Originally published Feb. 14, 2013
When I think of the color to represent Valentine’s Day, red is the first to come to mind. Big red, ooey gooey hearts and Cupid and Cupid’s arrows and all that good stuff.
Not the cherry red color of cop car lights!
I have to admit being in a state of shock since I couldn't really believe I was getting pulled over.
The facts stacked up like this though. We got a fresh blanket of snow last night and traffic was backed up a lot more than usual. Even our local paper, The Star Tribune, says:
"A heartbreaker of a commute on Valentine's Day"
yes, and then the article goes on to say:
Twin Cities motorists were feeling no love this Valentine's Day as even modest snowfall overnight bogged down the morning commute from one side of the metro to the other.
Tell me about it.
I was about a half a block away from needing to take a right turn, and since it was all backed up, I got in the turn lane a little before the turn lane actually started. I think. The problem was you couldn't see the turn lane because the entire road, turn lane included, was all covered in snow. So, I figured oh, what the heck. I'm just going to sneak along the side here and make my turn.
Now, if I had seen a cop car ahead of me sitting in the right lane of traffic at the stop light I might have waited a little longer. But I didn't see him and so I proceeded to crawl up the right side of the road, also known to cops and the rest of the driving public as "the shoulder" of the road. Then, out of nowhere, straight from the sheriff's department, there's a cop car. My thought process went something like this:
"Oh crap, there's a cop car. Should I drive past him? I have to drive past him, I can't just stop here. He won't pull me over. You can't even see the turn lane. Oh crap, he just turned on his lights (and siren!). He's pulling over behind me. Maybe he wants to get around me. Just keep driving. Turn your blinker on. QUICK. He's still behind me. Take a right turn. Don't stop here, it's the street. Pull into the library parking lot. For safety. Maybe he's going somewhere else. Oh crap, he's pulling into the library behind me. Did he stop? Maybe he has a book to return. Nope, he's right behind me."
Now I hope somebody out there is going to at least give me some credit for being optimistic right up to the last second.
I roll the window down and get out my wallet. My heart is racing so fast I don't even need a work out anymore. Here he comes.
The cop: "Do you know why I pulled you over?"
Me: "To Wish me a Happy Valentine's Day?"
Just kidding, I'm not that dumb. I used my intelligence and said "Cause I was taking a right turn?"
Cop: "Because you were driving on the shoulder of the road. Can I see your driver's license?" He looks at the license.
Cop: "C'mon Lisa, you're from around here, I know there's a lot of snow but you know the turn lane hadn't started."
Me, continuing to play dumb: "I know but I was going to take a right turn, really, I'm just going to the club."
Cop: "I know the traffic is backed up today but if you start driving on the shoulder of the road then a third lane of traffic will start because other people will see you doing it and they'll follow you. That creates a hazard for emergency vehicles that need to use the shoulder. Can I see your insurance card?"
Cop: "That's expired."
Unsure of whether or not to correct an Officer of the Law, I sheepishly point to the expiration date which says Sept. 24, 2013, hoping to save myself from another violation.
Cop: "Oh, ok. Just a minute."
He goes back to his car. I don't know if I should cry or laugh. I have tears about to well up in my eye, but I kind of feel like laughing too. I mean, who has this kind of luck on Valentine's Day? This is not exactly what I had in mind when I imagined what kind of great things might happen on February 14.
Cop: "Lisa, I'm going to let you off with a warning today, but I made a note in the computer."
Me, continuing to plead my innocence: "I really was just trying to go to the club." I start wondering if I should pull out my club card and show it to him for proof that I at least am a member there.
Cop: "I know but you need to stay off the shoulder of the road." He starts to walk away.
Since it's not really clear to me what's going to happen at this point, I have to open my mouth again.
Me: "Can I go then?"
Cop: "Yes, you can go."
Me: "Thank you."
I know, I know, I should have wished him a Happy Valentine's Day. He was too far back to his car though and I figured I could only make things worse the more I said.
