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!

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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.

April showers bring may flowers

April… Not only my birthday month but a time of new beginnings in the northern hemisphere as well.  Upon research, the etymology is from the Latin aperire, “to open,” in allusion to its being the season when trees and flowers begin to “open” or start a new beginning. Additionally the phrase “April showers bring May flowers” comes to mind.  April, traditionally a rainy period, gives way to May, when flowers will bloom because of the water provided to them by the April rains.  Therefore, by extension, that a period of discomfort can provide the basis for a period of happiness.  April… What a wonderful month indeed.

The fourth month of last year brought continued happiness and good fortune in our photography travels.  Dan and I scoured the countryside of Minnesota and Wisconsin in search for beauty.  We have the knack for running into something special whether it be a forgotten building, a reflection in a puddle from a recent April downpour, or a morning sunrise like no other.  As for the sunrises, I am a bit spoiled as I do, on occasion, get advance notice of the beauty that is about to unfold.  Dan commutes to St. Paul for work, which means that he leaves sometimes before I even open my eyes.  Those early morning text messages telling me to wake up and catch the morning sunrise as it is unfolding are appreciated… Thank you honey.