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a foggy night part 2

"if you want to see what the fog hides in itself, don't wait for

the fog to disperse! instead of waiting for something to happen

in this short life, do something immediately! enter the fog!"

-mehmet murat ildan

(click the link below to read the first blog in this two part series titled “a foggy night” if you have not read it yet)

it was now about 11:45 pm but this was just the beginning. i had other locations i wanted to hit to see how the fog looked. i packed my gear in the trunk, got in and took off. i headed from this south and west of central minneapolis location to the other side of the freeway over which i created the image of the basilica of st. mary’s seen in the previous blog. there i visited a location from which emerged one of my favorite images to date - loring corners. here is that image from the first time i discovered this location…be sure to click on any of the images in this blog for a distraction-free viewing experience.

this is one of those places that can offer a different mood and feel depending on the time of day, weather, etc. this particular night, the mood and feel was determined by the fog and my perspective. fog to me, as i alluded to in my previous blog, fosters a sense of mystery and a bit of the unknown or uncertainty in flavoring the scene. while one can see beyond the end of the alley, it is limited as the fog has sort of cocooned this scene. you can see what i’m talking about when you compare the first image with this one below. getting down and low in front of this grate of sorts (steam?) gives it a more gritty feel in the foreground as you follow the old cobblestone road up into a softer and highlighted background. i love how fog helps light beams to materialize! my choice of aperture (smaller lens opening) helped to create this starburst pattern. i have plans to keep revisiting this location as i want to capture the various moods this alley might display for me!

time to move on and see how else the night’s fog might inspire me! i got into my car and drove to a location in downtown minneapolis that i had in mind. there i walked around a city square block or two where the fog hovered high amongst the skyscrapers. i created a few images looking upward but nothing really made me dance a jig. and that’s ok! it was just as well as my jigginess would not be pretty to look at. it would look like the fellow at the back but even worse...

truth be told, if the fog had not been my agenda for the night, i could have easily spent quite a bit of time in the city block or two i explored. both minneapolis and st. paul have no shortage of modern and vintage architectural gems. steel gridlines that zig and zag up, down and diagonally. stone and brick put in place layer by layer and rising into the stratosphere of the towers above. and glass, lots of glass, that reflect and refract light; in some locations so much so that you feel like you are in a house of mirrors. details, both large and small, that can leave you in awe. i often look closely at the handiwork of master craftsmen from yesteryear (stone, brick, mason, wood, glass, etc.) that adorn the exterior and interior of older architecture. i marvel at the results achieved from tools of various sort (mostly hand tools!) and the pride of work that those craftsmen put into these buildings. today, such workmanship would be so cost-prohibitive that i suspect it could not and would not be done.

but, the fog was calling me.. "hey! don't forget about the show i'm putting one!". so i returned to my car and drove to my next location, the newly renovated and reinforced central or third avenue bridge. there was a vantage point i was really wanting to check out. as i got out of the car, i had that feeling...nature was calling. amazingly enough, set back in a parking lot corner of the street i parked on, there was a porta-potty. even more amazing was it was unlocked. porta-potties in construction areas are usually locked when the crew leaves. god bless the crew for not locking it that night! a few blog posts ago, i shared my overall perspective, briefly, about porta-potties. should that sound intriguing, you can check that out here…

with the call of nature now silenced, i walked toward and out onto third avenue bridge to a section that looked out over main street below. just ahead of me was the main, a local theater and arthouse. beyond that was the pillsbury sign and water tower. the fog here was a bit more dense. not so dense that I felt like i was in the middle of it though, in actuality, i was. the fog this night always seemed to be just ahead of me. it was kind of like a carrot being dangled in front of a horse. the horse moves; so does the carrot. the fog was always in front of me and tantalizing enough for me to keep moving toward its amorphous shape. but, alas, my eyes were never able to discern i was within its mysterious domain.

there are two things in particular i really love about this image! the abrupt transition where it suddenly becomes lighter toward the far right side of the image as a result of a beam shooting into the sky is the first one. the second is the silhouetted water tower and section of the building right below it. that blackness adds a sense of depth to this image as well as just being so cool in my opinion! here's an interesting tidbit for you....the water tower and pillsbury sign are actually quite a ways beyond the main theater sign and building in the foreground; you'll see that more clearly in the next image after this one.

