I live in a neighborhood called Powderhorn Park in south Minneapolis. The neighborhood runs a project called Powderhorn365, the point of which is to gather stories in the form of photographs and captions of people and places that can be found in Powderhorn. I volunteered to be a photographer, and on Friday my first picture went up! Click the thumbnail below to go to the Powderhorn365 website to see other stories from my new neighborhood (and the full image of my first evar P365 photo!).

Photo shows a a Latina carrying a pink shoulder bag, a white purse. She's wearing a red-white plaid button up blouse. He hair is straight, dark brown, shoulder length, parted down the middle. Shes looking directly at the camera and giving a small, closed-lip smile. Behind her in the background, a building with the words "Pillsbury House" is visible.

I believe that photography can be a way to remind us that we do all have unique situations and circumstances, and also that there are shared experiences that we can understand, and through those better connect with each other. Shared stories have the potential to build stronger, more supportive and diverse communities.


The North Shore Trip

This past weekend the Hubby and I drove up to the North Shore, and we ended up cramming in a lot of activities. On Friday I had to work a half day, and that afternoon before we left the Cities, we took in the Minnesota History Center’s Prohibition exhibit. I did some museum tweeting, which you can see on Storify by clicking the image below. 


Then we drove 2.5 hours north on Highway 35 to Superior, Wisconsin, which is right across the river from Duluth, Minnesota. We checked into our hotel and I was ready to crash, but we somehow managed to drag our butts out to see The Monuments Men. It was awesome and totally worth the putting on of pants. [Read more…]

I am way too excited to visit this church.


Exploration! Adventure! Scavenger Hunt!

Okay…having used my weekly allotment of exclamation marks, let me take a deep breath and tell you about how I’m probably going to be spending my weekend.

I just clicked on a banner ad while I was in Wikipedia and was directed to the website Wiki Loves Monuments. It’s a big crowd-sourcing project designed to add photos to the Wikimedia library. And when I say “big” it’s like I’m saying “the sun is big.” 40 countries are participating and tens of thousands of people are expected to take part.

So here’s the exciting, scavenger hunt-like part. You don’t just upload any old photograph of any old monument; Wikipedia has a list of the monuments of which they want photos. I haven’t heard of a lot of these places so it’s time to go exploring! I downloaded the Wiki Loves Monuments app for Android – I can use the GPS function to help me find and identify local landmarks. But I can also find them beforehand using my country’s Wiki Loves Monuments webpage. Here’s the United States:

US level

Image shows a MapQuest map of the United States, Canada and Mexico with regional capitals displayed. Text at the top of the image includes instructions for how to use the interactive map.

When I get down to the Twin Cities level I start to see large circles indicating numbers of monuments in the area:

494 694 level

The 494/694 loops shows four blue circles with the number of monuments in those areas.

And at the city level – in this case, Minneapolis – exact location markers for each monument become visible.

Minneapolis level

Mapquest Map of Minneapolis – approximately 50 green markers are displayed.

I work in the southwest metro and one of the monuments that’s not too far from me is a Catholic Church called St. Hubert’s. When I click on the green tag, information about the monument comes up:

St. Hub

A zoomed in map of the Chanhassen/Eden Prairie/Minnetonka area. A pop-up window containing a photo of St. Huberts and the address of the church is visible, as well as four other green tags indicating other nearby monuments.

So…that’s how I’ve arrived at starting my weekend at a Catholic church.

I heartily support crowd-sourcing and free licensing (yay Creative Commons!), I love exploring, I love photography and I am a pretty frequent user of Wikimedia content. I am So. Excited. to get moving on this!

If you want to participate, make sure to check out the Wiki Loves Monuments webpage and the guidelines about uploading photos, find monuments in your country and area, and then go have fun! And if you are already participating or decide to start, let me know – maybe we will be able to do a post about the monuments that Biodork readers have visited!

