Tag Archives: photography

Photo: Another photogenic church

December 2, 2010

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Here is another picture submitted to our Most Photogenic Church contest.

Photographer info: Jeff Gardner

Church Name: St. Anthony’s

Location: Terrebonne, MN

Description: I was walking around this church trying to find a good angle to shoot it from and then saw this stone wall and staircase.  I figured it would make a good “Stairway to Heaven” shot!  I applied the “Orton Technique” to this shot in Photoshop, so it has kind of a unique foggy look to it while still being in sharp focus.

Camera used: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi

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UPDATED: Time running out to enter photo contest

November 2, 2010

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UPDATE – 11/2/2010: Photo submitting is now closed! Great photos folks, thanks for your participation…and be sure to check out all 158 of them. We’ll be announcing the winners here on the SPIRIT BLOG and in the print edition.

Time is running out to enter our photo contest, “Minnesota’s Most Photogenic Catholic Church” – sponsored by Lifetouch. Entries must by submitted by Oct. 31, 2010. More details here.

We’re happy to report that the submissions have been great. Some very unique shots and perspectives in there – I don’t envy the judges. 😉

Here’s a sneak peak of the entries so far.

How about a slideshow?

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So you think you know Pope Benedict

October 17, 2010

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I tend to shy away from books that look like “Benedict XVI: Essays and Reflections on His Papacy,” a new release edited by Mary Ann Walsh, because it looks like one of two things I don’t usually value: a coffee table book or a hagiography, the kind of puff writing that glorifies the subject.

Can’t judge a book by its cover.

If you want to know what the pope thinks about the critical issues of the day, if you want to give yourself a quick course in church teaching on those issues, read the essays Sister Mary Ann has gathered.

And, if you want to know a lot more about Joseph Ratzinger, the man, read the personal reflections that make the Holy Father not just human but someone you’d like to meet and know better.

Know, though, that you won’t find anything negative in the book about B16 (thanks, Adam Robinson, for the shortcut nickname!). I can live with that because this Sheed & Ward imprint does well what it aims to do.

Photos aren’t superb

If there’s a weakness it’s that, in a book with a lot of photos on its 224 pages, there aren’t a lot outstanding images. There are a couple that are gorgeous, some that capture history, but many are pretty pedestrian. There are just a few too many boring shots of B16 greeting dignitaries. However: A wise editor once said, all photos look better the larger they are printed, and the design of “Benedict XVI” gives even those average pictures the kind of play that is attractive if not stunning.

The excellent photos, for my taste, are a couple shots I’d never seen before: a shot from the air of what B16 sees out his window when leaving Vatican City, and a beautiful image of the pontiff resting on a garden bench, looking like your grandfather resting after a tiring day, alone with his thoughts and at peace.

The essay I appreciated the most was Stephen Colecchi’s insight into B16’s encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” (Charity in Truth) — summarized in almost bullet points. And I loved one by Don Clemmer headlined “Shepherding Cats.” Who knew the pope was a cat person?

Getting to know the pope

Just about every one of the personal reflections told me something I didn’t know about our German pope. Several American cardinals and archbishops — including Minneapolis-St. Paul’s own Archbishop John Nienstedt and native son Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis — shared anecdotes about times they’ve come in contact with the Holy Father, and like all good anecdotes they give us an insider’s perspective and tell us something about the pope we might never otherwise know.

He plays the piano? He skis?

Sister Mary Ann, who is director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, adds one of the best anecdotes — telling about the time the pope made a mistake and how he acknowledge it with self-depricating humor. And Nancy Wiechec, a great photographer and the visual media manager for Catholic News Service, gives readers an insight about the Holy Father that only comes from numerous opportunities to view the pope through her camera lens.

Even the 16-page resource section is fact filled. Did you know Joseph Ratzinger entered the seminary at age 12? That was in 1939 — the same year the Nazis invaded Poland to start World War II.

It’s a book worth its $29.95 price tag. –bz

Benedict XVI: Essays and Reflections on His Papacy

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So you think you know Pope Benedict

October 16, 2010

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I tend to shy away from books that look like “Benedict XVI: Essays and Reflections on His Papacy,” a new release edited by Mary Ann Walsh, because it looks like one of two things I don’t usually value: a coffee table book or a hagiography, the kind of puff writing that glorifies the subject.

Can’t judge a book by its cover.

If you want to know what the pope thinks about the critical issues of the day, if you want to give yourself a quick course in church teaching on those issues, read the essays Sister Mary Ann has gathered.

And, if you want to know a lot more about Joseph Ratzinger, the man, read the personal reflections that make the Holy Father not just human but someone you’d like to meet and know better.

Know, though, that you won’t find anything negative in the book about B16 (thanks, Adam Robinson, for the shortcut nickname!). I can live with that because this Sheed & Ward imprint does well what it aims to do.

Photos aren’t superb

If there’s a weakness it’s that, in a book with a lot of photos on its 224 pages, there aren’t a lot outstanding images. There are a couple that are gorgeous, some that capture history, but many are pretty pedestrian. There are just a few too many boring shots of B16 greeting dignitaries. However: A wise editor once said, all photos look better the larger they are printed, and the design of “Benedict XVI” gives even those average pictures the kind of play that is attractive if not stunning.

The excellent photos, for my taste, are a couple shots I’d never seen before: a shot from the air of what B16 sees out his window when leaving Vatican City, and a beautiful image of the pontiff resting on a garden bench, looking like your grandfather resting after a tiring day, alone with his thoughts and at peace.

The essay I appreciated the most was Stephen Colecchi’s insight into B16’s encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” (Charity in Truth) — summarized in almost bullet points. And I loved one by Don Clemmer headlined “Shepherding Cats.” Who knew the pope was a cat person?

 Getting to know the pope

Just about every one of the personal reflections told me something I didn’t know about our German pope. Several American cardinals and archbishops — including Minneapolis-St. Paul’s own Archbishop John Nienstedt and native son Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis — shared anecdotes about times they’ve come in contact with the Holy Father, and like all good anecdotes they give us an insider’s perspective and tell us something about the pope we might never otherwise know.

He plays the piano? He skis?

Sister Mary Ann, who is director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, adds one of the best anecdotes — telling about the time the pope made a mistake and how he acknowledge it with self-depricating humor. And Nancy Wiechec, a great photographer and the visual media manager for Catholic News Service, gives readers an insight about the Holy Father that only comes from numerous opportunities to view the pope through her camera lens.

Even the 16-page resource section is fact filled. Did you know Joseph Ratzinger entered the seminary at age 12? That was in 1939 — the same year the Nazis invaded Poland to start World War II.

It’s a book worth its $29.95 price tag. –bz

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Fall flakes

October 12, 2009

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It was a strange sight outside today — accumulating snow on the ground and clinging to leaves on the trees. Who could have imagined such a sight on Oct. 12?

I’m sure there are lots of depressed folks groaning at the early arrival of the white stuff. But, I wasn’t too bummed out. It’s not going to last. In fact, I saw an extended weather forecast that predicted a high of 60 on Sunday.
Actually, I took the opportunity to pull out my camera and take a few shots of the white landscape. The most unusual sight was a layer of snow on top of flowers still in bloom.
The petals will win the battle for now, but their days surely are numbered. I figured the hard frost we got over the weekend would mean farewell to the flowers, but these persistent blooms are hanging on.
Flowers and snow are a rare combination. About the only time it seems possible is mid May and again in October. But, I don’t recall ever seeing it before. So, naturally, I felt compelled to record it with my digital camera. Later in the week, the snow will be gone, I’m sure. In fact, early this afternoon when I was taking pictures, the snow was already melting and falling in large clumps off the tree branches.
So, even though there are mild days ahead — even, Indian summer? — I can’t help but wonder if this event is a sign of things to come. Weather experts likely will tell us there’s no need to panic just yet about a possible harsh winter ahead.
But, I’m not so sure. It has been a while since we’ve had a winter that’s high on the severity index. We’re probably overdue. Well, we’ll just have to take what comes. I’m just hoping things will warm up for my fall turkey hunt later this week.
I like seeing fall colors when I’m walking the woods in search of a fall turkey, not snow.
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Now’s the time to enjoy fall colors

September 17, 2009

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I went up to the North Shore of Lake Superior earlier this week. I brought a visitor who had never seen the lake, and this was the time he could go.

