Lake Superior, Aurora Borealis and the North Shore Woods – My Favorite Landscape Photos from 2022

A couple of weeks back, I posted my favorite wildlife moments of the past year. I took a lot of wildlife pictures, but when the critters aren’t cooperating or active, there is always something worth taking a look at, especially during the magical morning and evening light hours. I made a number of landscape photos I was quite happy with. We had a few incredible nights of northern lights this year that kept me out for hours in the National Forest. Minnesota has some of the darkest skies in the nation and Mother Nature and the night sky did not disappoint. I’ve included a few images from various nights. Lake Superior gave me a few favorite moments as well, as it always does, so there are quite a few of those included in this post. Last spring I took a road trip to another one of my favorite places, southern Utah. It’s really a paradise for photography. I’ve grown to enjoy the desert, mesa and canyon country of Utah almost as much as northeastern Minnesota. Almost ๐Ÿ˜‰ There are a handful of photos from this year’s trip, which includes my personal favorite photo of the year! So from snowy scenes to sunshine, from forested landscapes to desert scenes, from the northern lights on northern nights, to southern sights on southern nights, the rivers and lakes and woods and hills, these are my favorite scenery shots from the past year in no particular order. Thanks to all for subscribing and following along and supporting me through print sales and calendars.

April 2022 – Winter lingered on for a spell last spring. The thaw was slow to come. Superior National Forest – Minnesota
A blue hour sunset along Lake Superior at Temperance River State Park. The variety of rock colors on the beach here can be pretty wild. And it changes with every storm.
Summer serenity at Sugarloaf Nature Center near Schroeder, Minnesota
A rare SAR arc, or sub auroral red, during a wonderful display of aurora borealis.
The northern lights and a SAR arc lighting up the sky over the Temperance River in Superior National Forest, Minnesota.
Those gorgeous Lake Superior rocks.
Those first few snowfalls of the season always have more beauty than the next few, it seems. This was early November. The rushing river added to the magic of the first real snowfall.
A few inches of rain, dropping temps and a little snowfall. Perfect recipe for a stunning landscape. November 2022
I was a little light on sunsets and sunrises on The Lake this year. I was usually chasing wildlife if I was out taking pictures. I did luck out a few times. This particular evening was out of this world.
The eyes of fall watching with a stony brow. Potholes and fallen foliage at Temperance River State Park
Autumn paddle in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Lakeside path in autumn splendor. It really was a remarkable fall color season.
Sawbill Trail, fall colors and Lake Superior – Minnesota
Calm reflection in Superior National Forest. One of the most serene scenes I captured this year. A light dusting of snow and a touch of fall gold.
The view from Carlton Peak in Tofte, Minnesota
A nice aurora arc over the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The calm waters of Sawbill Lake and some of the darkest skies in the lower 48 enab6us to experience the northern lights quite often here in the Arrowhead. This night, another skywatcher was lighting the fog from a dock up the shore. I liked the way his headlamp lit the fog.
An amazing, early September display of the northern lights along Lake Superior. Tofte, MN
September 3rd aurora borealis. This was a memorable night in Superior National Forest. This display started as the moon was setting, still casting shadows and the ground fog over the creek set the scene off.
Same spot different day, it’s a favorite location ๐Ÿ™‚
Sunrise color over the Temperance River in Superior National Forest – Minnesota ๐ŸŒฒ
Lake Superior is out there… This view from Carlton Peak in Tofte, Minnesota was ethereal with a blanket of fog breaking up and rolling over The Lake – summer 2022
A climber nearing the top of his climb at Palisade Head – Tettegouche State Park
Crescent Lake morning
Summer sunrise at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. This was an extra special visit, photographing sunrise with family during our summer family reunion on Lake Superior.
The Bears Ears – Bears Ears National Monument – Cedar Mesa – southern Utah is another special place for me, so I’m including a few photos from this year’s trip.
Ancient Puebloan petroglyphs, snakes and spiders? And Orion in the dark, Utah skies.
This peninsula of land held ancient Puebloan dwellings and ruins. One of the most memorable days of the year for me was hiking and exploring Road Canyon.
Mt. Ellen in the Henry Mountains with the uplift of the Waterpocket Fold viewed from the east side of Capitol Reef National Park – Utah. Maybe you had to be there, but this is my favorite photo of 2022. I’ve really embraced using my Canon RF 100-500mm lens for a lot of non-wildlife landscape pictures. The compression and scale and distance it can cover, especially in places like Utah’s canyon and mountain country, brings a great perspective to the scenery. I love the drive on the east side of Capitol Reef. The Notom-Bullfrog/Burr Trail roads offer some of the best photography opportunities I’ve encountered. This particular day I had wind, sleet, snow, rain and a bit of sunshine. The light was pretty good at this stop. I’m always intrigued by these Henry Mountains when I see them in the distance.
The Moki Dugway in southeastern Utah. A little steep, a touch terrifying, but well worth the effort.
The Big Crane – Butler Wash/Comb Ridge. Half the fun was getting there. I had an adventure finding this one. I didn’t have a map or gps, and almost gave up after a few failed side trips. I’m glad I found it. One of my favorite trip memories and photos.
Ancient Puebloan dwellings in golden canyon light. I was fortunate to visit some special places and ruins on this trip. Good light and photo conditions didn’t hurt! Cedar Mesa – Utah
Spring thaw and rains gave us rushing, raging rivers last spring. This was early May along the Superior Hiking Trail.
Waving curtains of light in Superior National Forest. This was a beautiful July night of aurora in the woods.
It was the calmest of summer days. I made a lot of cards out of this one. It makes a good print too ๐Ÿ™‚ Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center. Schroeder, MN
Pre-dawn light and color on the beach in Schroeder, MN.

