Palindrome Photo: Blog en-us (C) Palindrome Photo (Palindrome Photo) Thu, 27 Aug 2020 20:37:00 GMT Thu, 27 Aug 2020 20:37:00 GMT Palindrome Photo: Blog 90 120 Comfort Zone For this camping trip, I wanted to try a first-come-first-served campsite.  Being without a reservation, I had really no idea where I would end up.  I had a general area where I wanted to look and a short list of campgrounds to check.  Making these plans led me to think a lot about my comfort zones.  I’m comfortable when camping and in the woods.  But this was going to be different.  I’ve been stuck at home a lot with the pandemic and it’s been easy to use that as an excuse to not venture out.  Sure, there’s the safety and medical reasons to stay home, but I’ve also felt the mental excuses.  What if something bad happens?  Am I experienced enough to do this correctly?  In the past, I’ve had the familiarity of someone with me, and the security of a reserved site that I knew would be available when I needed it. Will it be too scary to be out there alone?  This adventure would prove to be a HUGE mental switch for me. 

Day One: I drove through the sites on my list, but all were full.  With the help of Google and Davis, who was working from home, I found a site further inland from the lake and was able to secure the very last spot.

I spent time getting to know my new home for the next few days.  The Temperance River was burbling away right behind my tent.  I knew this would help me sleep; I tend to hear all the tiniest little sounds and imagine a giant animal is making them.  I once read someone say that the largest sounds are made by the smallest animals, so I tried to keep that in mind.  Needless to say, that night I barely slept.

    IMG_9998IMG_9998   IMG_2725-2IMG_2725-2


Day Two: I made my breakfast right away.  I geared myself up to head out of my site for a few hours and do some exploring.  I decided I could either go into town, closer to the state parks and people, or I could head the other direction on the road I was on and explore the area I didn’t know.  I chose the safer option and went into Tofte.  My first stop was Temperance River State Park where I spent some time along the lake.  The sun was really hot, so I appreciated the cool lake breezes. 


IMG_2906IMG_2906   IMG_2920IMG_2920


I then tried to go further down the shore to find other beaches or areas I hadn’t been before.  Without the convenience of actually camping in the state park (as my sister and I do when we’re in Tettegouche) there were a lot of areas I couldn’t access because they were blocked off for campers with reservations.  I had no luck finding places to explore, so I decided to head back to my campsite for lunch. 



I spent the rest of the afternoon lazily reading and napping in my hammock.  I was glad for the extra rest because my lizard brain still couldn’t relax. Even above the river sounds, every snap of a twig and crunch of gravel kept me up, and I didn’t sleep much better that night.


Day Three: I woke up feeling cranky, but I knew it would take a couple days to really get used to the campsite, and I always have some kind of adjustment period, especially when sleeping in the woods.  I decided to push my crankiness aside and use it to drive myself a little further out of my comfort zone.  After I got ready for the day, I headed out going the opposite way from town, towards parts unknown.  From my campsite, I could hear traffic going this way all day long.  Not a lot of cars, but enough to know that there was something out there.  I was seeing a lot of boats, canoes, and kayaks so I was excited about finding some tranquil hidden lake.  I drove down the dirt road for about 20 minutes until I came to a sign indicating the closest lake to me was 5 miles down the road.  I hadn’t passed anyone on my way there, and no one was coming the opposite way, but I decided to try my luck.  I think I made it 2 miles down that road before I fell off of Google Maps entirely.  I also STILL hadn’t encountered other cars.  I was starting to worry.  I decided to abandon my pursuit of the hidden lake and head back to where I came from. 


IMG_2971IMG_2971 IMG_2982IMG_2982


I wound up near my campsite (again, never once passing anyone on the road) and found there was another dirt path with a sign indicating a lake a few miles away.  This road was hugged by gigantic pine and birch trees and was SO quiet I could have heard a pin drop.  I started down in my car, but quickly realized that if I did happen across anyone coming the opposite way, there would have been no way to pull my car over enough to let them pass.  I managed to turn around and abandon my pursuit once again. 


I felt I had not just put my foot out of my comfort zone that day, but an entire leg. I was able to get a ton of photos (which was the ultimate goal) and I tried new paths I wouldn’t have imagined trying before.  I got back to my campsite feeling pretty darn proud of myself.  I also slept like a log that night. 


I learned a lot of lessons about myself during this trip.  I’ve been used to camping with just my sister.  I know that I love the secluded and rustic version of camping.  But what I didn’t realize before was that our trips were actually quite comfortable.  We have the luxury of a cart to help with our supplies, there’s a park office within walking distance of us should we need anything, and we’re not far from the daily outdoor activities that we enjoy.  I also really love the safety of knowing that there are people around.  At the end of the day I was able to go back to my campsite and enjoy the sounds of a family cooking over an open fire on my left, and the crack of the occasional beer can from the elderly gentleman on my right.  The trees around us provided enough of a barrier to feel that I had privacy, but I knew should anything happen in the middle of the night, there were other sites close by that would help.  For this first solo trip, that was my comfort zone.  I’m looking forward to pushing a little further past it in the future.




(Palindrome Photo) Minneapolis Photographer solo camping Temperance River Temperance River State Park Thu, 27 Aug 2020 20:29:29 GMT
Some Like it Hot (Minneapolis-style) It was hot.  Like, REALLY hot.  And we don’t have air conditioning.  Any kind of movement in our own house felt like punishment.


Nothing sounded better to us than a pool and eating food that we didn’t make ourselves.  Both our moods and mental states were suffering, so we booked a hotel room and walked the 2.5 miles from our apartment in the mid-afternoon blazing sun. 


IMG_2596IMG_2596   IMG_2605IMG_2605

* Pockets of beauty in the heat, and stopping to enjoy a moment of cooler air



The exercise felt really good. As anyone who lives in Minneapolis knows, we’ve had some real hot days, so outside workouts and long walks just haven’t been in the cards.  By the time we made it to the Central Ave Bridge, we were dripping.  The air blowing over the bridge was cooler, by about 5 degrees, but it was enough to push us the final way to our downtown hotel.


We spent close to 24 hours doing absolutely nothing but eat good food, enjoy cooler air, and swim in a totally empty pool.  The extra bonus was that we headed home the next day in perfect weather.  We felt restored, both physically and mentally!  We even had some fun with “pandemic chic” posing along our walk.  Sometimes all it takes is a little staycation to lift the spirits - and cool the body.


IMG_2624IMG_2624   IMG_2635IMG_2635



(Palindrome Photo) Hotel Stay Minneapolis Photographer Some Like It Hot Staycation Thu, 30 Jul 2020 18:48:11 GMT
New Boots: Photographing Duluth I bought a new pair of paddling boots. If you don't know what those are, they are waterproof boots used for canoeing, kayaking, or any water sports.  They were bought for a BWCA trip I was planning with my family for the middle of June, but after hiking in them for months, I was never able to wear them. We spent the better part of a year planning and plotting our trip; we collected camping and canoeing equipment, and trained for the physical demands of portaging.  It broke our hearts to have to cancel that trip, and as a nature photographer, I was more than a little disappointed to miss the opportunity to shoot.  

I missed natural spaces most after the pandemic and quarantine.  In the last four months, I've tried to get out in nature as much as possible.  Davis and I walk around our neighborhood and spend time in local parks.  But after walking the same paths over and over, we were starting to feel trapped and my inspiration (and motivation) for photos was running really low.  After our period of safety and staying home, we decided it was the right time to get out and head up to Duluth.


IMG_2355Cargo ship entering Duluth, Indiana HarborIndiana Harbor ship entering Duluth under life bridge.

*Cargo ship coming in to port.  Indiana Harbor lake freighter.

  IMG_2355Cargo ship entering Duluth, Indiana HarborIndiana Harbor ship entering Duluth under life bridge.

*Sail boats on calm Lake Superior 


The sun felt hot, but being next to my favorite lake invigorated me.  The water was calm. I was able to photograph several boats, paddle boards, and even a cargo ship out in the harbor.  We took a stroll along part of the new Lakewalk and I finally got to put my feet in the cold, clear water of Lake Superior.  New boots or not, that's pretty great, right?

IMG_2355Cargo ship entering Duluth, Indiana HarborIndiana Harbor ship entering Duluth under life bridge.

*The water was perfectly cold and gave me a great vantage point to photo my loon friend below.

IMG_2355Cargo ship entering Duluth, Indiana HarborIndiana Harbor ship entering Duluth under life bridge.

*Loon friend





(Palindrome Photo) minneapolis photographer new boots photographing duluth Wed, 08 Jul 2020 19:24:08 GMT