Busy Summer.

It's been a busy summer. Somehow all of the time slipped away from me. I can't believe it's almost fall already. How did that happen? It also occurs to me that I haven't written a blog post in forever. So much for committing to write every week. Well, what can I tell you. Things have started to take off fairly rapidly for me. Photography has morphed from a hobby to a part time job. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I love photography in the same way I love cooking. I am blessed to be doing the things I love and getting paid for it. I have been fortunate to have the opportunities that have come my way. I have even started doing some photo assisting. Not much but it's a start. At this point I'm just happy to be learning from someone who I admire greatly. Now that the serious stuff is out of the way, here's what I've been up to this summer.

No swingers... 

No swingers... 

I took a trip out to the Anoka county fair with my friend Alex. It was an absolute goldmine. 

So many crazy bright colors. 

So many crazy bright colors. 

I love that this little girl is riding the carousel all by herself, having the time of her life. 

I love that this little girl is riding the carousel all by herself, having the time of her life. 

Nobody ever wins anything playing these games, do they? 

Nobody ever wins anything playing these games, do they? 

No one but "SuperDad" that is. I spent $20 trying to win Benjamin a Pokemon and failed miserably.

No one but "SuperDad" that is. I spent $20 trying to win Benjamin a Pokemon and failed miserably.

I have also started taking photographs of big construction equipment for some reason. 

I had to resist the urge to climb this one. 

I had to resist the urge to climb this one. 

This one was very cool. I wanted to drive it away. 

This one was very cool. I wanted to drive it away. 

The Minnesota state fairgrounds caught my attention as well. 

The new area on the west end, by the midway. 

The new area on the west end, by the midway. 

Who doesn't love this slide? 

Who doesn't love this slide? 

Then there's just a bunch of my normal dark twin cites stuff too. I'm always kind of working on that. 

I thought it was about time for a new picture of the cathedral. 

I thought it was about time for a new picture of the cathedral. 

I think I went to a rave here about 20 years ago. 

I think I went to a rave here about 20 years ago. 

Alien city always pulls me back. No matter how many times I go there. 

Alien city always pulls me back. No matter how many times I go there. 

The river was so crazy high when I took this photo. 

The river was so crazy high when I took this photo. 

I took a trip to Lakewood cemetery and almost got locked in overnight. 

I took a trip to Lakewood cemetery and almost got locked in overnight. 

I sure hope somebody was just eating a hot dog.

I sure hope somebody was just eating a hot dog.

We were lucky to be here for the golden hour that night. 

We were lucky to be here for the golden hour that night. 

And of course bridges. 

And of course bridges. 

And skyscrapers. 

And skyscrapers. 

Thanks for putting up with such a long post. I will post more often, I promise. 

If you can't take the heat...

So, I have been working on a new project for the last couple of months. A project that is near and dear to my heart. Any of you that know me, know that I have cooked professionally for a long time. Food is my livelihood, my passion (although I hate using that word) and the first creative outlet I was good at. For years I lived to be on the line, talking shit, singing along to Slayer and making beautiful food. Pushing myself to the very edge of my skills. There's nothing like making it through a dinner service in a hellfire hot kitchen when you thought you weren't going to make it. The other thing about cooking for me was always the camaraderie. We all got through it together. In the process, we developed friendships and a brotherhood that will last a lifetime. I wouldn't trade this for the world.

When I found photography last fall, It was a lot like finding cooking. Just like cooking, I have studied and practiced. I've succeeded. I've failed many more times than I've suceeded. I continue to learn and remain teachable because that's the only way I can get better at both of those things. When I was thinking about starting a new project, I wanted to do something different from my usual Dark Minneapolis stuff. The idea came to me that I should take photos of all of my brothers and sisters working in the kitchens and restaurants of the Twin Cities. What has come of that is the beginning of a series that will probably be ongoing for years. There's always another restaurant I want to shoot. Anyhow, this is an introduction to my unnamed chef series. I have photographed three restaurants so far. 

The Strip Club Meat and Fish.

St. Genevieve. 

Saint Dinette. 

 

A familiar knife indeed. 

A familiar knife indeed. 

