Autumn Flow at Minnesota's Jay Cook State Park

Autumn Flow 2 at Jay Cooke State Park by William Drew Photography

I have a crush on fall colors. I love walking through them. I love driving through them. And I absolutely love photographing them. This photograph features the fall colors at the spectacular Jay Cooke State Park in Northern Minnesota. The river flowing through the photo is the St. Louis River.  The river was much higher than normal after some very heavy rains earlier in the week. The river was also very violent looking, which just made this park look even more majestic.

My goal on this trip was to take some photos that I have never taken before. To take the normal beauty of this park, and these fall colors and make them pop off the screen in ways that I have never attempted before. And I think I succeeded. Let's see if you feel the same way. Clicking on any of the photos will take you to that photos page so you can get a better look at it. 

To get the photo up above at the top of this blog, I made my way across a very crowded Swinging Bridge at Jay Cooke State Park. This bridge is the main attraction at this State Park. Well, ok, it comes in a close 2nd to the scenery. I just wish they had built it a little bit wider. Two normal sized people cannot walk next to each other on this bridge, and with how busy the park was on Sunday everyone basically had to walk sideways across it. Once I finished my trek across the bridge, I looked around trying to decide which way to venture into. There were so many people in that area that figuring out which way to go meant trying to find the path of least resistance. I soon found that path, and it was one that I had never taken before in all of my excursions to Jay Cooke. I took a path that wasn't a path, which led me to a very small space under the swinging bridge. Under that bridge is where I found the view you see in that photo, looking up at the rushing waters of the St. Louis River violently flowing through Jay Cooke State Park.

Jay Cooke State Park - Autumn Flow 2 - William Drew Photography

After taking that photo, I decided to head upstream along the river. I picked out a spot right along the bank where there was a nice view looking up the river and some nice rocks in the area for me to set up my camera and tripod, and have a decent spot to stay safe near all that rushing water. The vibrant fall colors to the left of the frame. The rugged rocks on the right part of the photo. The silky smooth water racing past the rocks. This photo brings a lot of fantastic stuff together. 

Jay Cooke State Park - Autumn Flow 3 - William Drew Photography

As my camera was working its magic on that previous photo, I noticed another good spot to shoot from only about 20-feet further upstream. This spot gave a clearer look up the river. I still had those vibrant fall color trees, I still had some rugged rocks in view, and there was also a perfectly placed pile of logs in view now. Even though the spot was only 20-feet away, I had to walk three-times that far just to get to it. Turns out the abundance of rain earlier in the week created a bit of a mudslide, and it wiped out any place I could walk to get to this new spot. But I made it without slipping and sliding in any mud, and I found this spot to just be absolutely beautiful. 

Jay Cooke State Park - Autumn Flow 4 - William Drew Photography

For this last image, I had left the main area of Jay Cooke State Park, and headed up to the overlook. The overlook has two fantastic spots where you can see different parts of the St. Louis River. In this photo, I'm looking out towards where the Swinging Bridge is. The bridge is slightly out of view, so you can't quite see it. Regardless, the views from up on these cliffs are breathtaking.  

To get the silky smooth water effect in these photos, I used some filters that darkened out the sun from the camera. This allowed me to take a long exposure in the middle of the day. That long exposure is what gave the water that smooth, silky look. 

I hope you enjoy these Fine Art Landscape photos from Northern Minnesota, and please feel free to share it!

You can see all of my art here: William Drew Photography