September 2013

September 22, 2013

Saturday, September 22nd, was the autumnal equinox. The week preceding this first day of fall was unlike the pre-autumnal weeks to which I’ve grown accustom. Minnesota is known for its temperate weather where summer transitions to winter, and fall is a wish that rarely comes true. Bracing for the worst, this harvest season seems to be more summer than winter. Warm winds and dry air continue to bathe the parched landscape, and fall is hiding somewhere in the shadows. I don’t object to this extension of summer, but I can’t help wonder if our departure from the norm is a harbinger of the future. 

Autumnal Grasses - Tamarack Nature Center, Minnesota

September 22, 2013

Today is September 27th and it is 82 ℉. Dry winds continue to blow stealing the remnants of moisture from our depleted wetlands. The build up to this fall is unlike any that I can recall, but it seems as if it is a pattern that is destined to become familiar.

The Reflection - Tamarack Nature Center, Minnesota  September 22, 2013 

The Reflection - Tamarack Nature Center, Minnesota

September 22, 2013 

Self Portrait - Tamarack Nature Center, Minnesota

September 22, 2013 

©2000-2013 / Bruce & Tamy Leventhal. All rights reserved. No image on this site may be used without permission. 


Box of Chocolates

You never know what you’re going to get.

Sunday had the potential of being an epic day. Wolf pups were frequenting a hamlet near the North Shore, and I was in need of an adventure. After a bit of arm twisting and plan-shifting, I convinced my good friend Brian to join me on one final summer shoot. Having spent two weeks together photographing Costa Rica in July, and countless days in the field throughout the years, I knew that this wild idea had traction.

High-key Lake Superior - Kitchi Gammi Park, Duluth

We left our respective homes at 3:30 a.m. and coordinated a rendezvous near the northbound freeway. Bleary-eyed and unrested, we were in a race against dawn. First stop,... Lake Superior. 

Nearly three hours after consolidating the gear in one vehicle, the sun began its daily ascent. Masked by the big lake’s atmospherics, we knew that there was little time to find the optimal vista. As we sped through Duluth, we hit the Superior Scenic Highway and pulled off the road at Kitchi Gammi Park. The sun was now our enemy as it made its way through a shallow bank of clouds. I overestimated the cloud cover and knew that we now had less than twenty minutes of good light.

Wet Rocks - Kitchi Gammi Park, Duluth

Brian and I scrambled across the rocky surface to find “the spot” where we could each craft “the shot.” As if hiking along a forked trail, he banked south and I ran north. The light was less than magic, but the surf was rough and splashed aggressively at my feet. The wet rocks caught my eye as the sun broke through a thin layer of clouds. This was far from ideal, but I was not going to let bad light damper my excitement. Rather than seek some perfect exposure, I chose to shoot both high-key (overexposed) and low-key (underexposed) images. Here, the mood was more important than the subject. Being there and experiencing life trumped my trivial desire to achieve perfection

Low Key Lake Superior - Kitchi Gammi Park, Duluth

We never saw the wolves that day, nor made the great American landscape, but we didn’t let sleep interfere with the opportunity to seek out an adventure. This Great Lake is like a box of chocolates, sometimes you get the rich nougat and sometimes you get the mystery cream center than nobody likes.

©2000-2013 / Bruce & Tamy Leventhal. All rights reserved. No image on this site may be used without permission. 

Summer 2013 : Live Your Passion

It’s the annual end of summer post. For years I have blogged my ode to summer as a lament to the loss of freedom and a return to a year of work. At times I’ve eluded to a fabled purgatory or indentured servitude, but each of these references were always intended to be tongue in cheek.

Suburban Coyote (Canis latrans) - White Bear Lake, MN

Canon 50D + Canon 300mm f2.8IS L + Canon 1.4x converter

I am a conservation photographer and artist, but this is only one of my two passions. My work, “the job,” is to teach. Teaching biology and exploring the working of life’s biodiversity is my other passion. I’ve been playing the role of a teacher since 1992, and am now a seasoned actor. Once a young buck among a sea of future retirees, I am now the old guy. Yet, with 22 years in the bank, I’m not one of those wannabe’s looking to leave the profession.

The Singer - (Melospiza melody) , Chippewa Prairie Preserve, MN

Canon 5D mark III + Canon 300mm f2.8IS L

The onset of the school year is as exciting and tense as capturing an ephemeral moment with my camera at the break of dawn. I feel the same pressure and fear of failure during my first week back to work as I do when photographing a fleeting moment. This fear is tempered by the sense of potential that also floods my thoughts. Much like photography, teaching excites me. The unknown product of my efforts and desire to improve what I do each day is a redundancy in these two passions of mine.

Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) - North Central, WI

Canon 5D mark III + Canon 300mm f2.8IS L

It’s been a good summer. I’ve photographed the prairies of Minnesota, the deep woods of the Midwest, and the jungles of Costa Rica. I’ve explored the details in bird feathers and frog eyes and climbed mountains to catch the start of a new day. This will be a good year too. I will craft rich lessons that will illuminate young minds, and paint a picture of the life found on this Earth. So rather than author yet one more lament, just this once I’ll let the real truth speak for itself... this educator has a nice life ;-)

Chippewa State Park - Minnesota

Canon 5D Mark III + Canon 17-40mm f4.0L  

©2000-2013 / Bruce & Tamy Leventhal. All rights reserved. No image on this site may be used without permission.