A Bluff With A View

I continue to feel fortunate for living in such a beautiful area of the country.  Without bluffs all would be flat – or at best a bit hilly.  I haven’t spent very much time in this spot atop Sorin’s Bluff @ Memorial Park this year.  It is a lovely place to take in a sunset or watch a storm roll on by.  It is a favorite location so shoot panoramas.


Red Wing’s lime industry started at the base of Barns Bluff where, in 1853 Phineas Fish operated a makeshift kiln. He gathered limestone debris from the bluff and reduced it to lime. More distant Sorin’s Bluff didn’t get into the lime picture for another 25 years. Then it challenged Barn Bluff for supremacy in Minnesota’s lime center.

Quarrying ended around 1910, and activity on Sorin’s quieted until Red Wing civic leaders of the Womens Community Association and Soldiers Memorial Association combined forces and started work on Memorial Park, a scenic Sorin’s Bluff retreat dedicated to soldiers of all wars.

They first raised money to buy 93 acres, then improved the quarry road to the summit. A parkway around the bluff top completed the first phase of the project. Veterans of the First World War made improvements to the park by clearing brush and planting trees. Red Wing dedicated Memorial Park in the fall of 1929, and over the years the city secured more land for the reserve.

– http://www.red-wing.org/memorialpark.html


Minneapolis, MN – West Bank Waterfront

We were hopeful of a stone arch bridge cityscape sunset, but the clouds did not cooperate.  Our last trip to the area was rainy and there were pretty much zero photo opportunities.  I can live with clouds.  This is a much-photographed urban location.  There is quite a bit here to see and do – including the mill city ruins.

Our target for this outing was the Grain Belt Beer bottle cap and do some night shooting.  This bottle cap has and continues to be a pretty big deal.  It used to be lit up.  It last went dark in November of 1991 shortly after G. Heileman Brewery declared bankruptcy in 1990.  This sign has been around for 80+ years.  You can read more about it here.

Here are some shots from our excursion to the concrete jungle yesterday evening.


Dreary Autumn Day- Part Duex

Hopeful for a clearing in the weather, Cyn and I set out to scout the West Bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.  Sunday was no better than Saturday weather-wise.  To make things more fun, the Twin Cities Marathon was right in our tracks, but only part of the way.  We started on the East side of the river in St. Paul and eventually were able to make our way to the Mill Ruins area; home of the stone arch bridge and the Premium Grain Belt bottle cap sign.  At this point the annoying sprinkle had turned into a pretty steady rain.  We spend the rest of the day scouting in the car and sneaking shots in between rain showers.  The Fall color was plentiful all up and down the river.

I can’t wait to get back to some of these locations for a night shoot in a couple of weeks.

2013: Week #40 Photography

The countdown (or count up) to 2014 continues – tic toc tic toc – week 40 has come and gone.  I’ve been playing around in the low light on my morning commutes.  I figure most anyone can take a reasonably sharp picture, so how about a little motion blur and grain.  It isn’t as easy as it sounds.

The Autumn color is arriving and will hopefully be around for a bit.  I am anxious to shot some landscape and time-lapse photography.  This is my favorite time of the year and so far it has been pretty blah.  One more week and it is off to the North Shore though – can’t wait.

Here are my week #40 shots.  Have a great weekend everyone!


Another image from that same day in October 2011, but later in the evening before sunset.  The same railroad lift bridge at a very different angle.  This photo was taken from the extreme Eastern edge (downstream) of the Raspberry Island; down past the Schubert Club Bandshell.  Most of the time [except in high-water] there is a sand beach there.  Part of my tripod was in the water on this shot to achieve the low angle.  This appears to be around the time that I learned about foreground components in a landscape.

//original 2011 post//

Original 2011 rendition

Here is the rework of the file.  16×9 aspect ratio crop and a bit of post processing work in LR5.


St. Paul Raspberry Island View

I have been trudging through my archives looking for images that I particularly enjoyed back in 2011 and still do today.

Here is one of my favorites from October 8th, 2011.  This image taken from Raspberry Island under the Wabasha Street bridge in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Nice view of the railroad lift bridge and the tugs stacked against the levee.  I couldn’t have asked for better clouds or color for the sunrise.

This was my version almost two years ago:

This is my new version today, with a slightly different crop and different post processing:


One of my favorite things is to look back from whence I have come.  It helps complete the picture of where you are now by providing the contrast from where you have been – me

Bridge Layers

While crossing the back channel bridge on our way to the The Stone Barn in Nelson, WI we spied some interesting activity in and around the boat landing.  A National Guard engineering company out of Hammond, WI was returning from an exercise.  It would have been something to see, connecting those floating bridge sections together to span the river channel; then driving vehicles across!  It was interesting enough watching the company load out of the river in between Red Wing and Mississippi on Trenton Island.

2013: Week #34 Photography

It was a long short week for me having been in and out of the office a couple of different days and then playing catch up.   I have been enjoying the sun rises and sets in August, but have not photographed them nearly enough.  I finally took some time and barely caught a gorgeous sunset.  The Queen of the Mississippi was in town docked at Levee Park this week too.  I always try to grab a couple of shots when these river boats pass through.

I’d say have a great weekend, but is Sunday and the weekend is almost over and another week will quickly be upon us.  It is going to be a steamy one around here – 90’s and humid the whole week; just in time for the Minnesota State Fair.  Stay cool and have a great week everyone.

2013: Week #17 Photography

I am happy to report that we appear to be done with snow for the season…finally.  We’ve had a few nice days of warmer weather (70’s)…finally.  Looking ahead to next week though, it appears the mercury is recoiling to a lower stance on the thermometer.  This is one of the crazier Springs I can recall in my almost 40 years of existence.  I have been very busy with Spring cleaning this last week – digitally speaking anyway – since my recent epiphany.  It has been a slow photography week in the sense of acquiring more, but very active in reviewing what I have and purging a large amount of files.  I am not sure why I held on to so many shots.  I have reduced albums of 200+ shots to 20-30 total retain.  This bodes well for the backup schedule.

I did take a few minutes away from culling bad photos to capture the Pelican’s that were in my area last week.  Once 40 degrees went to 70 degrees in one day they were as good as gone.

2013 Week 16 006 2013 Week 16 017

Shooting Swans

Last February I posted information regarding the swans in Monticello, MN:  Feb/Mar Trumpeter Swan Mating Rituals

Cyndie and I didn’t make it last year to this spectacle, but this year we did.  This is an absolute site to see.  The $10/hr./photographer for private deck access just off the water was more than worth it.

View from the Private Observation Deck
View from the Private Observation Deck

For reservations:

Rich Thurman
201 Mississippi Drive
Monticello, MN. 55362


There is a public area to observe the swans adjacent to the residence with the private deck if you would rather go that route – Monticello Swan Park.  Either way, please consider making a donation to carry on what Sheila Lawrence stared.

Between my two camera’s I have a little bit over 1000 frames to look through.  I’ve gotten better at trashing the obvious non-winners.  Here are the 41 frames I kept.