Minnesota's North Shore

Jessica and I recently took a trip to the North Shore of Minnesota to do some camping, hiking, and photography and wondered why we hadn't gone there sooner. The scenery is stunning, many of the hikes were as good as anything we did in Colorado, and the food was great!

We started the trip by camping at Judge C.R. Magney State Park north of Grand Marais. Overall it wasn't a bad campground but we were surprised how close the neighboring campsite was since it looked more separated when we looked at the map online. But hey, we were car camping and not backpacking so what can one expect?

We hiked the trail to Devil's Kettle and I only snapped photos with my iPhone, figuring I'd go back with the 4x5 if I found something worth hauling the gear up to. The trail had some nice scenery, but nothing I felt compelled to run back to with the 4x5 camera gear.

On Artist's Point in Grand Marais, MN. Taken on an iPhone 6S, converted to black and white in Silver Efex 2 Pro in Photoshop.

On Artist's Point in Grand Marais, MN. Taken on an iPhone 6S, converted to black and white in Silver Efex 2 Pro in Photoshop.

The next day we hiked Eagle Mountain, the highest point in Minnesota (2,301 ft) and I have to say it reminded me of certain hikes in the mountains of Colorado. The day was meant purely for hiking so I didn't bring the 4x5, but I will definitely go back there on my next solo photo trip up there. After the hike we headed to Grand Marais for lunch at the Dockside Fish Market (fried haddock and a cold beer hit the spot for me!) Then we headed to Artist's Point to see what that was all about. Pretty cool! It seemed crowded with other tourists, so I didn't bring the 4x5 and that was unfortunate since the lighting, clouds, and water were perfect. I did take some good photos on my iPhone 6S, and honestly don't know how easy it would've been with a large format camera and film considering the number of people out there. It was pretty much a case of taking quick photos in between people milling about. 

Temperance River flowing into Lake Superior. Taken on a vintage Agfa folding camera with 120 Tr-X film.

Temperance River flowing into Lake Superior. Taken on a vintage Agfa folding camera with 120 Tr-X film.

The following day was another day of hiking (the real point of the trip, and my photography was secondary, sort of.) We hiked Carlton Peak which also had some really scenic spots which I'll need to go back to with my large format camera. It was really great to be in a mountain like terrain yet be able to see the Great Lake, Superior. After that hike we went down to Temperance River State Park where I did pull out the 4x5 and medium format cameras.

Temperance River, shot on 4x5 Efke 25 film. 

Temperance River, shot on 4x5 Efke 25 film. 

Another version of this scene, this one was on 4x5 Efke 25 film.

Another version of this scene, this one was on 4x5 Efke 25 film.

While our trip was mostly about camping and hiking, I'm happy that I took some really nice photos on the trip. I look forward to getting back up there to do more photography. It is a really great area, but with that greatness comes tourists. But as with most touristy areas, you can lose 90% of them once you starting hiking in a couple miles. Then again, even of you stay on the tourist routes, you can still get some great photos if you wait out the people who get in your frame.