Pete's Stuff

Random Shots

Here's a few more random photos I took in the past couple of weeks.

Playing around with exposure adjustments. Saturating the output leads to the "divine light" effect.


More photos below the fold.

This is a second shot with very nice lighting effects from the setting sun.

Sunset Desk

This is a cool old railroad bridge near Cedar Bend on the St. Croix, that was actually built to pivot on its center pylon, with the two sides of the bridge acting as counterweights to one another. But I'm not sure it's been moved in decades.

It's also a chore to get to. I had to drive several miles out of Osceola along the blufftop, then take a dirt road that was mashed up into deep, shock-inducing springtime ruts for the first hundred feet. Then, after a half mile of mushy road, down the side of the bluff as my wheels straddled a six inch deep, foot-wide erosion gully filled with water, followed by a close squeeze between two rock piles at a sharp left turn, which, thankfully, allowed me to drive away from the now near-creek. Now truly on a one lane road, there was a foot-deep "Olympic size" pool to negotiate before reaching the end of the road where it peters out into an ATV trail, then a marsh. The last segment was on foot along the tracks, but quite a bit more pleasant than the rest thanks to the warm, sunny day. Same way out, but uphill instead - AWD FTW!

Railroad Pivot Bridge

In order to get a side shot of the bridge, I had to walk out onto the convenient island just south and east of the main span. Without the tracks, the island would have been inaccessible except by water. Along the way I discovered this little beauty right at head height, with a few leftover feathers inside:

Empty Nest

Back in Osceola, the aptly named Cascade Falls Park presented an easy slam dunk:

Cascade Falls

And finally, a landmark my whole family might recognize. I had to chase off a couple of "loiterers" to get this shot; I found out later they were doing the State Parks History Challenge, which included some bizarre clues related to the bench halfway up on the left. I had walked along the river and arrived at the bottom of the steps, but as I prepared to take the photo two people walked down to the bench and stood there for fifteen minutes, going neither down nor up. That was strange; people usually use stairs to get somewhere!

Finally, I decided to just walk up and see what the deal was. I climbed up to where they were and (innocently) asked "Hi, are you guys looking for something?" It turned out to be a father and son doing the "challenge" available at the park office, sort of a treasure hunt with cryptic clues. It was actually kind of interesting, so I figured it would be most productive to put our heads together - they'd end up figuring out the next place they needed go, and I'd get the chance for the shot I wanted. After talking through some ideas for another ten minutes, plus several careful re-readings of the clue sheet, and the back end of a cell phone consultation with their "Mom" (who was at home, with Internet access), we decided that the "V.C." stamped on the bench must mean "Visitor Center". They headed off to the probable next clue, and I got an empty set of steps against a low sun and hazy clouds.

However - it still doesn't beat the time I waited an hour and half for a trout fisherman to leave so I could get a particular picture I wanted. I'll post about that rather Zen experience sometime later. (Still, I took advantage of the situation to learn about how to cast for trout by watching him.)

And yes, a definitive answer: there are 163 steps. I counted (again).

One Hundred Sixty-Three