Tag Archives: Fond du Lac

Colorful Tree

Colorful Tree

This has been an extremely strange autumn. In years past, the colors of the leaves seemed to peak around the first weekend of October, but we’re fast approaching week three and those colorful leaves still seems a few days away.

Last week I drove up in to almost Northern Wisconsin from Chicago and it was beautiful to watch the trees go from green, to a little colorful, to extremely colorful during the course of the five-hour drive. However, this weekend I visited my parents in rural Wisconsin and the trees there went from green leaves to leaf-less almost overnight. The southwest corner of Wisconsin struggled through a hearty drought, while the midwest portion of the state got steady rain throughout summer. The result was some places have colorful trees this fall, while other regions fall into the “not so much” category.

To gauge colors, I’ve been using The Weather Channel’s “Fall Foliage Map” for the last few years. The website seems to be only updated weekly, but it still gives a good idea of when to expect the trees to present their best colors.

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Fond du Lac Lighthouse

Built during the Great Depression, the Fond du Lac Lighthouse has become an iconic part of the city, being featured in the city’s logo, on signs throughout town, and (the obvious) marking the entryway to the Fond du Lac Yacht Club.

Inside of the forty-foot lighthouse is a winding stairwell offering visitors an opportunity to climb to the observation deck on the top (weather permitting) and get a full 365-degree view of Fond du Lac‘s Lakeside Park and Lake Winnebago.

During the winter months, the town places an image of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on the top of the lighthouse, using the beacon as Rudolph’s nose.

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Spinning Windmill Under Bright Stars

Standing outside on a cool summer’s night, I was trying to take decent pictures of the various windmills surrounding Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The windmills aren’t without their share of controversy, but for my sake, I was happy to find one nearby without the bright, red beacon blasting from the tip.

I really wanted to capture the windmills with stars in the background, and the blazing red beacon wouldn’t have been too ideal for what I was looking for. There is also something to be said about parking in the middle of a corn field watching a massive tower slowly turn in the night sky. As each car would pass by, I would hope it wasn’t a police officer, or worse-yet, the land owner, wondering what the creepy guy was doing in the middle of a corn field.

It wouldn’t be the first time I got in trouble with the police for taking pictures, but it’s still something I’d like to avoid none-the-less.

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Farming in Fond du Lac

In the last ten years, the farm fields near where I grew up have blossomed into a new type of farming industry.

Wind farming.

The business of wind farming has polarized some neighbors against each other, and been a financial windfall for others. Even when I was parked on the side of the road taking this picture, a young upper-20s gentleman drove by in his Jeep and then turned around to offer me his opinion.

Like politics, religion and music, everyone seems to have a passioned opinion of windmills. I’m curious how much money each windmill brings into the land owner, and how many people got shut-out because their neighbor put up a windmill and now it’d be too close if they did it.

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Brightly-colored Leaves

Autumn is my favorite time of the year as I love the colors of the trees and the crispness in the air. (I’m also a big fan of apples.)

I’ve blocked off a number of days this year to go out and shoot the changing colors. It’s always an “educated guess” with reserving a week or two several months out, but even the front and back end of those dates can be beautiful. Fortunately, there are a number of websites that track the fall foliage (like the Weather Channel’s) so I’ll check them regularly and pack a few energy drinks for when the timing is right.

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Posted in Nature Also tagged |

Half Moon in the Night Sky

Last week I was driving along the highway shortly after midnight and looked to the east as the moon peaked over the horizon. Earth’s natural satellite looked enormous in the night sky, so I took the next exit and drove about a mile off of the highway to photograph it.

I’m surprised how quickly the moon (and sun) move in the sky. When standing outside and looking directly at it, the moon doesn’t move very much. The closer one looks the more noticeable the movement.  When framed inside my camera’s lens, every minute or so I’d have to change my composition to keep the moon in the frame.

By the way, the above image is heavily cropped. I don’t have one of those crazy big lenses to zoom all the way in to explore the moon. Once I got home and downloaded the images into the computer, it’s fun to blow up the moon’s image and look at the surface and all the craters.

