If You Are Going Anyway…

My son went off to college a few years ago and he became a part of both the Symphonic Winds, and the Concert Choir. We do not miss any of his concerts, unless it just can’t be helped, like if he is on a European Tour, or something like that!

It didn’t take more than a concert or two before I realized that I needed to, and wanted to – be making images with my Canon! I quickly offered my services and it has been a wonderful three years so far.

This is a piece that I hade made of a special event that the Choir was involved in. I was able to get a live action group photo during the performance.

I also had this created for the Choir Director to hang in his office.

So in doing this I get to create images and experience great music while doing so. And, I was going to be there anyway…


Make Time For Yourself

In the day to day “grind” we are always trying to fit more in, do more, do it faster, more, more, more! Starting today, try to be more mindful about making time for yourself….to re-charge the batteries.

Go for a walk. Look up and notice the clouds in the sky; the tree branches. Enjoy it, soak it in – create an image that you can look back on, and even share with others.

You might be surprised at what you see when you slow down and start noticing.

Another thing you can do to help yourself is to slow down enough to sit down and read a real book! Try some professional development like I did with this book: “Evolution of An Image” by Rick Sammon.

I hope that you will now take some time for yourself, and discover something new! Jay

Getting Back To It

Here I am trying once again at starting up my blog posts! I have not given up, that is for sure. Actually, in the time since I last posted, I did some deep thinking about my photography and had some lengthy discussions with several people about where I am going photographically. The original theme of this blog is about how I “balance” family life and photography (with several other items mixed in!)

Here is one example. Easter time, coloring eggs with the family….once we had a bunch of them done, we paused so that I could get some images like this.

At this time of year, it is cold out there. I like to be mindful of the image opportunities this creates!

There! I did a new blog post. Let me know if you would like me to talk about something related to keeping balanced in your family and photography. Jay

Where Has The Time Gone?

Wow, it has been nearly a year since my last blog post….I wrote that one – called, “The Art of the Selfie” after we had returned from an epic RV road trip through 11 Western States last Summer. I have been thinking about this drought in writing a lot lately, and so one day I challenged my friend Jim (who wants to start writing, but can’t find the right time); that he and I need to each write a blog post within the next two weeks.  Today might mark that point so here I am!

I want to share with you some of what I’ve been doing photographically last year, so in this post I will feature things I did in the Fall. It was an interesting year. Our son experienced and made it through his “Senior Year” in H.S., that kept us pretty busy, and me pretty busy taking pictures at Band/Choir events; Fall Musical etc.  I also focused on my own health last year, and so without going into details…a lot of spare time was dedicated to that adventure! So, without further build-up, here are some images and comments on how I balanced family life and photography last Fall:

I guess I started the pics out with a selfie…I just can’t control myself! Last Summer after our road trip we still had time for going to see “The Music Man” at the Guthrie in Minneapolis, including a nice dinner out afterwards. And, we had time left in the Summer to attend a couple of County Fairs.

And….well this one I just wanted to show that I had discovered another Great Grand Parent’s grave site.  I am on a self-assignment to get images of the markers of each Grandparent all the way back as far as I can. This one was tricky to find as his name was Fred Hanson and he was buried in an area with lots of Scandinavians! The other photo shows a car at a car show in Grey Eagle, MN on Labor Day weekend. I grew up in this little town and was thrilled to see that they were having a car show when we were there. This car is the kind my dad had, only dad’s was brown…..wish I had Dad’s car!


I was at a State Conference for work last Fall – and while on my way to dinner one night, I literally came to a “Fork in the Road”. Was it foreshadowing something? Maybe! The next picture of 139…represents something I found while metal detecting…something I started to do more of in this past year, I’m still not sure what the thing is. The third image is from a paid gig I was fortunate to do covering a couple of Log Rolling events in Minneapolis. That was different and lots of fun.

Senior Year for Gunnar and his girlfriend Kaitlyn. I was busy in late Summer and most of Fall with taking Senior Pictures for these two and several others. I really enjoyed that. The third picture is from a Football Pep band activity last Fall. I will certainly miss seeing the kids in this group this coming Fall; but on the other hand, we will get to see them participate in Music at the U of M Morris.

