Exploring Canal Park – Duluth, MN – p5

Canal Park has given me one of the highlights of my summer photographically. It’s time to say goodbye for now, so lets wrap up the final part of this adventure!

The sun has set

If you’ve been following along with this series you’ll have seen the sun set and twilight set in over Canal Park in Duluth, MN. As we finished our walk we descended fully into night, nothing but the last subtle remnants of light in the sky as the city lights took over. I had not thought to bring a tripod, so relied on trying to hold as steady as I could while I composed my frames and utilized anything I could to rest the camera on for some added stability. This also meant ramping up to high ISO settings, yeah it introduced a little noise ya’ pixel peeper, but in the end who really cares. Some of my absolute favorite images of the day were produced in these dim lighting conditions.



I’ve always loved these photos I see on Instagram where people are using neon lights and signs to make these crazy cool portraits. I tried my hand with this neon sign in a store front. I won’t say I achieved the results I was hoping for, but I still enjoy this photo of Adam. It could be that there was only the one sign, it was too far away from him maybe, or I just haven’t quite figured that style of shooting out. The thing I really enjoy is how the reds wash over him while the cool tones from the sky balance the image. Just the twinkling out of focus street lights and reflections in the background that tie the warmth to the cool.


Vikre Distillery & the Arial Lift Bridge

This one. Right here. See that? I made this image with my trusty old Fuji X-T1 and XF35mm f/1.4 combo shooting handheld at f/1.4. The lights of the bridge against the color of the darkened overcast night sky, the reflection on the cobblestone street and the Vikre Distillery sign serving as a beacon in the shadows of the unlit buildings all make this one of my absolute favorite images from this evening.

That’s not to put down any of the other photos, there are many from this evening I love. But there is something about this image that just gets me.


The manhole stroll

We actually waited at this spot for a bit as there was a handful of good compositions to be had and when I saw these people coming ready to head over the bridge I got low and tried to hold steady. I really wanted the light reflecting off the manhole cover in the foreground, out of focus, as the people walked over the bridge.

You’ve probably noticed a theme with my composition style by now. I like to try to layer my images, with fore/mid/back ground elements. It’s one of the things I really enjoy doing is trying to put that visual puzzle together so that there is some added depth to the image. By shooting wide open so often I like to let those elements fade to blurry status as well. It gives me a feeling of not just seeing a scene, but of stepping into and being part of the briefest of moments. Moments that will never happen again, yet I can step back into as I wish.


Bridge within a bridge

If you are familiar with the famous Arial Lift Bridge in Duluth you’ll know that it’s one of those iconic, yet photographed to death subjects in the Canal Park area. Rightfully so, as it’s a very interesting structure. That being said, while we crossed the smaller footbridge you saw in the previous photo I noticed that I had some interesting graphic elements formed by the light reflecting off of the support beams of the bridge and that if I was careful I could try to frame the lift bridge inside of these elements.

It’s a little different than my normal work, but I was really thinking hard about finding some sort of new or interesting way to photograph the bridge and after a bit of bending, tilting my head this way and that, kneeling, and just looking, I found a spot that looked interesting to me.


William A Irvin

You’ve seen this docked ore ship before if you’ve been following me for a while, but never from this angle. They have a major construction project happening there and from this footbridge you got a view of the Irvin from head on. Because of the way the slight breeze was moving that night, it made the water behind the ship on the right side of the frame look as if it was moving towards us.  In my opinion, it’s that small detail that gives an element of motion to this photo that really makes it for me.

If you want to see more about the William A Irvin check out PART ONE and PART TWO of a family day we enjoyed exploring the retired ore ship.


Vista Fleet

If you ever want something different to do, contact the Vista Fleet and schedule an evening dinner cruise. They have these beautiful large boats and will cruise around the harbor as you enjoy a meal on the water. This isn’t an ad, just a recommendation of something cool to do if you’re in the area!

Fun fact, my Junior Prom we did just that. We had our dinner and dance out on Lake Superior aboard one of the larger ships in the Vista Fleet. It was a heck of a lot better than spending the entire evening locked up in a high school gymnasium decorated with an “Under the Sea” motif!


The Dark Knight

Some of you, the most eagle eyed perceptive fellow adventurers, may remember this photo. I really loved it and while it was a relaxed cool summer evening this photo feels like winter to me. I don’t know why exactly, maybe it’s the steam in the lights.

But when I shared it last summer I received a number of comments about how people expected to see one of my favorite heroes, Batman, to be hiding in the shadows. Sorry to disappoint, he’s nowhere in this frame, but it’s a moody night shot worthy of his presence!


Take a seat, the night is over.

Just a short distance away from Adam’s hotel this single street lamp illuminated part of the walking trail and this small bench. During the day it provided a great view of the lake but at night it felt somehow strangely hidden and intimate. A place a person could go to think when they couldn’t sleep that was close enough to walk to but secluded enough not to be bothered.

It seemed like a fitting photo to end this five part series on. It’s taken me a while to get through them all, but I really hope you’ve enjoyed this visual exploration of the Canal Park region of Duluth, MN. If you get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it. Tons of little shops, museums, and of course the big Lake Superior and that Arial Lift Bridge. One of the coolest things is that the weather and season can change the whole mood and vibe of this area immensely, so it’s really worth a repeat visit.

The Canal Park Series

If you are interested in revisiting this series from beginning to end, rather than post up every single link here I have done you a favor. I put the entire series of articles together in one convenient place. Just follow this link right here:

The Canal Park Series



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