He’s from another country where there are no fall colors, so I was hoping to find some changing leaves. It’s a little early yet, but I figured the maples would at least be starting to turn. Waiting another week or so would have been better, but this is the only time he could fit in the daylong journey.
There was very little color on the drive up, and not much along the North Shore, either. There were a few trees here and there that were starting to show color. Finally, as we made the drive to Palisade Head just north of Split Rock Lighthouse, we ran across a little more color, at least enough to give him some idea what the fall colors are like.
He loved it. I pulled over and we both got out of my car and pulled out our cameras. We snapped away for about 10-15 minutes, then went on to Palisade Head for a spectacular view of Lake Superior. It’s the highest point on the North Shore and you can see for miles out onto the lake from atop this majestic cliff.
Even without the colors, the view was worth it. Starting this weekend, the fall colors will start to spread from north to south across the state. The first to turn are the maples inland from Lake Superior. Then, about a week to 10 days later, the birch and apsen trees turn brilliant shades of gold and yellow along the shore. From there, everything proceeds south, ending in southeastern Minnesota the second or third week in October.
For those with the time and ambition, there is about a month’s worth of fall colors to enjoy. I used to go to the North Shore every year in late September or early October. But, life got busy. I sure would like to go again in another week. What fun it would be to spend several days surrounded by beautiful colors. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy fall.
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Last gasp for bass

September 8, 2009

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I took advantage of the beautiful weather over  the weekend to go fishing for bass on Lake Calhoun. It likely would be my last trip of the year for bass. Although fall fishing can be good, I have never done well in late September and October for bass.

So, this would be it. I was hoping the stretch of stable weather would mean a good bite. The fishing wasn’t outstanding, but there was enough action to make for a good day on the water. I ended up with four nice bass in the 18-inch range. I caught one that went 18 1/2 inches, another that was 18 1/4, a third that was 18 even and a fourth that was 17 1/2.
I was hoping for at least one fish a little bigger, but I was not about to complain. One of those fish I probably shouldn’t have landed. I felt a bite and set the hook, then my line broke. Usually, that’s it, but, strangely, the line caught on one of the guides on my rod and held. It took me a second or two to figure out what had happened, then I quickly grabbed the line before the bass pulled it loose.
I pulled in the line hand over hand and, amazingly, I was able to get the bass up to the boat. Then, the line caught on my trolling motor and, once again, I figure the fish was lost. But, it didn’t make a run to break the line, and I was able to pull the motor up to free the line. I proceeded to pull the fish boatside, and I then lip landed it.
This was the strangest landing of a fish I have ever had. That made the trip more memorable. Unfortunately, the trip ended up being memorable for a negative reason as well. I made a costly mistake when I tried to take a picture of myself holding two of the nice fish. I positioned my camera on a pedestal seat in the front of the boat, then reached into the livewell to grab the fish. I bumped the pedestal and the camera fell into the livewell.
It got completely submerged, which spells doom for any camera. So, I lost the camera, lens and flash. I was very bummed about the incident, but called to mind a Scripture verse from Paul’s letter to the Romans: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
That is my hope. And so, I will wait upon the Lord to see how he will make this situation work for good.
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Peaceful getaway

August 19, 2009

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I spent three days enjoying the scenic beauty of Dunrovin Retreat Center north of Stillwater. I was invited to be a guest along with my wife, Julie, and four children. The trip kicked off with a special blessing ceremony by Archbishop John Nienstedt on Sunday.

The event coincided with a youth retreat, so there were a bunch of teens present. It was neat to see their enthusiasm, along with a couple of moving testimonies by two of the people involved with the retreat.
Archbishop Nienstedt then took some time to bless the retreat center building, both inside and out. He walked around the building, then walked the halls sprinkling holy water. He moved very briskly and I had to huff and puff to keep up with him. He obviously is in very good shape, and easily could have walked the entire grounds.
I eventually did just that over the next two days. It’s a serene, beautiful place and the wildflowers are in full bloom. I was told by someone on staff that it’s one of the best blooms ever. I believe it. After taking a short walk along a winding, mowed path with Julie, I came back the next day with my camera.
As I strolled along a small pond, I saw a creature I’ve never spotted in the wild — an otter. Its face was unmistakable as it frolicked in the water and poked its head up to take a closer look at me. It froze for a moment and I caught sight of its long, slender body and tail. Then, it popped under the water and disappeared. I brought my No. 3 son, William, back for a look, but the otter never resurfaced.
I hope to get back to Dunrovin. It would be nice to go just with Julie. She seemed to really enjoy the surroundings and so did I. We also went to Taylor’s Falls and William O’Brien State Park. On our way back home, we stopped in Stillwater and took a tour of the city on a trolley. That was definitely a highlight of our trip. We all were facsinated with the history of this great river city. The trolley is a bit spendy, but it was well worth it for us.
And, the beautiful weather all three days made the trip just about perfect.
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Right place, right time

July 28, 2009

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I ventured over to Lake Calhoun last night, this time without my fishing boat. I was there to take engagement photos of a wonderful Christian couple, Sean and Julia, who have hired me to shoot their wedding.

They met at Lake Calhoun, so it was a natural place to take the photos. A day earlier, weather forecasters were predicting rain, but the evening was dry and sunny. We went to the west side of the lake and found some really neats spots for photos. Then, at the end, we decided to go to the lakeshore and get a few pictures with the water in the background.
As I positioned them on the grass, I noticed a beautiful white cloud in the sky behind them. And, it was lit up nicely by the setting sun. As I spent several minutes shooting, some nice color appeared in the sky and was reflected in the water.
It was about perfect. I snapped some photos in the waning moments of this beautiful light and ended up with the type of dramatic photos I would not have predicted. God is so good to have given me this gift. And, Sean and Julia recognized this blessing as well.
I remarked that it would very hard, if not impossible, to see something like this and not be convinced that there is a God. The experience made me wish that a group I had seen at Lake Cahlhoun the day before had been able to see this sunset. About eight or 10 men and women in their 20s were gathered near the boat landing wearing black t-shirts that said “Religion is a lie.”
I would have really liked to have watched this sunset with them and then had a conversation with them about God. Not sure I would have persuaded them to believe in Him, but I sure could have made a compelling case.
No matter. I am content to experience the joy of this special gift from the Lord. I’m sure scenes just like this must have inspired the words of the psalmist.
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Smile at ordination

July 1, 2009

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I had the honor of photographing the ordination of Bishop Lee Piché on Monday at the Cathedral. It was a grand affair, as I knew it would be, full of pomp and circumstance. There were lots of things and people to photograph and I was busy from start to finish.

One light moment came when I had a brief exchange with Bishop Michael Hoeppner of Crookston. He thanked me for sending a CD of photos with him and his 26-inch walleye that he caught during our fishing trip to Lake of the Woods at the end of May. It’s his biggest walleye ever and he was glad to have a picture of it.
I really enjoyed the trip, and seeing Bishop Hoeppner reminded me of how much fun it was. He has fished off and on over the years, but his schedule doesn’t give him much time for it. He relies on a member of his staff to supply him with fresh fish throughout the summer. His favorite is panfish.
I sure hope I get the chance to fish with him again. His Bishop’s Cup and Family Fishing Tournament on Lake of the Woods June 13 was a success and he plans on putting on another tournament next year elsewhere in the diocese. It would be fun to come up and fish it, but I don’t do much walleye fishing, so I’m not sure what kind of a chance I would have to win or even do well. Now, bass, that’s another story.
I plan on starting my bass fishing in earnest this Friday, July 3. It’s a holiday and I will follow my annual tradition of going out with my good friend, Dave Altman, which we do every year around the Fourth of July. I greatly look forward to that outing, and Dave and I usually do well. Last year, however, I had a problem with my electric trolling motor, so we had to cut our trip short. I have since resolved that problem and anticipate no trouble this year. And, with the warm spell we had last week, the bass should be in their summer pattern.
I can’t wait!
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