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The Hudson arch at night. Photo by Bruce Bergeron

Area photographer Bergeron turns night into light-scapes

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The Majestic Flyway, the theme for this year's Hot Air Affair, relates to all matter of things that at times may fly over Hudson including the assortment of birds that use the St. Croix River as a migration path. This year the Hot Air Affair is sponsoring the Walking Art Show (WAS), which features nearly 20 photos (printed and framed) that were donated by regional photographers including Hudson resident Bruce Bergeron.

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The images -- all of them for sale -- will be displayed in Hudson businesses throughout the Hot Air Affair weekend. The WAS is a fundraiser to feed the flock of trumpeter swans that winter over in Hudson each year.

Bergeron, a native of Prior Lake, Minn., came to Hudson in 1987, as the owner of Hudson's Domino Pizza.

He started his career with Domino's 30 years ago, when he worked for his brother, who owned and operated several Domino's Pizza stores in the south metro area.

"The Hudson store I did by myself," said Bergeron, who hopes someday to pass the store on but candidly states, "It is hard to make a buck when you are selling pizzas now for less than when you started."

Bergeron has also developed a reputation among area photographers for having a unique skillset beyond his business acumen.

"It has always been an interest," said Bergeron of photography. "Once digital hit, it was life-changing."

"I got my first 35mm camera when I was a senior in high school," said Bergeron, who has always had some kind of camera since he was a little kid. Completely self-taught, he has found a niche which few photographers share. Bergeron is known for his night photography.

"It is therapy for me to go out at night," said Bergeron. "Most of my photographer friends are amazed at my work. I try to capture light and shadows. They are always changing."

"Typically I have a different approach than other people," he said. "Once the sun goes down there is still a lot to shoot. It is just a question of capturing the light which is constantly changing."

So Bergeron with camera, tripod and his favorite wide-angle lens in hand, combs St. Paul and Minneapolis streets, parks, riverfronts and bridges for his images long after dark and sometimes near dawn. The James J. Hill House, Minnehaha Falls, Como Park and nearly every bridge crossing the Mississippi are recorded by him, using long-time exposures.

"I just drive around until I find a place," said Bergeron. "The riverway intrigues me."

The resulting images leave those who see them in awe and asking the same question: How did he do that?

"My big thing is scenics," said Bergeron. He produces daytime landscape and wildlife photos both locally and on annual trips out west to Yellowstone. Hot Air Affair chairperson Evy Nerbonne, familiar with his hobby, invited Bergeron to participate in the WAS.

"It is a great program," said Bergeron of the fundraiser for the swans. "Barry (Wallace) is amazing. He has gone out of his way for years." Bergeron used to report all the bird bands he saw in his images. At times it was more than 100 at once.

"I let my pictures speak for themselves," said Bergeron. "I do this because I enjoy it and I like to share it with other people."

For more information, go to www.bbimagesonline.com.

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