Off duty at 22,000

This is my 22,000th photo through my newest camera. The subject is something that has drawn my eye every time I pass it on I-94 near Sweet Briar. Over the extended weekend I decided to venture out at sunrise and, since I’ve photographed all the obvious stuff in Bismarck-Mandan ad nauseum, I needed to travel a little further and get this shot from my photographic “bucket list.”

This is an old police/security vehicle sitting alongside a little gravel road along the interstate highway. While it has a reflective Air Force Security logo sticker on the door, I don’t think that’s original. The car is not directly accessible from there; one has to hit a couple of gravel roads to find it. That’s easily accomplished with a little GPS or Google Earth.

The clouds mostly obscured the sunrise until the sun had come up quite a ways. That actually provided a nice photo opportunity of the car, since I didn’t have to deal with any blazing highlights or deep shadows. Clouds are a great natural diffuser of light. I turned around to capture the sun poking through, although I didn’t care much for the power lines (see yesterday’s post).

Once the golden cast of the sunrise faded, some nice dramatic blues remained. That allowed me one more angle before moving on. People sometimes ask me how I have time to grab all the photos I post on here from day to day. The answer is, quite simply: I don’t. I maximize the photo opportunities that I do get, and then post the photos over time. One photo trip can sometimes provide a week’s worth of blog material if it’s a productive one. In this case, yes, I did find some other fun stuff…and yes, it will have to be posted later. 🙂

I didn’t think this was going to turn out but I snapped it anyway…

Saturday morning, while working on something else that I’ll likely post in the next day or two, I noticed that the sky behind me was doing something really cool. Yes, I was out at sunrise and pointing my camera the other way – more on that later. The clouds had obscured the rising sun for the most part, but once it began to poke through I took notice. Sadly, there were power lines in the way of an otherwise nice sunrise landscape shot.

I went ahead and maneuvered closer to the power lines to include them, since I certainly wasn’t in a good position to avoid them. In this case I they actually provide a nice bit of geometry to the shot. While not ideal, they do lead the eye toward the horizon and the rising sun.

Certainly not ideal, but not a total throwaway shot, either. Since I do freelance industrial photography and an advocate for North Dakota’s energy industry, I’m somewhat sympathetic to lines like these anyway. Now, about the photographic subject that had me facing away from the dramatic sunrise…well, that’ll have to wait a day or two.

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.

Hiking at “oh dark hundred” pays off

I alluded earlier to a hike I took before sunrise with my friend Matt in order to get some nice sunrise photos. The skies were clear when we departed, but by the time we’d hiked up the hill to the blockhouses of Fort Lincoln there was very little clear sky available. Nevertheless, the sun came through for us as it maximized the sliver of unobstructed sky to the east, beaming color through in dramatic fashion.

After grabbing shots from several different angles, I decided to do an abbreviated time lapse. Since I had other things going on, I was not prepared to get the entire sunrise, but I could see that the sun was going to emerge through another slender gap in the clouds. I hastily set up for it and, although it’s short, I thought it looked pretty decent when looped a couple of times:

Between the photos and this short little time lapse, not to mention great company, rolling out of bed at 5:30 in the morning was well worth it. I think I’ll sleep in tomorrow, though…it’s been a long week!

Colorful confluence

I celebrated the weekend by hiking up to the blockhouses at Fort Lincoln with a friend and our cameras. We took off at 6am and got there just before the sunrise, which was a case of perfect timing. While the sky was perfectly clear upon departure, clouds filled most of the sky by the time of our arrival at the top of the hill.

As the color began to fill the sky, we began exploring all the angles to get the best view of the remaining sliver of clear sky as well as those photogenic old forts. As the different elements of sunlight, color, photography, and friendship began to converge, we got some really cool shots from a variety of locations. Then, as quickly as it came, the dramatic effects of the sunrise left behind the advancing clouds and it was time to hike back to the truck and head home.

Let the Day begin

Here’s to the babies in a brand new world,
Here’s to the beauty of the stars…
Here’s to the travelers of the open road,
Here’s to the dreamers and the bards…
Here’s to the soldiers on the desert dunes,
Here’s to the farmers in the fields…
Here’s to the preachers of the sacred Word,
Here’s to the loving God who heals…

Here’s to you, my little loves, with blessing from above, now let the Day begin.

Just sharing a friendly good morning with you and the windmill perched near Farmer’s Livestock southeast of Bismarck and some lyrics lightly modified from one of my favorite songs by The Call.

I’ve been awfully busy lately, and that has been reflected here on the ol’ Blog. In addition to husband and Daddy time, I’ve had a lot of freelance work and been building a new monster computer for my photo and video work. A guy’s got to have priorities. I have managed a little bit of photography from time to time, it’s just a matter of getting it posted here. Soon…very soon.

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. -Psalm 118:24

Spring is just around the corner

Those cloudy skies will soon be replaced with sunny ones, and I look forward to being able to take my toddlers outside without bundling them up! It’s a lot easier to get the kids out the door when it’s warm out, that’s for sure.

This winter has been very good for photography. When I first got my camera a few years ago, I was sure I’d be putting it on the shelf for the winter. I couldn’t imagine what there might be to photograph during a long, dreary North Dakota winter. I was completely wrong. The past several months have been especially fruitful, especially with conditions providing those spikes of light due to ice fog on occasion.

Even so, I’m looking forward to the photo opportunities Spring will provide! I love deep snow as much as the next person, but it’s time for a new season. As the colors return, my camera and I will be ready.

Foggy morning church

We had another foggy morning today, and it gave me the opportunity to photograph the sun as it rose above the steeple at Buckstop Junction. A friend mentioned that as he drove in from north of Mandan, the river valley had a really neat silhouette effect from the fog as well. Mornings like this are so incredible and make getting up early worthwhile!