Lowry Avenue Bridge Minneapolis

Lowry Avenue Bridge Minneapolis on a cold winter night.

After more than four years without a bridge connecting north and northeast Minneapolis, more than 350 people celebrated the grand opening of a new Lowry Avenue bridge on Saturday morning with boisterous fanfare that included a parade, jet flyover and water ski show.

“This is truly a great day, a long time coming,” former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein said. “If we liked the old bridge, we’ll love this one. The old one stood 100 years. This one will stand a thousand years.”

Dozens of residents and bridge construction workers attended the celebration, snapping photos of the towering, white steel arches that span the bridge, which an estimated 16,000 cars will pass over each day.
Original Star Tribune Article

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There is no place like home for the holidays

This is our neighbors house all decked out for Christmas.

Christmas is the time of year that we gather together with our families and participate in a variety of different family and cultural traditions. Without them, it just would not be Christmas for most of us. We put up holiday lights, sing carols, bake cookies, eat candy canes, give each other gifts, and decorate the Christmas tree with ornaments. We take these traditions and activities for granted, but where exactly do some of these holiday traditions come from in the first place?

Of course, Christmas is celebrated in order to honor the birth of Jesus, but did you know that Christmas was not always celebrated on December 25th? It was not until around 300 A.D. when Pope Julius I decided to celebrate the birth of Christ on the same day every year in order to replace the pagan Winter Solstice with a Christian holiday. It stuck and we have been celebrating Christmas on the same day ever since.

Why do we hang lights?

As to the lights – MANY cultures that were subject to deep darkness and cold lit candles, fires, bonfires, to lend strength to the waning power of light ….. to help light triumph over the darkness.

The tree – is the symbol of life in the dark, snowed life of the north. The evergreen is the only living plant, when all is dormant and dead.

After Martin Luther saw stars twinkling in the sky between boughs of the evergreens on Christmas, he is said to have placed the first candles on his tree. But electric lights, Koski said, came from Thomas Edison’s business partner Edward Johnson. “He took home light bulbs and had them wired to a tree and put it in his window and people drove by just to see them,” she said.

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Oh Christmas Tree…

Oh Christmas Tree... by !!WaynePhotoGuy
Oh Christmas Tree…, a photo by !!WaynePhotoGuy on Flickr.

Staring to get ready for Christmas. This is a continuation of the “Real Meaning of Christmas” in Pictures project.

Christmas is the time of year that we gather together with our families and participate in a variety of different family and cultural traditions. Without them, it just would not be Christmas for most of us. We put up holiday lights, sing carols, bake cookies, eat candy canes, give each other gifts, and decorate the Christmas tree with ornaments. We take these traditions and activities for granted, but where exactly do some of these holiday traditions come from in the first place?

Of course, Christmas is celebrated in order to honor the birth of Jesus, but did you know that Christmas was not always celebrated on December 25th? It was not until around 300 A.D. when Pope Julius I decided to celebrate the birth of Christ on the same day every year in order to replace the pagan Winter Solstice with a Christian holiday. It stuck and we have been celebrating Christmas on the same day ever since.

Why do we hang lights?

As to the lights – MANY cultures that were subject to deep darkness and cold lit candles, fires, bonfires, to lend strength to the waning power of light ….. to help light triumph over the darkness.

The tree – is the symbol of life in the dark, snowed life of the north. The evergreen is the only living plant, when all is dormant and dead.

After Martin Luther saw stars twinkling in the sky between boughs of the evergreens on Christmas, he is said to have placed the first candles on his tree. But electric lights, Koski said, came from Thomas Edison’s business partner Edward Johnson. “He took home light bulbs and had them wired to a tree and put it in his window and people drove by just to see them,” she said.

