Thursday, December 8, 2011

Giant Alphabet Blocks

The photo below is my Flickr upload with the most views to date. At 756 at the time of this writing, it is almost 100 views ahead of the next runner-up. It is also one of my favorite photos ever, because it captures an image of my favorite graffiti art creations ever.

Giant Alphabet Blocks ~ Black & White with Color Splash

Though the photo is treated to get the black and white with a touch of color effect, the graffiti was really there and was not a photo shop trick. Loved the creative use of what was there and reinterpret into something else. Which I guess I also sort-of did when I decided to make the original below into what you see above.

Pillsbury Park Giant Alphabet Blocks

Similar to the Stone Arch Bridge study from earlier this week, this is a photo I have wanted to recreate. It is located near the bridge, so as soon as I finished taking that series of photos, I walked over to where I could find this scene. I was disappointed with what I found.

Covered Alphabet Blocks

Okay, so it was a different time of year (fall versus spring) and so of course it was overgrown compared to the last time I was there. But the art below the foliage has changed and I am less of a fan. It was bound to happen, of course, because the nature of a public canvas includes a susceptability to alteration (or even obliteration in the case of city graffiti cleanups). But it doesn't mean I have to like it!

Sara Duane-Gladden is a freelance writer and photographer in the Twin Cities area of the great state of Minnesota.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stone Arch Bridge Series

The photo below of the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis was taken on one of my very first photohikes in April of 2009. It was taken with a Kodak DC3400 Zoom, a digital camera manufactured in 2000. Needless to say, when I got my Canon Rebel XSi, there was more than one photo I wish I could retake with the new camera, including this one.

Stone Arch Bridge A

Since it is a stone bridge, of course it is still there and I've been in the area repeatedly. But since the last time I was in the spot where the photo was taken, something had happened to the stairs and they were blocked off. On repeated visits. But then one day in September when I visited, the stairway was open!

Stone Arch Bridge ~ Angle #1

The photo above was my favorite from the series.

Stone Arch Bridge ~ Angle #2

This photo most looks like the one taken in 2009.

Stone Arch Bridge ~ Angle #3

Trying to get an image of the length of the bridge here. Island was in the way of the best shot.

Stone Arch Bridge ~ Angle #4

Minneapolis prominently displayed in the background.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


After Pinterest and Scoop.It, another fun toy I have been playing with is carbonmade. Does it make it less of an online toy if it actually serves a professional purpose?

Carbonmade is an online portfolio service for photography, illustrations, video and other imagery. For free, one can make a portfolio with up to 5 projects and 35 images (but no video). For $12 a month, though, you can have up to 50 projects, 500 images and 10 videos.

For now and the foreseeable future, I have the free version. See my carbonmade photo portfolio here! But even with its limitations, it absolutely did the trick.

I had to create an online portfolio for work. I recently made a big career change from being a primarily freelance and contract copywriter to being a full-time lead copywriter at a marketing agency in the Twin Cities metro. During a team-building exercise, one of my co-workers proposed that I, being an amateur photographer with some published photos, create custom images for some of our clients. The stock service we use doesn’t always cut it.

Of course I loved the idea and went about creating an online portfolio to prove that I could do it. And 5 projects with 35 photos were more than enough to make my point. It was easy to customize my portfolio's appearance to make the images look their best. I'm a little disappointed with how the resolution looks, but that's probably because I'm using the free version.

Now it is up to me to determine how to best start this project and create an action plan for how to implement it. So yeah, the easy part is done, now comes the hard part. But I can see the value for having original imagery as part of an online content marketing plan. Everyone has the same stock photos, it’s the online marketing campaigns that create their own imagery that tend to stand out because it more closely aligns with their brand values and standards.

I'm going to help with that to the best of my ability! And probably expand my ability while I'm at it!

For the moment, my portfolio will remain as is. If I have to create another portfolio in the future for a different purpose, at least I will have a start. This served its purpose for now and isn’t needed at the moment, but one may never know when opportunities will arrive!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


One of my new favorite online toys for photography and inspiration is Pinterest.

Pinterest is a tool that allows users to organize and share all the beautiful images and videos they find on the web. It is like a virtual pinboard or collage to which one can continuously add.

Some of the suggestions for its use are to plan weddings, decorate a home, organize recipes or plan crafting projects.

Of course, I'm using it for my own ends. I have nine pinboards on Pinterest so far, mostly for inspiration or aspirations, including:
I've actually already made a recipe off of the "Mmm" pinboard, too! Sweet potato casserole! And it was delicious, I'll be making it again. I also have plans to create the Flower Power eggs in the future. The Dream Home will be a little harder to make, though.

Users can also browse pinboards created by other people and follow their creators so you can see how they evolve in the future. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to find images and inspiration from other people who share your interests.

It isn't yet completely open to the public. To get started, one must ask for an invite. It doesn't seem to take long for approval though, I was pinning within a few hours of my request.

For me, it is just a fun new online toy to share some of the interesting things I find on the internet. :)

Do you use a content curation tool that you particularly like? Share it in the comments.

See also: Scoop.It!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day in the Life ~ 11-11-11

I may be done with my 365 project for the year, but I'm not done taking photos. I am easing myself back into regularly taking photos again so that come January when I start 365, I'm not out of practice. My first project to this end is this post, Day in the Life ~ 11-11-11. I spent most of it at work, so its pretty standard. My personal favorite, though, is the third photo down.



