Minneapolis Photography Seminar

Recently I was contacted by the fine arts group Great Commission Artists to teach a “Minneapolis Photography Seminar” with them and then lead a photo outing in downtown Minneapolis by the Stone Arch Bridge and the river district.

Their stated purpose for this event was to serve the city by capturing some historic components of the city and then provide an art exhibit open to the public. That exhibit will be in the Hennepin County Library in downtown Minneapolis. The space for the exhibit is truly fantastic so there was so much excitement surrounding capturing the content for the exhibit.

I worked with Marianne and her staff to go figure out what would be appropriate topics for the class and what level it would have to be taught at. We decided on a combination of basic art with the topic of “The Art of Composition” and then a second topic with a little more technical detail for controlling and managing the camera itself with the topic of “The Exposure Triangle”.

The class was also held at the Hennepin County Public Library which is a wonderful space and if you follow my work you know I have photographed it several times. I love the architecture of that place.

I showed up an hour early for the class with my laptop getting ready to teach the class. Then I realize my laptop will not plug into the overhead projector, #majorBummer. To the rescue was the incredible staff from the library. The gal that was helping us setup, immediately came over and asked if I would you like to use her laptop? Of course I immediately agreed. Luckily I had placed my files up on Dropbox and they were easily accessible. We were up and running within 5 minutes. Yes I believe in miracles!

The class went great; there were about ten students in the class. They were very interactive, asking all kinds questions. We were able to converse because it was a very informal class where the actual direction of the class could bob and weave as necessary to make the content fit best for the students. The students were ranged from very advanced to brand new beginners, so I had to be able to keep the advanced engaged while at the same time communicating at a very basic level for the beginners. The feedback has been very encouraging and supportive so the combination of the class content material and the conversation must have been just about right.

We took a break at lunchtime and walked Subway in downtown. Of course we were able to have many great conversations on our walk to subway and during lunch, both getting to know each other and asking and answering questions of all levels of detail. Dang I love what I do!

The Guthrie Theater

Our first stop on our photo walk was the amazing Guthrie Theater.

Guthrie Theater Minneapolis Photography Seminar

Great history of the Guthrie Theater

It is amazing both in terms of theater productions and also for its incredible architecture. Many would not be accustomed to this type of architecture and might be a little puzzled by it, but this is world class award winning architectural art and it is so great to be able to explore and experience it.

Guthrie Mill City Museum Ruins Minneapolis Photography Seminar

Incredible Views of the Mill City Area from the Guthrie Theater

The Guthrie Theater staff is very open to photographers exploring during all hours of the day whenever it’s opened. If you have not been there yet be sure to put it on your list and get there.

Guthrie Theater Minneapolis Photography Seminar

Having Fun Photographing The Guthrie Theater

Things to see at the Guthrie are of course the amazing endless bridge. The bridge gives you such breathtaking views of the city and the best part is you’re out doors and on this particular day it was a gorgeous 80 degrees in Minneapolis. This bridge is not only special because its cityscape views but it is also very unique because of its architecture.

Guthrie Mill City Museum Ruins Minneapolis Photography Seminar

View of the Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge are from the Guthrie Theater Endless Bridge

The bridge is hanging out in the middle of nowhere and it’s totally unsupported. It has to be structured somehow to hold all that weight. It is stabilized by that same amount of weight and structure running all the way through the building. It is an incredible feat of engineering.

See great Guthrie Theater Endless Bridge image here.

There are many nooks and crannies and restaurants inside this place that you have to explore also.

Guthrie Theater Minneapolis Photography Seminar

Places to relax in the Guthrie Theater

I’ve done several senior portrait sessions throughout the Guthrie. The light is fantastic, the colors and explosive and wonderful so just explore and see everything you can see here.

Yellow Room Guthrie Theater Minneapolis Photography Seminar

The Yellow Room at the Guthrie Theater

Then of course there’s the breathtaking yellow room. Again the city scape views are incredible but this yellow hue in the room, while it makes photography challenging sometimes, it also makes for mind blowing effects on your images.
I’ve done senior high school sessions up here and family portrait sessions here. I have had to balance the yellow color but the brushed metal on the walls has such a wonderful texture for portraits and it is great for all kinds of interesting effects.

Mill City Museum

After we explored the Guthrie we walked down past the Mill City area and ventured into the Mill City Museum from the back side just a little bit. The place has such great history but it’s also incredibly interesting for photo exploration and for portrait photography.

Mill City Museum Ruins Minneapolis Photography Seminar

Architectural Components of the Mill City Museum Area

On most evenings in the summer you will probably see dozens of photographers wandering around this area for engagement shoots, Senior High School shoots or other family sessions.

Guthrie Mill City Museum Ruins STone ARch Bridge Minneapolis Photography Seminar

Mill City Museum Area

Again if you haven’t been to this area I strongly recommend you get out and explore it.

Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge

Our next stop was the art iconic Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge. If you follow my work, you of course know I’m a huge fan of the stone arch bridge. In fact one of my early images of the stone arch bridge is still one of my best selling images even though my personal style has changed so much and frankly my quality has changed so much, but people still love it! We walked across the bridge so we were able to view the city sky line, the river both up and down and watch all the incredible activity on the bridge. It was so busy that it was obvious summer had exploded onto the scene in Minnesota.

Stone Arch Bridge Minneapolis Photography Seminar

All the action of a beautiful spring day on the Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge

We had ventured down the rickety staircase on the east side of the river down underneath the bridge. Be careful going down the stairs because there is actually one step missing and if you’re not a nimble you could get injured. Please encourage the city of Minneapolis to do some maintenance on that stairway.

Stone Arch Bridge graffiti Minneapolis Photography Seminar

Iconic Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge

Once under the bridge you get to experience one of the most amazing views in the city. You get to see all the structure and history of the bridge and the mills that built this city. Then you also get to see all the modern buildings and the brand new sports stadium being built in Minneapolis.

You also get to see some interesting graffiti work.

Stone Arch Bridge graffiti  Minneapolis Photography Seminar

Graffiti work under the Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge

It certainly makes my heart beat and I am guessing the same for you.

Historic St Anthony Main

Next stop was the area around St Anthony Main. There’s so much to see there so much vitality. You can venture into a park area that extends out into the Mississippi River so you have a very good view of the river city. Or you could go over to the restaurants and bars in the area.  Two of my favorite places to see in this area are the Aster Cafe and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.  They have such a cool European vibe to them.  BTW Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, is I believe the oldest church in Minneapolis so again this is the center of history.

Aster Cafee Minneapolis Photography Seminar

The Aster Cafe

Minneapolis Photography Seminar our lady of lourdes catholic church

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church

The historic Nicollet Island Inn is always great to see.

Minneapolis Photography Seminar nicollet island inn

Nicollet Island Inn

There are all kinds of new condominiums going up in this area and it really is becoming a very cool location. It is so exciting to see the old Pillsbury building getting revitalized also. That will be an incredible structure to see when it is all completed.



Minneapolis Photography Seminar

Building at 220 Hennepin Ave 

By the time that was over most of the students were getting a little bit tired and we were running a little bit short of time so it was time to head back to the library. On the way back to the library there’s this incredible building that used to be I believe the Federal Reserve Building maybe but it has traded hands several times more recently while Minneapolis is under transition. But however that may be, this building always captures my attention.

So that was it for our exploration lots of great views lots of great things to see and perfect weather in Minneapolis. Maybe you’ll get out with us on the next adventure to share what you know to learn from one another and to explore our great surroundings. If you are student that capture some great images on the adventure please share them with us here.

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Until next time, get out and capture the adventure!!

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