Photos: Discovering 'the good within' -- and all around Minnesota

Long Lake in Stillwater, Minn.
Minnesota is home to several lakes named Long Lake, including this one mere footsteps from Emily Falkenberg's home in Washington County. The small lake is non-motorized and particularly peaceful, says Falkenberg. "Walking (cautiously) on the lake tonight," reads the caption for this Dec. 19, 2015, photograph.
Courtesy of Emily Falkenberg

The great outdoors pulls at Emily Falkenberg like a magnet.

"I've always considered myself solar powered," said the Minnesota native. "I've got to be outdoors."

Falkenberg, 40, is a mom of four who proudly calls Stillwater home. She's always game for a hike on land or a paddle around Washington County's Long Lake. She shares photographs of her adventures and musings on Instagram at @thegoodwithin, a visual — and lyrical — diary.

"I like to find the good within all things — within myself and within others," said Falkenberg, who shoots exclusively with an iPhone 6 and has been active on Instagram for more than three years.

"I bring my phone with me everywhere, so that means I bring my Instagram with me everywhere," she said.

Her images are delightfully simple and often feature the natural world — muted foliage, delicate feathers, morning dew on a spiderweb or a hint of her blue fiberglass canoe contrasted against a glass-like lake.

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While her children — ages 10 to 16 — and husband, Mike, infrequently appear in Falkenberg's photographs, they are often in the vicinity when images are created.

"Their story isn't really what I'm trying to tell," she said.

Instead, she weaves a personal tale that celebrates moments of reflection and scenes worthy of a postcard.

Editor's note: This feature is the fourth in an occasional series showcasing Minnesota photographers.