Categories
Minnesota Nature Wildlife

American Black Bears in Minnesota

One of my favorite Minnesota “locals” are American Black Bears!


Black Bear

There are many misconceptions about Black Bears. People who don’t know any better fear them, thinking that they are out stalking unsuspecting hikers or campers for an ambush attack. In reality, they are pretty timid creatures who go out of their way to avoid encounters with people. I’ve been fortunate enough to volunteer with an expert Black Bear researcher in the past and even got to go into a den (with mama bear still in it – she was tranquilized for the duration). I’ll never forget holding cubs that only weighed 3 pounds and didn’t have their eyes open yet. Let’s get to know them a little better 🙂

Black Bear Cub

Black Bear Facts

For a much more comprehensive list of facts about Black Bears, check out the North American Bear Center site.

  • Black Bears in Minnesota hibernate for 5-6 months out of the year. They typically call it a year by late October and emerge from their dens some time in April.
  • During hibernation, their heart rates go down to approximately 8 beats per minute and their breathing is almost imperceptible.
  • They will lose about a third of their body weight during hibernation – mostly fat. Lactating mothers will lose a bit more, while males and non-lactating females a bit less.
  • They do not eat, urinate or defecate during hibernation. Any other mammal would die of kidney failure, but they are somehow able to break down metabolic waste products with no ill effects.
  • Their total cholesterol will climb to over 400 mg/dl during hibernation, while their blood lipid profiles are similar to a healthy human during the summer. No evidence of heart disease.
  • They give birth to their cubs in January. The cubs are born hairless and weigh less that a pound at birth. Dr. Lynn Rogers installed a camera within a wild Black Bear den several years ago and captured a live birth on video, dispelling the myth that cubs are born while the mother bear sleeps…. lol. You can view it here.
  • Once cubs emerge from their dens, one of the first things their mother teaches them is how to climb trees.
  • You will not out run or out climb a Black Bear!
Black Bear Cub Climbing a Tree
Black Bear cub doing what Black Bear cubs do best: climbing a tree 🙂

Where to see Black Bears

Black Bears are common residents of the North Woods and like the forest. I’ve seen them crossing roads in the Superior National Forest on several occasions, walking next to the highway in St. Louis county, running away from me on hiking trails, and had one that stood up on it’s hind legs to get a better look / sniff at me before it calmly turned around and walked away.

Black Bear Cub Sleeping in a Tree
There are few things in this world cuter than a Black Bear cub sleeping in a tree.

If you want a guaranteed sighting of wild bears, the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary near Orr allows visitors to view bears from an observation deck in the woods. Volunteers at the sanctuary put out natural foods for the bears to eat, luring many wild bears to the grounds. The bears are free to come and go as they please and are not captive in any way. You can learn about how and why this all started by checking out the history. Whether it’s a good idea to continue the practice of feeding the bears is a separate argument.

Black Bear Mother and Cub
Mother and cub checking out some food being offered at Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary.

If you really want to learn from the bear experts, check out the North American Bear Center near Ely. They have several captive bears on site, but the founder did much research with local Black Bears for many years and has first hand knowledge of original studies that had never been done by anyone else. They also have a very educational website!

Black Bear Photos

All of these photos as well as several more are now available for purchase in the Wildlife Gallery! All products are printed using archival inks and materials. Choose from prints, gallery wrapped canvases, or metals.

Bring some North Woods wild into your home or office today!

Categories
Special Offer

North Woods Photos Holiday Sale

Huge Holiday Sale is happening NOW until the end of November at North Woods Photos!

Minnesota Moose
Minnesota Moose

Holiday Sale – Outdoor Photography

Give the gift of the North Woods outdoors to friends, family, or yourself this holiday season! I’ve got a wide selection of

  • Wildlife – including Moose, Bears, Bison, Waterfowl, Birds, Owls, Bald Eagles and other North Woods critters.
  • Landscapes from Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin including Waterfalls, Lakes, Milky Way images and Great Lakes shorelines.
  • Nature – a closer look at wild flowers, prairie grasses, North Woods forests, butterflies.
  • Double Exposures – combine wildlife image with the landscape where it lives, such as the Minnesota Moose on this page.
  • Composites – combine photos in unique ways to create artistic images you haven’t seen anywhere else, such as Doorway To Heaven.
  • Abstracts – surreal, impressionist, or sometimes made to look like paintings, textures, etc.

