The Grand Marais Photographer July 1 Newsletter

 In Newsletter

Summer is always busy in Grand Marais. In mid-June things start to pick up and by July 4th, the town is in full swing with lots of tourists coming to town to hang out by Lake Superior, lounge in its natural air conditioning and enjoy skipping stones. For people that live here, it’s busy. We have three months to make a year’s worth of living, so we work long hours with little time off. With all the work, I’m a little surprised that everyone keeps a smile on his or her face. But, that’s the thing about Grand Marais. It’s fun to live here and it’s fun to visit, so everyone stays in high spirits. Most of my email subscribers have a connection to Grand Marais, so you’ve probably been here. If you haven’t you should plan a trip sometime. There’s not a better place in the midwest for photography.

Finding a Strong Photography Foreground

Sunrise from Artist's Point, Grand Marais, Cook County, MNLandscape photos often need a strong foreground to draw your view in. A foreground is the element in the picture that is closest to you when you take a picture and is at the bottom of the photo. Something in the foreground should capture a viewer’s attention and, especially for Lake Superior photography, lead the viewer’s eyes into the scene, across the middle part of the photo to the background.

When you photograph a  landscape before you set up your tripod and camera look around to find something interesting to put in the foreground. Try to make it one subject that you can define with a word, phrase or short sentence and make it fill up the bottom third of the frame. Ask yourself if your viewers would find it interesting. If not, find a different foreground.

In the example here, the foreground is the rock with the two puddles and the basalt rock. The basalt rock comes to a point which leads the viewer out into the middle of the photo and across Lake Superior to the background, which in this photo is the distant shoreline and the color in the sunrise.

Once you find a strong foreground, walk around it until something interesting in the background lines up, and then shoot away. If you haven’t tried this before, you’ll be surprised by how much more interesting your pictures become.

Shameless Self Promo

Check out what I found out about when I opened my mail the other day:

Bryan Hansel is a fiscal year 2012 recipient of a Small Capital Grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council which is funded with money from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008, and an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature.

Earlier this year I wrote a grant to get a new computer to handle the files from my current camera, a Nikon D800 and the new Lightroom. Now that I know I got the grant, I can move forward with my Kickstarter project, A Photographer’s Guide to Minnesota’s North Shore. I have some work to do before I can get the project online, such as pay a graphic designer to mockup an example page, make a video and put together the Kickstarter page, but I’m shooting for the end of August to start the Kickstarter. I’m aiming to raise $3000 which will pay for the designer, travel, my time writing and some of the D800 that I want to shoot the project with. Backers will get monthly updates which will include a new location and the finished eBook. I’ll also have rewards such as prints and private photography workshops.

Speaking of photography workshops, I just put out the 2013 schedule. Here’s what the rest of 2012 and 2013 looks like:

2012 Photography Workshops

2013 Photography Workshops

  • February 8 to 10, 2013 – Winter on Lake Superior Photography Workshop at Aspen Lodge in Grand Marais.
  • April 19 to 21, 2013 – Spring Waterfall Photography Workshop at Aspen Lodge in Grand Marais.
  • September 25 to 29, 2013 – North Shore Fall Photography Workshop at Aspen Lodge in Grand Marais.
  • November 8 to 10, 2013 – Gales of November Photography Workshop at Aspen Lodge in Grand Marais.

If you are or you know someone that’s interested in photography, a weekend workshop is a great gift and way to get a lot of knowledge, practice quickly. They’re also good fun. You’ll meet other photographers and get to spend time photographing some of the best locations in the northwoods.

The five-day fall photography workshops are new for me. This fall will be my first workshops of that length. So far I have four people confirmed. I’d like to get that to six, so if you’re interested, let me know and please, pass this info along to your friends.

More info about my photography workshops is here.

Select Photos from Grand Marais and Cook County in June

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Showing 2 comments
  • Martha Wightman

    Love your photos Bryan. The pics bring back many many memories of Grand Marais! Lots of leading canoe trips from GM. Starts from Gunflint Lake, Seagul, Trails End campground and also out of Ely! ???? How are the levels of water in the lakes this year??? What is the status of Forest Fires in Superior and BWCAW? Thank you for your photos Bryan!

    • Bryan

      Thanks, Martha.

      I haven’t spent much time on inland lakes, but Lake Superior is about at normal levels and Devil Track Lake is a little high. We’ve been wet. I haven’t heard of any fires in the forest or the BWCA. Earlier, Ely had a bad one.

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Lightning strike of Split Rock Lighthouseblue sunset over Two Island Lake