The Photo Dork

Minneapolis freelance photojournalist Tom Baker likes to share stories about the stories he shoots. This photo blog is where he'll say a few words and share some photos about the work he does.

2016 Retrospective

As the saying goes, better late than never. Here are a handful of favorite images from 2016, the majority of which I shot while working on stories primarily for Minnesota Public Radio. Granted, I already posted some of these images in a previous blog post, but after editing through work from the past year I enjoyed revisiting them and decided to include them as part my favorites from the collective body of work from 2016. But in reviewing my work, I realized I didn't pursue enough personal work and therefore my goal for 2017 is to do more personal projects and photo stories. 

Mohamednour Aded, 38, poses for a photo in the hallway of former Garfield Elementary School, which is now a mosque that was started by the Islamic Center of St. Cloud in St. Cloud, Minn. Aded came to the United States in 2013 and was injured while working at American Food Group. While working at American, Aded had to pray in the bathroom after he was denied to take prayer breaks.

Mohamednour Aded, 38, poses for a photo in the hallway of former Garfield Elementary School, which is now a mosque that was started by the Islamic Center of St. Cloud in St. Cloud, Minn. Aded came to the United States in 2013 and was injured while working at American Food Group. While working at American, Aded had to pray in the bathroom after he was denied to take prayer breaks.

From left, organizers for Working America Alisa Tennessen and Tara Johnson, both from Minneapolis, take a selfie with U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison before the start of the Regional Worker Voice Summit at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center in Minneapolis, Minn., Tuesday, February 9, 2016. United States Secretary of Labor Tom Perez was the keynote speaker at the summit, and Johnson spoke on a panel after the summit concluded.

From left, organizers for Working America Alisa Tennessen and Tara Johnson, both from Minneapolis, take a selfie with U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison before the start of the Regional Worker Voice Summit at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center in Minneapolis, Minn., Tuesday, February 9, 2016. United States Secretary of Labor Tom Perez was the keynote speaker at the summit, and Johnson spoke on a panel after the summit concluded.

A fan pays his respects to Prince at an impromptu memorial for the musician that was set up at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minn., by mourners the day the musician died, Thursday, April 21, 2016 (visit my multimedia page to see a video I did covering the reaction of fans to Prince's death).

A fan pays his respects to Prince at an impromptu memorial for the musician that was set up at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minn., by mourners the day the musician died, Thursday, April 21, 2016 (visit my multimedia page to see a video I did covering the reaction of fans to Prince's death).

Blue Mounds State Park, Luverne, Minn.

Blue Mounds State Park, Luverne, Minn.

Thunderbird, Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site, Comfrey, Minn.

Thunderbird, Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site, Comfrey, Minn.

A young man wears a rainbow flag in his pony tail while among hundreds who came out for an emotional vigil to show their support for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

A young man wears a rainbow flag in his pony tail while among hundreds who came out for an emotional vigil to show their support for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Members of the Lawn Mower Brigade from left, Irene Opsahl, Erin Stutelberg, Megan Tracey, Joan Maland, Chuck Tracey, Elizabeth Clark, and Jonathon Carter perform their routine on Knapp Avenue during the 4th In The Park Parade in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood in St. Paul, Minn., Monday, July 4, 2016.

Members of the Lawn Mower Brigade from left, Irene Opsahl, Erin Stutelberg, Megan Tracey, Joan Maland, Chuck Tracey, Elizabeth Clark, and Jonathon Carter perform their routine on Knapp Avenue during the 4th In The Park Parade in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood in St. Paul, Minn., Monday, July 4, 2016.

Malik Curtis performs his poem “Cut From A Different Cloth” during Black Poets Speak Out at the Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Curtis’ powerful poem ended with the lines, “I’m cut from a different cloth! I’m cut from a different cloth! Dear America, you have locked our bodies but you will never lock our minds. I love all people, but my blackness will never be a crime.”

Malik Curtis performs his poem “Cut From A Different Cloth” during Black Poets Speak Out at the Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Curtis’ powerful poem ended with the lines, “I’m cut from a different cloth! I’m cut from a different cloth! Dear America, you have locked our bodies but you will never lock our minds. I love all people, but my blackness will never be a crime.”

Overcome with emotion, poet Ashley Oliver performs her poem “Blank” during Black Poets Speak Out at the Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, July 13, 2016. “And then there’s John Crawford, 20 miles up the dusty Ohio roads that I call home,” she recited. “Wrongfully accused of brandishing a gun at customers, the police ran up behind him, he’s on the phone, back turned, bullets shot, bullets shot, bullets continued to be shot, as his girlfriend and father are on speaker phone listening. Until the resounding shots stop. The cacophony ceases. And the airwaves went blank.”

