Monday, September 28, 2009

Alley Art

Earlier this summer I went in search of the homes that had received "Best Alley Flower Gardens"--an annual award that encourages residents to beautify their alleys as well as their lawns. I found many outstanding gardens bordering the alleyways. I was struck, however, by another kind of art--beautifying the garage doors. When I was young, we played "kick-the-can" in alleys but I do not recall either gardens or decorated garages. Perhaps people are getting more creative and sensitive to their environments, even the most humble areas. What do you think?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wanna Play?

I've been told that when a dog has this kind of stance, it really wants to play. Our dog Maggi often "bows" like this after she greets us. In this guest photo by Jeremy, Maggi has just been approached by another dog at the dog park.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Photographers, Jeremy and Joe-100 Strangers #16

"Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment." – Elliott Erwitt

I met these two photographers, Jeremy and Joe, at the dog park which lies adjacent to the Twin Cities International Airport (See yesterday's post). Their cameras and lenses created much envy on my part, and we had a pleasant discussion.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

100 Strangers Project-#15-Jeremy-ABC Wednesday "J"

"The photograph itself doesn't interest me. I want only to capture a minute part of reality." ~Henri Cartier Bresson

This week the letter is "J" and I met the perfect subject. I met JEREMY, a "real" photographer, at the dog park near the International Airport. Many of the dog owners enjoy watching the airplanes takeoff and land on an adjoining runway while the dogs scamber with one another. I noticed JEREMY with a friend who was visiting from Wyoming for the express purpose to do a photo shoot. Both of the men were taking photos of the aircrafts, as I often do with my little point-and-shoot Canon. Their equipment acted like a magnet for me so I chatted with them for awhile. What I wouldn't give for lenses like they own!!

For more ABC photos that bloggers from around the world have posted, visit here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Senior Speech

The school where I previously taught has a senior speech requirement for graduation that the students enjoy, especially AFTER they've completed theirs, and which the community loves. When a student's speech is scheduled before the all-school assembly, family and friends also attend to enjoy the performance, offer support and supply congratulations. I recently went to a former student's fun-filled and humorous speech which was delivered with great poise.

Monday, September 21, 2009


“A throne is only a bench covered with velvet.”
Napoleon Bonaparte (French General, Politician and Emperor (1804-14). 1769-1821)
I got interested in benches after visiting RuneE from Visual Norway. (Note the similar blog names! Great minds...) The variety of styles of benches offers many opportunities for photos plus restful periods to just sit and think. How many times have you done that in the past?!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

CAMERA CRITTERS-Saturday & Sunday Meme

Last week-end we spent some time on Hawk Ridge, spotting soaring raptors above the bluff and watching the activity around us. This photo shows a volunteer demonstrating the wing span of one of the raptors that was netted earlier and was about to be released. See this post for more information about the migration.

To see more Camera Critters from around the world on Saturday and Sunday, click here.

Camera Critters

Friday, September 18, 2009


During the migration, trained volunteers exhibited the raptors and gave instructions on how an individual could hold the bird before releasing it. People stood in line to make a contribution to "adopt" a bird for the privilege of holding it briefly and then releasing it. It was fun to see how rapidly the birds soared and flew away.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mystery Motion

If you have been following my posts about my week-end in Duluth, you'll immediately recognize what this man has just done. Care to guess? If you aren't sure, click here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ABC Wednesday-"I": Cigar Store INDIAN

I was surprised to see this wood-carved cigar store INDIAN statue in front of a souvenier shop at Park Point in Duluth, Minnesota since our Native American INDIANS are not happy about the way that they are depicted. Because it is not PC anymore to use sterotypical images of INDIANS, it seemed somewhat out-of-place, but it certainly offered an IMAGE for ABC Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hawk Ridge in Duluth, Minnesota USA

Tens of thousands of raptors pass over Lake Superior in the fall, and Hawk Ridge in Duluth is the best place to watch. During migration in September and October, the birds do not cross Lake Superior but rather travel along the bluffs at the southern end of the lake, soaring high when their flight then becomes effortless by rising columns of warm, rising air: the thermal effect. To read more of the history of Hawk Ridge, click here.

The collage records some of the activities that takes place on week-ends during the birds' migration when people from all over the country (and some birders from outside the United States) come to watch and photograph the soaring birds. Experts are available to instruct the onlookers, birders record their life lists, and photographers have a field day. Earlier some of the hawks are netted, banded, and then offered for "adoption." Those who adopt a bird for a small fee are then given the privilege of releasing the raptor, giving back its freedom.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mailbox Art

My darlin' husband and I took a mini-vacation to the North Shore to celebrate my birthday last weekend. Many of the mailboxes along old Highway 61 are works of art. Although I wanted to post a series of them as I did in the distant past, my DH whizzes along the road blithely unaware of great photo opportunities. I did manage to get him to stop to snap this one. Oh, the missed opportunities!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Camera Critters, Saturday and Sunday Meme

The Minnesota State Fair has come and gone so this will probably be my last photo of the event until next year.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

ABC "H"-Haunches

Because I have lots of photos of horses, that would have been an easy choice for "H", but I decided to post something a little bit more creative. This was the kind of scene I saw over and over in the livestock barn at the Minnesota State Fair; these animals are really quite beautiful, each with a sleek, deep sable-coloured hide.

For more ABC photos that bloggers from around the world have posted, visit here.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

At Rest

While touring the various animal barns at the Fair I was struck by how tightly many of the animals, especially the cattle, were bound to their stalls. I suppose that the intention is to limit their movements, but it didn't seem to be too comfortable for the animal. This one seems pretty content, though.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Horse Sense

The Horse Barn is a favorite spot for fairgoers. Different breeds of horses and the shows with skillful riders of all ages are some of the attractions. This year while walking through the building and peeking into the stalls, I saw this array of colourful ribbons but was stopped in my tracks by the sign with it. It never occurred to me before that a simple gesture of touching a horse's face and going from one animal to another could be harmful. Now I know...did you?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Camera Critters-Saturday and Sunday: MN State Fair

The Birthing Center and the Swine Barn are favorite stops. According to the paper, fairgoers were avoiding the swine barn because of swine flu!! Amazing how misinformation gets around. The biggest sow is always something to see. Had to laugh when I learned that a hog was named Brett Favre. If you are an American football fan and have followed his career, you'll understand the humour...especially since joining the Vikings after 16 years with its archrival, the Green Bay Packers. The hog's owner must have been a Packer fan!

Friday, September 04, 2009


When we go to the State Fair, we visit all the animal areas: sheep, horses, swine, livestock, the Birthing Barn and Pet Center. We saw the birth of a calf, an animal being neutered in the Veterinary Medicine Center, and dog obedience demonstrations. Watching the competition and the judging of livestock was a fascinating experience. I was unable to understand the speaker because of the acoustics in the large Coliseum where this took place, so I cannot tell you who won the round of competition depicted in the photo. The animals' owners were of all ages and each took pains to present their animal in the best way possible. Yesterday's photos (take a peek--you won't be sorry!) will give you a glimpse into some of the behind-the-scenes preparation.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

State Fair "Oddities"

At the risk of offending some viewers with greater sensitivity than I, I decided to post these photos because they demonstate an important aspect of the Minnesota State Fair: livestock competition!

In order to present their animals in the best way possible, some interesting steps are taken. In the small photo it's difficult to see the process, but the man is shaving the cow's udder. Only he, the other contestants, and the judges will understand why. The reason escapes me! The large photo shows a responsible owner making sure that the area of competition is kept clean (notice the pan he's holding and the content?) plus he needs to keep his animal in tip-top shape for the judging. The reason for this action does not escape me!

The two little girls we took to the Fair, ages 7 & 8, were very respectful, did not giggle, but were fascinated with the whole process. More photos in the next few days. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Three Year Anniversary plus Highland Water Tower:Theme Day-"Big" September, 2009


Highland Park Tower
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Built/Founded: 1928
Architect: Clarence W. Wigington; Frank X. Tewes

The Highland Park Water Tower is located in the Highland Park area of Saint Paul, Minnesota. It was designed by Clarence W. Wigington, the nation's first African-American municipal architect. The tower was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

The octagonally-shaped tower, on the second-highest point in Saint Paul, is constructed of brick and cut stone. It is 134 feet high and holds 200,000 gallons of water in a steel tank. It is topped with an arched observation deck, open to the public on special occasions for those willing to climb 151 steps. Beneath the observation deck, it is ornamented with carved downspouts and shields. The tower has been virtually unaltered since it was originally built.

Other more modern water towers have made this structure obsolete, but it still holds fascination for the people who visit it. Great view of surrounding neighborhood, the cities of both St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the international airport. Yes, I did climb to the top!!
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants