best places to photograph in St. Paul

Feb. 19th, 2011

What are the best places in St. Paul to photograph?

I get asked the question all the time, what are the best places to photograph in St. Paul. Well of course that depends upon what you are really looking for but the way I understand that question is this way, What are the most popular, iconic, interesting places to photograph in St. Paul that will give me the photographer a good chance at getting a good picture? So that is the question I will answer here in this article. It is interesting to me that so many people think there is no beauty in St. Paul. Well I believe this article will dispense with such crazy thoughts and I will show you all kinds of incredible beauty.

Like I have said many times before, I have found that my best images are painted in my mind long before I actually shoot them. What I mean by this is that I find myself going by places in the city and the place makes me stop and say wow, so it starts capturing my attention. The place is often times historic in nature or it is iconic for some reason or another. Then the most important thing is that it can be view by an interesting perspective and when you view it from that place, it can be lit with interesting light. Remember, light is the key to good photography. We are as they say light painters.

So let’s take a look at some of those places that have caught my attention and have moved me enough to capture them so that those images can move you.

Landmark Center

The Landmark Center is one of the most recognizable buildings in Minnesota not to mention St Paul, Minnesota. The building has a great history and it is still being used in many interesting ways. St. Paul’s historic Landmark Center, completed in 1902, originally served as the United States Post Office, Court House, and Custom House for the state of Minnesota. It was designed by Willoughby J. Edbrooke, who served as Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury Department in 1891-92. Edbrooke designed a body of public architecture, much of which, like this structure, was completed after his death in 1896. Landmark Center stands in beautiful Rice Park, now housing an arts and culture center for St. Paul.

Landmark Center St Paul Winter Carnival 2011

Cathedral of Saint Paul

The Cathedral of Saint Paul is a Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of St. Paul, Minnesota. It is the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. One of the most distinctive cathedrals in the United States, it sits on Cathedral Hill overlooking downtown St. Paul and features a distinctive copper-clad dome. The current building opened in 1915 as the fourth cathedral of the archdiocese to bear this name. On March 25, 2009, it was designated as the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican. Its co-cathedral is the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis.
Cathedral of Saint Paul, National Shrine of the Apostle Paul

Cathedral of Saint Paul

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Creek is a tributary of the Mississippi River that extends from Lake Minnetonka in the west and flows east for 22 miles. The creek might have been unremarkable except for the 53 foot Minnehaha Falls located near the creek's confluence with the Mississippi.

Minnehaha Falls

St Patrick's Day Parade in downtown St. Paul

First of all, let's get a little bit of the Irish history of St. Paul.

Irish in Saint Paul, Minnesota have played an integral part in the founding and the growth of the city. The first Irish to settle in Saint Paul were three soldiers from Fort Snelling who were natives of Ireland. They became the first settlers in the area of downtown Saint Paul. Helped by Archbishop John Ireland, thousands of Irish emigrated from Ireland and Eastern cities in the United States to Minnesota; the majority settled in Saint Paul.
History of the Irish in Saint Paul

And how about some history of the parade itself.?

This spirited tribute to St. Paul’s Irish community began in 1967 at Gallivan’s restaurant and bar. "It was a bitter cold day during the Winter Carnival," says Bob Gallivan. Some of his pals stopped by to get out of the cold and have a drink. "Let’s have a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade," Gallivan remembers saying, "before we get too old."
St. Patrick's Association

Happy St Patrick's Day: St Patrick's Day Parade

Down Town and Mississippi River from the High Bridge

This high perspective always provides for an interesting perspective of the city. The Taste of Minnesota 4th of July event really brings this whole area alive..

Taste of Minnesota 4th of July

Minnesota State Capitol

The Minnesota State Capitol is located in Minnesota's capital city, Saint Paul, and houses the Minnesota Senate, Minnesota House of Representatives, the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Governor. The building also includes a chamber for the Minnesota Supreme Court, although court activities usually take place in the neighboring Minnesota Judicial Center.

The building is set in a landscaped campus. Various monuments are to its sides and front. Behind, a bridge spans University Avenue, and in front others were later added over the sunken roadway of Interstate 94, thus preserving the sight lines. Set near the crest of a hill, from the Capitol steps a panoramic view of downtown St. Paul is presented.
Minnesota State Capitol

Minnesota State Capitol

Minnesota State Capitol

A client of mine asked me to go over to the Minnesota State Capitol building in St. Paul Minnesota and capture it for a project that they were doing. From my understanding of the project, the client was looking for mostly external shots and the images were to be in a horizontal layout. But if you are at all familiar with the capital building, you know that the really amazing stuff is on the inside. This view caught my attention and I had to capture it.

This was shot at approximately 10:00 am and the weather outside was perfectly clear so the lighting coming in was strong and rich. The result is this wonderfully mysterious glow at the top of the stairway, which allows for seeing all the great details of this amazing structure.

St. Paul Winter Carnival.

People in Minnesota do some of the strangest things. This strange thing just happens to be amazingly beautiful also. Yes these people carve blocks of ice into works of art!

This is all done as part of the annual St. Paul Winter Carnival and yes, these people are real artists...

St Paul Winter Carnival - Ice Carvings

So I hope you have found some places that have fired your imagination and I hope this article has motivated you to get out and explore and photograph these wonderful iconic places. When you do get out please contact me and let me know what you have captured. Happy shooting.

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