Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

From Faribault: The golden hour of evening photography in spring May 30, 2019

A view of South Alexander Park from the shores of the Cannon River in North Alexander Park.

 

THE GOLDEN HOUR. Those three words hold great meaning to anyone into photography. It is the 60 minutes after sunrise and the 60 minutes before sunset—the time when natural light lends a softness to images.

 

A lone mallard swims in the quiet waters of the Cannon River in North Alexander Park.

 

Recently, I grabbed my camera to photograph early evening spring scenes at two Faribault city parks—North Alexander and Two Rivers. The results show the beauty of incredible natural light in making a photo.

Enjoy.

The converging of the Cannon and Straight Rivers at Two Rivers Park.

 

A nearly camouflaged bird along the banks of the Cannon River, North Alexander Park.

 

In the still of a beautiful May evening. trees reflect in the Cannon River as seen from North Alexander Park.

 

Lots of geese populate the Cannon, including this young family photographed in North Alexander Park.

 

The historic Faribault Woolen Mill sits along the Cannon River, photographed here from North Alexander Park.

 

Reflections at Two Rivers Park.

 

Picnic tables placed along the Cannon River in North Alexander Park (next to the recreational trail) provide riverside dining.

 

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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In Winona, Part V: Along the Mississippi January 12, 2016

A barge floats near the Mississippi River bridge that connects Minnesota and Wisconsin in Winona.

A barge floats near the Mississippi River bridge that connects Minnesota and Wisconsin in Winona. A new bridge is under construction next to the old one shown here and is expected to be completed this year. The old bridge will then undergo renovation. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

IN MINNESOTA’S SOUTHEASTERN most tip, the Mississippi River flows alongside bluffs, edging small towns and cities. Like Winona. The Mighty Mississippi shaped this island sandbar, today a destination for those who appreciate history, art, architecture, stained glass and more. Sometimes folks come just for the river.

Someone chalked the Levee Park sign much to my delight.

Someone chalked the Levee Park sign much to my delight. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

On a brief visit to Winona in September, my husband and I watched river traffic from Winona’s downtown Levee Park as twilight tinged the sky pink.

The Winona Tour Boat offers river cruises. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo September 2015.

The Winona Tour Boat offers river cruises. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

There’s something incredibly soothing about water. Mesmerizing really. Like a lullaby or poetry or the refrain of a favorite song.

The White Angel tugs a barge.

The White Angel tugs a barge. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

Water transports thoughts to a quiet place.

Winona State University's Cal Fremling boat also offers river cruises with a focus on education. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo September 2015.

Winona State University’s Cal Fremling boat also offers river cruises with a focus on education. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

Or a place of adventure, sans Huckleberry Finn. Who hasn’t dreamed of clamoring aboard a raft and leaving everything behind?

As the sun sets, Winona State University's Cal Fremling boat passes under the Mississippi Rover bridge in Winona. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

As the sun sets, Winona State University’s Cal Fremling boat passes under the Mississippi Rover bridge in Winona. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

Days flow like a river, sometimes straight and true, other times twisting and turning through a torrent of troubles.

Boathouses as photographed from Levee Park in Winona. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

Boathouses as photographed from Levee Park in Winona. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

On this September evening, peace ran like a river past Winona, through my soul…

The old Mississippi River bridge in Winona. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo 2015.

The old Mississippi River bridge in Winona. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo 2015.

diminishing all thoughts of a bridge over troubled waters.

FYI: Tomorrow I conclude my series from Winona.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Watching the Straight River in Faribault March 24, 2011

The river watcher points to the Straight River that has flooded Teepee Tonka Park and tells me how much the water has already gone down. The park often floods in the spring.

DAILY HE’S TREKKED across town from his north-side home to the downtown area and then crossed the bridge to check on the river.

I met him early Wednesday evening near the banks of the Straight River at Faribault’s east-side Teepee Tonka Park.

We didn’t waste time on chit chat, didn’t even introduce ourselves. We simply talked about the river and flooding and how he’s driven here daily recently to watch the river rise.

We look from the bridge toward flooded Teepee Tonka Park, where waters have already begun to recede.

He has reason for concern. During last September’s flash flood in Faribault, sewage backed up into his home from the sanitary sewer causing $15,000 in damages. He doesn’t live on a river. The Rice County Fairgrounds on one side, buildings and land on the other across a roadway, sit between his home and the Cannon River. His 20th Street Northwest home is buffered from the rivers, the Cannon nearest his home and the Straight that joins it nearby, flowing north past Teepee Tonka where he’s kept a watchful vigil.

He was optimistic, though, on Wednesday evening, telling me the Straight River had crested that afternoon and gone down. He wasn’t worried. The water was no where near the level during last fall’s flash flood. I could see that and so could he.

We turned away from the park bridge, toward the viaduct, to check the river level.

The Straight River has stayed mostly inside its banks near the historic viaduct.

And so I left this river watcher, braving the slippery, iced sidewalk to step onto the park bridge and peer into the raging waters of the Straight River.

The river watcher turns and walks back to his post on the bridge.

I leave the river watcher peering over the bridge at the churning Straight River.

CHECK BACK for more river images from Faribault.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling