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Aerial images by a shutterbug in an amazing flying machine

Louis Hoglund Perham EB A good flight landing is when you can walk away. A great one is when you walk away--and don't damage the landing gear. That was one of the humorous observations made Jan. 19 by author and pilot/photographer Maxwell MacKenz...

Louis Hoglund

Perham EB

A good flight landing is when you can walk away. A great one is when you walk away--and don't damage the landing gear.

That was one of the humorous observations made Jan. 19 by author and pilot/photographer Maxwell MacKenzie who presented his famous slide lecture, "The Truth Doesn't Make a Good Story, That's Why We Have Art."

The presentation was at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center, where an exhibit of his photography recently opened.

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Twenty years of both black and white and color photographs are displayed. Aerial views of Otter Tail farmland and stunning photographs of abandoned farm buildings from the region and elsewhere in the upper Midwest are featured.

The son of a World War II fighter pilot, MacKenzie has had a lifelong fascination with flight. His photography, aboard a parachute-design ultra-light aircraft, offers a unique overhead perspective because of the ability to fly lower--and slower--than a conventional airplane.

Some of the images in the exhibit measure a spectacular eight feet across.

Area scenes include landscapes over Amor Township, Everts Township, the Otter Tail Lake area, Vining area, and elsewhere.

MacKenzie discussed the glories and terrors of flying. One tip: never fly over a body of water that is too big or too deep, because light aircraft motors are prone to failure, and the rigs carry only ten gallons of gas. Consequently, MacKenzie always flies around Otter Tail Lake. But on a smaller body of water he will brave the trans-lake flight. One of the photos in the Cultural Center exhibit features an overhead view of two water scooters that have formed a swirling design on the surface waters of Blanche Lake, just north of West Battle.

MacKenzie, the grandson of Victor Lundeen, was born in Fergus Falls in 1952, and now works all over the world as a commercial photographer, specializing in architecture and design.

Though based in Washington D.C., he spends his summers in a 1905 renovated one-room schoolhouse on the Otter Tail River near Phelps Mill.

His photographs of Otter Tail County appear in three award-winning volumes: "Abandonings"; "American Ruins, Ghosts on the Landscape"; and his most recent, "Markings."

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Nearly 60 attended a presentation by photographer Maxwell MacKenzie at the Regional Cultural Center Jan. 19--despite intensely cold temperatures. A Washington D.C.-area commercial photographer, MacKenzie has roots in Otter Tail County and is a seasonal resident--living in the rural schoolhouse pictured here, which he moved and renovated as a summer cabin.

His 20 acres of land along the Otter Tail River also has an airstrip for his ultra-light aircraft.

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