September 2010 Archives

University of Minnesota Buildings

I've embarked on a project of photographing all the academic buildings on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. Here are some of the early results.

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(click to enlarge) The silvery new Science Teaching and Student Services Building at the University of Minnesota, under an equally silvery sky, with downtown Minneapolis in the background.

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(click to enlarge) Smith Hall between classes

Fort William - Tools

There's something fascinating about a wall of old tools: sort of a combination of Antiques Roadshow and musical notation or calligraphy.

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(click to enlarge) Cooper's Shop

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(click to enlarge) Carpenter's Shop

Fort William - The Cooper's Shop

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"The wooden cask, made with staves, two heads, and hoops that hold it firmly together is one of man's outstanding inventions. It is only slightly less important than the wheel in the history of human progress. It has served as an excellent multipurpose container throughout recorded history. The hand method of fabricating the cask has been basically the same for the past three thousand years.

"Coopering was a very important craft at Fort William. The following goods were shipped to and from the fort in barrels, casks and kegs: gunpowder, liquors, vinegar, pork, beef, butter, sausages, raisins, figs, prunes, cheese, sugar, tobacco, gum flour, salt, peas, and fish. In 1816, there was enough wood for one hundred and fifty kegs, and in 1820, for two hundred kegs. To make this quantity, the cooper would need a large work area. This explains why his shop is so large when compared to the blacksmith and tinsmith's shop. "

(From the Fort William Historical Park web site)

Fort William - Cooper in the Cooperage

The barrels used to ship goods from Fort William were largely made there, and are still being made -- by hand.

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Fort William Barrels

Most of what wasn't moved in and out of Fort William in bales was shipped in barrels -- from gunpowder to dried fish.

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Fort William Fur Bales

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Bales like these, each weighing 90 pounds, were used to package and transport furs and other goods. Each voyageur carried at least two, sometimes three, bales on his back. The markings on the bales are explained here. "Pieces were marked by the various trading companies to keep track of the materials moving throughout the system. In general, the marks would state who owned the piece, where it was going (usually by code), perhaps an indication of what the piece contained, a bill of lading number, perhaps the weight, and in many cases the year in which the goods were packed."

Fort William Historical Park

While we were staying at Grand Portage Lodge in northern Minnesota, we went one day over the Canadian border to Thunder Bay, where we visited Fort William - a most impressive and engaging historical park.

According to its website "Fort William Historical Park [is] one of the largest living history attractions in North America, devoted to re-creating the days of the North West Company and the Canadian fur trade. Fort William Historical Park is recognized as one of the Top Ten Attractions in Canada and one of the world's most impressive historic sites.

"With over 40 buildings on 225 acres, Fort William offers a vivid and rich tapestry of fur trade life, running the gamut from culture to crafts, medicine to business, domestic life to heritage farming.

Some of Canada's most renowned explorers were also connected to the NWC, including Simon Fraser, Sir Alexander Mackenzie and David Thompson, which is indicative of how the fur trade played a key role in forming the foundations of Canada."

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(click to enlarge) Detail of birch bark tepee

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(click to enlarge) Fishing net hung to dry over fence near river

Grand Portage National Monument - Kitchen Details

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Grand Portage National Monument

The Grand Portage National Monument, near the US-Canada border in northern Minnesota, recreates a piece of the physical setting of the relations between the Anishinabe or Ojibwe people of Grand Portage and the North West Company of the North American fur trade. A depot for the exchange of furs for other goods has been reconstructed over its original footprint, with appealing live demos of aspects of the life in the depot.

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Fishing on Gunflint Lake


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Banning State Park


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"The vegetation in this part of the Mille Lacs Uplands is still recovering from 19th century human industry and forest fires. The forest was logged, and around the quarry the ground was stripped bare. Today middle-successional species like birch and aspen are more prevalent than the Norway and eastern white pines that would have originally dominated the area." ( Wikipedia)

Cascade River State Park

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Somehow, I was more attracted by fallen trees than by falling water.

Judge C.R. Magney State Park

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From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources web site:

"In 1957, a 940-acre parcel of forest along the Brule River was set aside as Brule River State Park. The park became Judge C. R. Magney State Park in 1963 when the Minnesota legislature selected this park as a memorial to the late Judge Magney, a lawyer, mayor of Duluth, justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, and a strong advocate of Minnesota State Parks, especially those along the North Shore. With his influence, he was instrumental in establishing 11 state parks and waysides along Lake Superior. Over the years, parcels of land have been added to the park which today totals 4,642 acres.


