Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Of pumpkins, pots & photos November 4, 2016

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roadside-flower-shop-sale-in-rochester-mn

 

THIS SCENE PACKS A LOT.

I count two dozen pumpkins, 28 flower pots, seven signs, one butterfly and one squirrel.

If I hadn’t photographed this sidewalk sale while traveling along Broadway in Rochester, I would have missed the details. The merchandise would have simply blurred in a flash of orange.

But now, well after my pass through this southeastern Minnesota city, I can study the photo, like examining the pages of an I Spy book. That’s the beauty of an image. Once you’ve shot it, you can return and appreciate what you’ve photographed.

And I always appreciate slices of everyday life preserved with the click of a shutter button.

FYI: I direct you to the work of Red Wing photographer Dan Traun. He’s especially gifted in documenting everyday scenes on the move. Click here to view Dan’s photos.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Minnesota Faces: Life through his lens June 5, 2015

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Portrait #26: Dan Traun

Photographer Dan Traun. Photo by Cynthia Traun. Visit Cyndie's photo blog at cyndietraun.com

Photographer Dan Traun. Photo by Cynthia Traun. Visit Cyndie’s photo blog at cyndietraun.com

One of the best ways to improve one’s photography is to study the work of others.

And since discovering Minnesota photo blogger/photographer Dan Traun of Red Wing, I’ve learned a lot. Dan’s photographic talents are far-ranging. I don’t think there’s anything he can’t shoot and shoot well, from portrait to studio, event, nature, panoramic, and scenic and urban settings.

A recent photo I shot outside of Kwik Trip on Faribault's east side was inspired by the work of Dan Traun. This is the type of scene Dan photographs.

A recent photo I shot outside of Kwik Trip on Faribault’s east side was inspired by the work of Dan Traun.

Dan excels in capturing urban street scenes, moments of everyday city life that, through his eagle eyes and the click of the shutter button, are personalized studies of humanity. His work is truly documentary, focused on ordinary activities and people. A road construction crew. People waiting at a bus stop. A man leaning against the side of a building eating lunch.

This remarkable photographer has taught me the value in the ordinary. He’s taught me to notice alleys, which can reveal as much, if not more, about a business than the public front side. He’s taught me to appreciate streetside interactions. He’s shown me urban Minnesota, an area I seldom frequent.

Every photographer develops his/her own signature style. I’d suggest you check out Dan’s work by clicking here. His photos show an unembellished Minnesota, the type of photos historians value. This is life. This is real.

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“Minnesota Faces” is featured every Friday on Minnesota Prairie Roots.

Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Dan Traun portrait copyright of Cynthia Traun

 

 

 

On the road metro Minnesota photography November 25, 2014

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I’M NO FAN OF METRO TRAFFIC. But then who is, I suppose?

A view of downtown Minneapolis on a foggy Saturday from Interstate 35.

A view of downtown Minneapolis on a foggy Saturday afternoon from Interstate 35.

I try to make the best of it, though, to focus on details of my surroundings rather than on the crazy drivers weaving in and out of traffic or the tailgater or the road construction or the sudden flash of brake lights.

As you can tell from that second paragraph, my attempts at distracting myself are not all that effective.

My primary distraction tool is my camera, typically at the ready to photograph whatever unfolds before me from the front passenger seat.

Why are the interstates around downtown Minneapolis so curvy?

Why are the interstates around downtown Minneapolis so curvy?

On Saturday, while traveling Interstate 35 into Minneapolis, I missed two photo ops because my Canon DSLR sat at my feet, zippered inside the camera bag. What was I thinking?

After my husband noticed a dog with his head hanging out a truck window (why do dogs do that?) and after I spotted a woman texting while driving, I snatched my camera from the bag. I wasn’t about to miss more such photo opportunities.

One of the few scenes I shot while traveling Interstate 35 into Minneapolis.

One of the few scenes I shot while traveling Interstate 35 into Minneapolis.

As Red Wing, Minnesota photo blogger Dan Traun advises, “You always have to be ready.” And Dan is. Among his photographic specialties are shooting streetscapes and everyday slices of mostly metropolitan Minnesota life. He’s good, no great, at what he does. His timing is uncanny as is his ability to notice a scene worth documenting. Most shots are taken from his vehicle.

Approaching yet another curve, this one under a railroad overpass.

Approaching yet another curve, this one under a railroad overpass.

Dan shows you buildings and everyday life and streets and alleys and all those subjects folks see daily, but perhaps don’t notice like they should.

We should all slow down and appreciate life. Even those crazy drivers in the metro.

PLEASE CHECK BACK to see the craziest subject I photographed along Interstate 35.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling