a view through a lens.

Learning to Fly

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Continually amazed while watching Owen grow up and try new things. For his birthday, in November, Owen asked for a skateboard. As luck would have it we got our first snow on his birthday making for a terribly long winter as well as erasing his opportunity to get outside.

We solved that by spending New Year’s Day at the 3rd Layer Skatepark to learn a little about skateboarding.  Everyone was nervous at the start.  Owen was eager to learn, but had never skateboarded before.  Mom and Dad were nervous for their little guy to succeed.  In typcial Owen fashion, he listened carefully, started cautiously, and quickly began to build his confidence.  Progressing from standing, to pushing, and then on to larger and larger ramps Owen fought through the spills with determination and was soon traveling significant distance and steering just a bit.

Leaving the park Owen said “can we come back tomorrow?”.  We’ll see if his interest maintains, but for now we’ll be proud of our little guy for his willingness to try new things. Go Owen Go!

Owen with his teacher

An early run.
Going Strong

Owen’s favorite part. Learning how to go up and down the ramp.

Learning to fly

Looking out at the skatepark.


Written by craiglindner

January 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Posted in Family, Owen

Growing Up….

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We’re settling into a routine.  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home with Bridget’s family and then a trip to the cabin for some great time with Ray, Michelle, Nick, Delaney, Mom and Dad.  I’m pretty sure the kids will look back on these days with some pretty fond memories.  Not that we do a lot, but the time together, the memories of skating on the lake, and sledding down the hill will hopefully always remain.  Hard to believe the kids are growing up so fast, but it’s also fun to see everyone getting so independent, Morgan included!

I set out this year to capture this time through my lens and I like what I came back with.  It’s an ordinary time, but at the same time a magical time.  I’m pretty sure Mom and Dad have imagined these days for decades and it’s fun to watch them come true.

Cousins Skating on the Lake

Morgie on Skates




Skating in the Sun
Skating in the Sun

Evening Skate
Winter in Hayward

Grandma and Grandpa make it all possible

Written by craiglindner

December 29, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Posted in Family, Photography

2010 Behind the Lens

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Another year has gone by behind the lens, so it’s time for a report card against goals, and to remember the year.  Here were the goals I set a year ago.

2010 Goals:

  • Monthly Goal: Create a monthly calendar for photography goals. (Grade = F: Work got in the way.  With a change of roles in mid 2010, photography took a bit of a back seat.  I achieved some of my goals, but really only scratched the surface.)
  • Light: Acquire 1-2 more speedlights and a couple of diffusers to continue experimentation of understanding how to shape light.  (Grade = C: I have the equipment that I think I want for now and have begun to learn a bit.  Not nearly aggressive enough to feel comfortable with shaping light yet, but my understanding this year is better than last.)
  • Landscapes: 2-4 dedicated landscape/outdoor shoots + figure out a way to combine mountain biking and photography (without breaking my camera).  (Grade = C:  Got out a couple of times, but for very short amounts of time.  I spent a great deal of time this year studying landscape photographers on twitter and the web, and have a better understanding of how they achieve their craft.)
  • Black and White: Develop a more dramatic black and white conversion. In 2009, I just started to scratch the surface of understanding black and white. In 2010, it will become natural for me.   (Grade = B:  Between Lightroom and Photoshop, I think I’ve developed a black and white style I’m happy with and feel I have a solid understanding what goes into a black and white photo.)
  • People: It’s why I shoot. (Grade C = This year was busy and largely focused on the boys.  Had the opportunity to shoot one baby and help on one wedding which was fun, but schedule left me a bit short of this goal.

While 2010 wasn’t a great year for shooting due to a pretty intense work schedule, it did provide my single most successful day ever as a photographer.  The day was Saturday, May 15th and I spent the day as “support” for a Dan and Mark, a couple of friends that were riding the Almanzo 100.  The Almanzo 100 is a 100 mile gravel road bike race across the hills of southern Minnesota, so with plenty of time to kill that day, I decided to bring the camera.  Without much of a plan, I started shooting the riders.  Mostly concerned with connecting with Dan and Mark at a couple of checkpoints, I soon realized that I could probable get some pretty cool pictures of a lot of the riders that they may appreciate.  I ended the day with hundreds of photos which I then posted to flickr to share with the world.  The next day, I have over 40,000 views of these photos and people seemed genuinely appreciative.  It was an incredible day, and in the spirit of Chris Skogen, the founder of the Almanzo, I was able to provide many riders with a rare picture of themselves in action.  A lot of fun, and I look forward to a return to the Almanzo on 2011.

So, onto 2011.  My goals are simplifying and the focus will be on shooting.  Here are my goals:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

That’s it.  Simple and to the point.  Shoot more in 2011.  Here’s a look back at some of my favorite shots for 2010.

An Early year trip to San Diego allowed my to capture this wonderful shot of the La Costa Resort.  Classic California.

La Costa

This shot of La Jolla was actually my first “published” photo when the Schamp travel site contacted me to see if they could use this photo for their website.

La Jolla

Landscape work:  I eyed this shot most every week as I would go on my bike rides out west of Maple Grove.  The round barn is unique and I was happy with how this photo turned out.

Round Barn

Landscape: Shot from up at the cabin this fall.  Liked how the white trees stood out and the yellow leaves of the Aspen’s remained late into the fall.


This is probably my favorite shot from the Almanzo 100.  It captures the spirit of the event in one frame.  100 miles, by yourself, through the rolling hills of souther Minnesota.  Fantastic event.


My best friend Dan in action.  Darcie his wife claimed that this was the best picture every taken of him on his bike.  Glad I took it!


Another great picture of the spirit of the Almanzo.  This was a group of riders late in the race on the final climb.  Determination.


I liked the black and white treatment here.  If you look closely, this was a single speed bike.  Insane for 100 miles on gravel.


Metal:  One of my better pictures of the day.  Unknown to me at the time, this ended up being the husband of a friend of someone who worked for me at Target.  Small world.  I was able to provide a larger print to this rider.


The spirit of the Almanzo.


People:  My one newborn session of the year.  Was still happy with how I capture the little ones.



My boys:

Dreams begin – I’ll always cherish this picture.  Owen’s first Twins game ever in the brand new stadium.

Where dreams begin!

Growing up:  Morgan learns to ride a bike at age 3.


So cute:  Just a quick capture one night in the bath tub while I tested out a new lens.  Just love the innocence of this picture.


Owen and Morgan:  One time per year, right before Owen’s birthday, we are somehow granted just enough patience from the boys to capture some nice photographs.  Here are three of my favorites from this years session.




Written by craiglindner

December 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


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Almost Seven

Seven.  How time flies, and how fast you grow up.  It seems every year I say “it’s been the most amazing year yet” but that’s because you’re our first son, growing up right before our eyes and it really is amazing.  This year was truly spectacular and will be remembered for one main thing.  Reading.  After turning six, you learned to read and it was like a whole new world opened up to you.  Suddenly you were reading signs in the car, amazing us with the words you knew, and literally understood the world around you in an entirely new way.  It was fun to watch and amazing to think about what a transformational year this was.

You’re a gentle soul.  You look after your brother, and put up with much more from him than you really need to.  You make friends easily and value the friendships you forge.  You’re independent and tend to like to do your own thing.  You don’t feel the need to be involved in every sport or class, but you know what you want to do and you do it well.  This year your learned how to skate, played tee ball, improved your swimming, and had a blast in karate.  And, while  all of this is amazing and fun to watch, I’m most proud of what a fantastic little guy you are growing up to be.

My favorite part of every day, is right before you go to bed.  Most every night, you run to me for a quick hug and kiss and as you run out of the room, you say “good night daddy!”.  As you leave, it’s almost as if I see you growing up just a little more every day, an I’m happy to say that you’re doing just great!

So Owen, I think this year really was the most amazing year yet.  Mom and I are so proud to have you as our son!  Happy Birthday, and congratulations on being seven!  Love you

— daddy.

Written by craiglindner

November 13, 2010 at 7:31 am

Posted in Owen

So, You’re Three…

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Morgan, today is your third birthday and put simply, you are the light of my life.

At three you are the most optimistic and kind little boy that two parents could hope for.  You’re a wonderful brother and you do everything in your power to keep up with Owen.  This year saw you make huge progress.  From starting Montessori school to beginning to have your personality come out in words that get clearer and clearer every day.  These were big challenges and you tackled every one of them bravely.

What I’ll remember most about these years is simple.  Your smile.  I like to think that it’s a window to your heart and it reminds me every day what is important.  Morgan thanks for being the wonderful little boy that you are.  You have no idea the impact you are having on our lives.  Happy birthday buddy.  We’re so very proud of you!

Written by craiglindner

February 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Year in Pictures – 2009

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2009 saw a lot of time dedicated to work and kids leaving less time for photography, but oh well.

When I did have time this year I feel I advanced my understanding of light and improved my workflow and processing within Lightroom and Photoshop. Looking back on my goals for 2009, I wouldn’t consider it a terribly successful year, but it was fun nonetheless.

2009 Goals:

  • Time: Concerted effort to spend more time shooting by setting a monthly goal. – Grade D. Work and Family were extremely busy this year. Additionally, biking consumed more time on the weekends. Towards the end of the year, I started to find photography again. Need to set monthly goals in 2010.
  • Lighting & Posing: Improved understanding of light and expand into working with flash. – Grade B. Given my near failing grade on Time, I feel good about lighting. I learned a ton about lighting by registering for a Kelby Online Training subscription where I watched Joe McNally’s classes. Fascinating and he finally convinced me that shooting with small speedlights was right for me. This discovery was late in the year, and I’m just getting into lighting with two 580 EXII lights. Look forward to learning more here and light is starting to make sense to me.
  • Landscapes: Expand time spent shooting landscapes. – Grade C. Landscapes are just not my thing entirely, but I’m determined to try. I’ve expanded my studying of photographers such as Moose Peterson, Camille Seaman, and others to develop a style. One of my biggest lessons of the year came from Moose Peterson who convinced me that you don’t always have to have dramatic vistas to take interesting photos of nature. Much more to come on this front in 2010.
  • People: Continued focus on shooting people as this is what inevitably brings me the most joy and the most meaning to my pictures. – Grade A- People still bring me the most joy. Especially Owen and Morgan. Nothing gives me as much satisfaction of giving someone a picture of themselves or their kids. It’s a memory captured.

2010 Goals: Given the hectic work schedule and generally poor grades I gave myself, 2010 goals will look familiar.

  • Monthly Goal: Create a monthly calendar for photography goals.
  • Light: Acquire 1-2 more speedlights and a couple of diffusers to continue experimentation of understanding how to shape light.
  • Landscapes: 2-4 dedicated landscape/outdoor shoots + figure out a way to combine mountain biking and photography (without breaking my camera).
  • Black and White: Develop a more dramatic black and white conversion. In 2009, I just started to scratch the surface of understanding black and white. In 2010, it will become natural for me.
  • People: It’s why I shoot.

Below are some of my favorites from the past year that document my continued learning:

Early attempt at landscape concepts.

Loon taken in Hayward, Wisconsin. One of the most beautiful and elusive birds there is. A shot like this is only possible in early spring as the loon protects her nest.

First picture with the 16-35mm lens. I think I'm going to like the wider perspective and can't wait to see what it brings to my photography in the next year.

Rushing Water - learning about shutter speed. A simple shot, but one I had never taken the time to shoot. This is an example of a nice shot from a very average location, a stream near our house.


Alone - love the scale of the boy vs. the vast white background.

Elena - Loved the soft, classic look that appeared here.

Michael - neighbor and practically our third son. A sweet boy that is very fortunate.

Dan (our neighbor) asked me to take a picture of this amazing family. This is what makes photography rewarding for me. Really liked the posed, yet somewhat relaxed feel we got here.

Holiday picture for friends. Loved the casual look we got here.


My first attempt with purposeful lighting.

Soccer: Nothing special here, just loved Owen's look in this picture. Growing Up.

Memories Captured - Morgan's first fish! A walleye caught off the dock at the cabin.

Morgan by the lake. Love how this captures his spirit.

Bridget's entire family caught by themselves on a trip to the pumpkin patch. There were hundreds of other people around, so I just love how this captured them all by themselves. Also reminds me that some of the best pictures can be made when people are not even looking at the camera.

My little guy in the woods. Cherish this shot from a crisp fall morning.

Without question, this was the hardest year so far for good pictures of Owen. This was a rare morning just before his sixth birthday where he actually was willing to sit for a picture. Love the little guy with all of my heart and he's more amazing every single day.

I love the scale of this picture. Owen dwarfed by the forest around him just gives me the sense that a great adventure is about to begin.

Another experiment with lighting and I was reasonably pleased. More than that, I love how this sums up our boys. Owen getting more and more mature and Morgan just being Morgan. I'm almost certain my mom has a picture of me looking exactly like Morgan at age 2!

Written by craiglindner

December 31, 2009 at 6:55 am

Posted in Photography


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SIXO, quite simply you are one of the sweetest little guys in the world.  At six, you’ve officially started to grow up and develop your own imagination, priorities and continue to break new ground in your ever determined way.

Let’s start with imagination,  You’re simply obsessed with Lego’s.  You love them.  The routine plays itself out over and over.  As you open a new Lego toy you dutifully follow the instructions to build yet another masterpiece that will only have a limited lifespan. Within two days, a once beautifully constructed space ship, car, or airplane is soon nothing but hundreds of more pieces of Legos in your mountain of interlocking blocks.  It’s at this point, your imagination takes over!  Most every day when you arrive home from school you set about creating an adventure.  Building various ships and buildings from that mountain of Legos to create a world of your own.  It’s been amazing to watch your imagination come alive over the past year in some of the coolest lego inventions that anyone could build.

As for priorities, this was your year of independence and a year that I watched to grow up and become your own person.  It happened slowly, but over the course of the year, you were more content to be on your own.  Almost preferring it at times.  No longer did you want dad next to you every time you relaxed on the couch.  No longer did you need Mom or me in order to play.  No longer did I have to be so concerned when you were outside, I just knew you would be ok.  This is the year I will remember that you started your own journey in life.  Taking the roads that you want to take.  No longer content to just follow along.  At least you still look behind you every now and then just to make sure Mom and I are there, and every so often you still ask me to lay down with you at night.  I know you will continue to grow up more and more, but part of me just wants to bottle you up exactly as you are so nothing changes.

Finally, as you choose those roads that you want to take it has been fun to see you break new ground.  This year Poppie Tom taught you to ride your bike without training wheels.  For some reason, you don’t really listen to dad, but Poppie convinced you that he could teach you to ride your bike in ten short lessons.  He took you on the street and to the school parking lot and you counted down the lessons in anticipation of riding on your own.  I will always remember the day I pulled up to the school parking lot to see my Owen riding across the parking lot all by himself.  In typcial Owen fashion, it didn’t take you ten lessons to learn how to ride.  I think you had it after about six.

This year also other firsts.  You began to play soccer, you formed a great friendship with your best friend/neighbor, Michael, and of course you started kindergarten.  The first day of kindergarten was harder on me than you.  I had the opportunity to drop you off that day, and to be able to see you be so excited and brave was fantastic.  Now, each  and every day you load up three lego guys in your pocket (so you have enough to share with friends), and head off to school to learn new things and begin to conquer the world.  You continue to amaze me every day as you form new friendships and learn amazing new things.

So it’s been a big year buddy.  You’re a loyal friend to those around you, a patient brother to Morgan, and fantasic son to Mom and I.  Quite simply, I couldn’t be prouder of the boy that you’ve become.  You make me so proud, and remember….  I love you to the mailbox and back.  Happy birthday little guy!

Written by craiglindner

November 10, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Owen

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