The balloons launch at sunrise. It was still dark when we left the house. The sky had started to lighten when we crossed the river. We were worried the balloons would launch before we got there. By the time we found a parking spot, the sun was just peaking over the horizon. Turns out they start readying the balloons for launch at sunrise. The first balloons were just getting set up to fly. I wandered around balloonists prepping their balloons for a couple of hours. The temps were in the teens with sunshine and light winds.
Over 30 balloons lifted off during the morning. We saw a few landing on our way home.
Hello again. I received exciting news a few weeks ago. One of my images was selected for an Honorable Mention in the Discover Stillwater photo contest. It is an image of a gondola boat between the spans of the old lift bridge. I took many pictures of the gondola on different days. The lighting and conditions worked best for this shot.
We’ve been hit with a spring blizzard this weekend. The St. Croix River has been mostly open for a few weeks, despite our colder than normal weather. Most of our snow had melted, but winter is back with a vengeance covering the ground with at least six inches of the white stuff. An icy slushy mix is floating on the river this afternoon.
Slushy mix floating on the river
While I walked through the winds and pelting snow down to the river, it reminded me of a scene I need to rewrite in one of my manuscripts. The scene where a boy is lost in a blizzard on his way home from school. My plan is to write five quick scenarios of what happens when he finally finds his way home. This forces me to come up with different ideas, some far-fetched, but sometimes I find just the thing to make the story come alive.
The bone chilling cold of winter is upon us again, with subzero temperatures for the high temps over the next few days. Good time to stay indoors and catch up on reading and go through pictures taken over the past year.
This is a shot of Stillwater and the St. Croix River taken from the top of the south hill.
I joined a photography group over the summer. I’m meeting new friends and learning more about photography, including tips on photo editing software. Someday, I will actually learn how to do more than crop and smart fix my shots.
Since October, I have a few photographs for sale at the Tamarack Gallery in Stillwater. Stop in and take a look.
Some Trumpeter Swans spend the winter near the St. Croix River. They are one of the largest Minnesota birds with a wing span of almost eight feet. Their long graceful neck and snow white plumage make them easy to identify. I usually hear their trumpet-like call before seeing them.
This winter, I’ve seen more Trumpeter Swans than in past years. They are living up river a short ways. I hear them calling to each other, sometimes quietly, other times with great, loud honks. Near sunset, they fly home from nearby corn fields and wherever else they go to during the day. They return in small groups, mostly of two to seven. Some larger groups fly home together. When I hear their calls, I search the far shore to see them return, flying with their long necks fully extended.
Stillwater’s riverfront is turning into a winter wonderland. They turned on the water a few days ago when the weather turned cold. A magical castle is slowly appearing next to the gazebo at Lowell Park. This castle isn’t build with ice blocks, it is growing by spraying water.
Yesterday, I went for a walk by the St. Croix River around sunset. Low clouds had covered the sky, making for a gray day. Eagles called and chatted. I searched the trees looking for them. They sounded close. Then I spotted something white near the water. A pair of eagles sat on a downed tree in the water near the far shore. They were chatting with at least one more eagle further away. I took several pictures, with the low lighting conditions, I wasn’t sure they would even turn out. As the sky grew darker, first one eagle and then the other flow low over the river to the south and disappeared into the trees.
The first winter storm of the season is howling outside. We’ve had mostly rain and maybe an inch of snow. Strong winds are blowing the trees and whipping up waves on the river. A good night to be by the fireplace sipping apple cider. November is known for snow storms and NaNoWriMo.
National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo – started in 1999 with 21 people in the San Francisco area. It’s grown to hundreds of thousands of people who are attempting to write 50,000 words during the month of November. I’ve participated twice, once officially. I wrote around 46,000 words both times. Enough for me to create the first rough draft of a manuscript.
While I’m not trying to write 50,000 words this month, I’m attending a weekly write-in and using the time to work on scenes in the manuscript I’m rewriting. Yes, rewriting from first person to third. I’ve been attending a writer’s workshop where I’ve gotten feedback and suggestions on areas to work on. I wonder if … is a great way to provide someone with an ideas on how to improve their work-in-progress. Sometimes you are too close to your own words to see the problems.
Mary Divine is a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, covering Washington County and the St. Croix River Valley. She wrote an article about the Pictures of Stillwater group photo walk at Arcola Mills. A picture she took of me in in the article and posted here with her permission. Link to article.
Karen Schulz, of May Township, takes a photo of the St. Croix River during a “Pictures of Stillwater” Facebook group outing at Arcola Mills, north of Stillwater, during the Pictures of Stillwater Fall Meet up and Photo walk on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. The group is dedicated to sharing photos and context telling the stories of the river town of Stillwater, Minn. (Pioneer Press: Mary Divine)
This is the photo I talked about with Mary. I was walking along A-dock with Greg and he noticed the osprey circling overhead. I followed the bird with my camera, snapping pictures as it dove and few off with a fish.
An Osprey fishing AND catching on a friday night by the Stillwater Lift Bridge before it flew back to Wisconsin with its catch, did it have a license? ;)…