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In this new video, Agate once again features the exquisite photographs of Dominique Braud, this time focusing his lens on Lake Superior. The accompanying soundtrack is Peter Ostroushko’s “Meditation on the Thin Space at St. Paul’s Chapel.” As the images convey, Dom has spent many hours through the seasons in the company of this greatest of the Great Lakes. By way of introduction, below he describes what first drew him to Superior, and what keeps drawing him back.
I grew up in western France, less than an hour’s drive from the Atlantic Ocean, the proximity of which would often persuade my parents to treat their two teenage boys to a day at the beach. I, for one, couldn’t wait to get there; I would delight in the ocean breeze that would make my lips taste salty at the end of the day, the pungent smell of sea weeds washed up on the beach, the sensual feeling of warm sand sifting between my toes and the hypnotic motion of the waves gliding on the wet sand as the tides came in and out. When the ocean was rough, the waves would crash on the rocks sticking out of the beach with a brute strength I found exhilarating. But most of all, I loved looking for crabs, shrimp, snails or tiny fish held prisoners in puddles formed by the retreating tides. Day trips to the ocean were simply pure bliss.
Not surprisingly, upon moving to Minnesota nearly four decades ago, Lake Superior immediately became a natural substitute for the ocean I had left behind and utterly bewitched me. Just as I had with the Atlantic, I feel a special connection with this inland sea. I can’t count the number of trips I have made to the North Shore to photograph the lake, mostly in winter, a time of peaceful contemplation, deep silence and magical transformation of its shores.
How I love its untamed immensity, its ever-changing moods and colors, the infinite parade of clouds above its crystal-clear, bone-chilling water, the gentleness of its waves as they come to rest on a pebble beach on a windless day or their fury as they pound the rhyolite shore in late fall. I tremble with excitement when, behind a storm front, a double rainbow suddenly graces the sky above its dark waters or when a winter east wind hurls panes of thin ice onto its shore with the sound and power of a freight train.
Sure, there is no golden sand on the lake’s north shore, no crabs nor shrimp to catch with my bare hands: but sitting on a lonely stretch of shoreline, with my eyes closed and thinking about absolutely nothing but the sound of waves lapping against the smooth beach stones, well, that too is pure bliss!
The images in this video span the length of the North Shore, including all the state parks from Duluth to Grand Portage and a few Scientific and Natural Areas( SNAs) in between.
About the Artists
Photographer Dominique Braud specializes in wildlife and landscapes of Minnesota. A native of France, he moved to the United States in 1980. One of his many adventures has been teaching high school, which he did for 31 years. His photographs have been published in books, calendars and publications such as Birder’s World, National Wildlife, Ranger Rick, National Geographic World and Outdoor Photographer, and he has authored over seventy articles about nature and photography in regional, national and international magazines. He was a contract photographer for the USFWS at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge for over a decade, and has worked as a freelance photographer for the MN DNR, including features for the Conservation Volunteer magazine. His book, Minnesota Wildlife Impressions, was published by Farcountry Press in 2008. Find more of his wonderful work on his website.
Brilliant mandolinist, fiddler, composer, arranger, and teacher, Peter Ostroushko grew up listening to tunes played at family get-togethers in the Ukrainian community of northeast Minneapolis. His first recording session was an uncredited mandolin set on Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, and he went on to release a string of critically acclaimed albums of his own. He spent more than 40 years as a frequent performer on A Prairie Home Companion, and appeared on Austin City Limits, Late Night with David Letterman, and even Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. His works have been performed by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, among others, and his music has been featured on public television specials such as Ken Burns’ film The National Parks, and Minnesota: A History of the Land, for which he won an Emmy. Sadly, Peter passed away in February of 2021. Explore his extensive discography and 10-episode podcast on his website. Sincere thanks to his wife, Marge Ostroushko, for permission to use his song, “Meditation on the Thin Space at St. Paul’s Chapel” from his CD Postcards for this video. Leave it to Peter to pair well with Lake Superior.
Sweetwater Sea was produced for Agate by Laurie Allmann.