When I started the project. It only seemed logical to go to my old boss and mentor JD Fratzke at the Strip Club to get it started. 

Welcome to hell... 

Welcome to hell... 

He was more than happy to let me invade his kitchen. 

The noises and smells really brought me back to my time there. 

The noises and smells really brought me back to my time there. 

Stephanie Kochlin. 

Stephanie Kochlin. 

My old station. I'm sure it's still hot as ever in that corner. 

My old station. I'm sure it's still hot as ever in that corner. 

After I shot at the Strip Club and it went so well, I decided to continue the project and started thinking about where I wanted to shoot next. I had heard great things about St. Genevieve. I messaged Steven Brown about shooting there, not even expecting to get a response. He got right back to me and seemed really open to the idea. So we set a date and time. This is such a beautiful restaurant.  

You just don't see those beautiful pressed tin ceilings anymore. 

You just don't see those beautiful pressed tin ceilings anymore. 

The attention to detail in the restaurant is amazing. Right down to the napkins. 

The attention to detail in the restaurant is amazing. Right down to the napkins. 

In my opinion the kitchen is just as beautiful. It is the same size as the restaurant, down in the basement.

Getting ready for dinner service. 

Getting ready for dinner service. 

A little taste testing. 

A little taste testing. 

This is a kitchen I didn't know anyone in. They graciously put up with me for the couple of hours I was in their way. 

A very interesting lemon... 

A very interesting lemon... 

Pleased to meat you sir! 

Pleased to meat you sir! 

The office. 

The office. 

I feel like every time I shoot in a kitchen, I need to get a shot of the chef's office desk and bookshelves. I think it adds loads of personality and character. You can tell a lot about somebody by what's on their desk. 

YUM!!! 

YUM!!! 

After a few scheduling conflicts that were all my fault, I was able to go shoot at Saint Dinette. This one was really fun for me. I had never been there. I'd heard it was beautiful. I was also greeted by none other than Tim Niver. Tim is the king of comfort and a good friend. I've never had anything but an amazing experience when I am at one of his restaurants. 

Tim Niver  

Tim Niver  

I started in the dining room. 

Great symmetry, clean lines and high ceilings really make this place. Not to mention the huge Windows. 

Great symmetry, clean lines and high ceilings really make this place. Not to mention the huge Windows. 

Did I mention tons of natural light. 

Did I mention tons of natural light. 

The front of house was as fun to shoot as the kitchen in this place. 

Folding napkins with a view. 

Folding napkins with a view. 

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The kitchen was hard to shoot in. The hallways and entrances to the line were narrow and they were trying to work. 

I can't tell if he's just thinking or if he wants to shove me in the oven lol. 

I can't tell if he's just thinking or if he wants to shove me in the oven lol. 

                                         

                                         

Hard at work making dough. 

Hard at work making dough. 

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I was there shooting for about three hours. I saw an old friend, made some new ones and then Karen and Benjamin came down and we all had dinner. If you have not had the cheeseburger at Saint Dinette you are missing out. 

Omfgcheesburger!!! 

Omfgcheesburger!!! 

So, I realize this was a longer than usual blog post. In the future I'll be sure to write a blog post about each individual restaurant. Also, stay tuned for more Dark Minneapolis blog stuff as I have a few of those irons in the fire as well. 

Nye's and Diane

I wondered why was I so upset when I found out Nye's was closing. It's not like I had been there in years. I don't know anyone that works there anymore. The drinks were always so-so. The food was almost laughable.

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Nye's was a Minneapolis institution for however many decades it was open, and I think it's a damn shame they are tearing it down to build condos. 

smoking outside the bar.

smoking outside the bar.

I was sitting in my car around the corner after taking these photos trying to figure it out. 

Nyes last week in business.

Nyes last week in business.

I felt like I had steel bands around my chest and was feeling like I was about to start crying. WHAT THE FUCK!!! I haven't had a drink in years. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Diane.

Diane and I at my grandmother's house.

Diane and I at my grandmother's house.

It was recently the 15 year anniversary of my stepmother Diane's death. As with all things, time makes it easier and memories start to fade. I've known Diane since I was 4 years old. She was one of the amazing women to raise me. The person who taught me manners.

