Week 18: city life

Playing catch-up on the blog from a time in spring when life was exploding all around.

Photos taken April 30-May 6

120/365: deer on pike island

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Rocco’s ears perked up and we knew there was something to see in those woods. Suddenly the white tails were bouncing through the trees. Since we were hiking the perimeter of the island, we had another chance to see them. They didn’t disappoint.

121/365: everything in bloom

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When the flowering trees are in bloom, the abundance is beyond reason. It’s like living in a cloud of fragrant blossoms. Paradise on earth.

122/365: wild ginger

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A plant I enjoy for its lush, heart-shaped leaves as well as the secretive position of its flowers. Unlike most plants, wild ginger completely obscures its flowers beneath its plentiful leaves. You have to be in the know (and squat down low) in order to get a glimpse of the flowers. Positioned near the ground, they attract small pollinators who may mistake them for rotting flesh.

Read more about Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense): https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/asarum_canadense.shtml

123/365: flower folklore

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Years ago I read that ants were essential partners, helping peony buds to open into blossoms. As it turns out, the ants are there for a sugary snack and the peony doesn’t need them at all except maybe to fend off other pests. I liked the old story better.

124/365: turtle crossing

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We encountered this baby snapping turtle smack in the middle of the walking path around Lake Nokomis. Afraid that someone might step on him by accident, I carefully moved him to the water’s edge. He was no bigger than the palm of my hand.

125/365: showstopper

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Japanese maples generally get my attention but this one was truly owning the spotlight of sunshine, a garden diva stealing the show.

126/365: bright lights, big city

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I love city life. The diversity, arts & culture, great restaurants. But what I love most about Minneapolis is the proximity to green space, lakes & rivers, hiking trails and wildlife right outside out door.

Kayakers on Minnehaha Creek (2 blocks from our house).

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Week 17: perseverance

While I haven’t posted in two months, I have faithfully continued with the daily photo capture save maybe a day or two. I decided that the project was worth continuing, no matter how far behind I’d got. So, here goes…remember spring? Photos April 23-29.

113/365: anglers, minnesota river valley

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I don’t fish but I’m somewhat fascinated by this activity because it involves so much patience. Personally, I would rather sit and stare at the water without any expectation of catching something. Then I see how these people standing ankle-deep in the water are so like egrets along the shore, steadfastly pursuing that one goal.

114/365: plastic tarps with field stone

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Found sculpture. An assemblage of folds and materials. The plastic not quite transparent, marked by dust, time and toil. Held against the wind by a single well-placed stone.

115/365: tracks, minnehaha creek

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I enjoy noting the comings and goings of various creatures – like a traffic camera of rush hour. This duck launch was a particular active spot of mud at water’s edge.

116/365: pink magnolias

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A showstopper in one of the prettiest shades of pink I’ve ever seen.

117/365: R.V.

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Freedom: The open road, a home on wheels, seeking out the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, whatever that means to you.

118/365: bleeding hearts

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A favorite flower of spring, dripping with love and baring its hearts for all to see.

119/365: the tree outside my window

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A near-miss on a long art fair day. Thankful, as always, to see this tree outside my studio before closing the blinds.

 

Week 16: Magic All Around Us

106/365: Glowing Green

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One of the magical sights in spring is the supernatural glowing chartreuse of young leaves spotlighted by sunlight.

107/365: Under the Canopy

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Willows capture my heart 365 days a year. They are always up to something beautiful. Sculptural in winter, aglow in spring, and again in fall. But in summer – dancing and swaying in the breeze, forming romantic little spots for disappearing into a dream.

108/365: Saved by the Slinky

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I was all tucked in, reviewing the day and sinking into sleep when I realized that I hadn’t taken a photo all day. I was so tired as I forced myself out of my cozy bed, the sight of the kids’ new Slinky – fresh from the Easter basket – was as welcome as water in the desert.

109/365: Urban Wildlife

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The rabbits have become as ubiquitous as the squirrels, as nearly as unwelcome (at least during garden season). But this one was as adorable as any Beatrix Potter invented and he posed just as pretty as…a picture 🙂

110/365: Spring Rain

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One of the ordinary, everyday things that is positively enchanting every time: leaves and petals adorned with raindrops – globular and glistening like orbs of of looking glass.

