Monday, October 27, 2008


On the way back from Marquette two weeks ago I drove along the Wisconsin River from it's source at Lac Vieux Desert most of the way along the river to where it empties into the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien, WI. Here are some of the pictures I took of the river along the way.

This is the dam at Lac Vieux Desert that holds back the water that makes up the
source of the Wisconsin River.

A stretch of the upper part of the Wisconsin River. This is probably a few miles from the dam in the last picture. Fun fact: the word "Wisconsin" comes from an Indian word "Wees-Kon-Sin" which means "place of gathering waters"

This is on the upper Wisconsin River you can see that the river is quite a bit bigger than it was at the headwaters but not nearly as big as it will get downstream. The water looks a bit on the low side here.

No picture essay of the Wisconsin River would be complete without a picture of a dam. There are some 26 dams on the approximately 430 miles of the river. It is so good for dams because it drops more than 1000 feet from its source to its mouth (for comprison's sake the Mississippi River drops about 600 feet from where the Wisconsin River runs into the Mississippi River all the way to New Orleans...a distance of over 1000 miles).

Even though it's dammed all to hell (I apologize for the pun, it wasn't indended...I can almost hear you all groaning) it still has some rapids left in it. Here are some just downstream of one of the dams in Stevens Point, WI.

This was taken after dark (obviously). You can see the river (this is on the lower part of the river) but the main subject of the picture is the sky...and the stars...notice the big dipper. If you look really closely you can see that stars aren't points of light they are streaks. That's because I had to leave the shutter open for over 2 minutes to get enough light for this picture and the stars moved a little bit in that time.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Here is a link to the fan club for Joel Austin Images that is on Facebook in case any of you want to see some more pictures of mine

On the drive south from Marquette last weekend I took 4 days to get back and did some camping on the way. Here are some of the pictures I got:

I was camped for the night at a boat landing on Dinner Lake. Since I got there fairly early in the day I was kind of on the prowl for something to do. I decided to take a hike in the woods directly north of Dinner Lake. As I was leaving I thought, “I should be bringing my compass,” but didn't go back to get it. Turns out I should have. I walked for maybe 15 minutes away from the road and then decided to turn back before I got in too deep to find a way out. Well after about 30 minutes of walking I pretty much knew that I had better consider the possibility of being lost. I wandered around a bit, maybe half an hour, and then heard a dog barking. Dogs usually mean people so I headed towards the sound. I ran across a four-wheeler trail and followed that to within sight of a house. At the house were two big dogs that weren't tied up that could've given me some rather severe perforations to my idea I don't exactly relish. So I turned around on the four wheeler trail and followed it the other way. After several dead ends I realized that my choices were to go back and brave the dogs or prepare to spend the night out in the forest. I chose the dogs. I went and asked directions back to Dinner Lake. After I got back I looked at a map and realized that I'd have been walking a LONG way if I'd have really gotten turned around. In my defense it was an overcast day, the wind changed direction while I was out there and the terrain was pretty nondescript.

Also on the drive south I drove a course that followed the Wisconsin River which starts on Lac Vieux Desert. Lac Vieux Desert is a lake partially in Wisconsin and partially in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan and so the Wisconsin River flows south almost the entire length of the state. I got pictures along most of its length and they will make up a later blog entry.

The plane of this picture is vertical and the water here is flowing straight down this rock...the only reason those leaves are there is that they've been caught on the moss. This is taken on the upper part of Bond Falls.

This is the lower part of Bond Falls on the middle branch of the Ontonagon River which is in Michigan's Upper Penninsula. This falls just happened to be on the route I was taking to get home so I stopped to check it out.

This was taken very near Dinner Lake on the morning after my near-miss getting lost. By the way those aren't dying pine trees, they're tamrack trees which lose their needles each fall.

This is a closer picture of a tamarack tree. Like I mentioned in the last caption it's not like a pine tree which is evergreen. It is a deciduous conifer and it loses it's "leaves" each year like most broadleaf trees do in this climate.

This is just a closeup of the bark of a red pine tree.

This is a picture of leaves and water. The water is very clear and some of the leaves are floating on top of the water and some are on the bottom. The distortion running up and down near the middle of the picture is caused by a wave.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Last weekend (actually starting Thursday evening) I headed north for a visit to Marquette, MI to see my girlfriend, Spring. I hate driving but I love the “northwoods” and since I am kind of keen on her too this makes the drive bearable.

I started driving in the late afternoon of the 9th (last Thursday) “camped” at the village campground in Wilton, WI (I put “camped” in quotes there because I didn't actually set up a tent. The sky was clear and I decided that the possibility of rain was, hopefully, remote so I slept under the stars) and was on the road before five the next morning. I'm usually not an early riser but it gets dark early these days and there isn't much to do except have a campfire or go to sleep. Part of the nice thing about a campfire is the camaraderie it brings since I was by myself and camaraderie wasn't an option I was asleep by 8:30. One nice thing about not setting up a tent is not having to take it down in the morning...I was on the road 15 minutes after I woke up.

