the woods by sunrise time. This has been great for fall colors and moose alike. Don’t worry Lake Lovers! I will likely return more often now to Lake Superior as winter approaches and takes hold. Lake Superior photographs well in winter 🙂 This will be a three-part post highlighting my three favorite things to photograph, all of which happened to happen in the past few months. Fall colors, the northern lights, and the majestic, Minnesota moose.
This year it seems that our fall color season was long, but not as “spectacular” as past years. In my observation, color started early in some spots and finished late in others. This never gave us a really great “peak color” time as the forest was changing at different rates, often in pockets. I still had some great photography days chasing fall color…
If you are an aurora chaser, or one whom enjoys pursuing the northern lights in the night sky, this has been a good fall. The Great Lakes Aurora Hunters Gathering also took place in October. We are on the downslope of the peak of a “solar maximum”. Much like our seasons, the Sun has cycles. The Sun goes in 11 year cycles with a minimum and maximum. At solar maximum, sun spots and solar flares are more prevalent. This means better chances for better aurora, more or less. The whole year has been good for northern lights, in my opinion. Things have slowed down here in late October, but early fall was great for night sky fun…
And let me tell you about the moose! 🙂 It’s been an exciting couple months when it comes to moosing. Fall brings all kinds of wildlife activity to Superior National Forest and surrounding woods. Everyone is preparing for the coming winter in various ways and it seems that the chances of fun, unique wildlife encounters are more common. In addition to many moose encounters I have seen pine marten, spruce and ruffed grouse, ducks of all kinds, deer, eagles, a northern shrike out hunting in a field, and many more thrilling sightings. The moose have been my main quarry this fall. I have run into 8-10 different bull moose, likely 4 different cows and a couple with calves. There is a cow with a GPS collar that I have not been able to photograph but have seen a couple of times. The moose numbers are declining in NE Minnesota and there are some “research moose” in the area. (I pictured one below that I saw in Grand Portage) These collared moose have GPS units that can track the animals habits throughout the seasons. Important data is collected about seasonal habits and movements and the animals range. They can also alert researchers if an animal dies. This can be important so the researchers can get to the body asap to determine the cause of death. It will be interesting to see the next count. A January 2015 count showed the population at 3450 animals. In 2011 the survey showed around 4900 moose and back in 2006 the count showed nearly 9000 animals. I have heard many theory on the subject and have not formulated my own conclusion but am following closely.
I have had the good fortune of following another big group of moose this fall. It is rivaling last fall for quality encounters. I have filmed a lot of video over the past two months and I am working on a project to compile video clips and still images into a nice, short video featuring these moose. I will keep you posted on that.
Here is a sample of the massive moose I have seen starting with a unique looking bull from Labor Day weekend and taking us through November 1st…
We may have a month or more of fall left here on The Shore, but there have been days that feel like we are turning the corner towards winter. Before long, the tracks I see will be in the snow, not mud. The animals will be stark against a white backdrop, if they aren’t hibernating or burrowed in. The woods will be quiet except for the wind in the pines. unless they are muffled by a fresh blanket of snow… The ever changing seasons in The North. Winter is coming. 11/2/2015 *edited 11/5
Winter is in full swing and the thermometer has really shown it in recent weeks. Sounds like we are in for a reprieve from the sub-zero and windy conditions for a spell, though! The recent cold has been fantastic for winter photography along the lake and in the woods. Here are a few favorites that you may or may not have seen from recent hikes, drives and trips to The Lake.
You can see weekly posts on Facebook, too – www.facebook.com/ThomasjSpenceImages
This year I will keep you updated on the changing seasons and the changing light with frequent posts, so stay tuned! 🙂
The hike to Caribou Falls on the Caribou River is a fairly short and easy walk in the woods. The stairs may be the only area that may deter some, but without them the climb down to the base of the falls would be dicey. This is an awesome hike any time of year, but winter may be my favorite. In the winter months we walk right up the frozen river on snowshoes or Sorels. Find the time to do this short, rewarding hike on your next trip to the North Shore.
Until next time… Tom
We’ve had some great skies in the past week. Northern Lights last weekend, and rainbows and Lightning this week. I was able to catch some Rainbow action and about 4 hours with the northern lights along the Sawbill Trail here in Tofte, MN.
I traded in my dial-up internet connection for high-speed broadband, thanks to a county wide initiative to bring broadband to Cook County. It’s a treat, and I have a lot to learn and catch up on. Bookmark this page, and I’ll try to keep you updated with photos and notes about my experiences along The Shore.