MAI Capture Stories - Spoon and Cherry

MAI Capture Stories - Spoon and Cherry

For me, planning is always a major part of my photography workflow and essential to capturing the scene in the way that I want it to turn out. The Spoon and Cherry in Snow image was no exception.

I captured this Image on Tuesday, November 29th, but the planning that went into it began MUCH earlier. What most people probably don’t realize, is that the cherry gets repainted roughly every decade to maintain its signature glossy red coat. The most recent touch-up had it sent away for three months to a refinisher in New York City. The cherry returned to its designated position atop its familiar “spoonbridge” on the morning of February 18th, 2022. That night, I went out to capture its renewed vibrancy, set against the bright lights of downtown Minneapolis.

Spoon and Cherry with a Fresh Coat of Paint

After I wrapped up editing the images, I had the idea of how cool of a scene it would be to capture the cherry’s enhanced vivid red, contrasted against the clean white of an active snowfall. This opportunity would end up presenting itself, but not for another 8 months!

Fast-forward to late November; the opportunity had finally arrived!

I had been tracking this storm the weekend before and was aiming to be on location when the snow was at its heaviest. My day job is that of a Videographer for a large local corporation and this day was a typical post-pandemic work from home day. At around noon, the flakes really started to come down. I had just wrapped up an edit of a video project and quickly grabbed my camera and hopped in the Outback to embark on the 4-mile journey to the Sculpture Garden.

Once there, I knew I was on to something. Throughout my journey as a photographer I’ve experienced occasions where I don’t know if I’ve captured a good shot until I get it back home and get into the post-processing workflow.

This was not one of those occasions.

The intensity of the snowfall had increased since I had left the house and the visibility was bordering on white-out conditions. I approached the Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen piece and knew from my February shoot which angle I thought would work best for the composition.

There were two components of the composition that I was intending to capture with this image:

  • The contrast of the vibrant red cherry against the whited-out sky and falling flakes.
  • Framing the sculpture to fit the Basilica of Saint Mary in the background.

An added element that I wasn’t planning on was the accumulation of snow piling up on top of the cherry, adding an illusion of a "little sugar" on top.

This was as close to a “perfect storm” – pun intended – as I’ve come across as a photographer. The stars don’t often align like this, but when they do, it’s so cool to experience. Seeing your planning pay off and even go above and beyond expectations and the factors you have been accounting for is one of the more satisfying feelings to experience as a capturer.

This image has become one of my more popular pieces. As of the publication of this article, it has been viewed by over 250k people on Facebook, featured in several local galleries and is on the cover of the November-December ’23 edition of Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Mike Holding Copy of MN Monthly

The print is available for purchase in a number of mediums including multiple sizes on premium matte paper, aluminum, canvas and on greeting cards.

Click here to see the options. 

You can also see it, along with some of my other pieces, on display at Canvas Convergence at the West End in Saint Louis Park, MN.

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