Overcome with emotion, poet Ashley Oliver performs her poem “Blank” during Black Poets Speak Out at the Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, July 13, 2016. “And then there’s John Crawford, 20 miles up the dusty Ohio roads that I call home,” she recited. “Wrongfully accused of brandishing a gun at customers, the police ran up behind him, he’s on the phone, back turned, bullets shot, bullets shot, bullets continued to be shot, as his girlfriend and father are on speaker phone listening. Until the resounding shots stop. The cacophony ceases. And the airwaves went blank.”

Flamenco dancer Sachiko Nishiuchi practices her routine at Tapestry Folkdance Center in Minneapolis, Minn., in preparation for an upcoming audition at the Walker Art Center, Sunday, July 17, 2016. Nishiuchi is originally from Japan where she first learned Flamenco, but after moving to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota, she has embraced the art of flamenco much more seriously and has since lived and studied in Seville, Spain, in order to teach students locally not only how to dance flamenco, but also the importance of the cultural aspects and history of it. 

Flamenco dancer Sachiko Nishiuchi practices her routine at Tapestry Folkdance Center in Minneapolis, Minn., in preparation for an upcoming audition at the Walker Art Center, Sunday, July 17, 2016. Nishiuchi is originally from Japan where she first learned Flamenco, but after moving to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota, she has embraced the art of flamenco much more seriously and has since lived and studied in Seville, Spain, in order to teach students locally not only how to dance flamenco, but also the importance of the cultural aspects and history of it. 

Paralympian Mallory Weggemann does one last training session while her coach, Steve Van Dyne, looks on, before leaving for the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at Life Time Fitness in Lakeville, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.

Paralympian Mallory Weggemann does one last training session while her coach, Steve Van Dyne, looks on, before leaving for the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at Life Time Fitness in Lakeville, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.

Paralympic swimmer Mallory Weggemann receives a sword salute at a sendoff celebration at Life Time Fitness in Lakeville, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. Weggemann will be competing at the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and qualified to compete in seven events; the 400-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke, 100-meter butterfly, 50-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley, 100-meter freestyle, and 100-meter backstroke. Only one other America Paralympic swimmer qualified in as many events as Weggemann.

Paralympic swimmer Mallory Weggemann receives a sword salute at a sendoff celebration at Life Time Fitness in Lakeville, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. Weggemann will be competing at the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and qualified to compete in seven events; the 400-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke, 100-meter butterfly, 50-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley, 100-meter freestyle, and 100-meter backstroke. Only one other America Paralympic swimmer qualified in as many events as Weggemann.

Supporters light candles as they gather for a vigil at the site where Philando Castile was shot and killed by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez near the intersection of Larpenteur Avenue and Fry Street in Falcon Heights, Minn., three months after the incident on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.

Supporters light candles as they gather for a vigil at the site where Philando Castile was shot and killed by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez near the intersection of Larpenteur Avenue and Fry Street in Falcon Heights, Minn., three months after the incident on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.

Overcome with emotion a woman, who wished to remain unidentified, hugs a friend while attending a vigil at the site where Philando Castile was shot and killed by a St. Anthony police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., three months after the incident on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.

Overcome with emotion a woman, who wished to remain unidentified, hugs a friend while attending a vigil at the site where Philando Castile was shot and killed by a St. Anthony police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., three months after the incident on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.

Naomi Joshua, a student at Laura Jeffrey Academy, which is a girl-focused charter school in St. Paul, Minn., became emotionally distraught while sharing her thoughts during a group interview in reaction to Donald Trump being elected, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016.

Naomi Joshua, a student at Laura Jeffrey Academy, which is a girl-focused charter school in St. Paul, Minn., became emotionally distraught while sharing her thoughts during a group interview in reaction to Donald Trump being elected, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016.

Parishioners light candles while attending Christmas Eve service at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minn., on Saturday, December 24, 2016.  

Parishioners light candles while attending Christmas Eve service at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minn., on Saturday, December 24, 2016.

