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#PintofMusic // Minnesota Music Photography

I was recently invited by the Minnesota Orchestra - via Minnstameets - to attend a small, private mini concert inside of the Surly Brewery. It was like nothing I've ever experienced before, both musically and photographically. The musicians sounded amazing, even with the ambient noise of the active brewery. Visually, the brewery provided a very cool backdrop for the performance. Here are a few of my favorite images from the evening:

World Wide Instameet #12 // Minnesota Portrait Photography

Our @Minnstameets event this year for Instagram's World Wide Instameet weekend (#WWIM12_MN) was a huge success! It is always so fun to meet new people, put faces to the profiles I've followed for a long time, and connect with those who have now become old friends. This year's event - in honor of Instagram's 5th birthday - was all about portraits. Below are some of my favorite ones that I was able to capture through the (epic, 12-hour, 5-location) day. I also wrote about it for Citinerary here

WCCO #MyStateFair Instagram Takeover // Minnesota State Fair Photography

I Instagrammed on behalf of @WCCOTV while at the Minnesota State Fair last week. Below are the 5 images I posted to their feed.

And here's a blog post written by Eric Mueller who organized the takeover which included 4 other talented photographers! 

Family Staycation

True Story: when the Mall of America first opened in 1992, I was almost 12 years old and I was obsessed with it. I vividly remember poring over every single word of the Star Tribune's Variety section pull-out feature prior to the grand opening. I knew, before even stepping foot inside its walls, the color of the (then) carpeted floors of the South Avenue wing of the mall and best entrance to use to go straight to the movie theater. 

If you had told me that I would someday be offered the opportunity to stay, shop, dine, and play there with my family and get paid for it, my 12-year-old self would have been blown away. In fact, my 35-year-old self was sort of blown away when the offer came in a month ago to do just that in exchange for some photos of the experience. I knew my kids would absolutely love it. I also knew the Mall has come a long way since 1992 and recent updates have made it highly photogenic. Having a press pass - and the authority and confidence that comes with it - was an added perk to the gig and one I wish I'd used even more. Here are a few of the DSLR images I snapped while there.

Second Annual #612_Instameet

A year ago, I came up with the crazy idea to organize an Instameet to celebrate Minneapolis and its creative residents. When I saw that the date in June (6/12) coincided with the city’s telephone area code (612), it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

I say it was a crazy idea because I had never done anything remotely like it before and friends of mine not familiar with Instagram thought I was insane for getting together with a bunch of strangers from the internet. But anyone who understands the community-building power of this fascinating little app, knows that Instagram is as much about connecting with people as it is about photography.

What I dubbed the #612_Instameet was a huge success in its first year. KARE11 news even did a piece about it, officially putting our local Instagram community on the map. 

This year, the 2nd-Annual #612_Instameet - planned and promoted by our organization, @Minnstameets - was even bigger and better than the first. 

The crowd gathers at the start of the meet

The crowd gathers at the start of the meet

View from the Stone Arch Bridge

View from the Stone Arch Bridge

Sunset from the bridge

Sunset from the bridge

Group shot taken by Pranam Gurung  @gurungp_ )

Group shot taken by Pranam Gurung @gurungp_)


B+W

Like a chain letter or a game of tag, a Black & White five-shot challenge has recently been making its way across Instagram land. I was tagged by a friend to participate and my first thought was, "fuck. I never do BW" and then, "I wonder if he'll notice if I just ignore this." I've always really admired black and white photographs though, so just for the heck of it, I dug into my archives and found a few shots that looked remarkably good in black and white. Better, even. And I soon realized my tendency - that I'm always kicking myself for - of chasing harsh light, lent itself really well to a monochromatic edit. So I accepted the challenge and actually ended up posting six shots, the latter two of which I intentionally shot with a BW edit in mind. It proved to be an incredibly valuable exercise and way to challenge myself.

Wanderlust

"Wanderlust" is a word that's bandied about often, particularly in the fog-chasing, open-road-travelling, coffee-drinking world of Instagram photographers. To the extent that I poke fun of it all, I do so only out of jealousy, really. Because, man, do you ever just get hit by a travel bug in that nebulous, visceral way? It's a yearning so strong that it makes you almost ache with the desire to just. go. 

