top of page

along west river parkway

“a real building is one on which the eye can light and stay lit.”

― ezra pound

recently one night, i was walking up the west river parkway that runs along the mississippi river in northeast minneapolis. i had just come from making an image that combined a couple of icons together in one close-up view. i passed the guthrie theater and was captivated by a mural. i stood there for a while looking at the mural….but that, my dear readers, is for another blog.

i continued up the rising street and came to a stop at gold medal park in front of a hill. i saw a landmark that was not new to me. however, i had not seen it from this vantage point before.

have you ever had that happen? you’ve been to a location a “thousand times”. you’ve driven by a scene every day for the past year. the familiarity and frequency of seeing it begins to relegate it to barely more deserving than a passing glance. but then…wow! it’s like you are encountering it for the first time! what was old has been made new again! that’s what happened to me that night and i marveled at it for a bit. then i sized up how i wanted to capture this scene in front of me.

first, i made an image further back from the base of “the hill with the spiral”. that’s my name for it. the walkway spirals around the hill all the way to the top. you can see the wall of the walkway in this image. i’m not aware of an official name for this hill or mound as it is called on the gold medal park website. so, as far as i’m concerned, it’s called “the hill with the spiral”!

while the first image was ok, i wanted a closer perspective. i wanted to capture a sense of minimalism in the overall image, yet magnificence in the subject matter. i moved to the base of “the hill with the spiral” (if i say it enough, maybe it’ll catch on with the minneapolis populace…🤔). i made a second image and am quite in love with with it personally. i feel like the image evokes what i was hoping to capture.

this particular view is looking up at the eleven on the river condo high rise. though it is actually a little ways beyond the peak of this hill, it seems to emerge out of the peak into the sky, blazing forth its light from up top. covering the base was a grove of trees lit up from the ground and from within the branches. it, too, threw out a light that pierced the city night sky.

the view of this quite remarkable architecture surely can be seen for miles on the northeast side of minneapolis. it is not unlike a lighthouse that shines its light over the waters, helping ships up to miles away navigate safely. in some small way, at least in my mind, the lights of the eleven and the grove of trees act as a primary night light to make exploring the city at night a little more reassuring.

“but wait,”you say, “what is this combination of icons that you made an image of?” well i’m glad you asked; i’ll be happy to share that with you as well!

as i was crossing the stone arch bridge starting from the northeast side to walk up the west river parkway, i was looking at the north star blanket sign in front of the city skyline. an idea for an image began forming in my mind.

i have no idea if this image has been made before. it wouldn’t surprise me if it has in some shape or form. it is hard with today’s proliferation of photographers, whether they shoot digital or analog, use an app on the phone or an actual camera body, to come up with new ideas for images. but it was new to me.

i had the idea to use the wells fargo center as a background for the north star blanket sign. as i was looking at it from the bridge quite a ways off, it looked like the sign might have some depth to it with wells fargo center looming in the background. using my telephoto lens to zoom in, i made this image. i did a little more cropping in my post-processing as well.

when i make images out in the field, i always create a wider perspective and then crop in more, if i need to, after the fact. sometimes i keep the image as it is. sometimes i crop in more. the reason for leaving that extra room is to give me leeway as to how i want the image to look. i’ve made images in the past where i wanted to create an image with a certain crop but could not. the reason? i had left no room to do so without losing an important part of the image. cropping is one important tool to help tell a story and/or promote a focal point. i’m pretty selective as to when i use it; but it is one i use when the need calls for it.

i find this image quite fascinating to look at. i’m drawn to the colors, textures, lines and depth of field between the sign and building. there were no clouds in the sky that cold winter night to reflect back the colors of the city lights. the black sky adds another level to helping the whole image to stand out more.

i headed back down west river parkway toward the stone arch bridge. i approached the guthrie theater where i saw the mural. i began to set up my camera gear again and…oh…that’s right. that’s for another blog!

i did make a few more images as well in the mill ruins park area right next to the stone arch bridge. there is so much to take in along this small stretch of the west river parkway! as i strolled back over the stone arch bridge heading to my car, i came to this cool realization; the walk from the mill ruins park to the guthrie theater to the eleven on the river condo high rise is an architectural progression timeline from the later 19th century to the 22nd century we find ourselves in now. still smiling from the absorption of that fact, i enjoyed the solitude of the night as i was the only person walking on the bridge. i looked out to the left and right upon the mississippi river and the city lights as the minneapolis city hall clock ticked midnight. soon i was at the car and back on the road headed to the comforts of a roof over my head and a bed waiting for me to lay my head down and drop off to sleep.

i hope you enjoyed this blog! if you have any questions or comments about the blog and/or the images, share them in the comments section below. i would love the opportunity to interact with you. perhaps this blog stoked a memory of seeing a familiar site in a new way for you. i'd love to hear about it!

i'll be adding the two images soon to my online store. in the meantime, here are a couple of representations of how they might look in your home and/or business for those of you interested in the possibility of purchasing one or both images.

20x30 wall art for a business lobby area

40x40 wall art for a movie room in a home basement

i continue to appreciate your support of my blogs by reading them. remember that if you enjoyed it, there most likely will be others you know that would as well! i would love to see you share this post with others to enjoy. just simply copy the url address at the top of the browser and paste it where you would like to share it. if you would like to receive email notifications every time i post a new blog, fill out the subscription form with your email address. you'll be added to the email list i send out when a new blog is published.

thanks again and i'll see you soon with more "images from my quiet world"!

Recent Posts

See All

2 comentários

I can not decide which one I like better! The first one looks as if the trees are lifting the building up to the sky and I love the contrast of natural and man made, light and dark. the second one I love as well. The warmth of the colors and the way the star blanket sign cradles the end if the other building. Nice framing sir! Sounds like you had a fun night as well.

stephen hadeen
stephen hadeen
08 de mar. de 2023
Respondendo a

I did have a fun night! Thanks for sharing. You know I love your support!

bottom of page