A number of people have told me this stretch of highway, just before you reach Gills Rock at the northern tip of the Door County, WI peninsula, is the most photographed road in the world. I don’t know who’s keeping track, but a number of people stopped and got out of their cars to snap a quick photo while I was there. In fact, I left my home before sunrise just to get there and this shot in the early morning light.
My intent was to make it an “Autumn Colors” tour and get some great fall foliage. I didn’t get much else worth noting. Once the sun was up, it was clear and bright – creating too much contrast and washing out the colors.
I spent a good deal of time in processing this image. A lot of that time was spent removing a power line that stretched across the upper part of the image. Thanks to the magic of software…with a bit of skill and a bunch of patience…an unsightly distraction was eliminated. I thought about removing the mailbox and For Sale sign on the right, but decided it wasn’t too distracting and probably added to the rural feel.
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This is another view of my Crooked Spine Pine – a true quirk of nature. (See earlier post: Crooked Spine Pine – 2013)
Like Jack’s magic bean stalk, this pine tree is growing in a spiral at Potawatomi State Park in northeast Wisconsin.
It reminds me of a natural example of a rule of composition known as the Golden Mean, Phi, or Divine Proportion. It was made poplar by Leonardo Fibonacci around 1200 A.D. You can learn more about it in an excellent article from Digital Photography School.
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Two Sandhill Cranes are up to the necks in wheat. This wheat field is in southern Door County, Wisconsin.
Sandhill cranes have always presented a challenge for me. They seem to be very shy and quick to take off when I try to get close. These two required a creative, persistent approach. Here’s how it happened.
Sara, my wife, and I were on a weekend getaway in Door County. We were heading to Peninsula State Park for a day of hiking through the woods. On the way Sara spotted these guys in a wheat field that we passed. We decided to go back an try to get a shot. I pulled over and we switched positions, so Sara was driving and I was free to take the photos. The plan was to approach the field at a relatively slow speed…but not too slow, so the birds wouldn’t get spooked. I would try to focus in and snap a few frames before they caught on and disappeared.
The first pass was a resounding failure. The movement made it hard to find and focus on the birds with my zoom lens and my exposure settings were way off. We turned around and tried it again. This time I had the right exposure but the birds sensed something was up and were on the move. Their heads were bobbing up and down in the field, always in a different spot than the last. Sara remarked, it reminded her of a Whack-A-Mole game.
We approached slower and even stopped as the birds headed for the brush at the edge of the field. Before they really took off, I got a couple of decent shots. There were actually 4 or 5 of them in the field, but with their concealed movement and head bobbing, I was never able to catch more than three in any shot. This is the one I liked best.
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On a walk along the trails of Door County’s Potawatomi State Park (near Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) I encountered some of the strangest bugs I’ve ever seen. There were a number of these bugs on a tree. They were not easily spooked, so they were easy to photograph.
The large image is a shot looking up the tree – as the bug was facing down. It looks like a rather unique bug…but not so much different than a lot of flying bugs. The thing that makes this the strangest bug I’ve come across is how it lays it’s eggs.
The bug’s body was about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in length. Those strands that arch up over it’s abdomen (the back end), were inserted into the tree. (Better seen in the side view.) When I finally saw one move, it pulled those strands out and they were three to four times the over all length of the bug’s body. It was like watching some very small-scale version of an space alien movie monster.
It took quite a bit of Googling to figure out what this bug is. According to www.exploretheoutdoorsohio.com this is the giant ichneumon wasp (Megarhyssa macrurus). Those long things are called an ovipositor. It inserts them into the dead wood of a tree, in search of one thing: the larva of another wasp, the pigeon tremex horntail (Tremex columba). It can detect the wasp larva’s movements in the wood, locate it, and then lay an egg next to the larva. Once the ichneumon wasp has done this, it will then sting the horntail larva, paralyzing it. Later, the ichneumon wasp larva will hatch and devour the horntail wasp, and continue to grow to adulthood.
I didn’t realize this was a wasp. Lucky for me, it is harmless to humans! The article I read said, “If you’re walking in the woods and come upon some dead trees in a sunny area, search around a bit and you might be lucky enough to find one.”
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These are yellow Lady Slipper Orchids found growing wild at Potawatomi State Park in Door County, Wisconsin.
According to Wikepedia… Lady’s slipper orchids (also known as lady slipper orchids or slipper orchids) are the orchids in the subfamily Cypripedioidea. They are characterised by the slipper-shaped pouches (modified labellums) of the flowers – the pouch traps insects so they are forced to climb up past the staminode, behind which they collect or deposit pollinia, thus fertilizing the flower.
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