January Phone Shots

I wanted to keep up with my blog a bit more this year, so here is yet another post already in 2016. I have been shooting with my phone a lot lately, so that’s all today is. Enjoy the shots, and feel free to check out these shots and more at my flickr page.

I love the Hipstamatic app, and I have sung its praises in the past. It’s what I shoot with at least 90% of the time on my phone.

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Wrapping Up 2015

This has been a down year for my blog. WordPress informed me that I only blogged five times during 2015, and still amassed more than 20,000 visits somehow. Even though that number is down considerably from my peak two years ago, I’m happy people still managed to enjoy my blog.

I have been taking fewer photographs this year; I’m not sure why. Sometimes I think it’s because I started a new job, or because I’ve been too busy with life. Ultimately, I think it’s because I’ve chosen to invest the spare time I have into other things increasingly. Do I enjoy taking photographs less than I used to? Is this temporary, or is it a shift in my interests going forward? That I don’t know. I find myself carrying my dedicated cameras less–I never used to leave the house without one–and find myself reaching for one I’ve brought along even less. I end up taking a larger percentage of pictures with my phone, but fewer overall. Ultimately, I love photography and I love taking pictures. My number one subject for the past ten years–my son, who is almost 11 years old now–is less interested in being photographed anymore. Or is it me who is less interested in chasing down pictures of him? I’m largely thinking as I type here; I don’t have the answers to these questions.

And so, I’ve decided to divide my now-traditional end of year blog post into two distinct categories: one of mobile phone shots, and one of shots taken with my “proper” cameras.

(On the subject of cameras: I have bought and sold almost no camera gear this year. I have said in the past I have less and less interest in equipment, and that has never rung more true for me than this year.)

So today’s post will be the shots that I took with my cameras, and the final one for the year will be my favorite shots that I took with my mobile phone. I hope you enjoy, and comments are always welcome!

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Wrapping up 2014

Standing Guard

It is the time of year where all sorts of “Year in Review” posts start popping up. I know, that makes this all a bit tired and cliche; however, bear with me and we can get through this together.

The following is a collection of some of my favorite photos I’ve taken in 2014. I hope you enjoy them!

Winter

Sense of Wonder

Warm

Winter Landscape

Nature

Family Day

Wildlife

Fresh Snow

Dance

Lake Superior

Snow

Landscape

Smile

Archive, 2014

Mannequin

As the year winds down, I’ve been looking through the archive a bit and seeing what I’ve taken over the last year. After finding a few that I hadn’t blogged before, I figured I’d share them. There is really no rhyme or reason to this set of photos; they are simply photos taken over the past 12-14 months that I hadn’t shared before and like to varying degrees, for one reason or another.

I’ll have some new posts up soon, I hope. I’ve added some new gear to my arsenal and I have a few things to say about that, and hopefully some other things as well.

As always, thanks for following along!

Midwest

Run

Summer

Frozen

Abrupt Return

Evening Light

Every time a new post happens on my blog, it begins with the same words: “I haven’t been blogging lately, but…”; this time I won’t do that. I won’t say that I haven’t been blogging. I won’t say I have been busy. I won’t give any number of reasons as to my absence, but will simply post some photos I’ve taken since my last post.

I hope you enjoy them.

Seeing Double

Shadow Box

Autumn

Broken Web

Exposed

MN United

Biking Together

White Balance

Halloween

Dinosaur Man

Vintage

And here are a few that don’t fit the square theme, in case that got old:

Caught

Play

Stripes

Greater Minnesota #3: Interstate State Park

Welcome to the Jungle

We took a weekend camping trip to the nearby Interstate state park, located just outside of Taylor’s Falls, MN. It is relatively close to the Twin Cities, has nice facilities, access to the St. Croix River, and some fun hiking. And as a bonus, it has some pretty cool glacial potholes to explore. The park is pretty urban, however; there was traffic noise from the highway as a pretty steady background noise throughout the weekend. The river also has regular cruises going, and the megaphone on deck explaining to the passengers what they are looking at also echoes if you are right on the river. On the bright side, we were in a great campsite, with access to everything.

Once again, these shots were all taken with my phone. I haven’t gotten around to looking through the shots I took with my “real” camera yet. Settle in for a line of pictures, with no text breaks in between!

