Life evolving behind the lens


In All Fairness, Part 2

As expected, I photographed things besides the livestock at the fair. Whenever we go, I always make sure to at least stop by the Ag-Hor building for some shots.

Apple Bounty

This year’s visit was a little disappointing in the fruits department, but I am generally happy with my vegetable photos. I also got to see dahlias instead of bonsai/orchid exhibits, which was a nice change of pace. Dahlias are fun to photograph. Their blooms can vary drastically, so I get to experiment with capturing a variety of patterns and textures. Aside from that, I didn’t get as many good photos in other exhibit halls this year as I have in the past. My stomach problems got worse during the times we were in the halls. I got some good pictures, but I didn’t get great pictures. On the other hand, said problems did eventually resolve themselves as the sun went down. That means some awesome nighttime shots! Hopefully next year I’ll be in better shape and will remember to get photos of things aside from the animals and Ag-Hor exhibits. πŸ™‚

The Honey and the Ivy
Ripple Across the Waves
Plum Close Up
Hubbard Hubba
Pumpkin Splice
Braided Beauties
Sweetness Not Light
Verdant Nights
Twinkle Tower
Flee the Fun
Capricious Sacrifice and Aftermath


In All Fairness, Part 1

When I do my Minnesota State Fair recaps on, I title the entries with a fair related pun. I’ve decided to try that out on this blog as well. I’m not sure if I’ll do so from here on out. Only time will tell on that one.

The Dairy Bar

While we ate less and walked around more this year, one thing that was consistent was photography. Even when I started feeling a bit under the weather, I still felt good enough to take pictures. I’m actually pretty proud of what I’ve done, especially when it comes to the livestock photos (the bread and butter of this entry).

Buns of Fun

The early closure of the livestock barns forced my husband and me to visit the animals earlier than usual. This worked out pretty well for lighting, even in the super dark Moo Booth. Seriously, I use the term lighting very loosely there. The animals were in the process of being moooved out (hehheh), but they were still in great poses for photography. The pigs were sleepy, but the goats and sheep were happy to get attention. Likewise, with the sun being higher, the skylights were actually worth something during our visit. While Rigoberto is pretty good in low light, I don’t yet have an f/1.8 lens to really work in such conditions. My kit lens and I didn’t have to work as hard since the sun was in a better position. The skylights helped diffuse the light, to boot, which it turns out is just ad effective on animal portraits as it is for humans. I prefer photographing animals, though. They’re less self conscious, which makes it easier for me to work it out there.

Derpy Sleep

Speaking of portraits, I’m surprised at how many photos I have utilize portrait orientation. I think part of it stems from the lens. On Cameron, the telephoto lens was narrow enough to poke through some of the cages, so landscape orientation was possible even on tight shots. Since Rigoberto’s kit lens is wider even at its highest zoom, I had to turn the camera in order to get a shot relatively free of obstructions. I don’t know how well this would work on other lenses. I’m considering renting a telephoto lens for my upcoming trip to Vancouver, so I might test this theory when that happens. In any case, vertical pictures have taken over my selections for the state fair. You can see it here now and also in part two. πŸ™‚

Food As Reverence
Messy Side Eye
Peck Pecking
Cockerel Doggerel
Small and Plump
Got Your Gander
Choco Ba-Ba-Ba
Just Say Neigh
Stick Out from the Lineup

Vacation’s Over

Summer is winding down, kids are going back to school, and I’m finally going back to work! Madness, right? Well, in celebration of that fact, I’m going to showcase the photos I’ve taken over the last few months while I was wandering the metro area. I did find ways to do a lot for very little cost.

Magic 4 Ball

Thanks to memberships at the Minnesota Zoo, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Historical Society, I can visit a bunch of local attractions for free. On top of that, there are attractions and events throughout the Twin Cities area that are free for everyone, such as Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. I also went to a special Greyhound exhibit near the Mall of America and snapped photos at free concerts. Throughout all these comings and goings, I had the chance to see a variety of designs and lighting scenarios. It certainly wasn’t as active or epic in scope as my last couple summers have been, but I was able to do a lot of things. I also got quite a few photos in the past. On that note, enjoy this smΓΆrgΓ₯sbord of photographic offerings! πŸ™‚

Downfall of the Music Man
Here Bus!
Aqui Autobus!
Yay, Bus!
Arc du Lurcat
Stuck On You
Always Keeping an Eye on You
Burst Mode
Palace Palisades

Minnesota State Fair Throwbacks, Part 2

Are you ready for some more fair photos? Of course you are! If you’re in Minnesota and debating on going, I have a few (visual) reasons as to why you should at least consider attending.


The fair may be all about food, but it’s also cool to see the raw ingredients for meals as well. The vegetable area certainly whets my appetite. πŸ™‚ Beyond that, there are plenty of other carbon-based lifeforms that are worth a visit. They’re not all in the ag-hor building, to boot! The last few years we’ve seen the bonsai and orchid exhibitions, and I saw a bunch of African Violets the first year I attended the fair. I’m hoping to see them again for a couple reasons. One, I’d like to have another chance to photograph them. Two, they remind me of my aunt. She cared for African Violets when I visited her during my childhood, and I remember my first greenhouse visit being to pick up some of those plants. Outside of plants, I did get a few photos of the animalia kingdom that I felt were worth sharing. Hopefully going earlier in the day on Labor Day will provide me more animal photography opportunities and a chance to capture the fair in a different light. I can’t wait to go!

Bounty of the Harvest
Sweet Carrotline
Par Snip Snip
Heir Loom
Apple of My Eye
Two Pairs of Pears
Poor Flutterbies
Twist and Turn
Fruitless Fruit Tree
The Alien Blossom
50 Shades of Purple
Beyond the Gate

Minnesota State Fair Throwbacks, Part 1

When starting the post for my end of summer photo wrap up, I realized I never showed you any of my favorite shots from last year’s Minnesota State Fair. That’s a shame, because there were many I liked. Given that the fair has just gotten underway, I figure now is as good of time as any to remedy this wrong.


Due to the timing of our fair adventures last year, I didn’t get many animal photos that I actually liked enough to share in this blog. As a result, most of my frames are from the other exhibits. The sunlight became harsher the longer we were there, so the majority of my best shots were all indoors or semi-indoors (such as the ag-hor building, which I know I’ve discussed about a zillion times). Thus, I’ll be splitting things up a bit differently. The first entry will highlight the inorganic photo subjects, while the next entry will showcase carbon-based lifeforms in some capacity. πŸ™‚ I do realize that crop art does toe the line between the two a bit. TO balance things out, I’ve included them here. Enjoy!

Canny Punny
Collection Bin
Metallic Tendrils
The Cynical Bender
A Seat in the Sun
A Crop Mess
Fish Out of Water
The Beauty of Writing Implements
Standard Deviation


A very strange thing has been happening. I’ve been talking to people offline about photography. Trust me what I say this is not something that happens very often.

The Future of the 80s

So what have I been discussing with people? Well, just about anything and everything. I did attend a special exhibit for National Camera’s 100th Anniversary. I didn’t talk to people there, but it was an enlightening visit that preceded some interesting conversations I’d have in the following days. I listened to people talk about their past experiences using the equipment on display. The cameras on exhibit covered the gamut from a 1914 model (that still works!) and 617 format cameras to 80s Polaroids and the first iPhone. I was especially amused by the early digital cameras (point and shoot as well as SLR), as I had some memories of them. My mom had a super bulky Kodak model back in 2001, and I found it better suited for makeshift binoculars. I primarily used it to locate my dad in a crowded convention center after he was sworn in as an American citizen. Good times.

Spinning Sun

The next morning was when the conversations began. My husband and I had brunch at Signature Cafe before going to the Minnesota Zoo for a visit. Our server (Dave) was a cordial guy who it turns out was into photography and even served as an assistant for a friend who did extensive professional work. We discussed Canon and Nikon cameras. Dave had worked primarily with Canon models up until this last year when he was gifted a Nikon and some lenses. I will cop to Canon probably having better continuous shooting. I have used continuous shooting on Nikon, and it does take a little bit to process. Your finger needs to be on that shutter button a while if you want to get the maximum benefit of this shooting method. Needless to say, I’ve lost some precious opportunities. Thus, I would be more likely to defer to Canon in these cases. That said, we both agreed that the picture quality from Nikon models was overall superior. It’s always good to have a Team Nikon ally. πŸ™‚ After brunch, my husband and I went to the Minnesota Zoo, where photography was the order of the afternoon. Hooray, flutterbies!

