International Wolf Center

I’ve always wanted to visit the northern Minnesota town of Ely. As a kid I knew plenty of people who went up north to the BWCA, but I never had a huge interest in camping until later in life. So I had never been to this part of the state. This past weekend the wife and I headed up to experience Ely in a typical Minnesota winter, and it’s been a great trip.

One of the key attractions for Ely is the International Wolf Center. This is an organization that does wolf research, and helps to educate folks on wolves in general. They also try to contribute to the difficult discussion around wolves and agriculture, which are issues that we simply don’t think about that much in the cities.

We visited the center early in the day on Saturday and got to hear a presentation about the ambassador wolves at the center, as well as see a couple of them sleeping in their enclosure. However, we knew that to truly see them we’d want to come back at 7pm for the Saturday evening feeding.

Sure enough, as soon as we arrived on Saturday night all four wolves were running around and getting excited about their upcoming meal, as well as all the people watching them. These wolves have been raised in captivity and so they’re very comfortable around humans. They can see inside the building and would often come up to the glass to look at what we were all doing.

There was a presentation on how wolves hunt and eat, and then the main attraction was the depositing of a road kill deer carcass into the enclosure. Sure enough they started chowing down right away. I managed to get a bunch of cool shots before and during the feeding. I’ve put them together in an album over on SmugMug.

https://swiftphotography.smugmug.com/Exploration/International-Wolf-Center/

If you’re in the Ely area, this is certainly worth a stop. It’s a great facility, and getting to see wolves up close is really cool.

A little canoe photography

I haven’t done a photo post on the blog in a while, so I thought tonight’s little adventure deserved one. We attended a fun event at a local park that revolved around video games, and especially ones that involved augmented reality, such as Pokémon Go, Wizard’s Unite, and Ingress. I play all three of those games, and my wife plays Wizard’s Unite, so tonight was targeted straight at us. We had a great time wandering around and listening to the band that was playing, but then we discovered that there was no fee for canoe rentals. The lake was crystal calm, and the sun was setting behind the trees, which made capturing this shot a ton of fun. A little editing in Lr, and it came out really nice (especially for an iPhone 7).

Savanna Portage Photos

I realized I haven’t posted this yet, so here’s my gallery of shots from Savanna Portage State Park. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes were so bad that I didn’t get as many shots as I wanted. Stopping to take photos was just not a great idea.

https://swiftphotography.smugmug.com/Exploration/Savanna-Portage-State-Park-2019/

Some north shore photography

I haven’t done a pure photo post in a while, so I decided now’s a good time. I was on my way back from volunteering at the Spring Superior Trail races and decided to hit a few cool spots along the way. Particularly, Gooseberry Falls. I put an album up over on my SmugMug. Enjoy!

North Shore May 2019

Super Blood Wolf Moon

Sunday night we got to experience a lunar eclipse. This will be the only one we will be able to see this year, and so I decided I wanted to adventure out and see it. Because I didn’t have work on Monday I could stay up a bit later and drive a bit out of town to get away from city lights.

I picked up my friend Michael and the two of us headed up, out of the city. Our plan had been to hit a bar and grill in Bethel, MN for a drink and a snack while we waited for the show to begin around 10:40pm. However, the bar and grill I had picked out decided to close at 10pm, despite their website saying differently. Thankfully, this is exurb Minnesota, so there was another bar just down the road that was more than happy to accommodate us with some food and drink.

One of the trickiest parts of photographing the moon is realizing that you cannot let the camera pick your exposure. The moon is incredibly bright, but it takes up only a small portion of the frame. Therefore the camera thinks that it needs to hold the shutter open for a LONG time, when in fact you just need the moon exposed.

I ended up with an exposure time of 1/2 to 1/4 of a second for most of my shots, and I think it turned out pretty well. My only issue is that I don’t have as large of a zoom as I would like, so I ended up with a lot more ISO grain than I wanted, when I cropped the pictures in.

Overall though, it was a fun night, and a really cool phenomena to see.