Exploring
  • The Last Goodbye

    Sweet Zoey,

    You have been amazing to me the past 3 1/2 years. I got you as a pup, when I was in need of friendship. You became my companion, my best friend, and my little girl. You have been through a broken bone, poking, prodding, radiation, medication, and surgery. But in the end we lost, and now it's time to say goodbye. 

    To everyone that has helped us over the years financially, thank you so much. Without you, we wouldn't have been able to give Zoey the past two years of her life, and that life was well spent. Zoey has gone to Canada, numerous camping trips on the north shore, adventures on road trips, and has made so many faces smile in the world.

    I love you so much Zoey, and I hope someday to see you on whatever other side there is for us in death. 

    The following are photos from the time we got Zoey as a pup, until our final walks.

    Goodbye, sweet girl. You are gone, but never forgotten.

    - B

  • Road Trip: Lake Superior

    I love spontanious trips.  Some of the best adventures I have ever had have been set in motion by the words, "hey, want to go on a road trip?" One time it was a week in advance, and another time it was a casual mention of a road trip a year in advance.

    The case with this trip came from how much stress we were carrying from Zoey's cancer, and the nature fix that had been absent in our lives for some time. At this point Zoey had been 2-3 weeks past surgery and her sutures were looking pretty great. Anna had time off work already, and with some help from the amazing folks over at Parka to cover some of my work, we were able to make this trip happen.

    We drove most of the way around Lake Superior. From the North shore of Minnnesota, to the actual north shore of Superior in Ontario, and then down into Michigan. Unfortunately we didn't have time to travel closer to the shore through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or Northern Wisconsin. Next time!

    All photos taken with: Canon 5D MKII + Canon EF 40mm f/2.8

    Day 1

    Day 2

    Day 3: (zoey was eyeing flys in the fire pit)

    Day 4

    Day 5:

    - B

  • Far Away Places, A River, And Some Animals

    Here in Minnesota, the middle of March is a prime time to take a trip and shake off them winter blues. Ideally, to a warmer place. It's the perfect pick-me-up for the wandering minds that feel like they are at ropes end, and given the sheets of snow we've had dumped on us this year - warmth is good.

    This year took us 1,036 miles south to Tennessee to visit friends and family. Most of our adventures took place within cities - Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, Cleveland, Chattanooga, Madison - with a brief trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. 

    Indianapolis

    Louisville, KY

    Cleveland, TN

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Chattanooga, TN

    Chicago, IL

    Madison, WI

    - B

  • The Frozen North

    Winter in Minnesota (along with the rest of the midwest) has been pretty extreme. The day after Minnesota was in blizzard conditions, Anna and I ventured north to stay in a log cabin for three nights. Snow shoe adventures, clouds of snow, ice cave adventures into Wisconsin, and more. Never have I explored the north in conditions like this. The setting was very surreal, and the landscape felt like it was not of this state at some points. Do enjoy what was our view. <3

    Day 1: Bear Head Lake State Park

    Day 2: Tettegouche State Park

    Day 3: Ice Caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

    This year Lake Superior froze over upwards toward 90%, reaching a 10 inch average for ice thickness. To get to these "ice caves" in the following images, you walk along the southern shore over the ice on Lake Superior. 

    - B

  • The Northern Air

    The North Shore in Minnesota is by far one of my favorite destinations to visit. All year round it offers an escape away from city life. Even if you only have a day to spend up there, you can get a nice fill of solitude and trails. This year was the first time I had ever visit the shore in winter, and I was in aw by frozen shores, ice slabs floating in the Lake Superior, and then as you drive further and further up the shore, it turns into clear waters and bright blue skies. The site of these waters and being able to breathe in the crisp northern Minnesota air puts me in a state of elation.

    Along the shore there are many waterfalls to hike into. With only a day up north you can really only travel to one of them. Well worth the trip we made. Water that was once rushing over rocks, creating deep pools was now frozen with ice thick enough to walk over it all. In some spots snow and ice revealed the force under the ice. Water was still rushing along as it had when it was melted, just hidden underneath. A dangerous surprise if you're not careful.

