After a fun spring season of classroom and field workshops, one of the highlights of my summer was exploring my favorite stretch of Lake Superior’s North Shore in Minnesota, with a great group of workshop photographers in my North Shore Instructional Photo Tour. Our group met up in Beaver Bay, Minnesota, on a Thursday evening, and we photographed numerous locations through Sunday at noon.
I’ve traveled and photographed extensively in this area over the past couple decades, and it was great fun to share some of my favorite and most photographically productive areas with the group.
Early-summer on the North Shore can see some unpredictable weather, and we experienced a little bit of everything – from warm sun to pouring rain (and even a hailstorm just as heading out of town at the end of the event). Everyone in the group were real troopers, though, and simply donned their rain gear and camera water covers when it rained hard, and kept on shooting.
The group was a mix of Canon and Nikon shooters, with one of the Canon photographers also bringing along a Fuji mirrorless. We only had one camera fail during the one day it actually rained hard, though that camera revived after drying out overnight. That was our only gear “situation” though I was nervously keeping an eye on the group at one of my favorite area waterfalls where we were hopping from rock to rock mid-river with tripods. Though I’ve had photographers drop cameras off of tripods during workshops (always, it seems, Nikon users – are we Nikon users clumsier than others?) but the gear has always kept right on shooting! And though we shot in more than a couple rivers and waterfalls, as well as along the rough rocky lakeshore on this tour, we kept my workshop record of “no gear losses” intact for another season.
Photographically, I was really pleased with the tour. After a fun “Intro to the North Shore” evening shooting at Gooseberry Falls, we met in our lodge parking lot the first morning at 4:15am to shoot sunrise over Split Rock Lighthouse. Yes, you read the time correctly: sunrise on the north shore in mid-summer is at about 5:00am-ish, so the short drive and hike to our shooting location got us there in time to get some lovely silhouettes of the lighthouse in pre-dawn light, and to enjoy some fabulous sunrise photography. As the days progressed, we photographed a number of lakeshore areas ranging from sandy beach to rocky shoreline outcroppings, as well as waterfalls, a birch forest, colorful stone and wildflower closeups, and some classic lakeshore landscapes. We were “skunked” on one sunrise when it was raining (I think the group secretly welcomed the opportunity to sleep in that morning), but enjoyed another great sunrise at one of my favorite Tettegouche State Park sunrise locations, as well.
Our accommodations at Cove Point Lodge in Beaver Bay were excellent, and the lodge and its surrounding property helped inspire some of the participants and offered a great variety of instructional opportunities and meeting places. Post-sunrise shoot breakfasts at The Rustic Cafe were exactly the hit I anticipated they’d be, so we ended up there pretty frequently for breakfasts, lunches, and their amazing pie (yes, “breakfast and pie” is a thing).
Thanks to participants who have shared a few of their favorite images from the trip with me to post here on the blog. Check out these great photos:
More participant photos from the trip can be seen in my “Peterson Photo Workshop Participants” Flickr group, along with photos from other of my workshops and photo tours:
(And if you’re an “alum” of one of my workshops and a member of Flickr – and would like to share some of your photos in the group pool – feel free to join and do so!)
Thanks much to the great group of photographers who joined me in Minnesota for this photo tour – I had a great time with you, and I hope you enjoyed the experience as much as I did. I also hope you learned some things and came home with a portfolio of North Shore photos you’re proud of!
Finally, while my own time on my workshops is dedicated to helping my participants get the best shots possible, I shot a few photos of my own either when my participants were fully engaged shooting away, or when scouting locations a few days before the workshop. Here are some of these photos from this trip:
So the big question for 2017 is whether to return to this location or plan one or more instructional photo tours to other locations. Any thoughts?