Chippewa Valley Air Show 2018

Hot and sunny gave way to hot and overcast, the skies opened up and dumped just after the U.S. Navy Blue Angels landed. A well organized show and grounds, I was able to have a bloody mary and kickback and enjoy the show.  The U.S. Air Force Wings of Blue Parachute Team didn’t wonderful…  click on the thumbnails for full image

Next up was the F-16 demonstration and Heritage flight, Mike Wiskus (Lucas Oil Air Shows), Kent Pietsch, Ace Maker and Jack Links’ Screamin Sasquatch. Aerial acrobatics to perfectly timed music, planes landing on trucks and even a surprise hapless pilot. I did so much grinning my face almost got stuck but my two favorites were ahead yet!

36,000 horsepower, 300+ mph -I get goose bumps every time! I can’t even imagine the thrill to be running three jet engines wide open!! You have to go see SHOCKWAVE, you must-it’s a moral imperative.

I’m trying not to gush, or use words like “ladywood” but damn…

You can’t help feel proud watching the Blue Angels precision maneuvers, seriously-18 inches wing tip to tip… I’ll let the pictures speak for me but I’m grinning again thinking about it!

Quick Snaps

Seems lately I am always on the run and if its nice out, two wheels. During this long winter I hid indoors, took mansion tours, and have gotten back into the habit of carving out a half hour or so a day just for quick snaps! We have a peregrine falcon at my workplace and while the chick was being banded I capitalized on my vantage point. Nothing beats my view when there’s a storm rolling in, don’t be surprised to see more Saint Paul shots in the future! If you were wondering, we named this lil falcon Stormy…


Banding 1-60

High Bridge Under Construction

Banding 1-61

Schmidts 1-04

Schmidt Brewery-Saint Paul

Banding 1-47

Stormy the Peregrine Falcon Chick




Two for One

The Mister and I have switched from chasing waterfalls to hunting leaves and I find it hard to be discouraged when they are still green since winter seems to last forever. Although, an aside, I did so much winter photography last year I am actually excited for post-Christmas weather.

First, we went North to St. Croix Park in Hinckley, MN. 34,000 acres and a fire tower seemed ideal. After 10 miles the first day we decided to chill a bit for returning home the next evening. Gorgeous creeks and quiet camping- we went hours before finally seeing one person on a trail. We stood where the Kettle and St. Croix converge, climbed endless steps and found what seemed to be all the missing bees. It was one of those odd weekends where nature seemed to be holding it’s breath. I highly recommend it for camping and if you have wee ones, pack the bicycles and thank me later.

I was so excited to try night photography I didn’t even let the half moon sway me. Couple of attempts are below.

Second trip we went over to Menomonie and back to Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area. We went when there was still snow on the ground this Spring so it was quite fun to hop on the motorcycles. The roads were a bit rough but the scenery was top notch but as it turns out the foliage hasn’t caught up to my ambitions yet. So one more North trip is planned and maybe a weekend down to Lacrosse yet to meander on the Mississippi Bluffs. I’ll be scoping those foliage maps!


A Little TLC-Literally and Figuratively

We went to camp at Gooseberry Falls State Park, MN – just North of Two Harbors. We didn’t get very far North of Duluth before we were wishing we had made this a motorcycle trip. Beautiful long sweeping roads and curves along Lake Superior hugged by cliffs and forest. Once we made camp we were tickled that the lake shore was less than 10 minutes by a an easy trail.  We had gorgeous weather, either cloudy or with warm sun and cool breezes. We were amazed by how many people were riding bicycles but once we realized how the bike paths links all the parks along the shore it made perfect sense!

My goal was to get some waterfall shots and I definitely was not disappointed! To be smart though let me give you some advice if you go. If you don’t camp at Gooseberry then go very early in the morning to start your hike or be buried by like minded throngs of people. If you sleep in, skip Gooseberry and head North on 61 to Tettegouche State Park and check out 3 more waterfalls thanks to the very picturesque Baptism River, great hiking! Along the way you can ooo and aaahhh at the weeping rocks seen everywhere. If you are speedy gus then you should head back, stopping at Split Rock State Park and enjoy the Split Rock Beach, tour the lighthouse, picnic along the shore and do even more hiking.

By now you should be tired and ready for a drink by the campfire but don’t forget to zip back over to the lakeshore beach at Gooseberry State Park ad watch the sunset. THEN, next day drag your sore butt up and walk the very well tended trails all along the paths and check out those waterfalls at Gooseberry. If you time it right you could be back for a nap and lunch 🙂

Yes, if you are like my Mr. and give me lip Day 1, you too could enjoy me singing off-key made up lyrics to TLC’s “Waterfalls” until I stop standing near the cliffside lest I tempt fate…





Summer Loving

Maybe just loving summer, and I see some of you having Christmas countdowns-knock it off. That’s not funny. We are sliding into my favorite times of year and while I have not been as shutterly (it’s in the Johnson Webster, I say so.) prolific I have been focusing on the quality of the shot to my specific purpose and to family time. The dreaded college hooey is in there but I’m not dwelling on it. You may have seen that I have been aiming for more monotone imagery. I have been finding that it lends a sense of nostalgia and allows the viewer to fill in its own blanks when color may actually detract from my intentions. Sound very purposeful? It should! How many have been sorting through gazillions of friends images of randomness, feet, food and limb amputations? But, but , but it’s cousin Fred Bob eating his favorite burger! Are you going to care in three years? Is that how you want to view Fred Bob in 20 years? What about the other 50 pictures of sauce dripping in his tank top? Just saying, rant over. Here’s a few from recent adventures (out of a lot).




