Do you ever remember hearing when you were growing up, “!@#$ Sunday drivers.” I believe I heard that a couple thousand times as a child, and I may have uttered the phrase myself in my younger years. I am one now…a Sunday driver. There is nothing more relaxing than putz’in around the back roads in the country.
We had originally set out to grab some pizza at The Stone Barn in Nelson, WI. Upon arrival, we found it closed as it wasn’t even close to 5 p.m. Hint: read all of the information on the website; specifically the days of the week and time of day the establishment is open.
No worries, Nelson wasn’t too far away. We stopped at J&J BBQ. I am no stranger to BBQ and I know my way around a grill, meat rubs, smoking, etc. Wow, that was some good BBQ. I will definitely stop there again.
After our late lunch we made our way back to the countryside on top of the river bluffs and slowly made our way back toward home. We were fortunate enough to take in some lovely scenery on a picture-perfect kind of day.
After a short drive to drop off the furry kids at grandma’s house, we set out for Southwest, MN – specifically Pipestone, MN. I’ve wanted to make this in-state journey for some time now and just haven’t gotten around to it.
Back in-the-day, when I would travel anywhere, it was balls to wall (just recently learned the origin of this) with no time spent in between stopping for anything. These days, when Cyn and I travel, I look for most any excuse to take a back road or generally deviate from the prescribed path the GPS has set forth. We stop for bakery’s, ice cream, antique stores, nursery & greenhouses, interesting small towns – we’ve managed to create an exhaustive list of excuses to stop. More often than not, we just stumble upon fun, interesting, and often times tasty things. For all these reasons, if the route says 2 hours, you can count on it taking use at least 4 hours. After all, it is all about the journey.
This is the first of five post detailing our recent excursion to Southwest Minnesota and as the title states, these are the shots heading to and back home from Pipestone, MN.
Southwest MN series [#1 The To and From] [#2 Gibbon, MN] [#3 Pipestone National Monument] [#4 Blue Mound State Park] [#5 Morton, MN Monuments]
This is the sister-post to Abandoned Hunting – The Abandoned. We were afforded quite a variety of scenery and subjects in our travels. The wildlife was plentiful and spectacular. The sheer number of geese that will congregate in one area can be quite the spectacle. We were reminded how nature can often be raw and brutal. We witnessed a bald eagle ripping away at a deer carcass and another that dispatched Fluffy on the side of a road and then proceeded to carry it away. The Whitetail deer were seemingly as numerous as grains of sands. There were three different occasions that we spotted entire herds milling about in the middle of the day. I very much enjoyed the small towns we passed through. I could have spent a lot of time photographing their character, but per usual, we were on a mission.
Eagle vs. Fluffy
Eagle on deer carcass
…I know the kitchen sink is in there somewhere
Whitetail Deer Herd
Whitetail Deer Herd
The sunlight was high in the sky, harsh and the shadows it cast where long. A few clouds graced us with their presence overhead throughout the day. It was only in the low to mid 20’s, but with the sun, I would have sworn it was 40. It was one of those Sunday’s that you welcome a drive; some time to be out and about – out of the house.
Today’s mission was simple…some cheese from the Eau Galle Cheese Factory. The outing was different in that we actually planned to go here rather than happening by it an hour early or 10 minutes after it closed. It is a somewhat narrow window to hit on a Sunday, 11-4:30. Blueberry Cheddar, Cranberry Cheddar, Buffalo Wing Jack and even Chocolate cheese…all seriously yummy.
While en route to and the return trip from our destination, we happily took in familiar sites. The drive through Porcupine, WI area and surrounding bluffs and valleys always affords spectacular views. The deer where out in numbers this day – no doubt soaking up some sun. They too seem anxious for Spring, or at the very least look it. These are not your common yard-fed critters.
Sand Washing plant – Grange Hall, WI
what is left of the porcupine farmsted
The Stockholm Pie Company
The Stockholm Pie Company
Our last stop of the day before home was in Stockholm, WI at the Stockholm Pie Company. Oh my. Yes, I would love a slice of pecan pie. Small and quaint place with lots of character.
Revisited – February 2013 hot out post processing. Lots of shooting this last month – love it. There was even an album I didn’t seem to get around to processing. That hardly ever happens.
…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.
A recent drive about yield a few interesting shots of a diverse and varied subject matter. Sailors, piggies, round bail walls, eagles, photographer and one very nice coupla. I haven’t encountered a coupla to-date that has glass panels. The rest of the design is as common as others I have seen in the area. There were lots of eagle watchers/photographers out along the river. The area between Maple Springs and Reads Landing is always a hot spots.
Wind surfing over a frozen Lake Pepin will likely never be my cup of tea, but it was interesting to watch for a few moment…until the warm car called us back.
The furry piggies where just a bonus we encountered while on back roads. We crested a hill and could see something in the distance; not big enough to be cattle or horses. Little furry piggies they were.
The wall of round bails were masterfully position to block the shrill and chilling winds of winter. It appeared to be quick the fortress of sorts; the only thing missing was a draw bridge.
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.