I've been reading up on Charlie Parr's Facebook page because I just found it and I'm thinking a lot about Charlie this week cause I finally got to see him play and meet him in person. Reading all his Facebook posts made me wish I could write like him and I think one way to emulate his writing style is to simply write from the heart and talk about whatever is happening that day or the next day. It can be hard to do that sometimes cause it's tempting to use a lot of smoke and mirrors when you aren't sure who your audience is or if you even have an audience bigger than your Mom. So in a way I guess I could just say "Dear Mom, " but then you're not really sure if anyone besides your Mom might be reading it and then it shouldn't be too personal.
And I know this is supposed to be a blog about Photography or something like that but I'm not the kind of person to be teaching about photography. There is plenty of that on the internet and I am no expert. And I don't really see Charlie doing that either, he isn't talking about how he writes music or what chords to play he is talking a lot about his dog and his kid and his repair blues around the house and his wife and life in general. So I like that and it makes sense to me and it's easy reading and at the end I feel like I know him a little bit better. But of course a lot of people want to know Charlie Parr because he is one of the hottest guys on the music scene right now and I can't really say the same is true for myself.
So in Charlie Parr form I would like to talk about the snow slowly melting outside. It's Minnesota and we are obsessed with the weather here. Probably because it is such a big part of our lives and it affects everything we do on a daily basis.
There is no happier place on the planet than the first warm day in Minnesota at the end of winter. It's been a long winter and we had something like 50 days below zero. As the old people used to say when I was little "it puts hair on your chest." It's a rather quirky saying if you think about it.
The bird bath actually resembles a bird bath now and not a frozen pond.
The icicles that started hanging from the roof are gone and most of the snow has disappeared off the shingles and onto the ground but in the form of water running through the gutters. I managed to get a run outside and it sure felt good to breathe in all that fresh air (yeah, some car exhaust too) but a lot better than a cooped up old tiny running track that is so small I have to run 98 times around it to meet my goal. Talk about running in circles!
I'm getting prepared for my night photography course and working on how to light stuff up at night with flashlights and gels and I'll be flying to California for that class. I'm a little nervous cause I have to get on one of those little planes in Utah and I don't really like them so much when they are too small and so I asked the airline people what happens if I can't get on the plane? And she says well, you'll forfeit your ticket. I've never really visited Utah that's worth talking about but the pictures I've seen are real pretty and everything. I heard on the radio that they have the lowest per capital consumption of beer there (North Dakota is #1 by the way, and Minnesota comes in at a paltry 29) and I have a feeling I might not fit in very well. So she says well you can go to the doctor and get something for that but I'm not really the doctoring type so I'm thinking well if I start feeling anxious about it maybe I should just have a beer before I get on the plane. But now I'm not even sure they have beer in Utah so I'm thinking the odds just increased that my posts in April might be coming from my new home in Utah. Could you send some beer if that happens?Let's hope I can make it through and get to sunny Cali and back alright. It's kind of funny because when I'm going to be there, Charlie Parr will be playing just down the road from where I am staying. If I can figure out how to drive the rental car there I just might go see him play. It should be a decent temperature in California in April and since I won't know anybody and I'll be sitting in a hotel room by myself it might feel alright to go out and see Charlie Parr play. Won't he be surprised? Maybe I can have a beer while I'm there. It should be a lot easier than going out to see him play on a cold, dark wintery night in Minnesota.
It's hard to go out in the winter in Minnesota at night. It's dark and it's cold. Did I already say that? And I'm gettin' old. So I would prefer to stay inside and make my way back to bed somewhere around 9:00 and settle in with a book. It's warm and comfortable and if I get tired I can reach over, turn out the light and go to sleep. That is the opposite of going out somewhere for entertainment. It might be good when the entertainment is happening but when it's over you have to go out in the dark and the cold and get into a cold car and wait for it to warm up. Or just head out but then your eyes are on the engine temperature waiting for it to warm up cause if you turn on the "heat" when the engine is cold it will just blow cold air into the car and that doesn't feel very good when you are already freezing. So you wait for the car to warm up and then you start inching your way home. And then you might wake up the next morning and not feel so great because you stayed out WAY past an old person's bedtime and maybe you had a beer or two or three and now you slept too late but it was all worth it cause you have good memories and maybe had a few good laughs too. Maybe they were at someone else's expense like a guy with a red hat who kept smiling the whole night no matter what except when he came in later with a black hat on and then he wasn't smiling anymore. And you know the next night you'll be back to 9:00 in bed with a book. So once in awhile it is worth it to make an effort and go out and see some live music or whatever, and thanks Charlie cause it sure was a real good time.
And thanks to Mikkel Beckmen too, keeper of the beat.
This video was made by Lisa Bond Photography...you are more than welcome to link back to it!
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.
Originally published Oct. 26, 2012
Big change in the weather here this week. It was in the 70s Monday and snowing Thursday. It is definitely a challenge to adjust to downward temperature swings that cover 40 degrees on the thermoscape.
Even the birds will have to wait for the predicted lunchtime high of 40 degrees to get a drink.
A store I went in yesterday was putting out ice scrapers. I’m trying to look at the bright side of this. At least it wasn’t snow shovels. They still have rakes out. We won’t talk about their being relocated to the clearance section.
I know there are some out there who are high-fiving each other and woo-hooing it and revving up their Ski-Doos. I, on the other hand, am boo-hooing it while I wash up the long johns and stock the pantry for the big one that’s coming in.
Although I am initially resistant to this particular change in the seasons, the other good news about this is that I can finally focus on indoor work again, having been pleasantly distracted on a daily basis with photographing fall colors and leaves. A “job” which reminds me every minute why I love what I do. More about that later.
Hope you are keeping warm wherever you are!
Originally published Jan. 7, 2012
While recently perusing a copy of "Midwest Home" magazine, I came across an article about Jennifer Hedberg's winter ice lanterns.
Fire & Ice - Midwest Home - November-December 2011 - Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minnesota.
What a perfect idea to cure the wintertime blues. I wanted to see what kind of images I could make of these. Who would have known it was going to be 40 some degrees during the day in January in Minnesota? I made two ice lanterns - but they are in my freezer. You will have to come back to hear how that project develops. Maybe February or later this month? So far, I got a few images but I am expecting to do something more impressive than this including some exterior architectural shots at night.
Want to try it yourself? You can order these at Wintercraft. Here is a link:
They are also available for purchase at Kowalski's, Patina, Goodthings, or select Bachman's to mention a few.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.