This past week, Passion Passport held an Instagram contest in commemoration of Pay Pal's 15th anniversary. They asked users to share their favorite travel memories from the past 15 years for a chance to win some sweet prizes. And since I have no means or time right now to satiate my sense of wanderlust, I settled for a good ol' walk down memory lane and the chance to live vicariously through my former self. I delved into hundreds of slides I shot from a trip 10 years ago and here's the contest entry I came up with: 

    [Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile | February, 2004] // After college graduation, I moved back in with my parents, worked two jobs, and saved up money to travel. Less than a year later, my now-husband and I set off for two months in South America. We traveled through Peru, Argentina, and Chile (where I had spent a semester living two years prior). Ten years and two kids later, we fondly remember this epic adventure where we backpacked, camped, took 19-hour bus rides, met people from all over the globe, and saw some of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. One of these unforgettable sights was the three granite Torres del Paine in the southernmost part of Chile. We hiked all morning to reach this spot and arrived to find the iconic rock spires completely engulfed in fog. I vividly remember fighting back tears, I was so disappointed. Other dismayed hikers turned around to begin the long trek back. Andrew convinced me that we should stay and at least eat the lunch we had brought. We had the place to ourselves as we sat on a huge boulder at the base of the turquoise pool of glacial water and ate. And, as if rewarding us for staying, the fog parted for a mere two minutes and we got our own private viewing party of these stunning formations. // Thank you,   @passionpassport ,  for prompting me to get out the slides I shot during the trip and relive some amazing memories. #PPtravelmemories // #fromritasarchives // 📷 Minolta X-7A 35mm camera, Fujifilm Velvia

 

[Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile | February, 2004] // After college graduation, I moved back in with my parents, worked two jobs, and saved up money to travel. Less than a year later, my now-husband and I set off for two months in South America. We traveled through Peru, Argentina, and Chile (where I had spent a semester living two years prior). Ten years and two kids later, we fondly remember this epic adventure where we backpacked, camped, took 19-hour bus rides, met people from all over the globe, and saw some of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. One of these unforgettable sights was the three granite Torres del Paine in the southernmost part of Chile. We hiked all morning to reach this spot and arrived to find the iconic rock spires completely engulfed in fog. I vividly remember fighting back tears, I was so disappointed. Other dismayed hikers turned around to begin the long trek back. Andrew convinced me that we should stay and at least eat the lunch we had brought. We had the place to ourselves as we sat on a huge boulder at the base of the turquoise pool of glacial water and ate. And, as if rewarding us for staying, the fog parted for a mere two minutes and we got our own private viewing party of these stunning formations. // Thank you, @passionpassport, for prompting me to get out the slides I shot during the trip and relive some amazing memories. #PPtravelmemories // #fromritasarchives // 📷 Minolta X-7A 35mm camera, Fujifilm Velvia

I didn't win the contest, but I found the whole experience to be highly rewarding. Receiving an honorable mention wasn't too shabby either.

Minnetonka Moccasins

In early October, I organized a group of local Instagrammers (all of whom are dear friends who also happen to be extremely talented photographers) to get together and take some photos for a classic Minnesota company: Minnetonka Moccasins. It was a beautiful fall day with near-perfect shooting conditions, and the resulting images are as eclectic and awesome as the group itself. The collection can be found on Instagram at #MinnetonkaMeet_Fall2014

I also wrote a guest post on Minnetonka Moccasins' blog about how to take the perfect Instagram shot featuring their shoes - taking into account lighting, perspective, filters, and even hashtags. 

Home is Where the Lake and Rivers Are

It's no secret that I love Minneapolis. And Minnesota. And the Midwest in general. I was honored when Modern Midwest - a website devoted to celebrating "modern living, Midwest-style" - asked me to compile a set of photos showing off my home state. I selected the theme "Land of Sky-Blue Water," (crossed my fingers that Hamm's Beer hadn't trademarked that phrase), and then chose nine photos highlighting Minnesota's beautiful lakes and rivers. Check out the H2O-centric feature here:

My Modern Midwest: Minnesota, The Land of Sky-Blue Water