 

Dear world, please help

I saw photos today that crushed me. They're the work of Aris Messinis, a photojournalist who works for Agence France-Presse. He was recently on a rescue vessel off the coast of Libya as rescue workers worked to save hundreds of African migrants from boats that were bound for Italy. Messinis's work has been published all over the world, and I saw it on the New York Times' website in an article entitled 'Stepping Over the Dead on a Migrant Boat'. The photos are sad, devastating, powerful, revealing, gritty, haunting, and real. After reading the article and spending time with the photos, I wrote the following in a Facebook post: 

"For those who think refugees/immigrants are a nuisance, are looking to come to your country and take over your communities and steal your jobs, are terrorists, are disrespectful of any culture but their own, are less than human due to their skin color, their language, or their religious beliefs, then you need to spend time with these photos. Study them, let your emotions take hold, learn to see what is happening. Bear witness to their struggle and what they endure to flee their countries; not because they want to but because they have to. I am grateful for Aris Messinis's photos. They are necessary. These are the types of images that can change the world."

Please, take a look Messinis' work. This is a problem we must learn about and act upon:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/06/world/europe/migrants-mediterranean.html?smid=tw-share

Covering the Gamut

As a freelancer, work can sometimes be hard to come by, especially when your true passion is photojournalism. Sure, I photograph portraits and weddings and the occasional event or corporate gig (visit www.manitouweddings.com to see my work), but telling a story with my camera is what truly makes me feel alive. That’s why I feel so fortunate to have a contract with Minnesota Public Radio News to provide photography and multimedia for mprnews.org. Since my last blog post (where did the time go?), I’ve covered a gamut of stories, with most recently being the Golden Valley Pride Festival and a vigil held in Minneapolis, both on the day of the recent shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. I’ve pulled a selection of favorites for this post and have included captions for info about the story.

Tony Osman, 33, poses for a portrait in his home in Golden Valley, Minn, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. Osman’s first cousin, Amir Meshal, of Bloomington, is under scrutiny from the government and local community members for being a possible terrorist threat. Osman, along with some of his family, believe Meshal is dangerous and has possibly received terrorist training overseas.

Tony Osman, 33, poses for a portrait in his home in Golden Valley, Minn, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. Osman’s first cousin, Amir Meshal, of Bloomington, is under scrutiny from the government and local community members for being a possible terrorist threat. Osman, along with some of his family, believe Meshal is dangerous and has possibly received terrorist training overseas.

Janice Constable, left, a volunteer with The Raptor Center, releases a juvenile bald eagle at Como Regional Park in St. Paul, Minn., as part of its rehabilitation on Wednesday, November 4, 2015, while volunteer Steve Masten controls the line the eagle is attached to. The two volunteers work with birds to help prepare them for flying once released back into the wild.

Janice Constable, left, a volunteer with The Raptor Center, releases a juvenile bald eagle at Como Regional Park in St. Paul, Minn., as part of its rehabilitation on Wednesday, November 4, 2015, while volunteer Steve Masten controls the line the eagle is attached to. The two volunteers work with birds to help prepare them for flying once released back into the wild.

Janice Constable, a volunteer with The Raptor Center for over 20 years, releases a juvenile bald eagle at Como Regional Park in St. Paul, Minn., as part of its rehabilitation on Wednesday, November 4, 2015. She says her favorite part of volunteering is, “Seeing the birds I’ve worked with be released. It makes my work fulfilling.”

Janice Constable, a volunteer with The Raptor Center for over 20 years, releases a juvenile bald eagle at Como Regional Park in St. Paul, Minn., as part of its rehabilitation on Wednesday, November 4, 2015. She says her favorite part of volunteering is, “Seeing the birds I’ve worked with be released. It makes my work fulfilling.”

A juvenile bald eagle flies after being released at Como Regional Park in St. Paul, Minn., as part of its rehabilitation on Wednesday, November 4, 2015. Volunteers from The Raptor Center bring birds out for test flights once a week to start with, and three to four times a week before they are released back into the wild. A rope is attached to the eagle’s feet so it can’t fly away.

A juvenile bald eagle flies after being released at Como Regional Park in St. Paul, Minn., as part of its rehabilitation on Wednesday, November 4, 2015. Volunteers from The Raptor Center bring birds out for test flights once a week to start with, and three to four times a week before they are released back into the wild. A rope is attached to the eagle’s feet so it can’t fly away.

Mohamednour Aded, 38, poses for a photo in the hallway of former Garfield Elementary School, which is now a mosque that was started by the Islamic Center of St. Cloud in St. Cloud, Minn., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. Aded came to the United States in 2013 and was injured while working at American Food Group. While working at American, Aded had to pray in the bathroom after he was denied to take prayer breaks.