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Lighthouse Protecting Boats in the Harbor

Previously I’ve written how I think my weak spot for lighthouses comes from the growing up near the Fond du Lac Lighthouse. (You can read that blog entry by clicking here.) So recently when I visited Fond du Lac, Wisconsin for a few days, of course I had to swing by the lighthouse.

This image was taken shortly after the sun cleared the trees, giving everything a nice, soft glow in the morning light.

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Generating Power Under the Night Sky

Growing up in Wisconsin we had two enormous wind turbines not far from the house. They quietly stood on top of a small hill next to the expressway churning out electricity. As the years passed more and more wind turbines popped up, until there are now nearly 50 in the area I grew up.

Many of the giant wind mills have a red light on top and they’ll blink simultaneously with other nearby wind mills. Other times, because there are so many turbines, a few will have the red beacons turned off as not to send the local residents in complete disarray with all of the blinking lights.

I’ve been meaning to get over to one of them on a pleasant day and I did just that this past week. However, as I was snapping a few images of the wind turbine in the sun, I thought it’d be fun to come back at night and shoot some under the stars.

So Tuesday night, leaving the house at 10:30PM, my brother and I made our way to a wind mill I had already checked out earlier in the day (I wanted one not moving and off on a quiet road as to not have ambient light from passing cars showing up in the pictures).

This is one of the pictures taken that night. I’m surprised how peaceful and quiet the night was, and how slightly creepy the wind mill was as it ever-so-slightly turned itself around.

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Changing Leaves

Autumn seems to have come and gone very quickly this year.  For being my favorite time of year, I didn’t get as much photography in as I would have liked.

Like any fan of the Chicago Cubs, “there’s always next year.”

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Posted in Nature Also tagged |

Fond du Lac Lighthouse at Sunset

Growing up, I would often visit my grandparents in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  The bedroom I would sleep in was upstairs and faced the Fond du Lac Lighthouse.  During the winter, the city of Fond du Lac will decorate Lakeside Park with a plethora of holiday lights and the marquee decoration seems to be a cut-out of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on the top of the lighthouse.  Rudolph’s nose would be the lighthouse’s blinking red beacon.

For a kid, it was the coolest thing ever: after climbing into bed, I would watch Rudolph’s nose blink on the top of the lighthouse until I drifted off to sleep.

I’m fairly certain that’s why, even now, I have a weak spot in my heart for lighthouses.

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Fond du Lac Lighthouse at Sunrise

This is the Fond du Lac lighthouse, located at the Southern end of Lake Winnebago, at the entrance to the Yacht Club.

I was up visiting my mom for a day or two and wanted to get up one morning to take pictures of our nearby lighthouse at sunrise.  So, at 6AM my alarm goes off and as I’m getting ready to head out my mom said she’d like to come along.  I warn her it’ll be boring and cold, but sure!

So, my mom and I sat in the car waiting for whatever Mother Nature would present.  Eventually, there was about twenty seconds of sunshine peaking through the clouds before the sunlight went away for the rest of the morning and, keeping with tradition of my friend Danny and I, my mom and I went for breakfast.  I do love me some breakfast after an early morning photo shoot!

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Yellow Flower and Bee

On my desktop are a boatload of flower pictures that I need to decide what to do with: upload them to Facebook, put them on this blog, dump them to Flickr, etc.  This spring I feel like I have been obsessed with flower photography, moreso I feel like I’m obsessed with getting shots of bees pollinating flowers.

It’s a basic principle of life we learned about in grade school.  The flower creates pollen, and bees carry that pollen from one flower to another, thus allowing the flower to reproduce itself.  When I bought my macro lens, I saw — for the first time with my own eyes — pollen on the legs of a fly about to be carried to another flower.  There was something about that small world that I was intrigued by.

Last weekend I was up visiting my mom and staked out some nearby flowers.  On the sunny day of my visit, the flowers had opened to the sunshine and bees were working their magic.  This particular bee doesn’t have as much pollen on its body, but I still like all of the detail visible in the little guy.

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This dog, Caesar, is one of the most active dogs you will ever encounter in your life. To this day, I still have no idea how I got him to sit while I laid in the grass and took a picture of him with the rainbow in the background. I probably had 0.0000003 seconds to snap this image of him before he bolted away.

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