Geometric Utopia

A few days later, I ended up conversing with a guy watching the Torchlight 5K on Hennepin Avenue. I went for the parade that followed the race but went early to get a good spot. I found a railing for newspaper racks, and there wasn’t much room in front of said railing, which gave me pretty decent visibility. Anyway, I realized that like a complete dumbass I left my battery at home and didn’t have another on me. While my husband wonderfully went back home to get one, I chatted with the guy to my left. It turns out he’d been in Minneapolis much of the day to take pictures. He had a Canon compact point-and-shoot model and displayed a decent aptitude for the cameras he was using. His composition struck a cord with me, as it was reminiscent of some of my work throughout the years. He asked a lot of questions, and I shared with him the things I’ve managed to learn over time. As I’ve gotten older, I understand that photography is truly an ongoing learning process. Unlike writing, I feel like I have a lot more I can learn in terms of the craft of photography. In some people’s eyes, I wouldn’t be called a photographer. That doesn’t mean I haven’t made efforts to learn what I can in terms of technique and research equipment. During this conversation, I discussed the rule of thirds and elaborated on a panning technique that focuses on a moving subject in the foreground but blurs the background. I even pulled up Facebook photos to show as examples. The gentleman expressed great interest in learning more about the nuts and bolts of photography, and he even laughed at my (completely unplanned) pun in which I used the phrase “the big picture” when discussing the components of exposure. Talking to him also made me realize just how much I have learned so far in taking photos. Between reading, chatting with picture-taking friends, and just going out there, I’ve done quite a bit of work in the roughly 15 years I’ve been taking pictures. I didn’t even realize that much time had passed. πŸ˜› In all seriousness, being able to teach someone a bit about photography made me realize how much I enjoy this craft and how much I want people to understand what it is that practitioners of this craft go through. It’s not whipping out a cell phone and grabbing something to plug into Instagram. It’s a method to look at what’s around you, one that requires great concentration and alertness to any given environment. Thus, people who state that photography is easy miss an important point. Operating a camera is easy. Capturing a photography is another story.

Bald Spot
The End of an Era
Ruggedness in the Tube
Specificity Matters

Summertime Summertime, Sun Fun, Summertime

A job might be looming for me, but until then, I continue to make local visits and take photos! This batch goes back to mid-June during a day trip to western Wisconsin/eastern Minnesota. It was kind of a warm day, and there was lingering humidity from an earlier batch of rain showers.

The River Runner

My husband and I started our day in the Osceola, WI area for a train trip along the St. Croix River. It was a brilliant day to spend time riding the rails, and there were definitely things to see. That said, we did clip along at points, which meant some of my pictures didn’t turn out all that great. On top of that, my husband sat by the window most of the time, which meant I had to move around a bit to find a halfway decent view. There was also the fact that while there were things to see, a lot of my pictures looked the same or would not necessarily appeal to random passers-by of this photo blog. I did also take some pictures in and around the station. There were a couple groups on the same train as us, so there was a bit of a crowding issue at points. That meant there were people random popping into the frame no matter what I did. 😦

Hal, I Am Your Father

After our train ride, we hopped in the car and went back to Minnesota for a tour of the Franconia Sculpture Garden. It didn’t look that big as I approached it, but the grounds are quite expansive. That was helpful for pictures because I could avoid people even though there was a pretty decent sized crowd there (even outside the children’s workshop being held that day). The sculptures were pretty wild (much more outlandish and riskier in scope than what you might find at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden), and I could have been there all day taking pictures. Unfortunately, a hole in the bottom of my left sneaker let in some of the standing water that was still hanging around the garden. Thus my motivation to stay out and take pictures took a pretty deep nosedive. I still managed to get quite a few shots, though. Narrowing it down to a reasonable amount for the blog here proved to be quite a challenge!

Loose Caboose
Crank Up!
Gear Up!
Christmas in July-ish
Prismatic Illuminati
Beyond the Battle of the Bulge
Standing Tall
Tipped Point
Stems Across the Sky
Racist Servitude