Tettegouche, Minnesota, USA by Ethan Allen

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Picture Story

The north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota is a place I've wanted to visit for years. Last summer I finally had the chance to explore it's rugged coast in mid-August and it did not disappoint. While Lake Superior is known for it's temperamental conditions, this area is often protected by the westerly winds coming off of the shore which made for great kayaking!

During one day on the water I stopped in Tettegouche State Park and photographed this sea stack. The sun had already fallen behind the cliffs providing even lighting and I thought a minimalist approach would suit this lone sea stack nicely, with the single rock in the foreground adding interest. The cliff behind the stack acts as a natural leading line and the red cliffs contrast with the blue water and white clouds. I chose to use a 10 stop ND filter to get the 90 second exposure which smoothed out the water and gave the clouds a more ethereal feel. This combination of lighting, colors and filter produced an image that needed very little post-processing. Frankly, I was giddy when I saw the image on my LCD screen as it turned out just as I envisioned.

There used to be an arch that extended to the sea stack but it collapsed in 2010. With a bit of imagination the stack could be a portrait of an elder keeping watch over Gitche Gumee, the traditional name for Lake Superior. Either way, the weather gods were looking over me as I enjoyed a pleasant sunset paddle to my take-out point, making for a wonderful day of kayaking and photography.

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