Once again, I participated in the Black Hills Photography Shootout in Rapid City, SD. We got to do a shoot with a guy that danced in competitions, it was very very cool.  This Fall we found ourselves at the Princeton HS Pool several times. We were there to cheer on  Kaitlyn in the Fall. She did a great job and will be swimming at UM Morris.

The picture on the left represents my Mom’s arm holding a panoramic photo – that took years ago – up against that same land today, and how it has changed so much that it is unrecognizable. The farm in the photo is the farm that her dad built for his bride so they could start a family out on the prairie in North Dakota. The picture on the right represents some work I did with family portraiture.  This was a great family to work with.


This final image represents the Fall Musical, “Aida”. Gunnar played Pharoah. This was an all-consuming photo shoot for me. I shot dress rehearsal; and one Live performance; and then also did head shots of each of the principal actors and group shots of all the various groupings. I provided pics for marketing on Social Media, and for in the lobby during the event.  I even ended up making a book of images out of all this! Thanks for reading all the way to the end.

Be sure to check out my website for more images: My Website



The Art of the Selfie

Selfie of Carrie and I at the beginning of our Route 66 experience. Selfie of Carrie and I at the beginning of our Route 66 experience.

From oxforddictionaries.com: Definition of selfie in English:

noun (plural selfies)


A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media: occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself everyday isn’t necessary.
So, what camp are you in? Do you like Selfies…or despise them? I know that there are pretty strong feelings either way…which is silly if you stop and think about it.  The Selfie is a form of Self Portrait photography. I think that it is a good way for people to get creative with their photos. It brings people together….”hey let’s take a selfie!” Even calling out, “Selfie!” with a small group of people around causes most or all to smile and have a good time for a fleeting moment…and I think that is a good thing.
When people find themselves at a special location and/or a special situation, they want to take a selfie to record the memory.  I got to experience this firsthand on a recent road trip, and while I was at the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore. There were so many people there. While we were looking at the amazing vistas of the South Rim, I was inspired to focus on getting pictures of people taking selfies!  Yes, I am a photographer, and, yes, I was at the Grand Canyon for the first time.  I was also with four other people in my group – and several hundred others.  I got some shots from the tourist railing spots, but I realized that, yes the Canyon is awesome…but there is another story here. I announced to my teenage son that I was going to start focusing specifically on people that were doing selfies. He was kind of against the whole selfie thing – especially the use of selfie sticks; however in a short time he was helping me locate potential selfie subjects!
Girls, I hope that you realize that there is a rather deep drop off right behind you! Please practice safe selfie-ing…
Cool Dad of the day! It’s interesting to watch the body language of people doing Selfies..not to mention the selfie taking techniques that people use.
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Close quarters selfie taking.
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These couples seem like professionals. Look at the body positioning and the selfie stick positioning…..Please don’t try this at home…these people are professionals. One thing I like about this self assignment is that the backgrounds behind these people are pretty spectacular!
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Moving on to Mount Rushmore……Hey – guy in the red shirt, everyone is looking the other way!  Look at the technique the guy (Luigi) – on the right is using….a low angle….the reason is that Mount Rushmore is towering over them from behind.
Selfies and selfie sticks are a thing now, so just embrace it and try it for yourself if you haven’t already!  Maybe I’ll catch you with my camera someday and you might end up in a coffee table book! Jay

Five Reasons To Like Zucchini

Photo on 8-17-15 at 11.06 PM

I was trying to come up with an idea for a blog post, so I asked my wife Carrie what I should blog about….she replied, “Zucchini”. She was joking, but it made sense in that we have so much of it right now! So in the spirit of creativity, I said, “o.k.” so here we go.

According to Wikipedia, Zucchini is also referred to as Courgette. It is a Summer Squash that can reach one meter in length.