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Marjorie Mcneely Conservatory – Como Park – Poinsettia Christmas

Today I was able to sneak away in middle of all this Christmas busy-ness for a little photo outing with friends. We went to the ever popular Marjorie Mcneely Conservatory at Como Park in St Paul, MN.
www.comozooconservatory.org/attractions/gardens/sunken-ga…

Low and behold while we were there I discovered that they were having the big poinsettia Christmas display at the main sunken garden section of the park. I was so happy because I have been struggling with my “Real Meaning of Christmas” in pictures project. You say how does this help you with that project? Well Poinsettias are indeed connected with Christmas
From: tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/christmas-poinsettia1.htm

So what does a poinsettia have to do with Christmas? One interpretation of the plant is as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem, the heavenly body that led the three magi, or wise men, to the place where Christ was born. A Mexican legend tells of a girl who could only offer weeds as a gift to Jesus on Christmas Eve. When she brought the weeds into a church, they blossomed into the beautiful red plants we know as poinsettias, known as Flores de Noche Buena in Mexico (Spanish for “flowers of the holy night”).
Hew.. so I had a ton of fun with friends, I captured some pictures that my wife would love and I moved forward on “The Real Meaning of Christmas” in pictures project. See ya next time.

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The Angel Declares to Mary You are to be with Child

Part one of the Christmas Story in Photography Project.

An angel visits Mary to tell her that she will have a son named Jesus. Isaiah 7:14
www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+7%3A14&ve…

Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae;
Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.

Translation

The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary;
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Captured this yesterday afternoon with photo friend form many years back Lisa at the Cathedral of St. Paul, St. Paul, MN.
www.cathedralsaintpaul.org/

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The Influence of the Chief Tecumseh Poem

The Influence of the Chief Tecumseh Poem

Purchase Chief Tecumseh Poem PrintYou may recall sometime back we had posted about the Chief Tecumseh poem that we had become aware of from the Act of Valor movie.  Well we just recently received a note from an active duty soldier that I had to share with you.

Hello Sir,
So you are the only place I have been able to find the poem for sale by Chief Tecumseh.  See I am a US soldier, this is my 5th tour of combat and I am currently in Afghanistan.  I had heard and used this poem long before the movie Act of Valor but my younger guys really took a liking to it kinda like a wild fire in there soul.  And well with the line of work we do it’s something to live by.  You have a beautiful product and well of course ya can’t give it away but i didn’t know if maybe you could send out a few maybe as I am trying to get different things before Christmas to do a lil present shuffle for my guys.  Just trying to get donations and well even if not i have 24 guys and well if there was any way you could give me a bulk discount maybe or something.  See I really plan on having a flag flown here over our head quarters for 9 days 11 hours and then pulled down folded up and framed and really wanted to frame a copy of this poem with it.  This is something a soldier will hold as more of a prize than a medal or award as it’s from one brother to another and well asking you if there is anything you might could do to help me make this happen.

Thanks so much.

Needless to say, we were deeply moved by this quest and we decided to donate to this cause immediately.   The reason why I wanted to share this with you is to give you a glimpse of the things that are important to our brave men and women in uniform.

If you have any family or friends that are in the Military and you think this would be meaning to them we are currently able to offer a 35% discount At The Gallery when you use the coupon code Turkey35 at checkout.   We truly are grateful for all who have served.

We wish you peace and many blessings during this Christmas Season.

 

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Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum

One evening several years ago, I had the awesome opportunity to get out shooting with an up and coming photographer Ava www.flickr.com/photos/brownigrl23/

The top location on our list was the Weisman Art Museum on the University of Minnesota Campus.

And I quote…
“Housed in a striking stainless steel and brick building designed by architect Frank Gehry, the Weisman Art Museum offers an educational and friendly museum experience. The museum’s collection features early 20th century American artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Marsden Hartley, as well as a diverse selection of contemporary art. A teaching museum for the University of Minnesota and the community, the Weisman provides a fresh, engaging arts experience through an array of programs and a changing schedule of exhibitions.”

Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum

on our way out to the location it was all cloudy and gray with no interesting light…. And then the sun broke out… ;-DDD

Awesome!!!!

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Autumn ~ Lebanon Hills

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

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Autumn ~ The End of Summer

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Senior Portraits – Brenna

Super fun photo session with Brenna. Time sure goes by quickly when you get to do what you love. This session sure was enjoyable.

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Anne Yetzer ~ Eagan Senior Portrait Session

We had a ton of fun photographing a senior portrait session with Anne. You could tell she is a natural and she was really enjoying herself. I put a new assistant to the test and I think the results show he did a great job. Awesome job all! Thanks so much Anne for giving me the privilege of working with you. What a blast!

