Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area, Wisconsin – Part 2

Those looking for a nice weekend or day trip from Chicago, Northern Illinois, or Wisconsin should check out the natural features near Baraboo, Wisconsin.
This post is my second on Ableman’s Gorge.

Ableman’s Gorge is a classic gorge cut by the Baraboo River through Baraboo quartzite, Cambrian sandstone, and conglomerate. The cliffs and rocky slopes rise about 200 feet above the river to form a wall nearly three-fourths of a mile long, oriented east-west, which then abruptly turns south for a similar distance. The latter portion is 250-450 feet wide and is composed of irregular quartzite cliffs. Spectacular unconformable contacts with younger Cambrian sandstone can be seen on both the north and south sides of the Precambrian Baraboo quartzite. The exposures of the unconformity between the ancient quartzite and the overlying sandstone are world famous. The site tells a fascinating geological story of changing conditions in an ancient sea that first rose quietly against a cliff of quartzite and then, as layers of sediments gradually decreased the relief between sea floor and land, surged against the top of the cliff, wearing away quartzite and depositing a layer of cobbles and boulders across its upturned edge. Erosional forces and a former quarrying operation in the southern part of the natural area have re-exposed these long buried layers. Nowhere in the Midwest is such a sequence of events so displayed. The cool, moist, north-facing slopes shelter plants more typical of northern Wisconsin, including hemlock, yellow birch, mountain maple and Canada yew. The groundlayer contains numerous ferns and includes species such as Virginia water-leaf and Canada mayflower. The area is widely used for geology research and a plaque honors researcher Charles Van Hise, who formulated some of his principles of structural deformation and metamorphism here. Ableman’s Gorge is owned by the DNR and the University of Wisconsin and was designated a State Natural Area in 1969.

Ableman’s Gorge Directions

The DNR provides directions but fails to mention there are two sections to the park. Be sure to visit both. There is parking near Van Hise Rock on one side of state highway 136 and just down the road, there is a second parking area on the other side of 136.

Feature Image Details

For the feature image, I used a Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens at ISO 125, 17mm, 0.8 seconds at F20.

Using F-stops above 16 are not advisable. But that is what I did. It is better to use focus bracketing and stack images. It would have been easy to do in this image, but this shot was taken a number of years ago befire I learned that technique.

The foreground leaves and rock were not moving so the procedure would have been a piece of cake.

Ableman’s Gorge Tips

  • This park photographs best on a cloudy day.
  • Perfect conditions would be bright overcast, with little wind, with wet rocks just after a rain.
  • Light drizzle works very well is there is little wind.
  • The rain saturates the leaves as well as the purple and pink quartzite.
  • Use a polarizer to remove glare.

Polarizer Tips

People misuse polarizers. I generally do not use them on sunny days, especially if I have a lot of sky in the image. Why? The polarizer will darken the sky in a very non-uniform manner that is hard to correct even in Photoshop.

I often use polarizers on cloudy days and did so with many of these images.

That’s my car in the preceding image. I had my wife, Liz, drive real slow towards me. My Tripod was on the highway.

There are not a lot of trails. So don’t expect long hikes.

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Nearby Locations

Devil’s Lake State Park, Parfrey’s Glen, Pewits Nest, and the International Crane Foundation are close by.

I have an entire series on the International Crane Foundation. That link will take you to some of them. Look for those tagged “Mish Moments”.

Click on the link for a search, or better yet, scroll through my Mish Moments Home Page until you find them.

I will cover Devil’s Lake State Park, Parfrey’s Glen, and Pewits Nest in subsequent articles.

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow MishMoments.

Please follow. I do not give away or share email addresses!

Thanks!

Coming up: More images from Ableman’s Gorge, then a new location near Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area, Wisconsin – Part 1

Those looking for a nice weekend or day trip from Chicago, Northern Illinois, or Wisconsin should check out the natural features near Baraboo, Wisconsin.
This post covers Ableman’s Gorge.

Ableman’s Gorge is a classic gorge cut by the Baraboo River through Baraboo quartzite, Cambrian sandstone, and conglomerate. The cliffs and rocky slopes rise about 200 feet above the river to form a wall nearly three-fourths of a mile long, oriented east-west, which then abruptly turns south for a similar distance. The latter portion is 250-450 feet wide and is composed of irregular quartzite cliffs. Spectacular unconformable contacts with younger Cambrian sandstone can be seen on both the north and south sides of the Precambrian Baraboo quartzite. The exposures of the unconformity between the ancient quartzite and the overlying sandstone are world famous. The site tells a fascinating geological story of changing conditions in an ancient sea that first rose quietly against a cliff of quartzite and then, as layers of sediments gradually decreased the relief between sea floor and land, surged against the top of the cliff, wearing away quartzite and depositing a layer of cobbles and boulders across its upturned edge. Erosional forces and a former quarrying operation in the southern part of the natural area have re-exposed these long buried layers. Nowhere in the Midwest is such a sequence of events so displayed. The cool, moist, north-facing slopes shelter plants more typical of northern Wisconsin, including hemlock, yellow birch, mountain maple and Canada yew. The groundlayer contains numerous ferns and includes species such as Virginia water-leaf and Canada mayflower. The area is widely used for geology research and a plaque honors researcher Charles Van Hise, who formulated some of his principles of structural deformation and metamorphism here. Ableman’s Gorge is owned by the DNR and the University of Wisconsin and was designated a State Natural Area in 1969.

Ableman’s Gorge Directions

The DNR provides directions but fails to mention there are two sections to the park. Be sure to visit both. There is parking near Van Hise Rock on one side of state highway 136 and just down the road, there is a second parking area on the other side of 136.

Feature Image Details

For the feature image, I used a Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens at ISO 200, 45mm, 1/6 of a second at F16.

Ableman’s Gorge Tips

  • This park photographs best on a cloudy day.
  • Perfect conditions would be bright overcast, with little wind, with wet rocks just after a rain.
  • Light drizzle works very well is there is little wind.
  • The rain saturates the leaves as well as the purple and pink quartzite.
  • Use a polarizer to remove glare.

Polarizer Tips

People misuse polarizers. I generally do not use them on sunny days, especially if I have a lot of sky in the image. Why? The polarizer will darken the sky in a very non-uniform manner that is hard to correct even in Photoshop.

I often use polarizers on cloudy days.

Those images were all taken within a 100-yard area at most. There are not a lot of trails. So don’t expect long hikes.

In the Spring, there are lots of wildflowers, especially in the other section.

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Nearby Locations

Devil’s Lake State Park, Parfrey’s Glen, Pewits Nest, and the International Crane Foundation are close by.

I have an entire series on the International Crane Foundation. That link will take you to some of them. Look for those tagged “Mish Moments”.

Click on the link for a search, or better yet, scroll through my Mish Moments Home Page until you find them.

I will cover Devil’s Lake State Park, Parfrey’s Glen, and Pewits Nest in subsequent articles.

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow MishMoments.

Please follow. I do not give away or share email addresses!

Thanks!

Coming up: More images from Ableman’s Gorge, then a new location near Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Woodstock Illinois: Opera House, Courthouse in Autumn Plus “Groundhog Day” Winter Scene

The classic 1993 film “Groundhog Day” allegedly filmed in Punxsutawney and Gobbler’s Knob Pennsylvania was in reality mostly filmed 575 miles away, in Woodstock, Illinois.

The feature image is of the Woodstock Opera House that appears in many scenes.

The town square is nice and there are a lot of good restaurants.

Here’s a Walking Tour of Downtown Woodstock.

The Legend

Each year, on February 2, Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, a long-time resident of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, comes out of his home in Gobbler’s Knob (about 2 miles east of town) to predict the weather for the rest of winter. In front of all the townfolks and thousands of his followers from all over the world, Phil looks for his shadow. If he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, spring will be coming early this year.

Feature Image Details

For the feature image, I used a Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L Tilt-Shift Lens at ISO 400, 1/15 of a second at F16.

This is a fixed focal length lens, not a zoom.

It has tilt/shift capability that I primarily use in shift mode. If you are familiar with the unsightly effect of pointing up at trees or buildings, you can correct that distortion by shifting the lens up rather than pointing the camera up.

Tips

  • This Opera House image requires patience and lots of it. I camped out for hours in one spot, shooing away any cars that tried to park in front of the building. Everyone cooperated. Most cooperated happily, one reluctantly. The cars to the right were there all day. Had they been parked in front of the building, the image would have bee ruined.
  • I took this shot mid-week. Forget about having a clear view on Friday or Saturday, or for that matter almost anytime you are not shooing cars away.
  • A sunny day works well but you need to know how to bring out shadow details.
  • In Autumn, this scene is mostly backlit but right at sunset expect extreme sidelight. There were some high thin clouds that helped even out the light.

Here are some images of the courthouse as seen from the town square.

 

Winter Scene

I took the Winter scene with the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L Tilt-Shift Lens as well. Canon also makes a 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lens.

I have both lenses now but only had the 24mm version when I made those images.

If choosing between the two T/S lenses, take opt for the 17mm lens. You can always crop, but it is difficult to add what isn’t captured.

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Other Illinois Destinations

  1. Horseshoe Lake, Illinois Sunrise, Bald cypress and Tupelo trees
  2. Apple River Canyon State Park, Illinois
  3. Garden of the Gods: Shawnee National Forest, Illinois

I have an entire series on Starved Rock State Park.

Click on the link for a search, or better yet, scroll through my Mish Moments Home Page until you find them.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow MishMoments.

Please follow. I do not give away or share email addresses!

Thanks!

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Garden of the Gods: Shawnee National Forest, Illinois

Our Illinois tour continues with a look a the Garden of the Gods in the Shawnee National Forest in extreme Southern Illinois.

More than 320 million years ago, the wind and rain patiently started to chisel away at large deposits of sedimentary rock located in what is now, Shawnee National Forest. Over the years, the elements have sculpted stunning, extraordinary rock formations.

There are 5.5 miles of hiking trails at this spot with many more trails nearby. I would rate the trails to the images shown in this article as easy for almost everyone but those in a wheelchair. The feature shot and the images below are a half-mile or less from the parking lot.

Feature Image Details

For the image, I used a Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens at 28mm, for 1/13 of a second at ISO 250, f16.

Tips

  • This is an easy shot. 28mm is not extreme. Anyone can take this image with almost any camera.
  • You just have to be there at sunset on a sunny day. The location does not photograph well at other times. The hardest part is not having people in your images. This is a very popular spot, especially on weekends.
  • Best time: Very late October or early November.

Here are some more images from the same day.

I assure you these shots are as easy as they get. Nearly anyone can walk to this location and nearly any camera will do.

I recommend a tripod as always, but these shots could be taken without a tripod with proper technique.

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Related Articles

  1. Horseshoe Lake, Illinois Sunrise, Bald cypress and Tupelo trees
  2. Apple River Canyon State Park, Illinois

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow the former.

Please follow. I do not give away or share email addresses!

Thanks!

Coming up next: Another destination in Southern Illinois.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Apple River Canyon State Park, Illinois

Those looking for a scenic day trip from Chicago or Northern Illinois should check out Apple River Canyon State Park.

The park is located in the hilly northwest corner of Illinois in Jo Daviess County near the Wisconsin border. Limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and wildlife characterize this area. In the winter, eagles frequent the area.

Five trails – Pine Ridge, Tower Rock, River Route, Sunset and Primrose Trail (accessible) – wind through the woods for several miles within the park.

You can easily explore the park in a single day.

All of these images are from late-October. They represent the peak of the Autumn season.

Feature Image Details

For the feature image, I used a Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens at 58mm, for 1/30 of a second at ISO 500.

Tips

  • The key to reflection images such as these is for the water to be in the shade.
  • Play around with various exposures and time durations.
  • Get low to the water! Sometimes you cannot see any reflections unless you get low. Find a composition you like, then set up the tripod in that position.

Here are some more images all taken within a couple hundred yards of the feature image in late afternoon.

When possible, shoot both vertical and horizontal images. Here is a vertical image from the same location.

The previous two images were taken with a Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens: If I had to pick one lens and one lens only, this lens would be at the top of the list. I see things from a wide angle perspective.

 

Apple Canyon Lake Waterfall

Note the Great Blue Heron fishing at the top of the waterfall.

The above image is not in the main park area. Rather, a dam on the river forms Apple Canyon Lake. For directions, do a search for Apple Canyon Lake Waterfall as opposed to Apple River Canyon State Park.

There are no trails in the area. The surrounding land is private and posted. Other than to stop and take an image, there is little to do at this spot. It’s worth a side trip from the state park, but it’s not an activity destination.

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow the former.

Please do. Thanks!

Coming up next: Another new destination.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Porcupine Mountains State Park: Greenstone Falls, Overlooked Falls, Little Carp River

One of my favorite Midwest spots is Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the Michigan upper peninsula.

The park offers 90 miles of trails, beautiful lakes, and numerous waterfalls. It also offers an immense amount of biting insects (black flies, mosquitoes, gnats, and other major nuisances).

The best way to avoid these annoying pests (they are worst in June and July), is to go offseason. Fall and Winter are my favorite times. In the Winter the park offers both downhill and cross-country ski trails.

The park has three main sections: Lake of the Clouds (plus the shoreline), the interior, and the river (waterfall) section. This post covers an interior trail that follows the Little Carp River.

All of these images are from mid-October. They represent the peak of the Autumn season.

People flock to the river section and Lake of the Clouds. There is much more to see if you get off the beaten path. The trail to Mirror Lake is well traveled, but we had this trail to ourselves.

Feature Image Details

The feature image is a set of two images taken from the same location.

The first was for 30 seconds. I took a second exposure for the land that was about a half-second. Wind is the problem to overcome. It was pretty calm, but 30 seconds is simply asking too much. The trees will blur.

I used a Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens at a focal length of 28 MM. To include more of the trees on the land, I tilted the camera up for the second shot. The result looks more like a 5-4 crop than the normal 3-2 ration of a typical 35mm camera.

To increase the exposure length, I used a B+W polarizer plus a Neutral Density Filter.  My B+W ND filters are of strength 3.0 (10 stops), 1.8 (6 stops), and 0.6 (2 stops).

The Canon 16-35 mm lens can stack two filters without vignetting, but the 24-105 mm lens can’t.

Vision

The image is more about vision than anything else. I had to get wet to get the image, by crossing the river. It’s not that deep but it is cold in mid-October.

First, one had to see the potential. This is what it looked like on the near side.

The above is a nice image but I thought I could do better. I spotted those bubbles on the opposite side and wondered, “What if?” The only way to find out is to get wet.

This is what the shot looks like from the opposite bank at 1/2 second.

That shot would go in the ash can, I use it only to show what the naked eye roughly sees.

The light in that image is not as good as the feature image, but I could detect the leaves were spinning very slowly in a circular pattern. The 30-second exposure explains most of the rest.

As for the color difference, the sunlight was hitting the tops of the trees in the feature image and they reflected on the water. Here is a 30-second exposure without the sun.

Tips

  • The key to reflection images such as these is for the water to be in the shade. The reflected trees are in the sun. The exposures were long enough to purposely blur the water.
  • You will need a tripod for shots like these. Play around with various exposures and time durations. The faster the moving water, the less time you need to get smooth water.
  • Get low to the water!
  • Sometimes you cannot see any reflections unless you get low. Find a composition you like, then setup the tripod in that position.
  • Understand that it most often takes 30 seconds or more to get a shot like this. Most cameras only go up to 30 seconds. If you need more time, then you need a cable release set on bulb, counting or using a stopwatch to count the seconds.
  • The hardest part of this image is recognizing the possibility and being willing to get wet to try out the idea.

Along the way to Greenstone Falls, you pass Overlooked Falls. Here are a couple of images.

Overlooked Falls 

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

Porcupine Mountains Images

  1. Porcupine Mountains State Park: Lake of the Clouds
  2. Porcupine Mountains State Park: Presque Isle River, Manabezho Falls
  3. Porcupine Mountains State Park: Presque Isle River, Manido Falls
  4. Porcupine Mountains State Park: Presque Isle River, Nawadaha Falls
  5. Porcupine Mountains State Park: Presque Isle River Reflections

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow the former.

Please do. Thanks!

Coming up next: A new destination.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Porcupine Mountains State Park: Presque Isle River Reflections

One of my favorite Midwest spots is Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the Michigan upper peninsula.

The park offers 90 miles of trails, beautiful lakes, and numerous waterfalls. It also offers an immense amount of biting insects (black flies, mosquitoes, gnats, and other major nuisances).

The best way to avoid these annoying pests (they are worst in June and July), is to go offseason. Fall and Winter are my favorite times. In the Winter the park offers both downhill and cross-country ski trails.

The park has three main sections: Lake of the Clouds (plus the shoreline), the interior, and the river (waterfall) section. This post is on the river section.

All of these images are from mid-October. They represent the peak of the Autumn season.

Autumn Reflections

The feature image was taken at ISO 100 for 0.4 seconds at F11. I used a Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens at a focal length of 82 MM.

Here are a couple more images. Slight changes in composition or tripod placement can produce hugely different reflections.

Tips

The key to reflection images such as these is for the water to be in the shade. The reflected trees are in the sun. The exposures were long enough to purposely blur the water.

You will need a tripod for shots like these. Play around with various exposures and time durations. The faster the moving water, the less time you need to get smooth water.

Get low to the water!

Sometimes you cannot see any reflections unless you do. Find a composition you like, then setup the tripod in that position.

There is a 2-mile waterfall loop trail that circles the waterfall section. Take it.

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

Porcupine Mountains Images

  1. Porcupine Mountains State Park: Lake of the Clouds
  2. Porcupine Mountains State Park: Presque Isle River, Manabezho Falls
  3. Porcupine Mountains State Park: Presque Isle River, Manido Falls
  4. Porcupine Mountains State Park: Presque Isle River, Nawadaha Falls

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow the former.

Please do. Thanks!

Coming up next: a long-exposure surprise then on to a new location.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock