Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota

The chance that we can create a good nature photo increases dramatically if we go to an interesting location. Period! Well, we all know this is not always an option. Sometimes life stands in the way. So should we leave the camera in the bag or even at home any time we think the location is not worth any efforts? Of course not! Watching the light and colors, looking for interesting perspectives, or focussing on details can sometimes lead to a photograph at places that usually cannot compete with Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon.

On our way home from North Dakota last October we camped for one night at Lake Carlos State Park in Minnesota. Not a bad campsite, and at least at the end of the season there were not too many people. But every way I looked around, there wasn’t much I really wanted to photograph. It wasn’t until the sun had disappeared and left us with a nice glow on the shore, that I realized the potential for a shot. There was some “camping and boat clutter” between the trees in the background, which were cloned out for this image. The moon and the last light of the day made all the difference.

Earlier I tried to take some pictures of these Pied-billed Grebes on the lake. At that time the reflections on the water were just to bright and I didn’t get a shot that I liked. Ten minutes after the photo with the moon was shot I saw still the colors of the sky reflected on the water. Suddenly it wasn’t about a detailed shot of the birds anymore, it was just all about color and positioning the silhouettes of the grebes in the frame...