    Summer (2012)

  • Frozen Falls

    Every year in Minneapolis, Minnehaha Falls freezes over. Just about every photographer in the area has been here, but that shouldn't be a reason to stay away. This formation is awe inspiring, and when you get here at sunrise, you are alone. That's the best part. 

    I had the chance to sit down and write a bit while I was behind the falls.

    Splish, splash, trickle, and drop. Water droplets everywhere. The more you focus on them, the sound becomes deafening, their numbers only multiplied as morning goes on. Sunlight takes over as it rises above the hill. Columns have formed over time from freezing water, and have created windows, allowing light to illuminate the cave behind. Periodically ice will detach from its frozen home on the waterfall, causing an avalanche of ice to erupt on impact - shaking you to the very core - you would think the entire waterfall was collapsing.

    - B

  • Mornings, Excursions, and Photos

    There actually comes a time when I manage to get in touch with friends. Rare. But it happens.

    EV and I got together a few weeks ago, just before we started up school and our schedules started filling up. We cooked up some breakfast at her place, then we head out for a short excursion to Wisconsin for New Glarus beer, and hiking in Willow River State Park. 

    Let the good times roll. Just need to make more of them.

  • Showin' Off Minneapolis

    A friend of mine I went to school with in Chicago came up to visit for the weekend. We try visiting each other in Chicago or Minneapolis at least once a year. It depends on schedules and finances. He moves to Boston at the end of the Summer, and this was the last open weekend he had to do anything, so Minneapolis it was! We showed him some of our favorite spots that deal with food, art, coffee, dessert, and summer activities. Good times.

    I made us some Buttermilk waffles topped with roasted pecans and blueberries with some fresh maple syrup we got from the farmers market.

    Visiting the sculpture garden at the Walker Art Center. You can kind of see that these trees have chimes hanging all throughout the area. If you sit under them and close your eyes it's a real relaxing and dreamy type sound that relaxes you to the core.

    On the second day we decided to hit the beach. It was about 93ºF so it was perfect. First we went to the farmers market so we could get all the ingredients necessary for Mojitos. After that we went canoeing on the lakes, had an awesome dinner grilling kebabs, and chilled out for the rest of the night with beer and good times.

    This was a long one. The next time we visit it will probably be in Boston. Can't wait.

    - B

  • Three Years Of Westerns And Counting

    2010, the travel bug hits

    It was my first time camping outside of my backyard.  I had never been to a national park, nor had I ever taken hikes in areas as vast as where we had gone.  This trip was with my friend, Luke, who is always up for adventure and the best friend a guy could have when a drastic change in life calls for a getaway.  With less than a weeks notice of the trip, we had our bags packed and head out west for a week.  Overwhelmed by the beauty, I was compelled to continue my travels and photograph as much of the world as possible.

    2011 - Travel and exploration had become a needed fix to keep sane...

    When I came home in 2010, I needed to surround myself with people, and reconnecting with old friends was my priority.  This also led to new friends, one of which accompanied me on the 2011 Western trip.  Her name was EV.  We had met late in the summer of 2010 and talked about the idea of a road trip.  So, if she was able to save up money, I would do the same and we would travel out west a year later.  We met with each other every Thursday up to the day of the trip to stay connected.  The anticipation leading up to the trip was intense.  I had put in nearly 300 days of work, no days off, usually working midnight to noon, and then having another 4 hour shift in the afternoon at a bagel shop down the road.  This drove me into the ground, and I had put in my notice for my last day to be the week before the trip.

    2012 - Travel, Love, Life.  They all connect.

    Before I left on my trip in 2011, I had met a girl.  Her name is, Anna. Many of you have come to recognize her through my 358 project, and also in continued aftermath photos.  During the past year, I would always tell Anna how beautiful it is out west and rant about Glacier (it's been my favorite so far).  I can't remember when we planned our trip, but it worked out perfect, as Anna's spring break from college had been during the week of my birthday.  We thought, "perfect," and made March 9th - 18th designated time for travel.  