My very short stint as a hockey player. What I lacked in skill, I made up for in enthusiasm.

My very short stint as a hockey player. What I lacked in skill, I made up for in enthusiasm.

Diane was the woman who loved and nurtured me after my mother's death when I was 6. The woman who still loved me when I would tell her she wasn't my real Mom and that I hated her. 

Mom, me and Diane.

Mom, me and Diane.

Every year for the last 7 or so years that Diane was alive, we had dinner at Nye's for my birthday. We would make a big deal out of it and get dressed up: Diane in her leftover fancy clothes from the 80's, me in my fedora and silk bowling shirt with martini glasses on it. We would split the surf and turf dinner. We'd eat the whole pickle tray in one of those huge gold glitter booths, singing along with the piano bar.

Photo by redwingdigital.com

Photo by redwingdigital.com

photo by startribune.com

photo by startribune.com

Then we we would go next door to the bar to dance and drink the night away to the world's most dangerous polka band.

photo by newcastic.com

photo by newcastic.com

I can remember dancing with her to New York, New York three times in one night. There were always way too many martinis and vodka sodas. And laughter. I remember my cousin Adeana and her boyfriend at the time Dan having to carry me out of there.

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Now Nye's is closed forever.

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All set to auction off my memories.

already a ghost.

already a ghost.

I feel guilty that I don't think about Diane very often anymore. I feel like it's an affront to everything she did for me. I feel terrible about the fact that I wasn't able to be there for her in the last couple of years of her life when she needed me.

At least I have these wonderful memories from all of those birthdays.  

That's why I'm so upset Nye's is closed. 

Climbing fences and dodging rogue beavers.

The weather on Thursday was kind of wishy washy. I was having a hard time convincing myself to go shoot. I skipped last week and when the weather changed for the better I decided to go out. The only problem was I didn't have a plan for where to go. I headed downtown. 

City bus light trails are cool. 

City bus light trails are cool. 

Unfortunately downtown is annoying.  As always I seem to be drawn to the river, bridges and trains. I headed to one of the spots I like to go and got a couple of decent shots. 

The full moon was in full effect that night. 

The full moon was in full effect that night. 

Nothing was really grabbing me though. I decided to go down to St. Anthony Main and see if I could get anything down there. It had turned into a beautiful night and the river was like glass. 

Glassy awesomeness.  

Glassy awesomeness.  

I was taking a couple of shots and bumped into a fellow captureminnesota.com photographer whose work I admire. That was nice. I hope we can go shoot together sometime. Then I looked over at the locked entrance to Water Power Park. 

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Off on the far left of this image is a way to sneak into the park after they close. That's the one thing about this park, it closes at dusk. So, I snuck over there and hopped the fence. To my surprise, a rather large Beaver had also gotten into the park and was searching for a way out, pretty much right where I came in. I know I probably shouldn't be scared of beavers but that thing was huge. I don't have a picture because I ran away. When I got out to the main island the views were breathtaking. 

The new Pillsbury sign in all its glory

The new Pillsbury sign in all its glory

Look Ma. No PowerLines. 

Look Ma. No PowerLines. 

It was pitch black out there and I had visions of the beaver attacking me. He just kind of kept following me around the island, probably hoping I would show him the way out. 

Power towers

Power towers

Power. Power. Power. 

Power. Power. Power. 

I went out to the observation point on the far West end and got this awesome photo. 

I love how the Hennepin bridge is in the background.  

I love how the Hennepin bridge is in the background.  

Then over to the hydro dam. This is what I was looking forward to. 

The churn... 

The churn... 

The waves... 

The waves... 

I could spend hours out here shooting. It was time to head back home for the night. Unfortunately they turn the lights off downtown at midnight.  

No beavers in sight. 

No beavers in sight. 

I headed back to the entrance. No sign of my little friend. I hopped over and got back to the truck. Another adventure completed.   

Tunnel Rats

I recently had an opportunity to go with my friend Moon down into the West Kittsondale storm drain or Triple Helix as it is known amongst urban explorers and graffiti artists. This drain system goes on for miles and miles. The reason it's called the Triple Helix is that there are 3 staircases that go all the way to the surface to diffuse the water drainage. This may be the coolest place I've ever been. A little scary too! 

