The Upper Mississippi River Project

I have spent most of my adult living and often working within walking distance of the Mississippi River. Although I would occasionally photograph the river when I lived in the Dinkytown area of Minneapolis or Marc-Groveland in St. Paul it was moving to the Red Wing MN area and a house on the bluffs that overlook the river that drove me headlong into wanting to photograph the river and the towns that line it. I did this with the Rivertowns series of 4X5 negative photographs in the early 2000s, the Highway 35 series and the Rivers and Deserts Panoramas done digitally more recently. Yet I always felt frustrated that I could not get an expansive view that encompassed the river, the landscape bluffs and the built environment. In the fall of 2016 I decided that the ideal camera would be one on a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or drone). My first attempts a few years earlier with a first generation DJI drone with a GoPro attached were interesting and fun but not very satisfying. It was not possible to preview the images and the low resolution and extreme wide angle distortion of the camera did not produce the quality I desired.

Within a few short years the technology had improved to such a degree that in October of 2016 I put in my order and finally in early 2017 my new drone arrived. It did exactly what I wanted it to do both as a vehicle and a camera. I received an FAA remote pilots license and have began the process of documenting the towns and areas along the Mississippi River from the air with 360 degree panoramas. The series will focus on the Driftless area, that part of extreme southeastern Minnesota and southwest Wisconsin that was not touched by the glaciers but contains deep valleys and bluffs created by the melting glaciers. The project will contain over 100 images and cover from Hastings - Prescott to Prairie du Chein - Marquette. Eventually it will expand to Dubuque Iowa and the Wisconsin - Illinois border. Twenty two images are shown here in chronological order by date beginning with the winter of 2017 and progressing to fall. Prints are 16X80 Archival Pigment Prints on Baryta type paper.

 

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