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MN Zoo and Hanifl Arts Exhibit on WATER

July 23rd, 2024

MN Zoo and Hanifl Arts Exhibit on WATER

I just applied for acceptance to the 2024-2025 Art Exhibit at the Minnesota Zoo, in cooperation with the Hanifl Arts organization. This is my first art exhibit, and I am anxious to hear whether I've been accepted or not. I've not had much luck with Gallery Exhibits as the competition is fierce and space limited to but a few. Still, the process of application for acceptance brings a great deal of HOPE.

Hope is a great thing! "Overall, hope is beneficial to our well-being. Hope encourages us to persist, even though we may be facing setbacks. Hopeful individuals are more likely to frame difficulties as challenges, rather than threats. This enables them to experience setbacks as less stressful and draining." - Author unknown

Linda and I attempt to discover the Hidden Beauty in our photography, and share it with others to bring them, well... HOPE. Our work's mission is to Inspire - Motivate - Transform. That's our ultimate hope. By displaying our photographic art online, in Galleries or Exhibits, we ultimately hope it brings a sense of wonder, delight, mystery, beauty and joy.

So, if we are accepted in this year's exhibit, I'll be sure to invite you to attend. Who knows... it could bring you a bit of hope in your life as well.

Peace.

Duluth Rose Garden

July 15th, 2024

Duluth Rose Garden

Recently, Linda and I took a break from our daily grind and headed 'up north' to Duluth, MN for a few days of R&R. The weather was splendid, the Air B&B was outstanding, the wildlife entertained us around the clock, and the view... ah, the view of the Duluth Harbour was simply grand!

Each day, we were visited by no less than seven young deer, mostly males with their racks still covered in 'velvet', a very chubby skunk, a male gray fox, and a pair of Peregrine Falcons.

On day three, we hopped in the car and headed into town to visit the famous Duluth Rose Garden, near the Lief Erickson Park. The Duluth Rose Garden boasts a vast array of over 100 varieties of roses along with many other complimentary flowers and plants and covers over six acres. The fragrance of the Rose Garden was Heavenly! The air was saturated with the perfume of all those roses, and it simply took our breath away.

We planned well, meaning the weather was splendid and nearly perfect for our photo session with the roses. It was a bright sunny day with a gentle breeze off Lake Superior, and the park was well manicured and very well kept beautiful.

We immediately got to the task of seeking out the best-of-the-best for our photographs, getting lost in the grandeur of it all and even losing each other amongst the array of hedges and looping walkways.

Once we settled in with our task at hand we were immediately reminded of the pros and cons of photographing in full sunlight, and with air movement from that lovely, gentle breeze. We adjusted our camera settings and proceeded to capture some of the most beautiful images, which I share in this post (see the link at the bottom).

We shot dozens of images and was blessed with perfect R&R weather. View our Collection of Duluth Rose Garden images here.

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Finding Calm In the Storm

July 15th, 2024

Finding Calm In the Storm

You may have heard the phrase, “The calm BEFORE the storm”, but today I want to share a true story about discovering the calm IN the storm. This personal discovery actually helped me in my grief journey. And, oddly enough, I was intentionally seeking a storm – on Lake Superior, on the Minnesota side of the big lake.

As a very brief introduction to my story, I want to say that each year on November 10th, folks along the North Shore of Lake Superior, from Duluth to Grand Marais, commemorate the sinking of the large iron-ore ship, The Edmund Fitzgerald back on November 10, 1975. As a memorial tribute to the 29 sailors that lost their lives that day the legendary Split Rock Lighthouse provides a ‘memorial beacon lighting’ ceremony.

In 1976, singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot paid tribute to the 29 lives lost in the sinking of the ship with his song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

As a photographer and storyteller, I am drawn to the memorial lighting and to those raging storms that buffet the lakeshore during a time now called The Gales of November. Many photographers have captured the wonder and mystery of those storms on the big lake. And each year, my wife Linda and I trek up to the big lake in hopes of experiencing a big storm, to capture images of those rare and powerful waves crashing onto the Sawtooth Mountain Range that guards the shores of Minnesota. It’s in those crashing waves something wonderful is revealed.

