I forgot to post this photo from the October trip I took to the wreckage of the Abner O’Neal. After I was done shooting I headed back to the Steckel boat landing. I met a couple of girls along the way who were going to hike – barefoot, mind you – the half mile down to the site. I pointed out that it was private property (I have permission), it was a long and rocky hike, and that the sun was going down, so they decided to turn around and head back.
Once we got back to the boat area, I put the drone on the dock and showed them all the close-up photos I’d taken. They provide a far better view than even the closest shoreline vantage, anyway. We all agreed that the Abner is pretty cool, then parted ways as the sun began to set. I snapped this photo from the drone even though the rotors weren’t even turning, and it was a perfect way to cap off the evening.
I was bolting toward a photo subject for a project I’ve been working on when I spotted this windmill along the road. Over the past fifteen years of this blog I think I’ve established that I have a thing for windmills, although I don’t have one on my own property. But I have grown selective over the years, only looking for ones with a lot of character. This falls into that category.
Once I got in close and was able to find an angle with some interesting clouds in the background, I got my shot. This is one unique windmill. I liked the dangle of the wire, too. What an interesting photo subject! I spent a few minutes angling around to check it out, settling on the thought that this really was my best interpretation of this specimen, then moved on to continue the other project. Someday, if it’s ever ready, I’ll get to share that here as well.
I saw this tree along a gravel road in Morton County and had to stop and take a few shots. I had the right sky for something so twisted and nearly grotesque. What a testament to the tenacity of creation!
Clearly this tree has endured some things, but it doesn’t appear as though it’s given up. Reach for the sky!
I’m no Tim Burton, but I see an elegance, a grace, even a beauty in this tree. That’s why I jammed on the brakes as I careened down the adjacent gravel road at 45 mph, threw it in reverse (I drive a manual transmission truck, so I can “throw” it into any gear I please), and whizzed back to take a few shots of this remarkable tree.
I couldn’t resist a nod in the title to one of my favorite bands from the Athens era. This tractor caught my eye from a distance, and I had to go check it out. It really stood out against such a beautiful blue sky!
As colorful as it is, this thing’s really broken down. Wheel’s off. Cylinder head missing. I don’t think it’s going anywhere for a while. That’s okay…it’s really photogenic right where it’s at.
Recently a group of local kayakers made for a viral sensation when they posted photos of the wreckage of the Abner O’Neal, a steamboat from the 1890s. The river’s low levels have allowed the wreck to begin poking out of the water, and anyone coasting downstream from the Steckel boat landing is likely to encounter it. Thus the sensation.
I finally got out there myself. I’d been eagerly awaiting a time like this ever since the State Historical Society posted about it a while back, which allowed me to figure out its exact location. As a certified SCUBA diver, I’d heard about this site but never discerned where to look for it.
I actually went out to it multiple times, which explains the different lighting in some of the photos I’m posting here. Once was in the afternoon, and once was toward sunset with really calm water. Incredibly cool.
The most popular feature you’re going to see online is this part of the hull, which sticks out most prominently.
I admit, this is one of the most photogenic parts of the craft. Only the hull remains; when the Abner sank in 8-10 feet of water here, everything which was salvageable was indeed removed.
As you can see the planks of the hull are still intact, remarkable for something that has been here since 1892. I think this is my favorite angle, actually. Maybe it’s the evening light.
I was blessed with some pretty amazing skies when I went out. One time it was windy, the other time the river was like glass and I didn’t get bounced around so much.
I wish I knew enough about steamboats to know what part of the hull this is, but sadly I’m a total landlubber. Not too surprising, for a kid who grew up in the mountains and lives in a landlocked state near the geographical center of our continent.
Here’s another view of the wreckage in its entirety. The bottom left corner is the downstream end.
I made a short video of some of my favorite angles of the riverboat wreck. I hope you enjoy!
Here’s where I must point out a couple of things. First of all, the shoreline adjacent to this shipwreck is private property. Don’t get any crazy ideas about walking downriver from the boat landing: that’s trespassing. Second, you can’t see anything from the shore anyway. Your best bet is to see it from the air or from a kayak. The water’s too shallow for a boat. Third, this is a historic site; if you do manage to get to it, please don’t disturb it in any way. That means wading around and tracking up the river bottom, taking anything from the site, or generally leaving any trace that you were ever there.
This is a pretty awesome piece of North Dakota history, and the fact that we can experience right now is a silver lining to the drought conditions and general 2020-2021 malaise that’s struck so many. I’m sure glad I can share it with you!
2021 hasn’t exactly shaped up to be “the year we get it all back” after a completely nuts 2020, but I did manage to work a little less. I just didn’t get as much photography done as I’d wanted. I did, however, take a few photos, and naturally there were a couple of windmills in there.
I just got this one today, and it’s close to town. It sits right along 71st Avenue in Bismarck. Thankfully a guy can get this shot from the road, as the land is posted and I don’t violate those signs.
As the second photo demonstrates, fall colors are here! I wonder if I might be able to get a bunch of fall photos. We’ll see…
I took this shot one evening when I was in kind of a hurry, and I didn’t check my camera settings. After I’d done a few shots I noticed that the ISO had been cranked up to 12,800, so I reshot a bunch of stuff, but I didn’t get this angle. Well, high ISO puts a ton of grain into the image, but I wanted the shot…so I decided to tone it for a vintage look, which plays right into the grainy look. After all, old film stock was awfully grainy anyway.
So, with the grain problem addressed, I was able to enjoy this photo…and now I get to share it. The ones I shot properly will appear in color at a later date.
We recently took a group to a range in South Dakota to shoot for Marksman and Sharpshooter badges, and while we were there I spotted something I just had to share. See it yet? If so, you’ve got a good eye.
It’s cool that there’s a special lane just for those who utilize a wheelchair for mobility, but I give it extra points for the customized signage!
Ya gotta admire the job someone did at putting a semi-auto in this guy’s hand. It gave us all a chuckle, and I couldn’t wait to share this with my readers (assuming I still have some…I post so infrequently these days)!
If you’ll permit me a moment of bragging, I’d like to show you a grouping shot by my boy. I was able to cover this group with a quarter, shot with a gun he’d never even seen before. Proud Papa Moment.
So we had a great trip to the range! I got the photos and video I was looking for, my boy qualified for his badge, and I got something to share on the ol’ Blog. Trifecta.
2021 has been as busy as 2020, unfortunately…although it has allowed some photography time. Sadly, I’m not posting them in a very timely fashion because I’m really busy. Take this photo, for instance: at the time when it was taken, there was still ice on Lake Sakakawea.
I really liked the reflection on the perfectly calm water. I’ve been doing a lot of personal reflection lately, too, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there just isn’t enough time. When I do take time off, I end up working at least as hard as when I’m on the job!
I’m working on a better work-life balance, but right now I’m still in the “as soon as I get _____ done…” phase. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll get to do some more roaming with my gear and decompress a bit. Meanwhile, if I have opportunity, I do have plenty of photos to share. Stay tuned.