St. Patrick’s Day Northern Lights

Went searching for the Aurora Borealis aka Northern Lights in central Minnesota. Fittingly this event occurred on St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, 2015. A bit of the green glow in the sky and even a green horseshoe…well sort of.

See the St. Patrick’s Day Northern Lights Gallery.

Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights, Sunrise River, Sunrise MN, Central Minnesota Northern Lights, Horseshoe Northern Lights,

The green horseshoe on the Sunrise River in central Minnesota.

The kp index is an indicator of the strength of a geomagnetic storm and it was hovering in the 8-9 range all day and into the hours after sun down. That’s a strong storm and in central Minnesota you need at least a 4 to pick up the aurora. I think 7 or more is ideal but even later in the evening when it dropped to 5 or 6 I was able to get some good shots courtesy of the camera.

You can read more about this storm at

Power Grid Aurora Borealis, Power Lines Northern Lights, Minnesota Aurora Borealis, Green Northern Lights Central Minnesota

The power grid can be disrupted by strong geomagnetic storms.

When photographing the Northern Lights I approached it similar to shooting the Milky Way. Using long exposures at high iso. That way you can collect the faint parts of the aurora and since you’re likely in a dark area you can even get some foreground. If the aurora is really bright in your area it may be hard to get both the sky and ground exposed without light painting or bracketing exposures.

Phantom Lake Northern Lights, Phantom Lake Aurora Borealis, Western Wisconsin Northern Lights, Grantsburg WI, Phantom Lake at Night, Wisconsin Aurora Borealis

Phantom Lake Northern Lights

These were all shot wide open with either a 2.8 or 4.5 aperture. Ideally a 2.8 or faster would be best. ISO was shot between 1600 & 6400m. Most of the one’s I used were ISO 3200 or 6400 so it’s important to have good low light performance from your camera and good noise reduction software. Exposures were between 10 seconds and 30 seconds. The 10 to 15 second exposures were good for catching pillars of light dancing while longer exposures caught more color with less definition. You’ll need to adjust for the intensity of the display and your ambient light conditions if you venture out to catch them.

Here’s a site I like to get the latest aurora forecast from. It also has a concise primer on what you need to see the aurora and links to other sources. That’s one of many resources out there. Good luck!

St. Patrick’s Day Northern Lights Gallery

Ice Castles 2015

The 2015 Ice Castles gallery.

Ice Castles, Ice Castles Eden Prairie MN

Ice Castles in the late day sun.

Two years ago I went to Ice Castles at the Mall of America. It was a cool display and I was fortunate to have an unbelievable sky and even have one of my photos published from there.

This time the venue was a more natural setting at a park in Eden Prairie, MN. Miller Park to be exact. Had some great late day sunshine this time although I would have preferred a few clouds too.

2015 Ice Castles

As night approaches the castles light up.

The ice castles really do look cool. This time they had a few slides for the kids, a waterfall, a maze and even heaters to warm up next to. It wasn’t too busy on a Thursday evening. I’m sure weekends are packed full but I believe they limit how many can view at one time.

Ice Castles at night!

The best part really is at night when they light up. There’s some music and a bit of choreography with the lights.

Check out the Ice Castles 2015 gallery.

Minneapolis Under Construction

Minneapolis is literally bursting at the seems with construction. Look at all the cranes in this shot. Most of them are for the new stadium that will be the home of the Vikings. You can see the skin is starting to be placed on it. It still has at least another year of construction.

Minneapolis Skyline, New Minneapolis Stadium. New Minnesota Vikings Stadium

The Viking Ship (Stadium) and Minneapolis skyline take shape.

Check out the Minneapolis Winter Gallery here for more skyline pics.

Red Bull Crashed Ice 2015

It’s back and bigger than ever! The Red Bull Crashed Ice season kickoff in St. Paul. Check out the gallery for a bunch of pics of the action and the venue!

Saint Paul Crashed Ice, City Spotlights, Red Bull Crashed Ice 2015

St. Paul lit up for Crashed Ice.

I don’t think I’ve seen this many spotlights in St. Paul or Minneapolis for any event. The MLB All-Star Game in Minneapolis last year was the only thing comparable in recent memory.

Cathedral of Saint Paul Crashed Ice, Red Bull Crashed Ice 2015

The Cathedral of Saint Paul lit for Crashed Ice.

The venue is the Cathedral of Saint Paul. An amazing cathedral both inside and out. JFK once visited the Cathedral and it sits on a hill above St. Paul.

Red Bull Crashed Ice 2015, Cathedral of Saint Paul Crashed Ice, Ice Cross Skater

Crashed Ice Starting Gate

The action starts right in front of the stained glass Rose Window into the first step down. I call it a jump myself.

Red Bull Crashed Ice 2015, Ice Cross, Cathedral of Saint Paul Crashed Ice

The First Drop

Red Bull Crashed Ice 2015, Ice Cross, Cathedral of Saint Paul Crashed Ice

Crashed Ice living up to it’s name!

The action is fast and furious and it only slows down when there’s a crash. Even after a crash like this the skaters are back on their feet and racing again.

Red Bull Crashed Ice 2015, Cathedral of Saint Paul Crashed Ice, Ice Cross Skater

The look of determination.

The participants really gave it their all. Fun to watch and this year’s spectacle grew even larger. The event in mild for January temperatures drew an estimated 140,000 people into an area smaller than most professional team stadiums.

Can’t wait for 2016! Check out more from 2015 in the gallery.

Happy New Year 2015

Welcome to 2015 and here’s a few photos I took around St. Paul the past few days. I’ve been under the weather (basically like everyone else around here) for the last week or two. Was nice to get out and get a few photos.

Covington Inn, Mississippi River, St. Paul Photography, Saint Paul, Cityscape

The Covington Inn on Ice.

It’s turned very cold here now and will be for the next week. Very glad I got out before the below zero temps. Although if you dress with the right materials and enough layers you can stay pretty warm even in these temps.

Mounds Park, St Paul, Saint Paul, Mississippi River, River Ice

Mounds Park In the Winter.

Christmas Lights 2014 Part 2

Was able to get out and get a few moreChristmas/Holiday lights this time in Minneapolis by the Lake of the Isles area. It’s been a challenge as the snow has melted several times.

The gallery Christmas Lights 2014.

Holiday Lights, Inviting Home, Christmas Lights, Minneapolis Holiday Home

Holiday Glow

The Lake of the Isles area has many wonderfully decorated homes. This next one I just loved the snow on the roof. It wasn’t real dark yet but the snow is the real star here.

Holiday Home, Holiday Lights, Snow on roof, Christmas Lights

Not your typical looking Minneapolis home.

Here was a nice find with this modestly decorated home with Minneapolis in the background. I like to make sure the snow in these types of photos looks white. Sometimes it might look blue or even purple at night depending on the lighting present. I play around with the white balance in Lightroom or even the Hue, Saturation and Luminance to get the snow to look white.

Holiday Lights, Minneapolis House, Christmas Lights, Minneapolis home with Skyline

The gallery Christmas Lights 2014.

Christmas Lights 2014

It’s that time of year again when photographers try to find interesting holiday light displays. I always look for the older and wealthier homes as they tend to have more organized displays. It seems like suburban homes are often about buying as much stuff (lights, inflatables, etc.) and covering the entire property Griswald style. It gets to be an eye sore at least for photography.

See the full gallery of Christmas 2014 here.

Christmas lights, Holiday lights, Christmas Tree, Summit Avenue Christmas, St Paul Christmas

Summit Avenue in St. Paul with one of the best lit trees around.

Summit Avenue in St. Paul is a wonderful light for holiday displays. From the Governor’s Mansion down to the Cathedral of Saint Paul there are some nice looking light displays. For a few days the snow melted but we’ve got a thin layer currently. I may try to get a couple more shots this weekend if possible.

Christmas lights Summit Avenue, Holiday lights St. Paul

A simple yet elegant display.

See the Christmas 2014 gallery here.

Rooftopping Minneapolis Style

What a glorious view of Minneapolis from the heart of the city. To see more go here Minneapolis Rooftop gallery.

Minneapolis dawn, HDR Skyscrapers, Color Efex Pro skyscrapers, Wells Fargo Center, RBC Plaza, Minneapolis skyline

Awesome clouds for our rooftop adventure. It was mighty cold up there. Thankfully this side had shelter from part of the structure. The other side was quite brisk.

Just over a week ago a photographer friend of mine asked if I wanted to shoot from a rooftop in downtown Minneapolis. Heck yeah! Who cares if I was going out for beers the night before and I’d need to get up at 5:30AM. Completely worth it. I shouldn’t really say which building we were on but it was between 30 and 40 stories. The IDS (blue), Wells Fargo (yellow) and Capella (behind Wells Fargo) are all 55-60 stories. I actually like the height we shot at because you’re right in the middle of the action.

Sunrise Minneapolis, Minneapolis Dawn, Wells Fargo Center, IDS Building, Rooftop Adventure

In the heart of Minneapolis at dawn!

As you can see we were blessed with an incredible sunrise as there was a break at the horizon and clouds to catch the pre-dawn light.

See the rest here Minneapolis Rooftop gallery.

Lakewood Autumn

All the color is gone so let’s remember the fantastic colors we had this fall. These are from Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. Here’s the link to the gallery.

Lakewood Cemetery Minneapolis, Minneapolis cemetery, Lakewood Mausoleum

Autumn Reflections

It’s not really a reflecting pool. More like a reflecting slab with water running over it. Very cool though!

Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis Cemetery, Lakewood Memorial Chapel, Cemetery Reflecting Pool

The Reflecting Pool

This looks like the Parthenon. It’s actually for a Lowry family member or Mr. Lowry himself possibly who was prominent in the area.

Lakewood Cemetery, Parthenon. Minneapolis cemetery

The Parthenon Lowry Style

The gallery

Happy Halloween

Halloween is almost over but I wanted to share a spooky photo of sorts. Love these trees along the Mississippi. Don’t get too close though!

Halloween, Spooky, Crawlers, Black and White, Moody, Creepy Trees



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