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Selective Focus Posts

Selective Focus: Michelle Truax

Michelle Truax has worked at TV stations, for the Duluth News Tribune as a videographer and journalist, and is now on her own doing advertising and documentary work for her own clients. Her videos are filled with gorgeous camera work. This week in Selective Focus Michelle talks about how she started and how she got to where she is in her career.

MT: I’d consider myself a visual storyteller with an emphasis on video. Most recently, I’ve been producing promotional video content for clients in the Twin Ports area.

I really love working in a short documentary style. As a kid, Thanksgivings were spent following my mom around the kitchen with a big Sony camcorder. She wasn’t particularly fond of this tradition, but I figured the drama made for better TV. I’ve always loved capturing all the little, human moments.

Selective Focus: Thanksgiving Weekend Snowout 2019

Small Business Saturday was essentially snowed out. The snow stopped falling on Sunday around noon. According to the National Weather Service, Duluth received 21.7 inches — the ninth snowiest two-day storm in the city’s history.

Selective Focus: Holiday Pop-ups

The Thanksgiving weekend blizzard wreaked havoc on Small Biz Saturday and some of the Pop-Ups in town, but we have tried to update this list with the rescheduled events.

These are the true “get ’em while you can” offerings, pop-up markets where a wide variety of art, food products, clothing products and more are on display. There are usually snacks, maybe some hot chocolate, and lots of other people milling about, so the atmosphere is a lot more fun that adding things to your online cart.

Some are small, some are huge. Each market has its own vibe, check the websites and event pages for special instructions on parking, hours etc.

Let us know what markets we’ve missed in the comments, or by sending an email.

Selective Focus: Drinksgiving Storm of 2019

The city of Duluth is advising no unnecessary travel until further notice. “Plows are out in full force, but warm ground temperatures and rain have forced drivers to use chains to travel safely,” states a news release from the city’s communications office. “Please respect plow drivers and maintain a safe distance behind them.”

Meanwhile, here are a few of the sexier pics on Instagram.

Five Years of Selective Focus

Five years ago, on Nov. 21, 2014, Selective Focus was launched on Perfect Duluth Day as a weekly photo-submission series. Tim White coordinated and curated the series, announcing a word or theme, then he posted submitted photos related to the theme. The first post was sparked by the word “Randomness.”

Below are some other highlights from the first iteration of Selective Focus.

Selective Focus: “Everyday Mayhem” by Kip Praslowicz



Photographer Kip Praslowicz has a show opening Thursday, November 21 at the Kruk Gallery on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Much of his work has a very matter-of-fact feeling to it, a straightforward documentation of places, people and scenes. But there is a dry sense of humor in his work, especially when taken in as a larger collection. This week we get a preview of the show, and hear how the pieces for the show were chosen.

Was there a criteria for the images selected for this show?

1) The exposure made sometime between 2010 and 2019
2) The exposure was made on color, medium format film. 6x6cm or 6x9cm

Selective Focus: Amnicon Falls State Park

For this edition of “Selective Focus,” we share images from Instagram of Amnicon Falls State Park, located about 20 miles southeast of Downtown Duluth.

Selective Focus: Lance T. Karasti

Lance Karasti has been making independent films for several years, experimenting with techniques for shooting, writing and different ways of approaching the entire filmmaking process. He’s an active enthusiast in the arts in town, and he’s preparing for another variation in style and process for his current project. This week he tells us about his films, and his fundraising campaign.

LTK: I am an independent feature filmmaker. I am currently developing a style of filmmaking called “hypernaturalism.”

I started developing this style halfway through shooting my 2016 project Artificial. Artificial was being shot with a traditional process but I found myself rewriting the scenes every morning before shooting. By the halfway point I just told the actors to stop worrying about the scripts and be prepared to come up with stuff on the spot. While a part of this was due to realizing a lot of my written dialogue was amateur, it was mostly because it had become necessary for the authenticity of the narrative. As written, the film was about stuff I didn’t know and hadn’t experienced. The process of shooting it was like adapting it into something honest and reflective. Rewriting the scenes everyday had caused me to change the course of the film so much that completely improvising was the only way to adapt to the thematic shifts.

Selective Focus: Heavy Rain and High Wind

The National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood advisory until 10 p.m. tonight. Duluth city staff issued a news release reminding the public not to drive through standing water, and keep a safe distance from the shoreline.

Selective Focus: William A. Irvin on the Move

The SS William A. Irvin was moved back to the Minnesota Slip yesterday evening after being worked on at Fraser Shipyards in Superior since September 2018. The ship began its trip from Fraser at 5:30 p.m. and arrived at the Minnesota Slip bridge at 8:30 p.m. It took more than two hours to guide the big boat through the narrow blue bridge back to its permanent home. Here are a few views of the process, via Instagram.

Selective Focus: Matthew Dressel

Matthew Dressel is a Duluth filmmaker, screenwriter and movie enthusiast. He has served as host and festival director to the Duluth Superior Film Festival, and like most movie makers, seems to always have something in the works. This week in Selective Focus, we hear about some current and past projects, and challenges of putting work out to a YouTube audience.

MD: For as long as I can remember I’ve primarily considered myself to be a screenwriter. The problem with screenwriting, however, is that you need to wait for people to see it. This can take years and, for some, may never happen at all. So it’s a lot of waiting with potentially no pay-off. So along the way, I try to make things when I’m able. Up until recently, this has meant making short films, but this past year I’ve gotten into creating my own web series called The Pilot is Dead.

Selective Focus: Benjamin Olson

Benjamin Olson has a show of his photography opening tonight (Friday, Oct. 4) at Tettegouche State Park. It’s a perfect setting for his images that focus on wildlife and nature. His photos make you feel like you’re witnessing a spectacular, brief moment that takes patience and persistence to find.

BO: I am a photographer, specializing in nature and conservation. It was through my background in both science and art that I was able to bridge the gap between two separate fields to help communicate environmental issues at hand.

Selective Focus: Fall Colors 2019

Fall in Minnesota is just the best. Here’s proof.

Track the progression of fall and peak color at the DNR Fall Color Finder website.

Selective Focus: Keefography

There’s no shortage of subjects to shoot in our area, and photographer John Keefover is taking them all in. From landscapes to live performances to product shots, he’s turning out stunning images regularly, and always working on sharpening his skills.

JK: My name is John Keefover. I’m a Freelance Photographer here in Duluth going by the name of Keefography. I created this small photography business recently in May of 2019. Since then I’ve been extremely grateful for all of the support I’ve been shown starting this new venture. Though I’m humbled by the realization that there’s always room for improvement every time you pick up a camera, and also because of my self-deprecating humor. I think that latter part is mostly just a by-product of being a Vikings fan, or rather a Minnesota sports fan in general… Anyways, as a freelance photographer I dabble in a wide variety of genres including (but not limited to):

Landscapes. Northern Minnesota is beautiful, offering some of the best hiking trails in the area with the Superior Hiking Trail that follows along the North Shore. I enjoy being out in nature and sharing my experiences with others, often times with a short story to go along the image to really pull you into the scene. Landscape photography is great because no matter how many times you go to a location it’s always different. There’s lighting ranging from sunrise to sunset with cloud cover that brings various colors and moods. The unpredictable Lake Effect weather can also bring massive waves, Northern Lights, lightning, blizzards, rainbows, and other unique situations. The different seasons and transitions in between add a whole new dimension as well. Get outside and enjoy it as much as you can or follow me for the next best thing!

Selective Focus: Duluth Then & Now

Even if you’re not a history nerd, you’ve got to admire the effort put into finding and recreating these photos and the point of view. The images are from John McLoughlin’s @duluth_then_and_now account on Instagram.