I have a weird goal of trying to photograph in all eighty-seven of Minnesota’s counties. This doesn’t mean I drive through, stop, take a picture, and move it along; I want to actually capture clients in their element in their own backyards. Last weekend, I found myself in my twenty-third county, Murray County, which leaves me sixty-four to go.
I get asked all the time where my business is based, and so often I clap back quickly with “Minnesota.” I do consider myself a Minnesota-based photographer, just like how I soldier myself Minnesotan more than anything else. When I travel abroad, rarely will I say I am American; “I am from Minnesota” is always what comes out first. This love for my home state is why I am more than willing to head any direction for my clients for little to no travel fee.
I have gotten to see a ton of what this Land of 10,000 lakes has to offer in my travels, and trust me—there are some cool things out there. My favorites?
1.) GUNFLINT TRAIL
I really, really, REALLY like up north on the Gunflint Trail. There are so many lakes and trees…it is iconic Minnesota. The area is so peaceful and pristine, I love it.
2.) SAINT ANTHONY MAIN
The opposite of The Gunflint Trail is down by St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis. It is in this area where anyone can find another Minnesota treasure, the Stone Arch Bridge. The area is gorgeous and full of things to do (even if one just wants to people watch).
3.) THE JOYCE ESTATES
I am from Grand Rapids in Itasca County, an area known for its lumber industry. David Joyce from Chicago took advantage of this, and garnered much of his wealth from logging in this area. With his wealth he built the Joyce Estates, a resort that in its hey day in the 1920s was 4500 acres with 40 or so buildings. After the family left in the 1970s, it has fallen from its glory, but it is still a great place to see by boat or by hike.
4.) ALL THE STATE PARKS
Lake Vermillion, Temperance River, Jay Cooke, Banning, Itasca, Gooseberry, Cascade River, Schoolcraft Big Woods. Photographing in state parks is always a good time, and I am always open for a hike into any of them.
5.) LAKE WOBEGON TRAIL
Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” is pretty much as Minnesotan as it comes. During the radio program, listeners were delighted with “News from Lake Wobegon,” a fictional central Minnesota town. This 65-mile trail stretches through central Minnesota is named after Keillor’s creation. It offers physical exploration and entertainment just like “A Prairie Home Companion” did for a Minnesotan mind.
This state is home, and I so enjoy exploring every corner with my clients. With every trip, I learn and love a little more than I did before.
What is YOUR favorite place in Minnesota?
Kayla Lee is a Minnesota-based wedding and elopement photographer who provides services to elegant, authentic, sentimental couples who not only choose their own adventures, but also live them to the fullest.