Each year, the day after Thanksgiving, thousands of people stroll the streets of downtown Red Wing to experience a true, old-fashioned Christmas. - The 10th Annual Downtown Red Wing Holiday Stroll
It was a great evening for the 10th Annual Down Town Red Wing Holiday Stroll parade. The mild weather no doubt contributed to spectacular turnout. I was perched on the window sill on the second floor above Hanisch Bakery & Coffee Shop; an excellent vantage point as the parade turned the corner of Bush and W 3rd Street.
With an extremely full belly and a load of left-overs in tow, I departed Rice Lake and headed for home. I made my way home slowly; still sleepy from that last few days of excess. Another very fair-weather day…still comfortable driving around with the heat on and windows down. Lots of eagles in creek valleys and I spied a little deer – no doubt running for hunters, out in the open field as she was.
While all of the Turkey Day eats were baking and grilling, I took the opportunity to meander around the Rice Lake, WI area. I had no trouble finding great scenery just outside of town to the South and West. There are several back roads just outside of the Blue Hills. A truly beautiful area; I plan on spending some additional time in this area as I barely scratched the surface.
The path from Red Wing, MN to Rice Lake, WI was everything I expected it to be. Countless back roads lay between here and there. So many dead end drives and county road loops to explore; even though I expanded an easy hour and half drive to eight total, there were just too many to take all in. You just can’t go wrong roaming a path littered with horse stables, distressed buildings, and barns-barns-barns galore. I even spied a roster pheasant along the way, but he was very quick and my only shots were marginal. A dandy bird non-the-less; a seemingly rarer site these days. Part Two on the way.
Nothing signals a season change more quickly than a light blanket of snow. The Winter Solstice is just over a month away and the cold weather and shorter days have settled in. I drug myself out of the house and into the cold today anyway. I traveled a familiar route around the Esdaile, WI area just to see how things might have changed under a moderate dusting of snow.
On November 3rd I was out on one of my countryside drives and spotted a barn overgrown with trees. I snapped a shot or two, but never published and thought nothing more about it until today. While out on a Friday photography fun day, with two lovely ladies from RWPC, we happened upon the site of this old barn. It’s exterior is in full rustic glory and its structural integrity not quite yet fully compromised. However, its splintered and twisted joists, make this beauty very dangerous. I was informed that the stone house across the road is this oldest in the county. The landowner believed the barn was erected in the early 1800′s around the same time as the house. This old edifice held some interesting items. Most notable were a Hobart M. Cable Co. piano (likely from the early 1900′s), a Blue Bird bus seat that has seen better days, an old trunk and some type of case (suitcase?). I am no antique aficionado – the items looked old and interesting. I post-processed mostly in black and white, except where color provided for a more dynamic image.
I guess my affinity towards barns and distressed buildings (some which also happen to be barns) has become quite evident as of late as I continue to experiment with black and white photography. Buffalo County was a wonderful place to capture images suitable for further examination. I am especially happy with the calf peering out from behind the jagged metal siding and the curly-faced cow. The small building with the layered hillsides in the back and wires hanging from the pole I thought also converted well.
Low light settles in earlier these days. High ISO, when combined with post processing, isn’t so bad in my opinion. I could have setup the tripod, but I was feeling extra lazy this evening. I opted for the comfort of my car seat and a steamy cup of Caribou Go Juice. With the caffeine jitters in full force, ISO cranked up to 5000, f/4.8, 1/30 sec @ 160mm, here is a hand-held shot that I played around with in Color Effects Pro and Silver Effects Pro – both Nik Software titles. You can take a seemingly blah image and make it a bit more interesting.
RAW image straight out of the camera. It’s pretty blah and noisy.
Post processed with Color Effects Pro.
Black and White conversion in Silver Effect Pro.
I just keep making adjustments until I like what I see…click on buttons, move the sliders back and forth – that’s what its all about.
My day brought me across three counties – Goodhue, Rice and Le Seuer. Here are a few shots from my travels. I really enjoy distressed buildings. A barn, corn crib and an old garden shed all have interesting characteristics. The various materials used to hold them together in their current state provide contrast from its original make up.
There is a small town off of Hwy 60 East of Fairbaut, MN that I feel compelled to tell everyone about. Nerstrand is a tiny little town in Rice County, just West of the Goodhue County line off of 246. I’ve been visiting this town for over 10 years now. It has something…something very tasty. Nerstrand Meats & Catering is a family owned business in operation since 1890. My all-time favorite item is their beef sticks. You cannot miss, be it cheddar or pepper jack. All of their products are great, including their jerky, ribs, rib eye steaks, dried beef, and don’t get me started on their bacon…bacon, bacon, bacon! If your travels ever bring you near, stop it and check it, If appreciate good meat and the best smoked goodies around, you won’t be disappointed.
Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is just down the road – a great place to be outdoors and hike around.