Archive for the ‘Making Pictures’ Category

The Jolly Green Giant

I have road construction in and around Minneapolis-St. Paul to thank for this image. [Thanks, Mn/DOT!] Since a section or sections of Interstate 94 were closed for much of last weekend, I took a different [and longer] route home on Sunday from Iowa.

With the promise of food, fuel and a giant statue, I was not about to pass up Exit 119 and Blue Earth, Minn., along Interstate 90. Blue Earth is home to a Jolly Green Giant statue that stands 55-feet tall. According to, Blue Earth is not the actual birthplace of the mighty green man. That honor belongs to nearby Le Sueur.

I’m a sucker for roadside attractions and the upper Midwest sure seems to have more than its share of giant statues.

P.S. Have a fabulous weekend!

Clay County Fair + Red River Valley Fair

A few weeks back fellow photographer Britta Trygstad and I decided to partake in a shared photo adventure. We went to the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo, N.D., and a few days later took in the Clay County Fair in Barnesville, Minn. The premise was to go to the same event for the same amount of time and compare images afterward. There may be a larger effort evolving from these outings so I’m only including one image from each location. We’re meeting tomorrow so we’ll see what comes next.

When I worked for the local newspaper my primary task at an event like a county fair was almost always established ahead of time. Typically, the editors wanted a single image for the Metro front or a small selection of images for a feature page or photographs showing this or that. You get the idea. My purpose was clear – and often written down for me in the form of a photo assignment.

These days, my purpose is often so broad and undefined that I find myself overwhelmed, especially in visually-rich environments like county fairs. Assuming we do this again – and I’m sure we will because it is good for us – I hope to establish a goal or at least the makings of a goal in advance of any image making.

P.S. The photo on the left is from the Clay County Fair and the photo on the right is from the Red River Valley Fair.

July Sky in Moorhead, Minn.

Let’s be honest. The weather in Fargo-Moorhead gets pretty crazy sometimes and has earned its share of media attention. We regularly experience blizzards, subzero temperatures and floods. Lately, it seems the Red River Valley and parts of northern Minnesota are in line to become the nation’s next tornado alley. I’ve lost count of the number of tornado warnings issued in the past few weeks.

While lakes country was enduring another nasty thunderstorm Saturday evening, the sky above Moorhead gave way to a collection of funky clouds [pictured above]. They’re actually called mammatus clouds – or mammatocumulus – if I’ve done my homework correctly.

Interestingly enough, the next day The Weather Channel announced Fargo resident Steve Waldner as the winner of its “Ultimate Summer Beach Party” contest. His property will be transformed into a “beach party destination complete with sand, water features, palm trees, barbecue and much more,” according to a press release issued by The Weather Channel. The party will be televised live from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST on Sunday, July 25.

Wonder what the forecast is?

Women's Way

North Dakota is home to more than its share of beautiful women. Throughout the month of May I had the good fortune to meet and photograph 19 women who are participants in or advocates for a breast and cervical cancer early detection program called Women’s Way. The North Dakota program, which is under the auspices of the state’s Department of Health, has helped provide nearly 11,000 screening services since its inception in 1997. Nationally, there are more than 60 similar programs.

The portraits and accompanying stories – written by colleague Kimberly Cowden – are featured in a 19-month calendar, which has been distributed around the state in recent weeks. A total of 7,000 copies were printed.

In my view, the finished piece serves as a testament to the value of Women’s Way and its broad reach. I am grateful to Reach Partners, who skillfully managed the project and coordinated my travel schedule. I also remain inspired by the woman featured in the calendar. You are all uniquely beautiful.

To view a few photographs from my travels around the state, feel free to peruse previous journal entries North Dakota Road Trip [Part I] and North Dakota Road Trip [Part II]. I have one more batch of roadside attraction and related photos to share. North Dakota Road Trip [Part III] will be coming soon.

Meanwhile, enjoy a selection of photographs from the Women’s Way calendar project.

Women's Way

Women's Way

Women's Way

Women's Way

Women's Way

Women's Way

Women's Way

Women's Way

Women's Way

TwoTurtles Wellness Center

In recent weeks I’ve started working with Jen DeMaio and Steve Spader of Two Turtles Wellness Center in Moorhead, Minn. Our goal is to create an image collection of the center’s space and the healing work that takes place within its walls. The photographs will ultimately find their way to the center’s website and be used in printed materials.

Yes, we did the “traditional” head and shoulders portraits that every professional needs. But, I also felt it was important to photograph Jen and Steve with their boys. Being a family is a huge part of their lives. Townsite Park is conveniently located near the offices of Two Turtles so that’s where we went to play.

Two Turtles will host an open house on Tuesday, June 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. Therapies like acupuncture, massage, biofeedback and much more will be offered for a small fee. Oh, and yummy food created by Green Market Catering will also be on hand. Hope to see you there!

Two Turtles: Family