Carol Wolfe Photography

UP Michigan

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Sunset at Seney

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Not So Foggy Sunrise

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Reeds and Reflection

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Foggy Pond at Sunrise

I used to live in Michigan, and I still go back from time to time for a visit. This page shows some of my favorite shots from various trips I have taken to the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan. During my first couple trips to the UP, I attended photography workshops by Rod Planck. Thanks to his workshops, not only did I learn a lot about photography, I also made some new friends. And now when I visit the UP, I usually go there with friends. Most of the shots on this page were from an 8-day trip to Seney National Wildlife Refuge in August 2006. Other shots were from prior trips.

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Dew-Covered Web

Calm conditions and a tripod are essential for a shot like this. I used my Nikon micro 200 mm lens and opened up the aperture to reduce the depth of field, thus allowing me to focus on the web while blurring the grassy background . The wide aperture allowed me to set a relatively fast shutter speed, which reduced movement from wind.

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Afternoon Dragonfly

It was a bright and sunny afternoon when we arrived at the meadow to stalk dragonflies. I used fill flash, mounted with a bracket to the camera. This helped even out the high contrast in the lighting. It also enabled me to use a quicker speed, thus "freezing" the motion, but still I used a tripod for stability. To get close, I used the Nikon 200 mm micro lens.

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Foggy Pond at Sunrise

This was a favorite sunrise location at Seney National Wildlife Refuge during my eight day visit to attend a Rod Planck Photography workshop with three photographer friends. On some mornings we framed the entire landscape, and other mornings we got closer--as seen in the "Reeds and Reflections" shot on the right.

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Foggy Morning Pond

Does this shot look familiar It appears at the top left corner of my webpage! I like the way it looks with the gray border. This is one of my favorite sunrise shots from my week long visit to Seney National Wildlife Refuge while attending a Rod Planck workshop with friends.

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Not-So-Foggy Pond

This shot is quite similar to the shot above. It shows the same location, but on a different morning. This morning was not quite so foggy as the morning shown above. Also it was a little bit later in the morning (7:09 AM for this shot and 6:44 AM for the one above it), which explains why the trees are well lit.

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Morning Trumpeter Swans

Using my little 70-300 zoom lens, it was difficult to get a closeup shot of swans. This was about the best I could do. My friends were shooting with 500 mm, so they could have isolated a single swan. But I didn't mind the limitation. I had fun being there, hanging out, and doing my best to get somewhat senic shots.

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Evening Swans

The light was dim, and there was no way that I could stop the action of these birds. So instead, I decided to try something new. I reduced the shutter speed intentionally to increase the length of time of the shot. I kept following the birds as they walked along through the shallow water and mud. I snapped numerous shots, hoping to catch a somewhat abstract bit of action. And this is what I got.

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Bog Landscape

This is not a magnificent photo, but it shows the general setting where I got shots such as dew covered spider webs, dew covered insects, and dewy blades of grass, just to name a few. There were several bogs and fields that we visited shortly after getting our foggy sunrise shots at the nearby ponds. The key to a good dewy shot was to arrive before the sun rose high enough to evaporate the dew.

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Caterpillar in the Bog

I found this caterpillar in the same bog shown in the photograph above it. It was also the same day, and just a half hour apart.

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Dewy Spider

This lovely lady was hanging out on her web when I found her. It was the last morning of my trip. This was the same field where I had previously found the spider web, butterfly, and damselfly (shown earlier on this page). I was able to focus on the main part of the body, but being as close as I was, the "tail end" started to get blurry.

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Cattail

Cattails are common in a wetland, so I figured I might as well make the most of it. On this same day, one of the folks on our trip found out the hard way that bogs can be a lot like quick sand!

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Tiger Beetle

This is one of the few shots that I got while NOT inside the boundaries of Seney Wildlife Preserve. We went north this afternoon to find tiger beetles hanging out in the hot sunny sand. It was quite a "sport" to stalk these guys and photograph them. Of many tries, this is the only one worth sharing.

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Stalking a Tiger Beetle

My friend stalked a tiger beetle using bracket to hold the flash. This was one of the few times that any of us shot without a tripod. Thanks to the flash, the action was stopped, so the stability of a tripod was not needed. (Of course, when stalking my friend in this setting, I also neglected to use a tripod!)

