Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Photographing the Minneapolis skyline October 8, 2015

Frame 1: Northbound on Intestate 35W toward downtown Minneapolis.

Frame 1: Northbound on Intestate 35W toward downtown Minneapolis.

EVERY TIME MY HUSBAND and I journey toward and around downtown Minneapolis, I am taken by the skyline. Generally, I am not a fan of skyscrapers embedded in concrete, of vertical lines that block ground level views and cast long shadows. I am of the prairie, of horizontal lines and broad vistas.

Frame 2:

Frame 2: You best know which lane you should be driving in.

Yet, I have grown to appreciate the Minneapolis skyline. From a distance. And through the viewfinder of my Canon DSLR. My camera distracts me from the often congested traffic, although my definition of congested certainly differs from that of a city dweller.

Frame 3: Traffic builds as you approach the downtown.

Frame 3: Traffic builds as we approach the downtown. Great sign placement choice by Yahoo.

Afterward, when I am back in my Faribault home office, photos uploaded into my computer, I study the frames. And I see in the downtown skyline images an almost other-worldly quality, as if the collection of buildings is background in an animated film. Unreal. Stacked Lego blocks. The work of an artist rather than that of engineers and builders.

Frame 4: Enough traffic for me.

Frame 4: Enough traffic for me. About this time I’m asking my husband, “Do you know which lane you’re supposed to be in?”

Frame 5

Frame 5: Traffic slows in a tight spot.

Frame 6: We're going right.

Frame 6: We’re going right. Better than taking the congested 16A exit.

Frame 7: I love this painterly view of the Minneapolis skyline.

Frame 7: I love this painterly view of the Minneapolis skyline.

Frame 8: One last look at the skyline.

Frame 8: One last look at the skyline.

Do you see what I’m seeing, that surreal artistic quality in the buildings?

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


32 Responses to “Photographing the Minneapolis skyline”

  1. feralc4t Says:

    Those architects were paid good money to get that effect..

  2. Marneymae Says:

    That second to last photo would indeed, to my mind/eye, make a lovely painting

  3. Beth Ann Says:

    Skylines amaze me as well and you have managed to see past the buildings and embrace their beauty. I wonder how you would react in NYC?

    • Oh, I’ve been to NYC, once during spring break of my junior year of college. I remember this: good-looking men in leisure suits along Wall Street, the pretzel vendor on the corner, the man pushing a garment rack down the street and me almost being trampled because I was gawking up at the skyscrapers.

      I have no desire to return to NYC. Too much big city for me.

  4. Dan Traun Says:

    The skyline is pretty incredible in the evening too.

    • I agree. Last time we were in the Cities, heading south, darkness had fallen and I was beyond impressed by the beauty of the Minneapolis skyline at night. I kept cranking my head back to look as my husband drove away from the city.

  5. I love the Minneapolis Skyline – we had our engagement photos with the backdrop of the skyline – it is eclectic with old and new 🙂 Thanks for sharing – Happy Day – Enjoy!

  6. Jackie Says:

    The two-tones on the beige building, the mirror panels full of reflection, and so many shapes and sizes, I love this city-scape as well. We’ve been seeing a lot of it since buying the cabin 🙂

  7. Thread crazy Says:

    Great pic Audrey of the skyline. Reminds me so much of the Dallas skyline. The Ft. Worth skyline, while a bit smaller, is pretty also as they used to outline the building in white lights. Love seeing the skylines of large cities…but so glad I like e in a smaller one!

  8. Frame 7 is just fantastic! c

  9. Littlesundog Says:

    The Minneapolis skyline is a beautiful one. It’s been more than thirty years since I’ve been there and it’s changed a lot. The mirror panels on tall structures are truly beautiful in many cities. The day you shot those photographs you had the good fortune of amazing poufy clouds and lovely blue sky.

  10. Lovely.
    I’ve been there MANY times and still appreciate the skyline!! xx

  11. Gunny Says:

    Last time I saw the Minneapolis skyline, I was on a jet airliner headed for San Diego, CA. That was in April 27, 1967. Ultimate destination: MCRD San Diego. I love the big cities. So long as I live outside of the most extreme beltways!

  12. hotlyspiced Says:

    Your streets/highways are so wide and have so many lanes. It’s very unusual for us to have any more than three lanes. Sydney wasn’t very well planned, I’m afraid, after all, it started as a dumping ground for convicts! I like the look of the brown building in the last photo – the one on the right hand side. It looks like it has some charm and character xx

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