The vast open waters of Lake Superior moderate the area climate. Summers are generally cool and winters are usually mild with abundant snowfall. The scenic Brule River races through the park, forming whitewater rapids and waterfalls on its way to Lake Superior. Along the lower stretches of the river are a series of spectacular waterfalls. Birdwatchers will find a bonanza of warblers during the nesting months of May, June, and July. Early fall is a good time to observe migrating hawks as they congregate along the shore of Lake Superior. Large white spruce grace the campground and other upland areas. The forested areas are dominated by birch and aspen stands. Wildflowers begin to show in early spring with the marsh marigold, wood anemone, and violet. In summer, look for the rose, thimbleberry, moccasin flower, coral root, clintonia, wild sarsaparilla, and fireweed. Asters and goldenrod add to the fiery colors of autumn."

Tettegouche State Park

"Established in 1979 to preserve an outstanding example of the North Shore Highlands Biocultural Region, the 9,346 acres of Tettegouche State Park contain a unique combination of natural features: rugged, semi-mountainous terrain, one mile of Lake Superior shoreline, six inland lakes, cascading rivers and waterfalls, and an undisturbed northern hardwood forest." link


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"In 1898, the Alger-Smith Lumber Company began cutting the virgin pine forests of Northeastern Minnesota. A logging camp was set up on the shores of a lake the loggers called Nipisiquit, an Indian name from a tribe in New Brunswick, Canada, the logger's native country. They took the Algonquin names for New Brunswick landmarks and gave them to the lakes in Tettegouche.

In 1910, after removing most of the Norway and white pine, the logging company sold the camp and surrounding acreage to the "Tettegouche Club," a group of businessmen from Duluth who used the area as a fishing camp and retreat. One of its members, Clement Quinn, bought the others out in 1921 and continued to act as protector for the area until 1971 when Quinn sold Tettegouche to the deLaittres family. The deLaittres continued Quinn's tradition of stewardship for the land, beginning negotiations several years later for the preservation of Tettegouche as a state park. During these years, the Nature Conservancy, a private land conservation organization, played a vital role (along with other concerned individuals and groups) in the transfer of ownership. Finally, on June 29, 1979, legislation was enacted establishing Tettegouche as a state park." link

Naniboujou Lodge Dining Room

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(click to enlarge) The dining room of Naniboujou Lodge is one of the wonders of the North Shore. From the web site:

"Probably the most memorable aspect of the lodge is the wondrously painted 30 x 80 foot dining room. Antoine Goufee, a French artist, painted Cree Indian designs over the walls and the twenty-foot-high domed ceiling (resembling the shape of a canoe). Guests marvel at its originality. "It's straight from an Agatha Christie mystery novel," wrote Tom Clifford in 1972. "The almost psychedelic Cree Indian designs covering the walls and ceiling are like a North Woods answer to the Sistine Chapel." This work of art continually amazes and intrigues, echoing the elegance and style of another era."

Temperance River State Park

According to Wikipedia: "The Temperance River area was first permanently inhabited by Europeans in the 1830s. Settlers had to decide what to name various geographical features. When the geographical surveyors came through the area in 1864, they noticed that one particular river ran into water which was so deep that no sand bar formed at the mouth. Because there was no "bar" that river was named "Temperance." "

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Cambridge University - Towering


(click to enlarge) King's College


(click to enlarge) Statue of Isaac Newton in the Trinity College Chapel

This is the end of my photos from England -- until I go again.

Cambridge University - King's College Chapel

On our last full day in England we took the train from London to Cambridge. The guided tour of the University focuses on King's College, particularly the chapel, which is a very good choice.


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"King's College Chapel is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, and is a splendid example of late Gothic (Perpendicular) architecture. It was started in 1446 by Henry VI (1421-71) and took over a century to build. It has the largest fan vault ceiling in the world and some of the finest medieval stained glass." link

Cambridge, England - Transportation


(click to enlarge) Cambridge railway station


(click to enlarge) Punting on the Cam in back of King's College

Camden Market - Fashion

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"Fashions may vary considerably within a society according to age, social class, generation, occupation, and geography as well as over time. If, for example, an older person dresses according to the fashion of young people, he or she may look ridiculous in the eyes of both young and older people. The terms 'fashionista' or fashion victim refer to someone who slavishly follows the current fashions.

One can regard the system of sporting various fashions as a fashion language incorporating various fashion statements using a grammar of fashion." -- Wikipedia

Gunflint Trail - Colorful Tangles


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Camden Market - More Mannequins

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"Mannequins are a common theme in horror fiction, although not nearly as common as baby dolls. While an intense, irrational fear of mannequins (known as pediophobia) is rare, many people nonetheless find them disturbing ... especially when not fully assembled." ( Wikipedia).

Gunflint Trail - Quiet


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"As you meander on up from the shores of Lake Superior to the banks of the Boundary Waters at Saganaga Lake, you'll notice how this wilderness starts to wash away the work and worries you've carried with you so long.

Wind your way through 57 miles of beautiful boreal forests, past glacial Gunflint Trail lakes, and through outdoor splendor where the only human habitation takes place at camp sites.

Just take our National Scenic Byway across Northeastern Minnesota, and take your time. Because a trip like this can stay with you forever."

