If you decide to visit the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and the route takes you through Grand Marais and down the Gunflint Trail, it won't be long before you lose cell phone service. You might find yourself wondering where a phone call can be made if necessary. There are two phone booths on the Gunflint that I know of. One is at the very end of the trail.
The other phone is at the half way point, about 25 or so miles down the road, and conveniently located at the Trail Center bar and grill.
This phone is even cheaper, however the connection cuts in and out, but mostly out.
Another option is to head up to the top of a high bluff somewhere and see if you can pick up a Canadian tower signal.
I actually got a phone call while I was standing up there last fall and several texts from someone in Canada saying "Welcome to Canada". Roaming rates do apply! My teens were not so lucky. Encouraged by my story from the previous fall, they were willing to do a little cross country skiing and a hike just to see if their phones would work. I think they would portage for days if they thought there was internet service at the end of it! I'm certain they found it some sort of teenage torture being off the grid for almost 4 days. Their mother, on the other hand, loved every minute of it. Spending quality, unwired time with them was one of the best Valentine's presents a mom could ask for. It sure beat last year's Valentine's Day!
As always, thanks for stopping by and until next time, if you're from around here I hope you can get out there and enjoy all that delicious snow we have!
I thought about calling somebody for novelty since it was only 50 cents, but it would have been one of those dumb phone calls where it's like "yeah, guess where I am?" and then it gets awkward. You either don't know what to say after that, or worse, they start telling you some random story about whatever and you're like "ah, I gotta go cause I'm in the Boundary Waters, k?" as if they were bothering you, or "Hello? did you really think I wanted to talk cause my canoe's about to leave". Like when airplanes used to have phones and you'd call someone just to say you did it. So I didn't do it. But if there was an emergency, you'd be glad it was there.
Camp Menogyn is a YMCA camp that is located half way up the Gunflint Trail in northern Minnesota.
It is where I stayed when I went up for the Plein Air Artists' Retreat organized by The Art Colony in Grand Marais. It was so special to me that I found a way to go back again, the last weekend they were open. I took my Mom and youngest daughter with me. Here are a few images from that trip.
I hope you are enjoying the last days of winter too.
This post originally published Feb. 9, 2013
When I went up to the BWCAW (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness) last week, the purpose of my trip was to attend a Plein Air Artist Retreat organized by The Art Colony in Grand Marais, Minnesota. This was my first time attending an event where the majority of the participants were painters. I have always admired painters and the work they create and when I visit a museum, I tend to gravitate to the old oil paintings. They are so captivating with their shiny, glossy texture that make the painting come to life. The fact that many of them have survived the test of time and are still beautiful after hundreds of years is amazing to me.
I learned a lot from watching this Plein Air group of artists. Unlike capturing a photographic image, which can occur in a hundredth or even a thousandth of a second, it can take a painter several hours to recreate a scene. Certainly there are those who can do it faster and some take longer. It almost made me feel careless about my work, moving about so quickly here and there, one composition after another. Like I wasn’t studying hard enough. Painters, on the other hand, set up their tripod (easel) in one spot and there it stays until the piece of work is completed.
Painters must spend a lot of time engaging in an in-depth study of color. If they are trying to replicate what they see with their eyes, they will mix their paints, adding and taking away, until they find the right match for each element in a scene. I think they must develop an intimate relationship with color, fully understanding highlights and shadows, tints and shades, intensities, chroma and saturation. Photographers concern themselves with these things too but not to the extent that painters do, at least in my personal experience. I’m sure there is a photographer or two out there who would argue that they work just like a painter does. I’m just not one of them.
Something else I learned is that many of them prefer static light. It is challenging to paint a scene where light is rapidly changing, such as a sunrise or sunset time of day. Where do you stop the color shift and start the painting? It reminds me of how a mood ring changes color. As a photographer, I can attest to this color blending effect as the sun rises in particular. I will take many exposures as the light changes in the sky, especially if there are clouds. Cloud color can go from dark blue to gray to orange to pink and white in a couple of minutes. If you want to show this progression in your images you will be making a lot of captures very quickly. When the sun sets, this happens in a slower and reverse fashion. Clouds will go from white to pink and maybe orange, perhaps purple to a gray/dark blue mix. A painter must also consider the color of the sky ranging from dark to medium to light blue to pink on the horizon line. The degree of lightness and darkness in those colors alters very quickly over 15 to 30 minutes as well.
This week, instead of showing my photographic work, I’d like to post website links for the painters who have them and for the rest, I will put a link to the work they made during the retreat that is currently showing in an exhibition at The Art Colony. There are some artists I did not meet because I left before the event was over, so I am only putting up links to the ones I met.
I hope you enjoy the work of these very talented professionals. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Scott Lloyd Anderson
Kristin Blomberg, Ron Dietman, John Franz and Carol Holmblad do not have websites that I can find, but you can see Kristin’s, Ron’s and John’s pieces from the event on the Art Colony’s Facebook page. It also includes work from all the artists who attended the retreat and gave pieces to the Art Colony to exhibit. Here is a link:
Thank you for visiting!
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.