Stop - Hammer Time

Walk Like an Egyptian


Finally done with work! Was the last one out of the building for the first time since I started my new job.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

365 Project 2011 ~ Admitting Defeat

I tried, so hard, to continue my 365 project this year. I think I made it two weeks longer than 2010 as far as taking photos and uploading, but I still faltered: I started missing days, then I put off uploading, then it was a snowball effect. Because it was so hard to admit defeat, I still took random photos, knowing full well my 365 project had been broken. Now its been two weeks since I even took the camera out of the case. So as my finale and farewell to my 365 project for 2011, here are the best ones that hadn't previously uploaded since July.

Last Sunflower ~ 242/365 ~ 2011

Party Planning ~ 245/365 ~ 2011

Unhappy Child with Balloons ~ 252/365 ~ 2011

Pretty Paisley Dress ~ 261/365 ~ 2011

Cruel Summer ~ 265/365 ~ 2011

Pink Ribbon Railing ~ 276/365 ~  2011

Monarch Butterfly ~ 285/365 ~ 2011
Thus concludes my 365 project for 2011. I will try again next year! Perhaps the third time is the charm? I certainly hope so.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Minnesota Renaissance Festival ~ 2011

Haven't had a lot of time to blog or upload photos lately. Part of it is being busy with work, for which I am grateful because being a freelance writer can result in unpredictable income flow! Another part of it, though, is that the Minnesota Renaissance Festival is in full swing and I am a participant, which means my usually-productive weekends are spent in revelry throughout the day and then a pile of tired on the couch at night.

Royal Guard
For the curious, I am an alto with a madrigal choir called the Elizabethan Syngers, which is currently celebrating its 40th year as an organization and participation at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.

Elizabethan Syngers
No, I'm not in the photo, silly. I'm behind the camera. If you want to see me perform, you'll have to come to the festival! I'll be there performing with the group on Saturday, September 17, and Sunday, September 25.

Fair Tortoise
You can't see it in this photo, but this tortoise pulls a little carriage with a little driver and a relatively big beer barrel. I just like this picture because I think tortoises have cute, contented-looking faces.

Little Fairies
Fairies like to have tea time, too!

The Fiddler
If you haven't been to the Minnesota Rennaissance Festival, I do highly recommend that you visit at least once in your life time. It is an amazing experience, filled with music, entertainment, fun and even a little naughtiness. Who knows, you could end up liking it so much, you find your own way to be a part of it, just like I did.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival 2011 Photo Set
Minnesota Renaissance Festival 2009 Photo Set

Sara Duane-Gladden is a freelance writer and photographer in the Twin Cities area of the great state of Minnesota.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stroll Around Downtown Minneapolis

I recently visited downtown Minneapolis and snapped a few photos.

Nicollet Avenue
Three Bird Fountain
Nicollet Mall at 9th Street
Elliot Offner, 1991

Orpheum Theater
The Orpheum Theater opened in 1921, and has hosted plays, concerts, big bands, vaudeville, comedy, and screened movies. It was once owned by Bob Dylan and his brother.

Old Schmidt Music Building Mural
This mural painted on the side of what used to be the Schmidt Music building depicts Maurice Ravel's "Gaspard de la Nuit."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Little Night Photography

After the lightning post from earlier this week, it reminded me I had taken some other night time photos.

Well, I guess was technically from the very begnning of what is called the "blue hour," but its close enough for me because it was low light and the full moon was out.

The Tunnel at Night ~ 193/365 ~ 2011
All of these photos were shot from the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge near the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and Walker Art Center.

Basilica of St. Mary
The photo above was meant to be similar to the daylight photo below. After I started snapping photos, though, I realized I was missing two whole streets with potential traffic and taillight trails, so I shifted the focus a little.

Interstate 94

Sunday, July 31, 2011

365 Project 2011 ~ July Update

I have now officially continued my 2011 365 Project for longer than I did last year. I think I puttered out about half-way through July during 2010. Hoping to keep plugging away the rest of the year! Here are some of the more interesting photos from this month.

Widow Skimmer Dragonfly ~  187/365 ~ 2011

Sparkler Girl ~ 190/365 ~ 2011

In Flight ~ 203/365 ~ 2011

Monarch Caterpillar ~ 204/365 ~ 2011

LOLcat ~ 205/365 ~ 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Shooting Lightning

Tonight I made my first attempt at capturing lightning in a photo. I would say it was a success. This first photo below was literally my first try at it and it turned out to be the best one of the night!

Lightning in Minnesota #1

It was easier than I expected it to be. I experimented with the instructions on this tips page from Lightning Photography. One thing I found difficult was getting the focus right because it was so dark and lightning is so fleeting.

Lightning in Minnesota #2
Extraneous clouds also made some photos look blurry simply because the exposure time was so long and there was so much lightning to illuminate the sky, the one could see how the cloud had moved while the shutter was open.
Lightning in Minnesota #3
This was exciting. I love storms and this was an amazing light show. I don't think I would have stopped to appreciate it as much if I hadn't been waiting for a good storm like this to try lightning photos. I look forward to trying this again in a different location besides my boring backyard. Take a look at some of the amazing photos at Lightning Photography to see what I mean.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

365 Project 2011 ~ June Update

Yellow Center ~ 159/365 ~ 2011

Baby Sparrow ~ 162/365 ~ 2011

Pink Flowers ~ 172/365 ~ 2011

Red Flowers ~ 174/365 ~ 2011

Raspberry Sour Cream Pie ~ 176/365 ~ 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

365 Project 2011 ~ Belated May Update

May and June were mind-numbingly busy months for me. I kept taking photos, but didn't always have time to upload them or blog.

Sweet Strawberry ~ 123/365 ~ 2011

Dandelion ~ 139/365 ~ 2011

Pink Orchid ~ 142/365 ~ 2011
Fierce ~ 146/365 ~ 2011
"Like" ~ 149/365 ~ 2011