Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The golden hour at the King Mill Dam, Faribault, Minnesota September 10, 2018

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Fishing in the gloaming of the day, June 12, Cannon River at King Mill Park, Faribault, Minnesota.


IN PHOTOGRAPHY, LIGHT isn’t everything. But it ranks among the top factors in creating a good photo as do framing, perspective, practice and creativity. A good camera is nice, too. Not essential. My Canon DSLR 20-D, for example, would be considered aged by most. Yet, I manage to produce marketable and memorable images.


Golden light slices across the sky.


A bird in a bush presents a striking silhouette in this edited image.


Glint of sunlight on water. Beautiful simplicity.


If you’re serious about photography, you’re aware of the golden hour—the hour right after sunrise and right before sunset. The light is softer, warmer then, lending itself to photography.


The King Mill Dam, Faribault, Minnesota.


Soft colors tinge the sky as the sun sets with this bush in the foreground.


High above, sunshine glints on the trails of a jetliner.


Several months ago, just days before I fractured my left wrist thus halting all photography for the summer, I shot some evening golden hour scenes at King Mill Park along the Cannon River in Faribault. I love this time of day in southeastern Minnesota. There’s a certain peacefulness as day closes and the door opens to evening, then night.


Milkweed and other flowers rim the shoreline.


Rather than expound in words, I’m showing you, because, oftentimes, a picture really is worth 1,000 words.


FYI: Tomorrow I’ll show you the first images I shot after my orthopedic doctor cleared me to use my camera some 10 weeks after my bone break and subsequent surgery to implant a plate.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Angling in the rushing floodwaters of the Cannon River September 25, 2010

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Fishermen angled for fish in the swollen Cannon River at the King Mill Dam in Faribault Saturday afternoon.

BROTHERS DYLAN AND PARKER and their friend Doug are way braver than me.

No way would you catch me angling for fish along the churning Cannon River at the King Mill Dam in Faribault today. Watching the water tumble and swirl, hearing the rushing roar, made me nervous. But seeing the boys standing so close to the dangerous river, tossing their lines into the mayhem as if they didn’t have a care in the world, caused me even more anxiety.

Only the top parts of a warning sign and of a sidewalk rail peeked above the high water at the dam site.

I was concerned, enough to ask if their moms had given them any special instructions before they left home.

“Watch the speed of the water,” said 14-year-old Dylan.

“Don’t try and fall in,” Doug, also 14, added. Only the 11-year-old didn’t have anything to say.

I suppose the boys thought they were cautious enough, and they really weren’t careless. But one slip on the steps where they fished, or one misstep from the bank, and they would be carried away by the swift-moving waters.

Part of the stairway and sidewalk were submerged in the Cannon River. The boys fished at the bottom of the stairs.

Parker climbed the stairs to the top of the dam with his catch, a sunfish.

I tried not to dampen their spirits; they seemed so content—three boys fishing away a Saturday afternoon, reeling in bass and perch and sunfish. But I wanted them to know, in a subtle way, that I cared about their safety.

A sign at the top of the dam walkway and stairs cautions anglers and others.

Doug crosses the bridge over the King Mill Dam as the river rages below.

The boys set their tacklebox at the top of the stairs, which runs from the top of the dam to the lower river bank.

I didn't worry quite so much when Dylan fished from the footbridge across the top of the King Mill Dam.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling