Images of swollen Gooseberry River, glowing Split Rock sunrises, and chiseled Tettegouche cliffs have filtered through Paul Sundberg’s lens for the past 35 years.
Especially stunning are his winter shots of the frosty shore.
Cold weather has both perks and problems. It sculpts trees with frigid icing, but slows digital cameras trying to capture that beauty.
“Winter photography is tricky,” Sundberg confessed.“You don’t want to leave your camera on the tripod too long in cold weather or your battery will fail. I always carry two extra batteries in my inside pocket.”
He recommends keeping the camera in a bag to avoid condensation when transferring indoors.
Probably the biggest challenge is getting the correct lighting for the job. In winter, reflective snow confuses the meter of Sundberg’s Sony A55 DSLR. Because the harsh light often underexposes pictures, Sundberg recommends bracketing - taking the same shot with several different exposure levels.”
It is best to get your photos in early morning or late evening, when the light isn’t so harsh,” he noted. “Longer shadows early and late help with landscape photos also.”
He adds fill flash to brighten colorful human subjects and prevent underexposure against snow-white backdrops.
Sundberg uses two lenses. He said his Sigma 150-500mm is a slow lens, but it is sharp and he likes it for wildlife. His wide angle lens is a Sony 16-80mm, with special Carl Zeiss glass.
Sundberg has a unique perspective as recently-retired manager of Gooseberry Falls State Park. Realizing most park visitors just experience typical views, he looks for special angles. He wants to hone in and share “those real close images that most people don’t get [an] opportunity to see.”
Sundberg was one of the first photographers to frame Split Rock Lighthouse against the rising full moon. Sundberg has even caught the moon at perigee directly behind the lighthouse lantern.
“Photographing the moon rising behind Split Rock Lighthouse is one of . . . my favorite annual events to capture through the lens of my camera,” said Sundberg.
Attendance on these lighthouse nights has recently increased to close to several dozen photographers. December, January and February are the months to see this luminous spectacle, though clouds make for hit-and-miss years.
To photographers visiting the North Shore, Sundberg would advise, “Don’t try to do it in one or two days. Spend enough time that you can really explore, ‘cause there’s so many things to see in the state parks on the North Shore.” The veteran photographer lingers even after several decades have captured most of his desired compositions. “But you can always improve on that,” he added, “so I just want to continue doing what I’m doing.”
View more of Sundberg’s nature images at paulsundbergphotography.com.