It doesn’t happen often these days, so make it count

I haven’t gotten up for a sunrise in a LONG time, but at the last last weekend I made a point of it.  I was “off the grid” to a degree, and actually went to bed at a decent hour with my family while we camped.  I got up in time to stagger over to the shoreline and nab a few shots.  Sunrises have been few and far between for me, so i was determined to work this one over completely.

 

Sunrise and sunset bring rapid changes to the sky, in the color cast and lighting overall.  I perched with the frogs (which my kids loved all weekend) and waited for the sun to come around the corner.

 

There was some deep fog on the lake, which played its own tricks with the approaching sun’s light.  The fog comes on little cat feet, by the way.  One of my favorite poems.

 

I love how the gold and blue offset each other – they are, after all complementary – and the fog just rolled lazily across the water.  I needed this kind of peace and quiet.  The fam was still all sacked out, so it was just me and the various critters.

 

As the sun rose it seemed to almost push the fog  away.  It took a while for things to clear, though, giving me plenty of time to capture partial reflections like this.

 

The spider webs in the trees were illuminated, too.  They were pretty ragged, though.  I would have loved to have seen an intact orb-type web, but no such luck.

 

With the sun risen, the light cast changed entirely and I spun the camera around to catch some nice morning color and the last of the fog on the lake.  Then I did what any camping dad would do…I sauntered back to bed!

 

 

Shot through a chain link fence, but I got it

This is the kind of photo that you want to edit while listening to Joel Porter (which you should do anyway).  We had a spectacular sky leading up to sunset tonight, and I was way out of position when I noticed it.

 

What had really caught my eye was this blazing hole in the clouds, and the swirling wisps behind it.  I pulled to the side of the road, found a gap in the tall chain link fence in my way, and started snapping some shots before the clouds shifted too much.

 

And it did within the span of a couple of minutes.  The sun moved into this little window, and the various clouds morphed and drifted until the hole was completely gone.  But I’d caught what I needed.

I’m not always so lucky.  Last night, while trying to get home with four TCBY waffle cones for my family still intact, I just barely missed an amazing cloud in the east.  So it was nice to be able to catch this.  A friend texted me that he was taking his camera down to the river to catch the coming sunset, but I went home to watch it on the deck with my wife.  That’s one of our favorite things to do.  I’d been on the road for work all day, and just staring up at the sky without having to try to capture it in a photo was some nice R&R indeed.

Double Ditch dash

Wednesday night’s clouds were too good to resist.  I wanted a fresh photo spot for them, but with a tiny window looking like it might present itself I opted to just find a nice high spot.  Double Ditch was the most obvious choice, although the entire site is lined with orange construction fence and heavy equipment right no.  It made for some challenges, but it also forced me to consider some angles I hadn’t before.

 

Right as I got there, a little sliver opened up in the clouds on the horizon, beaming brilliant rays of color all over the place.  Thankfully I had just dashed across the prairie grass and rolls of the Double Ditch terrain and set up to the south of the little stone hut I know so well.

 

As soon as the gold light abated, I worked feverishly to capture some of the remaining purples and pinks that managed to sneak through the otherwise diffused sunset light.  The horizon had closed off again, but plenty of color managed to find its way through the low, dense clouds that had brought me here in the first place.

 

There were some clear spots from time to time, with blues and even pinks making fleeting appearances.  The clouds were moving very quickly, and many were close to the ground.  That’s why I was here, as I’ve mentioned.  They didn’t disappoint.

 

This is the only view I could get from the stone wall without featuring dirt berms, orange fencing, and/or earth moving equipment.  Thankfully the clouds did their part.

 

I was walking back to the truck when I realized there was a different kind of show taking place to the northeast.  This turned into a cell that dropped a bunch of rain on northeast Bismarck on its way through the area.

 

This was a quick dash, but I’m so glad I took it.  The skies were really dramatic, with low, fast-moving clouds, and although I didn’t expect any grand sunset light I was treated to a few minutes anyway thanks to that sliver opening up on the horizon.  As with any sunrise or sunset, being there in case something happens paid off big.

On a curve

I caught this Fallen Farm structure out of the corner of my eye in a spot where I thought I’d already found all there is to see.  I got a chance to revisit a lot of familiar photography territory lately, places rich in waypoints on my GPS, and there were plenty of pleasant surprises.  This is the first one I get to share with you.

