a view through a lens.

TEN – Owen

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A decade. Wow. I can still remember rolling you out of the delivery room to show Great Grandma her very first great grandchild. I remember getting to know you at the hospital, driving you home, walking you around the house when we got home. I remember you getting sick at 2 weeks old and holding you upright at night for about 2 weeks so you could breath. It all just seems like a short time ago, but it wasn’t. You’re 10 Owen and we couldn’t be prouder.

At 10, you have an active imagination. This year has seen you enjoy starting to draw, continue to enjoy building lego creations, and thoroughly enjoy playing Minecraft. You’ve also started to enjoy reading which is wonderful to see. You’re devouring books during the evenings and appear to enjoy the worlds that reading is taking you into. You work independently and excel at school. You have a handful of really good friends that you enjoy playing with and a family that you love. You’re wise beyond your years, an independent soul that is sure in his ways. To say this is what I was hoping for 10 years ago when I met you would be an understatement, and while I realize that most every dad could write something like this about their son, I sure am happy to call you MY son. You’re an impressive young boy and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years bring your way.

We love you O!

Owen @ 10
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Owen with his best friends (Nick S, Owen, Oliver and Morgan, Devin, Jake, Tyler, Nick P, Cal)
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Our trip to Washington state after you wanted to go visit the Space Needle

You took this picture

You continue to love visiting the lake

For sports, you took up snowboarding and started to hit the skatepark this year. Mostly on your scooter.
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Your cousin Delaney = Soulmate
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Written by craiglindner

November 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Posted in Owen, Uncategorized

Morgan – Six

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“I want to play hockey.” I remember the day you told me about a year ago. We spent that final part of the winter going to the outdoor rink whenever we could on weekends so you could work on your skating, and internally I was thinking “maybe this will pass over the summer”. I played hockey as a boy, and I knew how time consuming it can become. Throughout the summer, not a word, but then on a warm day in late August you asked if you could go to open skating. Almost on queue you decided it was time to start getting ready for the season. Equipment was purchased and we started our new adventure. Hockey Player.

To say I couldn’t be prouder is an understatement. Watching you skate, I could only imagine that I was seeing exactly what my mom and dad saw when I started playing. A little boy, determined to succeed, growing stronger and stronger with every stride. You simply love to skate, and I love watching you. We’ll see where this hockey thing goes, but right now you love it.

Beyond hockey you grew a lot this year. You couldn’t be more different than your brother. No interest in Legos, Beyblades, or video games (except your hockey game), but rather you love to use your imagination. My favorite day of the week is Saturday where you and I wake up early, you ask for a cup of hot chocolate, and it’s only a matter of time until you are off imagining. Policeman, soldier, fireman, doctor, or spy, ever weekend there is an adventure waiting. It must be exciting to live your life. I know it’s exciting to watch. Thanks for being you. Every day you remind me I should be living life to it’s fullest. Thanks for being such a wonderful little boy. Happy Birthday buddy!

Morgan the hockey player
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Chasing the Puck
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Tigers – Mites (2012/2013)
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Owning the road!




My favorite picture of the year. Something about it captures your soul. Congrats on turning six!

Written by craiglindner

February 22, 2013 at 5:00 am

Posted in Family, Morgan

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Through A Lens (2012)

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On a Sunday evening in April, I was sitting with Morgan watching TV like we usually do on Sunday when I read this article about changing habits.  To say it changed my life is a bit of an overstatement, but as I read it I began to think about my eating.  Eating is a necessity, but what, how much, and when you eat is more of a habit.  As I analyzed my patterns that was true.  Simply by focusing an existing routine (eating) on a new reward (which happened for me, to be the scale) allowed be to adjust my eating habits to lost 25 pounds throughout the summer without any drastic diet approach and eating pretty much whatever I want.  It was the first time I’ve ever consciously approached my diet, coupled with my passion for riding to improve my fitness, I was pleasantly surprised with the results.  The cool part, is that this approach can be applied to any habit you have if you think about it enough.