Through a natural response to various events we may witness, we can see ‘things’ within what we are actually looking at. It’s called Pareidolia, seeing things within other things. Webster’s dictionary defines it this way - pareidolia: the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern. (See the two images of large waves hitting the cliffs of the Sawtooth Mountain Range – those were taken by my friend Paul Sundberg (Sundberg_1 & Sundberg_2). What do you see in the images?)

In November of 2022, Linda and I found ourselves ‘locked in’ during the storm because of freezing ice and snow on the roads. We never made it to the Sawtooth Mountain Range to witness the power of the storm. Instead, we were to wait out the storm until it was safe enough to drive. By then, the storm had passed, and a calm was settling in on the lake.

But during our unfortunate ‘lock down’ we discovered something much different than what we’d been seeking. We discovered images of Peace, Beauty, and Calm – all AFTER the storm. Seeking the Hidden Beauty in things is my mantra, as a visual artist, and especially as a grieving dad. (See my wife's photo - "Tears in the Woods")

As you may surmise, the effects of grief are numerous, painful, dangerous, debilitating… I could go on, but you may already know the ‘stuff’ of our grief. In my book (not for sale) I call it by its rightful name – The Villian. Am I right? Using the things I’ve learned in my 25-plus year grief journey, and through my storytelling and art I have discovered a new way to cope along the way – seeking and discovering the peace and calm in the Hidden Beauty within.

For years Linda and I were given little tokens of beauty in Adam’s life before his death in August of 1997. Stories of legacy and laughter, items of joy and tears, memories we had not known until someone gifted us with them. All hidden from our sight until ready to be revealed – in time. And when revealed, a calm comes over us as we experience the hidden beauty in them.

My hope and prayer for you is that you take a day-at-a-time experience in your grief journey, allowing you to discover all the hidden beauty in your lives. This road of grief is an unrelenting sorrow, authored by non-other than The Villian of our lives. But one thing the Villian cannot do is rob us of our memories, stories and legacy of our loved ones. Fight back with discovery, fight back with the hidden beauty of your loved one’s story. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find. I am, continually.

The photos included in this post are mine, Linda’s, and Paul Sundberg, my friend.

What began as a hobby in 1965 became one of my life's many passions, and I see photography as the art of visual storytelling. I believe there's a hidden story in every image captured.

Photography not only tells a story but preserves those precious moments in time we all come to cherish. I enjoy capturing beautiful landscapes and nature, people, and places, or creating digital art and abstract images.

I desire to produce art that transcends time and space, whether steeped in rich, vibrant colors or hidden within the mysterious and intriguing nature of black-and-white scenes. With a sensitive eye for detail and over four decades of experience, I bring you to where my true passion lies, straight from the heart.

Images 2000-2024 All rights reserved.

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Hidden Beauty in Stone

July 15th, 2024

Hidden Beauty in Stone

At our local library, out in the side-yard where children run, jump and play, there is a very large stone filled with shapes, colors and certainly... mystery!

I decided to take a "day off" and visit my local library to sit and read, to enter a brief respite from my daily grind and into adventure, mystery and intrigue. I love to read. It was a beautiful fall day, the sun warming the large stone in the side yard of the library. It was quiet and peaceful there, so I sat down to read my book, on that beautiful large stone.

As I began to read (a poetry book on beautiful things) I was drawn to the very rock I was sitting on, reflecting on what I had just read. I looked deeper into the surface of the large rock and inspiration struck. I could see multiple stories hidden within the stone's multifaceted surface.

I set down my book and picked up my camera and began an hour-long adventure, each image a separate story on its own. The more I looked into the stone the more stories emerged, stories of mystery, intrigue, adventure and mostly of beauty.

Next time you visit your library, city park or even your own back yard, stop to look for things that have Hidden Beauty within them

Visit my Collection "Hidden Beauty" on my website Hidden Beauty

Images 2000-2024 All rights reserved.

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