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Eagan Sr Portrait Session ~ Lily

Eagan Sr Portrait Session ~ Lily

I am so sorry to blast you with so many images here but frankly, they turned out way too good for me not to share. Thanks so much Lily, you are a total natural and it was great to share some time with you. Thank you to my wonderful assistant. You know who you are. You can’t get great results like this without an incredible assistant.

This image is right out of the camera with no editing. Yep, she is that natural.

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Best Senior Portrait Photographer Session ~ Mallory

Many may ask who is the best senior portrait photographer in Eagan or their particular city.  My answer is always the same.  The person who you can enjoy working with and the person who is able to capture the personality and the essence of the senior being photographed is the best photographer.  That is a grandiose way of saying, it depends.

Senior Portrait Photography Eagan

Any photographer worth his or her salt can capture images that are technically proper and lit well etc, but when you look at the images do you say now this image totally captures Jenny or Jimmy or whoever?  You get those kinds of images by getting to know your client and building a bit of a real rapport with them.  That is what I strive for in every session with my clients.

Senior Portrait Photography Eagan Mallory 1

In a recent session with Mallory I must say it was pretty easy to get that result for several reasons.  The first one is that Mallory is friendly and warm and she is a natural in front of the camera.  She made it a breeze to work with her.

Senior Portrait Photography Eagan Mallory 3

Reason 2 is that she is also a good friend of my daughter so I have additional insight into who she really is.  And finally, we had great flexibility with the locations where we were able to shoot the session.  That makes the whole process much easier also.  That way, I as the photographer have some knowledge of the sites and can plan to connect the location with the individual so as to pull out all the best characteristics of the person with the help of the environment around them.

Senior Portrait Photography Eagan Mallory 4

It is funny in our suburban setting many of the kids are not deeply connected with a country setting but we have some great ones so close to us to they are great to use as one type of setting.  I find that these types of settings pull out natural calmness, charm and beauty out of people.  And then to add in the magic of a red barn, the results are almost shocking.

Senior Portrait Photography Eagan Mallory 5

Those types of backgrounds allow a photographer to isolate the subject and produce a work of art that focuses the eye completely on the person, the individual and probably even the eyes of the individual.  While focusing on the person’s eyes the old saying “The eye is the window of the soul” is shown to be true.  You do indeed get a glimpse of the person’s soul, their humanity through what you can read in their eyes.  I think you can see in these images of Mallory, calmness, peace, joy and a wonderful intellect.

Senior Portrait Photography Eagan Mallory 6

So I have attempted to capture as much of the real Mallory as was possible in our brief amount of time together.  It was a wonderful time for me and I hope the results prove to be a family treasure.

If you are interested in booking a session for senior portraits you can find more information here.

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Senior Portraits Eagan : Alyssa Oakman

This week I had the opportunity to work with a delightful young woman in an effort to capture her personality and maybe even a part of her soul for her senior portraits.  Alyssa is charming and witty person, she happens to be my daughter’s (and my photographic assistant) best friend and she is a natural in front of the camera.

Part of the challenge of capturing portraits of people is that you need to find settings that are natural to the person so that they are put at ease.  But also as a photographer you want to expand your repertoire of locations so that all of your pictures do not look identical.  This was going to be one of those opportunities to stretch me a bit.  You may know of Holz Farm Park in Eagan. I knew of it but I had never actually been there.  I have heard it is a bit of a treasure for the city so it was time that I finally explored it.  So being I know Alyssa well enough I figured I could use this opportunity to explore the park while capturing her Sr Portraits.

Eagan Senior Portrait Photographer Alyssa Oakmas Session
We arrived at the park and I see my dream come true, an Old Red Barn.  A building with character like that is a photographers dream.  It makes it so much easier to capture the person when you have a setting with great character or charm.  Alyssa was not sure she was a cowgirl or a country girl so there was a slight hesitation.  I think this is where I used my experience to encourage her to try it anyway.  Well the barn picture turned out to be one of our favorites.  YES!!!

Holz Farm also has a lake area that makes for a wonderful setting.

There is the porch on the front of an old house that has wonderful personality.

There is a gorgeous flower garden that makes for a wonderful setting for almost any young woman.

Eagan Senior Portrait Photographer Alyssa Oakmas Session

Then we ran around to a few of my other favorite spots.  Of course we went to Lebanon Hills Park.

