I don't know about you guys, but winter is going way too fast for me. I have a lot of projects that I was planning on getting done before Spring arrives (such as transfer all those home movies to DVD and get the kids' scrapbooks updated from when they were 5), they still aren't done and I have a busy couple of weeks coming up. Unless we have a really snowy April, by the time my upcoming plans have taken place, we will probably be wearing shorts and hanging out in the yard because it will be nice enough to do that. Then new projects will have a way of politely announcing priority, such as gardening and yard work, planting flowers and making rhubarb crisp. If they don't get the proper attention at the right time, we all know who moves in: the Weed family and it is extremely hard to evict them once they've established residency.
I realized after a closer look at the calendar that I will miss seeing Charlie Parr when I am in California. He's actually going to be there the night before I arrive and then the next gig he has is in Los Angeles. My workshop will have started by then and even if I was open, I am WAY too chicken to drive a car in Los Angeles. I've never been there but I have heard stories and I am pretty sure I should never operate a motor vehicle there unless something weird happens and I move there or something. I'm not even sure Minnesotans are allowed in L.A. Except if you're a celebrity like Charlie. So that is a bummer but maybe by some bizarre coincidence he will fill his open night with a show in the town I am staying in. That would be pretty awesome and amazing. I will be sure to tell you if it does happen.
I am back at the Minneapolis Photo Center these days scanning more film. I have to tell you, I am still a big believer in film. Even though I love the instant gratification of digital cameras, when I can force myself to use the film camera, I am always happy with the results.
Last Fall when I was up north, I set my alarm for way too early and hardly slept a wink because that's what happens when I know I have to shoot in the morning. I am so worried that I am going to sleep through my alarm or that the alarm won't go off that I toss and turn all night and am usually relieved when the clock finally says 4:30 or whatever time I need to get up. So anyway, here I am, my first morning and I get all my stuff and get to the parking lot and start walking out in the dark. I find a spot to plunk down the tripod and what do I see blasting right through the sunrise sky? A big, old uninvited contrail. This one was of the variety that sticks around forever and ever. So this guy announces that he's staying till at least lunch time and I'm wondering what to do now? So I decided to do a little experiment to blog about. I shot that big ole' contrail sunrise with all 3 cameras I was lugging with me. We'll talk about why the 3 cameras another time. So the question is...which is better: 35mm film camera, medium format film camera, or digital camera. Of course the scans don't look quite as good as the originals, they are a little darker so I'm not sure this is a fair comparison. Also, slightly different lenses on each camera. At any rate, leave your comments if you'd like and weigh in your opinion. I would love to know what you think.
Ok, here are the identities revealed:
#1 is medium format with Velvia film
#2 is digital
#3 is 35mm with Velvia film
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!
Our local gourmet farmer's market opened May 11 this year and it has been on my mind ever since. I found a window to make a quick trip there this Saturday but since it was still snowing here in early May our growing season is definitely a little more behind than usual. So there really wasn't a whole lot of fresh produce to pick from, but there were plenty of stands featuring sheep's milk cheeses, chevres, specialty jams, smoked trout and salmon, crusty breads, and organic coffees and chocolates. Here is a little slideshow of what I found. I think my favorite find from this trip was the ramps. I've heard they are great in omelets or caramelized, and I think I have enough to try both.
I will plan to head back in a couple weeks to see if I can find any spring type vegetables such as peas or radishes!
The recent spring snowfalls were a good incentive for the local birds to visit the bird feeder. I was trying to photograph the variety of birds and colors at the feeder and caught these couple images in the lot of them. They are pretty cute and I have to admit I got lucky too.
There are 5 or 6 holes at this feeder but I've never seen that many birds at it. Most birds seem to like a little space on each side of them.
Pictured here are the male and female American Goldfinch, a male House Finch and the bird in flight is a Dark-eyed Junco. At least I am pretty sure about that. I'm not an official "birder" but was able to match them up in a bird book.
I hope you are enjoying Spring wherever you are!
I used to be like a lot of people out there and get positively grouchy about even one snow flake falling after March 31. The calendar clearly states that Spring begins on March 21, give or take a day, and this year, even Puxtawaney Phil announced that we would finally be rewarded with an early spring. I saw a billboard a couple weeks ago that said "OK Winter, You Win, Enough Already". I think a lot of people at this point would agree.
So, with it being April 11 today, and receiving this beautiful new blanket of snow, I thought I would share with you 11 reasons why I have converted and am now one of those who likes an April snowfall. Please consider the following:
1. Enjoying a nice walk outside without turning into a human icicle
2. Tulips and crocuses that will not be bullied around by snow
3. Another chance to wear that ski sweater or snow flake earrings (I saw them today and it wasn't just when I was looking in the mirror, at least not for the earrings)
4. It quiets down all that Global Warming talk. Not that I don't believe it, but it scares the double toothpick sticks out of me.
