Ah, lake country. Where in every small town, the liquor stores outnumber the grocery stores 3-1. Things I did besides take pictures last week at the cabin was play some volleyball, do a lot of floating, and take a couple bike rides with Alan. That’s kinda “our thing” at the cabin. It was difficult though because there was an unprecedented amount of humidity up north this year. What? Humidity in Minnesota? It happened! Typically the mornings are breezy and refreshing and the evenings have a slight nip in the air. But there was a ton of rain this year and so for a few days, we just had sweaty air. Notably, there was a giant storm on Wednesday night. This came after a full day of beautiful sunshine, warm air and wind all day. It was nice, it made the water choppy, volleyball a challenge, and pushed all clouds away. Then the wind stopped, allowing some really nice looking storm clouds to settle in as we were sitting down to dinner. Instantly there was no visibility across the water anymore. It was just gray, and those trees were swaying pretty violently. Then the resort’s power went out, and the rain stopped. We heard talk of trees down around the place, so we went to take a look. In a way it was nice, because so many people came out of their cabins to help clean up the mess – immediately. “Minnesota Nice” in action! We got a real cloud show after the storm. I’ve heard of the calm before the storm, but the calm after??! The storm lasted about 10 minutes, but we got 7 hours of no power out of it. We played board games by lamplight. The next morning, having not been able to clean our dinner plates, or store all the food back in the fridge, we had some real sweet humidity and a fly infestation. So great. I’ve talked before about how the resort has a lodge with an arcade. Pretty much the ONLY game Alan will play is this Super Mario Bros one. And after the power went out, he had the freedom and flexibility to create this, I think as a little present to me (I played him the Comedy Bang Bang episode “Heynong Man” on the drive up). It was so special. More special than being asked to marry him. Think how nice this picture would be if Alan’s lifejacket didn’t have the douchey Ed Hardy type on it.
This lake. It’s one of my most beloved places in the world. It’s so clear and velvety. It has bizarre pockets of hot and cold water constantly, but it’s always peaceful. Especially in the evening, when the sky is dimming and colorful, it paints the lake like watercolors. When I’m brave enough to go swimming in the evening (which should be always, let’s face it, I’m scared of the big fish coming out), to just be treading in that dark water, surrounded by sky and trees. It’s one of the best places to be. The lake never lets me down. The next day, Friday, we took our traditional trip out to have dinner in Walker, and then moseyed down to Walker Bay, which is another one of my favorite places. On Friday night in a bustling lake town like Walker, the atmosphere can’t be beat! And it didn’t hurt that it was 91 degrees. Everybody wanted to be on the water. I don’t know who Rick Voight is, and frankly, I don’t wanna know. These last two pictures showcase friends of the family who have been around my whole life. Madeleine (top) was my first friend, and Eric and Ann (bottom) were married this past February with my dad as Best Man. We’ve all been going to the cabin the same week for a quarter century (whaaaaaaaaaat?) Alright, Vera! I don’t know what she was doing. Lots of dancing, lots of singing I guess. But she was having the time of her LIFE with grandpa. This was the sickest boat, and had been previously driven by the douchiest looking bro. Cruising down Hwy 34, the “Lake Country Scenic Byway”. They got that right! Believe it or not, it’s weirdly hard to deliberately make blurred images, now that I’m so tuned in on the proper way to expose photos. I don’t take many pictures of our actual cabin, because I don’t want you guys to be disappointed to find out it’s not so much a “cabin” as a “vacation home.” We’ve been going to this resort for like my sister Addie’s whole life, we came from humble beginnings, I promise. But. We’re up on a hill overlooking the lake, as you’ve probably seen, and this big wraparound deck has tall skinny trees just surrounding it. It’s a great spot for just hanging out, and being awed by nature. This is the cabin just down the hill from us. Personally I think they have the nicest spot in the whole resort. Vera was having a big day. After dinner, her family wanted to go down to the lodge to take a family picture, but before that, a few of us decided to look in on another cabin that had been vacated earlier. Vera was very confused and worried. Look how small she is!Forgive me, Vera. She really did not want to go in that cabin. Watch out, Gerber Baby.Addie and I registered for a mini fall retreat at the resort taking place in a month. So we don’t have to say goodbye for long. Also, I want to get this as a tattoo somewhere. Wouldn’t that be radical?
<this gets very rambly> If I were to talk about how my photo technique or skill has changed over the last year, because I love to talk about that stuff a lot, I’d say there was drastic improvement. I think maybe I had the right eye, but a.) my gear wasn’t great and b.) my processing technique was somewhat poor… I overexposed everything in post, just blew out the levels, and added in that graininess. I mean sure, that’s what I wanted to do then and I was happy with it. I don’t want to throw myself under the bus or anything… But.. What was I saying? Oh right. I didn’t know how much of a difference my new camera equipment was going to change how my photos looked. It’s about the photographer, not the gear, after all. But after learning how best to USE my new gear, I think I’ve leveled up a few times. So like, let’s say, last year I was at level 30 Photography, level 20 Editing. This year, I’m at like level 60 & 60, respectively. Leveled up editing in a big way. The walk that Alan and I took last year at the cabin (linked to in this very paragraph) I talked about possibly getting a new camera down the road. Alan suggested that if it was important enough for me, we could probably make that happen. Then, we got lucky; several things fell into place (notably, my job with General Mills), and I was able to buy the camera of my dreams. NOW… I have the unpleasant task of lusting after expensive lenses CONSTANTLY. And, I’m thinking about the next body… Probably a full frame (which, why the hell do full frame AND APS-C exist? Why??) Since I know nothing about lighting in photography (yet), I have to master the light that’s given to me. I think I can do that. It’s been a pleasant journey.