Sunset Star Puppies

Nope – not the latest pop band.  AKA Sun Dogs



Honeymoon Bluff – Gunflint Trail – Grand Marais, MN

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Honeymoon Bluff – Gunflint Trail | MN North Shore

Fall 2013 North Shore series
[Honeymoon Bluff – Gunflint Trail] [Sunrise @ Grand Marais] [Sunrise @ Hollow Rock] [North Shore Abstracts] [Grand Portage State Park]
[The In-Between, Day 1] [The In-Between, Day 2] [The In-Between, Day 3]


The Big Purge

It has been a long time coming now.  Backing up to the cloud takes time even with plenty of bandwidth.  My recent back up revelations have led to incessant purging of files.  It is a very long process.  2011, not a complete year (Aug – Dec), has been reduced to approximately 1000 shots retained; I am sure that could even be reduced further if I really had to.  I will leave some for a likely future last round of digital cleansing.  I guess when I first started to dig into photography I kept everything.  For the most part I am glad that I did.  When I look back it is very clear to me what worked and what didn’t.  I know a few more tricks in salvaging an image that was less than perfectly exposed, but that isn’t the ultimate goal.  Shoot and learn; shoot more and learn even more.

I am hoping with further review of subsequent years to see a style emerging; your style isn’t so readily apparent to you – at least it isn’t to me.  I have spent the last few years experimenting with many different things photographically.  It is interesting to look back at what you have shot. Remembering why you shot something is my biggest challenge (thankfully the memories are still fresh).  These are a few photos from 2011 that caught my eye while sifting through the nearly 4000 shots.

To review or not…

…there is no question in my mind.

Revisited – January 2013

Going back and reviewing what you have done for a period of time; in this case, month to month, can be a gratifying exercise.  I fully believe that you cannot chart a future course without continually studying and reviewing from where you have come.  Isn’t that the quest we are all on with some aspect of our lives…be it a hobby, our health  or some other aspiration?

Ever since I started this blog, each month I have gone back and reviewed my shots for the month.  I call it revisited  (category/tag).  I typically pull the photos I especially like the most and often do a black & white conversion (Silver Efex Pro) on those I think would be a prime candidate.  Other times I will apply a color treatment (Color Efex Pro), dabble with faux HDR/HDR or other treatments/techniques.  Sometimes it is a simple adjustment to the composition.  Cropping an image can present it in an almost entirely different way.

It is one part fun and one part self-critique.  If you do not attempt to acquire a deeper understanding of what you are seeing/photographing and how you are presenting it to the world, as your art, what is the point then?  Just going through the motions is not enough.  Without examination and review there is no growth or betterment or your craft.

Round Trip to Lamberton

The path from Red Wing to Lamberton is long.  From the bank of the Mississippi River to the Southwest plains.  There were several towns in between here and there filled will all sorts of interesting things to photograph – New Ulm, St. Peter and Sleepy Eye to name a few.  We left early and allowed for some exploration, but we still had an arrival time to hit and winter days light only last so long.

One thing I noticed immediately in this neck of the woods (expansive fields actually) where the A.C.O. tile silos and block barns.  There were a number of them adorned with Adophy Casimir Ochs initials.   I have only seen a few silos that looked like these; not A.C.O.’s either, but very much the same.  There are so many in the area because Adophy Casimir Ochs located his brick  and tile company in Springfield, MN.  I have seen photos of these silos in North Dakota; that is quick a distance and likely an expensive rail transport in the day of dirt roads.

These hollow-tile silos are made of hollow, hard burned or glazed tile blocks reinforced typically by iron bands that fit into the mortar between the blocks or in grooves made in them.  With properly glazed block, air and moisture is not an issue.  The hollow space in the blocks protected the contents against extreme temperatures.

These silos and barns are magnificent structures standing the test of time and they elements.

Here are the photos from out trip.


Happy New Year

Cyndie and I [and the wieners] were on the road again, further North this time, to celebrate the coming new year.  Apparently all the eating and drinking was not complete.  We were right on 9th Crow Wing lake just outside of Akeley, MN in Hubbard County.  The ice fishing is pretty good most of the time.  Several yummy Walleye’s were hooked and prepared to be cooked.  A few Northern Pike graced our tip-up lines as well.  Cyndie caught herself a nice lil baby pike.  They grow quite big in this lake as they are managed for trophies.

We woke up one morning to hoar frost.  It was a spectacular view on and around the lake.  We decided to take a little drive and take in all the sparkles; sparkle it did indeed.  The conifers look as though they had all been flocked.  The last time we had experienced hoar frost was Feb 4th of last year on our way to an equine event.

We were also treated to a couple wonderful winter sunsets.  It is truly beautiful country.  Happy New Year everyone!

To Commute or not to Commute…

…I guess it really isn’t a question.  I’ve been doing so for 8+ years now.  Approximately 50 miles each way; 100 miles a day.

Monday – Friday, Red Wing to St. Paul, more specially, Energy Park Drive.  It’s just a hop, skip and maybe a jump or three from the State Fair grounds on Snelling Avenue.  This season [State Fair time] is particularly unpleasant.  The fair traffic coupled with another Minnesota season, road construction, conjures up some ugly traffic.  I won’t even begin to mention the light rail project running down University Avenue that is right in my path.  I am somewhat fortunate though; I need only negotiate the barricades and cones as the workers haven’t even begun at the time I roll through that construction zone.

I do not have any desire to live anywhere close to or in any concrete jungle.  The only mild appeal would be my interest in street photography.  This has been on my list of things to do for some time now, but I rarely have an opportunity to do much…or I should say make the time.  Living in Red Wing, MN doesn’t afford the same opportunities that say, downtown St. Paul or Minneapolis would.

I do very much enjoy living in Red Wing, MN.  Situated along the northern edge of the Driftless Area, this section of Minnesota has several river and stream valleys between towering bluffs and rolling hills flanked by endless acres of fertile farmland.  It’s close proximity to Wisconsin is another plus.  For those of you that visit my blog regularly, you know I spend plenty of time there.  It is hard to image living in any city of substantial size when this is all I have ever experienced and enjoyed.  The two hours out of my day I spend commuting (fair weather time anyhow; winter can be a very different story) is worthy trade.  I use this time to reflect on what has been as well as what is to come.

If I lived in St. Paul where I work, I would miss out on the many splendors of nature that are so vividly stretched out before me along my route.  I have come to really enjoy a particular segment of my commute – Hwy 50.  I travel the section just West of Meisville through New Trier to Hampton where I get on Hwy 52 for the last leg of my daily course .  The rolling hills, valleys and farmland along this stretch are very picturesque.  The sunrises and sunsets are often colorful; every once in a while I am treated to a pretty spectacular one.  I had strayed away from bringing my camera with me everyday.  I’ve missed capturing some pretty spectacular scenes as they unfolded in the wee-early morning light.  As of a month ago I changed that.  I rarely leave home without a camera now.  I pack my older and lighter D60 with me most everywhere I go now.

This morning I was met with a detour in my path along Hwy 50 – nothing unexpected; the sign along side the road has told me so for a week now.  I’ve explored many of these country roads on my way home from work looking for old barns, distressed building and anything else interesting.  This morning’s detour was a good one.  I rolled on by a farm next to a pond and caught a glimpse in my rear view mirror; it was pretty spectacular.

Most of these images where capture right along Hwy 50, with the exception of this morning (1-6 & two pans P-18othStE & P-Co Rd 62).