Author Archives: john

Trip to the ice caves

The trip was in April, but I’ve been looking at these shots a lot lately. There’s something about them I like. Their basis is in reality, but yet there’s a departure . . .




The stuff that dreams are made of . . .

Thanks to the GRFD for a fun and well-attended open house!




Return to the Mesabi

We finally made it back out to the Mesabi Trail tonight and recruited former neighbor, avid cyclist, and friend, Ed Z., to join us. Even though he was ensured that compensation was low and the task arduous, he was totally agreeable and took direction well. Thanks, Ed!



Back in the air!

Well, a couple weeks ago, Dan and I had a slight setback with aerial operations when the hexacopter plummeted from 40 feet of altitude to zero in about a millisecond (or at least it seemed that fast at the time). We’ve said all along that such an event was not a matter of if, but when. And now we can proudly say that we’ve experienced the utter gut wrench that goes along with watching a sizable investment fall to the earth like a stone.

Lesson learned: Ten minutes per battery set means ten minutes per battery set.

Today, we headed down to a local park and took some shots over the Mississippi. Thanks again to our willing bridge pedestrians, Gabriel and Cory.


The ones that stick

It’s curious that you can take multiple photos of the same subject, but in the end, there’s only one that remains in your mind. Is it the composition? The light? The gesture? If there’s a face, the expression? I believe it’s a combination, and when I’m editing and come across one shot that rises above the rest, I tend to stare. For a long time. I think about what’s coming together to make it work. I think about the process that was involved. The moment. The vantage point. And I think about how the image is similar or different to what I first imagined.


Leaves are falling . . .

For the past several months, I’ve been eying a location where the aspen trees are particularly uniform, and a single-track trail winds through them with an easy up-down and left-right grace. Yesterday evening was warm and sunny, so I scouted out the location with my sons Sam and Max. I wanted to see how the fall colors were looking and determine the easiest access point. Turned out the fall colors were perfect, and I imagined how photographs of the area would be imbued with warm evening light.

From the trail, I texted friend and ultramarathoner Tony Pierce, as we had talked about taking a photo in this location in the past. Yes, he answered, he would meet me at the trailhead the next day.

Forward 24 hours, and it’s cloudy, and then its drizzling, and then it’s actually raining. Should we do this? No. Yes. No. Ok, yes, let’s give it a shot.

Because of the weather, the final images are different than I imagined, but they have a quality they wouldn’t have otherwise. This is a lesson I find myself learning over and over lately. It’s ok to move forward in the face of uncertainly. Learn to trust the process . . .


The Rest of the Fab Five

Don’t know what’s been happening in the atmosphere above Minnesota recently, but it’s been windy. Thankfully, this eliminated the need to rent a giant industrial fan to get that “I’m about to do something really heroic” look.




United Way and the Fab Five

United Way of 1,000 Lakes recently launched its annual fund drive. The organization makes important contributions to dozens of non-profits across Itasca County and has launched a new marketing campaign to help build awareness and excitement. At 8am this Monday morning I was out shooting photos of two local superheroes who had obviously eaten their Wheaties. I plan to catch three more in action later this afternoon.



Homegrown featured during shared text project

More than half of the student body at Itasca Community College will read Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” thanks to the school’s 2013 shared text project. I’m honored that my portraits of local food producers were chosen to exhibit during two months of presentations and panel discussions about agricultural policy, nutrition, and sustainable development. The exhibit opened last Thursday and included a reading of moving, farm-related poetry by Lisa Linrud-Marcis.

Alice and Sons, Grand Rapids, MN

Camp Mishawaka – Winner of the Best Driveway Award

For Mishawaka’s campers, this driveway represents the last leg of a journey that may have started on the other side of the country, or on the other side of the world. Oh to be a ten year old, riding in a towering coach bus, forehead pressed against the window in anticipation of the long summer days ahead . . .

Kudos to Pilot Dan on this shot. He juggled both the hexacopter and camera controllers and managed to keep the craft from entanglement with the nearby branches.

Yes, that’s me. In action.