Equipment Does Matter; Equipment Doesn’t Matter

starburst and field of flowers

There’s a pseudo-debate in photography that has been going on for awhile, but it flares up now and then and it has recently. The debate goes like this: equipment doesn’t matter, because you can make good photos with whatever camera equipment that you have with you. The other side of the debate says, equipment does […]

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How to Use Singh-Ray’s Mor-Slo Filters to Create Long Exposures (April Newsletter)

long exposure created with a Singh-Ray Mor-Slo

It must be spring, because I’m thinking of waterfalls photography and how to create that silky, soft look with water. If you’ve been following my photography, you know that many of my photos use that effect to even out the surface of Lake Superior or the ocean to carry the sky’s color throughout the scene. […]

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The Full Moon Shot behind the Grand Marais Lighthouse is in Jeopardy

grand marais lighthouse and full moon

In August, the full moon rises directly behind the Grand Marais lighthouse if you stand near the boat ramp in the campground and recreation park. It’s a popular shot to get and photographers come to Grand Marais specifically to get this shot. I’ve been in the location shooting the moon rising with up to 40+ other […]

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Photography is Exploration, Discovery and Reward

selfie night shot with headlamp

In January, I wrote about how I thought that Photography is Curiosity, Creativity, Math, Science and Imagination. It’s now March and I still feel the same (us creative types can sometimes change our minds quickly), but as I said when I wrote that article I feel that photography is much more than those five things. […]

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What Happens When You Stack Filters? Is it sharp enough? Is the color good enough?

Standing on fast ice next to Lake Superior. Minnesota

What a brutal winter, eh? But it has been perfect for photography. In Grand Marais, the sun rises over Lake Superior and it sets over Lake Superior, which is what makes it the perfect location for Winter Lake Superior Photography Workshops. And this time of year is when I start my first workshops of the […]

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Northern Night Skies: Night Photography Workshop

night sky photography workshop location

Cook County, Minnesota on the north shore of Lake Superior is 92% public and undeveloped land. With a summer population of about 10,000 people mainly living near the shore of Lake Superior, there isn’t much in the way of night pollution. When it’s dark out, the stars fill the sky, the Milky Way is bright […]

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Photography is Curiosity, Creativity, Math, Science and Imagination

Eight- to 12-foot waves break against the breakwater basalt near Grand Marais. The sun sets over the Sawtooths. Cook County, Minnesota.

One reason that I love photography is that it combines many different engaging elements, including some of my favorite aspects of life: curiosity, creativity, math, science and imagination. While photography is much more than just curiosity, creativity, math, science and imagination, when you start to practice and use these elements in your photography, your images will […]

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January Newsletter: How to Photograph Boiling Water Turning into Snow

throwing boiling water to watch it turn to snow

This month, we’re going to talk about how to photograph boiling water turning into snow. If you live in the cold northland, you’ve probably tried this trick before. You boil water, head outside, throw it into the air and watch it turn to snow. It’s great fun for kids (and adults) on a freezing cold […]

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2014 Lake Superior Photography Workshop Teaching Philosophy and Topics

The morning sun cast low light across Oberg Lake during the fall color. Lutsen, Minnesota

Before the beginning of each new year, I like to look back on my workshops by gather together all the feedback forms that I received throughout the year and rereading them and thinking about how I taught the workshops and what I think people learned. I also like to look at the slideshows, which I’ll […]

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December Newsletter: Keep Your Hands Warm During Winter Photography

Sunrise over Lake Superior at Cascade River State Park, Cook County, Minnesota.

With the massive amounts of snow that we’ve gotten over the last few days, it’s hard to think back about November. November is always about changes. The land starts to freeze and then it thaws and then it freezes. It’s a fun, but challenging time for photography, especially because your hands start to get cold […]

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Winter on Lake Superior Photography Workshop 2014

picture from a winter lake superior photography workshop

In February, Lake Superior starts to freeze. Thick sheets of pack ice get pushed up onto the shore making a maze of blue ice to walk through. This ice also makes an interesting subject to photograph — the deep blue of the ice contrasts with the splash of color during the sunrise and sunset, which […]

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Spring Waterfall Photography Workshop on Lake Superior

Shore shore of Lake Superior waterfall

In April, the winter’s snowpack melts off of the Minnesota highland surrounding Lake Superior and rushes down narrow canyons and over hundreds of waterfalls. The waterfalls thunder, the ground shakes and it feels like life reborn. No other time of the year allow for the dynamic photography of waterfalls along Lake Superior like spring does. […]

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2014 Northern Nightscapes Calendar

northern lightscapes calendar cover

Over 2013, I shot the night sky more than usual and ended up with enough images to put together a night sky calendar. All of these images are of the night sky near Grand Marais. So, this year, there are two choices of calendars from me. You can get one for home and one for […]

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November Newsletter: The Prime Challenge

a tree over the clouds in the Smoky Moutains

Typically, October is a month of rest and recovery and calm in the northwoods. Grand Marais gets slow, the woods change from showy to a state of waiting for winter. It gets easy to find a seat in a restaurant and the weather is great. It wasn’t a calm month for me though. I ran […]

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2014 Northern Landscapes Calendar

cover of Bryan Hansel calendar 2014

The last year has been a good one for my photography. I’ve felt like I’ve really pushed myself to get outside and photograph more often, but I also feel like I’m making more images that way that I envisioned them. I think that’s reflected in this year’s calendar — although last year’s calendar was pretty […]

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October Newsletter: How to Shoot Star Trails

The sun rises behind the tombolo on Lake Superior near Grand Marais, Cook County, Minnesota.

Another September and another year is gone in Grand Marais. For some reason, I always think of the middle of October as the start of a new year, because in Grand Marais our summer season is basically when we make money. We have about 2.5 months to make enough money to last the rest of […]

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September Newsletter: Basic Night Sky Lightroom Preset

person with headlamp standing under the night sky

August Wrap-Up August was a busy month in the Grand Marais area, it kicked in with Fisherman’s Picnic, then we had the Grand Portage Rendezvous Days and Powwow. That was followed by an extremely busy week for kayak guiding, which was followed by another extremely busy week of kayak guiding. And then, everything stopped and […]

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Great Smoky Mountains Fall Photography Workshop

Sunset from Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains.

Before I moved to Grand Marais, I used to spend springs in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and I’ve backpacked 100s of miles in the park. I recently returned to the park for a few days and everywhere I went screamed fall colors. The good news is that the fall colors in the Smokies […]

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