Archive for November, 2010

I’m very excited to announce my first annual holiday print sale. Four photographs – each created in 2010 – are available for purchase.

Uneditioned 8×12 prints are $34 each. Add $6 for shipping. Pick up is available in downtown Fargo.

Interested?! I sure hope so. To purchase your selected photographs, send an email to annarbormiller [at] gmail [dot] com with “holiday print order” in the subject line. Buy one for yourself and three for your best friends.

I am a fan of giving art – specifically photographs – for gifts. Two other great sources for original creations are Fargo photographer Robb Siverson‘s Holiday Bargain Bin and the 50-some fine photographers included in the Third Annual Fraction Magazine Holiday Print Sale. Wow.

Happy Shopping! Ann

P.S. North Dakota sales tax is included in print prices.

Sundog in the Fargo-Moorhead sk

A blanket of snow descended on the Red River Valley yesterday. Fargo-Moorhead was smack in the middle of the storm, which produced 12 inches of white fluffy stuff. The flakes were large and plentiful, but the skies dull and flat.

One of the lessons I’ve learned is that the morning after a good snowfall is usually delightful for photographs. This is particularly true if the skies are clear.

In an ideal world, I would head out early – before the sun has risen – and walk the streets of my neighborhood. I would be properly bundled to keep the chill at bay. I would have an open schedule with no place to be at any particular time. This morning served as yet another reminder that the ideal – while nice in theory – is not real.

From my kitchen window, I caught a glimpse of a brilliant orange sky in the distance. A fabulous sunrise over fresh snow was in the makings. A quick facebook check revealed not only an amazing sunrise, but reports of sundogs – which are caused by sunlight refracting through airborne ice crystals when it is really, really cold.

I wanted to be outside making pictures, but that wasn’t possible at the moment. Our 5-year-old son needed another round of breakfast and we were nowhere near ready to leave the house for the day.

So, I kept an eye on the sky and decided we would take the long way to preschool today. It wasn’t ideal by any means, but I did figure out a way to make a few pictures and be a mom at the same time. Little M. was late for school, but I figured his teachers wouldn’t mind. It’s not everyday you get to chase sundogs.

Enjoy! Ann

Sundog in the Fargo-Moorhead sky

Sundog in the Fargo-Moorhead sky

Community Energy Challenge in Rothsay, Minn.

Editorial assignments with Minnesota Public Radio [yes, public radio!] remain among my favorites in 2010. Yet, the assignments are also often uniquely challenging. Here’s why:

Sometimes I’m asked to accompany a reporter – so we literally go together on an assignment. Photographers and reporters working in tandem or collaboration is a good thing in my book.

However, the trick with radio reporters is they are always, always, always collecting sound. The only sounds they don’t want – as far as I know – are my camera shutter and me chattering away. So, when I work with a radio reporter I try to be thoughtful about when I’m photographing, how often I’m making pictures and what I’m doing with my body, voice and gear. I photograph less aggressively and if there is a situation I know I should photograph I let the reporter know that in advance, if possible. I feel it’s a matter of respect.

So, everything I just wrote wasn’t true for my most recent MPR assignment. It was more like a traditional news assignment. I was on my own with a limited amount of time in Rothsay, Minn., a town of 510 people located 40 miles southeast of Moorhead. The story was about how the town takes on an energy conservation challenge. The assignment seemed easy enough.

Turns out that many of the improvements, audits, inspections and so forth were already complete. No photos there. Local students had previously gone door-to-door to ask residents to sign a pledge to use less energy. No photos there. A Tuesday evening class aimed at teaching residents to better understand utility bills might generate a couple of photos. [People and computers don’t typically make great photos, but sometimes you’ve got to work with the less than ideal.] So, with that activity in place I found myself roaming Rothsay in the dark. [Not really, but it kind of felt that way. It’s really dark in Rothsay after the sun goes down.]

What I decided to do was to try to come up with a couple of photographs at the class as well as some from the gym or school – where many improvements have already been made. I also made arrangements to visit resident Jeanette Geer who won a home makeover as part of the energy challenge project. I knew her granddaughter would be home and that family had received some new appliances. Whenever I have an opportunity to photograph in someone’s home I know there are photographs to be made. When I said good-bye to Jeanette it was great to hear that I was easy to be around and the experience had been a good one.

To learn more about the project or to see how much energy the community saves check out:

Best, Ann

Community Energy Challenge in Rothsay, Minn.

Community Energy Challenge in Rothsay, Minn.

Community Energy Challenge in Rothsay, Minn.

Energy Challenge in Rothsay, Minn.

Community Energy Challenge in Rothsay, Minn.

Photographs from Winnipeg, Canada

Photographer friend Britta Trystad and I just returned from a quick trip from Fargo-Moorhead to Winnipeg, Manitoba. We spent about 31 hours in transit. The purpose of the photo-based outing was simply to seek out colors, lines, textures and anything else of visual interest.

The creative exercise served as a reminder to me of how important it is to step outside your routine and away from your regular stomping grounds. Watching [and photographing] the light shift early Saturday morning was pure pleasure. I’m feeling energized and excited about several upcoming projects.

Happy Sunday, Ann

Photographs from Winnipeg, Canada

Photographs from Winnipeg, Canada

Women's Way Calendar Project

Awards are nice. Unexpected awards are even nicer.

It turns out the Women’s Way calendar project recently received the National Public Health Information Coalition 2010 Gold Award for Excellence in Public Health Communication in the outsourced print/graphic specialty project category. The 18-month calendar, which features my photographs of North Dakota women, is being distributed by the state Department of Health as a tool to promote regular screening for breast and cervical cancer.

What’s great about this award is that I didn’t even know the folks in Bismarck had submitted the project for consideration. And, neither did our project manager Anita Hoffarth over at Reach Partners, a Fargo-based consulting firm that specializes in health communication.

That’s what I call a nice surprise.

Happy Wednesday, Ann

P.S. More photographs of the beautiful women of North Dakota and more details about the project are online in a previous journal entry. Feel free to take a look.

Women's Way Calendar Project