111/365: lake country

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A project I’m considering – photos of all the city lakes without any landmarks. Portraits of the lake comprised of only water, wind and light. This is Lake Nokomis.

112/365: nothing but miracles

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I have always loved moss but in the last year I had the distinct pleasure of learning more about this diminutive botanical powerhouse from Robin Wall Kimmerer. I haven’t had a chance to read, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses yet, but I highly recommend listening to her interview with Krista Tippett.

Here’s a taste:

‘Mosses are not good competitors at all, and yet they are the oldest plants on the planet. They have persisted here for 350 million years. They ought to be doing something right here. And one of those somethings, I think, has to do with their ability to cooperate with one another, to share the limited resources that they have, to really give more than they take. Mosses build soil, they purify water, they are like the coral reefs of the forest, they make homes for this myriad of all these very cool little invertebrates who live in there. They are just engines of biodiversity. They do all of these things, and yet, they’re only a centimeter tall.’

Week Fifteen: Spring Flowers, Spring Bird

We reach a point in early spring when I become utterly distracted by FLORA. With rare exception, my vision narrows somewhat & I lose focus for all but spring flowers.

You’ll forgive me, won’t you?

99/365: lone tulip with weeds

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A forgotten stand of tulips in among the weeds like a misplaced beauty queen.

100/365: urban loon

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The common loon is our state bird in Minnesota. But, while common on northern lakes, you almost never see them in the city. Occasionally, they make fleeting cameo appearances on Lake Nokomis as they migrate north and they always steal the show.

101/365: pasque flowers emerging

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I look for this stand of pasque flowers to emerge in early spring. They seem to appear one day from nothing, covered in soft downy hairs that catch every drop of sun.

102/365: outdoor living

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These cheerful yellow chairs struck me. They seemed a little out of place in the drab surroundings. But when they appeared at the first hint of spring, they spoke of a universal imperative to get outside. To sit in the world & drink it all in.

103/365: forsythia

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I do believe I prune the buds off our forsythia every year and miss having my own yellow cloud. Happily, my neighbors aren’t so foolish.

104/365: weeds are flowers too

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More yellow flowers. The dandelions remind me of childhood and simple joys. Zola makes bouquets and braids their stems and delights in their abundance.

Deep inside, I know these feelings, too.

105/365: world in bloom

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A riot of life unfolding, awakening, celebrating. All senses are alive, bombarded with color, the feel of the sun and the breeze and the sweet perfume of flowers everywhere.

Week 14: Spring Stirring/Shock of Green

92/365: wild geese in flight

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Because if I include this photo, I can invite you to read one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets: “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver. It is so full of understanding.

Bonus –  Listen to this On Being interview with Mary Oliver from October, 2015.

93/365: green in the garden

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One of the things I look for every spring and a sure sign that spring has arrived: the chives in the garden. Hope! There will be fresh produce & herbs soon.

94/365: perpetual astonishment

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In spring, every weed, bud and leaf is a miracle.

I greet them all with enthusiasm. Long lost friends, every one!

“Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.” – Ellis Peters

95/365: enter verdure

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The landscape becomes tinged with green. It’s so subtle in early spring – and yet, anything outside the brown/gray/white palette is shocking at first .

Then, before you know it, you look around and the green has TAKEN OVER.

Then it all seems like some magic spell. As if we’d all been asleep and awakened into a beautiful springtime dream.

96/365: do you believe in magic?

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We got to see “Mythical Creatures” at the Science Museum of Minnesota over spring break. The exhibition detailed the folklore & fantasy behind these creatures as well as the theoretical, fact- based explanations behind everything from cyclops to dragons.

97/365: sunshine on the water

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When the sunlight sparkles across the surface of the lake like diamonds dancing across the water, I can’t help but smile. There’s something to be said for this clear view of the world, in early spring, before it’s all enveloped & obscured by lush, green foliage.

98/365: urban nature

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While I would gladly escape to wilder, more remote places more often, I am grateful to have so much nature just beyond our South Minneapolis doorstep. This image expresses the balance in my life between two of my great loves: nature time and city living.

