The annual spring canoe trip to Quetico Provincial Park May 27-June 3 has come and gone but here are some memories…
Mescalero Apache parfleche envelope, circa 1875, L 24″ x W 11.5″, incised rawhide, pigment. Collected at Taos Pueblo. National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, #3/5404. Photographed in 1992 in the Bronx storage facility, New York. These objects, “parfleche”, were made from stretched buffalo hide and designed and painted by native American women in tribes all over what is now the western US, a tradition of abstract painting predating the Europeans. Shot for the book American Indian Parfleche, A Tradition of Abstract Painting, written by Gaylord Torrance, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City (4×5 Ektachrome).
This is the Brule River at sunrise, entering Lake Superior on Naniboujou Beach after a stormy night in northern Minnesota in 2013. The arc in the atmosphere is a “fogbow” or white rainbow (there is no color because the water droplets are so tiny). 13.5″ x 20″ limited edition of 10 on Epson Hot Press 330 gsm fine art paper.
I woke up before sunrise this morning for some reason, still dark out, it looked cloudy, so I went back to bed, changed my mind and decided to head down to Cone Marsh in hopes of seeing the sunrise and some migrating waterfowl. It was a bit overcast and there was only a little open water far from road, but there were lots of geese (Canada, greater white-fronts and snow geese), a few trumpeter swans, pintails, scaup and wood ducks among other puddle ducks. Red-winged black birds and red-bellied woodpeckers were squawking in the trees and amidst all the racket the distinctive “loud, resonant, musical rattle” of sandhill cranes across the ice.
I went duck-hunting last week with outdoor writer/photographer Joe Richard, arming myself with a Nikon, not a Remington 870 like Joe’s. Although I don’t hunt anymore I still love being on the marsh at sunrise with ducks in the air, and I was also interested in seeing just how cold a human being could get standing thigh-deep in water for four hours in Iowa in November (nothing a Thermos of hot tea and a hot shower afterwards didn’t cure). Although we were on the water, under the full moon, two hours before sunrise there were four boats ahead of us, so we got stuck a couple hundred yards off the flyway. We set up a burlap “hide” in the willows and Joe poled the boat away and hid it. Most of the ducks had been around for a while and seemed to know where the refuge boundary was but Joe coaxed a few into the decoys and shot a mallard and a green-wing teal for the freezer. All images ©2013 Mark Tade, all rights reserved, no usage without prior written permission.
I spent a stunningly beautiful October day on the Maquoketa River in NE Iowa with a canoeing & fishing buddy recently. The river was crystal clear, cold, with a sand and gravel bottom, perfect for wading and fishing in shorts and sandals. Eagles and ospreys swooped overhead, pileated woodpeckers squawked, the smallmouth bass were biting our lures, it was heaven.
I attended Bryan Hansel’s 3-day kayaking/photography workshop in July. The workshop was based in Grand Marais on Lake Superior although I stayed further north at Naniboujou Lodge, close to the Canadian border. Bryan got us up early and kept us out late and the weather cooperated. A thunderstorm of biblical proportions rolled through the day before the workshop, dumping up to 7″ of rain along the North Shore, so the lake was a little muddy from all the runoff, but the atmospheric after-effects were fantastic.