2018 American Birkebeiner

Raw video from the 2018 American Birkebeiner held in northern Wisconsin.

This year racers from 49 U.S. states and 39 countries competed.  Nearly 40,000 skiers, spectators, and volunteers gather annually for this race.  (Worldloppet TV magazine #14).  The American Birkebeiner is a Worldloppet race.

Jessie Diggins grew up skiing in the American Birkebeiner.


Test Shots New Camera G7X Mark II


Recently, God blessed me with a new camera, a Canon G7X Mark II, so I took it out to High Cliff State Park for a few test shots.

In the above shot, most of the trees are bare, but it still has nice color because of the leaves on the ground and the golden light of the sun setting over Lake Winnebago.  I appreciate the detail and sharpness of the bare trees.


Here, I like the subtlety of color on the horizon and the wide dynamic range on the trees and leaves.


This picture seems like it could have been better.  Maybe I got there too late to see the leaves lit up by sun rays.  At full size, it doesn’t look too bad though.


The G7X has a relatively large sensor and a lens with a relatively wide aperture, so it captures low light scenes fairly well for a small compact camera.  All the pictures in this post were taken with the camera hand held (no tripod) and the jpeg files are straight out of the camera (no post processing).

It is rare for any of my pictures to see Photoshop or any editing program.  Although, maybe I should do more cropping and leveling of my horizons.

I took a hand-held sample video down by the lake shore, and uploaded it to YouTube.  Unfortunately, every video I upload looks crummy: the images are not sharp and the colors are washed out.  (I assume it has something to do with YouTube’s compression algorithms).  Even though the colors are washed out, the static noise in the video sounds accurate.

I thought it would be nice to record the gently lapping water and the occasional distant call of a bird of prey.  But in the video one has to strain to hear anything over the static.

Audible static noise in every video is an unfortunate and disappointing problem with the G7X Mark II.  The audio quality in its videos is poor.  My old G12 which cost less than the G7X Mark II had much better audio and much cleaner audio.


The sun sets over Lake Winnebago.  I try hard to keep my camera level when taking pictures of flat horizons.  It’s not easy when standing on wet rocks.


The G7X Mark II has a view screen that can flip back 180° so you can take a picture of yourself, if you wish.  So I did.  The sun was right below the horizon, and its light was rosy.


The flip screen also helps to take pictures from lower angles.  Without the tilt screen, I would have had to lay in the water to get this photograph.

After that shot, I hiked up to the top of the first cliff.


This last picture is of the half moon rising over the sunset.  The moon (in the upper left corner) is very far away, and therefore a little out of focus.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

A Slice of Heaven


Hartman Creek near Waupaca, Wisconsin

There is something quite beautiful about the way the pine needles shimmer in the late afternoon summer sun (that I’ve never been able to capture with a camera).  This place seems to me like a slice of heaven.


Mist from campfire smoke and water vapor.

Even tainted by sin, God’s creation remains wondrous.  But the greatest beauty of all is God’s mercy in Christ.  In him all things will be made new.


Mist on the creek.

Christ is much more than just a slice of heaven.  He is life itself.  (John 14:6).

God’s blessings to you.


Long Weekend


Mountain biking, hiking, and watching the sunset at High Cliff.


The pictures in this post are from Labor Day weekend 2016 A.D.


Swimming, watching the waves and clouds, enjoying the cool breeze, meditating, praying, and reading Tainted by Morgan Busse on the beach at Whitefish Dunes.


Hiking at Whitefish Dunes.


Mountain biking at Peninsula.


Biking the Sunset Trail, mountain biking, picnicking, biking the Sunset Trail again, and more mountain biking for good measure.  That landmass on the horizon is Chambers Island (just west of Adventure Island).


At the end of the day at Peninsula State Park, a sudden realization.  Also thankful for the car I purchased brand new sixteen years ago.  199,000!  That’s worth one last photo before leaving.  16 years, 199,000 miles.  Thank you Lord Jesus.


Hiking Near the Mississippi


The pictures in this post are from Perrot State Park in Wisconsin on the mighty Mississippi River.


The two pictures above were taken on the way up to the top of Brady’s Bluff.


Trempealeau Mountain stands up in the midst of the waters.


Brady’s Bluff stands 520 feet above the Mississippi, and provides a commanding view of the river and Minnesota.


Grace is like a passing shower of rain.


This is a passing rain storm as seen from the peak of Rib Mountain, Wisconsin.

When it rained, it rained hard.  But when the sun shined, it shone with warmth and brilliance.  Energized by yellow sunbeams, mist rose above the splashed ground.

The Lord sends blessing and adversity.  Sometimes he curses.  (Genesis 3:17-19).  But even his curses are good.  For “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  (Romans 8:28, ESV).

I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the Lord, who does all these things.

Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the Lord have created it.

Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
or ‘Your work has no handles’?

— Isaiah 45:7-9, ESV.

We are here because God gave us life.  Our very existence shows that we belong.  Do God’s clay pots have no handles?  Did he make us wrong?

Who has made man’s mouth?  Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?  Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.

— Exodus 4:11-12, ESV.

The Lord calls to us.  Jesus is our righteousness.  (Jeremiah 23:6).  No matter what our calamity or circumstance, he has a place for us.  Because of Jesus we belong.


American Birkebeiner

The American Birkebeiner is one of the largest cross-country ski races in the world.  It is held every year in northern Wisconsin between Cable and Hayward.

Each February an estimated 40,000 skiers and spectators gather in Cable and Hayward, Wisconsin to take part in North America’s largest and greatest ski race, the American Birkebeiner.  In homage to the races roots, every year the American Birkebeiner reenacts the historic flight of the Birkebeiner warriors, Torstein and Skervald, when two skiers in full traditional costume and on wooden skis reenact the escape along the entire 55K classic cross-country race course, surrounded by over 10,000 other determined skiers.  Along the race course, the warriors are joined by Prince Haakon’s mother, Inga.  The Birkebeiner warriors carry a baby doll throughout the journey and pick up an infant child to ski with them over the International Bridge, toward the finish line, and the thousands of cheering fans on Hayward’s snow-covered Main Street.  It is a true celebration of the roots, legacy and traditions of the race.


An iconic world-class, International, sporting event, for over 40-years the American Birkebeiner has helped shape the lives of tens of thousands of participants from elite athletes to recreational citizen skiers.  To date, over 250,000 skiers have finished American Birkebeiner ski events.

— Birkebeinerne.


Autumn leaves in Fall


Autumn leaves in Fall
Rich scents from the earth arise
God’s seasonal gift



a major form of Japanese verse, written in 17 syllables divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, and employing highly evocative allusions and comparisons, often on the subject of nature or one of the seasons.



God’s blessings to you.


Blessed Labor Day


True rest comes from the Lord.

On the seventh day, God rested from all his works.  (Genesis 2:2).  This is the Sabbath day of rest.

“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.”  (Hebrews 4:9-10, ESV).

May we rest from our works, and enter God’s rest.  “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works …  For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:8-10, HCSB).

Blessed Labor Day!


Beauty Exists


Silvery water reflects tall pine in gentle ripples through warm dreamy air.

After taking this picture, I wasn’t sure what to think.  Was it good?  Would others appreciate it?  I sent it to a friend who liked it a lot.  Her enjoyment caused me to like it a lot too.  Getting feedback is good for any artist.  Otherwise, the only reaction some pictures will ever elicit is a question: “Is this good, or not?”

Taking pictures for one’s own enjoyment can be a good hobby, but photography, as with any art, is really about communication with others.  Art should be a communal experience.  I’m not sure if the picture above communicates anything deeper than that God is good and beauty exists, but at least we can share that pleasant thought together.

Beauty exists whether we perceive it or not.


This post was originally published in 2012.  For this re-post, I increased the size of the photo, modified the wording slightly, added new tags, and changed the title.

The picture was taken at Hartman Creek in Wisconsin, and it is now one of my all time favorites.

God bless.