Beyond that unexpected diversion, 2012 was a busy year working on launching Target stores in Canada in 2013.  That work got in the way of a lot of my other interests and goals, but that’s ok.  We’ll get back to those soon.  In February I took a new role on the Canada project which gave me an amazing view to an incredibly complex project. Work took me to Israel, which was an amazing experience, and the year pushed me to work differently and challenged me on many fronts. Amazingly, we are very close to opening our first stores and it’s hard to believe that in less than a year we will have around 130 stores open for business. It sounds simple, but I can’t think of a project more ambitious. 2 years, 130 stores, starting systems from scratch. Just an amazing effort from an amazing team at an amazing company. I feel lucky to have been a part of the journey from the beginning.

Beyond work, I had a couple of simple goals, so let’s look back at how I did:

Almanzo (ARGS) Series: I wanted to shoot the entire ARGS gravel road racing series this year, but no luck. Work was too demanding. I was able to get away to shoot the Almanzo race itself in May and as usual had a blast. I love the spirit of what Chris Skogen has created. Pure passion. If you are not familiar with Almanzo, read this . Calling Almanzo a “race” is appropriate for about 10% of the people that ride. What I love about photographing the Almanzo, isn’t the “race” part. It’s about capturing people pushing themselves to complete something so personal across an amazing route in southern Minnesota. Truly a special event. Overall, my pictures this year were OK. I had grander visions going in, but was happy with some shots. (Grade B)

Lighting: As agreed last year, no grade here. Lighting is time consuming and I continued my self education and experimentation this year. Continued to be amazed at the talents of Joe McNally and his willingness to share his techniques. More to come in 2013.

The Boys: Didn’t take as many pictures as I would like this year (see the work note above), but did continue to document how the boys are growing up. Morgan started hockey this year, so my winter project is to document his Mite team throughout the year.  Watching 6 year olds learn how to play hockey is actually very similar to documenting the Almanzo, and I love it. (Grade: C)

Ride: Riding played a big part of my fitness routine, but it wasn’t obsessive. Weekly rides on both roads and mountain bikes helped me relax and connect with friends. A few big trips also made the year fun. A ride from Forest Lake to Amery Wisconsin, a super fun 70 mile mountain bike weekend in Hayward, Wisconsin, and a 100 mile Gentleman’s Ride on the Almanzo course capped off a fun year.  100 miles on gravel wasn’t something I really thought I could do, but thanks to Dan Steeves’ patience and partnership, I did it, and had a blast. Overall, riding was fantastic this year. I think I got stronger and better and look forward to more improvement in 2013 (Grade A-).

Goals for 2013, let’s keep them simple due the the amount of work ahead:

Work: Get these stores in Canada open!

Photography: Continue to document the Almanzo, work on lighting skills, learn long exposure photography.

The Boys: You guessed it. Continue documenting and finish the documenting of the Tiger’s Mite experience. Would also like to take the time to get a more formal portrait of the boys with thier grandparents. I think they are old enough to have the patience.

Ride: Continue to advance in endurance and speed. Take a minimum of three long ride weekends and get more comfortable with longer distances. Most importantly continue to find time to get out on the roads and trails and ride.  It relaxes me.

2013 goals look an awful lot like a repeat of 2012, but that’s cool with me. Important work ahead, so let’s just concentrate on that, and change things up in 2014! Here are some of my favorite pictures from the past year. Thanks for reading…




Classic Almanzo scene.


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Dan Steeves nearing the finish.


Site of the Crucifixion
The site of the crucification. Definitely makes you stop and think for a bit.

Stone of the Dead
The Stone of the Dead. Jesus laid here.

Western Wall
The Western Wall.

Disney with the cousins. So much fun. Truly a magical place.

Gentleman’s Ride – 100 miles on gravel with Dan Steeves.

My next year’s focus. Taking the Expect More, Pay Less promise to Canada.

The Boys:
Owen started mountain biking this year. Can’t wait for next year!

Morgan Tball.

Owen – Growing up so fast. Nine years old!

This sums up Morgan’s spirit! 5 years old.


