Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Mn Prairie Roots’ final photo picks for 2012 January 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:23 AM
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TODAY WE’LL VIEW the best of my photos, in my opinion, from the final three months of 2012.

While most of my stories and photos take you to places in Minnesota, sometimes I venture into North Dakota and Wisconsin, home to my son and a daughter.

See me standing down there waving at my daughter atop Eagle Tower? Photo by Miranda Helbling.

See me standing down there waving at my daughter atop Eagle Tower? Photo by Miranda Helbling.

Early OCTOBER found the daughter, my husband and I on a day trip to scenic Door County in northeastern Wisconsin at the peak of fall colors. I would like to take credit for this scenic shot, but Miranda shot this from atop Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek. It is the perspective of this image, the balance of objects and contrast of colors, and the fact that I am actually in front of the camera, rather than behind it, which make this photo a winner.

The absolutely fabulous lunch counter at the Highland Cafe.

The absolutely fabulous lunch counter at the Highland Cafe.

The strong horizontal lines, the unexpected jolt of red and the quaintness of this lunch counter scene at the historic Highland Cafe in southeastern Minnesota make this another obvious pick for a favorite photo. In OCTOBER I photographed this cafe, which unbeknownst to me then, would close about a month later. I would encourage you to check out the rest of my cafe photo shoot by clicking here.

My Mom counts the jars of horseradish.

My Mom counts the jars of horseradish.

OCTOBER also took me back to my native southwestern Minnesota, where some members of my extended family gathered at my middle brother’s place to make horseradish. I was allowed to photograph the process in between helping with the horseradish making. After the condiment was poured into jars and lids tightened, my 80-year-mother stepped up to count the jars. That’s when I photographed her hands, resulting in this photo. I’d suggest you click here to view my documentation of horseradish making.

Graffitti

Graffiti

I am big on details when I shoot photos. So when I noticed a manual typewriter at The Emporium during a day trip to Hastings in OCTOBER, I just had to leave my mark. Realizing this would also make for an artsy image, I shot this photo. The composition, limited colors and the bend of the keys all appeal to my eye as does the vintage charm of typing on a manual typewriter.

A customer steps up to the check out counter, where the wood floor is especially worn.

A customer steps up to the check out counter, where the wood floor is especially worn.

Vintage could be applied to another image, this one taken in NOVEMBER at a long-time North Mankato hardware store. My camera and curiosity often give me access to places the ordinary person may never see. Such was this visit to Mutch Hardware, which recently closed. However, photo ops exist right before your eyes, if you will only see them. When I saw the worn floor boards in front of the check-out counter, I knew I had a photo op. So I placed my camera on the floor, angled it up a bit and clicked without ever seeing what the lens saw. This was the result. I’ve used this shoot-from-the-floor/ground angle often with some surprisingly excellent results. To view all of my published pix from Mutch Hardware, click here. 

A scene from November in downtown Fargo.

A scene from November in downtown Fargo.

I can’t quite pinpoint what most appeals to me about this image taken in downtown Fargo in NOVEMBER. But I think it’s the FARGOAN sign, the words “proper & prim” on the window and how both contrast with the hardy man biking by on a blustery cold day which cause this scene to stand out.  I like that the biker is purposely out of focus, defining motion.

A snippet of the many bookshelves at Zandbroz Variety, So artful.

A snippet of the many bookshelves at Zandbroz Variety. So artful.

If you see just a bunch of books crammed onto bookshelves, then you need to examine this image again. I see lines, rectangles, squares and colors repeating. I saw abstract art in this section of Zandbroz Variety during a stop at this eclectic store in downtown Fargo in NOVEMBER.  The angle of the bookshelves draws the eye into the photo.

Every little girl wants to portray an angel...

Every little girl wants to portray an angel…

My top photo picks from DECEMBER are all Christmas-related, including this endearing shot of angels in a Christmas pageant at my church, Trinity Lutheran in Faribault. Given the poor available light, which meant shooting at a slow shutter speed, I was doubtful I would manage to get any publishable images. But, as luck and timing would have it, I was able to hold the camera still enough and click at the exact right moment to freeze this classic scene.

Some of the guests took home gifts of poinsettias which served as table centerpieces.

Some guests took home gifts of poinsettias which served as table centerpieces at the community dinner.

When my husband and I attended the Community Christmas Dinner at Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church in Faribault, I pulled out my camera after I finished my meal and took a wide range of photos to showcase the event. Soft light pouring in through the glass doors created ideal lighting for this scene in which I noted strong horizontal lines. I also like the balance of the image and how the design on the bulletin board truly encompasses the essence of the community dinner. I was pleased with so many of the photos I shot here and I’d encourage you to check them out by clicking here.

Although the wise men did not arrive at the birth of Christ, they are typically depicted in nativities. I added the "star" with an editing tool to enhance the image.

Although the wise men did not arrive at the birth of Christ, they are typically depicted in nativities. I added the “star” with an editing tool to enhance the image.

Finally, my last photo pick for 2012 was shot at the outdoor Nativity scene in front of Buckham Memorial Library and the Faribault Community Center. After viewing the image above, I felt something was missing, and that “something” was a star. So I added a “star” with an editing tool and this is the result.

This concludes a three-part review of my favorite Minnesota Prairie Roots photos from 2012. It’s been my honor to share these photos with you, to perhaps give you a new perspective on a scene, to take you to a place you’ve never been, to experience something you’ve never done…

In all of my photos, I strive to tell a story. And to do so, I present overall views and detailed shots. Seldom do I simply stand and shoot. You will find me crawling on the floor/ground, bending, climbing onto chairs and elsewhere, moving in close, photographing from unexpected angles. I am not afraid to wiggle my way into a place to get just the right shot. I consider color and lines and light. I anticipate how a scene will unfold.

Long ago I stopped viewing the world like the average person. Everywhere I see photos and stories waiting to be shared via images and words. Thank you for allowing me to share my discoveries with you, my dear, dear readers.

Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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