Mohamednour Aded, 38, poses for a photo in the hallway of former Garfield Elementary School, which is now a mosque that was started by the Islamic Center of St. Cloud in St. Cloud, Minn., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. Aded came to the United States in 2013 and was injured while working at American Food Group. While working at American, Aded had to pray in the bathroom after he was denied to take prayer breaks.

U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., is a fixed roof stadium with a translucent roof and movable front windows. The windows and roof allow natural light to enter into the stadium, and give fans a view of downtown. During a media tour on Tuesday, February 16, 2016, it was announced that the stadium is 90 percent complete.

U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., is a fixed roof stadium with a translucent roof and movable front windows. The windows and roof allow natural light to enter into the stadium, and give fans a view of downtown. During a media tour on Tuesday, February 16, 2016, it was announced that the stadium is 90 percent complete.

Dave Mansell, general superintendent of M.A. Mortenson Co., talks about the progress on completing U.S. Bank Stadium during a media tour of the arena, Tuesday, February 16, 2016, in Minneapolis, Minn.

Dave Mansell, general superintendent of M.A. Mortenson Co., talks about the progress on completing U.S. Bank Stadium during a media tour of the arena, Tuesday, February 16, 2016, in Minneapolis, Minn.

Peter Southard, a member and volunteer with Twin City Model Railroad Museum, works on preparing a carnival display as the museum approaches its re-opening set for mid-May at its new location in St. Paul, Minn., Saturday, April 2, 2016. The carnival display has multiple moving displays including a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, merry-go-round, and a mini drive-in movie theater with a screen that shows a live view from a camera mounted on the front of the model train running on the track. Southard, an associate professor in the operations and supply chain management department at the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas, is an avid collector and model train enthusiast. He has been heavily involved in the moving of the museum from its former location at Bandana Square to Transfer Road in St. Paul, Minn.

Peter Southard, a member and volunteer with Twin City Model Railroad Museum, works on preparing a carnival display as the museum approaches its re-opening set for mid-May at its new location in St. Paul, Minn., Saturday, April 2, 2016. The carnival display has multiple moving displays including a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, merry-go-round, and a mini drive-in movie theater with a screen that shows a live view from a camera mounted on the front of the model train running on the track. Southard, an associate professor in the operations and supply chain management department at the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas, is an avid collector and model train enthusiast. He has been heavily involved in the moving of the museum from its former location at Bandana Square to Transfer Road in St. Paul, Minn.

Todd Roach, left, and his son Brendan, 3, of Dellwood, Minn., watch model trains go by on a display at Upper Midwest Train Show and Sale at Century College in White Bear Lake, Minn., on Saturday, April 2, 2016. They were among hundreds of people that came out for the train show, which was a popular event for families, model train collectors, and railroad history enthusiasts.

Todd Roach, left, and his son Brendan, 3, of Dellwood, Minn., watch model trains go by on a display at Upper Midwest Train Show and Sale at Century College in White Bear Lake, Minn., on Saturday, April 2, 2016. They were among hundreds of people that came out for the train show, which was a popular event for families, model train collectors, and railroad history enthusiasts.

A fan pays his respects to Prince at an impromptu memorial for the musician that was set up at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minn., by mourners the day the musician died, Thursday, April 21, 2016 (visit my multimedia page to see a video I did covering the reaction of fans to Prince's death).

A fan pays his respects to Prince at an impromptu memorial for the musician that was set up at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minn., by mourners the day the musician died, Thursday, April 21, 2016 (visit my multimedia page to see a video I did covering the reaction of fans to Prince's death).

Pastor Harding Smith poses for a photo at the Spiritual Church of God in Robbinsdale, Minn., Friday, June 10, 2016. Smith, an anti-violence activist, has become a controversial figure as some believe he takes advantage of media coverage of those he tries to help after experiencing a tragedy, primarily in the neighborhoods of north Minneapolis. 

Pastor Harding Smith poses for a photo at the Spiritual Church of God in Robbinsdale, Minn., Friday, June 10, 2016. Smith, an anti-violence activist, has become a controversial figure as some believe he takes advantage of media coverage of those he tries to help after experiencing a tragedy, primarily in the neighborhoods of north Minneapolis. 

Carlos Antonio Saldana embraces his friend David Brink while attending Golden Valley Pride Festival, in Golden Valley, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016. Saldana is originally from Orlando, Fla., and was emotionally struck by the news of the shooting at Pulse nightclub as he is familiar with it and has friends that go there sometimes. Saldana said at this point he does not know anyone who was there at the time of the shooting.

