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Anything outdoors!  Tornadoes, eagles, blizzards, or auroras.  If it is in the sky, running through the woods or swimming in the water, I'm there!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Checkpoint Minnesota - Frozen in time, a little fire by nature and a nice rack

Well, we did it. We completed the Checkpoint Minnesota scavenger hunt. After driving what was the equivalency of several spokes on a wheel from our home in central Minnesota, the final leg was a relatively short run to Minneopa State Park near Mankato, MN. Be sure to see more about this winter event sponsored by Explore Minnesota Tourism at www.checkpointmn.com or #onlyinmn

Although this was the final piece for us, the draw was the awesome frozen fall on Minneopa Creek.

Far from being the tallest falls in the state (these are 39 feet), the ice they create in the winter with the slow water flow is pretty cool.

3 shot vertical pano looking up the massive sandstone cliffs from the edge of the creek.

After a short walk down a trail on the north side of the creek, down a pretty fair number of steps (use the hand rails for sure in the winter), and a short hike back up the frozen creek, you can access the base of the falls. A few words of caution: this is river ice and can be pretty unpredictable so be smart about you go about it. The day we were there you could definitely hear the hollow spots where the water had dropped leaving a space. Also be aware of the shape of the creek and the outside bends, submerged rocks, and logs which cause the water to flow faster and makes for weaker ice.

Anyhow, we had a fun time although I wish I had brought some cramp ons to climb up a little higher so I could get a better angle on shots looking out from behind. We had bad light also with a dreary overcast. I think morning would be a fun shoot with a little more direct light on the ice.

I was able to make it up to the hole close enough to shoot behind the falls with a superwide 11mm lens. If I had the cramp ons with it would have been a lot easier. The ice is really porous also so need to be a little concerned with it supporting any weight.

Kind of a perspective shot. My daughter is 5-2.

Melinda, Cailyn, and Chloe on the way out after our mini Saturday adventure.

The plan on Sunday was to kind of lay around the house and get some maintenance projects done.

The sunrise had other ideas so I got motivated to drive around the block looking for critter. Unfortunately the block is a 30 mile loop in world. I bribed Cailyn to with on the promise bacon would be involved when I we got home.

Cailyn spotted a doe laying in some cedar / pines. Some motion behind the doe caught my eye and spotted this buck keeping close tabs on us. It was about 5 above zero and I couldn't convince Cailyn to walk with me in hopes of getting a better shot so I had to make do looking out the window on her side. The heat ripples caused a lot of distortion so this was best image out of 8 frames. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, the heat inside your vehicle causes the air to distort as it escapes through an open window when it is super cold out, much like in the summer when you can see heat "rising" off a hot asphalt road. When the camera looks through the ripples, it causes the image to look soft and sometimes very distorted.

This weekend did nothing but get me fired up to head into the northern forests as soon as I can. So it looks like next weekend we will head up along the north shore of Lake Superior to some of the real waterfalls. Can't wait!

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