Every year the Stimulight Duo travels North towards Lutsen, Minnesota to spend a weekend snowboarding and partying in a cabin overlooking Lake Superior. This year we went in with a plan. Johnny and I decided to create what would be know as “Boardhenge”.
We realized that with the addition of our friends snowboards along with ours, we would have 10 boards at the cabin over the weekend. What a great opportunity to make a unique image. To make things even better, the skies were clear, and the stars were bright. It was obvious that “Boardhenge” had to be a star trail!
After a long day boarding at Lutsen Mountains, we came back and started the party. Drinking and eating great food in front of a crackling fireplace with friends, the night went on and on. Pretty soon it was nearly 2am and we realized that “Boardhenge” was waiting for us. A team of us gathered up all the boards and journeyed out into the -20°F night to find the perfect spot.
As we frolicked through the deep Minnesota snow in our drunken, energetic state, we came across a clearing that we deemed the site of “Boardhenge”. I grabbed each board and placed them in an arc shape below the north star (Polaris). Johnny started setting up the camera gear, and the rest of the team threw each other in the snow and continued to take down the brews.
Our first major challenge. We needed to use Johnny’s fish eye lens for this particular shot, but we realized that a fall the lens had taken earlier had damaged it to the point there was no way to focus it anymore. We decided that as a fisheye, the focus is much less important and for the sake of art, we would forge ahead.
As the shot came together, we started lighting the boards up with flashlights. We were shooting 30sec exposures with the intervalometer clicking the shutter away. As usually happens on these shoots, Johnny brought up the possibility of a wool spin. I knew this might happen and had packed all the paraphernalia to create a spark flinging wool spin. Johnny grabbed the gear and then proceeded to struggle with a bad lighter for several minutes while his frozen fingers suffered. If you have ever tried lighting steel wool with a bad lighter on a cold night, you can imagine his pain. I then checked the wool and realized that we were trying to light some thick scratchy worthless stuff. I grabbed the “0000” wool and the sparks began to fly!
As Johnny and I stood behind the boards throwing fire, our friends stood behind the camera ducking and dodging hot pieces of shredded wool. After the fire had subsided, we gathered ourselves up and headed towards the warm cabin.
Back in the warmth of the cabin with fresh beers and warm fingers, we resumed the party while Johnny’s camera clicked away through the night. The next morning we woke up to a frosty camera full of amazing images. We stacked the shots into a star trail, then decided to try and add the steel wool shot to the mix, and to our surprise, instantly became the shot! An epic image of 10 snowboards stuck in a foot of snow pointing towards the skies above. Polaris created the point that the stars spun from above, and the steel wool provided the light source that helped the boards stand out from the dark night.
“Boardhenge” was created, friends were reunited. Lutsen was full of great times with great people.
Written by: Dan McCreight