Monthly Archives: August 2009

Ogilvie School Fire

            On August 26, the first official mission of the new HD aircraft was to photograph the old Ogilvie school building. The  Ogilvie school burned on March 15, 2009. I went to school here from kindergarten to early second grade before moving to St. Cloud. My father and grandmother graduated from this school.

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On the Scene…

            These are images of the three car collision that occured at Hwy 10 and East St. Germain Street in St.Cloud just before 10pm on Saturday evening. Fortunately,  no serious injuries were reported. Read more about it at WJON.Com  

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Ready to Fly HD

          This is an image taken a few months ago during a test flight for an aircraft that was built to capture an aerial shot for a Hollywood movie. Unfortunately there were complications with the plane that prevented it from going airborn on location in Vancouver, BC last April.            A new design had a very successful test flight 2 days ago. The image quality using the HD cam is a giant leap forward.

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Spared By Lightning?

    Note to self: Be careful while photographing lightning.           Late last night, I was aware of an approaching thunderstorm. I needed to be sleeping since I worked early the next day, but knew that if the weak trickle of thunderbolts approaching happened to intensify, I should attempt to photograph them. It didn’t seem as though that was going to happen, but in a matter of minutes, the flashes of lightning became intense, frequent, and surrounding.  I grabbed my camera, and went upstairs.             In a haze of flashing light, I cranked open the top story window and prepped the camera for placement. I needed to loop the strap around the window handle so the camera couldn’t drop if it were bumped through accidentally. In the process, my finger brushed the metal handle, and as it did, a blue spark flashed to my hand like a large static shock.            The thought on my mind at that instant was a mixture of mild confusion in what was happening, but calm in the normalcy of having experienced static shock hundreds of times before in life. It was as the room lit up with a continuation of blue flashing that I realized this was a direct result of the lightning storm, and I seemed to be at the periphery of a lightning blast. The neighborhood then went dark for a moment in a brief power outage as thunder smashed through the walls and cieling.                    Did I experience a lightning strike? Was my digital camera fried? It seemed to be OK. The realization of this event was exhilarating, but frightening. I stepped back for a moment, then remembered that there were some amazing blasts to try and capture with the camera. I went again to the window to repeat the process. As I touched the window frame again, I felt the tingle of electricity. “OK, I’m getting out of here,” I thought, as sense was beginning to take over and I couldn’t deny that the situation was unsafe.           The place was truly surrounded by an intense electrical storm. I got on the phone to warn some friends who were camping in a tent an hour away. It was no doubt irritating to wake them up so late, but I was concerned for anyone who would have been directly exposed to this concentration of lightning. I encouraged them to take shelter.           I don’t know for sure if I was zapped by lightning. I know that the sky has a lot of energy to discharge and was probably unloading some electricity on our house, contemplating a full-on burst of lightning wherever it would find the path of least resistance. If our house would have been ground zero for the bolt, I probably wouldn’t be writing this, but somewhere at that moment, the lightning seemed to be within reach. The reality of this was evident. A few minutes later, a house was reportedly hit by lightning and the fire department dispatched since … Continue reading

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A Winter Image of the Granite City Crossing Bridge Construction.

              It’s going to be very hot today, so here’s a cool look back.            This photograph was taken in March, 09. It was a cold day with a steady breeze blowing in from the North. That was actually perfect since the frozen river was my runway.  It was my last and best opportunity to get an aerial shot of the bridge construction at this stage. The weather did not hold up, and only weeks later this area was open water.

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News? Not Necessarily…

            Around 1am Sunday morning, drivers passing 1st st N at 6th avenue would have come across an odd scene. At this address, an abandoned car parked on the sidewalk was angled into a flower planter and surrounded by squad cars. The car gave the impression of a hit-and-run accident. By the circustance of the driverless car in a collision-like stance, it seemed to be hit-and run, but on closer inspection, no collision had really taken place. It was reported that following the incident, the passenger(s) did leave the scene, but no further information was present, except that there was space between the bumper and the planter, and no damage to the car indicating a collision had occurred.                         After taking a few photos, I approached the police officer on scene with a simple question, “is this news?”  By this question, he seemed to understand what I meant. I was specifically wondering if this was an event that would likely be reported by the nature of what exactly had transpired. I liked how the officer responded to my query. He understood the curious nature of what had happened. When I put forth the idea that there was no reason to speculate about what had happened, he aknowleged a possible motive that would explain the abandoned car.  However, Under the circumstances, all the pd could do was issue a parking ticket and have the car towed. A simple parking ticket was certainly an element of the story that added to the oddity of the event and the peculiar nature of the circumstances. I had nearly come to the conclusion that I would release my photos as a potential news item.           As I prepared to leave, suddenly the driver of the car returned to the scene. A lady related how she had lost the ability to steer the car, ended up on the sidewalk, then walked to the nearest place she could phone AAA to have the car towed. At this moment, I realized that indeed, an odd story this was, but apparently not news. The officer continued with some necessary questions of interest for the driver, who boldly answered candidly, but was not penalized further for her situation. Interestingly, I was impressed with the good humored position of the authorities in this situation to not make a big deal about the event.           Fortunately, no one was apparently injured…that would have made the situation news. A criminal act in the process of badly parking this car would have also made the event news. Was this incident a simple combination of poor automobile maintenance and bad parking skills? At this time, that is mostly what available information supports. The event doesn’t seem to fit the bill for news, so no need to release the info publicly, except for here.  This was probably just an incidence of someone who’s bad fortune made for an overcomplicated evening…and that pretty much happens to us all at some point. That’s not … Continue reading

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From the Archives… Benton County Fair, 2007

          This is a shot of the Benton County Fair, flown in 2007.  An interesting detail to note: the new Sauk Rapids bridge construction near completion, with the old bridge still in use.

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Flyball…

Ballpark Overfly < Click that to visit Youtube for a short clip flown just before sunset in nearly windless skies.

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Images From Oshkosh, EAA AirVenture 2009

     

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