Gunflint Trail - Fire and Regeneration

From BWCAWiki:

"The Ham Lake Fire was a forest fire that burned in May 2007 on the western end of the Gunflint Trail. The fire started on Ham Lake and quickly spread northwest to Round Lake and then turned north and burned across the end of the Gunflint Trail. By the time it was contained, the fire had burned 36,443 acres in the United States and more than 75,000 acres in total, making it the largest forest fire in the region in at least a century."


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I note with astonishment that this is my 1000th blog: 729 entries in this photo blog, and 271 in a previous blog on Public Engagement.

School Has Started

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Students on the pedestrian bridge over Washington Avenue at the University of Minnesota. In the center is the new Science Classroom and Student Services Building. In the background is downtown Minneapolis.

Even though I've been teaching here for 40 years, the abrupt switch from the quiet of summer to the crowded bustle of fall semester never ceases to startle me.

London - Camden Market

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(click to enlarge) Another interestingly distressed mannequin

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(click to enlarge) Anticipating Halloween

Minnesota North Shore - Gunflint Trail

According to, "The Gunflint Trail passes through the northeastern corner of Minnesota near the Canadian border. The pastoral landscape of the Superior National Forest is a quiet nature destination where animals outnumber people. Travel the Gunflint Trail and experience views of beautiful Lake Superior in the byway's starting point, Grand Marais, and from the 1,000-foot elevation of the Sawtooth Mountain ridgeline. The forest changes from mixed deciduous to maple, to mixed conifer, to conifer, and to boreal forest--all home to a fascinating variety of birds and mammals."


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Minnesota North Shore - Gunflint Trail

This was our first trip to the Gunflint Trail area on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The territory is full of complex patterns at all levels of detail.


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London - Camden Market Mannequins

Sorry for the unannounced hiatus. I ran into a glitch, and had to wait until the long weekend was over to get needed help.

I am intrigued by mannequins that look like they've suffered. Here are a couple from Camden Market in London.

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London - Camden Market

A vendor and a disc jockey at Camden Market in London. "The Camden Markets are a number of adjoining large markets in Camden Town near the Hampstead Road Lock of the Regent's Canal (which is usually called Camden Lock), often called collectively "Camden Market" or "Camden Lock". The stalls sell crafts, clothing, bric-a-brac, fast food, and other things. It is the fourth most popular visitor attraction in London, attracting approximately 100,000 people each weekend." Wikipedia

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Minnesota - Banning State Park

Banning State Park is about 30 miles south of Duluth. I found some interesting fungus formations there.

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My Favorite Photo Blogs

I subscribe to a lot of photography blogs, and have added and deleted many more from my list over the years. I've come to realize that there are only a very few from which I get a charge of anticipation when I see a new posting. Two I find especially appealing, because their authors combine deep knowledge of photographic aesthetics, culture, practice, and technology with distinctive personalities that come through vividly in their writing. I also like that they post frequently, so I get a fix almost every day:

Mike Johnson: The Online Photographer

Kirk Tuck: The Visual Science Lab

Almost as high on my list is Michael Reichmann: The Luminous Landscape
Reichmann is famous for his reviews of ultra-expensive cameras, but he's also given good coverage of the new generation of high-end, small-sensor cameras, which is where my interests lie. He's an important on-line educator. And the photos he posts are very close to my own aesthetic preferences.

George Barr: Behind the Lens
Barr seldom lets his personality shine through, but he writes as instructively and cogently as anyone about the aesthetics of photography, and illustrates with his quiet but appealing photos.

Doug Plummer: Dispatches
Plummer's personality - his challenges, his angst, and his joys - come through vividly in his blog. His description of his professional evolution to including video, his sharing of experiences in photographing for higher education, and his enthusiasm for folk dancing combine to make me feel like I'd really like to talk with this guy at a dinner party. I only wish he'd post more often.

Gianni Galassi: Photographia
Entirely different from the others: no personality, hardly any words. Just gorgeous geometries, whittled down to their essence. The Ellsworth Kelly of photography.

London - British Museum Alarm

Late one afternoon I returned to the British Museum, intending to take some more photos of people interacting with the sculptures. As I approached, I saw that the street was blocked off, a large crowd of people was milling around, and many fire trucks, ambulances, and police vehicles were parked around. It turned out that the museum had been evacuated because of a gas leak alert; fortunately, nobody was hurt. Still intent on getting some photos, I switched into "artistic photojournalist" mode.

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Minnesota North Shore - Gooseberry Falls State Park Colors

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(click to enlarge) It's the little details, rather than the grand vistas, that I find most evocative in this landscape.

London - Communing with the Ancients at the British Museum

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Minnesota North Shore - Gooseberry River Overlook

Looking through birches across the Gooseberry River gorge.

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London - British Museum Fatigue

Sometimes museum-goers just need a rest.

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Minnesota North Shore - Gooseberry Falls Vegetation

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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