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge overlooking the Cedar Avenue bridge.

Week 13: nostalgia & discovery

85/365: last year’s tails

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This is visually so gorgeous to me. So spare. And I love the color of the water.

But, then, I always love a play on words. Last year’s (cat)tails become the old story. The tales of 2016 fade and decompose before our eyes as we await the debut of the new.

86/365: new growth

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One of the first buds to emerge every spring, the elderberries simply enchant me! They have their own drama, too. Unfurling like a big stretch, then revealing violet buds.

87/365: stalking spring flowers

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I’ve memorized certain spring flowers and other garden highlights in my near neighborhood (where most of my photos originate). So, when I started itching for something fresh and new, I went in search of the squill. I found them just peeking out and went belly-first on the ground to greet them…

88/365: accidental art

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This is the type of image I swooned over in my very early years as a photographer. Lovely found compositions created by erosion, mess, error.

I was delighted to discover a new edition to this collection – this time, a product of water damage on the paper lining a vacant shop window. I couldn’t paint anything better.

89/365: big sky, open road

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As much as I love the city, it is exhilarating to hit the road and go someplace new. Even if it’s only somewhere Up North. Fresh scenery, a change of pace. It helps us to be present.

90/365: wayfinding

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Hiking is one of my favorite things in the world. Hiking with my favorite people takes it to a whole other level. Someday, Sawyer & Zola will be ready to tackle the big hikes. For now, we manage to discover something in every hike – from our own mettle to our powers of observation – and, ALWAYS, the wonder & beauty of the world.

91/365:  1,000 in a land of 10,000

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A view of Lake Mille Lacs as we headed home, still covered in ice but with puddles forming to reflect the sky. I couldn’t stop prompting everyone to look again (and again) as the miles passed, to appreciate the vastness of this lake. That’s STILL the lake!

‘Mille” in French is 1,000. This lake truly embodies 1,000 lakes or more. Such power and awe in its presence. You can just make out the far shore but it may as well be an ocean.

Week 12: American Dreamer

So, a couple things before the pictures.

This year I’m trying out a weekly dispatch format on the blog instead of the daily post. When I made that decision, it mostly had to do with respecting the inbox load of the many people who get an email EVERY TIME I post.

Interestingly, though, the weekly dispatch has shaped the blog differently.

I still go out and shoot pretty randomly every day (as I always have). But, when it comes time to select images and put the post together, I find myself looking for a theme or common thread. Sometimes it’s more abstract than others. Other times it just isn’t there.

At first, I resisted this curatorial urge. I wanted to choose the best photo for that day without considering the relationships between images.

Now, though, I’m enjoying what the process reveals. From visual themes to sub-conscious thought streams, I never know whether or how the images might make sense together.

78/365: road trip

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The quintessential vision of freedom and the good life. A big old car and the open road.

79/365: in living color

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We always have the power to speak, to create, and to reinvent ourselves (individually and collectively).

80/365: reinvention

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It’s a rocky ride sometimes. Hang on. Don’t quit. Change the message when necessary.

81/365: broad stripes & bright stars

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We are a young country. Growth spurts can be ugly. Awkward. Evan painful. Everything is temporary. I have to believe that our true spirit will eventually shine through.

82/365: self portrait (sunshine & rain)

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I stepped outside just as the raindrops started falling, only to discover Zola’s big, cheerful chalk drawings on the sidewalk. I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day, for sure.

83/365: white picket fence

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Battered, not broken.

84/365: seeds of tomorrow

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From Thoreau: I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders. 

week eleven: late winter

71/365: snow

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Snowfalls have been so few and far between this winter that this one felt strange and magical – like the first snow all over again.

72/365: tracks

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How a fresh blanket of snow provides a welcome change of scenery! A clean slate –  it keeps a  perfect record of animal comings and goings, displays fallen leaves like precious artifacts and even traces the movement of the wind.

73/365: woods

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An apt expression of this moment between seasons. The landscape, reduced to winter’s weathered remnants, colored by the growing warmth of the sun and a hint of blue sky.

74/365: robin

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The first robin of spring is always a cause for celebration! This one showed up a few days early and couldn’t be more welcome.

75/365: color fields

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I’m more apt to see landscape in terms of Abstract Expressionism than Romanticism. I can’t help but see this landscape as primarily bands of texturized color, all stacked up.

76/365: pods

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Only a few seeds left to rattle free of their brittle pods and stiffened stalks. The whole world is thirsty for a shot of spring’s green juice 🙂

77/365: ice

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Was the ice always so fascinating and beautiful? It’s like falling in love with the boy next door…

Temperatures flirting with the freezing point form rivers above the ice and freeze windswept waves into ridges. All the while, the lake (being a lake) reflects the color of the sky: true blue.

 

Week Ten: Geometry

64/365: the shape and relative arrangement of the parts of something

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Contrasts: randomness and regularity; opaque and transparent, earthy brick and shiny glass. I look so much at natural forms that the shock of a straight line catches my eye.

65/365: diamonds in the rough

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There is something perpetually nostalgic about a backstop. Just a bit of chainlink and a patch of gravel calls up memories of kickball, childhood and an idea of a simpler time.

66/365: water sign

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I don’t know. It just struck me.

67/365: sunshine daydream

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A dreamy scene for my window theme made magical by a distant sunlit curtain. I love the way  the space is compressed and flattened in a play between transparency and reflection.

68/365: starshine

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One of the coolest ice formations yet – I liked it SO much that it beat out the red-tailed hawk close-up of I took on the same day! It’s not clear to me how these ice stars formed around the reeds, whether they are an accumulation or a remnant, but I love their sparkle.

69/365: ice worlds

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OK, I take it back. THIS is one of the coolest ice formations yet!

The churning flow of open water generated this sea of tiny bubbles. Then the frigid air flash froze them in time and space like an infinite field of stars in a thin, galactic slice.

70/365: full moon rising

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I rushed out with my camera before the last of the light disappeared. I only had a few moments to take pictures. I only needed one.

 

 

week nine: seven pictures

Greetings! I’m excited to offer limited edition archival prints of select images from the 365 project starting this week.

Archival matte inkjet prints on cotton rag. Signed and numbered limited editions of 25.

11 x 14 (or 12 x 12 for square images) unless otherwise noted. Printed in my studio. $40.

Look for the “BUY” button below the picture. Or, visit my website to see all available 365 Limited Edition prints. Want free shipping? Join my email list.

Please contact me directly with questions or to place custom orders.

Thank you for your interest. And now, to the pictures…


 

57/365: holding on

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This is kind of a novelty image – the last remaining bit of the tree that grew right around a power line – but it got me to thinking. When is holding on a virtue – a sign of grit and perseverance? When is it detrimental, futile or foolish? When is it time to let go?

 

58/365: dragon’s blood gone cold (sedum spurium)

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Winter reveals the architecture of things. The bones of the trees. The flower within the flower, skeletons beneath summer’s colorful and abundant flesh.

 

59/365: glaciers receding, lake nokomis

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As the lake opens up, the last holdouts of ice and snow stand out like relics. Any snow still standing at this point is likely a souvenir from the pond hockey tournament. What a contrast between that bustling, temporary city on ice to this still, desolate landscape.

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60/365: freshly fallen diptych

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I always admire the crisp graphic quality of black and white lines formed by freshly fallen snow on branches. There is a stillness, too, a moment before the pristine white blanket is marked and disturbed. The open water lends contrast through reflection and movement.

 

61/365: accidental gardeners

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Echinacea is one of the best plants to leave standing for the winter. The prickly seed heads evolve all season as the seeds scatter. This one looks as if it’s having a bad hair day…

I imagine each seed let loose by the accidental gardener: the wind.

 

62/365: studio sunrise

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It doesn’t get much easier or more spectacular than this! I am always wowed by a beautiful sunrise or set but it can be such a cliche subject to photograph. Shining through droplets of melted frost, however, the effect was truly magical.

 

63/365: let the sun shine, let the sun shine in

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A sad-looking window in an empty-looking house. The bright sunshine and squiggly shadows contrast the mood of the shabby, gray curtains within, always drawn.