The Seductive Tree

I’ve stayed twice at a particular cabin on Lake Superior, and have both times been captivated by this tree on the point in front of the cabin. There’s something about this solitary tree that draws me in, and I find it hard to photograph anything else in the area. Of the two rolls of film that I shot in my Rolleicord the weekend I was here, most of the images were of this tree. These were shot on Ektar 100 film, some handheld, some exposures of several seconds on a tripod. Some at dawn, some at dusk.

Which is your favorite?

Hollywood Theater

The Hollywood Theater opened it’s doors on Johnson Street in NE Minneapolis in 1935, and has been closed since 1987. It’s in rough shape, but has recently been re-opened on a limited basis for some theatrical performances. And the local arts television show MN Original recently filmed a nice performance by local musician Mason Jennings in the theater, in which the theater’s beautifully decrepit interior plays a starring role.

It was designated a local historic landmark in 1990 and the city of Minneapolis has owned it since 1993. There have been many redevelopment plans discussed over the years, but nothing has happened so far. It would be an amazing space if it were renovated and re-opened as a live-performance theater.

Another feature of the part of NE Minneapolis I call home is the resident flock of wild turkeys that roam the streets, sidewalks and yards. They’re frequently seen outside the local coffee shop and corner restaurant, or sitting on the small strip of grass next to the craft store, in front of the funeral home, or even sitting on the park benches lining the sidewalk.  They’re quite used to the people and cars around, and take their sweet time crossing the street. They’ve become symbols of our little corner of NE Minneapolis. As I was taking the Hollywood Theater photos above, they wandered by, so I had to snap a shot of them in the street.

The second photo of the theater was taken with my Super Ricohflex on Portra 400 film, and the rest were shot on my Retina IIIc, also on Portra 400. The third photo — the straight-on shot — was cropped square from the 35mm frame because I liked the composition better, and straightened a bit in Lightroom. The first image, taken with the Retina, was adjusted in Lightroom — I added some Recovery to darken the sky that was a bit washed out, and a little fill light to brighten up the darker areas under the overhang. It gives it a little bit of an HDR look, I think, but hopefully not too much — I tried not to over-do it.  I’m always amazed at how much detail can be pulled out of the highlights and shadows on a good scan of a negative.

On the Rocks

Here are a couple of simple detail shots of the ice-covered rocks lining the shore of Lake Superior. It makes for some difficult walking.

Shot on Ektar 100 film with the Rolleicord III hand-held.

Tranquil morning on Lake Superior

I captured this image just after dawn a couple of weeks ago while staying at a great little cabin on the shore of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota. I think the temperature was below zero (fahrenheit, for my non-American readers) that morning, and the rocks were incredibly slick with ice from the spray of water splashing on them.  It’s been an unusually warm winter here in Minnesota, so Lake Superior has not frozen — some years this part of the lake does freeze, others it doesn’t. If you’re lucky enough to be there when huge chunks of ice are breaking up and crashing and piling up on shore, it’s an amazing display of nature’s power.  The tranquility of the lake on this particular morning is enhanced through a long exposure that softened the small waves tumbling over the rocks.

I used my Rolleicord loaded with Ektar 100 film, and metered the light with my Gossen Luna Pro handheld lightmeter.  I believe I stopped the camera down to about f/16 or f/22 and counted about eight seconds of exposure.  I had my lightweight travel tripod’s legs wedged between the icy rocks (and my boots wedged between rocks to keep myself upright).  I had forgotten to bring a cable release, so I had to hold the shutter open by hand and was worried about camera shake with my lightweight tripod, but it seems to have remained pretty solid.

I’ll have a whole series of images of this tree and the ice and rocks, as I sort through some film that I just had developed and scanned.  I should have a lot of images to share, and even some ‘new’ old cameras to talk about, including the oldest one I’ve ever shot with, a folding #1 Kodak Jr made, I believe, in 1914.

Fall on Lake Superior – Retina IIIc

A kind of funny thing happened when I shot that last photo. There was a small clearing in some trees where you could get a good view of the falls from a hiking trail. A guy stepped out of my way so I could take a photo, and after I snapped my one shot, he asked “did it turn out?”  I glanced at my 1956 Kodak Retina IIIc and said “yep, looks good” before continuing along the trail.

These photos were made at Gooseberry Falls State Park on Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota. The extremely dry fall slowed the normally-spectacular falls to a mere trickle. Those people in the photo above are standing where a lot of water is typically flowing.

I’ll have some newer photos to post soon, as I just sent several rolls of 35mm and 120 in for processing and scanning.  In the meantime, I thought I’d dig back through some older shots.  These were shot with the Retina IIIc on Portra 400. The bright sunlight was a bit harsh that day, especially at mid-day when these were shot, but the Retina and Portra handled it pretty well.