Five Reasons To Like Zucchini

  1. For  those of you that are Zucchini Geeks/Foodie Geeks….in a culinary context, Zucchini is treated as a vegetable. However, Botanically – it is considered a fruit! What a conundrum this must cause you!
  2. In France, zucchini is a key ingredient in ratatouille, a stew of summer fruits and vegetables prepared in olive oil and cooked for an extended time over low heat. The dish, originating near present-day Nice, is served as a side dish or on its own at lunch with bread. And who doesn’t like the movie, “Ratatouille“!
  3. Zucchini Pasta …..wait,  that’s a thing? Sign me up!
  4. There’s an App for that! Zucchini App  “Zucchini Bread is life often required”…what? I’m guessing it’s not doing well on itunes!
  5. Last, but certainly NOT least:  Zucchini Bread

Well, there you have it!  The photo was taken on my kitchen table using the camera on my MacBook Pro, with extra lighting assist from the Ott Light.

Check out my website for Gand Canyon images, coming soon!   Jay

Ten Top Historic Buildings in Princeton, Minnesota

Princeton was built on the shores of the Rum River back in the days of logging. The first home built in this area was in 1848.   Lumber mills were popping up all over the area and the Princeton area was no exception.  Besides logging, James J. Hill was building a Railroad through the area North of Princeton up by Milaca. Both of these things brought people to Princeton.

There have been several grand old buildings that we’ve lost to time and development. There are several great architectural buildings in town and here are my favorites:

10) Coffee Corner. Built in 1931. Once known as Princeton Coop Station.

Coffee Corner was once a gas station. It is now a vibrant spot for coffee lovers.

Coffee Corner was once a gas station. It is now a vibrant spot for coffee lovers.

9) This building was served as Princeton’s Middle School and has been re-purposed as apartments for Senior Citizens. I can’t find the info…but I think this may have been Princeton’s High School prior to it being a Middle School.

Crystal Courts was once the town's Middle School.

Crystal Courts was once the town’s Middle School.

8) Lingle Dentistry Building. Built in the early 1900’s in the Greek Revival style. Was once Princeton State Bank; and the Mille Lacs County Land Office. Unique to other buidings in town because of its pillars and because it has two steps up to the main floor from the sidewalk, where all others are at grade level with the sidewalk.

Lingle Dentistry Building.

Lingle Dentistry Building.

7) What is now Williams Dingmann Family Funeral Home was once the cities Armory which was home to Company G of the National Guard. Built in 1912. Built of local brick. Was once used for graduations; basketball games; plays and concerts; and even sometimes was used for classrooms.

What is now a funeral home, was once an Armory.

What is now a funeral home, was once an Armory.

6) The Gile House. Built in 1875 in the Gothic Revival Style. It is one of the oldest homes in Princeton. People call this “The Ginger Bread House”

The Ginger Bread House.

The Ginger Bread House.

5) Freshwaters United Methodist Church. Built  in 1902. Gothic Revival.

Methodist Church.

Methodist Church.

4) The J.J. Skahen Home. Built in 1906. This home is now a Bed & Breakfast.

Bed & Breakfast House.

Bed & Breakfast House.

3) The Great Northern Railroad Depot. Built in 1902. Queen Anne/Jacobean style passenger/freight Depot made with local brick. The Depot now houses the Mille Lacs County Historical Society Museum.

The Railroad Depot.

The Railroad Depot.

2) The Charles Keith Manor.Built in 1905, this beautiful historic home was commissioned by Judge Charles Keith and designed by leading architect John Walter Stevens. Mr. Stevens is well known for his commercial buildings in St. Paul, as well as designing several homes on Summit Avenue and in the Ramsey Hill historic district. Ed and Anna Evens (Hardware Store Owners for 40 years) bought the home in 1918 from the widow of Judge Charles Keith who had died the previous year.

“The Charles Keith Manor”

Number 1) The R.C. Dunn House. Built in 1902. Was actually built on the site of an earlier home, built in 1880. That house was moved when this one was built. The style is called  Colonial Revival. Architect was Louis Lockwood. The interior of the house shows a high level of workmanship. There are carvings and columns as well as etched and stained glass used liberally throughout the house. R.C. Dunn was the editor of the town paper and is recognized as someone who did more promoting of Princeton than any other person in the early years. The bridge in town is named after him.

Thank you for following along. I’m hoping that this post will get readers out to explore the historic buildings in their own town…and maybe even bring out more information on other historic buildings in Princeton.  Jay

This is absolutely my favorite historic building in Princeton.

This is absolutely my favorite historic building in Princeton.