A hut with a view

I’m not talking about Pizza Hut, Jabba the Hutt, or even the hut one of Barack Obama’s more famous half-brothers lives in.  This little structure (and the shelter/cellar behind it) caught my eye the other day, and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer summer sky for a backdrop.  The water in the backyard didn’t hurt, either.

Lean into it

No, I’m not talking about the album by Mr. Big.  I’m talking about a couple of wooden structures I discovered on Friday’s photo trip.  This first shot was pretty cool, with a little bit of everything contained within a gap in the tree rows.

 

This building actually looks like it’s leaning uphill, although it sits on level ground.  I can’t help but wonder how long it’s had this angle, or how long it’ll continue to stay upright.  I’ve kept an eye on other small structures like this, and none still remain upright.  So it’s best to get out there and photograph them while they’re still around!

Some of my favorite windmill photos ever, and that’s saying a lot

After getting way too deep into a maintenance project on my ATV and successfully reassembling it with no leftover parts, I decided to bolt up to a friend’s farm and try to catch a sunset.  The sky the evening before had been awash in beautiful purples and reds, which I witnessed while riding one of the motorcycles around the outskirts of town.  I figured there was a decent chance of some nice colors on this night, too.  I wasn’t disappointed.

 

The reasonI chose to dash to this farm was the fact that the head of the windmill looked to have sustained some damage, and I wanted to photograph it before it got worse.  I’d had this farm in my GPS literally for years, but never actually asked if I could stop by some time.  I’m glad I picked this week to do it!

 

I got a little closer for this shot, but the wind was starting to pick up and cause all kinds of turbulence near the head of the windmill.  Things were starting to get rowdy up there, so I decided to play it safe and not fly any closer.

This was a fantastic photo trip!  The timing was right, I got to reconnect with a guy who I haven’t been able to chat with in a long time, the skies were good, and the windmill subject has unique character.  It will be repaired in the near future, too.  That’sgoodnews  ; too many of these old windmills that I’ve photograhed over the years are now gone.  I’m glad someone else sees their value and wants to preserve (and photograph) them!

Some settling may occur

I’ve been wanting a photo of this old barn along Highway 36 for quite some time, and last weekend I was able to take the opportunity.  I was buzzing around in the area and came upon this site, and had just enough time to take a few photos before jetting to the next location according to my timetable.

I had spent some time in Wilton but, due to my schedule, I did not check on a more famous falling barn: the one northwest of town along Highway 83.  I’ll get back to that one another time.

“Some days, it’s better to be lucky than good”

So I’d taken my youngest kiddo out for ice cream as a reward for a job well done, and didn’t want him to come home still eating it or I’d have some jealousy on the home front.  So we went for a short drive.  I ended up out of town just a bit and noticed the developing sunset.  I quickly whipped into an approach on the side of the road, stepped out, and nabbed this shot.  I hadn’t put any planning into it, just had my camera handy and thought I’d give it a whirl.  I didn’t see the purple flowers when I pulled over, they were a pleasant surprise when I stepped down out of the truck.  Everything just fell into place.

One of our former producers I worked with on various TV sports crews (NBC, CBS, FOX, ESPN, OLN, Shotime, I’ve worked for ’em all at one point) used to have a saying, the very one that comprises the title of this post.  Sometimes you just luck out in a way that could be mistaken for talent, preparation, or both, and you just roll with it.  Check this out:

That wasn’t one of our shows, but it would definitely evoke a “lucky than good” reference.  In the case of tonight’s photo, God made the sunset and I happened to stumble upon it with my boy at just the right time, in just the right place.  You know, maybe it wasn’t luck at all.

That house on the hill

If you’re trying to figure out a music-lyric reference for the title of this post, I have to admit it exists.  The phrase jumped into my subconscious from Fleetwood Mac’s “Big Love”.  Wow.  That one was buried deep.

 

This little farm sits on a hill overlooking a pretty darn rural vista.  No power lines.  None of those horrible subsidy-sucking wind turbines. Even the road is a long, long ways away.  Perfect, as far as I’m concerned.  And what a beautiful sunny day for a photo!