5. Generally heavier than your average snow, this stuff makes good snowballs and snowmen
7. Thunder and lightning when it's snowing? Shazam!
8. Having learned my lesson in February, I did not get in the right turn lane prematurely even though traffic was backed up for miles...but I saw a lot of other people doing it, and getting away with it I might add. Not this reformed driver.
9. Bodies of water develop a thin and intricately designed layer of slushy ice and when the Canadian geese, who got the memo from Puxtawaney Phil and made their way south, paddle through it, they leave lovely trails and patterns for us to admire, and
10. Remember the band "April Wine"? Exactly, and not to worry
11. It will be gone in a couple of days.
If you are not yet convinced and are feeling short-changed by this weather, you could try a suggestion I read in the paper. Put on a tropical shirt, some shorts, turn up the heat, mix up a picture of Margueritas, turn on Jimmy Buffet or some reggae and make a shrimp cocktail. Spring will be here before you know it!
It's been a long and cold winter, to be brief about it.
One way to pass the time is to dig up some old videos on Youtube. I hope you can take a moment to enjoy my picks as we weather these Moody Blues through the month of March.
Originally published Nov. 4, 2012
Fall as a season is about 3 months short for me. With all due respect to the calendar’s dates, here’s how it goes in Minnesota: Spring 3 months, Summer 3 months, Fall 4-6 weeks, and Winter 5 months. There’s a couple extra weeks in there but this is a flexible calendar. Following is a more detailed analysis, if you are curious.
Spring lasts from about April to June so I’d say 3 months, give or take a couple of weeks. Summer runs from somewhere in June until maybe sometime in September, so a good 3 months there as well. Fall is from sometime in September through pretty much most of October making it the shortest season at about 4 or 6 weeks tops. Winter can kick in during October but most likely early November and lasts through March, sometimes even into April making it the longest season here at 5 months plus.
When Fall rolls around, it is an intense and concentrated period of color and if you are into capturing it with a camera then one must get busy and focus. Fall also has the same issue as Spring, that being the wind. If one subtracts all the days when it is too windy to shoot, I’m guessing half of those possible 30-40 days of the season just went out the window. If only Fall was Winter we could really kick back and enjoy it.
At any rate, one day while I was enjoying the display of colors, I got to thinking there sure is a lot of competition out there for attention. When we survey the landscape, which color grabs our eye the most: red, yellow or green? (I didn’t have any orange in my test acreage.) I guess it’s the hidden psychologist/marketing director inside of me that wanted to know the answer to this question.
Here I tried to find trees in order of Green-red-yellow,
and finally Red-yellow-green.
What color did you notice first? Did it matter what order they were in?
The tree color I noticed first was:
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The tree color I noticed second was:
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The tree color I noticed last was:
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Then I got to thinking some more. Perhaps my experiment had too many variables such as size of tree, number of leaves, and percentage of frame each tree occupies. So I thought I would try it on a smaller scale with one leaf representing each color. Do you notice any differences now?
and last but not least, Red-green-yellow,
The leaf color I noticed first was:
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The leaf color I noticed second was:
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The leaf color I noticed last was:
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Perhaps another variable could be whether you are female or male.
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Thank you for taking my polls. Maybe this will help you make your next marketing decision, at least as far as color is concerned!
Originally published Apr. 15, 2012
Spring season has finally arrived in Minnesota and the time is perfect to capture it. Fall comes easy with its bounty of colorful leaves and the brilliant blue of the October sky. Winter possesses its own attributes with snow and the transformative ability to appear as blizzards, icicles, hoar frost or a blanket of glitter. The fact that snow glitters, well, I have a thing about glitter and so it gets a lot of bonus points in my book for that reason alone. Summer of course graces us with green foliage, flowers, stormy skies, and a proliferation of life everywhere we look.
As a landscape photographer, I find Spring to be a more challenging season to photograph (at least in MN) with the exception of ice out on the local lakes. It is much easier on a macro scale – tulips budding and spreading their petals to bathe in the sun, baby leaves sprouting from twigs, a mother bird sitting on her nest, raindrops and puddles, a groundhog peeking out from his or her winter home, crab apple trees blossoming with white and pink flowers, and fiddleheads uncurling.
Maybe that is the gist of things – new and young and somewhat solitary and meek, until they prosper and flourish as one – growing and spreading into clusters, fields, and forest canopies.
The other challenge with Spring is the wind and when you are photographing up close, everything needs to be as still as possible. So when those windless days present themselves, nature photographers must act quickly or face resorting to a bag of tricks to keep things from blowing around.
My upcoming blog schedule includes: The Chinese Year of the Dragon and Tom Pham’s Wondrous Azian Kitchen; Motorcycles, the State Fair and Count’s Kustoms; Women In Photography; Minnesota’s Statehood Day; and another round of Ernst Haas’ thoughts on photography.
I hope you will visit again and in the meantime that you are enjoying Spring wherever you are.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.