While paddling these rivers, I’ve admired the older cabins tucked into the woods. Often, they are barely visible from the water, with humble dimensions and painted to blend into the forest. They are from a bygone era, many built in the early 1900s. Two families generously allowed me to photograph within their cabins, sharing their rich heritage. It was wonderful to hear stories of these now mature people playing, swimming, and fishing as kids with their grandparents or great-grandparents who built these get-a-ways.
My father, Les Blacklock did most of the “Land of sky blue waters” still photography for the Hamm’s beer ads. Our red canoe was featured in many of them, the scarlet canoe contrasting with the greens and blues of Canoe Country. That was an aluminum canoe. I purchased this Old Town Otca for my dad as a birthday present around 1982. Unfortunately, Parkinson’s disease prevented him from taking it out on his own, but we did do one trip together with it. I used it as a prop for several well known photographs, the most famous was used in our book, Minnesota Wild and also on a best selling poster from that series. I took it out of storage last week to use for my upcoming book on the St. Croix watershed. It was the first time my wife and daughter had seen it in the water. What a difference to sit in a piece of art, on caned seats, compared to the aluminum canoe we have always used! I’ve had the idea for the paddling image for about a year, so it was fun to finally make it. I must have made nearly 100 captures of my wife, Honey paddling, […]
This photograph was made on a recent trip on the Upper St. Croix. My camp site was a few yards to the right, and a swift rapids a few yards to the left. As soon as I landed, I took my camera over to the rapids and made some images, returning several times as the light changed throughout the evening, and again in the morning. Each time, I’d walked by this spot, head down, watching my footing, in a hurry to get to my destination, or back to do something around camp. Then, in the midst of the sunrise, as I was going to get a different lens, I happened to glance up at these burr oak and basswood branches. I instantly realized, that while not as dramatic as the rapids, it was a far better subject than what I’d been working with. I used a 2 second exposure to smooth out the water, emphasizing the pre-dawn dreaminess of the moment. The square format was created with two horizontal captures with a tilt/shift lens, shifting up for one and down for the other, then combining them in Photoshop’s Photomerge.