Hello to all and welcome!

I can't really say what you should expect to see here as I've never before tried blogging or anything similar. It'll have to be a work in progress. I'll probably talk about photography in general (and mine in specific) as well as point out different things that are going on that I find interesting or worth commenting on. If anyone (assuming anyone actually ends up reading this) has questions or suggestions on topics, feel free to let me know.

I'm here you're with me, here at the beginning of all things.

Roger

p.s.  Comments and feedback are very welcome.

Challenge #4 - December

January 07, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

It turns out December was an incredibly blah month.  Not good or bad, just blah.  I complained back in Challenge #3 about getting snow all through April.  In December, none untid the 31st, and even then just enough to change the color of the ground from brown with dead grass to white with dead grass.  An improvement, but nothing to write home about or go out and shoot.

So, shooting in December was a challenge (pun intended).

To start off, some Chanukah shots.  I thought my little baby gargoyle would add some fun to otherwise kinda ordinary shots, which is why it's perched at the top and bottom.

For these next two, I wanted to show the interesting patterns and textures left by the melted candle wax.

I play pub trivia every Wednesday with some friends.  This is Molly, the trivia mistress, on the night of holiday trivia.  She gave extra points for people who showed up in holiday dress.  The closest I could come is a green shirt.

Every year, my brother and sister-in-law bake cookies for the holidays and give them out to friends and family.  During the year they practice new recipes.  Here's this year's assortment. [side note: All this baking led them put publish a cookie cookbook.  If you enjoy baking, check it out at https://www.heritagecookies.net/]

Since it's December, holiday lights are a must.  Here are a couple of houses near met (and note how the neighbors get into the act in the second photo).

I have very geeky friends.  My friends Dave and Mary invited me over for a holiday meal.  Here's a small sample of how they decorate their tree.

Finally, one thing I knew I wanted to capture was a nice roaring fire.  It is endlessly fascinating and mesmerizing.


Challenge 3 - It's not that easy being green

April 29, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

This is the third photo challenge my friend Cynthia has put out.  I'm starting this one off with the required self-portrait as it serves as a good starting point to explain my approached.  This photo was taken on April 1 of this year, after yet another snowstorm.  In fact, this has been either the 2nd or 3rd snowiest year on record.  In fact, I could have taken a very similar photo a week later as that's when we had another 8.5" of snow.  Even now, trees are barely starting to bud.

So, I realized very early that I wasn't going to be able to approach this challenge in a normal fashion.  Instead, I thought "why not try it in reverse?"  So, there is no greenery in any of these photos.  No leaves.  No plants.  Nothing that normally makes you think "green/spring".

So, I started off at home.  I enjoy interesting looking rocks and minerals.  The first image is a malachite ?geode? I've had for a long time.  The second one is a slab of jasper.

These are some alibrejes that I bought down in Sayulita, Mexico on one of Cynthia's photo workshops.

This is the next subject I knew I wanted to include.  It is a Jade Mountain that is on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  I'm constantly amazed at the detail that was included in this.  The first image shows one side of this massive piece of jade and gives a small sense of the amout of carving that went into its creation.  The others are details from different areas.

Since I was already at the MIA, I thought I might as well go and see their current show, which is on Chinese Ritual Bronzes.  After all, there had to be a lot of green there.  My favorite of these is the second one.  I love the shadows.

Mallard portraitMallard portrait

I still wanted to include some outdoor greenery if possible.  The obvious example was this mallard.  Unfortunately, none of the other birds or other creatures I expected to see were out, probably due to the cold.

Minneapolis at NightMinneapolis at Night

The last image I knew had to be included was this one.  Street signs are a ubiquitous green and show up better at night when they are lit.  I've also wanted an excuse to capture an image from here for a long time (Franklin Avenue bridge over 35W for any locals).

 

So, those are the images I managed to capture for this challenge.  To give you a sense of what I wasn't able to include, here are some older photos that fit the theme:

kiwikiwiThis image was inspired by Denis Brihat. He does amazing black and white images that he tints by replacing the silver with other elements (so his kiwis are green due to copper). kiwikiwiThis image was inspired by Denis Brihat. He does amazing black and white images that he tints by replacing the silver with other elements (so his kiwis are green due to copper). kiwikiwiThis image was inspired by Denis Brihat. He does amazing black and white images that he tints by replacing the silver with other elements (so his kiwis are green due to copper).

I did think about buying an avocado and including that, but none of the ones in the supermarket were ripe.  Instead, here's a kiwi I shot after my first workshop with Cynthia.  These were inspired by here friend and neighbor Denis Brihat.

Juvenile Painted TurtleJuvenile Painted Turtle

This is actually the first year I haven't seen painted turtles out yet.  I'm still surprised I couldn't include one.

snappersnapperI came upon this snapping turtle while going for a walk in a local park. It was nice enough to stay fairly still so I could work to get some good images.

Snapping turtles are maybe more of a May reptile than April, but are so primordeal that it's worth including them in any collection you can.

Leopard Frog - Burnsi PhaseLeopard Frog - Burnsi Phase

This Leopard frog might also be more of a later spring reptile, but oh well.  Besides, considering the blog title, I had to include a frog.

wood duckswood ducks

I was really hoping that some wood ducks would be out.  The above image was taken in April, so it was certainly a possibility. Green HeronGreen Heron

This guy would have been a great ironic image to close on.  It's a green heron, although I have no idea where it got that name since I've never seen any green on them.

 


Chasing Waterfalls

October 03, 2022  •  1 Comment

Back in January, the challenge from my friend Cynthia was to show the city on a specific day.  The challenge this time was to pick a subject and show off that subject during the month of September.

I chose to shoot waterfalls.

Turns out I should have tried to think of a different subject.  Not because I didn't get some images I'm happy with (I wouldn't share them if I wasn't), but because circumstances conspired against me in multiple ways.  September has been fairly dry, so the waterfalls i went to were mostly at a very low volume.  It has also been a very hot September and I don't do well when it is hot.  I'm not a morning person and all of these really wanted to be shot early in the day in order to avoid hot spots/shadows (overcast would have also worked, but it's been sunny).

I also decided to avoid anyplace I have taken photos in the past year or two in order to make these fresh.  So, nothing from the Arboretum, Minnehaha Falls, or St. Anthony Falls.

So, without further complaining or downplaying things to what I am realizing is an absurd degree, here are the results.

Shingle Creek Falls - Webber Park, Minneapolis

I'm not sure how to classify this waterfall.  It has obviously been altered by people, but its location indicates that it is probably a natural waterfall.  I wanted to include the surroundings, and I also like the way the foam outflow adds an extra area of interest.

Shingle Creek Falls - Webber ParkShingle Creek Falls - Webber Park

Hidden Falls - Hidden Falls Park, St. Paul

One of the reasons I chose waterfalls as a subject was to visit some places I haven't been to in a long time.  Hidden Falls is one of those.  I actually went there a couple times since I had some equipment and light issues on my first visit.  One of the things I discovered is that, if the light is not great but still OK, convert to black and white.

Hidden Falls - St. PaulHidden Falls - St. Paul Hidden Falls - St. PaulHidden Falls - St. Paul Hidden Falls - St. PaulHidden Falls - St. Paul Hidden Falls - St. PaulHidden Falls - St. Paul

I don't know if that last one actually counts as a waterfall since it is maybe a foot from the top to the bottom (it is a series of drops in the river downstream from the falls above).  What struck me was the individual bright falls spots while the rest of the image was much darker/almost black.  Processing was really hard, but I'm satisfied with the result.

Shadow Falls - St. Paul

I had never heard of Shadow Falls before this project.  I found out about it by Googling "waterfalls near me" (I also found out about Webber Park that way).  Turns out there is a lot of scrambling required to get down to the falls along an all natural, somewhat sketchy trail.  And, 2pm was not a good time to visit because the light was all over the place.  These images were 7-image HDR composites in order to get as much detail and color as possible.  I do like the texture that comes out in the black and white version.

Shadow FallsShadow Falls Shadow FallsShadow Falls

Normandale Lake Falls - Bloomington

This is another one that I'm not sure if it actually counts as a waterfall since it is 2-3 feed from top to bottom.  It also seems like it might be man-made, but since it is overflow from a lake, I don't know for sure.  Because of the lack of water flowing, I only got decent shots of the bottom level.

Normandale Lake waterfallNormandale Lake waterfall Normandale Lake waterfallNormandale Lake waterfall

Hidden Falls - Nerstrand/Big Woods State Park

I haven't been to this park in probably 20 years, so it was another of the ones that made me want to shoot waterfalls.  This is one I actually got to early enough to avoid bad highlights. 

Hidden Falls - Nerstrand/Big Woods ParkHidden Falls - Nerstrand/Big Woods Park Hidden Falls - Nerstrand/Big Woods ParkHidden Falls - Nerstrand/Big Woods Park Hidden Falls - Nerstrand/Big Woods ParkHidden Falls - Nerstrand/Big Woods Park

Those last two images were inspired by my friend Angie, who joined me there and at Hidden Falls in St. Paul.  She showed me her version of this shot, which had a lot more foreground; and later sent me a copy that she had converted to black and white.  I personally prefer having less foreground and color since it shows the falls better.

Cannon River Falls - Northfield

I went to college in Northfield, so I was fairly familiar with the falls in downtown.  It is also on the way back from Nerstrand/Big Woods State Park, so stopping there for lunch and to shoot made a lot of sense.  The falls image turned out OK, but what really intrigued me was the way the current was reflecting on the underside of the bridge.  The last image is that reflection, which might be my favorite on in the entire set.

Cannon River Falls, NorthfieldCannon River Falls, Northfield Cannon River current reflectionCannon River current reflection


Summing up the City

July 11, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

How do you sum up a city in a single image?  I was out at Lake Bde Maka Ska the other day and thought I'd see if I could do so.

Obviously, the first requirement was to include the city in the image.  And, since Minneapolis is "The City of Lakes" including the lake seemed requisite as well.  The final element is people.  Minnesotans use their lakes...swimming, sailing, fishing, etc.

So, after capturing several images, I narrowed the selection down to these four.  What I can't decide is which one sums up the city best (or which one I prefer).


The Challenge: Falls Supplement

February 07, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

I wrote about the challenge here:  https://www.pavellephoto.com/blog/2022/2/january-29-2022-the-challenge

In it I noted that I had taken more photos at Minnehaha Falls than would work in the narrative I was telling.  What I left out were mostly close-ups or images that in some way were duplicated by other images.  Also, if it wasn't clear, I don't know who any of the people in any of the photos are.  They were just out there enjoying themselves the same way I was. 

So, without further comment, here is the complete set of Falls pictures (excluding the one of the statue). 

Minnehaha Falls in WinterMinnehaha Falls in Winter Minnehaha Falls in WinterMinnehaha Falls in Winter Minnehaha Falls in WinterMinnehaha Falls in Winter Minnehaha Falls in WinterMinnehaha Falls in Winter Minnehaha Falls in WinterMinnehaha Falls in Winter

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