I figure it's either good luck or bad luck, but I'm going to look at it as some kind of good fortune. I have to admit feeling kind of hesitant about driving anywhere else today though. No one can get pulled over twice in one day though. Right?
Well the day is only half over, so on that note I truly wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day and I hope your day has all the right colors of red in it.
This post originally published Feb. 9, 2013
When I went up to the BWCAW (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness) last week, the purpose of my trip was to attend a Plein Air Artist Retreat organized by The Art Colony in Grand Marais, Minnesota. This was my first time attending an event where the majority of the participants were painters. I have always admired painters and the work they create and when I visit a museum, I tend to gravitate to the old oil paintings. They are so captivating with their shiny, glossy texture that make the painting come to life. The fact that many of them have survived the test of time and are still beautiful after hundreds of years is amazing to me.
I learned a lot from watching this Plein Air group of artists. Unlike capturing a photographic image, which can occur in a hundredth or even a thousandth of a second, it can take a painter several hours to recreate a scene. Certainly there are those who can do it faster and some take longer. It almost made me feel careless about my work, moving about so quickly here and there, one composition after another. Like I wasn’t studying hard enough. Painters, on the other hand, set up their tripod (easel) in one spot and there it stays until the piece of work is completed.
Painters must spend a lot of time engaging in an in-depth study of color. If they are trying to replicate what they see with their eyes, they will mix their paints, adding and taking away, until they find the right match for each element in a scene. I think they must develop an intimate relationship with color, fully understanding highlights and shadows, tints and shades, intensities, chroma and saturation. Photographers concern themselves with these things too but not to the extent that painters do, at least in my personal experience. I’m sure there is a photographer or two out there who would argue that they work just like a painter does. I’m just not one of them.
Something else I learned is that many of them prefer static light. It is challenging to paint a scene where light is rapidly changing, such as a sunrise or sunset time of day. Where do you stop the color shift and start the painting? It reminds me of how a mood ring changes color. As a photographer, I can attest to this color blending effect as the sun rises in particular. I will take many exposures as the light changes in the sky, especially if there are clouds. Cloud color can go from dark blue to gray to orange to pink and white in a couple of minutes. If you want to show this progression in your images you will be making a lot of captures very quickly. When the sun sets, this happens in a slower and reverse fashion. Clouds will go from white to pink and maybe orange, perhaps purple to a gray/dark blue mix. A painter must also consider the color of the sky ranging from dark to medium to light blue to pink on the horizon line. The degree of lightness and darkness in those colors alters very quickly over 15 to 30 minutes as well.
This week, instead of showing my photographic work, I’d like to post website links for the painters who have them and for the rest, I will put a link to the work they made during the retreat that is currently showing in an exhibition at The Art Colony. There are some artists I did not meet because I left before the event was over, so I am only putting up links to the ones I met.
I hope you enjoy the work of these very talented professionals. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Scott Lloyd Anderson
Kristin Blomberg, Ron Dietman, John Franz and Carol Holmblad do not have websites that I can find, but you can see Kristin’s, Ron’s and John’s pieces from the event on the Art Colony’s Facebook page. It also includes work from all the artists who attended the retreat and gave pieces to the Art Colony to exhibit. Here is a link:
Thank you for visiting!
Originally published Feb. 2, 2013
I finally made it into the BWCAW (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness). Living in Minnesota, I really have zero excuses for not having previously been there, but somehow I managed to rack up over 40 years of them. The BWCAW is a pristine 1 million+ acres of wilderness covering the northern most part of Minnesota and runs 150 miles along the border with Canada.
It’s a big deal to go there. You need to get permits which are given out on a limited basis to control human impact on the area. Access is either by foot or with a canoe at designated entry points. There are no motorized vehicles allowed. No motor boats, no cars, no snowmobiles. There is no cell phone service. There is no internet or electricity or toilets. There are no power lines running through your photos. There are no man-made structures, except for maybe a handful that were grandfathered in when the BWCAW was first designated in 1964.
In other words, you cannot book a hotel or lodge or cabin in the BWCA. If you go in overnight, you will be setting up camp.
There is one road that runs between two BWCA areas. It is called The Gunflint Trail. Look at the green strip that goes in between the two purple areas in the upper right corner of the state. I’m pretty sure that is where the trail is located. Along here there are lots of lodges, cabins, homes, and electricity lines. I was staying along the Gunflint Trail but I was able to walk into the BWCA, where I proudly filled out my first and second Self-Issued Entry Permits.
I have a lot to say about that trip, but the most ironic thing happened on the way home. In my last post I talked about a little ice storm from Lake Superior waters and showed some images of boardwalk structures coated in ice. Well, wouldn’t you know I had a car problem and my royal chariot ended up in a repair shop in Duluth. Here’s where the irony comes in. The hotel I ended up staying at was the very same spot where I had taken those images two years earlier. I didn’t know it until the next morning because I checked in at night and it was dark. Sure I knew I was in the general area, but since my reservation was made over the phone, I didn’t exactly know where I was going until I got there. Same hotel, same bench, same light post that I had photographed before.
I’ve always wanted to spend some time in Duluth. I wasn’t quite prepared to do it this week but then car breakdowns have a way of altering schedules and life like that.
When I woke up the next morning, I could see that there were ice chunks floating in the water. Water freezes at the edge of the lake but as the waves pick up force from time to time, the back-and-forth motion breaks up the newly formed ice from below the surface and that is why you see these various shapes of ice floating around. Sometimes they start stacking up on top of each other and then if a person can get the sunlight coming through those stacks they might be in nirvana because they just got some very beautiful photographic images.
I was about to do that, having seen two small stacks of those ice configurations, but decided to do a couple other things first. When I came back a few hours later, I was shocked to look out my hotel window and see that ALL the ice had melted or somehow disappeared. Look at the difference in these photos.
Then the call came that my car was done. It had been two days and I was ready to go home. The weather was changing though. The temperature was dropping and ice was starting to form again at the edge. I would have to wait for another time.
If someone had shown me a photograph of some guys ice fishing on Lake Superior,
I would have wondered whether they were catching anything or if the walleye fishing was any good.
I’ve only ventured to northern Minnesota in the summertime, and having no other reason to think about this, I was clueless that Lake Superior rarely ever freezes over entirely in the winter. It’s a big lake, as big as the state of Maine and holds 10% of the world’s fresh unfrozen water.
This provides some ingredients for a very interesting recipe. Mobile water, wind, and freezing temperatures are something we don’t see in the southern part of our state. The lakes down here are frozen solid, so if a winter storm moves in the only thing blowing around in the air is snow or perhaps occasionally, sleet or rain.
Up near Superior it is different. When a storm comes in, the unfrozen lake starts getting rougher and the waves develop white caps. The lake is 350 miles across, its deepest point is 1,332 feet, and it holds 3 quadrillion gallons of water. Storm waves can reach heights of up to 30 feet. No longer protected by the warmth of the deep lake (it stays an average of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4 degrees Celsius), the waves become temporarily airborne and then brought down by the force of gravity where they promptly change into a frozen state of ice. This water starts freezing the shoreline and anything else that is situated along the point where water meets land.
A few years back, I drove my daughter up to Duluth for a day during her Spring Break. Let’s say she was a little ho-hum about this trip. Many of her friends were in sunny destinations like Florida and Arizona. Going anywhere in Minnesota did not count as a Spring Break getaway in her book. As it was, someone reminded us that a storm had just been through the area and that we should head down to the port to check out the ice formations.
Here are some images of what we saw.
On a side note, I’d like to wish Minnesota Vikings’ Tackle Phil Loadholt a very Happy Birthday. #71 is celebrating his birthday Monday, January 21.
