Fall colors, part troix

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.

Fall colors, part deux

I actually, without even realizing it, have had a very fruitful autumn photo season. I posted a few shots yesterday, and here is the second installment.

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. 🙂

Fall colors, part one

I took Monday off and roamed around a little bit with a shot list I’d been working on for a few days prior, and I must say I had a very fruitful time. While many of the shots I got have some lovely fall foliage in them, I haven’t taken the time to process those yet. I’ve got quite a backlog of photo and video work projects that I need to get done, so personal stuff is going to have to hold off for a bit. But I did manage to stop for some shots of trees along the way…


I love the gold and green here.  Could have used a little red, but that’s going to be in Part Two of this little series.


I nabbed a couple angles of this shot, one being behind this one a little way and illustrating the curve of the road differently.  But I ultimately chose this one.  I might have to take another look at the other shot for Part Two as well.


This had lots of green and lots of gold…but the setting sun made the green a little hard to pick out.

I have a few more coming, so stay tuned!



Not only did we actually have an autumn this year, but I actually photographed it

fall_barn_43937-9_hdrIn several years past the leaves have fallen from the trees so quickly that there hasn’t been much opportunity for photography.  2016 will not count as one of those years.  While I’ve been beyond busy lately, I did manage to take a couple of trips roaming around and pointing my cameras at some of the fall colors.


fall_barn_43907-9_hdrAnyone know a good roofer?  I’ve found some gaps.


fall_bridge_44099-101_hdrIt wouldn’t be fall without a walk down the trolley tracks.  There were a few portrait photographers utilizing the bridges that morning.


fall_trolley_tracks_43961-3_hdrI used to play on these tracks and bridges as a kid.  That’s why I had Poison Ivy so many times.  These days I just get one little spot, and that’s it.  I guess I built up a tolerance.


churchtown_43836-8_hdrNaturally I had to chase down one of my favorite former country churches.  This one still receives plenty of TLC.


churchtown_43943-5_hdrThe first day was cloudy, so I went back for some blue sky.  I can’t decide which I like better.

I have some other fall photos too, but it’s a busy morning – so I’ll have to stop there for now.

If Morton County had a Joshua Tree, this might be it

tree_n_bale_40335My “stranded on a deserted island” album is Joshua Tree, which you can now get on vinyl again at Walmart.  Strange.  Every time I see a tree like this, half yucca and half bonsai in its appearance, I think of the imagery of Joshua Tree National Park.  Of course, we have our own species of flora and not a whole lot of desert, and this shot throws in a hay bale for good measure to give the photo that North Dakota flavor.

A hard shot to get

flax_field_40493I didn’t realize that flax blooms for such a short time!  Thankfully I happened upon this field at the right time.  A couple of days later all the blue was gone.  Apparently the flowers only last for a day.  Even though each flax plant makes many flowers, I guess these fields are only visible for a fleeting moment each season.

Hard to consider them “Badlands” when they look like this in the morning



I understand that traversing this region in a horse-drawn wagon during any number of inclement North Dakota weather situations could lead one to term the Badlands as such, but in this era of modern convenience I can only conjure words such as beautiful, breathtaking, and the like.  At no time is that more evident than at sunrise or sunset, of course.





One other thing: critters.  That word may seem too diminutive for something as enormous as a North American Bison, but what the heck.  Thankfully they’re docile and don’t mind photographers.  I choose to use a long telephoto lens for my bison shots, thank you very much.



The herd is always on the move, and during this particular shot we got that lesson in frightening fashion.  While snapping away with the telephoto and allowing myself to get too wrapped up in the action, I pulled my eye away from the viewfinder to discover that the herd had all but enveloped our immediate area – car and all.  We hopped in the vehicle and made a slow, steady retreat.



I’m a city kid, so I don’t understand horses…other than that they are special, empathetic creatures.  I followed a couple of packs of wild horses and watched them interact.  Once they realized I wasn’t advancing on them, they got back to doin’ their lazy horse thang, and it was calming to watch them at leisure and play.

I am still busy with “new homeowner” stuff, but would like to get a couple of Badlands trips in yet this year.  You can bet that I’ll share the fruits of such journeying should my wish come to pass.

South Unit overlook

wind_canyon_35576_hdrI got to cross one more location off my photography wish list, sort of, as I took my family to the Medora Musical a couple of weekends ago.  One place I wanted to scout for a future “dark-to-dark” photography day was the Wind Canyon Overlook at the South Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  It was everything I expected, but even more challenging to photograph.


wind_canyon_ip_7025Click for larger image

I took a quick panorma with my mobile device and scouted out some other potential locations for the future.  I’d like to catch this location at pre-dawn, sunrise, sunset, and at night.  A friend and I are scheming to make that happen yet this fall…we’ll see how that actually works out.

I’ll never run out of things to photograph in Bismarck-Mandan, or North Dakota in general.  Time, however, is another issue.  But I had little boys who loved to grab one of my spare cameras and photograph prairie dogs and bison with a 300mm lens, so I intend to make more trips as soon as we get more settled into our new house.

Broken connection #6

Looks like the end of an era along this stretch of road near Regan. These wires have actually been disconnected for a while, but this is the best opportunity I have had to stop and get the right photo of them. The sun, sky, and green fields were all in perfect form for this shot, and I was there on one of the motorcycles with a camera to take advantage of the good fortune!

Here’s one for you: even those these lines have clearly been in place long enough to perform their intended service to the point of becoming obsolete, there are still federal subsidy programs in place from the 1930s to provide telephone and electric connections to rural areas. Once a federal program like that comes to life, look out: you’re probably going to pay for it forever.

Right place, right time

My friend Ken and I were out bouncing my truck around the back roads and trails in search of a couple of old farmsteads to explore with our cameras. As usual, many other opportunities presented themselves along the way. Case in point: this lovely vista along a section line road just after sunrise.

There’s so much color in the sky around sunrise and sunset, adding a special touch to an otherwise unremarkable scene. Everything takes on such a unique vibrance during that Golden Hour light, and it’s great when that happens with something photogenic nearby…and a great friend to share the experience.