Ordering info about types of papers, how to order, etc. Please contact me if you have questions since there are so many options it can get confusing or overwhelming!

Enter the online galleries to snoop around.

Doorway To Heaven
Doorway To Heaven

Holiday Sale Discounts

The more you spend, the more you save! 

Coupon Code = HOLIDAY20

Save 20% on orders over $50 up to $100

Save 25% on orders over $100 up to $250

Save 30% on orders over $250 up to $500

Save 40% on orders over $500 up to $1000

Save 50% on orders over $1000

Offer is valid for any purchase through the online gallery through November 30, 2016. Includes Lustre, Pearl, Metallic papers, gallery wrapped canvases, and metal prints.

Offer does not apply to special orders such as panoramas, special sizes, mounted or framed prints, or fine art papers.

Cannot be combined with other discounts.

Buy Now

Sugarloaf Cove
Sugarloaf Cove

Holiday Sale Perks

In addition to saving a boat load of money during the holiday sale, all images are processed by professional labs that use conservation grade archival inks and materials.

Items will be sent directly to the address you provide, so you don’t have to worry about packaging and shipping items yourself if you’re sending a gift directly to someone. Items will not be gift wrapped.

Gallery wrapped canvases and metal prints are “ready to hang” as is and don’t need additional framing.

Holiday Sale Questions?

Maybe you’ve got more than one gift and you’d like to have them all shipped directly? In that case, you’d need to order each gift separately and enter the address where you’d like it shipped (US or Canada only). You can use the coupon code as often as you’d like, but it may be cheaper to have everything sent to you to save on shipping costs and get a higher percentage discount.

Once an order is placed it goes to the lab for processing immediately and cannot be cancelled, so please contact me with any questions before placing your order.

Buy Now

Happy Holidays!

 

Categories
Special Event Special Offer

St. Paul Art Crawl 2016

It’s almost time for the Spring version of the St. Paul Art Crawl 2016!

St. Paul Art Crawl 2016

St. Paul Art Crawl 2016

The Spring version of the St. Paul Art Crawl 2016 takes place at several different artist studios and galleries throughout the city, with several locations close together in Lowertown, Downtown and Midtown. I hope you’ll hop on the Green Line for a free ride to the Dow Building at Raymond Station and stop by to say “Hello” some time during the event!

Dow Art Gallery

North Woods Photos will once again be showing at Dow Art Gallery along with 35-40 other artists, which is located on the first floor of the Dow Building at 2242 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55114. It’s easy to get to with free parking if you drive, or even better – right on the green line at Raymond Station. You can even get FREE RIDES to the art crawl via Metro Transit all weekend!

Special Exhibits!

There will be a special Student Exhibition featuring the work of a few St. Paul middle school and high school students. These students were chosen to participate because of their hard work and dedication towards the arts. Hopefully this exposure will give them real life experience in the world of art shows and galleries and encourage them to pursue their dreams.

There will also be a special “Spring Outside the Box” exhibit showing during the Art Crawl.

In addition to amazing art, we will be providing free food, beverages and entertainment to our Dow Art Gallery guests!

Musicians:

Vanessa Bray – keyboard and guitar

The Olson Brothers – acoustics from rural Minnesota.

Scott Simmons – guitar & vocals, pastor and writer.

Literature Readings:

Stephanie Schultz

Ashley Ott – aspiring writer, poet, artist, and intern at Dow Art Gallery

Support Local Artists

Grizzly Forest Double Exposure

Grizzly Forest
Currently on display as metal print at Dow Art Gallery

Support local artists by stopping by and investing in a unique piece of art for yourself, or pick up the perfect gift for family or friends! I will have professional conservation grade archival quality photographic prints for sale as well as metals and canvases. Other artists will have textiles, sculptures, paintings and drawings. St. Paul Art Crawl is the biggest public art event of the entire year – DON’T MISS IT!