Snorkeling the Reef

On Saturday I wasn’t quite scuba-diving ready; still a bit congested – but I was starting to salivate over the nearby barrier reef. From Dave and Noelle’s veranda you can see the waves breaking over the reef in the distance. I wanted to get into the water! So we decided to start slow – a snorkel one day and then a dive.

We ended up booking two tours on Friday night: a dive for Sunday (on the hope that I’d be well enough to go) and tickets for a Saturday 10:30am half-day snorkel trip to the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve from French Angel Expeditions. Our guide for the snorkel was Ash and he was pretty awesome.


French Angel Expeditions snorkel shop

[Read more…]

Traveling to Belize

This is the first of my travel-blogging posts! The Hubby and I are in Belize until May 12th. This is what we’re doing.

Our vacation started with 30 hours of travel. That’s right – 30. Here’s the deal: Last year we volunteered to get bumped from a flight and that earned us two round-trip tickets to anywhere AirTran flies. We wanted to get to Belize to visit some friends and to relax in the Carribean. AirTran flies to Cancun. There is a very reliable bus that drives from Cancun to Belize City. Tah-dah!

We woke up at 2am on Tuesday morning, showered, did a little last-minute packing, ate some cereal and then sat outside on our front stoop in the eerie, cool, silent night-morning. We had arranged for a car service to arrive at 3:45 am and the driver was right on time. Our flight from MSP-Humphrey Terminal was at 5:45am. Since we were flying international we wanted to make sure that we were there at least an hour and a half early, but since it was such an early flight we weren’t too concerned about lines at security. Everything went peachy-keen and soon we were on the plane to our connection in Atlanta.

Minneapolis Sunrise 1Leaving Minneapolis – one of two sunrises we would experience during the trip down.

[Read more…]

Alphas and Amanda

I’ve been gobbling up a TV series called Alphas over the past couple of days. I didn’t think I was going to like it at first – it seemed like another X-Men story line with a really annoying “how does that make you feel” shrink playing the Xavier role. And Misfits has been doing the “what if normal people had superpowers” thing for a couple of years now, so I figured I had seen Alphas already. But I’ve gotten drawn into the storyline, and I freaking LOVE Gary.

I managed to get some photo editing done last night and am super excited to show off my top five favorite shots from last Wednesday’s Amanda Palmer concert. You can see all 18 of my faves here on  my Flickr account.

Amanda Palmer introducing one of the upcoming acts – it was either Ronald Reagan or Neil Gaiman. 

[Read more…]

Pareidolia Play Along 3: The Reveal

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger.

In this installment, Ellen reveals the answer to last week’s Pareidolia Play Along.

It’s a bee, a blue bee! The genus is Osmia, the species probably pumila. The disk-like thing in the center of the shot is called a tegula and is positioned just above where the wings attach to body. If I’d been the one to name that particular bit of bee anatomy, I would have called them epaulets.

When I took the shot, I thought my oh my, this looks like a painting.

[Read more…]

6 O’Clock BS: Creative Commons is Cool

You never know where your stuff is going to show up!

I received this email in my Flickr inbox recently:

Hi Brianne,

I love your photo of Foggy Blue Morning Dive! We used it on Adventure Awaits, a blog and storytelling site for Washington State Parks.

You’ll see your photo on one of our blog posts here of Go Discover: Scuba Diving: adventureawaits.com/2012/07/go-discover-scuba-diving/

Again, thanks so much for putting your photos in Creative Commons – we love profiling great captures of our parks.

Tee hee! I’m on a website for Washington State Parks promoting scuba diving. How fun!

Here’s the photo:

Foggy Blue Morning Dive

And being the awesome Creative Commons-respecting website they are, the photo links back to my Flickr account where I originally posted it. The only annoying thing is that while I’m now “Washington State Park Go Discover Scuba Diving” internet famous (got a whole 27 views on that there photo – w00t!), my little sister gets the photographer bragging rights. Damn it!