Saturday, February 28, 2009

Snow-hugged leaf

An oak leaf with a light dusting of snow covering it.
Leaves need love too!
Like this? Prints of this photo are available!

This sweet little leaf looks to me like it's being hugged by the snow around it. I found this while on an impromptu trip to the Cliffs last weekend -- always the best kind!

I actually had set out for Hunter's Point, a spit of land way up in Copper Harbor. The day looked pretty grey and uninteresting, but also warm and not too breezy. Just as I was passing the Cliffs, I noticed that the clouds had parted, the sun was out, the sky was blue, the birds were singing (ok, maybe not...) -- so I decided to stop and enjoy the cliffs instead.

As I have mentioned before, Cliff Drive (the main access to the Cliffs) is closed this winter, so I had to snowshoe in from quite a ways away. It's about a mile on snowshoes to the North American Gap trail, and another mile or so up to the first lookout. By the time I got there -- the clouds had come back, the wind was blowing, and everything was grey again. Alas.

But, that didn't stop me from enjoying not one, not two, but three lookouts! (No photos from the third one -- sorry.) I also made it five or more miles on my snowshoes and had a lovely chat with a variety of other snowshoers along the way. More posts from that trip in the future.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Blue is the color of winter

A geometric composition with three dark branches, hilighted with sunlight, and dark blue snow in the background.
Branches, sunlight, and snow
Like this? Prints of this photo are available!

Here's another photo from that amazing trip to the Tech Trails and the Houghton School forest. This one is just a few branches of a bush, with some sunlight on them and snow in the background.

Someone once pointed out to me (about my winter photos) that "your white balance is all off -- snow should be bright white!" If you've even taken a look at snow in different light -- it can be any color you want! But one of the most common colors for snow is blue: it reflects the sky, and that color deepens as the sun goes down. Here's another example of that wonderful shade of blue you can find in the winter!

Friday, February 20, 2009


A white birch against a dark blue sky.
Birch with a winter sky
Prints of this photo are available.

Here's a photo from my trip out to the Tech Trails a few weekends ago. Yes, that was an amazing trip -- in particular, I snowshoed on the School Forest loops, which go through the Houghton High School's school forest.

Along the way, I found this amazing view. There is nothing quite so striking as the trunk of a birch rising up against a clear blue winter sky. Birches are tricky: they look like nothing special for most of the year, but in the middle of winter they really show how beautiful they are. Their bark is surprisingly colorful, and they really show themselves well when there are no leaves to hide them. Enjoy!

As always, please feel free to leave a comment -- tell me what you like, dislike, or just tell me a random story!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

News: Updated Website Addresses

And now, a bulletin from your friendly local photo blogger (that's me!)
Howdy folks! This brief post is to let you know that I now have my own web address. BWAHAHAHAHA! Real, ultimate power!!

Ahem. What I mean is: I'm slowly working my way up to something big with my photos, and among other things I'll be designing a new site to go along with it. So, I purchased myself a domain and moved my blog and gallery to new addresses. Here's a list:

Cliffs and Ruins (this blog) is now at
My photo gallery is now at

All of the old addresses will still work just fine, all of your old links will still work, and they will continue to work for the foreseeable future. However, if you have any links, I would appreciate it if you would update them -- just to stay current.

Thanks! And now, back to our program...

Monday, February 16, 2009


A broken branch in the show, with its shadow, forming a checkmark shape.
Check. Next?

I found this broken branch sticking out of the ground on the same trip to the Cliffs where I found the lonely leaf.

I've been focusing on geometry and strong lines lately -- here's an extremely spare composition as an example. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think: strong and direct, or empty and uninteresting?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wind and Light

A curved blue snowbank with snow blowing off of it, and beams of light shooting through the blowing snow.
Weather advisory: blowing and drifting snow
Like this? Prints of this photo are available!

Sunday was a beautiful day -- also one of the last days before the Great Midwinter Melt of '09. I headed out to the Tech Trails, specifically the part which is actually the Houghton High School Forest. The forest has no ski trails, so I was all on my own. Along the way, I found this snowbank which had developed from the strong winds and heavy snowfall that we'd had recently. Now, it's all gone -- I actually saw some grass the other day! The midwinter thaw will be done soon, and I won't mind that a bit.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A new leaf

A dead leaf rolling on sparkling snow.
What can't you find at the cliffs?

Ah, leaves. I don't know why I like taking pictures of lone leaves so much, but... I seem to have taken a few.

This one I found in my favorite way: on a completely random hike. Friday was bright and sunny, so I headed north. Along 41 just beyond the giant snow thermometer, I looked to the left and saw a big, bald, snowy hill rising through the trees. I'd never seen it before, so I pulled over, grabbed my snowshoes and camera, and headed into the woods. Sure enough, there was a foothill of the cliffs in the middle of the trees, and it had been recently logged -- so it was a big, bald, snowy hill. The sun was bright, and this leaf was just rolling around like a kid in a puddle! Check out the colors in the shadow -- straight out of the camera. Yay!

Friday, February 6, 2009

French Fry

A small red squirrel eating a french fry.

I somehow never got around to posting this photo -- probably because I took it before I started this photo blog. Anyhow, better late than never: behold the mighty french-fry eating squirrel!

The story behind this photo: every time I visit the rest stop along the Seney Stretch, I notice a family of red squirrels which live there, getting fat off of the generosity of strangers (that is, the fast food left in the outdoor trash cans). One time I planned ahead, had my long lens with me, and managed to get this cute shot of one of the squirrels enjoying a nice frozen french fry. I also got a (less good) shot of a squirrel eating a cheeseburger!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Blizzard Warning

Blizzard T. Husky on snowshoes, seen via a hidden camera!
Blizzard T. Husky: man or myth?

January 31st 2009, 10:21 AM: while snowshoeing in the darkest reaches of the Tech Trails, I heard a strange rustling down in a small ravine. Hiding myself in some underbrush, I carefully peered around a tree. There it was, at long last! The object of my hunt! After years of study, careful preparation and miles of tracking, I had at last found the elusive Blizzard T. Husky -- in his native habitat, on snowshoes!! I quickly snapped this photo, but I think that the sound of the shutter must have spooked him -- he quickly ran out of sight. Nonetheless, I now have conclusive proof that Blizzard is not just a myth, not just a story born out of long, dark winters -- but a real, living, upright-walking Husky!!