Weekend Bonus: CCE in the Fall

The best time of the year – by far – to explore the remains of a Copper Country Empire is the fall. Not only is the fall the best time of year to be in the woods, the vibrant colors add an extra dimension to every photo you shoot. As fall here in the Copper Country reaches it climax I thought I’d share this color bounty with my readers unable to experience it for themselves. No better place to witness the splendor than atop the bounty of poor-rock piles scattered across the region. So without further ado I present some of CCE’s greatest ode’s to fall (starting with a newbie):

From Atop Trimountain Pile No. 2

To begin we feature our most current exploration (to be here at CCE sometime in the next few weeks) of the Trimountain Mine. Unlike the craggy evergreen choked forests of the north, the Southern Range boreal provides a stunning palette of colors along its sweeping hardwood vistas. Besides the soaring stack of the No. 3 Boiler complex, the view from here offers far-away glimpses of the Huron Mountains and even the Huron Islands off their tip.

From Atop Ojibway Pile

My all-time favorite, a shot of the sweeping cliff range from the vantage point of the Ojibway Pile. It had been raining that morning as we unsuccessfully attempted to find the mine remains, but cleared up momentarily as we reached to top of the pile just in time to snap this beauty. Just as I as finishing the rain returned.

From Atop the North Kearsarge No. 1 Pile

The sun had pushed itself out from the hazy morning fog as we climbed to the top of a very frost covered rock pile at the North Kearsarge (one of the most difficult to scale). Quickly it started its work of boiling off the icy coating that had covered the region, creating a thick fog that rolled through the Allouez Gap below us.

From Atop the Phoenix Bluff

This shot was taken from Elmo’s Tower, which stands tall atop the bluffs above the Phoenix piles. At that time the tower was open to the public, but since Elmo’s passing last year I’m not sure if that is still the case. To the left is Crestview Bluff (named after an old myth) followed by the small town of Phoenix and the Cliff Range stretching off to the west.

From Atop Lookout Mountain (Mt. Baldy)

By far the best view in the Keweenaw, Mt. Baldy sits over over 700 feet above the town of Eagle Harbor to its northwest. It can be reached by a 3-mile long trail with winds its way along the Keweenaw’s central rocky span. This is the view to the south-west, showing the port town and Lake Superior. Here’s the view to the north-east: Northern View, which features Lake Bailey and Brockway mountain off in the distance.

From Atop the Cliff No. 4 Pile

Lastly we take a look at a much smaller image, taken from the top of the Cliff No. 4 rock pile. This pile stands up atop the cliff’s themselves, and from there you can make out what might be Albion Bluff off to the south-west.

10 comments

  1. Besides the then/now images, I’m also interested in creating large format panoramics as well. For a time I was experimenting with photo-stitching to try to “fix” those distortions in the panoramics. In that case I would manually cut out sections of texture or even small pieces of imagery to “paste over” and blend into those portions of the pans that are distorted and otherwise messed up. Its very painstaking work but sometimes you can get some nice results.

    I personally like the distortion, it creates more of an artistic interpretation of reality – which is what I feel art should really be anyway. Realism is boring. Its similar to those old school pan photographers (with the big box cams) that would always place their subjects in a semi circle which after distortion would look to be a straight line. Those guys would sometimes have a guy on one end of the pan run around to the opposite end so when the photos were all taken he was on both ends at once.

    Here’s a great overview of early panoramic imagery from the Library of Congress (which has a great collection of old pans)

    Brief History of Panoramic Photography

  2. Just let me know. Between Photoshop CS3′s automated stitching and having the patience to manually stitch, I’m sure I can hook you up. :)

  3. Jay,

    I use Hugin-OSX to stitch my panoramas, but I almost always have too much distortion and poor blending between photos. Next time that happens, I’ll shoot them over and see what magic you can do!

  4. Thanks everyone for the comps. Our latest excursion out to the Trimountain was amazing, so I thought I’d share. As far as my (so-called) panoramic skills, there’s a lot of practice but I also cheat by using Photoshop Elements built in stitching program. But if you look closely, there not that great. The rock piles in the Trimountain pick aren’t lined up at all (with panoramics you sometimes have to pick what to line up knowing that other things will be off. I choose the horizon over the foreground. )

    There’s probably a couple weeks left of color up here, so you guys better hurry up and get up here!

  5. Mike,
    Very cool post. I’ve got to get up there during the fall.

    Dave,
    If you’re having problems stitching together panoramics, send the originals my way and I’ll have a go with ‘em.

  6. Thanks Mike…the only season I have not seen in the UP is fall…now I know what I am missing!!!

  7. Very nice, Mike! I admire your ability to put together a good panoramic. Seems like half of the ones I try end up being very distorted or refuse to stitch together very well.

  8. Herb from Wisconsin

    The Mt. Lookout shot is awfully nice too. That fact that it’s treeless makes all the difference. There’s mystery in those hills and you can feel it best in autumn when the call is strongest.

  9. Herb from Wisconsin

    That Phoenix Bluff shot is a beauty. The old church down below looks wonderfully picturesque. Also, on the far left of the photo there is a large white pine tree that rises above the forest canopy. Looks to be a monster tree by modern standards. Can anyone tell us more about Elmo’s Tower? Never heard of it before…

  10. Just a small note: Due to the anticipated arrival of our new site, I removed these fall panoramics off the site (along with the video’s and trail posts) a few month ago to differentiate CCE from its more tourist-centric successor. But due to recent requests I decided to bring them back. For some of you these are repeats, but for newer readers they will be brand new. Enjoy.

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