Saturday, June 15, 2013

Up in the air with The Grizz in Door County WI.

A week ago we went up to Door County Wisconsin. It is a beautiful place famous for its cherry. Cherry pies, cherry soda, cherry jam, you name it they have it. It's a place excellent for relaxing, where the towns are close together, and there is a port in almost every town you visit as it is a beautiful peninsula.

One of the beautiful islands in the lake.
On our second day at Door County we were trying to find a great way to see the peninsula. We browsed online and there were a lot of tours going on that week. Then we saw the Grizzly scenic air tours. And we booked a tour and we scheduled it on that friday because it was supposed to be really sunny and dry.

Eagle Bluff lighthouse from the air.
Friday came and we were excited to go to the airport to meet Grizzly Dave, the pilot of the plane that is taking us on the tour.  He briefed us on where we are going, what we are expected to see, and how we can take the shot perfectly from the air.

Horseshoe island.
For this trip I packed 2 bodies. I have my Canon 5D MK2 equipped with a 17-40mm f/4 lens and a Canon 6D equipped with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. These two lenses work perfectly for scenic trips, and I never fail to bring both of them on tours and vacations.

The beautiful shoreline from above.
Grizzly Dave just warned me to stay away from the window as far as I can with my 70-200mm as it is a big lens. I was told that a guy once popped his window out with his camera lens. For safety reasons I took out my lens hood to at least cut off about 4 inches away from my lens. I could just imagine the horror on that guys face when he busted the window open of a plane currently in flight.

The water is clear that you can see the bottom in some areas.
The trip was bumpy at first, as we flew a lower altitude above the trees. As soon as we gained altitude, the ride became more stable and we were able to look into our viewfinders better.

Two sunken ship hulls visible from the air. 
While the tour was going on Grizzly Dave pointed out the different towns, he told us stories about some lighthouses, and he pointed to us which is which.

Cana Island Lighthouse.
While we were over at Door County, they had a lighthouse festival. Door County is home to 11 lighthouses. Seeing lighthouses on a land tour is great. Seeing the lighthouses from the air is just magnificent.

Canal Station Pier-head lighthouse visible on the lower right side.
Most of the time I shot with the 70-200mm lens. The focal length is just right as it is not too long and at the same time not too short. I set my dial to shutter priority so I can set a speed that I wanted. For these shots I set it to around 400/sec. It was a very bright day so my iso was at 100, no need to worry about noise at all.

The Steel Bridge in Sturgeon bay.
One thing I forgot to bring is a polarizer. It would've helped to eliminate reflections from the window, I managed to minimize reflections by shooting at the right angle at certain times, the polarizer would've been great to have though.

The dock in Sturgeon bay.
Throughout the tour we were never bored with Grizzly Daves stories and jokes. He is indeed a very funny guy. He told us that there were numerous times that guys would propose to their girlfriends during the tour. In fact, as of that time there were seven proposals...six of them were successful...hahaha.

Seeing the peninsula in a plane is a different experience.
I highly recommend the tour. It was very entertaining and fun. For photographers, it is an excellent way to photograph landscapes in a very unique way. Would I do it again? Heck, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

One of the beautiful docks in Door County
For more information about Grizzly scenic tours, visit their website at:

The Grizz himself.

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