A Visit to the Wedge
I made it back to the State Capitol to cover the first floor and with only minutes to spare before closing, I ran down to the tunnels to see if they are worth photographing. They will be off-limits in a week and my decision is that I need to go back and spend one day shooting them. Next week is basically the last week of summer and with the State Fair in town I don't know what to say about spending 3 hours or so down in a tunnel system but I'll see if I can manage it. If I don't, I may miss an opportunity to capture them before they are renovated.
At any rate, I also made it into one of my old neighborhoods this past week for an errand, and whenever I get over there I usually end up stopping in my old favorite grocery store, The Wedge.
It is a cooperative that features organic food with a focus on sustaining local organic growers. It's a real feel-good experience shopping there. The food is healthy and buying there means supporting local farmers who are using clean growing methods. But I'm not going to kid around, the real reason my kids want to stop there is for the cookies in the bakery.
I have a favorite in there too, it's called the Black Angus.
It could be after the cow or maybe there's an AC/DC fan working in there. Either way, I love it. The bakery, the cheese department, and the bread section are all wonderful.
So, please take a trip with me through The Wedge and I will be reporting back on the State Capitol soon.
Here's a link for more information or directions if you'd like to go:
Advantages of a Tilt-Shift Lens
A tilt-shift lens is essential to getting lines and perspectives straight in architectural photography. Its main feature is the ability to shift up or down without changing the plane of the camera to the subject. If a photographer tilts their camera back to include more of the sky or building the image will end up with converging verticals, sometimes referred to as keystoning.
Here are some images that demonstrate the lens' capabilities for shifting up or down. Additionally, since this lens is a TS-E II, the lens can be rotated in the mount to allow for left/right shift without rotating the entire camera body. In most of these, the subject is much higher or lower than my camera and a normal lens would not be able to produce this type of shot.
©2013 Lisa Bond Photography, this particular image is a great example of what this lens can do. The only way to get this shot of the lock would be to dangle off the bridge with some kind of rappelling equipment or super trusty rope and assistant. Fortunately I was able to get it with the TS lens and my feet planted firmly on the ground.
Some photographers resort to using perspective correction software with a regular lens which is an option and I have used it in the past. However, it is always advantageous to get the image correctly in the field whenever possible to minimize post production work and any unforeseen issues that may arise after you've left the location.
I am using a Canon 24mm TS-E II. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are enjoying the warmth of summer!
Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum
The Twin Cities are home to several remarkable architectural gems. One of them is the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum located at the University of Minnesota campus on the banks of the Mississippi River. If you haven't seen it before, please take a moment to view the images in this post. If you have, here are some quick facts about the museum that you might find interesting followed by several images I captured this summer.
Q: Why is it named after Frederick Weisman?
A: Originally from Minnesota, Mr. Weisman donated $3 million dollars as well as "additional support" to see it come to fruition. He was a successful entrepreneur who loved the arts and was a known philanthropist.
Q: Who designed it?
A: It was designed by architect Frank Gehry. He subsequently won the Progressive Architecture Design Award in 1991 for its design.
Q: When was it built?
A: The building officially opened on November 21, 1993.
Q: What is the building's exterior surface made of?
A: Stainless Steel.
Q: What was Gehry thinking when he built it?
A: He is known to come from the style of Deconstructivism and his works seems to have a common theme reflecting this. Many of them feature large sheets of metal (presumably stainless steel) in various degrees of curvature.
Q: What else has Gehry built?
A: Experience Music Project in Seattle, The Guggenheim Museum in Spain, Standing Glass Fish in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and The Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, to mention a few.
Q: Was Gehry inspired by any other artists?
A: When I look at the Weisman, I immediately think of a Picasso painting, but couldn't find any evidence to back that up.
Q: Is there a face in there?
A: According to Wikipedia there are 2 faces. Also a waterfall and a fish. Can you see them?
Of course there is more great design and art to see inside. The Weisman is home to my all-time favorite art exhibit - a re-assembled apartment building hallway from Seattle, I believe. The neat part about it is as you approach an apartment door, you can put your ear up to it and hear what is going on inside. Each apartment has different sounds coming from it. I'm not going to tell you what they are in case you can get there and hear it for yourself. It's an interesting experiment in human psychology. If you've ever lived in an apartment or stayed in a hotel, you can relate to the thin walls that allow sounds to permeate both ways. It's much harder to maintain any privacy in this kind of environment, despite the physical barriers of walls and doors. How does this affect our relationships as people? Do you treat someone differently if you know something about them that you found out indirectly? How does it change depending on whether you heard it via gossip or through the walls? Could conclusions have been jumped to? There is a lot to consider.
