Winter blog post

I hope you appreciate a good pun in regard to this “post.” At the time I took this shot a few evenings ago, I was standing up to my knees in snow, in a ditch north of Bismarck, doing some quick run & gun photography before my fingers froze. My time spent in the bitter cold bore fruit, however, as I came back with lots of nice photos.

Pause for reflection

This quaint little church is tucked in behind a rolling green hill southwest of New Salem. The Sims Lutheran Church got a dose of publicity two years ago when Laura Bush visited it on her trip to North Dakota.

I wanted to catch this church at sunrise but just barely missed it. It was still very picturesque, with the water in the foreground and rolling hills behind. I also found a lot of other fun stuff on this little photo trip. I wanted to peruse the inside of the building but chose to move along instead…this time. I’ve read that the Sims church is the oldest Lutheran church building west of the Mississippi, so I can’t help but be curious about its interior.

Room with a view

A lot of the old familiar abandoned farmsteads I’ve photographed since picking up my photography hobby are now lying in shambles. After all, a building leaning at a 45 degree angle can only do it for so long, right? So it’s time to search out some new ones.

This one is my new favorite, I think…an ornate home, large for its time, which was at one time lined with brick outside. This front window overlooks a particularly scenic little valley. I noticed the remnants of an old chair parked by the front picture window. The drab and delapidated interior is an amazing contrast to the colorful glory of the valley outside and the summer sky.

Your message here, redux

It may not be obvious from this angle, but this sign stands along busy Washington Street in north Bismarck. In fact, there’s one tower hidden behind the pole and one just out of the frame to the right. Just over the hill is the Boulder Ridge housing development. Given all the unwanted urban objects in the background, this was a challenging photo to get.

Step one was to crouch in the grass, hiding the houses just over the hill. That introduced another problem, however. Because the sun was off to my right, the side of the sign that I wanted in my photo is actually in the shadows. No problem, just use a flash, right? Sure…except that crouching low made my flash blast the grass in front of me as well as the sign. Not desirable.

Then I realized that I had my remote flash cable in the truck as well as my monopod. I attached the camera to the monopod, then tethered my Speedlite to the camera using the aforementioned cable, and I was in business. The monopod helped me steady the camera with one hand. With the other I held my flash high and aimed it at the sign. A few clicks later, I had the photo I wanted. The sign was no longer a dark shadow, and the grass wasn’t illuminated. Then it was time to go home, get on a motorcycle, and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

I like old weathered signs like this. My favorite one appears in this post from almost exactly three years ago.

The lines are down

There’s talk of plenty of power lines down this weekend, and even perhaps some phone or cable television lines. Even a FOX TV affiliate! I suspect these lines northeast of Bismarck have been down for far longer than that. I suppose the inhabitants of that bird house probably gave up and went with cellular.

Foggy Bottoms Boy

I was afforded the opportunity to take my camera and hop in the truck for an outskirts adventure. I’m still leary about doing too much hiking with my camera due to deer season and recent mountain lion encounters in North Dakota, so I kept things on the road and next to the truck.

The river had a “tube” of fog hovering above it as I neared the river bottoms. While I found a lot of other fun roadside stuff to occupy my viewfinder, I did want to get a good view of this phenomenon from above. Sadly, access to all the high ground on the Bismarck side is hard to come by. I did find one “trail” that could be loosely construed as a section line road, from which I was able to nab a few shots. By that time much of the fog had receded or dissipated, as the sun was quickly burning it off. No matter…I still filled at least one camera card with fun stuff this morning, and put a pretty good dent in another one.

YADTWBOI+R (Yet another dead tree with birds on it, plus a rainbow)

In a field such as this, especially during a breezy day, any object serving as a stable perch is sure to be popular. Thus the town hall meeting here on this tree, which was covered in birds as I rolled up in the Monster Truck.

They soon took flight once I arrived, even though I kept my distance. No matter; I found a unique object as the sun broke through the clouds to the west. The sun lit up said tree as well as the water droplets on the far side of the field. The resulting rainbow, and the possibility of the birds alighting once more, kept me around for a little longer. The birds would have none of it, and the mosquitoes arriving on site were as big as birds, so I elected to move along down the road.

A break in the clouds

I see it’s supposed to be cloudy and miserable this weekend, so I thought I’d brighten up Friday a bit with a sunny scene from the Badlands. I took this photo last Friday. What a difference a week can make. Actually, considering the weather that blew in about twenty minutes after this photo was taken, I guess one could say what a difference a few minutes can make! That’s life in the Dakotas.