A tribute to fallen soldiers…

I’ve driven by the Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN many times and every time I want to stop and take some pictures.  Some may consider that a bit morbid – maybe, but for me, I think cemeteries can be incredibly peaceful, not to mention historical – pages of our past.  For instance, the picture at the right is of a cemetery in the heart of downtown Boston, Massachusetts. Yep, downtown Boston.  Its called the King’s Chapel and Burying Ground and is found along the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile, brick-lined route that leads you to 16 historically significant sites throughout downtown Boston. If you are ever in Boston, I would highly suggest checking it out.  A blog post will be coming soon to document my trip along Freedom Trail, so stay tuned!

I digress…anyway, in 1870 the Fort Snelling cemetery was created to serve as a burial place for soldiers who died while stationed at the fort. After World War I the citizens of St. Paul petitioned to have a national cemetery established in the vicinity. Congress passed legislation in 1937 that designated a potion of the Fort Snelling Military Reservation as a national cemetery. The entire site, administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, comprises 436 acres and remains the final resting place for over 180,000 service men and women. A humbling display of bravery, patriotism and commitment to freedom of those that came before us.

I had the distinct pleasure not long ago of what we in the airline industry call a “productivity break”.  A productivity break is a long sit between scheduled flights that does nothing but make our day longer…sometimes 13 hours plus. I could waste an entire post simply dedicated to these monsters, but this time I decided to make the best of my productivity break and be…well, productive.  I decided to venture outside the airport, enjoy the sun, and honor all the fallen soldiers the best way I know how – with pictures! Click on the image below to see my gallery/tribute to all the men and women, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas who fought so I could be productive on my “productivity break.”

Back to the 50’s


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It’s been a while since I have been to a really good car show. As a kid, it seemed like our family went to a car show just about every weekend.  My father always enjoyed rebuilding old cars (you can see his latest project here), so when he asked me if I was interested in tagging along to one of the Midwest s biggest car shows, “Back to the 50’s”, I eagerly accepted. It was a great opportunity to re-connect with my father, enjoy some truly remarkable works of art, and get some great photos.  The event was hosted by the Minnesota Street Rod Association,  at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. I had forgotten how big these car shows can get –  this one had more than 11,000 cars registered. The weather was perfect and the line-up of cars to get in the gate was impressive!

The most intriguing aspect to me (which wasn’t around when I was a kid) was the concept of a Rat Rod. Apparently this is a new category of hot rods where essentially the goal is to make your hot rod as customized and rusty as possible. They definitely weren’t the most eye-appealing displays, but they were, nonetheless, very unique and fun to look at! Rat Rods were only the tip of the iceberg as proud owners were eager to display and talk about their beloved cars. Chip Foose, of the TV show Overhauled, was even on hand signing autographs and drawing personalized pictures for fans. A replica of the Ghostbuster Ectomobile, or Ecto-1, a 1959 Cadillac,  was on display as well. It was a four wheeled version of the Sturgis motorcycle rally!

If you haven’t been to this car show and you live anywhere relatively close I would highly recommend it…even if you aren’t a “car” person! Here are a few more images from that day.


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Click FS for full screen mode (Esc to exit full screen), or SL for slideshow.

If you are a car buff more automotive pictures can be seen in my automotive gallery.

Thanks for reading!

Como Zoo


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It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Saturday morning free and decided visiting the local zoo would be a great way to spend it.  What could be better? Well, for starters…I could have decided to visit the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota on a nice sunny afternoon, but this Saturday had been on my schedule for quite some time.  Two months prior I had signed up for a Composition in the Field workshop through the Digital Photo Academy.  Thus, even with the clouds, I quickly became excited for the soft and even light conditions that overcast days typically produce.  I packed up my gear and headed out.  It wasn’t until I reached downtown Minneapolis that I realized I probably should have looked at the radar before I left.  The light was nice and even – this is true – however, the clouds had an ominous grey look about them.  I glanced at my smartphone, and moments later I’m wishing I had brought an umbrella and some rain gear!  Thankfully, my camera bag has a nice little pocket with its own rain cover.  I decided to press on and hope for the best.  Unfortunately, the day continued to present some other surprises.

I pulled up to the Como Zoo parking lot and was quite pleased to see a plethora of parking spots available – maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all!  I unpack my camera, attach it to my shoulder strap and walk the short distance to the entrance gate to meet the rest of the group and the instructor.  Lo and behold – the gate is locked!  That’s odd, I thought to myself until I saw the sign on the door. It’s not open for another hour!  I re-check the scheduled start time for the workshop, but I’m right on time.  On cue, fat raindrops started pounding the pavement.  None of us class participants, expecting to see animals in an open zoo and with no options for getting out of the rain, are happy campers.  Still, the group decided to make the best out of our given situation.  After 30 minutes of shooting random flowers and trying to capture rain drops in puddles, a friendly staff member let us into the entry area and out of the rain.  This presented a unique point of view as we were able to capture the feelings (wet and stuck in the rain) we had moments ago on the faces of those still waiting to get inside.

The zoo eventually opened and the group made a decision to stay indoors and photograph the Tropical Encounters exhibit.  This was fun, and I enjoyed getting some great shots, but it still didn’t capture the feeling and images I had been hoping for earlier in the morning.  I wanted to photograph those animals!  Our three hour class had already been shortened by an hour, and after 45 minutes of the Tropical Encounters, I was ready to brave the rain to get some animal portraits.  I advised the instructor of my plan (who thankfully then offered up his umbrella), and away I went for the next hour and 15 minutes.

The day definitely could have gone better, but I did enjoy playing with various camera settings and adapting to the various lighting conditions (indoor and outdoor).  Below are some of the images from my rainy day zoo adventure.  Enjoy!

Thanks for reading and as always, feel free to share your comments!


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Click the “FS” button to view in full screen mode.

Re-Discovering Aviation…

As a kid I always had a thing for speed.  I raced go-karts as a kid, stock cars as a teenager and started flying before I could drive.  I enjoyed flying so much I turned it into a career.  Like any career path you must climb the ladder to achieve greatness.  In aviation that ladder starts in general aviation.  As a flight instructor for 3 years I was interlaced in general aviation on a daily basis.  Having left general aviation for “bigger and better” in the commercial industry,  I lost touch with the roots of aviation – the fun aspect of flying.  Discover Aviation Days in Blaine, Minnesota brought me back and helped me re-discover why I started flying.  Now don’t get me wrong…I do love my current job as it presents an amazing office view every day, but this…this is why I started flying.

The show had an impressive display of old war-birds, a museum (Gold Wing Flying Museum), safety seminars, hangar dance and the traveling tribute to American Veterans.  I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!  More images from this and other aviation related events are available in my Aviation portfolio.

Time Travel

After taking some images of the Sculpture Garden I walked over the pedestrian overpass and started to take some photos of the Minneapolis Skyline.  After the sun had set I started packing up my gear, only to quickly unpack it again.  The beautiful dark blue sky combined with the ambient light lighting the bridge made for some amazing color interaction.  I made me feel as if I was about to enter a time warp as the beams created an intricate pattern on the overpass floor.