Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Scenes from the north land
Minnesota's state bird, the Common Loon.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Scenes from the north land
You got legs! Dance on little fellow, dance on.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Scenes from the north land
Winston's little playmate. Winston has fun chasing her into the rocks, under the shed, or in the firepit. Marilyn has fun antagonizing Winston, sneaking up behind him and running to hide. A mutual game of sneak and chase. Thy love the exercise game.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Technical Difficulties, Please Stand By

Technical Difficulties, Please Stand By:

Online troubles, PC maintenance, and extended photo shoot.

Projected date of project completion, Sunday May 4th.

I am currently working at an undisclosed location for a new and exciting project that I hope you will enjoy. (Well, it is exciting for us here at the Dusty Lens command center).

Until that time when the north metro blogspot is back online, please enjoy this better than "elevator muzak" selection of fine tunes and intermittent photos from the north land. At least I hope; this future scheduled posting feature is fairly new.

If all goes well, I hope to be back online Sunday May 4th, mark your calendars. (You never know about computers). I hope to see you then.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Tale of Two 'Bous

"It was the best of coffee, it was the worst of coffee..."
On the left, Ethiopian roast cold press coffee from the Minnetonka Caribou coffee. On the right, Mahogany roast cold press coffee from the Champlin Caribou Coffee.
One is tea like, the other is coffee. Can you spot the difference?
In the Opus complexity in Minnetonka, we are fortunate, or unfortunate enough to have two Caribou Coffee shops across the street from each other. One, the Old "Bou, is Drive Thru-less. The new 'Bou across the street sports a snappy Drive Thru for those who wish to speak into an electronic box. They then exchange money with a pleasant Drive Thru attendant wearing a Burger King like communications head gear.
Today we enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather and a nice walk to Caribou Coffee. A 2:30 ritual on pleasant days. We were quite disappointed in our last visit to the Old 'Bou. They brew only two types of a substance similar to coffee. One is decaf, the other is Perennial Blend.
As far as Decaf goes, whats the point? It is better if you go to the local food mart and pick up a jar of Sanka. You will save money and enjoy a better product.
Caribou's Perennial Blend is equivalent to taking the dish of potpourri from a gift shop, add 1/8 teaspoon of coffee grounds and steep with hot water. Not a good cup of coffee to say the most.
We opted for the New 'Bou. Our thinking was since the Old 'Bou serves nothing more than potpourri, the New 'Bou must serve dark roast. We were correct in the assumption that the New' Bou does not serve potpourri. They had something almost worse; an Ethiopian Blend.
This Ethiopian blend doesn't even make Caribou's color roast chart. It is pegged far to the left; flavorless, light amber in color, and worse of all, you can see through it. I'm thinking we're duped into tea.
Why would they not have dark roast at either of these two Caribou Coffee shops in Minnetonka? Are they catering to the Young Urban Professionals (Yuppies) who are only capable of ordering their daily vanilla caramel hazelnut turtle mocha lattes with water like coffee? Do they know or understand that coffee is robust, it is dark where you can not see through it? Are their taste buds incapable of enjoying anything stronger than water and two tea bags?
Next time we walk to one of the two 'Bous, I'm bringing my own coffee to enjoy. Real coffee, not the tea they serve.
A quick stop to Champlin's Caribou Coffee on the way home; they have it right with three brews. Dark Roast, Light Roast, and Decaf. As it should be' real coffee. Champlin knows how to threat their customers.


At Jimmy Johns

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

St. Paul, Minnesota

A trip to St. Paul, Minnesota to see two major icons of our Capitol city.

Cathedral of Saint Paul is located in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The capitol of Minnesota - St. Paul, Minnesota

Monday, April 21, 2008

New Barber Shop in Town

Floyd Lawson would be proud to be a part of this barber shop.
Champlin gets a new barber shop with a sports theme. Apparantly, they have TVs playing the latest games on ESPN. I should stop in, I need a cut; but I'll wait for a good game on the TV.
For more information about Dr. B's SportCut, please visit
The Champlin Connection.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

2 Things Challenge - Masculine / Feminine

One set of low heels, and a set of what we call Finnish high tops on the dance floor. One set belongs to me, the other set belongs to my wife, I'm sure you can figure out who belongs to what.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Time to rest.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Flashback to July 2007

Sunset Trolling
Thinking about warmer weather. This has been a long winter; my patience has been worn thin. One month from now will be our fishing season opener. I am anxious. Anxious to get my boat out from the long 6 months of storage. Anxious to troll the reefs of Big Bay. Anxious for the warmth of the evening sunset heading home.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gazebo Light

Gazebo at Veterans Park in Champlin, MN. And yes this was photographed the very same evening as yesterday's post of the Bridge Revisited. I thought I would sneak in yet another bridge view through the gazebo.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Flashback - Bridge Revisited

Back on April 9th, I posted a similar image of this bridge. I went back to capture the image of the gazebo at Veteran's Park. This is what I saw, and decided I had to capture this bridge one more time. I apologize for the duplication.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Fire House

City of Champlin's new Fire Station at sunset.

Fire trucks ready to roll.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Working Out

Life Time Fitness the place to work out.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

2 Things Challenge - A / Z

Full throttle sleeping. zzzz.

Asleep, Angelic, ZZZ (snoring). A / Z

The shortest distance to travel is a straight line. But all willy nilly is more fun.

"Z" Zoom

This weeks 2 things challenge is "A" and "Z". A tough order to fill. Well, here is my attempt at A / Z. You be the judge.

"A" Where dogs are concerned, they just want to be a part of the pack. And there is the pecking order in the pack. Alpha Male, Alpha Female, the Beta Male and Female, etc, etc. That said, it is the dog, our little Winston, who actually owns the house. He runs the house as he sees fit. Dog toys, bones, chaos everywhere. The real and true Alpha Male... Winston.

And we have the letter "Z". Here we see the Alpha Male of our household catching some zzz. He is fast asleep and snoring. you can almost see the "Z's" above his head.
There we have it, "A" and "Z".

Also we discovered that a terrier has two speeds, "A"sleep and "Z"oom. There are no in-between speeds to this little terrier. Full tilt zoom, or full tilt sleeping.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Twilight Zone

Eerie night scene on the all too quiet Champlin pedestrian bridge over highway 169.
Please visit The Champlin Connection for more pedestrian bridge information.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Goosed Endeavor

This way or that? Who really knows the mind of a goose at the frozen pond.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Doree is back!

Bathing Beauty

Doree has returned to our backyard. At least we like to believe this is our Doree. This dove is not shy of us. All the other doves that visit our yard fly off whe we are in view. Here we see Doree preparing to bathe. Yes, I was outside with her and quickly took this photo before hurrying back inside to accomodate her bathing privacy.

Check this link for more summer photos of our dove friend, Doree.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pond Crossing

Finally, a bright and sunny day. I do believe this is the first sunny day since January 1st. Or, so it seems. The snow and ice is melting at a faster pace, and this is a good thing. I am tired of taking snow and indoor photos. I am sure you are tired of my snow and ice photos too.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dinner for Two

Dinner for two at Buca di Beppo in Maple Grove. The meal was delicious!

Warm Tomato Spinach Salad

Pollo (Chicken) Saltimbocca

Monday, April 7, 2008


The teeth of Old Man Winter.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Two Things Challenge, Letters / Numbers

This week's 2 Things Challenge is Letters / Numbers. I believe I actually shot 3 dozen various photos depicting letter and numbers. I was happy with only one photo; this one. And only somewhat happy with this one. For some reason, I found Letters / Numers to be difficult, despite a simple place mat menu with letters and numbers. Not too creative, sorry. But it does involve delicious food. And, whenever food is involved, it can't be all that bad.
The menu place mat from Buca di Beppo. Lots of numbers and letters to choose from here. We enjoyed the Chicken Saltimbocca, Warm Tomato Spinach Salad, and Steamed Broccoli with Garlic, Olive oil and crushed red pepper. Delizioso!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sticky Ice

The winter thaw,
And April showers,
About time we saw,
May with flowers.

Friday, April 4, 2008


From Stockholm Sweden to Minneapolis, Minnesota. My wife's Grandparents relocate with all their possessions in one trunk. Trouble in our household, she is part Swede, I'm Finn, uh-oh. ;-) These is a lot of discussion lately about the immigration problems in this country, mainly about the illegal immigrants who come here to work. I understand that there is legal protocol that should be followed, but usually is not. There is work that needs to be done, illegal immigrants are willing to do the work that so many U.S. citizens refuse.
Looking back into my family history when my Great Grandfather Lehtinen immigrated from Helsinki Finland, he was illegal, living here with his family in northern Minnesota. The story is his neighbor was to travel to Duluth, MN to get naturalized as a U.S. citizen. Great Grandfather Lehtinen asked him if he would get the naturalization papers for him and he would watch both farms. This neighbor forget how to spell Lehtinen, but remembered the county Great Grandfather Lehtinen was from. That was how the family got a new surname and how he became naturalized as a U.S. citizen. Things were quite lax back then, I doubt if anything like this would ever happen in this day and age.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bean Roaster

Coffee bean roaster at a favorite coffee shop, Dunn Bros. Nothing like a fresh hot cup of coffee to start the day.
Yesterday, Just Roaming The Cities requested to view the original photo of my Train Set "tonemapped" photo. UYour wish is my command. Below is the converted file from RAW to JPG.Although not a terrible photo in it's original state, but less dramatic.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Train Set

CP Rail
All I want for my birthday is a train set, like this. Or, I will settle for a lens; either a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 USM IS or Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM. Your choice to gift wrap one of the three. CP Rail may not like their engines to be given away as gifts. Which means one of the other two is a better choice. I would not turn down both. ;-)
Located in Hopkins along Excelsior Blvd near the Coffee Depot. Here we have a single image tonemapped photo. Not a multiple image HDR photo. There is much difficulty in obtaining three photos of -2, 0, and +2 exposure compensation photos of a moving train.
About a half an hour of tweaking this image to bring out the clouds in the overexposed sky. More tweaking to bring out the detailing of the wheel assembly, rails, and the accumulated dirt on the engine. I neglected to watch out for the feared halos that can occur with over processing. Note this affect above the train. I spent too much time messing around with this image so I left it be.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

In the Halls of the Mall

Italian Dining at Mall of America
Yes, once again for my 2 for Tuesday submission, we have yet another glimpse inside Mall of America (MOA). (And thankfully, the last). Excellent food

Outside Bloomingdales are these strange light fixtures. To me, it looks similar to a giant chocolate egg.