So I had plenty of time to get to Marquette (or so I thought, more on this later in this paragraph). One downside of getting up so early is that nothing is open. I was getting low on cash and wanted to stop and get some. I don't have an ATM card so I had to stop about 2 hours up the road in Stevens Point since they have a branch of the bank I use there. Problem was that I got to Stevens Point at seven and had to kill time until they opened at eight. So I lost an hour there. I got the cash and drove for about another hour and a half and stopped to take some pictures. Taking pics took maybe an hour or hour and a half. I drove some more and stopped for lunch at a city park in Eagle River, WI. It was there that I learned that I was still 2 ¾ hours away from Marquette. Ugh. It was pushing one o'clock (central time, I lose an hour going to Marquette, which is in eastern time and so by their time it was two o'clock) and since I was kind of eager to see Spring (we don't get to see each other any too often being 8 hours apart) I kind of hauled ass to get there. So even though I had gotten up and got on the road early I still was in a rush to get there.

These are some of the pictures I took on the way up there are some that were taken while I was there.

It had sprinkled a bit of rain on this leaf that I saw when I was trying to get some pictures of the dells on the Prairie River in northern Wisconsin.

Interesting contrast of colors on these leaves (I think they are raspberry)

More interesting contrast between the leaf veins and the rest of the leaf.

I got this on a hike up to Hogsback Mountain. It's not really a mountain but it is the highest point in the Upper Penninsula and the view from up there was pretty awesome. The fall colors were at their peak and Lake Superior was not to far off. Too bad I had my camera set to manual, (and so it was set to expose for pictures in the much-dimmer forest on the way to the top and not the brightly lit and exposed-to-the-sunlight top) and all the pictures were terrible.

One day was breezy so there were a few waves on the lake. I managed to get this one. It was one of about 10 pictures I took of the waves. This was the best one.

This was also taken near Lake Superior on a beach right near her house. It had been windy and the tips of the grass got bent down and rubbed back and forth in the sand to make the curves you see in the sand on the left side of this picture. I've seen these curves before in both sand and snow and seeing them always strikes me as seeing a can see what made those curves. And you know it was windy even if it isn't now.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I really like the fall. Taking good pictures is much easier because 1) the leaves are changing color 2) the weather is generally awesome 3) it's cool enough that it actually feels good to be in the sun 4) the sun is coming up later in the morning so my lazy ass can stay in bed longer in the mornings .

Some of these pictures are the product of the later-than-summer sunrises. And some are the product of the earlier-than-summer sunsets which, frankly, I'm not such a big fan of. But I'm definitely a big fan of a climate that has four seasons...and having light drop off as winter approaches is all part of the game. I lived for a year in Fairbanks, AK and at the peak winter we had four hours of dusky light and about 20 hours of dark. And that dusky light was really awesome. Everything looked pretty cool...except for maybe the oil pipeline. I'm one of the crazies that actually rode my bike all winter up there and I can remember riding to work by the moonlight (I had a headlamp on my bike too...but I usually turned that off and rode in the dark [once your eyes adjust to them the stars and moon are surprisingly bright when the ground is snowy] unless there was a car coming and I turned it on so the car would be sure and see me) and then riding back home by moonlight. Another perk of being that far north and having it be so dark is that I saw the northern lights probably half of all nights that were cloudless. [By the way, in case you're wondering, the coldest I temperature I rode in was 40 below, which is cold enough for grease to start freezing.]

So a few of you may have noticed that I had a blog entry up a few days ago and then took it down the next day. I wasn't happy with it. So I nixed it.

This was taken at sunset over the Mississippi River backwaters on Goose Island which is just downstream from Lacrosse, WI. I was here because I was paddling my new solo canoe.

This picture is a product of the later-than-summer sunrises...and the changing color of the leaves.

OK this picture takes a bit of explaining to make sense. Half of the bubble-raft you see (the white part of the picture) is in that water that's moving downstream after it spills over the little watertumble that is between the rocks in the picture. The other half of the bubble-raft is in the eddy behind the mossy rock on the left (in the picture) of the watertumble. The water there is moving upstream and so the bubble-raft is spinning. I used a fairly slow shutter speed to capture the motion of the bubble-raft.

Another product of the later-than-summer sunrises and fall colors.

This was taken in the fairly early morning before the dew had completely dried off of this chicory flower.

This leaf was on one side of a creek and it was in the sunlight (obviously). The other side of the creek was still in shadow which is why the background is so dark.