It was a fun, fulfilling year of picture taking for me. I hope you enjoyed the little recap of my landscape and night sky photos. If you missed it, take a look back at my favorite wildlife moments of the past year in a previous post. Have a Happy New Year and thanks for following along. See you in 2023. โ„๏ธ๐ŸŒฒ

My Favorite Wildlife Pictures and Moments of 2022

With the year coming to a close, I thought I’d put my favorite wildlife moments of the year together in no particular order. It was a good year. A handful of Canada lynx, lots of spring and fall moose with a few from summer mixed in. I saw a lot of red fox, including a few “cross fox” color morphs. It was also a fun year of birding with a few unique encounters. Here’s a collection of wildlife pictures from the past year.

Red fox in summer cover in Superior National Forest
A beautiful bull moose with velvet covered antlers enjoys some summer swamp vegetation. Minnesota ๐ŸŒฒ
A pair of Canada lynx prowling the back roads of the forest in Northeastern Minnesota ๐ŸŒฒ
A common loon in the Temperance River dead waters. Spring 2022.
A porcupine feasting in the tree tops of Superior National Forest. I rarely see these critters, so getting a few photos was a treat this year.
A black throated blue warbler in Tofte, Minnesota. This one was a happy surprise right in my own yard last spring.
Scarlett tanager on the edge of the BWCA in Superior National Forest.
Red headed woodpecker – Tofte, Minnesota
One of my absolute favorites from this year. This beautiful bull on a frosty fall morning gave me many fine silhouettes.
The largest bull moose I encountered this fall was a truly magnificent animal. Superior National Forest – Minnesota ๐ŸŒฒ
Frosty the bull moose. Our first frost of the season and a big bull in a logged area of the forest.
A young little “cross fox” kit checks me out from a roadside. This is a color variation of the red fox. Around 25 percent of red fox get this cross color variation.
I ran into a little family of red fox numerous times over the summer. It was fun to catch these two in a moment ๐Ÿ˜
Spruce grouse with tail flash. The spruce grouse has a strut and dance that often ends with this brief, spectacular tail flash. It only lasts a fraction of a second, so you’ve got to be quick on the shutter.
A little video of the dance and tail flash
Spring morning fog and smoke on the water. I think this scene speaks for itself.
Breakfast with a group of bull moose
It’s always a treat to catch a bull moose in summer velvet antlers. The velvet contains vessels that “feed” the antlers. Their antlers can grow up to 3/4 of an inch per day!
Golden morning light and a beauty bull moose. This one is the cover of my 2023 Minnesota North Shore calendar. You can click the photo for calendar ordering link. Thanks for all the orders this year ๐Ÿ˜Š
I just loved this encounter. This big bull almost disappeared into the swamp. He’s actually standing up in this photo in a wallow in the swamp grass.
Definitely in my top 5 favorites from 2022. Mama moose overlooking the landscape as her young feeds in the river. Superior National Forest – Minnesota ๐ŸŒฒ
A recent Canada lynx encounter led to many fun photos. This one will probably make the 2024 calendars!
Until next time…

Thank you all for taking a look and following along this year. I appreciate all of the support. The wildlife opportunities in Superior National Forest and the surrounding areas are second to none. It was a wonderful year of wild encounters. I’ll do a post in the coming weeks with my favorite landscape/Lake Superior/northern lights pictures. Be sure to subscribe here to be notified when I post. ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„โค๏ธ

Two 2020 Calendars and a Lot of Fall Photos

I’ve got a ton of fall photos to share. It seemed like a long, vivid and memorable fall color season. Early September was showing nice reds and oranges in areas already, giving way to 3 weeks of bright yellow, orange and red autumn change along the Sawtooth Mountains and surrounding woods. October started just as colorful with the yellows along the shore filling in and the blazing yellow tamarack following back in the forest. The October 12-13 snowfall added to the mix and really capped of a great color season. Now, with the leaves all gone and the tamarack starting to fade, we move into the next phase of fall. Another season of change and beauty all it’s own. Below I will share a lot of fall photos I haven’t really posted anywhere. Thanks for taking a look.

I also have 2020 Calendars available for purchase now. I made two different calendars, all with different images. The Up North – Superior Country Calendar is all landscapes of Lake Superior, the surrounding woods and the BWCA. The Superior Wildlife Calendar is all wildlife from the woods of the Arrowhead region. You can take a look at a preview and order at the links or this link below. I appreciate your support. They would make great gifts. Print within 5 days of order and shipping info will be shown when you order. Plenty of time for holiday deliveries. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/ThomasSpence

And now some more fall color photos from the past month or so…

Gold Against Carlton Peak
Fall in the Fog
Blazing early color
Sawbill
Male and female spruce grouse in fall foliage
Lusen views from the Honeymoon Trail area
Big Fall Bull
Foggy fall mornings in Superior National Forest
Milky Way at Sawbill Lake – Boundary Waters Canoe Area
Fall – Minnesota
Welcome to Superior National Forest
Tofte Park Bridge
Fall Walk Around
the layers of autumn color
Seagull River on the Gunflint Trail in full fall color
Carlton Peak
Carlton Peak one week later
October snowfall
Temperance River Valley Fog
Snow Grove
Same Grove Different Day
That snow though…
Tamarack Flocked Forest
Fall Blanketed in White
Reflections and Morning fog
Spruce Grouse in snow and foliage
Big bull in the snow
The Temperance River Valley and a flocking of snowfall on the autumn woods.