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Vertical Sunset Scenic

I normall woud shoot this type of shot with a horizontal framing. However the vertical frame does allow me to show quite a bit of depth and distance--from the reeds in the front to the trees in the back, and the pond in between. This shot shows the mood each evening as we shot and chatted, and just enjoyed being at Seney.

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Dew-Covered Butterfly

Each morning, after sunrise, we found a dew-covered field or bog. We worked on a variety of subjects until the shade disappeared and the sun caused the dew to evaporate. This butterfly was cold and heavy with dew. It sat on the branch for nearly an hour. I used my Nikon D200 and my 200 mm micro lens.

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Dewy Damselfly

I found this damselfly on the second-to-last morning of my trip to the UP in the same field where I had just seen the dew covered butterfly. The damselfly was sitting on a dried up flower stalk, too cold and too heavy to fly. I lined up the camera so that its wings were parallel to the lens so that the entire wing would be in focus. 

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Dewy Grass Blade

I like the simplicity of this shot, which I got using my Nikon 200 mm micro lens. I got about as close as I could and then opened up the aperture to reduce depth of field. I wanted the grass and dew drop to be in perfect focus and everything else to be a blur. I like the way the scenery is reflected in the drop of water.

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Reeds and Reflection on Pond

A few years ago, I never would have "seen" this shot even though it was right there in front of me. Rod Planck helped me make this photo by suggesting that I focus only on the reeds and reflections, and how they are arranged in the frame. This photograph was selected for the New River Art 2007 Ninth Biennial Exhibition presented by the Blacksburg Regional Art Association. This was a juried art show, and my photograph was one of about 35 pieces accepted.

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Sunrise

This was a fun shot because it was somewhat unintentional. While Rod Planck was setting a function on the D200 that he let me borrow, I pretended to act impatient. I got out my small point and shoot Nikon "coolpix" camera and simply snapped this shot while pretending to complain sarcastically, "Take your time, Rod. I am in no hurry at all. I have my backup camera right here and it works just as well as that one." It turned out to be a pretty nice shot, set with a rather wide angle view. 

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Foggy Silhouettes

Once Rod fixed the settings on the D200 (see story above), I put away the point and shoot Coolpix and got serious. The trees shown here can be seen in the wider angle shot (look on the island on the right), but this view is significantly closer because I was using my 200 mm lens. I think I prefer the wider shot (above) but I like the mood of this one, too.

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More Foggy Silhouettes

Here is another shot similar to the one above it. I think this one is ok, but on problem is that the trees kind of form a clump-up rather than showing their individual shapes.

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Sunset at Seney

It was late in the day, and we were about to pack up and head back to our small motel. But then we looked toward the west and saw bright color in the sky. We jumped into the vehicles and drove about a half mile down the road and got shots like this one.

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Swans Just Prior to Sunset

Remember the red sky photo shown above? Well this is what we were photographing just before we noticed the red sky in the distance toward the west. In this shot, we are looking mostly south, trying to photograph these swans. My friends had longer lenses, so they could get closer than I could. I had to stick with a scenic shot and make due with that. I got this shot at about 8:30 and I got the red shot (above) about 20 minutes later.

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Venus Rising

Click on this image to get a closer view... I call this shot "Venus Rising" because that is exactly what Venus is doing! Venus is located closer to the sun than Earth, so the only time we can see it is when we are generally looking toward the sun. If anyone ever tells you that Venus rises at sunset, tell them they must be wrong!

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Silhouettes at Sunrise

As much as I liked the shot of Venus, the sky seemed a bit empty. So I decided to try something that would fill the frame more completely. so, I zoomed in a bit, and shifted the frame. I usually try to avoid having a dark line or horizon running through the middle of a vertical frame, but I think this one is ok since the trees reflect so nicely in the water.

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Photographers at Sunrise

One thing that makes photography more fun, is sharing it with friends. I got this shot shortly after the foggy sunrise shot that sits at the very top left corner of this page. Two of these guys and I have been on several trips together, and counting.

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Photographing a Foggy Pond

I got this shot about ten minutes before I got the shot of the three guys above. I often try to "sneak" photos of my friends, but rarely do I get a shot as nice as this one.

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Friends and Me

I went over to chat with two of my friends while someone else snuck over to my camera and got this shot! I'm the one with the stylish striped hood!

Also check http://woodlandspring.blogspot.com/ for more of my photography.