Eagan Senior Portrait Photographer Alyssa Oakmas Session

And the ever charming Sibley House in Mendota Mn

Eagan Senior Portrait Photographer Alyssa Oakmas Session

It was so fun working with Alyssa and my wonderful assistant and then on top of that we got to explore new parts of the city and discover whole new possibilities.  Aaaahhhh, life does not get too much better than that.  Thanks for all the fun.

To find out more of the details on Senoir Portraits you can go here or just contact us.

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Senior Portraits – Alyssa Oakman

These are from the very successful senior portrait session the other night with Alyssa Oakman. Gosh, there are too many great ones it is hard to choose.

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Photographic Journey – Rocky Mountain National Park

Let’s be honest, nobody really wants to listen to your stories of what you did for your summer vacation.  I am just being honest here. Once in a while you will be able to corner someone and sit them down and get them to look at your pictures.  But for the most part that are just being nice.

So with that in mind, why in the heck am I sitting down to write about our summer vacation?  Well in this case I believe it is because it is to a location that is such a national gem.  I write this article with the hope of getting you to go to this amazing park.  The park of which I speak is none other than the amazing Rocky Mountain National park near Estes Park Colorado.

For a complete history of the park of course you can check wiki Rocky Mountain National Park and for another rich resource you can check the National Parks Service website for up to date information http://www.nps.gov .

We knew our time in the park was going to be a bit limited so we had to attempt to cram in as much as possible.  We picked up a few books on the park to give us some ideas of the items that must be hit.  The problem is there are so many amazing things and we wanted to hit all of them.  One of the most spectacular hikes in the park is to the top of Longs Peak. The problem with that is, it is a hike that needs to begin at 3:00 am or it is a two day hike where you camp part way up.  We were not going to have the time and were not outfitted correctly to do that camping so Longs Peak had to be scratched.  Put it back on the list for next time.

On the first day in the park we knew we were only going to have part of a day so we decided to attempt to do a hike that was not to difficult and easy to get to.  The area around Bear Lake would fit that bill perfectly so off we went.  When we arrived we discovered that due to road construction on that trail there were only busses taking people up and due to a car fire blocking the road, the wait was going to be up to three hours to get up to the hiking area.  The ranger recommended a wonderful second option for us

Rocky Mountain National Park Waterfalls

The park has a plethora of waterfalls to hike to, view and even get refreshed in and two of the best were relatively close and not too strenuous of a hike to get to.  Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls are beautiful and certainly worth the time.  They are both part of the Wild Basin Trailhead so it is just a matter of extending your hike a bit to get to the more powerful and Ouzel Falls

Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls Rocky Mountain National Park

More details on this hike and the falls: http://www.colorado-hiking-vacations.com/rocky-mountain-national-park-trails.html

Chapel on the Rock

One of the best treats of the trip was a totally unexpected find of The Chapel on the Rock.

Saint Catherine of Siena's Chapel Saint Malo church

The Chapel on the Rock or the official name Saint Catherine of Siena’s Chapel. This chapel is located on the grounds of the Saint Malo Retreat Center, the retreat center.  It just so happened that the sky was perfect for a picture when we went buy.  The only thing I could have hoped for would be for the church to actually be all lit up inside and this would have be the perfect Thomas KinKade painting.

Top of the Mountain Alpine Visitor Center

The next day we got up quite early because we wanted do see the early light on the mountains and do a very long hike.  The advantage of getting going early is that the traffic is very light. And we were able to get to our destination quite quickly.  On this day we wanted to go to the top of that mountain.  That meant take the trail ridge road up to the Alpine Visitor Center.  We knew the views were going to be spectacular and there would be plenty of opportunities for some great hikes.  We explored all day long and the views were indeed stunning.

Mountain top view Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk and Wildlife at Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk and local wildlife

The one little caution is that there is one road that is so high along the top of the mountain that there was one place where there were no sides on either side of the road. Now that experience was a little unnerving.

 

Dream Lake and Emerald Lake

The next day was going to be another early morning.  I wanted to capture mountain reflections on the still lake.  We got up, the sky was clear the winds were calm.  We were blessed with a perfect morning.  Being it was a weekend morning, there was no road construction on the way up the Bear Lake.  Once you get up to Bear Lake there is a beautiful hike to Dream Lake and Emerald Lake.   The peaks behind these lakes are majestic and incredibly picturesque and we had a perfect morning to capture them.