Carlos Antonio Saldana embraces his friend David Brink while attending Golden Valley Pride Festival, in Golden Valley, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016. Saldana is originally from Orlando, Fla., and was emotionally struck by the news of the shooting at Pulse nightclub as he is familiar with it and has friends that go there sometimes. Saldana said at this point he does not know anyone who was there at the time of the shooting.

Mara Glubka, of Richfield, Minn., yells at a yells at a Christian protester while attending Golden Valley Pride Festival, in Golden Valley, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.  She was so upset when protesters started to quote the Bible saying all homosexuals are sinners and in response yelled, “Shout them down! Shout them down!”

Mara Glubka, of Richfield, Minn., yells at a yells at a Christian protester while attending Golden Valley Pride Festival, in Golden Valley, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.  She was so upset when protesters started to quote the Bible saying all homosexuals are sinners and in response yelled, “Shout them down! Shout them down!”

Two men listen to speakers as hundreds of mourners gathered for an emotional vigil to show their support for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Two men listen to speakers as hundreds of mourners gathered for an emotional vigil to show their support for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Ilhan Omar, left, and Erin Maye Quade hold hands as Quade says, “Hand in hand, we move forward,” while speaking at the a vigil held for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Ilhan Omar, left, and Erin Maye Quade hold hands as Quade says, “Hand in hand, we move forward,” while speaking at the a vigil held for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Ilhan Omar embraces a friend after she spoke at a vigil held for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016. Omar is running for Minneapolis House District 60B and is a supporter of the GLBTQ community.

Ilhan Omar embraces a friend after she spoke at a vigil held for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016. Omar is running for Minneapolis House District 60B and is a supporter of the GLBTQ community.

Stephanie Peck, of Burnsville, Minn., holds a pride flag while attending a vigil held for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Stephanie Peck, of Burnsville, Minn., holds a pride flag while attending a vigil held for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

From left, Laura Sanders, Jonathan Knudson, and Ethan Meyers hold candles they lit while attending a vigil held for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016. “We’re fortunate to have a community here in Minneapolis that shows support for what happened,” said Sanders.

From left, Laura Sanders, Jonathan Knudson, and Ethan Meyers hold candles they lit while attending a vigil held for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016. “We’re fortunate to have a community here in Minneapolis that shows support for what happened,” said Sanders.

From left, Hattie Hsu, Steph Theisen, and Chandler Daily, all of St. Paul, Minn., hold candles they lit while attending a vigil held for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

From left, Hattie Hsu, Steph Theisen, and Chandler Daily, all of St. Paul, Minn., hold candles they lit while attending a vigil held for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

A man wears a rainbow flag in his hair during a gathering of hundreds of mourners at an emotional vigil supporting the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

A man wears a rainbow flag in his hair during a gathering of hundreds of mourners at an emotional vigil supporting the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

And we're off

I held off on doing a blog on my site for quite a while until now. I feel that I'm shooting often enough now to have regular and, more importantly, interesting content to share. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a blog with way too many photos. I will not post an overwhelming amount of photos each time. Instead, I will share a handful of images that I feel represent the essence of the shoots that I do and if the work is published, include a link so you can check it out if you want to see more.

To kick things off for my first post, I wanted to share about a shoot I did last week for Minnesota Public Radio Online News. For a long time now, I've wanted to photograph a significant bird migration. I finally got my act together this year and contacted the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in southeastern Minnesota to find out when the tundra swans making their annual migration from the Arctic would be coming through. Due to an unusually warm fall, the migration started late this year and the birds came through just last week. So this past Friday, I got up at 3:30 am to drive 2 1/2 hours south from the Twin Cities to Brownsville, MN, on the Mississippi River to witness 3,000 swans congregating in a small bay. As the sun came up along with their calls, the river bathed in golden light, I was able to create some beautiful images.

Now, I don't own a long lens (longest I have is a 70-200mm) and I didn't have time to rent a lens since it was a last minute effort to get down there. It was a challenge to say the least to get anything good of the swans who were a ways out in the bay. Luckily, there was a retired couple there taking pictures and we go to talking as Minnesotans do and they asked me who I was and what I was doing there. After learning I am a professional photographer, they bombarded me with questions which I gladly answered (I teach photography classes so I love educating other shooters). I commented on their 600mm lens and how I am looking at a new Nikon 200-500mm for myself soon and they offered for me to try their long glass as a thank you for the advice I gave them. Who was I to say "No?" As a result, I was able to get some photos I would have otherwise missed out on.

Here's a selection of a few favorites from that cold November morning. For the full gallery and story, visit http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/11/21/photos-migrating-tundra-swans-pause-for-food-rest-along-mississippi-