Local designer and Project Runway finalist Christopher Straub had his first show at the Saint Paul Hotel (in St. Paul, Minn.) on April 25. Arriving through a back door, I accidentally wandered right into the dressing room where Straub and the models were getting ready. I had met Straub (second photo below) previously at Spill The Wine so I said hello and took a few candids. It turned out to be a very neat place to shoot while organizers were setting up the runway across the hall.

The actual show was very well-lit and the press pool had plenty of room to shoot as the models walked. Interesting that astroturf has just the right shiny-ness to give a runway a glitzy look and some added depth. I’m saving that idea for a future shoot…

Crash Pad

My brother tried out his new crash pad on a massive stone retaining wall at the James J. Hill House in St. Paul, Minn. For an iconic landmark, there is not much foot traffic to worry about and the spot we found was nicely hidden from the road. I think this will be a good season for climbing; I’m making it a priority.

Choosing Paths

Katie Parish and I tried to counteract the sluggish feeling that comes with living in Minnesota in January by going for a morning hike. An internet search recommended some trails at Fort Snelling State Park but they turned out to be so flat and boring we didn’t even take any photos. As a plan B we drove to another part of the Mississippi where we had seen footpaths leading toward the riverbank. These couple are from a hike in St. Paul between W Dayton Ave and W Goodrich Ave. Much more scenic, challenging, fun, photogenic, etc., etc.


Emily Carroll invited me to dinner with her father and step-mother in St. Paul. The food was so good I forgot to take any photos until it was gone. Spinach salad with avocados and pomegranate seeds; purple fingerling potatoes and steak; fresh-baked, homemade chocolate chip cookies.

The Great Minnesota Get-Together

Minnesota State Fair 2009 was record-breaking for attendance with 1,790,497 visitors, three of which were Michels-Boyce’s. I didn’t try any new foods this year, just made sure to hit the classics: cheese curds, Sweet Martha’s cookies, and the all-you-can-drink-milk stand. However, “deep-fried-hotdish-on-a-stick” caught my eye. Maybe next year.

-Display of winningest Peach Jams.
-Goat gets up in my face during the awards ceremony.
-My parents go gothic.
-Looks like first-timers to the Giant Slide, an attraction of which I have many fond memories.
-I tried for a banana, I lost. This kid apparently has friends in high places.
-Sweet Martha’s Cookies. Enough said.

Frozen Pastimes

First day of the St. Paul Winter Carnival ice sculpture contest. My favorite was “Survival,” which included this eagle with spread wings. Because the ice-art is displayed outdoors in Rice Park, security must be maintained 24-7. I talked with one guard (below) who told me his shift was 6pm-6am. This was his first night, he said, as last year they used a different company whose employees fell asleep on the job, enabling vandals to destroy several of the sculptures.