Tigers Hockey:
Learning to Stop

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Written by craiglindner

December 29, 2012 at 8:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Morgan – FIVE

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Today you turn five and what a year it’s been. You’re the consummate little brother, always trying to keep up, and proving that you can be just as good as your brother and the older kids in the neighborhood. Simply put, the world’s in trouble when Morgan grows up because you are determined. This year saw a lot of firsts. You were the first in our family to break a bone (not surprisingly) when you fell off the slide and broke your arm. You wore your cast with pride and are now fully recovered. You busted loose of training wheels and learned to ride your bike on you own in one morning. From there, you never looked back. Once winter came, it was off to the snowboard hill. At the first snow, you walked up the hill one morning and taught yourself how to get down the hill in about 30 minutes. Finally, you have started to take skating seriously in your second season and have decided to practice hard in order to play hockey next year.

It’s been amazing fun watching you develop your own passions this year. You love to ride bike, skate, dress up in costumes and pretend you are saving the world. Be it firefighter, pirate, police man, or super hero, the world is in safe hands with Morgan in charge. You’ve also done wonderfully in school. You’re letters and numbers are really taking off and you’re getting excited for Kindergarten next year.

Morgan, you are simply one of a kind and we love watching you spread your wings and fly. Here’s hoping the next year is filled with even more firsts! Happy Birthday buddy.

Love, Dad.



Morgan on Ice

Poor Morgie.  Fell last night and broke wrist 2 days before vacation.  He's a trooper and doing just fine.

Written by craiglindner

February 22, 2012 at 5:16 am

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Through A Lens (2011)

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Coming into 2011, I had plans to simplify my goals and just focus on a couple of projects. Let’s review how that worked by looking at goals for 2011:

Work, Shmirck: Life’s too short, so work can no longer be a barrier to shooting. I will have my camera in my hand much more in 2011.  (Grade F-):  Shortly after I wrote this goal, I had a little project called Target Canada drop on my plate at work which basically destroyed all hope of actually achieving this goal.  By 2013 we will have opened around 130 stores in Canada starting with nothing.  I’m running a team focused on in store systems including point of sale, so the pressure is on to land this successfully.  That equates to work, and not much else!

Projects: Rather than worry about Landscapes, Lighting, People, etc. I’m going to focus on a couple of projects. One will be the Almanzo 100 and the other is still to be defined, but will stretch me in ways that make me uncomfortable and push me to shoot more. (Grade D):  See point 1 above.  There were two projects I had in mind when I wrote this.  The documenting the Almanzo 100 and achieving a “abstract” image each and every month.  Achieving the Almanzo project was easy because it was one day.  That said, it was a miserable day.  About 40 degrees and rain made for an interesting day of shoot and even a more interesting day of riding for the competitors.  It was miserable.  Almanzo 2011 saw resulted in my pictures getting published in DirtRag magazine and and XXC Magazine which was cool, but my efforts for the day only rated at about a B.   I got a few cool pictures, but in general thought I could have captured the spirit of the day a bit better.   As I said above, it was miserable.  That said, a step forward, a very cool event, and it may have sparked some new ideas for 2012.

My other project of creating a abstract image each month fell apart quickly with the demands of life (or so I claim).  It’s one stinking image a month, so the real issue is that I never actually verbalized that goal to anyone, and I honestly just gave up on it after a few months and the growing demands of life.  I have to stop doing this.

The Boys: Much to their dismay, I still truly love to capture my boys growing up. I’m blessed with two fantastic little guys and my mission to document their youth continues. Couldn’t be prouder of Owen and Morgan. (Grade B):  Could have been better. There were many days when I left the camera behind, but I also feel like a captured the year pretty well.  I just love documenting the boys growing up.  I know that most everyone does this, but I hope some day my boys look back and say that I did a pretty good job.  Highlights of the year this year were Owen’s baseball team, Morgan riding his bike without training wheels, and our vacations to San Diego and Chicago.  Sorry boys, I think you’re going to make the list again in 2012.

Beyond my stated goals, I continued to educate myself and experiment.  Kelby Training continued to be a trusted resource to help grow my knowledge.  Truly great videos that educate and inform on key techniques. I specifically spent a fair amount of time learning about light.  Joe McNally courses are pure genius and instructors such as Cliff Maunter, Jay Maisel, and Jeremy Cowart influenced my photography throughout the year.  The internet is truly wonderful in how it brings this top notch teaching to you year after year.  If you’re interested in improving your photography, I highly recommend

Equipment:  One major purchase this year on the photography front this year was a new printer and I couldn’t be happier.  This spring, I invested in the Epson R3000 printer and I’m absolutely in love with it.  For a couple years, I’ve longed for the ability to print on Epson papers and the R3000 absolutely nails it.  To me, photography comes alive in the print and I’m thrilled to have the R3000 producing such great results!

What Else: This year my passion for riding my bike continued to grow.  I upgraded my rides in the spring with the addition of the Salsa Vaya for road/gravel riding and the Salsa El Mariachi Ti for mountain biking.  Why two?  The plan was originally just a new road/gravel bike, but I soon came to the conclusion that mountain biking on my single speed Surly Karate Monkey was just stupid given the combo of my age a ability.  Long story short, the El Mariachi Ti was my single best purchase of the year.  Several rides up in Hayward as well as the opening of the new single track at Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove (my nomination for the best use of tax dollars in 2011!)  provided ample opportunity to improve my riding skills.  A combo of the new bike and more time on the trails has improved my confidence significantly and made me much more comfortable on the trails.

Biking is a simple outlet for me.  It’s time that allows me to simply think, get the pressures of work out of my mind, and just reflect on what makes me happy.  It sounds incredibly simple, and low tech, but it works for me and is becoming and increasingly important part of my life.  This post from the Surly Blog sums up a lot.

2012: Goals for 2012 are as follows:

Almanzo (ARGS) Series:  Not sure I can pull this off, but I would love to try to document the entire ARGS series of racing this year.  This is six (Ragnarok 105, Almanzo 100 / Royal 162, Westside Dirty Benjamin, Gentleman’s Ride, Heck of the North, and the Dirt Bag) FREE gravel road races across Minnesota and it’s actually something pretty special.  There is a deeper story here that needs to be documented and this year, work permitting, I would like to take a stab at doing just that.  Concept like Chase Jarvis’ Dasein Project are inspiring me to do something much bigger than a single day in 2012.  Not sure if I can pull it off, may need some help, but let’s see what we can do.  If work demands too much, I will still shoot the Almanzo race this year, but my focus will be slightly different.

Lighting:  I think I’m getting more educated on the lighting front and it’s pretty fascinating.  The techniques involved in throwing away natural light and replacing it with light you can control is peaking my interest.  Watching masters like Joe McNally is really making me think this may be a topic worth exploring in 2012.  Let’s agree that we won’t grade this effort at the end of the year, but I will at least try to push my skills in this area next year.

The Boys:  This one is simple.  Keep documenting their lives.  Owen and Morgan are two fantastic little guys and I love them with all of my heart.  I often think that if my life’s work is to document their youth, I would be cool with that.  It’s simply awesome to watch them grow up.

Ride:  I have no aspirations to be great, but I do love to ride.  It’s my thinking time and I hope to never lose that time.  More riding in Hayward in 2012.

That’s it.  2012 is sure to be a hectic year as we get ready to launch Target into Canada, but I’m determined not to let work entirely consume my life and always make time to see life through a lens.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the past year.  Thanks for reading…


A miserable day. 40 degrees and rain = one big mess. Most did not finish.

My favorite shot of the day. Sums up the Almanzo nicely in my opinion.

Published. This was a first for me, so that’s pretty cool.

People: Portraits from the year.
Sister In Law before baby #3.



The Boys:  They are both getting a bit more patient in front of the camera.  Just a little.

Owen:  Such a sweet little guy at 8.


Morgan: Can test our patience at times, but this shot sums him up.  My buddy.


Learning:  A huge year of learning for Owen which was fun to watch.  He continues to do amazingly well.  These two pictures are from a trip to Chicago which fascinated him.



Determined: Morgan’s spirit pushes him to keep up with the older boys


Joy: Running on the lake at the cabin
Winter Vacation

Best Use of tax dollars in 2011: Elm Creek Park Reserve single track (and my El Mariachi Ti).
El Mariachi Ti

Lots more pictures from the year here.  Thanks for reading. On to 2012.


Written by craiglindner

December 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


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11.11.11 ~ A year of learning.

Owen, today you turn eight on a pretty neat day (11.11.11) and, yet again, you had a fantastic year of being a kid.  You wear the burden of being the older brother perfectly and serve as a wonderful guide for your brother.  You are an independent spirit not overly interested in following the crowd, but rather in following your own interests with a degree of certainty that is amazing.  Those passions include taekwondo, video games, riding your bike, playing with your friends, legos (of course), watching Castle with Mom before you go to bed, and and every growing interest in reading.  Watching you read more and more this year has really been amazing.  You have suddenly moved from just reading words, to truly understanding what you are reading.  Just the other day, as I picked you up from school, you jumped in the car and told me you had five pages left in your book.  When we got home, you rushed to the living room to finish the book and were eager to start the next book in the series.  While simple, it’s so fun to watch the world open up to you a little more every single day!

This year:

  • After a year hiatus from your bike (after you crashed into a puddle with Poppy Tom), you rode your new Specialized HotRock like never before.  With Dad’s passion for riding, it was particularly rewarding to see you take to the freedom of your bike.
  • You told mom that you are going to be an engineer when you grow up.  Somehow, I believe that.  You have a passion for building things, understanding how things work, and a degree of precision and design in everything you build that will serve you well as you grow.
  • You continued to have a thirst for learning.  This summer we went to Chicago for the first time and it was fascinating to watch you navigate the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry.  You sucked up knowledge like I’ve never seen before.

While watching all of this my love for you grows deeper every day.  I’m also glad to report that our tradition of a hug and a kiss right before bedtime continues.  It’s simply my favorite part of the day, and I hope it doesn’t stop any time soon.  I hope you know that with each of those hugs I grow prouder and prouder of the boy your are becoming.  Eight years old.  Hard to believe.  I love you Owen!  Happy Birthday buddy!

Here are my memories of your year:

Eight:  Owen, I couldn’t be prouder of you!


Learning: Our trip to Chicago opened up new worlds to you.


Baseball: The Ray’s went undefeated this year, with only one tie game.
Rays Baseball Club - 2011

Taekwondo: You finished this year at green belt
Breaking the Board

Freedom:  Specialized HotRock.  A sweet little bike that took you to new places.  Longest Ride: 16 miles.

Owen’s 8th Year Video:

Written by craiglindner

November 11, 2011 at 5:00 am

Posted in Family, Owen


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Morgan – You’re turning four today and Mom and Dad couldn’t be prouder of the boy you are becoming.

I have so much fun watching you grow up as the youngest brother, and one of the youngest kids in the neighborhood because that’s exactly what I was when I was your age. To compare how you attack a challenge (brave and fearless) to how Owen does (careful and measured) allows me to almost see my own childhood replayed right before my eyes and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And, while you so desperately want to do everything that your brother does, you are also very much your own person. You have a unique outlook on life and are not consumed with anything material. Rather, you choose to spend your days pursuing happiness, which can take many forms.

This year saw you learn so much. From riding your bike, to developing a love of music, to becoming a little boy that can sit and have a conversation, these years are simply amazing. As I type this, you’re letters and numbers are becoming clearer in your mind every single day. It is amazing to see the world begin to make sense to you and for you to begin to put your unique stamp up on it. Don’t every lose your happy, gentle soul because I’m certain the world is a better place because of you.

Happy Birthday Morgan. Mom, Dad, and Bro-Bro are so very proud that you are four!!


Learning to Pedal
Learning to Pedal

Cotton Candy
Cotton Candy


Proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. When I asked you who was on the far right of this picture you said “me” (meaning Morgan). In fact, that’s your dad at a similar age. Same eyes, same cheeks, same nose, same lips, same hair. Amazing.

Written by craiglindner

February 20, 2011 at 8:15 am

Posted in Family, Morgan