Right place, right time

I visited Yellowstone earlier this year, and it was simply the perfect time to do so. I got this amazing shot thanks to two people: a friend who pastors a church in Cody, who told me of the vantage point far away from where all the congestion of the usual tourists, and my wife, who dialed in the best location with regard to the trees in the foreground.

When I say it was the perfect time to visit Yellowstone, I wasn’t kidding. While Yellowstone is normally intolerable because of the sheer number of people everywhere, this time was the complete opposite. There was hardly anyone there.

This is the parking lot at Old Faithful. It’s statistically empty by normal standards. We walked right up to the geyser, stood front and center while it did its thing, and hopped back into the car…all in a matter of minutes.

I hadn’t expected to even get a vacation this year, but thankfully it worked out. I’d booked everything in advance and planned it since 2019, so any cancellation would have been an enormous disappointment. But I was able to squeak it in – important items at work which I simply couldn’t work around were cancelled or moved, my schedule opened up for the entire ten days, and my boss gave his blessing. So my family and I got to enjoy some much needed rest!

Naturally I have a ton of photos from this trip, but now I’m too busy again. So it’ll be a while till I post them.

Bismarck-Mandan area has the best autumn colors (Part 6)

Sadly, this autumn has been brief, cold, and gray…and I’ve been way too busy to get out. But last year was perhaps the best photo fall I’ve ever had. Worth reposting. Six posts in all, I believe. Here’s the sixth.

Digging deep for one last blast of fall photos. This one is from the beginning of fall, when leaves were just beginning to turn. I noted the appearance of that first little patch of orange in the background.

 

This tree had green and orange bursting forth. What an amazing sight!

 

One more shot into the valley…looking toward the Square Buttes from north of Bismarck.

 

This is at the Crown Butte Dam on my way home from a long and particularly productive photo roaming day.

 

Final photo of the night and of this series. The moon was up, the sun was going down, and I revisited this old automobile camping out under a hilltop tree. It was the perfect conclusion to a very therapeutic day of roaming.

That’s it for foliage photos, but I have tons of additional North Dakota shots to share. Stay tuned!

Bismarck-Mandan area has the best autumn colors (Part 5)

Sadly, this autumn has been brief, cold, and gray…and I’ve been way too busy to get out. But last year was perhaps the best photo fall I’ve ever had. Worth reposting. Six posts in all, I believe. Here’s the fifth.

What can I say, I like old farm stuff. I don’t know if it’s due to some nascent feeling that I missed out as a city kid…more likely it’s a by-product of beginning to feel my own age.

This was a “bucket list” photo. I’ve wanted to get this shot for over ten years. FINALLY. Nice hill, nice sky, nice old cabin…and beautiful autumn leaves.

 

The tree on the left lost its leaves very early. The ones growing out of this old stone structure, however, put on a brilliant display.

Having dramatic skies to work with doesn’t hurt, either. The skies on this day alternated from unfavorable to fantastic all day long, from before sunrise until after sunset.

Gold and green on the branches, red and brown on the buttes. I love these hills, they make for a great backdrop no matter what the season.

No, I’m not done yet. This has been my most productive autumn photo season yet!

Bismarck-Mandan area has the best autumn colors (Part 4)

Sadly, this autumn has been brief, cold, and gray…and I’ve been way too busy to get out. But last year was perhaps the best photo fall I’ve ever had. Worth reposting. Six posts in all, I believe. Here’s the fourth.

This was when the fall colors were just starting to emerge, at the “abandoned” Binek mine. Yes, someone still lives at the site, although it ceased operation long, long ago.

 

Open air outhouse – if you’ve really gotta go or don’t have a thing for modesty, feel free.

 

See the capitol hanging out beneath the boughs of this tree? It sits along Apple Creek Road. Still got a little bit of green in there…

 

This row is south of Bismarck in the wildlife management area. I caught just the right skies, but getting the sun in the right position behind those branches was a challenge.

 

This is a tree I spent plenty of time photographing. I even got full of all kinds of crunchy and pokey stuff lying beneath its branches. Might be fun to revisit it later and post the results of that half-hour dalliance.

Have I exhausted my quiver of fall photos from 2017? Hardly. Even as the cruel North Dakota wind threatens to strip these trees bare, I’ve already got plenty of fun photos so far. And I’m not ruling out a few more before we’re left with nothing but sticks and bare branches for the winter!

Bismarck-Mandan area has the best autumn colors (Part 3)

Sadly, this autumn has been brief, cold, and gray…and I’ve been way too busy to get out. But last year was perhaps the best photo fall I’ve ever had. Worth reposting. Six posts in all, I believe. Here’s the third.

Still more fall colors. I’m actually astonished at how many nice autumn photos I have…in fact, this is my best year ever!

 

The river valley has been breathtaking this year. I have had friends comment that the cottonwoods haven’t given this kind of color in years, perhaps due to fungus or other issues, possibly even going back to the flood.

 

Fall in North Dakota is always a gamble; some years we get an early frost and the leaves drop while still green. Other years we get nice fall colors…for a day. This year, despite a couple of days of punishing wind, things have held on and provided lots of enjoyment.

 

An instructor once told me, while demonstrating part of the parachute rig on the standard issue Army F-4 pilot flight suit, that “if you eject and land in a tree in North Dakota, you deserve to die.” We don’t have the expansive forests some states enjoy, but the trees we do have sure put on a show this year. The skies helped, too.

 

Am I done with fall photos? I think I still have a few. I’ll share them here, and then I’ll work backwards. I’m pleased to report that, in addition to a plentiful autumn photo harvest, this has been a very fruitful summer for me in that regard as well! I’ve spent my time taking them, and will have all winter this year to steadily post new ones as I find time to process them.

Bismarck-Mandan area has the best autumn colors (Part 2)

Sadly, this autumn has been brief, cold, and gray…and I’ve been way too busy to get out. But last year was perhaps the best photo fall I’ve ever had. Worth reposting. Six posts in all, I believe. Here’s the second.

I liked this assortment of color, found at McDowell Dam on Wednesday afternoon. A little bit of everything, except one color is obscured somewhat…

…which is why you take the shot from another angle. I’m not exactly sure which of these two I like best yet. Leaning toward this second one.

Here’s a nice row of golds and reds, with very little green remaining anywhere but on the grass. I love the reds, maybe because they’re less common out where I tend to roam. They’re typically part of somebody’s landscaping.

 

Here’s the other angle of that scoria road I mentioned yesterday. I actually took the time to process this one, instead of just posting the raw of the other angle. This, too, is one of those shots where I can’t decide which angle I like best.

 

Here’s yesterday’s shot with the same color treatment. I like the tree being close and larger, but now you don’t see the hills in the background on the left. Hm…

Yes, I have more…but that’s all for now. I hope to share a few more tomorrow. 🙂

Double Ditch Ice

I ventured out to Double Ditch tonight for a number of reasons, but one of them was to see if it was still blocked off for construction purposes.  Thankfully one can now drive in on the north road, although the walking path heading south to the stone hut is still marked as closed due to construction.

The ice was melted in spots, and definitely had its share of dirt blown into it.  In fact, it was pretty breezy tonight, too.  But I got some cool shots, satisfied my curiosity, and headed home to thaw my fingers.

 

Oh yeah – one of the other reasons I was out there was to check on my favorite post.  It’s still hanging in there, I’m glad to report, despite the continuous bank erosion.  I remember being able to walk around this post on the left side, although the land to the north of the fence is posted.  That part of the bank has been down below for a long time.  That’s some sturdy barbed wire holding this thing in place!

One thing I didn’t notice in the first photo is the developing clouds on the horizon.  For a better view of those you’ll have to check out the header on my blog’s Facebook page.

Silos – bad in intel, good in camera

The last thing we want in communications or intelligence gathering is a set of “silos” – self-contained paths of information that don’t share or combine with others – but they sure do look cool when they’re beside a lake on a beautiful North Dakota afternoon, with deep blue skies and puffy clouds overhead!