RSS Feed

Great Minnesota Get-Together

Lighted Ride at Minnesota State FairWhen I was a little girl, there were a couple of times Mom & Dad loaded us kids into the car and we headed down to the Big Cities for a day at the Minnesota State Fair. Since the parental units weren't very familiar with the city streets (not having lived down here for years) we'd always get stuck in the "fair traffic" on Snelling. Somewhat of a damper to our spirits when the big fair tower was in sight but we couldn't get there any other way than stop-and-go.

Ferris Wheel at Minnesota State Fair Now that the hubby and I live approximately 4 miles from the Great Minnesota Get-Together fairgrounds, we've made it our duty to go every year we've been together. While I certainly enjoyed perusing every single square foot of the DNR buildings & Machinery Hill way back in the day 'cause Dad HAD to, and maybe going on a couple rides, I much prefer stopping at the beer booths for crisp, cool Summits, partaking in random food intake and watching all the weirdos come out of the woodwork.

Fairgoing Crowds at Minnesota State Fair The only footsteps we place on the midway are the ones leading us into and out of the grounds, since we've found a free parking area which is easy for us to access, and is only about a 10-minute walk to get in the gates (behind the parking for the horse trailers). From that entrance, we can easily get to the main booth that sells Summit, so we grab one of those and then proceed to make our wandering way amidst the crowds of French-fry-eaters, food-on-a-stick-enjoyers and all the other random, lovely sightseeing opportunities.

Scotch Eggs Stand at Minnesota State Fair This year while we were waiting for a friend to join up with us, we made our second stop the Scotch Eggs booth (near the green pepper on the side of the horse barn). Though they're not as good as those at the Renaissance Festival, they were mighty tasty - especially with the horse radish sauce!

After joining up with said friend, we proceeded to the back of the grandstand in search of OAR ticket-seekers. There he gave away 2 OAR tickets and interviewed the lucky winner about Brett Favre for his latest endeavor, Brettrodome, while I videotaped (and the hubby went for more beer). When all that was said and done, we realized we had to get back on schedule.

Skyride at Minnesota State Fair We always have to stop at the Leinies Lodge to give a high-five to the Laurienzos, who work hard all 10 days of the fair to ensure Leinenkuegel lovers have enough brew to quench their fair thirst. That's kitty-corner from the Axel's booth - we love their bull bites - and then we were on our way back towards the Coliseum. We watched the High School Rodeo for a bit, used the lavs and headed back to the Scotch Eggs so our buddy could partake.

Lighted Ride on Midway of the Great Minnesota Get Together Since we've gone numerous times, it must not be "that big of a deal," since this year all we had were Scotch Eggs, cheese curds, beer and cream puffs. Also, other than the Coliseum we didn't go into any of the buildings. Actually, it was kind of nice - we were in and out of there in a little over 2 hours. Until next year...

Como Conservatory

Yellow Flower Close-upThe end of summer makes me look back on what's happened and which images I've captured along the yet again I'm playing catch-up. This past March I headed to Como Conservatory in St. Paul, MN, 2 hours early for 'artist day.' A few times a year, the Conservatory opens up its doors - for a small fee/donation - to photographers and other artists who wish to use tripods within the gardens.

White Bleeding Hearts in Sunken Garden: Como Conservatory Normally when I go my hand-held shots are just fine since there's an abundance of light...but it's nice to get in there and use a tripod sometimes for uber-macro shots (I have a converter for my 50mm f/1.8 lens which necessitates the use of a tripod) or to play with long exposures, etc.

Red Tulips at Como Conservatory While I did use the tripod for a portion of that 2-hour window, mostly I focused on macro shots and using the lighting. It was the busiest I'd ever seen it in there - I think more and more photographers are either a) figuring out they can bring in tripods to these sessions and/or b) eager to get into the gardens before the normal, bustling day-crowds arrive.

Purple Flowers at Como Conservatory Many of my photographer buddies headed to brunch after the 2 hours was up, but a friend of mine met me at 10am and we went through all the gardens (me for a 2nd time, her for the first time ever). The Sunken Garden tends to get the most foot-traffic (at least it seems to be the busiest/hardest to walk around in that garden) but there other beautiful gardens and even little 'nooks' which provide excellent shots.

Fern Fiddlehead at Como Conservatory My favorite image from that day - and one which garnered me a 'Champion' at the Crow Wing County Fair this year (Floral category) - is my fern fiddlehead macro shot. I love the perception of this image...normally when I see fiddlehead pictures, they're focused solely on the fiddlehead or show it/them coming out of the ground, etc. I was walking along a path from one garden to the next and happened to glance down and see this little guy trying to climb out of the parent fern and thought it was a neat perspective. (This shot was taken using my Canon 50mm f/1.8.)

Frond at Como Conservatory Something I have to constantly remind other people - and sometimes, myself! - is that even though I've already been to a place once or numerous times, there's ALWAYS something new to see through the lens of my camera. It's a matter of taking the time to slowly take in the surroundings and focus on different perspectives.

Small Purple Flowers at Como Conservatory Every photographer knows that two photographers standing side by side taking a shot of the very same subject will get two very different results. The same is also true for the one photographer revisiting the same subject.

Yellow Bird on Fronds at Como Conservatory I'm no expert but it took me a long time to grasp the concept of perspective. We can all get into the rut of taking the same 'type' of image, but it's important in photography to look at everything multiple ways and be sure to move your feet when shooting. Look at your subject from a different angle, wait for different lighting, switch lenses, focus on the details, back up and 'get the big picture,' etc.

I did miss the June '09 "artist day" at Como, but will be hopefully heading back for the next time we're allowed to get in and shoot the gardens without (as many!) crowds.