Enjoy,

T

Tenting

Meg

Wings

Light

#6

#7

Hobitat

Tall Tales

August 2014

Flowers

Today’s post is just a quick round-up of photos from August, mostly on my phone. I’ve raved in the past about my favorite app for photography, Hipstamatic, and anyone who is into taking shots with their phone should really check it out. I take 90% of my photos on my phone with this app.

I have another post in the coming days about out Labor Day camping trip, so stay tuned for more. In the meantime, enjoy some shots from last month.

CCC

Alone

Shadows

Shapes

Fern

Greater Minnesota #2: Red Wing

Red Wing, MN

*Note: I will say at the outset that these are all photographs from my phone; I use my favorite app, called Hipstamatic. The app allows you to program a “lens” and a “film” before you take the shot, but once it has been captured, it cannot be altered. The low resolution was a product of a new setting which I did not realize until after the trip, and the differing lenses and films used were because I used the “shake to randomize” setting, which I don’t normally use. I especially avoid this setting when I aim to tell a story of something, as the visual narrative is interrupted by the constant changes.*

The second of our summer day trips was to the town of Red Wing, Minnesota. Red Wing is just over an hour south of Saint Paul, and we arrived in town on the back of our trip to New Ulm, which you can read about in my previous post. The biggest thing in town is by far the Red Wing Shoe Co., which has been around since 1905.

Indoor/Outdoor

We arrived from New Ulm and spent the evening in the pool at the hotel. Inclement weather (which ultimately did not end up happening) kept us from camping, which had been the original plan. Oddly enough, Max didn’t complain.

Floatation

Father/Son

The next morning, we packed up and headed into town. We stopped at the Red Wing store and museum in town, which told the (rather interesting) story of the company, with a small exhibit upstairs. It also holds the world’s largest boot (size 638.5, since you’re wondering). The story of the company and its growth was very interesting; in many ways, it mirrors the growth of 20th-century America.

Size

Volume

We walked through town, which was pleasant. Certainly more people were around than in New Ulm, and the shops all seemed to be open for business during the week. We checked out a number of shops in the center of town, including the confectionary, where we acquired a few tasty treats to keep us going through the day.

Candy Wrapper

Main Street

Selfie

After working up an appetite in town, we grabbed lunch at a lovely little cafe called “Bev’s Cafe”, which had a good assortment of food and homemade pie, along with plenty of retro-cafe vibe. It was busy, and seemingly popular with both locals and tourists. If you’re in Red Wing I would recommend checking it out for a decent lunch that is priced well.

Just don’t forget to save room for dessert!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Disruption

Finally, we hiked up Barn Bluff, which overlooks the city. Our walk out to the bluff was a bit of an eye-opener, as we walked through what must have been the rough part of town, as things took a turn from the gentrified city center we had spent the day in. In many ways, what I saw strikingly similar to what I saw in Anchorage, Alaska. The hike to the overlook was pleasant enough, despite the constant sound of trucks below. At the overlooks, we found a flag and a vantage point to see the city below, and the river.

Barn Bluff

Summit

Tired

Red Wing was enjoyable on the whole, and after our hike up and down Barn Bluff, we climbed back in the car and headed north to Saint Paul.

I’ve decided that this will be an ongoing project to visit and blog about the small towns across the state that I can visit. Some of the ones I’ve already been to–Grand Marais, Tofte, Pipestone, Moorhead, Alexandria, etc–may get a blog post at some point if I have time to go back through my archives and post them. Either way, I’m going to plan on more trips in the future to see more of the great state I call home.

Industry

Shadow Days

 

Greater Minnesota #1: New Ulm

“The Most German Town in America”

We took two day trips to small towns in southern Minnesota this week; this post will talk about the first of them. The town is New Ulm, and is located in the southwestern part of the state. It is mostly farmland along the roughly two-hour drive from the Twin Cities–frankly, it’s not much to look at. Honestly, that’s the case with most of the southern part of the state.

Billed as “the most German town in America”, New Ulm is proud of its heritage. It was founded by German immigrants before Minnesota was even recognized as a state, and has clung to its roots. My son has been attending the German immersion school in St. Paul since pre-school, and is interested in German culture and language. That was one reason we chose New Ulm as a destination for summer vacation.

