Meet the Photographers

The following photographers have wandered by at just the right moment and managed to catch and preserve some of my ice luminary creations, and thus applied their own magic to the mix. Ice Lanterns pose a photographic challenge--capturing the glow without losing the internal structure of a lantern can be difficult. And given the ephemeral nature of these beautiful creations, capturing them on film is the only way to preserve them. So, here is my heartfelt thank you! Jennifer Shea Hedberg


Martha Shull Archer

Twilight by Martha Archer

Martha Shull Archer grew up in Minnesota, playing in snow caves, skating on lakes in the winter and paddling the Canadian wilderness in the summer. Her passion for photography began as a way to share the remote area that she explored. Martha took her first photography class as a student at Colorado College. She says, “For many years, my lens sought out the human form through images of family life, celebrations, and travel with my husband and two children. It wasn’t until recently that I turned back to the camera as a means of sharing my love and respect for the natural world. My childhood experiences had a lasting effect in focusing my attention on the details and patterns embedded in the natural landscape and the changing seasons. Whether I am photographing the fruits of the land at farmers’ markets in France or the icicles dripping from a neighbor’s roof, I enjoy both the peacefulness and creative possibilities of capturing a single moment through the lens.”

Martha says she was inspired to capture the beauty of ice last winter after skiing through my “Enchanted Forest” of the 2010 City of Lakes Luminary Loppet in Minneapolis. I consider myself lucky* that she wandered out to ski with her kids that day. She came back at dusk with camera in hand and a night photography course recently under her belt and shot for hours.

Martha is now the Executive Director of the Mill City Farmers Market.

Thank you Martha!

*Her photos are sprinkled throughout this website and the one with the big blue globe is on the cover of the original Deluxe Kit.


Bruce Challgren

Skier - Loppet 2009 by Bruce Challgren

Bruce has made money as a photographer since he was 14 years old, starting in high school working for Welke Studio and the local newspaper. With years of award winning photography experience, he is excellent at shooting a variety of situations. He specializes in wedding photography, custom portraits &headshots with digital retouching that make for perfect shots. He has fresh stock photos of Minneapolis & St. Paul skylines and spectacular lightning photography including the famous “Thunderdome” photo of the Metrodome. He has done numerous shoots of tasty food & restaurant photography for Twin Cities Food Finds as well as interior & exterior architectural photography.

Bruce has lugged his massive cameras around the City of Lakes Loppet for years--which is where we connected. He seems to love playing with the light and the creation of color as it passes through ice in the dark of night. Beautiful!


Jennifer Simonson

Jennifer Simonson is a storyteller, with pictures. She is based in Minneapolis,MN, and specializes in weddings, portraiture and food photography. Jennifer has a background in photojournalism with a master’s degree from the University of Missouri and has worked as a photographer and picture editor at the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio News.

Her photographs have appeared in two books; “Modern Knits, Vintage Style” and “Sew Retro.” She enjoys meeting new people and making photographs that offer a glimpse into who someone is, rather than simply showing how someone looks. Her photographic style is organic, honest and sincere, and one of her strengths is putting people at ease in front of the camera. The photo above was taken by Jennifer at the Joynoelle 2012 Collection Fashion Showon November 14, 2011.


Natasha D'Schommer

Children by Natasha D'Schommer

Natasha D’Schommer is a photographer in Minneapolis, MN, where she concentrates on still life, portraiture, and landscape. Natasha is a 2005 recipient of the McKnight photography fellowship. In 2008 Princeton University published a book, Biblio, featuring Natasha’s photographs of rare books and musical manuscripts.

Natasha earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. from New England College in West Sussex, England.

She happened upon the 2010 City of Lakes Luminary Loppet and captured this image that, I believe, looks like it could have fallen out of a 1800’s children’s book. Charming and beautifully rendered!


Rob Nopola

Gazing Globe by Rob Nopola

Photographer Rob Nopola says, “Photographs were meant to be shared. The same way a memorable song can put us back to a certain place or time, a picture has the same ability to do just that. Whether it’s on a family vacation, in nature capturing that unbelievable sunset, or an everyday image that begs to be noticed, I hope to spark emotions through my photos. It could be a common feeling, a shared interpretation, or to just put a smile on your face.”

Rob first connected with me at the 2008 City of Lakes Luminary Loppet when he happened upon and photographed one of the 60 globes I was asked to bring down and scatter around the lagoon area. I thought they would be lost amidst the multitudes of bucket lanterns and nobody would notice their special quality. But the next day I received a nice note and a link to his blog with a wonderful image of this lonely sun-etched globe in a spooky orange light. The first of many - thanks Rob!

Old Loppet Globe by Rob Nopola

Another shot of Robs was so nice I used it on one my packaging labels. It was of the gigantic globe that I put out on the point of the Enchanted Forest of the 2010 city of Lakes Luminary Loppet. He found it at just the right moment so the city lake environment is still visible and the sunset lit it up the interior starburst with an amazingly beautiful light.


Paul Umbarger

Lighting the Night by Paul Umbarger

Paul H. Umbarger comes from a family of artists. He graduated from Duke University and later attended the Marschutz School of Painting in Aix-en-Provence, France. In addition to being an avid photographer for 25 years, Paul is also a printmaker, web developer, musician, guitar teacher and band leader.

Paul was nice enough to brave the cold and come on the one and only official photo shoots for my globe ice lantern venture way back in 2005. His photo, below, graced the cover of the first Starter Kit, the banner of my blog, many marketing pieces and is now the artwork for the cover of the Large Starter Kit. I love the way he captured the grace of the moment of lighting a globe ice lantern. For it is that moment when the true beauty of a globe ice lantern is realized.

He then patiently waited for the magic 15 minutes of “good shooting time” when there is still enough light to see the architecture of the globe but it is dark enough to see the glow.

I do admit to working a little Photoshop magic to take out an offending twig here or a too bright house light there. All is fair in packaging design, but the composition and the grace is all Paul.

Thank you, thank you Paul!


Mitch Rossow

Ice Fires by Mitch Rossow

The following quote was pulled directly from Mitch’s photoblog,, because it is perfect as a bio and artist intro: “A city photographer takes a different approach to photographing a city than a photojournalist. It’s about exploring for the joy of it rather than looking for a news story or a crime. To go out exploring without finding a photo is still enjoyable. It’s the difference between a doctor’s examination and a lover’s exploration.”

I met Mitch, sort of*, at the 2008 City of Lakes Luminary Loppet. He and his group of roving photographers (including Rob Nopola) were wandering like he said above, searching and loving. He has taken many pictures of the Luminary Loppets, but this one is my favorite. He managed to perfectly capture the main path through the Enchanted Forest of the 2010 City of Lakes Luminary Loppet. His caption for the shot he calls Ice Fires is: “Ice campfires defend the shores of Lake of the Isles in Uptown.” Perfect.

* In the dead of winter, when everyone is wrapped up to their noses in wool, it is often difficult to recognize them in warmer times.


April Asturias

April Asturias

April is a photographer that flitted into my life just long enough to send me a few sparkling photos she took the day of the 2010 City of Lakes Luminary Loppet while she was visiting from Milwaukee, WI. I hope when she comes into town again she will look me up and we can go for another walk in the cold.

Not many people realize that ice lanterns can be spectacular with the sun bouncing all around and through them. Thank you April!


Photo Tips

Jennifer Shea Hedberg taking photos of Ice Lantern in ice castle

I am NOT a photographer, but here are a few tricks that I use to take photos of ice luminaries:

1. TWILIGHT - Try to take the photos at sunset or sunrise. During those times of day it is light enough to see the shape of the luminary, but dark enough to see a glow . . .

2. TRIPOD - In order to take advantage of the long exposure times of night settings, it is very important to be able to insure the camera stays VERY STILL. Some photographers even use a remote trigger so they don't touch the camera at all.

3. BACKLIGHT - If your camera has settings, use the Backlight or Night setting.

4. NO FLASH - If a flash is used while taking the photo, it will wash out the glow.

5. ADD LIGHT - If there is an area of the luminary that needs a little boost of light, consider placing a flashlight to light up an area that is too dark.


Good Luck! If you happen to capture some magic, consider entering the Wintercraft Photo Contest!