i moved further out onto third avenue bridge to about a third of the the span of the bridge. here i took in a more expansive view of the east side of main street. normally, from this view, you would see the trees lining the banks of the river lit up. being that it was almost 1 am, i’m guessing that they were turned off, most likely via a timer, just as other buildings in downtown minneapolis turn off their iconic and familiar exterior luminance around the midnight hour. i confessed to being a bit bummed about that. it would have added a nice ambient glow amidst the darker band roughly centered in the image from right to left. perhaps another time when the fog is out and i remember to get to this location before it shuts off, i’ll be able to share that with you all.

as it was, i love the ambience of the pillsbury sign glowing through the fog and its counterpart glowing reflection sprawling out on the textured ice covered section of the mississippi river below. the pillsbury a-mill, once a bustling and leading flour mill of its time and now living/work artists lofts, stands out with with exterior lighting that really showcases the exterior limestone architectural features. at basement level, the limestone is 8 feet thick! remember i mentioned earlier about the water tower and pillsbury sign being further beyond the foreground building in the previous image? here, you can't even see the main theater sign as it is off to the left of the image. about six to eight buildings/businesses separate the main theater sign from the pillsbury sign.

it was now after 1 am. there were still a few more locations i wanted to check out. i packed my gear into my backpack and, with a little bit of effort as i was wearing my trusty winter jacket, got my arms through the should strap and the bag up on my shoulders. i buckled up my waist strap and chest strap. i never fail to be amazed how consistently doing those two small things help to stabilize the weight and make it manageable for hours of walking and/or hiking. while my back is always quite sore after any photo expedition as i have back issues, it’s the difference between just having a sore back and not being able to stand up straight; even to stand up at all!

the first location just required that i walk back to a set of stairs that sort of spiraled, in a squarely fashion, its way down from the third avenue bridge to st. anthony main below. once on the street below the bridge, i walked up main street, minneapolis’ oldest street and a fabulous and rather rickety cobblestone street, to the merriam street bridge. i’ve created a similar image from roughly the same location in the past. as i mentioned earlier regarding loring corners, i wanted to go back and see what the mood was like with fog in the mix. with the fog, our lady of lourdes catholic church and frgmnt coffee, the building to the right of the church, is restrained of its quite bright exterior illumination. this allows the merriam street bridge to be brought to the forefront as the centerpiece. i’ve shared about this bridge in a post on facebook but not in a blog. here’s a brief tidbit about this bridge for those of you who enjoy reading about historic architectural pieces…

on this particular night, i found the features of the bridge, especially where ambient light shines on it, particularly fascinating to look at. illuminated with string lights that are softened by the fog, i find this steel truss to be a beautiful piece of art in its own right. i can’t find an image i created with my iphone a while back so i’m sharing with you a link of that image. i posted a close up of the finial and scrollwork that can be seen at either end topping the bridge. be sure to check it out along with the fog image as the detail and scrollwork is awesome!

once again, it was time to pack up my gear and head back to the car. this time, going back up the squared spiral stairs left me panting a bit at the top. with the number of steps, a rather heavy backpack and the distance from the street back up to the top of the bridge, i definitely got my cardio in! once my heart could no longer be seen thumping beyond my ribcage (yeah…that really is a thing. I saw it all the time watching tv as a kid 😉), i walked the block and a half back to my car, loaded the gear into the trunk and took off for minneapolis’ twin, st. paul.

about 18 minutes later, i parked near to my second location. i was a bit in awe of this display as i came to a stop! i grabbed my gear, walked to a spot called the upper mall near the state capitol and just took it in for a few minutes. visible beams cut straight through the fog from the spotlights that shone on the american flags on either side of the capitol. the quadriga (the golden statue, called “progress of the state”, in front of the dome) as well as the dome itself added an incredible architectural flourish on top of an already amazing piece of architecture that houses the minnesota seat of government. all together, it projected an aura of grandeur starting from the ground level width of this imposing edifice. the grandeur then assimilates a sense of loftiness as well where the quadriga rules from its stage before the city of st. paul and the dome rises up and almost disappears into the fog! What a spectacle to behold! you had to be there in person to really understand what i felt and saw but i hope this image helps you to get a sense of that. i shared this originally in a facebook post but i’m sharing it again here in case you didn’t see it the first time around.