*Note: I will say at the outset that these are all photographs from my phone; I use my favorite app, called Hipstamatic. The app allows you to program a “lens” and a “film” before you take the shot, but once it has been captured, it cannot be altered. The low resolution was a product of a new setting which I did not realize until after the trip, and the differing lenses and films used were because I used the “shake to randomize” setting, which I don’t normally use. I especially avoid this setting when I aim to tell a story of something, as the visual narrative is interrupted by the constant changes.*

Cultural Exchange

After we arrived, we decided to park and head to the tourist office. The tourism center offers free coffee and cookies, and is staffed by the friendliest collection of ladies I can remember meeting. They didn’t stop smiling the entire time and seemed really enthused about New Ulm. In hindsight, they probably were at least partially responsible for setting the bar a bit too high for the town; more on that later.

We ambled through town to see the sights, among them the Heritage Tree. The heritage tree is essentially a tree-looking tower which has various models that represent parts of the heritage of the town on each level (I realize now that the picture I took of it doesn’t really explain much about what it is).

Heritage Tree

Sightseeing

Bustling Downtown

We also saw a lot of local businesses–a fair number of them were closed, but some were not. Most of them had German-sounding names, but little to do with anything actually from Germany. Most of the heritage seems to be bastardized and turned into a kitschy bit of cultural nostalgerotica for those into these types of things. That needn’t sound negative; I suppose a small town like this has to use what it has to attract tourists.

Local Offerings

Weekday Hours

The town seems to have a disproportionate amount of both banks and barber shops, of which I found multiple of each within the span of a few short blocks. Apparently New Ulm is both the banking and hairstyling capitol of the local area. We even found some shops that were open during the week, and we enjoyed perusing their wares.

Variety is the Spice of Life

We had lunch in “the most German restaurant in town”, which, as you can imagine, had my blood pumping pretty hard. We indulged in a lunch that was, shall we say, “German-inspired”. The decor was straight out of the old country, even if the menu wasn’t entirely.

The Old Country

If you’re visiting New Ulm–or in the event you’ve already been there–you have certainly heard of Hermann the German. This teutonic titan managed to unite the Germanic tribes in the year 9 AD and defeat the Romans at some battle I could google for you, but am to lazy to. Let’s just say he was the talk of the town. He has a 102-foot statue near the Martin Luther College campus, and we went to climb it and get a greater appreciation for Hermann’s feats, while also getting a bird’s-eye view of the city.

Respect for History

Hermann’s Casts a Shadow

Overlooking New Ulm

We saw the local cathedral, which was nice, and offered some reprieve from the heat of the afternoon sun. We also took in the thrice-daily Glockenspiel (which, if I lived or worked in the town, and was subjected to constantly, I could envision becoming less charming), ate some baked goods at the German bakery, saw the German-Bohemian Immigrant Monument, and visited German Park (astute readers may notice a pattern developing).

Cathedral

As we headed back to the car to depart after a long day, I noticed what looked like a minor league baseball stadium, and took a slight detour to check it out. Johnson Park, as it is called, was empty and locked up, but two of the groundskeepers noticed me looking in and offered to let me in to see it. Thankfully, I took them up on the offer; I’m sure glad that I did. Turns out it was the home of the New Ulm Brewers, who play in the East Tomahawk League of the MN Baseball League.

What really made it cool is the fact that the stadium was a WPA project from 1939, which a plaque at the base of the stand near the entrance indicates. Much of it seems to have not been upgraded since then, which lends it a sense of history and charm. This, for me, was the highlight of the day.

Johnson Park

Third Base

There is an accompanying football field, called Johnson Field, right next door. While I didn’t get inside, it looked to be about the same vintage. Following this, we got back in the car and headed off to our next destination. New Ulm ended up being a bit underwhelming–this coming from the guy who has been to Wigan, and has season tickets to the Timberwolves–but perhaps that is part of its charm? It’s a small town in southern Minnesota, which draws on its heritage to attract tourists; personally, I felt the “German heritage” bit was oversold.

Still, all in all, a nice day out.

German Street

June & July

Portrait – July 2014

Summer has flown by, and there has been yet another massive break between posts. I suppose that’s just normalcy to some degree now. Rather than drown this post with words, I’ll just stick to what makes this blog tick: photos. I do hope you enjoy them, and I hope it won’t be another two months before I blog again.

There is no theme to these photos other than having been captured these past two months of the summer. It’s a bit random, but maybe that’s representative of my life and, more to the point here, my photography at the moment.

Aimless. Wandering. Searching.

Not finding.

Baseball – July 2014

Leaves – July 2014

Red, White & Blue – July 2014

Windy – June 2014

Air Force One – June 2014

Jay Cooke – July 2014

Evening – June 2014