Depth of Field: A Gainey Gasp of Summer

(Exteriors by Mark Brown, interiors by Mike Ekern '02)

As the weather turns cold and the skies darken, it’s worth giving summer one last look. Fortunately I have just the thing – photos from the Daniel C. Gainey Conference Center in Owatonna. Enclosed in a wall of trees, laid out amid rolling fields of green, and filled with signature architecture from Edwin Lundie and Frank Gehry, the place is straight out of a ’90s Country Time Lemonade commercial (but without the schmaltz).

Photographer Mark Brown and I each made separate trips to Owatonna, I to shoot the interiors and Mark to shoot the exteriors. My work took a full day, but Mark stayed three days and two nights so that he could wake up early to capture the morning light, and stay late to shoot as the sun went down. It won’t take you long to see how timing makes all the difference. By late morning all that subtle shading and balanced sky disappear in a haze of harsh light as the sun moves overhead.

We got up early, ate fast food in sight of the Gainey dining room (the facility was closed while we were there, so no amazing Gainey vittles), and battled high temperatures and mosquitos to take these pictures. We’re under no illusion that it’s anywhere close to the hardest or dirtiest work here at St. Thomas, but do us the favor anyway. Sit back, set the slideshow viewer to full screen, and let us show you one last slice of summer.

 

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