Local photographer Carson captures Minnesota in bookFor more than five months in late 2011 and early 2012, nearly 4,000 photographers submitted almost 96,000 photos to Twin Cities Public Television’s online Capture Minnesota project.
By: Jane McGough, The Republican Eagle
For more than five months in late 2011 and early 2012, nearly 4,000 photographers submitted almost 96,000 photos to Twin Cities Public Television’s online Capture Minnesota project. Visitors to the website made more than 4.5 million votes toward choosing images that best represent the state. Those photos are published in a just-printed book.
Winning photos were announced at the book release party April 21. Winning photographers were notified weeks in advance, but they didn’t yet know which of their photos won.
At the party, Florence Township resident Deb Carson was thrilled to learn that not one, but two of her photos garnered enough votes to be among the 200 images published. One received a grand prize runnerpup award.
Carson grew up on a Spring Valley, Minn., dairy farm. Since 2008, she’s lived on 46 acres three miles west of Frontenac with her husband, Michael, five horses and two dogs. The couple run Gallery 211 and Carson’s Framing in Rochester. They also grow heirloom tomatoes for area restaurants.
Wells Creek runs through the property.
“I love it,” Carson said. “I love to (shoot) the horses when they’re in the water. Every time I walk down there, it’s different. In the winter it’s the most beautiful.”
The grand prize runner-up image is “Ghost,” an action shot of a mare kicking up snow as she runs toward the camera.
“Look closely,” she said. “Through the snow you can see a filly behind the mare.”
Carson took the shot in December 2010 after 20 inches of snow fell. The horses loved playing in it. She wrote on her blog, “I noticed all the horses running across the pasture and the snow flying and knew I had to try and get a picture of that. So in minus wind chill temps, I got dressed (putting her Carhartt jacket on over her pajamas) and sat in the pasture with the wind to my back, no gloves, and patiently waited.”
Her favorite of the many photos she submitted, “Wings of Morning,” made her a double winner. Taken in January 2011, the subject is a barn tucked back in the woods.
“I had my eye on this shot for a long time and had been waiting for the sun to hit that little red building the way I wanted it. It only gets light at a certain moment during the day,” Carson explained. “The little bit of hoar frost and the morning, brisk winter light were a rare combination.”
Photography, she said, is about capturing memories.
“Photography is a powerful form of expression,” she said. “What I love is that anybody can do it. It encompasses an endless medium to express reality. If I don’t shoot from my heart, I don’t usually like the image. I have to shoot from my heart.”
Carson picked up a camera in 1999 when she lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“The farmer I worked for had an old camera, a Pentax K1000. I took it out to the Jefferson National Forest to shoot the spring flowers. The forest floor was just carpeted with pink beauties. We were 30 miles from anywhere to get the film developed,” she recalled.
Carson later upgraded to a Nikon F5, a “high-end film camera with a really, really nice lens,” she said.
She shot only in black and white. She didn’t develop the film, but had a home dark room and made her own enlargements.
After moving to the Red Wing area, Carson added a digital camera to her collection. She likes the ease and convenience of digital point-and-shoot, but she still uses film, too.
“I do think I am better as a film photographer, and I like that I have to work harder at it,” she said.
Carson often pairs a poetic quote with her photos.
I found a poetry book from 1913 titled ‘It Can Be Done,’ full of some of the neatest old inspirational writing.” She usually searches for a quote that fits a photo, rather than shooting a photo that fits a quote.
Her favorite part of the Capture Minnesota experience is communicating with other photographers.
“It’s like a whole community of people that I never knew existed,” she said. “I’ve met a lot, and shot together with them.”
Comments left on the website by other photographers include praise for Carson’s patience, ability to catch the light and the “ethereal beauty” of her images.
She also loves “being able to see Minnesota through so many other peoples’ viewpoint, places that I never knew existed.”
In advance of the April 21 party, Carson said she looked forward to seeing “all the photographers that are in the book. To see which photos made it – everybody’s. I’m excited and anxious about winning, but mostly excited to see who shows up. Still to this day I don’t consider myself as good as all the others out there. I’m in awe of all that talent.”
“It takes a lot of courage to put your work in front of people,” Carson admitted. She recommends that everyone try it. “Just do it.”
On the Net
Carson’s winning photos on Capture Minnesota
http://www.captureminnesota.com/photos/536852 (Wings of Morning)