One Night in Duluth: A Photographic Tour of Minnesota's Port City

On a recent mid-October week, I spent a Monday evening in Duluth, MN. I arrived on Monday afternoon to set up for a show on Tuesday and then had Monday evening free to roam around the city and Canal Park. It was a beautiful afternoon when I arrived, but I am glad that I brought my winter gear as that wind was mighty cold during the evening.

**You can click on each photo to see a larger version of it. You will see the photo appear in a new window.**

Downtown Duluth at Night - Duluth Photos | William Drew

I started out my evening by visiting the canal that is right behind the Suites Hotel, which is where I was spending the night. I was hoping to get a photo of the ship that is normally stationed there, but that ship wasn't there as there was some construction work being done to the canal. I missed getting some photos of that ship, but it also opened up the ability to get some photos with the downtown Duluth Skyline reflecting in the canal. So I will call that a win. 


Duluth's South Lake Avenue at Night - Duluth Art | William Drew

I then walked over to the beginning of South Lake Avenue, which gave me a look straight down the road towards the iconic Duluth Lift Bridge. This is a classic view of Canal Park and Duluth. I loved how vibrant and colorful this view was, and seeing the Aerial Lift Bridge at the end of the street is a striking view!


Duluth Harbor South Breakwater Lighthouse - Lighthouse Art | William Drew Photography

My next task was to walk from one end of South Lake Avenue to the other and headed out to the lighthouses that welcome ships to Duluth just before they get to the Lift Bridge. Just a few days earlier, the walkway that I was on was flooded as a storm front came in and raised the water level significantly. But all was dry and clear on my visit. The only thing that I had to deal with was the bitterly cold and strong wind that was coming off of Lake Superior. I took a photo of the lighthouse on the Superior, Wisconsin side of the lift bridge. The old building and green light on the lighthouse made for a cool sight.


Duluth North Pier Lighthouse - Lighthouse Art | William Drew  

After taking the photo of one of the two lighthouses, while standing at the base of the other lighthouse, I then walked back towards shore to get a photograph of the lighthouse on the north side of the entry point to the Duluth Harbor. During that storm that came through a few days earlier, this lighthouse had waves crashing over the top of it. I would have loved being able to witness and photograph that but on this evening I just had a strong wind gusts to deal with on an otherwise calm evening. I must say though, that wind actually hurt my face. I'm glad that I was in my winter gear while out in this area. For this photograph, I wanted to make sure to get the row of large boulders that are in Lake Superior near the shore as I believe they really enhance the drama of the above image.


Grandma's Lift Bridge - Duluth Photos | William Drew

The iconic Grandma's Saloon was my next destination. I made the short walk over to its parking lot and set up a shot with the Lift Bridge in the background to feature two of Duluths' icons in one photograph. I love the two bull heads that stick out of Grandma's Saloon & Grill. If you notice the flags, they give you a feel for how strong the wind was. This was a long exposure photo, so the fact that you can see the flags sticking straight out like that can only tell you the wind was strong enough to keep the flags pointing straight out the entire 30-seconds of this exposure.


Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge 2 - Duluth Photos | William Drew Photography

The above photo of the Duluth's Lift Bridge was taken while I was standing right in the middle of South Lake Avenue. The earlier photo where I was looking down South Lake Avenue towards the Lift Bridge was taken while I was on a sidewalk. This one? I stood right in the middle of the street. I know, not the safest thing to do, but as opposed to my normal long exposures, this was a quick one, and the road was oddly quiet. I did have to wait for a few cars to go past, but after that, the road was empty so I didn't have anything to fear. I thought about making the above photo a black & white print, but I think it looks better with just a little bit of color left in it. What do you think? Would you also like to see a black & white version of this one? 


Duluth Lift Bridge Dawn - Bridge Photos | William Drew

The next destination was to head back to the Suites Hotel for the evening and get myself ready for the show the next morning. Although, before the show, I woke up early enough to get a pre-sunrise photo of the Lift Bridge with the dawn colors in the sky behind it. I probably should have left my room about 15-minutes earlier as the light was spectacular when I left the hotel. It was still pretty nice when I was taking this photo, as you can see. 


Superior Municipal Forrest - Fall Images | William Drew

It was then time to work the show, pack up after the show, and make the drive back down to Minneapolis. Before I left Duluth though, I made a stop at the Thompson Hill Information Center and grabbed some photos of the beautiful fall colors that were starting to fade. The photo above is looking straight across at the Superior Municipal Forest and the Duluth Harbor. The photo below shows some of the bridges that connect Duluth and Superior, including the I-535 bridge that is the one with the arch. 

Duluth Superior Autumn - Scenic Photographs | William Drew Photography


I hope you enjoy this photographic tour through Duluth. Which photo is your favorite from this tour? Let me know in the comments below.


Back to Blog Home

Visit My Urban Cityscape Gallery

Visit My Landscape Gallery