The Ugly Duckling

Watching an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Ugly Duckling” as a child, I would scold the animated animals for making fun of how different this little one looked. In today’s words, the duckling was a victim of bullying. This little one suffered verbal abuse from all the other animals because it appeared differently.

The story takes a turn when the “ugly duckling” matures into a beautiful swan. A story of personal transformation some say. Even as a child, I noticed that treating anyone differently just because they may not resemble others, was wrong. I am glad that the story told gave way to a happy ending, showing an example that with perseverance, anyone can evolve into a creature of beauty.

If ever in Minnesota in February or March:

There is a public area to observe the swans  – Monticello Swan Park.  Please consider making a donation to carry on what Sheila Lawrence stared.

Enjoy

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Mighty Mississippi and Red Wing, MN

The surrounding area of beautiful Red Wing, MN entices you with its rolling hills, river valleys, quaint trout streams, green pastures, bountiful farmland, and plenty of wildlife.  Enough so, Dan and I could set out daily to photograph its wonder.

A plethora of activities await you year round in the Minnesota bluff country.  Skiing or snowshoeing in the Winter, and hiking, biking , or water sports that fill the rest of the year.  The trails are plentiful and will guarantee a peaceful outdoor experience.   One of my favorite hiking areas is Barns Bluff.  When the top is reached, you have a breathtaking view of Red Wing and the surrounding area.

It is always a site to see the riverboats come to town.  The particular images found in this post are images of the majestic American Queen.  Built in 1995, The American Queen is said to be the largest river steamboat ever built.  To watch her move upon the mighty Mississippi is awe-inspiring.

If ever in the area, take time to stroll through these small river towns that reside along the Mississippi banks of Southeastern Minnesota/Southwestern Wisconsin; you will be pleasantly surprised and quite taken aback by their beauty.

Weaver Bottoms

A group of photographers from the Red Wing Photography Club set out late last summer for a day of photography.  What better way to learn different techniques or aspects in photography, than to spend time with fellow photographers- How do they see the world through their view finders?

It was in the wee morning hours that Jeff Marcus, Dan, and I set out for our destination in Southeastern MN.  The morning arrived and the sky was changing to the color of lavender as the nighttime blue was mixing with the light of the sun; changing from dark blue, to light blue to lavender, and just as if that wasn’t enough- the sun peaked her head closer to the horizon and the pinks, oranges, and yellows came out to play.

LOCATION FOR THIS SUNRISE SHOOT: Weaver Bottoms off of Hwy 61 South of Wabasha, MN.
Located within the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, the Weaver Bottoms area is located just South of Wabasha, MN.   The area is a 5,500 acre habitat complex dominated by open water, but also includes flowing channels, backwater lakes, isolated wetlands, and forested islands. 

Turning onto County Rd 74 off of Hwy 61, in Weaver, MN was a great choice and a very well executed plan, organized by Dan (Thanks Honey for planning that route).  As the sun rose, we were graced by fog in the area; the valleys, wetlands, and forest floors along this road was dotted with a wispy white haze.  I believe fog or a misty morning adds mood to your surroundings; to watch the mist move and wonder what lies beneath is intriguing to say the least.  Fog can form suddenly, and can dissipate just as rapidly, so we found our way through this area and spent some quality time shooting the effects that fog can add to a photograph.

We were very lucky to be there, at that time, on that day.   We all enjoyed the travels through this area and were awe-stuck by the shadows created by fog.  Off to meet the rest of the Red Wing Photography Club Members (Amy, Linnae, Ken, and Kendall) already playing in their own play ground – Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park.

Maple Springs Morning

Maple Springs is an unincorporated community along Hwy 61 in Minnesota Between Lake City and Wabasha.  It consists of a few homes and a fishing resort but once had a station of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St Paul Railroads.

It was shaping out to be a beautiful morning as we grabbed our coffee and headed out the door for a sunrise shoot.  Maple Springs is located about 20 miles from home along the mighty Mississippi River and just happened to give us a great morning view.

Take a deep breath in and relax, I thought to myself as I watched the sun light up the sky and the morning fog dance over the water.  Ohhhh, how I wish every morning could be this way 🙂

A roadtrip and a fish… or what ever that was

We awoke to find the atmosphere was thick with fog again on that early March morning.  The fog or mist can emphasize depth, light, shapes, silhouettes and I love the way the water droplets scatter light.  The morning brought us to Frontenac, MN a small rural town located on the mighty Mississippi just southeast of Red Wing, MN.  Frontenac State Park was our first stop, the park is known as a birdwatchers’ paradise and is one of the best spots in the country to view birds migrating in the spring and fall.  If you travel this way, take a nature walk on one of the parks great hiking trails and enjoy the beautiful valley views.

Close by the state park is a small public boat launch located in the historic village of Old Frontenac.  A walk along that beach is usually calming but your heart rate can increase when you car chased by some kind of large, dead fish on a stick by someone who will remain nameless… Dan 🙂

After Dan had his fun with the what ever that was on a stick, we packed up our camera gear and headed back on the road.  Sometimes we don’t use our GPS and end up near a city that we weren’t intending to visit on that day.  I think that is the fun of it all- traveling on back-roads leading to… well, we find out.  Passing many photo opportunities along the way, you never know what a day spent traveling on unfamiliar roads will bring.