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Dec 21, 2018
The Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture at the Walker Art Center's Sculpture Garden is an icon in Minneapolis. It may now also be an icon in my photography as perhaps my two most famous photos include the Cherry Sculpture.
The story in how this photo came to be had a few twists and turns that I'd like to share with you. Last year was my first year photographing the fireworks during the Holidazzle Winter Celebration. Actually, it was my first time attending any Holidazzle event. I never saw the parade, and I had never been to the festival that they switched to after canceling the parade. So when I attended last years celebration, I took photos of the fireworks from the best spot I could find. The photos look wonderful, there just isn't anything that really pulls you in. Here, take a look:
The photo has lots of color and Christmas spirit, but it doesn't really grab you, right? Though if it does grab you, I thank you! So as this years Holidazzle Festivities started up, I wanted to find a spot to better capture Minneapolis with the fireworks. I set off to find a spot that I could capture both the fireworks and the Minneapolis Skyline.
When I go out to photograph fireworks, I generally put in a bunch of time studying the location and seeing where the best locations will be. This includes using google maps. I had the idea of using the Cherry Spoon sculpture about a week earlier, but when I looked at the maps, it didn't look like it lined up in a way that would work out. In fact, I didn't really see any spots that made me feel good.
On the night I went out to photograph the fireworks, my plan was to get down there early and just scope out the area. As I drove down there, the traffic really backed up, which isn't all that odd in that area of Minneapolis. So I took a few back roads, and I arrived at the parking lot that is behind the Sculpture Garden. From there, I would end up walking right past the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture to get to the pedestrian bridge that would take me to the festival. As I approached the sculpture, it really looked like I made a mistake while looking at the maps and maybe this spot would work. I then crossed the bridge, but never left it. I stayed up on it so that I could scope out the area. I then just said it may not work out, but since I am here I may as well go for the big shot.
I went back to the sculpture, lined up the Minneapolis Skyline, the Sculpture, and where I thought the fireworks would be. As the first firework burst, two things immediately happened. I realized the fireworks were just a bit further to the right than I had guessed, oh, and my camera died. Thankfully, it seemed like the fireworks crew had an issue and after that first fireworks burst, there was a gap where nothing happened. I turned my camera off and then back on again. Despite the battery saying it was at 75%, the camera died again. Thankfully I had brought my backup battery. So I quickly removed the camera from my tripod and swapped out the batteries. As I set the camera back into the tripod, the fireworks started up again. I turned on the camera, picked up the tripod and repositioned it ever so slightly, set it down and started taking photos. I didn't make sure the camera was still level, or that the focus was still properly set like I should have done. I simply just took a photo. It was a 16-second exposure, and it turned out to be the photo that became famous. I took a handful of other photos while there, but most of the show used a type of firework that doesn't photograph well. There were a couple of others that I liked, but this one below, the one I shot right after replacing the battery in my camera and quickly moving the tripod was just perfect.
Isn't that just spectacular? I hope you enjoy it. Our local news station KMSP shared this photo and it was very well received and brought lots of attention to my work.
Earlier in this blog, I mentioned I had another famous photo of the Spoonbridge and Cherry Sculpture. This other one was a photo that I took the first year that I had my first camera. I was still very much wet behind the ears as a photographer, but my creative side was totally in the game. The week before I shot this image, I actually had a vision of it in my head that appeared while I was shoveling snow off my driveway. The next weekend, when it snowed again, I went down and shot this:
That photo ended up being on the cover of Minnesota Explorer Magazine. It was an absolute thrill seeing a photo that I took in that manner.
I do have one other photo of the Cherry Spoon Sculpture that I'd like to show you. I shot this one shortly after they had re-organized the entire Sculpture Garden. It was this photo that made me think that I wouldn't be able to capture the fireworks and the skyline in the Holidazzle photo. Thankfully I was wrong about that. Here is that photo:
I hope you enjoyed this blog, and please feel free to share it.
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