Tom Sommers
Coldwell Banker Realty

February Photos 2021

Pick any small Lake in any small town in Minnesota in February and what you will find are ice fishing houses. Some of them appear to have gotten quite fancy and our deluxe trailers. I went out on the Lake specifically looking for one that was more old school . This particular icehouse I've seen for many years as I would drive by on County Road 8. It seems to be in almost the same spot every year and I thought what a perfect photo to define February in Minnesota.


Due to COVID-19 taking away so many of the get-together’s and concerts over the last year, I have had to find other things to take pictures of. It is turned out to be a good thing because I need to broaden my horizons. I'm finding great solace and taking photos outside and exposing myself to different things I may not have involved myself in . This photo was taken at the ice maze in downtown Stillwater. I went down there on one of the coldest nights of the year . I lasted for about 10 minutes outside and that was it. for whatever reason this particular photo captured the essence of walking through the ice maze. My understanding is it was made with over 3700 ice blocks. I'm sure it's still open for at least another several weeks. If you have kids , I highly recommend you take the trip and see it. There's a slide , the maze and hot chocolate . A perfect afternoon or evening with the family.


I consider myself very blessed when it comes to music and opportunities. I have made some wonderful friends over the years. All are wonderful and very talented people, and I am grateful to have made the connections that I have. Due to my photography, I have been able to not only photograph bands for a wide variety of reasons including publications and for the band themselves. It has led to other opportunities that have allowed me to explore what I am capable of. This is a photo of a new band called, A Rising Force. They have their debut record Undertow coming out in May and I was lucky enough to be chosen to film and direct their very first video for the song Love and War. I am so incredibly proud of the way it turned out that I cannot wait to share it with you. In the future once the video is released, I will include the video link in the monthly email.


These are trumpeter Swans on Sucker Lake. If you love to get close to nature, I highly recommend you take a trip to Vadnais Heights and visit these amazing birds. There are open water channels in this park reserve where all of them hang out. So, a big shout out to my niece Sara and her husband John. They were the ones who posted something about this on Facebook a couple of weeks ago when they took their kids. I saw the photos and thought I had to go visit. And sure, enough here they were in all their glory. I found it fascinating to watch because they are so vocal, and they would just swim back and forth in this channel and look for food. I cannot imagine how cold the water must be right now, but they seemed fine. It was fun to watch them interact with each other and it seemed like all the other ducks were just hanging out because it was a safe place to be.  


Last summer Minneapolis drained the Mississippi River to check the stone arch bridge for any issues. For at least four or five days you could walk out into the middle of the riverbed. You would find everything from bicycles, tires, huge chunks of trees that we're stuck at the bottom among many other things. One of the first questions people asked me is what happened with all the garbage. People got together and cleaned out the riverbed which was really great to see. This photo was taken on one of the last nights next to the stone arch bridge facing downtown Minneapolis. There's no way you could get a photo like this now because you'd be in 20 feet of water . It was a really interesting perspective because it's a place I visit often to take photographs. My understanding is this happens once every 10 years.


As a bonus this month for those of you that are music enthusiasts, a friend of mine Bruce Kulick who is the guitar player from Kiss saw some photos that I had taken in 1986 on their Asylum tour here in St. Paul MN. He called me up and said I love the photos and I have an idea for a project. I said great do whatever you would like. Few weeks later he sent me this video. They took all my photos from the show and put it to one of the live tracks of the tour.

The significance of these photos is due to the fact that it's the one of the few tours they've done where there was pretty much no pro shot footage. It is an era that a lot of fans love, and I just happened to be there that night in the front row taking pictures for my own amusement. I had forgotten about them completely until my friend Kyle Hanson started bothering me to find these negatives. Believe me I am being polite he was hounding me. I finally found them, and he was kind enough to transfer them from 35-millimeter negatives to digital images. Had it not been for Kyle none of this would have happened. I wanted to share this with you because I thought it was a fun little project.