Dream Lake Emerald Lake Rocky Mountain National Park

If these images did not encourage you to make your plans to get to Rocky Mountain National Park for one of your next vacations it is probable that nothing will.  But you cannot say that I did not try to get you there.  Hope to see you and the next photographic adventure.

Many of these images are available at the online gallery.

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Elk – Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk – Rocky Mountain National Park

Believe it or not I was really about 15 ft away from this majestic animal. It kind of scared the heck out of me thinking he could turn at any second and decide to put a little fuzzy antler through me. 🙂

What a great day, what a great trip.

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On Top of the World – Rocky Mountain National Park

On Top of the World – Rocky Mountain National Park

This is from our photographic adventure out to Rocky Mountain National Park. This particular scene is from hwy 34 on the route up to the top and the Alpine Visitor Center. They now have a webcam from that top location. It is incredible.

Google Map

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Dream Lake – Rocky Mountain National Park

Dream Lake – Rocky Mountain National Park

Dream lake on a calm early morning has one of the most spectactular views in the park. We were blessed with such a day on our western mountain adventure.

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St. Malo Old Stone Church – Rocky Mountain National Park

St. Malo Stone Church – Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado

This is the old stone church in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Colorado.

We drove by when the sky was grey and foreboding. It made for an awesome capture.

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Faerie House Surprises – Eagan Arts Festival

I love going to the Eagan Arts Festival. Were you there?

Faerie House Surprises – Eagan Arts Festival
We find all kinds of surprises at the 2012 Eagan Arts Festival.
This certainly is one of my favorites.

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Don’t Brag!!! A story from a proud Papa

Nicole Rose Moran

You and I have both been told it’s not good to brag. Well I’m going to break that rule today because I have a good reason to brag at least just a little. You see my daughter Nicole is a gifted and talented singer. While it is true her abilities are a natural gift, she has also been working very hard to own her gift and bring it to the level of that now.

Recently Eagan High School presented their annual Variety show called Encore. That show is held during the school year and I think it’s purpose is to feature the excellent jazz band, theatre students, choir students and of course the incredible dancers.

This year Nicole had the opportunity to be involved in the show and she had the incredible fortune to be featured in a few songs. While I think Nicole would agree, her current favorite music type, even though she’s classically trained, is actually country she is all also very gifted with many other styles. I as a proud papa would have loved to hear her saying an Adele song, but alas that was not meant to be.

She got to sing a classic song from one of my favorite singers Norah Jones, “come away with me”.

She was so fortunate that the jazz band was so excellent, the young lady on the strings, Amy Ma, is a brilliant cellist, the wonderful guitar solo was played by Claire Altendahl who is only a high school freshman. Yes it is hard to believe that all of these people are high school kids. wow wow wow…

Then she was given the opportunity to lead off for the final two numbers of the show. She and Robin Bosiaka sang a duet of the incredibly popular Bruno Mars song “just the way you are” It is kind of funny. You see I’m out of some of the mainstream culture a bit so I had never even heard that song before. I went to youtube.com and looked it up. It had 241 million views so I guessed it was kind of popular.

Well I know I am biased because I am dad but I think the Eagan version is even better than the original.

Then it gets even better when the whole troupe goes into the Lady Gaga song “Born This Way” With the energy, the volume and the dance kicking in gear, it was the perfect ending of the show.

So yes it is true I am a proud dad and I am biased, but maybe this time you would agree that sometimes it is ok to brag, at least a little.

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Memorial Day – US National Holiday Weekend

Remembering those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people , and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” – Abraham Lincoln

Thanks for the reminder Len.

I hope and pray you all take time to remember this weekend.

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Flowers in the Park – Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan MN

The other day I was out for a photo walk in Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan, MN with Kristin Tintor from the OHC photography group. She had this great idea of under exposing an image so that the main subject would be the one thing that really stands out. Gosh I love what that does. Hope you enjoy it.

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Spring Flowers – Lebanon Hills Park Eagan

Spring Flowers – Lebanon Hills Park Eagan

Lebanon Hills is my favorite local park in Eagan. It is easy to get to and huge and I hardly ever get lost.. 🙂

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