Where Have You Been?

It seems like ages since my last post, but never you worry my lens has seen plenty of action! I went to visit family and attend a graduation party. Let me tell you; I have some gorgeous and sweet nieces. Those pictures will be posted under a password on this site. Something I do for all private snap snap days! While I was in Iowa, I snuck in some time, only a few hours in all, to wander to the pond and take pictures. As usual, what captivated my attention and got the shutter moving was nothing I set out to find, to begin with! I do love that flexibility though. Bees were all over the irises in the soft morning light. They pose a great challenge in size and speed, so I lost myself there for awhile.
We also went to lovely mid=month shutterbug club meeting for black and white photography tips and hints; I ended up also learning about other great post-processing software. The new tips and new software have me re-thinking about all my old photos! Exciting stuff coming!


It’s fun to say, it’s fun to do and it’s fun to watch. Watching the little ones excited and nervous to get on the mats and compete for themselves and using a lot of the same tenacity and foundational moves as the adults tells the story of the sports longevity. They way they look to their coaches and parents for sideline guidance, they way they cheer on their friends, it mirrors exactly what the adults will do later on.

I know some might tease for the faces made during a match but each “teeth gritting, eyes looking off in the distance, posting on my face grimace and where did all this sweat come from?!” is important. It’s what it looks like to over come discomfort, keep calm, push through, not take a participation award and get down to it. Whether it’s boxing, JKD, BJJ, it’s hours drilled, fingers and toes taped and giving your chiropractor Christmas cards. It’s your loved ones and support group rolling their eyes at one bruise and black eye.

I may have fun taking pictures of all these events but as most know it’s my brothers fault. He doesn’t have any pictures of his boxing matches and youthful adventures, and in this day and age there shouldn’t be an excuse for anyone else to say that in 20 years. So in more ways than one, I am also honored to witness the trials, tribulations and adventures and capture a piece of it for your legacies.

Also, front row seats never suck. Roll on.


Solo Saturday

The Sinister Mr. was doing his own thing this weekend so it was all me on Saturday and I had great luck! When I go out picture hunting I really do behave more like I should in that I move quietly, no noisy clattering, no shiny stuff, no sudden moves and I move slowly and stop often to look around and break my tunnel vision. I do all this to not startle anything before I can see it and to just be respectful since I am the one intruding on  them. I leave with everything I bring in. I user a longer lens and will beg off of a shot if I notice a critter in distress of any sort. I like to think that I get paid back in spades for my patience but even if I skunk out I still have a nice, zen, nature walk I can be OK with.

Bill has pointed out that I have better luck without him on some of my adventures because I’m not running my gums chatting at him or looking to see what he is doing. This sounds like permission to ignore him so I will wholeheartedly agree with his very technical assessment. The little tree swallow bopped around posing for me and then the pelicans looked like they were having some sort of scrimmage while the cormorant cheerleaders egged them on. The herons kept a good eye on it all like a long skinny sheriffs. That’s it! Blue herons are now Flying Barney Fifes!!

Spinning Wheels

I was a bit disheartened because while I have had some great inspiration and good opportunities I have been skunked when it comes to what I deemed to be a “show off” worthy picture the last week or so. When I thought through how I have spent my time I was much happier. I invested in a wonderful tripod I have been fiddling with. I have spent many hours learning my camera remote, speed light and light diffusing options and practicing portrait photography on myself and the Mister as well as clicking all over various tutorials and editing software. I am having so much fun learning, revising and utilizing my new tools that I can’t be disappointed. Then, of course, there’s the fact that even if a picture is not s good as you can get it, sometimes it really is just catching the moment because it made you smile, and that is the essence of what it all is anyway. Putting yourself in the opportunity to catch a feeling, emotion in an image to represent your history. Yeah, I’m good with that.Armored Shell Division Sun Mobilization

Lake Pepin in Spring

You may recall that a nice woman recently asked if I liked birds, she also steered me in the direction of a local birding group and also gave me a heads up that there were white pelicans on Lake Pepin as part of their migration. To see one in the wild would be a treat so Saturday we threw all the gear in the truck and went looking. We found them hiding on the Minnesota side  and caught up with them eventually. Eventually being 3 more scenic outlooks and two more pee breaks since my essential “gear” is sweet tea. I’m never without it. Seriously.  They were a bit hard to photograph as they are large birds and cover ground quickly but they are just so COOL! They’re huge! We saw quite a few eagles too.

We had such a fun time exploring, even finding a sweet spot to put in for kayaking, that we went back on Sunday but on the Harley. It was a grand experiment, what gear can I pack and I really wanted to see if I can take a decent picture from the back of the bike. I took my backup camera and the 50mm/nifty fifty and indulged my unhealthy obsession with barns and rural decay. It gave me so much freedom that it was wealth worth the slight adjustments needed-like not falling off the back or making the Sinister Ginger Mister pissy. We even managed to stop back at Nelson’s Creamery, in Nelson (whoa) for ice cream. You may recall we went there previously and I have decided the place is even more awesome than I acclaimed earlier. Rum cherry. Just saying.

We took in a lot of pretty scenery, a lot of wild life and wildlife. Smelled  the intoxicating scent of fresh-cut grass, grills and smokers and a the heady aroma of the woods and wet fields. Weekends like this last one are what make Mondays worthwhile. Of course I rushed home and aired out the camper since I know this isn’t even the tip of the adventures for 2017.