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

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Light, oh glorious photographic light June 5, 2014

Corn sprouts along Minnesota Highway 60 east of Faribault. Photographed around 7:45 p.m.

Crops emerge in fields along Minnesota State Highway 60 east of Faribault. Photographed around 7:45 p.m.

LIGHT. Therein lies a factor that can make or break a photo.

Any student of photography covets the golden hour, that time around sunrise and sunset when light softens and sets a magical mood and tone.

A gravel road shoots off

A gravel road shoots off 220th Street East southeast of Faribault.

Monday evening, driving to and from a friend’s rural acreage east of Faribault to gather buckets of rhubarb, moody skies and light drew me to raise my camera, to fire off a few rapid shots of the landscape.

A decaying farm site along 220th Street East.

This windmill and decaying barn and silo caught my eye along 220th Street East.

There was no time to pause and compose, only snap through the rolled down passenger side window of the van.

Back in town, that sweet sweet light, although fading, still mingled with hovering grey skies that threatened more rain.

Several blocks from my home, Willow Street intersects with Minnesota State Highway 60. To the left is the home, now a museum, of founding father, Alexander Faribault.

Several blocks from my home, Willow Street intersects with Minnesota State Highway 60, right, and Division Street, left. To the left is the home, now a museum, of founding father, Alexander Faribault.

Again, I lifted my camera, this time shooting through the windshield, to capture a few images of this place I’ve called home for 32 years.

A portion of historic downtown Faribault in the fading light of day.

A portion of historic downtown Faribault in the fading light of day.

Historic buildings define downtown Faribault. I love this downtown for its quaintness, its history, its small town feel (although Faribault, in my opinion, is not a small town with nearly 30,000 residents).

Historic buildings define the downtown area.

Historic buildings define downtown Faribault.

I often wonder why locals and outsiders seem not to value this historic district with the same enthusiasm shown to similar historic Minnesota communities like Stillwater, Red Wing and Hastings, even neighboring Northfield.

Such were my thoughts during the golden hour of sunset.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling