Snap-shots of the Realm

Once upon a somewhat long time ago…I used to attend the Minnesota Renaissance Festival every year.  Times change and other opportunities present themselves and you don’t always keep traditions alive.  This year was mine and Cyn’s first time back in many years.  It was also our first time back as non-smokers.  Wow.  I guess I always knew that second-hand smoke stinks, but I never imagined to what extent.  There were cig and cigar puffers everywhere.  It was especially bad when eating and when we sat down to watch Puke & Snot perform.  Another misnomer is even in the outdoors, tobacco smoke doesn’t dissipate as quickly as one might think.  My sincerest apologies to those I have smoked around and thought nothing of it.  I hope to never again pick that nasty stinky habit up.

I would be very surprised if this last Saturday was not a record attendance for the festival.  There were carload upon carload of people stacked up on HWY 169 for a few miles.  I remember having to deal with some traffic, but not like this.  We didn’t exactly show up at an optimal time either.  I would highly recommend arriving 2 hours either side of noon; it may not have mattered this day though.  We drove in with a wave of a few thousand I am sure.  Both sides (King & Queen’s gates) parking areas where stacking up quickly.  It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to get there and another hour and fifteen minutes to get in.  Leaving was a similar experience.

There was one thing abundantly clear, this festival had grown considerably during our absence.  It is somewhat tricky shooting at a festival like this.  There is so much going on in the background of every frame.  I shot the festivities with my nifty 50mm.  Anything worth it would have to be pretty close.  I usually shoot with a 70-300mm, so this was a completely different experience than the norm.  Not only could I not zoom, but I was fixed; not wide or narrow.  This is one place where everyone is pretty o.k. with getting their picture taken though.  It certainly made for an enjoyable afternoon.

We meandered about watching people, shows and other performers.  We had our share of food and drink as well.  After about 5 hours we had our fill.  Here are my shots from the afternoon.

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Is it a small world after all?

I need some help here – please read completely.

One would think we live in a small world given all of the technology that exists to connect us with others – facebook, WordPress, Tumblr, twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instragram, Pinterest,  and Flickr…just to name a few.  There are over 100 social networking sites/apps to feed your Internet addiction.

It is quite remarkable when you consider the ease at which you can let the world know what you are up to or what is on your mind.  Some would argue that this type of technology has critically wounded in-person interaction.  You can see signs of this in almost every public place, restaurant, bar – wherever.  An entire family – mom, dad and kids, all with their faces in one type of device or other.  I am not going to get into that argument in this post.  I have  a very specific task that I wish to accomplish by leveraging this amazing technology; more on that in a bit.

Is six degrees of separation reality or are we not there yet?  According to the following tidbits from wikipedia.org – we are there.  I’d like to test that notion.

In 2001, Duncan Watts, a professor at Columbia University, attempted to recreate Milgram’s experiment on the Internet, using an e-mail message as the “package” that needed to be delivered, with 48,000 senders and 19 targets (in 157 countries). Watts found that the average (though not maximum) number of intermediaries was around six.

A 2007 study by Jure Leskovec and Eric Horvitz examined a data set of instant messages composed of 30 billion conversations among 240 million people. They found the average path length among Microsoft Messenger users to be 6.6.

It has been suggested by some commentators that interlocking networks of computer mediated lateral communication could defuse single messages to all interested users worldwide as per the 6 degrees of separation principle via Information Routing Groups, which are networks specifically designed to exploit this principle and lateral diffusion.

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Valley Springs, Bay City, WI – 500 ft. of mean

Back to my mission.  I took a photograph of a spectator at a motorcycle hill climb in Western Wisconsin in September 2011.  Valley Springs just outside of Bay City, WI is the home of “500 ft. of mean” and is widely known among climbers as a tough hill.  After a 20-year absence the Bay City Hill Climb was back.  This very same hill was in operation 15 years (1976-1991) prior to that 20 year lapse in time.  This was a big deal for locals and visitors alike.  A few thousand spectators were on hand to witness this revival of sorts; I was among them.  I shot a lot of the runs up the hill, went on the side of the hill to shoot and even wandered around a bit.  I ended up with some pretty good shots.  The best shot of the day, though, was not anything hill climb related really.

I call myself Outdoor Guy Photography because I love the outdoors and photographing it.  My all time favorite photographs are candids though.  The un-posed and unplanned; that one unique and never-to-be-again-moment in time, frozen, forever in a photograph – that is what I really love.  These opportunities don’t happen everyday, but I will take them when there is the opportunity.  I was panning the crowd at that hill climb when this lady came into my frame.  She was walking towards me from a couple hundred yards away with the sun above her, shining through her hat and projecting “Sunshine Freckles” onto her face.  It wasn’t until I got home from the event that I realized I had a nice picture and no means to contact here.  This was my first “good shot” that I had ever taken and the first I ever committed to canvas.  I was very proud of the shot.  This 16×20 canvas gallery wrap has hung on a wall for a while and it’s time for something new.  I would like to offer it to her.

Some fellow photographers encouraged me to search this person out right away, but I thought it would be next to impossible to find her.  This is where all of you come in :-).  I have recently heard of a few neat stories about social media finding and connecting people for a few different reason.  I thought I would give it a try; try to locate Sunshine Freckles to give her this gallery wrap.  If you would, please share this post with as many friends on as many social media outlets as you participate in.  I would greatly appreciate any and all help in trying to locate this individual.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes and hopefully I can ascertain the route the info traveled and how many participated.

Here goes nothing!  Do you know who this woman is?  Please share in as many places as you can.  Use the icons below for easy sharing.   Here is the short link for copy and paste purposes: http://wp.me/pFlzQ-1RZ.  Please feel free to contact me or forward my email address on to her if you know her outdoorguyphotography@gmail.com.  Thank you!  I appreciate any help you can offer.

Sunshine Freckles
Sunshine Freckles – 16×20 canvas gallery wrap