 

Categories
Creative Tips Lightroom Photo Editing Photoshop Topaz Labs tutorial

Add Stars To Your Photos In A Few Easy Steps

In this tutorial, I will show you how to add stars to your photos in a few easy steps using Topaz Labs Star Effects.

Split Rock Lighthouse Star

Split Rock Lighthouse

Image Preparation

First, you will need to do any basic edits in your regular photo editing software. Topaz Star Effects works as a plug-in to Photoshop or Lightroom and is not a stand alone product.

Edit Your Image In Topaz Star Effects

When you first bring your prepped image in to Topaz Star Effects, you will notice three main areas of the screen. The left column shows the presets and the smaller image at the top of the stack gives you a preview of each preset as you hover over it. The large middle screen is what’s happening with your image as you apply the actions that you choose. For this particular image, I chose the preset “Lamp Post One” and at this point it looks like a hot mess.

Topaz Labs Star Effects

Now go over to the panel on the far right side of the screen. Under “Star Settings” you can choose different star types. For this image I went with traditional.

Topaz Labs Star Effects

Further down on the right side are the “Main Adjustments” – take the threshold slider all the way to the right. I think of the threshold as being similar to an opacity slider for a layer mask. Bringing it all the way to the right will hide all of the star effects.

Topaz Labs Star Effects

Go back up to “Star Settings” and you’ll notice there are show / hide stars buttons. Choose “show.” This will act similar to a brush on a mask in Photoshop – your mouse will look like a small button with crosshairs and anywhere you click on the image will allow the star effect to show through. In this image, I clicked on the reflector inside the lighthouse window so that only the one star shows in the image.

Topaz Labs Star Effects

You can fine tune your star effect further by going back down to the main adjustments and playing with luminance, how many points you want your star to have, size, spread, angle, etc. Further down on the right side there are even more adjustments for color, temperature settings, and additional adjustments for glow or ring flare. For this image, I only adjusted the number of points from twelve to six and I was done in minutes!

I find all of the Topaz products fun and easy to use – and I can do many things in a fraction of the time it would take in Photoshop. So, if you want to add stars to your photos in a few easy steps, give Topaz Star Effects a try! They have FREE 30 day trials on all of their software, and updates for each product are free for life 🙂

If you’d like to purchase a print of this image of Split Rock Lighthouse for your home or office decor, it’s now available in the Landscape gallery both with and without the star effect!

Categories
Landscape Michigan Nature Trails

Warren Dunes Michigan

One of the cool things about the Great Lakes is that each one has it’s own personality. I was born and raised in Michigan and my Grandfather was a freighter captain on the Great Lakes, so I’ve had a chance to get to know them a bit. While Lake Superior with her rugged shoreline is the big lake that I visit the most these days, I just had an opportunity to stroll on one of the many long sandy beaches of Lake Michigan that line the western coast of the lower peninsula. These dunes reach more than 250 feet high – and the locals use snow plows to get the sand off the roads after a windy day. Here are a few snaps from a brief visit to Warren Dunes State Park last week near peak fall color season!

Warren Dunes State Park

Peak color season in the third week of October and I almost had the park to myself. During the summer this beach would be packed with swimmers and the hang gliders would be taking off from the 260 foot high dunes.

Lake Michigan Driftwood

A nice stroll on a Lake Michigan beach in southwestern Lower Michigan.

Maple Leaf, Lake Michigan Beach

Maple Leaf on the beach.

Footprints in the Sand

There were more sea gulls than people here today.

Sea Gull, Lake Michigan

I love the color of the water!

Warren Woods

While the beach is relaxing with the rhythmic sound of the waves coming ashore, nearby Warren Woods has short picturesque trails through the woods.

Warren Woods Autumn Forest

Warren Woods at peak fall color.

151109Light Leak1

The Galien River flows right through Warren Woods.

Another fun thing about living near one of the Great Lakes is that the weather can be completely different – and change very rapidly – compared to what it’s doing just a few miles away! By the end of this week, these trees will all be bare and will soon be covered by snow. Much more snow than they’ll get just a few miles inland. Good ‘ole lake effect.

What’s your favorite Great Lake?

What’s your favorite trail to hike in the North Woods in autumn?

What’s your favorite play spot in Michigan? If you haven’t been yet, get on it! 😉

Categories
Landscape Minnesota Nature

New Photos From Northeastern Minnesota!

I went off the grid for a few days last week (as in largest wilderness area in the lower 48 and no cell phone service) and came back with some new photos from northeastern Minnesota that are now available for viewing and purchase from the online gallery! Didn’t see much wildlife this trip, but I saw some amazingly breathtaking scenery that I’d like to share with you.

Set up camp at Two Island Lake in Superior National Forest about 15 miles inland from Grand Marais, MN just in time to capture the sunset:

Two Island Lake Sunset, Superior National Forest

Then pulled an all-nighter (so you wouldn’t have to) shooting the Milky Way and watching the Perseid meteors:

Two Island Lake Milky Way & Meteor
Two Island Lake Milky Way & Meteor

Then went scrambling over jagged rocks with my camera gear in the pitch dark along the Lake Superior shoreline at 4 am (so you wouldn’t have to) to get the sunrise from the east end of Artist Point in Grand Marais:

Artist Point Sunrise

Then went further up the North Shore to Hollow Rock Bay:

Hollow Rock Bay Sunrise, Lake Superior

And even further up the Shore to Grand Portage before turning around at the Canadian border, but not before stopping to admire Mt. Josephine:

Mt. Josephine Panorama
Mt. Josephine Panorama

Went back to Grand Marais to hang out near the shoreline since it was about 20 degrees cooler than the low-90’s temps inland. Had some lunch, played fetch with a local black lab who brought his favorite rock to retrieve out of Lake Superior, and relaxed by the water for a bit:

Grand Marais Lighthouse, Minnesota
Grand Marais Lighthouse

Then up the Gunflint Trail to several beautiful lakes along the Minnesota / Ontario border. Did I mention it was in the 90’s? Even the loons were hot on Gunflint Lake:

Common Loon, Gunflint Lake

Took a short, steep hike up to Honeymoon Bluff near Flour Lake campground, which overlooks Hungry Jack Lake and Bearskin Lake:

Honeymoon Bluff Sunset

Still made it back to Two Island Lake in time to get the tail end of another sunset:

Two Island Lake Sunset, Superior National Forest

Before finally crashing after being up for 36 hours straight. It’s a darn shame I was so tired (and had no cell phone service being off the grid), so I didn’t know the Northern Lights were putting on a brief show later that night.

Next day I broke camp and headed down to Cascade Beach on Lake Superior for some seascapes:

Cascade Beach Fog, Lake Superior
Cascade Beach Fog, Lake Superior

And long exposure photography along the shoreline:

Cascade Beach Lake Superior
Cascade Beach, North Shore of Lake Superior

Before heading back inland up the Sawbill Trail near Tofte to one of my favorite spots that I hadn’t been to in about 25 years – Crescent Lake:

Crescent Lake, Superior National Forest, Minnesota
Crescent Lake, Superior National Forest

Stopped by Temperance River State Park along the lake shore on the way back towards the Twin Cities, but there were waaaay too many tourists and the rivers were all running a little low, so I headed home. I hope you enjoyed reading and looking – hopefully it made you want to be there yourself!

For such a short trip and getting skunked on wildlife sightings, I still managed to get plenty of nice new photos from northeastern Minnesota this trip! Most are already up in the gallery and I have several panoramas that I’ll save for special purchases. Still processing more photos, too! I’m at my 100 image limit in the gallery, so I’ll be removing some older stuff to put new photos up. In other words – it there’s something you like, buy it now while you can 🙂