    A batch of photos only posted here:

    Anna had found out she didn't have to work, so we left a day earlier in the afternoon and made it to Western Iowa, where my cousin, Kris, let us stay for the night.  She's a huge supporter of the arts, and hosts two art shows a year, always having me come set up.

    Heading out from Iowa, the first major stretch was through Nebraska.  For anyone that has been through Nebraska, you know why it's a "major stretch."  It's about a 430mile stretch of nothingness.  The speed limit jumps from 70 to 75, and the only towns are north or south of the highway about an extra 5 - 10 miles.

    Our first stop was Arches National Park.  This was a first time for Anna, both national park and out west.

    Quite the awesome site to walk out of your tent to.  (Monument Valley)

    The drive alone has such wonderous and vast views.

    We are talking about going to the Pacific Northwest (Washington) come this summer.  Olympic National Park will be the main destination, and you can't forget about stopping in Seattle for the coffee scene ;]

    - B

  • Round 2: Jhermayne, Kamani, and Iisiah

    It happened sooner than I thought! 

    The gang for the afternoon

    We met up to take some photos at the Walker Art Center's Sculpture Garden.  It turned out to be a snowy and gray day, so location turned out perfect with heat, beautiful colors, and a great space.

    Here are some of my favorites (outtakes included):

    After an hour or so of Kamani, we switched gears and photographed a bit of Iisiah and Jhermayne:

    Needless to say, I've definitely been broadening my horizons lately.

    I've been a bit behind on posts and edits lately.  Just getting around to catching up.  Lots of changes and fun things have been going on, along with opportunities that have been popping up left and right.

    Things are good :] 

    - B

  • Rural Minnesota: Abandoned Goodies

    Exploring rural areas has become kind of a lost concept to me.  I used to do this all the time during my teen years when all I had to get around were my own two feet.  So, yesterday I tried exploring.  Driving aimlessly through the backroads of Minnesota, it was harder than I thought to find anything of interest.  I managed to come out with a spots though.

    1st stop:

    2nd stop:

    everything decays

    mirror remnants on the walls

    creepy attics

    welcome home


    - B

  • Abandoned Cathedral - Gary, IN

    How it came to be:

    Erected in 1926, this structure was built not only to be a church, but a place where the community could gather as well (gardens, a community center, banquet halls, a motion picture booth, etc)

    In the 1960s, the congregation of the church could no longer afford the upkeep.  It was decided in 1974 that it would be closed off and sold.

    1997:  The church was badly damaged in a fire.

    Present:  "One architect has offered plans to turn the church into a "ruins garden" like those found in Europe."

    Abandoned Cathedral:  City Methodist Church - Gary, Indiana

    Often times when I find a beautiful wreck like this and try to find where it's located, I have no luck.  It's easy enough to google, but to save a step for anyone looking, here's the address:

    577 Washington St - Gary, Indiana

    Now, the visual tour of the place:



    - B

  • Birthday weekend with Anna (day 3).

    Birthday coffees and Chinatown

    Espresso, courtesy of Intelligentsia Coffee.  Best espresso I've ever had.  So smooth.  It tasted of brown sugar and sunshine.  Even 3 hours later (when I should be sick of the aftertaste, I was left wanting more.

    It was a double header for coffee.  Caribou has a birthday drink you get for free, so we went there first for breakfast and coffee,  but then ended up not finishing our drinks, so went around the corner to Intelligentsia.  Just can't get away from that place.  Definitely not complaining though ;]  

    Happy birthday, love!

    Anna has spent good portion of life living in China, and it's a huge part of who she is today.  So, what better place than to spend a day in Chinatown.  It's not the same, agreed, but if I can get as close to it as possible, then yes, lets go. 


    First things first.  We had some amazing Milk Tea from one of the first places I ate at here.  Joy Yee Noodle.