Happy Birthday #71
I hope you liked these images and that you are enjoying the calmness of January.
Originally published Jan. 8, 2013
What better way to start the new year off than by talking about something sweet. Should your travels be taking you to NYC, and if you happen to find yourself on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Dylan’s Candy Bar is a worthwhile stop to keep the kids or a sweet tooth satisfied and happy.
Dylan is the daughter of famed fashion designer Ralph Lauren (Polo, anyone?). She was one of many childhood dreamers inspired by Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory at a young age. Yet, while many pretended to make their own candy bars with the back of the Cap’n Crunch box (mail-in order form) kit that came with chocolate Willy Wonka and Oompa Loompa molds and Wonka Bar candy wrappers, she was one of the few who actually realized her dream by opening a real candy shop in 2001. There are a couple other retail outlets around the states (East Hampton, Houston, LA, and Miami Beach).
Taking a leisurely walk through the 3 level flagship store took my daughter and I at least an hour. It is a visual banquet of color for the eyes and might house one of the largest candy collections in the world. They claim to have over 5,000 types of candy!
One of my favorite items in the store is their line of candy bars. There are over 20 flavors including specialties such as Red Velvet Cake, S’mores, Angel Food Cake, Banana Cream Pie, Dark Raspberry, Brownie Batter, and Bacon. The packaging is fun and colorful and the price is reasonable at 4 bars for $10. I think even Willy Wonka might be envious.
Enjoy this photographic trip that will give you some of the visual stimulation without any of the calories! If you find you are craving something sweet, they offer on-line shopping and shipping for most of their products.
This was actually quite lucky. I’m not sure what happened, but about 10 minutes later the store filled with over 100 people. Maybe a tour bus arrived or something. That’s my daughter holding a NYC pizza.
Steps with candy floating in them!
Notice the wallpaper in the stairwell. It reminds me of the wallpaper from the movie that you can lick. I wonder how many people or kids have tried?
So here we are on the last square of the 2012 game board. The tendency for our society is to reflect on what went right, what went wrong, and how we can do it better next year. Kind of like the end of a book and the subsequent analysis of it. Tomorrow we start a new book, metaphorically speaking.
It’s hard to know what the title of 2013′s book will be until later, but I suppose we could put a title on 2012′s book now. Of course, we all have a different title for our books. Mine would probably be called “The Realignment” or maybe “The Awakening” to describe the clarity I experienced this year. Things I haven’t seen my whole life suddenly became clear to me. It’s like the debris in the water settled and I could finally see to the bottom of the lake. I’d say that was a pretty good year to have been the beneficiary of that life reward.
We can think about the theme we would like 2013′s book to be, but only so much of how the book will be written is in our control. In my opinion, it’s kind of like this. You can steer the car but you have very little control over the traffic. The goal is to steer the car the best that you can, knowing that everyone makes mistakes. So try not to be too hard on yourself or others. That makes me think about New Year’s Resolutions.
I am one of those people who stopped making giant New Year’s Resolutions a few years ago. I really didn’t see the point in it. They say that around 90% of people break their resolutions within a few weeks of making them. “Doomed to failure” say psychologists. That just sets people up to feel bad about themselves. This is to be distinguished from goal setting which is an entirely different thing. I think writing down goals and dreams is a very worthwhile activity.
Why not make some resolutions you can try to keep? Maybe choose something that is a little more reachable? Here are some I’ve undertaken in previous years and they’ve been fairly successful for me. These are just ideas, but you will get the drift.
Try to stop using disposable bags. Take re-usable bags or boxes to the grocery store for shopping. I keep them in the back of my car. It took awhile to get into a regular habit but now I rarely use plastic or paper bags in the store.
Turn off the water while I’m brushing my teeth. I still have to work at that one but I keep trying.
Oh, ok, so there’s only two. That I can think of anyway. Well that’s kind of embarrassing.
Here’s one I’m going to try next year. Come up with a positive expectation for the day before I step out of bed. Maybe I’ll write it down before I go to sleep so I don’t miss it on a day I’ve slept too late. I’ll start off easy at first. Tomorrow’s will be “wish for a Happy New Year.”
If you really insist on making a big New Year’s Resolution and haven’t come up with anything yet, consider picking one from the top 12 resolutions of 2012.
If none of these ideas appeal to you, perhaps you could say that your resolution is to keep your resolution (any resolution) for one week. The above website says that 75% of people keep their resolution for the first week, so then you can call it a success. My goal is success and doing whatever is necessary to be successful. Successful people = happy people = happy world, or something like that.
Well, the clock is ticking so I’d like to say that I am hopeful everyone out there has some positive things they can remember 2012 by and I also wish you a smashing good time tonight and a very happy morning tomorrow! Happy New Year’s Eve!
Originally published Dec. 15, 2012
With the hope of not being redundant, I am going to add a few more items to my blog of Dec. 11 entitled “Gifts for the Photographer in Your Life” for 2 reasons. First is the WordPress Reader did not pick it up (I was in the penalty box for overtagging my previous post) and second is because the cheap shipping option is still available until tomorrow 12/16.
If you missed the previous post, here is a link:
Photojojo is an online website dealing in funky camera gadgets and accessories for your iPhone or SLR. My last post showed some of the iPhone add-ons, so this time I’ll show a couple SLR items. Also, scroll down to the end for a $5 off coupon (of $25 minimum order) and they also send me a $5 coupon for referring you on.
How about a Holga lens for $30? Works on most SLRs and DSLRs.
I like this idea for traveling. You insert this camera bag into another bag, like a beach bag, so it’s not so obvious you are carrying photo gear, as in if you are lugging your Lowepro bag around. $59
This item is intriguing. A camera card with Wi-Fi capabilities! $50-85 depending on capacity.
Here is the coupon code. Just click on it for an express trip to Photojojo. Happy holidays!
Originally posted Dec. 11, 2012
Photojojo is one of the coolest websites on the internet showcasing creative photography ideas through the use of toys and gadgets for cameras.
If you are looking for something great for the photographer in your life (and I’m sure they are hard to impress when it comes to photo gear) or if you are the photographer, buy something for yourself or drop a hint to the right person. Their prices are so reasonable you can probably pick up a couple of pieces for your bag.
Just check out some of these cool items:
Click to set custom HTML
How about a cable release for your iPhone? Only $23.
Here’s a fun one. The camalapse. It takes 360 degree panning time-lapse images with your phone. $45 (I’m not sure what happens if you get a call or text during the exposure. Better not answer it.)
What do Nikon shooters do with their old Canon lenses? They make coffee mugs out of them. (Just kidding. They make Nikon mugs too.) $24 or $30.
This is super cool. An underwater scuba skin for your phone. $60. I know people who should have this on their phone at all times, for those poolside or lakeside cocktail parties where phones suddenly end up taking the plunge.
There is much, much more on their website. Not everything is for the iPhone, there are lots of add-ons for SLRs.
Orders placed by 12/16 still qualify for first class shipping and the shipping prices are very reasonable.
Oh and if you want…use this link to get $5 off your order with a $25 purchase and I also get a $5 coupon. Pretty neat!
Originally published Dec. 9, 2012
I really love weekends in December. For me, and I think a lot of other people too, they are filled with shopping, decorating and holiday baking. I’m not sure if guys feel the same way. Now that I think about it, probably not so much. Not to be stereotypical…I’m sure there are some guys who do all of that and more. Speaking to the ones who do not, perhaps they at least get to enjoy the fruits of those labors, sneaking a caramel or cookie here and there and generally feeling the warmth emanating from the glow of holiday candles or lights, cards coming in the mail, the anticipation of opening presents, and the joy of giving a special gift.
Here are a few images I’ve made over the years. I hope you too are enjoying this time of year whether you are actively or passively participating in it!
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.