Tag Archives: photography

My 2021 in photos

The year 2021, another year living in a pandemic. It was also the year we celebrated our 30th anniversary. Wow, that went fast! I also entered an essay contest and while I didn’t win a prize, my essay was selected to be printed in a book. My first real publication! Too bad the publishing company went out of business so I don’t think anyone can buy the book any longer. But I share a photo of the first page in the gallery below.

I took many photographs on my walks this year and some of those are included in my gallery below. We also attended the first concert in a parking ramp. Because of Covid, Miss M’s viola ensemble decided this was the best place to have their concert. We all brought portable chairs and enjoyed the music, even if it was a tad windy.

I did a lot of family research and created a post about that this year. I’m including a couple of photos from that post too. There’s a photo of Pearl, my grandmother, and her brother that was taken shortly before she travelled from Russia to Chicago in 1912. The other is a photo of another of Pearl’s brothers, Samuel. You can read about my newfound cousins, grandsons of Samuel, at the link. I’m hoping to meet them in Chicago in 2022.

We went to the cabin a few times and we visited Itasca State Park while staying at the cabin to seek out our state flower, the Showy Lady’s Slippers. We finally went to Back to the 50s held on our fair grounds every June. It’s an annual fest where people bring their cars from that era and bands play. It was a fun day! We also went to the fair. We typically go to the fair a few times since it’s held for 10 days but I didn’t feel very comfortable the one day that I went due to Covid. I’m glad that I went but I wasn’t anxious to be around so many people, so we went only once this year.

We decided that we didn’t want to fly anywhere and instead chose to spend our summer vacation on the North Shore. Here in Minnesota everyone knows what that means but for those that live elsewhere, or aren’t aware of this, this is the north shore of Lake Superior. I’ve lived in Minnesota nearly 30 years and had never gone there it seemed like the perfect time this year. And I still haven’t managed to blog about that wonderful trip! You’ll see some photos with smoke in the air. A wildfire broke out in Superior National Forest about 50 miles from where we were staying about 4 days before our trip. We almost cancelled and I’m so glad we didn’t! It made for some very interesting photos and we’ll have to go back to take the gondola ride at Lutsen. We really wanted to do it but it didn’t make sense with the smoke in the area at the times we could have ridden the gondola. The smoke came and went and it was quite smoky at times but we still had a great time. I’ll get to posts about our trip eventually but for now, please enjoy some photos from that trip in the gallery. Consider these photos the highlights.

We visited the Minneapolis Institute of Art in October. And of course we did some leaf peeping in the fall. I went to two new (new to me) parks in search of fall colors. Check out my post on Nerstrand Big Woods State Park and my autumn colors post for more autumn photos.

Also included towards the end of the second gallery are photos of the deer that came to visit in December. The buck arrived in our backyard early in the month. A few days later he showed up with his doe in the front yard. After that there were three does. They seem to enjoy the crabapple berries that had fallen to the ground. There is one photo of them camped out in our yard after it snowed a few inches. As I write this on new year’s eve they’re still coming around! There was one day where the deer were here in the morning and the turkeys arrived in the afternoon. They too love the same berries in our front yard. So funny! It’s a wildlife wonderland at my house ūüėä

There are also some Halloween, Hanukah and Christmas photos included. Click on any photo to see a larger view. By the way, I had to create two galleries. I was having trouble adding to the first one so decided to create a new one right after it, just to let you know. At the very end is a video of an eagle I managed to capture in flight. One of the many cool things from our trip to the North Shore.

I hope you’ll enjoy my two galleries of my 2021. Happy new year!

Be sure to look at the next gallery too!

To close, please enjoy this video from the balcony of our room on the North Shore this summer. We saw this eagle flying around so many times and I finally captured him in flight. Please turn down your sound unless you want to hear our commentary as he flies. ūü§ď

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Beautiful autumn colors

In the nick of time before autumn is done, I wanted to share some photos I took throughout the season. All of these were taken in the twin cities between mid September and early November. I don’t recall beautiful colors here in the frozen tundra into November, ever! So we enjoyed this year’s display much longer than in previous years. Please enjoy the gallery of my favorite photos this year. Click on any photo in the gallery to see larger images.

And two images of sunrises this autumn.

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Minneapolis Institute of Art – an out of the ordinary visit

We love MIA and go at least once year, sometimes more if there’s an interesting exhibit. For our most recent visit in October I decided I wanted to check out a couple of galleries that I’d never ventured into before. I studied the map and chose gallery 316 as one to visit this time. I took a Friday off so we were able to get there when they opened. We even found a spot on the street in front of the museum.

Gallery 316 happened to have a captivating display of psychedelic posters from the 60s. I chose a great gallery, score!! The rest of what we saw at the museum were bonuses. Click on any photo to open the photo galleries in this post to view larger images.

I chose the Parska/Shada exhibit as another gallery to explore. The exhibit opened in August 2021 and will run through April 2022. It was a room full of pueblo art from New Mexico and what sounded like a pow wow being played on overhead speakers. There were drawings, pottery, mantas and one bronze statue. It was so interesting and it made me want to explore New Mexico.

Here’s some information that I copied from MIA’s website that tells you a little about this exhibit:

Explore Mia‚Äôs collection of Pueblo art highlighting Keresan, Tewa, Towa, and Hopi voices and culture. Curated by Juan Lucero (Isleta Pueblo), Mia‚Äôs Mdewakanton Native Art Fellow, this exhibition transports visitors to the oldest villages in the United States for a parska (in Keresan) or shada (in Tewa) community dance. Over 40 works of art‚ÄĒwatercolor paintings, bow guards, manta weavings, ceramics, and Hopi katsinam dolls‚ÄĒcome together to create one ceremonial spirit. Through the breath of memory and longing, you can experience the emotions of distant drums and songs as you travel from Grandma‚Äôs house to the ceremonial plaza. There, sights and sounds create kinship, family, and tradition to be handed from generation to generation.

Some photos of the pueblo art:

We popped our heads into a couple of period rooms. I enjoy being transported to a different time when viewing these rooms. As we walked past the impressionists, which we always visit except this time, I caught sight of a Degas ballerina statue and just had to go look. I love these statues. There are more of them at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and I always see them when I’m there. I was curious if there were more of them and learned that after the death of Degas in 1917 his heirs found more than 150 figurative sculptures in his studio. His heirs authorized that copies be made in bronze to sell to museums. But I couldn’t find where all of these sculptures reside. I found this information on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website so click on the link for more information if you like. I knew of one other of these Little Dancer sculptures that resides at the Saint Louis Art Museum from my officemate at the University of Minnesota. She saw one of my photos on my computer’s desktop wallpaper one day at work and said she knew that the sculpture was at the Saint Louis Art Museum, except the one in my photo was from one of my trips to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. It seems one could write an entire post on this one statue! Instead I will link you to the Wikipedia page should you desire more information.

Across from the ballerina is another Degas, Woman in a Bathtub. While admiring this piece a security guard approached us and told a story of how he watched Bruce Dayton lift this piece out of his trunk many years ago and how amazed he was that he could do that! The piece was donated by Ruth and Bruce Dayton but the security guard wasn’t sure if that was the day it was donated. Such fascinating people you meet along the way and he shared his unique story with us. Cool!

We also stopped by the gallery called Judaica, a small section containing Jewish artifacts such as dreidels, menorahs and noise makers used for Purim. To view all of the items in MIA’s collection, click here.

I decided to take photos of the museum itself: the entrance, the long staircase between the first and second floors and other areas of the museum. Not only is there great art displayed throughout, the museum itself is a piece of art. Also included in this gallery are other pieces along the way that I found intriguing.

Lastly, a photo of Chihuly’s Sunburst. Always a joy to see at the entry. You get to see it both as you arrive and when you leave, as well as from the staircase. It is definitely prominently placed. I always recommend this museum so if you’re in the twin cities area, do pay it a visit.

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Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Every autumn we talk about taking a drive to see some fall foliage and we have in the past but in the last several years we have stayed in the cities, which with the right timing is very beautiful. And there will be a post with those photos coming soon! Because I also made a couple of trips to the Mississippi River again this year.

We timed this adventure perfectly and were treated to scenery filled with fields of dried up corn stalks and some empty fields where we think corn had grown and farms galore along with colorful trees as we headed south with our destination about an hour away. It was a nice day for a drive and then a hike at this state park to find waterfalls. Temp was mid 60s, perfect for a hike.

We had never been to this state park and I had read that it is known for its fall colors. It’s about an hour from the cities so perfect for an afternoon’s outing. It was a fairly easy half mile hike to Hidden Falls with a section roped off to protect the Dwarf Trout Lilies. I’ve never heard of this plant and now I want to go back next spring to see this endangered flower in bloom. If you’re interested, more information about this plant can be found here, then click on “Learn more about this special plant” about two thirds down the page.

Hidden Falls itself is lovely but I had to wonder what it looks like in the spring. Another reason to go back next spring! All the waterfalls that we saw on hikes at the North Shore in August were not as voluminous as in years when we’re not in drought. And I’d love to go back to the North Shore in springtime as well.

On with the photo galleries! First, some scenes from the road:

Next the park and the falls including some helpful information along the way. I notice that at all the state parks we’ve visited this year have great placards with interesting stuff to learn along the trails.

It was a beautiful and perfect day for hiking and leaf peeping. I can’t wait to go back!

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Minnesota State Fair in pandemic times

This was such a different year for the fair. We did not have the fair last year due to the pandemic so we were glad to be able to go this year! I’m still working through how I want to create posts about our North Shore vacation in August so in the mean time I thought I would add my state fair post.

We always take a free bus to the fair and this year masks were mandated on the bus, except that they weren’t enforcing it, at least not on our bus. I counted 8, mostly young people, not wearing masks.

I decided to wear a mask while in the buildings and my daughter wore hers most of the time. It wasn’t my favorite visit to the fair due to the continuing pandemic but I’m glad we went. Normally we go more than once since it’s held for 10 days ending on Labor Day. I was just too uncomfortable to go another time.

I thought I would share some photos of our day and I’ll start with the photos from the art building. We always check out the art and this year was no different, except for the masks. This gallery displays some of my favorites. Click on any photo to open the gallery and view larger photos:

Next, a few Peanuts statues that live at the fair:

We always visit the agriculture building and especially the crop art. But the line was long for the crop art, my daughter had to get to work and I felt uneasy being in that room with so many people, so we stepped out of the line. So we didn’t see much crop art this year but I did capture a couple of them on our way out. Here are the scenes from inside and outside of the agriculture building:

Next, a few more fair scenes. Hubby and daughter decided to go on the big slide and I wish I had captured hubby’s face when he got to the bottom. If I had to describe it, I think it would be something like “whew, I made it!” Later he said that was probably the last time he’ll go on the slide. He said he got a little scared when he was air-born at one point. The first photo is a band we always stop to see on opening day, Darlene and the boys. I am pretty sure I have seen the older couple dancing in years past. In this photo the older couple is teaching the younger couple some dance moves.

I’m hoping next year I’ll feel more comfortable to do more of the things I enjoy at the fair. We didn’t make it to any animal buildings, for example. And no shopping at the grandstand. I just wanted to minimize my time inside buildings so ended up limiting that to the art and ag buildings. Again, I’m glad we went but I’m sure hoping for a more “back to normal” fair next year.

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An up north vacation

It was more of a long weekend than a vacation but still enjoyable. A post coming soon on our summer vacation in August but for now I’m trying to catch up on posts I intended to create but didn’t. Here we go!

We spent a long weekend at the family cabin in Akeley at the end of June. Once again we timed it so that we could see Minnesota’s state flower in bloom, the Showy Lady’s Slipper, at Itasca State Park. We did a similar long weekend in 2020, the exact same weekend, but this year we missed the peak of that lovely flower due to the drought. We did about the same trip to Itasca and drove the Wilderness Drive again. It was just as lovely but this time I didn’t spot any flowers along the road like I did last year, likely because it was past peak. We stopped along the way so that I could capture the water lilies in a pond. We also stopped on our way into the park because all the views of the lakes along the way were so still that I had to get some photos of that loveliness! We hiked down to a good vantage point and here are a few of those photos, so peaceful with lovely reflections:

While at Itasca it is obligatory to check out the headwaters of the Mississippi River even though we’ve been there dozens of times. It’s still fun to see. After the morning drive we had a little lunch at Douglas Lodge, which wasn’t open last year due to the pandemic. It was so nice to eat there again!

The lady’s slippers are just down the hill from Douglas Lodge. There was something different on this year’s journey down the stairs to view the flowers: a contraption to pull water from the lake if needed. I’m including a photo of that since that’s something we’ve never seen before. I don’t know if they ever did pull water from the lake but maybe so as the drought lasted all summer and continues today as I write this.

We happened to be in Akeley for their annual festival, Paul Bunyan Days, so we walked to town to check it out. There was no festival last year due to the pandemic so this was a welcome sight this year! Akeley is the town where my mother-in-law grew up and there is a museum that contains many items that she donated. We stopped by the museum as we hadn’t been in several years. It’s always interesting and we always check out both hubby’s mother’s as well as her sister’s class graduation photos. There are a couple of walls dedicated to these graduating classes. I noticed a plaque on the wall that we also have in the cabin, the first snowmobile in Akeley. Rather, it is entitled “Akeley claims first snowmobile”. The volunteer sitting at the entrance heard us speaking about the plaque and asked how we came to have one. Turns out this woman grew up across the street from my mother-in-law and her sister and she said she inherited some of their toys as she was younger than the two sisters. So interesting!

There was another car show at Paul Bunyan days, about a half a block long across the highway from the other festival goings on. It wasn’t quite as big as Back to the 50s but still interesting and we got to choose our favorite car. I chose the oldest car, from 1930, the one with the rumble seat. I took a couple of photos of the giant Paul Bunyan statue but apparently forgot to capture the front of it. There is a photo of it at the link above for the museum and some interesting Akeley history too!

Here’s a gallery of other stuff we saw at festival including the car show.

Lastly I will close with some sunset photos from the cabin.

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Random summer stuff

I’m a little behind with my posts. It’s been a busy summer! I wanted to share my trip to the North Shore before I forget it all and I’ll get back to the posts I’ve intended to create all summer soon!! But first, a post of more random summer flowers and other random stuff. I thought I should get this one done since this is our last summer weekend.

I was going to do a post with photos of my morning glory fence from this summer, alas, this year’s morning glory fence did not turn out to be as spectacular as in years past. In cleaning up her yard, my neighbor probably didn’t realize that by yanking the morning glories that had wandered into her yard via her side of the fence, it destroyed a big part of the garden of morning glories on the fence. But I did manage to capture a few nice blooms. I included photos of the fence, before and after the clean-up.

Next, a gallery of the randomness I mentioned earlier. Just some photos of the rest of summer, more flowers and a favorite bird, as well as my other neighbor’s green beans on our shared fence. Enjoy and stay tuned for more travel posts coming soon!! As always, thanks for looking.

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