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With release of 2013 calendar, a story with every photo

This photo taken at Blue Mounds State Park in Luverne is featured in the 2013 Daily Globe calendar, which is included in this edition.

WORTHINGTON -- When Daily Globe readers open today's edition, they will find a 2013 calendar featuring photos by the newspaper's long-time photographer, Brian Korthals.

If the past is any indication, many will marvel in Korthals' images. As for the man who took the photos, he also takes great pleasure in them -- and enjoys sharing the stories on how the pictures came to fruition.

One of Korthals' favorite pictures in the 2013 calendar is a shot of bison and calves featured for July.

"The bison picture came about as a unique opportunity for me to go to the Blue Mounds State Park in Luverne," Korthals remembered. "Tom Sawtelle -- he's the assistant manager -- actually took me out in a six-wheeler to take pictures of the bison calves. I always enjoy taking pictures of the large herd bull because they're such impressive animals. It just so happened that we parked quite a ways from them, but whether they're just used to getting fed out of this vehicle or just curious, the whole herd started approaching me.

"I think we were sitting there and they did have their calves, but they didn't seem spooked at all and they basically came up extremely close. It was a unique opportunity and it was very enjoyable, and I appreciated the time they (park staff) took to take me out. While there was no real interaction, you just get to see things up close, and it's extremely enjoyable."

Korthals added that he thinks he was taken out to the site of the calves only because the ground had dried to a point at which a vehicle wouldn't get stuck. The location is likely one that it isn't visited regularly for any particular reason, he speculated.

"I think the bison are a real treasure in southwest Minnesota," Korthals said. "You don't always get to see them up close, but they're still an amazing animal."

Another Korthals favorite featured in the new calendar is the May shot, which features a family of owls. The picture was by no means something the photographer simply stumbled upon.

"It was Al Langseth who actually called me," Korthals said. "He was over at Matt Oleske's house and they had been watching this family of owls, and it was three chicks -- both adults were there as well. The adults were in separate trees and just kind of watching out, and they were unbothered by these three guys that were obviously watching them and taking interest in their little movements."

That first visit to Oleske's home, however, didn't result in any photos that made the newspaper.

"I actually went over there a couple of different times," Korthals explained. "I think it was the second time that the three chicks were actually there on the same branch. Prior to that, it was getting pictures of an individual owl, which was enjoyable because owls aren't something you get to take pictures of very often. But the picture of the three had much more impact.

"I took a lot of pictures, but usually one would have eyes closed or one would have a head turned. I think, actually, all three only looked at me for a very short time. I think they knew no harm would come from us, so they didn't have interest in looking in our direction. They didn't show any fear at all; even their parents didn't show any concern."

Korthals noted that photographs like the one with owls require the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time.

'Just because I would like to take a picture of this or that animal native to the area, there's absolutely no guarantee that you're going to even get a fleeting glance of that animal -- or any animal -- in the wild," Korthals explained. "There's some days you go out and can't even find a squirrel. There is a real benefit of being sometimes trusted that you're actually doing something when you're not in the office."

Another example of good luck in obtaining a memorable photo is represented in April on the 2013 calendar.

"This was another thing where I got a call -- I honestly don't remember who it was from -- that said there were a lot eagles in the slough east of Round Lake," Korthals recalled. "You never know when you get a call like that if, first of all, they know what an eagle is; second of all, if there's going to be anything there or if they're giving accurate directions; or third, if you're going to be able to get in any kind of position to get a good picture. So I went over that day and my expectations were not that high. You can't sneak up on an eagle; they see you."

Instead, Korthals' expectations ended being surpassed beyond his wildest imagination.

"When I got over to the slough and I saw all these eagles, I was amazed," he said. "In that picture, there are more than 20 eagles. Some of them are either not mature to where they had their white head yet or they were golden eagles, and they were evidently feasting on dead fish. I'd never seen that many eagles in one place. I've only heard about it in places like Alaska, or different times you'll hear about it in places along the Mississippi River.

Remarkably, Korthals said he could only get a portion of the eagles he saw that day into one frame.

"There were eagles all along this slough, and there were even eagles at Lake Ocheda and Round Lake," he said. "It was just a special day. I probably had a total of three hours in that picture. A lof of these pictures, they've come about because I've been given some free reign to try to do these and I do feel fortunate for that. But that truly was a special day -- like the owls, you know when you're seeing something special."

Each photo in the 2013 calendar is special in its own way, and the Daily Globe -- as it is every year -- is proud to share this gift with its readers.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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