Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The poetry of black-and-white photography March 5, 2015

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THERE’S A CERTAIN TIMELESS beauty in black-and-white images.

Monochrome equals zero distractions.

Lack of color encourages study of light and shadows and patterns.

The absence of hues calms the spirit in a way that’s almost poetic, meditative, spiritual.

This rural scene was shot along Interstate 35 somewhere south of Lakeville, Minnesota.

This rural scene was shot along Interstate 35 somewhere south of Lakeville, Minnesota.

I’ve learned that not every image deserves color, especially in a landscape mostly devoid of color like that of a Minnesota winter.

In it’s unedited state, this photo was blown-out. I almost discarded it. But then I waved the magic wand of photo editing. The muses wrote shadows across the snow like lovely lines of lyrical poetry.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Small town patriotism February 26, 2014

American pride along First Street, Montgomery, Minnesota.

American pride along First Street, Montgomery, Minnesota.

EVERY MORNING as an elementary school student in rural Minnesota, I joined my classmates in facing the corner of the classrooom to gaze upon the American flag. Hands across hearts, we recited the pledge:

I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United State of America
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible,
with Liberty and Justice for all.

The same photo, edited.

The same photo, edited.

Those words imprinted upon my memory, instilled a sense of pride in my country and a realization that I live in a nation blessed.

And edited again...

And edited again…

Precious words. Somewhat muddied now. But still, ever so dear.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Transforming the winter landscape February 17, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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LACKING COLOR; colorless.

White dominates the Minnesota landscape this time of year. I don’t need to tell you that if you live here. Just look outside right now. Snow. More snow today. Like me, you’ve probably had enough of winter.

It’s easy to become visually depressed, eye weary of the mostly colorless landscape. You yearn for pops of color to brighten this drab environment, to lift your spirits.

Via the magic of photo editing, I’ve transformed some rather ordinary winter scenes into works of art. Oz they’re not. But the simple act of manipulating these photos into watercolor or paint-by-number style images shifted my mood. I hope they do yours, too.

A ridge of plowed snow edges a country road near Montgomery, Minnesota.

A ridge of plowed and drifted snow edges a country road near Montgomery, Minnesota.

A farm site near Montgomery lost in a sea of snow.

A farm site near Montgomery in a sea of snow.

Love this sturdy barn, also near Montgomery.

Love this sturdy barn and silos, also near Montgomery.

Machinery, seemingly abandoned in the snow.

Machinery, snowed-in.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Icebreaker February 13, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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An edited photo of Fred's Foods.

An edited photo of Fred’s Foods.

FROM VEHICLE LEVEL, the view of Fred’s Foods in Montgomery, Minnesota, is limited.

Snow pushed from the parking lot forms a street-side barrier.

But for photo purposes, I find this scene visually pleasing—the jolt of red against white, the strong graphic of the building rising above the snow line like a defiant icebreaker charging onward.

Toward spring.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Riding the waves… February 4, 2014

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Snowmobile photo, edited

…Minnesota style.

Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Up on the rooftop February 3, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 11:48 AM
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Rooftop snow removal 1

Ho, ho, ho!
There he goes.
Ho, ho, ho!
There he goes.

Rooftop snow removal, scrape
Up on the rooftop
Scrape, throw, scrape.

Rooftop snow removal, throw
Right through the snow with
Good Saint Minnesotan.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

After the rain June 5, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:16 AM
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AFTER THE LONGEST WINTER I can ever remember in Minnesota, we’re now enduring an especially cool and rainy spring. Clouds hang heavy. Rain drips, sometimes pours. It is enough to dampen the spirits of even the most optimistic among us.

Raindrops on hosta.

Raindrops on hosta.

So, on a recent evening, after yet another rain shower, I grabbed my camera to photograph post-rain details. This self-made assignment gave me reason to pause, to appreciate the beauty of a single raindrop.

An American flag complements million bells and a geranium in a pot near my front door.

An American flag complements million bells and a geranium in a pot near my front door.

Sometimes you truly must stop, reassess, give thanks that you are dealing only with clouds and rain and cold.  Not a tornado or floods or wildfires.

Romaine lettuce.

Romaine lettuce in the beautiful evening light.

Lovely spheres of Allium.

Lovely spheres of Allium.

Backyard bird bath.

Backyard bird bath.

Rain-shined hosta leaves.

Rain-shined hosta leaves.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling