The photographic explorations of a former film student.

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A Day at Devil’s Lake

Back in mid October, my father and journeyed to Devil’s Lake, a state park in Wisconsin. It was a cloudy fall day and a bit chilly. We’d heard some less than accurate information about a nice, smooth path around the entire lake, so we decided to circumnavigate the lake first. It was not a nice, smooth path. We ended up losing the path at one point and followed the railroad tracks back to the parking area. Closer to the start of the path, there was a rugged area with lovely purplish rocks and some plants sporting fall color.

We grabbed a quick lunch at the visitor’s center, and decided we wanted to find the rock feature known as Devil’s Doorway. The trail was rugged. In some areas, we had trouble discerning where the path was. Getting down the final hill to Devil’s Doorway proved to be especially difficult. Dad remained at the top. I went down myself, being sure to keep my back to the hill and my face towards the edge of the cliff as there is nothing to prevent hikers from falling off the edge. Being out on that ledge was beautiful – up there by myself like my own little world (well, with the occasional other hiker). I could see the entire lake, and the doorway itself is a unique feature.

Next Time: Fall Catch-Up

I actually did three shoots this fall. Time to edit and post them. Lots of catching up to do.

Labor Day Outing

I hadn’t been our to shoot for a while, so I went our on Labor Day to warm up a bit for the fall photo season. A few stray branches were starting to turn a little bit, but it was still mostly summer vegetation.

This bush has a few red leaves, but mostly still green – still summer.

It was cloudy and a little rainy, but a few bees were still out. Unfortunately, there were also a lot of mosquitos.

I decided to photograph one landscape. There were some lovely oak trees. The photo wasn’t working for me. After attending a photo club meeting with a black and white contest, I decided to convert the photo to black and white.

Eden Springs and the House of David

When I was young, my Dad’s mother would frequently mention visiting a place called the House of David as a child. My Aunt and Uncle spent the most time with her in her final years and investigated the history. Basically, there was a cult in the area that ran sort of an amusement park. They had small trains you could ride, ice cream, a greenhouse, a zoo, bands (yes, jazz), and you could also get your picture taken. My immigrant great-grandparents took their kids to this park for fun about 100 years ago.

We were all in the area in July of 2021 for a family reunion. My Aunt and Uncle drove out to the remains of the park with my sister and I. Despite its largely derelict and abandon state, the park is open to the public – mostly as Eden Springs campground. It was misting a light rain, but we were able to spend some time exploring the area.

The men of the House of David were known for their long hair and beards. We only saw one long haired life form out mousing around. Probably dual rolls in pest control and greeting.

My sister petting the long haired cat who greeted us.

There is a slow movement by a non-profit group to restore the park. Many of the buildings are literally falling apart. Some are all fixed up and quite lovely.

A run down building next to a fixed up one with kept gardens.

The train station is functional, and the small trains now run occasionally.

My relatives by the train station – faces obscured for privacy. You’ll just have to believe me when I tell you they’re great.
Detail of a station window showing different colors and patterns of glass.

It appears not all of the original train track is presently in use.

Rundown section of train track covered in vines – and possibly Christmas lights?

We also saw this old, abandoned electrical tower.

A stone wall and staircase led downhill to the remnants of a large cement pad where they used to hold dances. Research indicates they had a regular Polka night. Grandma loved Polka. She probably danced there.

If you’re curious about the House of David and the history of the place, you can visit their website:

https://www.israelitehouseofdavid.com/

The campground also has a website:

http://www.edenspringsparkandcampground.com/

Farewell to Dairy Month

Nothing is getting done in my life – or that’s what it feels like anyway. I have a bunch of projects at various stages and others I’d love to do, but dare not start until I finish some. Kitchen is a project. I got new counters! Due to sticker shock, time, and potential for mess, cabinets and tile remain unchanged.

Time flies so fast, June is almost over when it feels like it’s barely begun. So here is my last minute observance of Dairy Month with my new counters as a background. I paid for them, so I might as well use them for everything I can. The cup is actually a small, somewhat child-sized version of the big ones I inherited from my Grandma. Old meets new and life moves on. (Yes, this is my first still life in awhile and I need practice.)

April Macro

Finally posting my annual macro outing from April! It was a quick trip out to a local park on an unusually nice day. Flower prospects could have been a bit better. I was also testing a new tripod and boots for my trip in May. I still have an attachment to that lens and need to use it at least once or twice a year.

Small Stump with Fungi and Oak Leaves
Little White Flower
Small Blue Bunch

I went to Ohio on vacation in May, so I have some waterfall pictures from that trip. Hopefully, I can get them edited soon. I’d also like to do a still life for June.

The Crocus have Sprung

My quick, basic cell phone photo of the crocus patch.

We’re just at the end of some unseasonably warm weather here. It may be gone now, but it did help the new patch of crocuses I planted last fall come out and bloom. I love all my spring bulbs, but the crocus make me especially happy because they are the first to bloom after a long, cold winter. The tulips won’t give me flowers till May, and I want flowers.

The tulips are trying, but it’s gonna be a while.

I decided to take advantage of one particularly nice day and take some better photos of the crocuses. After all, I could use some macro practice before the spring wildflower season. The results were sharp enough, but a bit basic. This is why I need to practice. Anyway, the flowers are pretty, so I thought I’d share my early spring joy.

Winter Wetlands

No, I did not plan to quit blogging this year. My goal for this year is ten posts. These photos are from mid January. Not too long after that, I decided my nearly ten year old monitor wasn’t cutting it for photo editing, so I needed to research, order, and set up a new one before posting again. Winter’s not quite over. These are from a local wetlands. It was a late scouting trip.

Wetlands Sunset
Tree Trunks in Snow
Moon-rise

Lights in the Darkness

We’re past solstice, but this is still the darkest time of the year. This year, two gardens near my home put on light displays as part of our collective tradition to cope with this darkness. My sister and I went to the free one together. I could get my large tripod in, but I didn’t use it for everything because it’s kind of impolite and I was practicing for my next outing.

The photo club took an outing to another nearby light show. This one relied more on actual trees and reflected light. Some members were able to get in with small tripods, but I left my beast in the car. Certainly the staff would not grant me admission with such large sticks. I had to use some high ISOs. Noise was an issue. I’ll have to get a smaller tripod. Just being there was pretty enchanting though.

The lights give us hope and beauty in a dark season. We arrange them, tend to them, and marvel at them. Source or reflected, we all need light and hope. Spread light this season to those you love and more.

4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome a it.

John 1:4-5 NIV https://biblehub.com/niv/john/1.htm

End of Fall / Official End of Fall

Today is officially the first day of winter. Does that also mean yesterday was the last day of fall? Didn’t fall end more than a month ago? I considered this early November outing to be my goodbye to fall this year.

The first park I went to that day was pretty bleak. Almost all the leaves were already down.

So I moved on to another nearby park. I wandered and took in the end of the season: the trees turned colors or bare, the dry prairie, the late afternoon light. I parted with the day and the season. My last fall shoot of the year is almost a ritual. Hopefully, finishing my editing and blogging it will help me prepare for the end of 2021. In a way it feels like 2020 and 2021 were one big long very weird year. In another way, it feels like 2021 is ending before it even got going. Whatever the feeling at the moment, it’s time to reflect and part ways with 2021.

Hopefully, I’ll still get a Christmas post in this year. What I have planned would be more appropriate for solstice. I’ve been to some outdoor light shows at parks in my area.

Off Topic – Lost Kitty

So, this has nothing to do with my regular blogging, but I follow a cat rescue in British Columbia Canada. They rescued some cats from the flood zone near them. One looks like he probably has humans. Sweet, friendly guy – alas no microchip. I’m posting this in the hopes it might just help find his people in time for Christmas. Someone’s gotta miss this guy.

@tinykittenshq

Lets get this sweet guy home!! Contact us at 604-653-0445 or email Meow@tinykittens.com #floodsurvivor #floodcat #abbotsfordflood #bcflood

♬ _Cute – Gabe Lost

Sorry, Ticktock isn’t working too well with WordPress. He’s an orange tabby boy. See the Facebook video here:

https://fb.watch/9Z_1amLyrb/

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