Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Minneapolis Reflections: A self assigned project in the twin city

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in Minneapolis, MN to teach photography to all my good friends who purchase the photo equipment at Target. I spent a couple of hours with them at the Target HQ and then headed out to shoot some images of the city to share with all of you. I wasn't really sure what I would photograph, since it has been a couple of years since I was in Minneapolis.

As it turned out, the minute that I stepped out of the Target building, I looked up and saw this cool reflection of one building in another. I took this photo and then noticed that these reflections were all around me. It was at this point that I made my own self assignment for the day, I would concentrate on reflections. (Photographer's tip: For those of you who get into a rut and find yourself shooting the same old images day after day, try giving yourself an assignment to shoot something totally different. Even for a professional photographer, this helps free the mind and see new opportunities for future shoots.)

This reflection caught my attention since the angles of this particular building created two very different "subjects" in one shot, with one new building and one older building reflecting off the glass

This is a crop taken from the image above. I love the patterns and lines formed by the glass. 

Speaking of really cool patterns and lines, check out the amazing zebra patterns which I found in this building. 

Another crop of the previous image shows the complex patterns formed in the glass. As I photographed this, I wondered how many people pass this building everyday and never notice this. I am sure that a majority of the population is so busy getting from one place to another that they miss the beauty in what some might consider mundane. 

What attracted me to this reflection was the stair-stepping pattern of the opposing building. Something different, but equally appealing.

At first, you might think that this shot of the City Center (where I was staying) does not have a reflection at all. But if you look closely, you will see that the building on the left is actually reflecting the window pattern from the building on the right, as seen in the image below.

This is one of my favorite images from the day, with two very different buildings in one shot. I also moved to an angle to include the overhead walkway in the frame. I included the walkway for two reasons, once to add one more angle to the image and also to remind myself that so many of these exist in the city. (For those of you who do not know this area, it gets VERY cold in the winter in MN and these help people get from one building to another without going outside.)

As part of my 6 mile walk around Minneapolis, I decided to walk out of the downtown area and check out the sculpture garden with the this well-known piece. And, as luck would have it, I had clear skies and a nice reflection in the water.   

OK, so this is not exactly a reflection as much as a shadow, but I thought I would include this in the collection of images.

There is something really refreshing about walking around a city without any agenda or time limits. Using my iPhone to help me find my way around, I would just walk aimlessly and look for interesting photo opportunities. At one point, I came across this older church reflected in a modern building. 

About 4 miles into my walk, I saw this reflection, and almost passed it by. At first view, it didn't look that interesting. But then, after studying it a bit further, I started to see some very cool patterns in the details.

I zoomed in on the window panes and was amazed at the results. Heck, I think this image could hang in a modern art museum and fit in well. :)

This tight shot reminds me of a hand and thumb. 

What do you see in these reflections? 

For me, this photo tells a story. The tree, with the fall colors, helps to tell the viewer about the season and when the photo was shot. The two men appear to be office workers who are engrossed in conversation and not looking at their surroundings.

I was really intrigued by the wave patterns in this reflection.

The Foshay Building (modeled after the Washington Monument) reflected through the leaves of a nearby tree.

This building was my favorite "treasure trove" of reflections. I could have isolated hundreds of interesting images just from this one side of the building. 

This is one of those isolated images, and my favorite tight shot from the day. What makes this image so appealing to me (and I understand if you disagree since photography is subjective) is the cool reflection patterns in concert with the angled lines of the window edges. Notice how certain rows of windows create very different reflections than others.

After crossing downtown and heading towards the Mississippi River, I came across this very cool office building. I was excited to see such strong reflections from multiple buildings, coupled with the fall colors at the base of the building.

Another shot incorporating one of the walkways...

A reflection bending a nearby building.

These next two shots are up there on my favorite wide shots of the day. The image above works for me because of the varying angles and shadows.

This shot of the City Center building was taken as I returned to my hotel later in the afternoon.  As opposed to the shots I had taken earlier in the afternoon, this time I was much closer to the base of the building. I pointed the camera up and grabbed this photo, emphasizing the top of the building and the angle cutting into the cloudy skies.

This is another shot (similar to one of the earlier photos from the day) taken from a different angle. Using the design of the foreground building to my advantage, I moved to a location where the reflecting building would be "cut" into pieces by the cool design of this structure. 

As evening approached, I returned back to my hotel room on the 25th floor, and looked out the window to see if I could grab a different reflection shot. Thanks to the late day sunlight, I had a great shot of the Capella Tower being reflected back at me with golden tones.

Next time you are walking around a suburban area, maybe you will look around and see some cool reflections and be inspired to grab some of your own cool photos. I hope you do, and that you have as much fun as I did.


RachelAllison said...

Amazing pictures!

ionicphotography.co.uk said...

Wow - I love your blog as your shots really strike a chord with me.I have looked at many photos - lots of them are amazing - but somehow YOUR creative vision seems to be along the same lines as mine - very inspiring & great to find a kindred spirit. I also love your narratives....I am so looking forward to getting my digital SLR so that I can progress - What lenses did you mostly use for theses 'reflection' shots ?

ionicphotography.co.uk said...

I love your blog because you seem to have very similar creative inspiration to me & you write really helpful narratives. I cannot wait for my new digital slr to arrive so I can take more exciting shots - what lenses did you use for your 'reflections' assignment ? Did you use tripod ? I am definitely going to try to capture some similar photos - right up my street ! Thank you....

Jeff Cable Photography Blog said...

I shot all of those photos with a Canon 5D Mark III and a 24-105 lens. I did not use a tripod for any of them since I had a ton of light and was not trying to capture any motion. Make sure to share your images when you capture them. So happy to inspire others!!!

Anonymous said...


These photo's are great and there for everyone to take, if you open your eyes.

Thanks for an unassuming, creative and inspiring blog that really helps every photographer



Alice Gray said...

Wow ...I have been living and working as a designer in Minneapolis, MN for nearly 5 years. This is the first time I see such images. They look wonderful!