Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A forever road February 24, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,
Minnesota State Highway 68 near Morgan.

Minnesota State Highway 68 near Morgan. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2015.

WITHIN SOUTHWESTERN MINNESOTA, I occasionally travel sections of roadway that stretch visually into forever. One is the diagonal of State Highways 67 and 68 running from Evan through Morgan to Redwood Falls. It’s a distance of about 20 miles. But it seems much farther.

After years of following a section of that route back to my native Redwood County, I’ve realized that the flatness of the land along a road as straight as a ruler lengthens the distance in my mind.

Few farm places snug the highway. Trees stand only in groves sheltering farm sites. As far as I can see down the asphalt ribbon—and it’s a long ways—utility poles guard road ditches in precise vertical lines.

And because this roadway angles across the land rather than runs straight north or south, I feel geographically unbalanced. Any sense of direction is lost.

That all said, I delight in photographing forever roads like this which draw the viewer right into the scene. It’s as if I am writing poetry with my camera.

TELL ME, WHAT SECTION of roadway evokes this same reaction in you?

© 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Barns along Rice County Road 15 November 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:31 AM
Tags: , , , , , , ,



White barn along Rice County 15


FOR YEARS WE’VE DRIVEN the back road from Faribault, through Morristown, to visit family in Waseca. The route slices through fields and past farm places that snuggle close to the roadway.

Sunday afternoon en route to Waseca and riding in the passenger front seat of our car with camera in hand, I was ready to capture the beauty of our first snowfall. I decided to focus on barns, which, if you’ve followed Minnesota Prairie Roots, you know I appreciate.

My blog statistics show that you, my readers, share my love of old barns.

So enjoy these barn images, taken through the car windows as my husband and I traveled along Rice County Road 15 between Faribault and Morristown. I’m pleased with how they turned out given I had little time to compose the shots.

Now just imagine what I could produce if I actually took the time to stop, get out of the car and take the photos. But we were in a hurry.

And, as my husband says, if we stopped every time I wanted to take a picture, we’d never get anywhere.



I couldn't believe how this picture turned out as I shot it through the driver's side window. The line of the car perfectly mimics the barn's roof line.



The owner of this barn, a friend of ours, re-roofed his barn this summer.



Of all the shots I took, this is my favorite because of its composition and because of the black earth peeking through the fresh, thin layer of snow.



I edited this to black-and-white even though there is little difference from the original white barn against the snow.


© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Check back for more barn photos from that road trip to Wascea.