Bend of the River Photography Club
Exploring our Blue Earth County Waters

Each photographer has their own stories and history with water and this exhibit will showcase those stories.  The members of the Bend of the River Photography Club have varied interests, skills, and artistic preferences, so there will be a unique blend of styles included in the show.

Please note, these images were on display for an exhibit at the Blue Earth County Historical  Society
and each photographer retains the rights to their images.

Every Drop of Water is Precious
by Linda Engstrom

Picture is a drop of water coming off a picnic table during snow melt.

Which Way Is Up
by Linda Engstrom

Reflections of the fall hillside in calm water of Minneopa Gorge. The shoreline is clear to the top.

Buffered and Beautiful
by Mary Gitter-Zehnder

“Early in its journey at Blue Earth County Road 109, Minneopa Creek has been canalized to serve a second purpose as a drain from farm fields. Areas along the straightened creek are comprised of buffer strips. Buffer strips are areas of permanent vegetation that are not tilled. They help prevent erosion of soil along drainage ditches and prevent nutrients like fertilizer from entering streams and ditches.” As of 2020, Blue Earth County is more than 95% compliant.

Sunset Serenity
by Mary Gitter-Zehnder

“Mud Lake South of Madison Lake on Blue Earth County Road 17, is a prairie pothole with approximately 66 acres of open water and 88 acres of surrounding wetlands, it is a drain for Madison Lake and a tributary of the Le Sueur River. Wetlands like this help clean water, act as spawning areas for fish, and provide needed habitat for birds, waterfowl, and all other sorts of wildlife. Blue Earth County has approximately 74 square miles of wetlands, lakes, and rivers, representing nearly 10 percent of its total area.”

"The swamp within"

The Swamp Within
by Mary Gitter-Zehnder

Located within Blue Earth County’s, Bray Park is a 0.7-mile wheel-chair accessible walk into the woods. This lovely paved trail surrounds an active swamp so the hiker can experience the lively nature of a swamp in all seasons without the bother of putting on boots. Bray Park is located on Blue Earth County Road 48.

Promises, Promises
by Kay Herbst Helms

Dakota canoe once stopped here. Riverboats once loaded here. Railroads still runs here. The river flooded here and now there is a flood wall with an adjacent walking and biking trail here. The Mni Mural portrays how the area looked prior to European settlement and it’s a promise to restore the river to its original health. Are we keeping that promise?

The Sacred
by Kay Herbst Helms

My incredible grandson paddled us down the Blue Earth River in September and shared one of his favorite spots with me. As the water drips down into this dark cavern, it allows moss and ferns to grow along the rock face. The light that is able to reach into the gully is sparse, but it highlights unique area, providing a mysterious, other worldly atmosphere. This is truly a sacred space.

Our Streets Are Waterways, Too
by Kay Herbst Helms

“Storm drains flow directly to local lakes, rivers, and wetlands, acting as a conduit for trash and organic pollutants. Adopt a Drain ask residents to adopt a storm drain in their neighborhood and keep it clean of leaves, and trash, and other debris to reduces water pollution.” www adopt-a-drain.org.

Ice Formation Under Triple Falls
by Mark McMillan

The water freezes into complex and beautiful formations when temperatures get low enough. On this occasion, late in the day, ice appeared a bluish-white color. A sunny day brings out a green hue.

Triple Falls after a Rainstorm
by Mark McMillan

While the waterfall is much more beautiful with additional water, it brings with it the pungent smell of farm runoff.

"Frozen Water in Living Color" icicles forming on red leaves

Frozen Water in Living Color
by Terri Michels

At times, when I think about WATER, the waters of my backyard, Blue Earth County, Minnesota, the world, I can become overwhelmed. So, for me, I need to take care of one drop at a time.

Icy Water
by Terri Michels

Twice a year, early Spring and late Fall, I try to capture a work of art; ice formed in the gutters of the street in front of my home. All the more reason we need to be careful about what we allow to flow in our gutters.

Plump of Geese on Eagle Lake
by Warren Michels

While on a bike ride, I was fortunate to witness this plum of geese taking a leisurely swim, gliding along and even-so-often sounding a honk or two.

Rainbow at Rapidan Dam

Rainbow on Rapidan Dam
by Warren Michels

We often enjoy looking for a rainbow in the water rushing over Rapidan Dam. Every rainbow seen can bring a smile to the young and old alike.

Breakfast at Lily Lake
by John Othoudt

I shot this one morning on my way into Lake Crystal and it got me thinking about the importance of our shallow lakes in Blue Earth County. They provide a place to slow the movement of sediment and provide filtration to help the quality of water downstream. I have been an observer of Lily Lake my entire life and have been witness to its transformation over the years, from a much-maligned recipient of the town’s wastewater discharge to a step in the process of cleaning up the water that passes through it. It also provides a stopover for migratory waterfowl.

Egrets on Lily Lake
by John Othoudt

Lily Lake provides a stopover for all types of birds moving through the area as well as a catch basin for some of the local runoff. The spring of the year is always interesting to see what kind of waterfowl are making use of this lake.

Winter Ice Caps on Ballantyne
by Doug Wood

From Lake George on the north to Laura Lake on the south and from storm Lake in the west in Madison Lake on the east, Blue Earth County has more than two dozen lakes. Ballantyne is one of them.

Sunset on Eagle Lake
by Doug Wood

The Sakatah Trail divides the north and south parts of Eagle Lake and is a great location to observe geese, swans, pelicans, and other waterfowl, as well as mink, muskrats and in the spring, turtles that lay their eggs along the trailside.

Rolling on Muddy River
by Randy Wood

The load of soil carried by the Blue Earth River, can be clearly seen at the river confluence in Sibley Park after a moderate to heavy rainfall. Farm runoff is a major contributor to the soil that will end up from Mankato to Lake Pepin to the Mississippi Delta.

Just Fishin’
by Randy Wood

Enjoying a day of fishing below the Rapidan Dam on the Blue Earth River. But, don’t eat the fish! According to the Minnesota Department of Health, no more than one meal per week is recommended, due to mercury contamination.

Winter On The Water
by Randy Wood

Exploring our Blue Earth County waters in winter, an icy pathway to areas that may be “off-limits” in other seasons. Snowshoeing on the Cobb River on a beautiful January day. Blue Earth County has eight rivers that total three hundred sixty-eight miles.