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Adventures on Sand Creek

It was a busy weekend for me. On Saturday I ran the Tri-Loppet, but didn't do quite as well as I had hoped. This year they combined the solo and doubles divisions, so I had to compete against people who were paired up in 19-foot racing canoes with my 14-foot kayak. Since the paddle is about half the event, it makes a difference! Still, you can't complain too much because there's some inherent "unfairness" from the fact it's BYOB. I ended up coming in 37th in my division, but have to give some shouts out to Justin (who came in 4th), Erl (16th), and Kelly (4th in women's).

But the highlight of the weekend was our Sunday trip down Sand Creek in Jordan. This is a little-known creek rising in the farm country of southern Scott County. It flows north and west into and through the town of Jordan, and then crosses under Hwy 169 and continues to Louisville Swamp and shortly after to the Minnesota River across from Carver. But it has a reputation for good whitewater - and with the plentiful rain this summer, it delivered.


Some pretty tough strainers in this creek.

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Riverbend Nature Center

It's the location of our second winter meet of the year. Like our first one at Afton State Park, it was set as a 90-minute Score-O. Justin and Molly set 21 controls scattered around the nature center, in a bend of the Straight River (ha ha) on the southeast edge of Faribault.

Course description behind the jump, as usual.


February 13th, 2011 course at Riverbend Nature Center.

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A Bit More Fall

Whoops - forgot a few photos that I wanted to post in my last batch of teleshots. So here they are.


A quiet walk at Afton State Park.

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Two Hundred Millimeters

The second lens I bought for my SLR (other than the one that came with it) was a 200 mm fixed telephoto lens that opens up to f/2.8 for those low light situations. I've been slowly learning how to use it over the last few months, and here are some of the results.


Juniper seeds are yummy.

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All Natural Potpourri

No, I haven't stopped playing with my toys. A potpourri of more nature photography from the past few months.

Paddling


Lake Superior, in fog.

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The "Devil Track"

What a great name for a river! It's up on the north shore of Lake Superior, starting in the swampy headwaters of Minnesota's northeasternmost county, flowing south and east until it reaches a choke point in the coastal hills near Sawtooth Bluff and backs up as Devil Track Lake. The next four miles downstream from the lake, the river cuts a deep gorge through the Proterozoan rock and finally lets out into Lake Superior a few miles east of Grand Marais. In spring melt it becomes a completely wild river, full of twists, bends, cascades, occasional waterfalls, and very few places to climb out of the gorge that's often filled wall to wall. By late summer, however, the flow diminishes enough to expose much of the canyon floor, and the river becomes an attractive target for a little bit of "canyoneering". A few days ago, I just so happened to be in Grand Marais, and took that opportunity on a cloudless Sunday morning.

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Anemone

I've been watching the condition at Wolsfeld Woods over the past couple of weeks - unfortunately, it looks like the dry sunny weather is resulting in a short season for the spring wildflowers. The trees are starting to leaf out rapidly, but there's a few nice touches.


More pictures behind the link.

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A New Toy

So I'm now the happy owner of a new DSLR. Based on a combination of Internet research and some scuttlebutt from people "in the know", I ended up getting a Canon Rebel T2i (also branded as the 550D). It's a brand-new camera model, just released in the last few weeks, and it has essentially the same guts as the 7D. In fact, it's so new that neither Apple nor Adobe has released a RAW compatibility update yet - I found this out the hard way because I automatically set the mode to RAW when I got it, but wasn't able to import the pictures when I got home. Thankfully, the Canon software that came with the camera will export a TIFF and thus tide me over until the vendors catch up.

So a couple days later, I went out to capture the early spring.


Sharp-lobed hepatica at Standing Cedars.

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Why I Like Grand Marais

One of my favorite destinations on the North Shore is the town of Grand Marais. As well as being the gateway to the Gunflint Trail, it's filled with great shops, restaurants, and galleries, and hosts a very progressive community of painters, sculptors, and other artists.

And true to reputation, Grand Marais has also been good to me for photography.


Watching the sunset.

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Ice on Lake Superior

A fitting post, for the middle of summer.


Looks like the Arctic Ocean!

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