    Milk tea & Coconut Milk Tea

    The abundance of shops to gander around in are a must.  So that's where we started.  Found some awesome Panda shirst, a watch or two, some pendents from Final Fantasy to indulge my nerdy self, all of which weren't bought because of how much I don't need some of the things, and sizing issues.  No xs in mens and no Large in kids = SOL for Bryant.  We did however come across a lot of stuff Anna loves in the markets down here.  Dried dates, a certain Iced Tea that is really hard to find, Pomellos, some herbs, etc.

    Dinner tonight was Si Chuan styled food.

    They brought out some spiced cabbage for an appetizer kinda thing, along with a pot of tea, and later our order consisted of Si Chuan styled green beans, and if I remember correctly, Cumin rubbed lamb?  Something like that.  Delicious none the less.

    Leaving is always hard.  Half because it was our vacation and a small getaway, and half because of my past schooling and friends I've come to know.  Both cities have so much to offer on different scales.  Always happy to be from Minnesota though.

    - B

  • Birthday weekend with Anna (day 2).

    Good morning, Chicago:

    The morning is never complete without coffee:

    For attractions, we started out with the bean in Millenium Park:

    Following the bean, we head over to what is formerly knows as, Sears Tower.  It's now Willis Tower.  They built those sweet glass balcony type things extending over the edge of the tower so you're standing out and looking down at the city below your feet.  Love it.  We stood in line for about an hour and a half to get to the top.  What was mind boggling is that you think one line is done, and you just end up right back in another one after transferring to a new room, with yet, another line.  Awesome.  Worth it though.

    Afterward, we took a gander to the North side of Chicago to visit threadless' retail store.  Good stuff.  

    With bellies full, we took a walk on the Navy Pier and went on the Ferris Wheel.  Haven't been on one of these things in forever:

    Desert to end the night?  I think so :]

    - B 

  • Birthday weekend with Anna (day 1).

    Photo of the weekend  *drum roll*...

    There are a long chain of photos that act as a .GIF of this guy running at the Geese.  Hilarious though.  Such determination.


    Chicago:  The Windy City

    Anna's 20th was this weekend, so we decided to take a trip to Chicago for a little vacation, and to see a good friend of mine.

    How do you travel on a budget?  I'm sure there are many ways.  To us, it's Megabus.  Some people may cringe at the thought of taking it, since there are some horror stories floating around out there, but I've never had a problem with it.  It just sucks to sleep on.

    Rates start at $1 depending on how early you get around to booking.  Come on.  Who wouldn't take that? 


    We managed to stay fairly busy.  I don't see myself as the best tour guide or planner, but we managed fairly well.  Above everything though, food was a priority.  We started off with a popular restaurant called, Portillo's.  They serve Hot dogs, burgers, cheap eats in one line, and in another, they serve pasta, salads, pizza, etc.  Despite it's popular name, it's a fun place to experience.  The employees are all very charasmatic and outgoing, and most importantly, they serve good eats.

    Portillos:  Chicago Dog (onions, relish, spear pickle, sports peppers, ketchup, -mustard.  Never been a huge fan of mustard)

    Nourishment?  Check.  Half the locations I know are from growing up and taking trips with the 'rents.  The Shedd Aquarium is on that list of locations.  Full of aquatics and creatures that dwell in lakes, oceans, riverways, etcetera, it's a fun place to go through.  You think it wouldn't take an hour or two to walk through the place, but it really does.  You kind of get sucked in to all the neat stuff they have swimming around, and that's just general admission.

    Turtle battle! 

    Of course, a day would not be complete without going to Dinner. We went out with Yoahn and his friend, Dima, that is visiting from Boston.  Our plan was to indulge in Dim Sum, but they weren't serving it.  We decided to delve into other entrees (eggplant, tofu, peppers, etc).

    Yoahn, just being awesome.

    Dima, a pleasure to meet you.

    Well hello there, familiar one. :]


    - B