As always, thank you for stopping by! Here is a link to the Weisman if you would like to learn more:
Classic Shot of Downtown Minneapolis
Several years ago, some one published a shot of the Minneapolis skyline from under the Stone Arch Bridge. Since then, It has become somewhat of a popular photographic destination. It is only a matter of time until the city puts a "Scenic Overlook", or in this case a "Scenic Underlook" sign.
Because it has been so widely captured, it is a bit of a challenge to get a unique image that is different from all the others. Adding an element can help.
The classic shot of the city is actually from the other side of the bridge, but we crossed under to get this one. There is a staircase to help you get down there although it is a bit of a workout.
We have a lot of bridges between Minneapolis and St. Paul. They are all different and really great to photograph.
The Minneapolis Photo Center
Sometime last year, The Minneapolis Photo Center (www.mplsphotocenter.com) came across my radar. I learned that if I became a member I could gain access to their medium format film scanners. This is a big deal because I am sitting on a lot of medium format slides that I would like converted to digital format so I can have access to them on my computer. If you've ever needed a slide scanned, you might be aware of the cost to do this. The higher resolution you want, the more it costs. I wish that I would have bought the old Nikon 9000 ED scanner when it was still for sale, but even now a used one will set you back at least $3,000. New it was retailing for around $7,000. So thank goodness that I am able to get access to this piece of equipment at the MPC and the only cost to me is a minimum 6 month membership. With membership running at $25 a month, $150 for unlimited slide scanning is a great deal.
If you live in the Twin Cities area and are a photographer, I highly recommend coming over to check it out. Besides having film scanning capabilities, they have fully loaded iMacs with all the latest photo processing software, a variety of studios to shoot in, and a darkroom that I haven't yet ventured into.*
This is a very nice place with lovely ambiance. The loft-like studios and spaces are beautiful and have oversized windows which the sunlight pours into while also offering interior areas away from exterior lighting sources. There is usually music playing, candles burning, and coffee, water and snacks available. It kind of feels like hanging out at a cool friend's apartment.
In addition to these facilities, they offer a number of beginner and advanced classes for the photo pro or enthusiast and they also host a number of photography related group meetings and events. I recently decided to give studio lighting another swing. I have to admit being pretty shy about photographing people but they made it great fun. I'm not sure how much credit I can take for these images. Someone else set up the lighting and the models a/k/a teachers and assistants were very willing to do anything you asked them. It goes to show how a good support team can make a person look great whether you are a photographer or a CEO.
I'd like to say a big thank you to these models for letting me post images of them here. They are Rich Ryan, Katherine Tolene, Luis Rodriguez, and Jonathan Pavlica. Also a shout-out to the founders/owners of the MPC, Abby and Orin Rutchick, who I am pretty sure are the poster models for Minnesota Nice.
If you have few moments, please stop by the teacher/assistants' photography websites to check out their work:
Rich Ryan, www.richryan.com
Katherine Tolene, Katherinetolene.com
Luis Rodriguez, www.luisrodriguezphoto.com
Jonathan Pavlica, www.pavlicaphotography.com
* The last darkroom I was in (not here) had a resident T-Rex centipede that scared me out for good. Ok, maybe he was only 5 inches long but his running along the darkroom sink and disappearing into some crevice in the wall burned a video image in my mind that can replay at the push of a button even today. I pretty much swore off darkroom work after that, but I might give it another go if someone goes in before me to make sure the coast is clear.
Late Fall Farmer's Market
Originally published Oct. 29, 2012
I made it to the Mill City Farmer’s Market one more time before it closed last weekend. I wrote about it in August and at the time was most delighted that I had finally found squash blossoms.
The surprise of my October trip was this vegetable called Romanesco.
I’ve never seen it before but love the name and the appearance. It looks like a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. The guy told me it is best roasted. Out of curiosity, I tried a fresh bite first and I would say that it tasted like cauliflower but a little sweeter. The texture is very much like cauliflower. So, I followed recommendations and roasted it with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. It was really delicious. I recommend trying it if you find any at your farmer’s market.
Breads and Pastries from Solomon’s Bakery in Minneapolis
I’ll try to get back early in the spring next year to see what I can find then. Here are a few other images from my trip.
These breads and sweets are from The Salty Tart, also in Minneapolis.
A Late Summer Farmers' Market
Originally published Aug. 18, 2012
Visiting a farmers' market in late summer showcases many different fruits and vegetables than one can find at a spring or early summer market. I have been meaning to visit the market and in addition, a special one that is located in Minneapolis. Today I decided to merge those two “have-to-dos” together.
I am not certain how to appropriately describe this market to you. Some words that come to mind are: high-end, organic, exclusive, heirloomish, luxurious, gourmetish. The name is Mill City Farmers' Market. It is only open Saturdays from 8-1 through late October.
I do apologize about the images that are fuzzy, my little hand-held ran out of batteries and I had to resort to my (old) phone camera.
Here is what I ended up bringing home.
The prize of my visit is something I have been searching for a few years now. Squash blossoms. They were only two dollars a bunch. I am thrilled to try them. Now, if I can only remember where I saw that recipe!
Originally published Apr. 21, 2012
I had the recent pleasure of dining at Thom Pham’s Wondrous Azian Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis. Some of you locals may be familiar with his former restaurant, Azia, on Nicollet Street, which will actually be reopening in its old location in the near future. I know, you’re probably wondering, what the heck does this have to do with photography?
If there are two things in life I love almost as much as photography, they are music and food, and inevitably, I am going to end up talking about them. So without turning this into a restaurant critique, let me just say that the food was great and the service was exemplary (both times, I went twice).
The architectural details were really interesting and inviting as well. I thought about asking for permission to take a few shots to show here, but since they already have some nice work on their site, I decided it would be easier to include a link (look under the “Gallery” tab).
The most intriguing part of my visit though and the one that made me want to write about it, was seeing a framed poster on their wall concerning the Chinese Year of the Dragon. The design is beautifully done, the colors are striking and the message is what really caught my attention. It says:
“Celebrating the Year of the Dragon: Other years might seem to drag on, but the Year of the Dragon has the potential to breathe life-shaping fire, to be magical, even mythical. Keep one eye on the calendar and the other on the stars.”
Since I was born in a year of the dragon, I was perhaps a little more influenced by this poster than some people might be but it reminded me too of my New Year’s Day post and so I wanted to share it.
FYI some previous Dragon years were: 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988 and 2000.
[A special thank you to the restaurant for providing me with a copy of this poster.]
Originally published Feb. 23, 2011
I was thinking this morning about how lucky I am to be an architectural photographer in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. We have so many great buildings between the two cities and as if that wasn't enough, the Mississippi River runs through both. I am one of those people who thinks that water makes everything more interesting. Having photographed cities that do not have bodies of water in them, I can just say it's better with water. But, back to the main topic, the great architecture we have.
Minneapolis can boast being home to such stunning architecture as The Guthrie Theater, the IDS Tower, the Foshay Center, the Minneapolis Central Library, the Orpheum, the State Theater, the Basilica of St. Mary, the Weisman Art Museum, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, to mention a few. They have at least 3 remarkable bridges (Third Avenue, Father Hennepin, and the Stone Arch) that cross the river providing fabulous cityscape shots for anyone willing to take the time to venture there (and lots of great food excuses to get you there too).
St. Paul is equally fascinating from an architectural standpoint. For starters they have the Capitol and the surrounding structures. The Ordway, St. Paul Central Library and St. Paul Hotel are anchors to the Rice Park area, as well as the Landmark Center. Other notable edifices include The Cathedral of St. Paul, the Fitzgerald Theatre, the Children's Museum, and the Hamm Building. St. Paul is home to the Wabasha Street Bridge and my personal favorite, the Smith Street a/k/a High Bridge crossing over the Mississippi, both of which provide excellent opportunities for cityscape photos.
After all this talk about the great architecture we have, I'm starting to wonder what I'm doing sitting here typing on my computer. I have a lot to do! Maybe I will start a self assignment and post images I can make of some of these buildings. In the meantime...I have something much more exciting for next week (and a lot more computer work)...I just have to keep it a secret until then! Let's just say it has to do with one of the buildings mentioned in this blog.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.