October Surprise

Watching the leaves float on the wind as they drop one by one to the ground and viewing the beautiful colors that dot the landscape, is just a couple reasons why Autumn is one of my favorite seasons in Minnesota.  It was a beautiful Fall day that pulled us both outside; breathing in the crisp cool air that this season brings is what we both needed. The vibrant colors, the personality of “Mr. Ed”, and the travels to and from Minneapolis was just another day to add in the banks of my mind. Take a journey with us as we show you some highlights of the day.

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The Duluth, Missabe, and Iron Range Railway

Composite by Sometimes Interesting

Dan and I did not know the complete history behind the Duluth, Missabe, Iron Range Railway – until now.  In 2013, Dan and I came across an extensive abandoned building while in Two Harbors, MN; our hearts raced as we arrived on the site.  We were lucky enough to be able to photograph this location in all of its splendid decay. This building will be forever imprinted in our minds as it was our very first urban/industrial abandoned site.  We have mostly explored abandoned homes/farmsteads in the countrysides of Minnesota, Wisconsin, North & South Dakota.

A very talented writer and fellow blogger whose posts can be viewed at Sometimes Interesting, wrote an extensive piece on the Duluth, Missabe, Iron Range Railway; he has restored old life into these more recent photographs as seen below within the gallery and in Dan’s original post: [ Dan Traun’s original post from 2013-07-22].  We are deeply appreciative of the time and effort that Sometimes Interesting put into Ghosts of the Duluth, Missabe, and Iron Range Railway.

For fifty years the depot and roundhouse in Two Harbors sat abandoned, reminding of an era driven by coal and iron. The site was eventually razed, but not before photographers Dan & Cynthia Traun were able to visit and capture the buildings as they appeared in their final days.  Source: Sometimes Interesting

Sometimes Interesting is all about uncovering the history of the abandoned, forgotten, and unexplained.  Spend some time delving into this site; you will be absolutely captivated by the research performed and his writing talent.

Composite by Sometimes Interesting

The vibrations from the ghost machinery, the history that trickled from the deteriorating walls, the past whispers heard from the employees who worked in this magnificent historical building, have forever been silenced as these buildings are no longer standing.  All that will remain are the memories, photographs, and stories told through the many people who have been touched by its presence. Please enjoy my photographs taken from the exploration of this site below, stop and take a peek the images my husband, Dan Traun, had captured in  Dan Traun’s original post from 2013-07-22, then read the extensive history behind this magnificent building by visiting the site of Somtimes Interesting- Ghosts of the Duluth, Missabe, and Iron Range Railway.

Enjoy!

Chicagoland and the Hiawatha Cedar Rapids

According to Wikipedia –

On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago was organized with a population of around 200.  Within seven years it would grow to a population of over 4,000. The City of Chicago was incorporated on Saturday, March 4, 1837 and went on to become the fastest growing city in the world for several decades.  Today, Chicago is the 3rd largest city in the US and is home to 9.5 million people.

We were fotunate to be included on a once in a life time trip while we photographed the Kremer family as they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  The Kremer family had rented a restored 1940’s train car, the Hiawatha Cedar Rapids, and traveled the railways from Minnesota to Illinois.  The “Cedar Rapids” features a unique Skytop end, providing passengers a unique view of the country as they head down the railroad. We were honored to be included on this special occasion, what an experience (thanks again for the opportunity)!  Included in this post are a few images from the train itself and images from in and around Chicagoland.

Chicago is rich in the arts and architecture; we did not spend much time in the city during this trip, but we plan on returning someday!

Following the Rails of North Dakota

The Dakota Territory was settled sparsely until the late 19th century, when the railroads entered the region and vigorously marketed the land. 

USTerritories

According to Wikipedia:

“The success of the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Great Northern Railroad was based on the abundant crops and rapidly increasing settlement in the Red River Valley along the Minnesota border between 1871 and 1890.”

“The railroad was the engine of settlement for the state. The Northern Pacific Railroad was given land grants by the federal government so that it could borrow money to build its system.  The federal government kept every other section of land and gave it away to homesteaders. Meanwhile, the Great Northern Railroad energetically promoted settlement along its lines in the northern portion of the state.  The Great Northern Railroad bought its lands from the federal government, as it received no land grants, and resold the land to farmers one by one. It operated agencies in Germany and Scandinavia that promoted its lands and brought families over at low cost.”

“The battle between The Great northern Railway and Soo line Railroad to control access across northern North Dakota resulted in 500 miles of new track and more than 50 new town sites just in one year.  Many of the towns sites were never settled and were abandoned”

Towns began to dot the countryside as growth followed the rails.  As the population of North Dakota declined, the buildings were left under the care of Mother Nature.  Follow the old railway lines and you may just find yourself in the presence of a ghost town yourself.  Many of these abandoned towns and the land that these debilitated buildings reside on, are now privately owned.  Stories of the old inhabitants that once lived in these homes or worked in the buildings flowed though my mind as we drove through the empty streets.

The back roads of North Dakota were unlike any other that we have encountered.  Some roads would end in a marshland full of migrating birds others would just end…  Road Closed.

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 Hometown Affair

A group of photographers from the Red Wing Photography Club met up on this beautiful sunshiny day back in June of last year in Red Wing, MN with the sole intention of photographing the city and all of it’s beauty.   Venturing out with a group of photographers can be interesting and an outing that you can learn from.   How does your shooting buddy see the world behind that trusty camera– Different no doubt.  The goal of it all is to gain different perspectives on how other photographers not only view the world and how they wish to portray its beauty, but it is also wonderful to see how they work and how you can learn from them.  On this particular day, we met at the local Farmers Market where you can find vendors selling fresh canned fruit, fresh vegetables right from the garden, fresh baked bread (yummy), flower arrangements, plus much, much, more. We spent a couple of hours touring the city that we have all seen a thousand times.  You know- Those roads that we all travel on as we make our way to work or play, it is those streets that we take for granted at times.  I would have to say that I love living in the Mississippi Valley and Southeastern MN Bluff country.  Coming down into the quaint town of Red Wing from the North on Hwy 61 is always an amazing site for me and never gets old.

We had a fun and productive day walking the alleys and photographing the local businesses – trying to view the streets of Red Wing, MN  in a different way and taking off those “took for granted” sunglasses.

Sit back and enjoy the views you might have overlooked in Red Wing, MN.