My evening started off having a couple of extra minutes before I met up with Moon. I thought I would get a couple of pictures of the old train station. Then I went over to meet Moon at the Dubliner.  

We left from there to go find the way down to the drain entrance. I wish I had a picture or two of the way we had to take to get down to the river. Unfortunately I was too busy trying not to die. I guess it wasn't that bad,  just very slippery, muddy and steep. 

The Triple Helix. 

The Triple Helix. 

After a couple of slips and near falls. We made it down to the entrance. We got our flashlights out and headed in. Right into this. 

It was like walking into a giant crazy underground fun house. We started making our way up the tunnel. 

We passed hundreds of graffiti pieces. Some huge.  Some small. 

So after walking for a good 45 minutes or so we had passed under two drain "waterfalls".  Kind of gross. You try not to think about it. 

We finally got to the side tunnel that leads to the first "Helix" 

This tunnel was about 1000 feet long and 6 feet tall and about 3and a half feet wide. I am not normally a claustrophobic person but,  when you are in the middle of that tunnel 100 feet below ground it's freaky.  Finally we got to the base of the staircase. 

I haven't climbed that many stairs in a very long time. After 10 minutes and 3 breaks because I'm a fat bastard we made it to the top. 

I was happy to note the block ledge at the top to sit down for a couple of minutes. 

We headed back down and went down the tunnel another half mile or so. 

We were about 2 miles in at this point. I knew personally that I had no desire to climb the last two "Helix's".  So we headed back to the entrance swearing to come back another time to tackle the other staircases. 

Moon at the drain exit. 

Moon at the drain exit. 

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You can't beat the view from down here. After a short rest we climbed back up that stupid river bank. By the time we got to the top it was all I could do to hop the fence. 

The belly of the lake street bridge. 

The belly of the lake street bridge. 

We went home tired, muddy and with plans to tackle another mission soon. The next day I was so sore from all of that climbing I could hardly walk lol. It was a great experience that I can't wait to repeat. 

The off season

Last night for a change of pace I decided to get out of the city and go take some photos in Stillwater. Little did I know I would barely get to downtown Stillwater to get a couple of shots of the lift bridge. I decided to stop by Sunnyside Marina, fully expecting the gates to be locked. I was hoping to get some pictures of the new Hwy 36 bridge. What I found was so much better.  

Give me shelter with a smoke stack.  

Give me shelter with a smoke stack.  

Not only was the gate unlocked, but it was totally empty. I was free to wander about for as long as I wanted to.  

No boats here today.  

No boats here today.  

I spent most of my time on the fuel dock.  

This gas pump has to be from the 50s.  

This gas pump has to be from the 50s.  

There was all kinds of stuff to take pictures of. I actually forgot to take photos of the new bridge while I was there.  

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The night sky was so beautiful out there in the middle of the river.  Because I'm smart I got down onto the ice for one picture, then decided it was probably a stupid idea.  

My stupid idea photograph.  

My stupid idea photograph.  

After I got done taking photos I was sitting on the dock taking in the view. I remembered that I had been here before a long time ago with a friend whose family had a yacht here. I remembered how amazed I was at how busy the marina was. There were hundreds of people servicing boats and bringing carts of beer and soda and ice to various boats. It occurred to me that last night I was sitting in the same place on the same dock 30 years later in the middle of winter with nobody around. I could still see them all running around me though. It made me smile. That was a fun day of boating, swimming and picnicking on a sand bar. 

One lone car.  

One lone car.  

Then I went and got my shot of the lift bridge and went home. All in all I would say it was a good night of shooting and some memories-people I haven't thought about in a long time.  

Bridges and waterfalls and diners. Oh, my!!!

I've had my new camera for a little over a week and we seem to be getting along fine. I think I almost have it all dialed in. Last night I was on my way over to Minnehaha falls and decided to go down and take some pictures of the lock and dam. I never realized the view of the Ford Pkwy. Bridge was so good from down there.  

Ford Pkwy. Bridge on the Minneapolis side.  

Ford Pkwy. Bridge on the Minneapolis side.  

Next stop was Minnehaha falls. I was intending to just snap a couple of photos from the top and be on my way. However I am me and I can have some really great ideas such as climbing over the no trespassing signs and pretending to be in red bull crashed ice down the long staircase to get to the base of the falls. While carrying a tripod and camera. I think it was worth it though. 

Minnehaha falls from the ice.  

Minnehaha falls from the ice.  

After trying not to die climbing back up said stairs I took a break for a bottle of water and then drove back over to lake street to take a photograph of the new Hi-Lo diner that's about to open in March.  

Hi-Lo diner

Hi-Lo diner

There were a few other places I went last night and many more photos. I think these three sum up the night for me though. I can't wait to get out again soon.  

A new era.

I am absolutely at a loss for words.  

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I haven't posted much recently due to the fact that it's been busy at work and I haven't been able to shoot as much as I would like. The other reason is that I was waiting to get my new camera. Thanks to my very supportive father this became a reality. I never would have been able to make this happen right now if it weren't for him. Thanks for the camera and your faith in me. It's a canon 7d mark II. It has so many bells and whistles I had to take a 5 hour long tutorial on how to use all of its many functions. It takes amazing photographs. At least it will once I get the hang of its extensive auto focus modes/points. It's tricky going from 9 focus points to 65. Here's a couple from tonight's test run.  

6th and Hennepin Ave. Downtown Minneapolis  

6th and Hennepin Ave. Downtown Minneapolis  

Under the 35W bridge.  

Under the 35W bridge.  

10th Ave. Bridge

10th Ave. Bridge

I love old industrial stuff.

After a couple of weeks of not having the time to go shoot, I was able to get out of a while last night. I decided to go check out all of the old grain silos over behind stadium village. 

Big silo

Big silo

There are so many cool old buildings over there.  

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It was a fairly cloudless night and I was really happy seeing the stars poke through the city lights in these photographs. I almost got stuck in the snow behind one of the silos. I was sitting back there thinking, how the hell am I even going to explain where I am. Fortunately Land Rover lived up to its name and I was able to get through the 2 feet of snow that had piled up back there.  

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I also got a couple of great photos of the Harris machinery warehouse that burned down recently. I remember buying my combat boots there 25 years ago when I was a wee punk rocker lol.  

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Some nights are better than others.

So tonight I had a catering job over in N. Minneapolis. I dropped the food off and was thinking about sticking around to listen to the lecture they were offering this evening but decided I didn't have the attention span for it. I realized that the Lowry bridge was 5 minutes away and that I really hadn't had much of a chance to photograph it yet. I have 3 hours to kill so I can take my time. I have an older DSLR. The lcd screen isn't good for much besides composition. I get halfway through photographing the bridge before realizing while I was changing lenses that my favorite lens, the one I shoot %90 of my photos with is absolutely filthy. I can't believe I didn't notice:( 

BOOO!!! 

BOOO!!! 

This means that everything I've taken up to this point. A whole hours worth of shooting is crap. BOOO!! Oh well I cleaned my lense and got some better pictures. You can't win them all.  

Tonight's clear winner. That's the headlamp on a runner. Not tinker bell by the way.  

Tonight's clear winner. That's the headlamp on a runner. Not tinker bell by the way.  

My new playground part 2

It had been about a month since I had found the abandoned Minneapolis port authority. I'm pretty sure that's what it's called anyway.  This is a big area to shoot so I have been exploring a little bit at a time. On this trip we started at this door that looks like it's just going into a storage warehouse.  

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Pretty cool right? I like the creepy orange industrial lighting. Upon entering this warehouse, I started snapping photos off to left of the entrance.  

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I was taking photos of this sand pile and graffiti. I climbed up on top of it to take a picture from an elevated view. For future reference tripods, long exposures and sand piles don't like each other very much.  

Stupid sand pile.  

Stupid sand pile.  

I really like industrial ruins. I like the old buildings and the graffiti. I also like the element of it that you are probably trespassing. It kind of adds a little excitement to the whole experience. So I look over to the right at my friend Joe who is snapping photos of the snow pile across the alley from a door off to the right I hadn't paid attention to.  

"Pile of snow" 

"Pile of snow" 

Then it hit me. Holy shit. That's not snow and its inside the dome!   

This done on the right! 

This done on the right! 

What we found inside that done was one of the cooler things I have discovered in Minneapolis. It was a dome with a 50-60 foot ceiling with a conveyor belt system going to a hole in the top. It's currently being used to store road salt.  

Pretty cool right? 

Pretty cool right? 

There was graffiti all around the walls. This crazy bright light.  

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It almost felt like a moon landing or something.  

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So as cool as this place was it was kind of scary because every time you would speak or take a step it would echo like crazy around the whole dome and a tiny salt landslide would happen. I got to thinking that if this huge 30 foot tall pile of salt decided to go.  I would not have time to get out of there. So as I seem to say a lot in this blog. I got my photographs and got the hell out of there. 

The moon

The moon

There's more pictures in my gallery if you are interested.  

Trudge. Sigh.

Loring pasta bar or Roswell??? 

Loring pasta bar or Roswell??? 

Ugh. I have been spoiled by the mild weather we have been having in Minnesota this year. Minnesota has decided to be its usual charming self again lately. So I pack the warm gear to go to work. The car service has been busier too which is a good thing. The goal of going to work is to make money, not take photographs. So I haven't been taking as many and it's hard to make myself get out of the car to do it. Oh well it's supposed to be warmer next week.  

Bbbbrrrrrrr!!!

SO COLD!!!!!! 

SO COLD!!!!!! 

So I have been wanting to get a decent sunrise shot of downtown from the 24th st. Pedestrian bridge for a couple of weeks now. This morning I had the perfect opportunity. I took my last fare and brought Caffettos bakery order to them and found myself 5 minutes away from the bridge at 7:10am. The only catch was the -21 degree windchill. I put on all of my warm clothes laughing that my reflection in the car window reminded me of a cross between that kid from a Christmas story and a fat ninja. I went up on the bridge to take my photos. It was so freaking cold my ecig stuck to my lip. I held out as long as I could making 6 sets of HDR photos at various times over a 25 minute period. I have not been that cold in a long time. Fortunately for me there was a nice cup of hot chocolate waiting for me at Caffetto when I got back there to thaw out. I got my shot, however I don't think I'll be going back up there till it warms up. Bbbrrrrr!!!!!!

My new playground

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Last night after I dropped a customer on the Northside. I decided to go check out the old Minneapolis port authority site. I didn't have much hope based off of the initial view from N. 2nd street but it was on my list so I went back there. Much to my surprise, it's a photographers dream playground back there. There's jetties out into the river, there's graffiti, there's old silos and towers and storage sheds. You could be there for hours and not run out of things to do. I got a few good pictures there last night. You better bet I'll be going back tonight and many nights in the future.  

Working on Dark St. Paul

bbbbrrrrr!!! My friend Joe and I went out tonight to go shoot in St. Paul. We started at the cathedral where Joe realized he forgot his battery and tripod plate. We zoomed back to his house to grab those things and then wandered back stopping at a couple places on the way. It's nice having someone to take pictures with. There is comradery in freezing your asses off together to get good shots. We ended up down at the tugboat landing in lowertown. No tugboats tonight. The new bridge is pretty though. Now I'm at home having a cup of tea and trying to thaw out. Here's the first of many Dark St. Paul photographs to come. 

I think this photo is badass.  

I think this photo is badass.  

Yay snow!

So last night was the first decent snow storm we've had so far this year in Minnesota. Naturally we were busy at work so there wasn't much time for taking photographs.  I did manage to sneak in a couple though. I was over by lake Harriet and decided to stop by the band shell and take a couple shots. I think they came out nicely. It was cold and blustery. I have to admit I kind of like the cold and the ritual I have of hopping up and down while puffing on my ecig while I'm waiting for my exposures. Next time I will remember to bring a better hat and some gloves. I'm excited to take more winter photographs. Everything looks so cool and crisp.  

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The beginning

Hello. Welcome to my first attempt at Blogging.  My goal is to bring you along with me on some of my adventures while I take photographs of my favorite city Minneapolis. I hope you like it. More to come soon.