Image of Minnesota segmented into four

Outline of Minnesota with NW corner green

Northwest State Parks

Big Bog  |  Buffalo River  |  Crow Wing  |  Cuyuna Country  |  Franz Jevne |  Garden Island |  Glendalough |  Hayes Lake |  Itasca |  Lake Bemidji  |  Lake Bronson |  La Salle Lake |  Maplewood |  Old Mill |  Red River |  Scenic |  Schoolcraft |  Zippel Bay

FIRST PLACE – Northwest State Parks

Jussi Lehti

at Buffalo River State Park

Photographer notes:

This picture was taken in early October 2017 at a lookout point on the River View Trail in Buffalo River State Park. We were returning from a camping trip in Northern MN and decided to pull over for hike at this park, to check out the fall colors and to stretch our legs from a long drive. The weather wasn’t the best, overcast with intermittent rain but not too windy. I feel the fall colors tend to look richer in these type of conditions and we certainly were not disappointed, the touch of blue provided by a momentary small opening in the clouds helped enhance the other colors and create depth, as well as remind us that there is indeed a sun up there somewhere!

As we had scouted out this park earlier in the year, we knew this was the location to return to for a nice fall picture of the river, and as a bonus there is a nice bench at this spot to take a break and enjoy the gorgeous view and observe the numerous song birds that frequent this area.

Minnesota Outline with NE corner tan

Northeast State Parks

Bear Head Lake  |  Cascade River  |  George H. Crosby Manitou  |  Gooseberry Falls  |  Grand Portage  |  Hill Annex Mine  |  Jay Cooke  |  Judge CR Magney  |  Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine  |  McCarthy Beach  |  Moose Lake  |  Savanna Portage  |  Split Rock Lighthouse  |  Temperance River  |  Tettegouche

FIRST PLACE – Northeast State Parks

Jim Schnortz

at Tettegouche State Park

Photographer’s notes

The photo was taken Mar 3, 2019 at the now collapsed Sea Stack in Tettegouche State Park.

I had seen photos taken by others and wanted to capture it from up close. I’d made images of it from down the shoreline, but never hiked out to it. I ended up buying a pair of crampons to walk on the ice not long before taking this shot. I took the photo at around 4 in the morning, it was very cold, below zero. This is a single exposure, not a blend in Photoshop or anything like that. It has an overall cold mood, which is appropriate for the time of year.

Minnesota Outline with SW corner blue

Southwest State Parks

Big Stone Lake  |  Blue Mounds |  Camden |  Charles A lindbergh |  Father Hennepin |  Flandrau |  Fort Ridgley  |  Glacial Lakes |  Greenleaf Lake |  Kilen Woods |  Lac qui Parle |  Lake Carlos |  Lake Maria |  Lake Shetek  |  Mill Lacs Kathio |  Minneopa |  Minnesota Valley |  Monson Lake |  Sakatah Lake |  Sibley |  Split Rock Creek |  Upper Sioux Agency

FIRST PLACE – Southwest State Parks

Bobby Duehring

at Minneopa State Park

Photographer’s notes

Where was the photo taken?
My photo of the bison cow and calf was taken at Minneopa State Park near
Mankato, Minnesota. The park is home to a 330+ acre bison range. A
walking trail runs along the south side of the enclosed range, and I was
on the trail, close to the Seppmann Mill overlook.

What brought you to this place?
My daughter-in-law hadn’t been to the bison range, so she and my infant
granddaughter visited from the Twin Cities metro area with hopes we’d
be able to have decent views of the herd. I’m fortunate to live within five
miles of the park and visit quite often, especially when the bison calves
are small.

When did you take the photo and what were the conditions like?
I took the photo May 26, 2020, shortly after noon. The day was mild, humid
(and buggy!) and overcast, with occasional light rain. We parked at the
historic Seppmann’s Mill overlook, then hiked the short distance to the
trail. The herd was very close to where we stood. There were many
families with children at the overlook, but few ventured down to the

How would you describe the mood of this photo?
To me, the photo exudes the powerful bond between the cow and calf, and
that’s what I hoped to portray with this image. The cow is exceptionally
protective of the calf. The calf had been running around playing with
other calves moments earlier.

What was involved in setting up this photo?
Even though I was with my granddaughter and daughter-in-law, I had my
“real” cameras and my tripod along on this day with the hope of seeing and
photographing bison “close up.”

I enjoy landscape and wildlife photography and have Canon equipment. I
used a telephoto lens (100-400mm) with a 1.4x teleconverter for this shot,
and I was zoomed to 400mm, so we weren’t too close to the bison.I took
over 200 photos on this outing — calves romping through puddles (with
Canada geese), curious yearlings coming right up to the fence, and cows with
their young (born this spring). While I got several images I really liked, this
image seems to have that WOW factor, I think because of how the cow and
calf are standing. They appear to be looking at the camera, and almost look
as if they posed just for me 🙂

Minnesota Outline with SE corner yellow

Southeast State Parks

Afton  |  Banning |  Beaver Creek Valley |  Carley |  Forestville/Mystery Cave |  Fort Snelling |  Frontenac |  Great River Bluffs |  Interstate |  John A Latsch |  Lake Louise |  Myre Big Island |  Nerstrand Big Woods |  Rice Lake |  St. Croix |  Whitewater |  Wild River |  William O’Brien

FIRST PLACE – Southeast State Parks

Aaron Kostko

at Great River Bluffs State Park

Photographer’s notes

Where was the photo taken?
This photo was taken along the ridge at the end of the Kings Bluff Trail at Great River Bluffs State Park.

What brought you to this place?
I come to this park at least a couple of times a year.  However, the forecast the night before predicted foggy conditions, so I woke up early, drove the hour to the park, hiked the trail, and was rewarded with this view at the end.  Hiking back to the trailhead was just as amazing, as the fog was beginning to lift and dissipate through the trees.

When did you take the photo and what were the conditions like?
The photo was taken at sunrise in October 2019. The morning was chilly and incredibly still and quiet. The hike to the overlook is only about 1 mile, but I was rushing to make sure I got there well before sunrise. I didn’t see anyone else on the trail, but there were a few other people enjoying the view from the overlook when I arrived. We all knew we were witnessing something beautiful and relatively rare.

How would you describe the mood of this photo?
Tranquil is the first word that comes to mind. Apart from my shutter clicking and a few bird calls, the sun rose in relative calm and silence.

What was involved in setting up this photo?
This was one of the rare occasions where planning for a photo paid off. The forecast predicted foggy and still conditions, and that’s exactly what I got. I used a tripod to create this panorama, as it was the only way to capture the entire bluff and foreground in a single photo.

Minnesota Outline with trails

State Trails

Blazing Star  |  Brown’s Creek |  Casey Jones |  Central Lakes |  Cuyuna Lakes |  Douglas |  Gateway |  Gitchi-Gami |  Glacial Lakes |  Goodhue Pioneer |  Great River Ridge |  Harmony-Preston Valley |  Heartland |  Luce Line  |  Mill Towns |  Minnesota Valley |  Paul Bunyan |  Root River |  Sakatah Singing Hills |  Shooting Star |
Willard Munger

FIRST PLACE – State Trails

Walt Huss

at North Shore State Trail

Photographer’s notes

On Sunday January 26th I left Minneapolis for the North Shore in order to photograph the 2020 John Beargrease sled dog race. After researching the race route, check points, and estimated arrival times, I decided to take Hwy. 2 north out of Two Harbors and set up near where the CJ Ramstad/North Shore State Trail crossed Hwy. 2. I walked a short distance up the trail and set up my camera and tripod.  Sitting down in the deep snow, it wasn’t long before the the first dog teams began arriving, spaced out every 10 minutes or so.

The weather was mild for both spectator and photographers, but perhaps a bit warm for the dog teams, who thrive on colder weather.

The mood was festive, with the crowd erupting into cheers every time a dog team passed.