perhaps some of you may wonder why i didn’t include the whole capitol in the image. on the peripheral of both sidewalks on the right and left were two or three burned out lights.  i felt they interrupted the continuity of the image. i wanted a continuous flow of illumination leading up to the capitol without the eye encountering any “interruptions”. what i cropped out, to me, offered nothing to the image that it needed to be kept in. just a small insight into one way that i set up my final compositions!

it was now almost 2 am. i was tired but i wanted to photograph one more location before i called it a night. my last stop was a a very familiar location that i’ve created at in different seasons and weather; that location is como conservatory. and what a contrast that scene was from the state capitol! while the capitol radiated a sense of a show-stopping grand finale of a song, como conservatory drew into itself and had a sense of a quiet reflection. it’s kind of like the difference between frank sinatra singing “theme from new york, new york” and singing “in the wee small hours of the morning”. one is extroverted in feel and the other is introverted; but they both speak powerfully!

the fog here was not as evident as it was at the capitol but it was as effective in creating a mood. the conservatory’s illumination was muted a bit compared to other nights i’ve been there. the lighting is not as harsh. as well, the fog softened up the conservatory. for this image, i also utilized a low level light in the upper right of the image where the exedra looks over frog pond and the gardens surrounding it. i did this by setting a small light source on the concrete base of the exedra and shining it outward past the columns and iron wrought railing into the dark.

instead of the exedra being hidden in the dark of the night, it, too, is lit up with a soft light that, to me, gives the effect of being a beacon in the night amidst the dark pines. i imagine a weary traveler of the night coming to the exedra, taking a seat and looking out over the soft glow of the conservatory and reflection on the ice. such a peaceful and tranquil scene! such a needed respite in the crazy chaos of this world! we all need such a place in our lives. as you look at this image, i hope it brings that sense of peace and tranquility to your own heart.

it was now about 2:45 am. the night was quiet (well, it’s always quiet to my hearing).  the hustle and bustle of life would be coming soon but, for now, i was enjoying the solitude and beauty of como conservatory and reflecting on what a great night it had been of experiencing the fog in different settings! soon, i would be off in my car headed home. once there, i crawled into bed and drifted off to sleep. good night, mr. fog…thanks for sharing your beauty with me tonight…

thanks for reading my blog! i hope you enjoyed it! what are some of your favorite memories of fog? maybe this blog and corresponding images triggered a memory of a time and place where fog played a prominent part in that memory. i’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

here are some samples of how these images might look in your home and/or business should you be interested in purchasing any of them.

loring corners and fog - 24" x 36" metal print

main street and fog - 16' x 24" metal print

a-mill lofts and fog - 12" x 18" framed and matted print

merriam street bridge and fog - 40" x 40" metal print

state capitol and fog - 30" x 40" metal print in floating frame

como conservatory and fog - 40" x 60" metal print in floating frame

as i mentioned in a recent facebook post, my work schedule has been changed. it will affect my photography expeditions as well as my writing blogs about them. i hope to be able to write one blog at month after several years of doing two a month, but i’m not sure how realistic even that will be. i’ll likely be sharing more facebook postings with some captioning about the image as opposed to blogs. if you don’t already, i encourage you to check out my facebook page. search for stephen hadeen photography and click the follow and like button to ensure that you are alerted to my newest images as well as photography news related to my photography business. i will continue to write blogs; i just don’t know how often i will be publishing them for now. thanks so much for those of you who have been following my blogs over the past years. i really appreciate it! you’ll continue to get notifications when i do post new blogs.

thanks again for joining me on this foggy photo expedition! i’ll see you soon through my facebook postings and blogs with “more images from my quiet world”!

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댓글 2개

Thanks Penelope. Love having adventures and looking forward to more of them!


Always fun and interesting to hear your adventures! Amazing the images you capture while I’m sleeping soundly at home. Love your heart for adventure and exploration!

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