Some weekend color

Three shots, two different times and locations.  One downside of being a freelancer is working some Saturdays, but this time it allowed me to be in the right place at the right time.  The skies burst into color out by my place just as I was getting home from a late gig.  I grabbed a nearby section line and swung into action.

 

These are actually from my backup camera, because when I pulled my main out of the bag both batteries had been depleted.  That’s only happened once or twice before.  But that’s why you carry more than one camera!  I had a $6,000 camera and tripod get lifted and thrown unceremoniously down the highway last winter by a sudden gust of wind – I’d have been in deep trouble if I didn’t have a second unit in the back of the truck.  I grabbed it and kept shooting.

 

Back things up thirty-six hours or so, and we’ve got this Friday morning shot from west of the Missouri River.  The spot I’d originally intended didn’t look like it was going to work out, so I stopped here.  It turned out to be a great vantage point.  Before the skies lit up, I actually left this spot; but when I checked my mirror and saw the sky coming to life I whipped back around and set up to capture the color in the clouds.

The color may be getting stripped from the trees, but this time of year there’s plenty of it in the skies.  I hope this winter is as profitable as the summer and autumn!  And no protesters, either.

Shot through a chain link fence, but I got it

This is the kind of photo that you want to edit while listening to Joel Porter (which you should do anyway).  We had a spectacular sky leading up to sunset tonight, and I was way out of position when I noticed it.

 

What had really caught my eye was this blazing hole in the clouds, and the swirling wisps behind it.  I pulled to the side of the road, found a gap in the tall chain link fence in my way, and started snapping some shots before the clouds shifted too much.

 

And it did within the span of a couple of minutes.  The sun moved into this little window, and the various clouds morphed and drifted until the hole was completely gone.  But I’d caught what I needed.

I’m not always so lucky.  Last night, while trying to get home with four TCBY waffle cones for my family still intact, I just barely missed an amazing cloud in the east.  So it was nice to be able to catch this.  A friend texted me that he was taking his camera down to the river to catch the coming sunset, but I went home to watch it on the deck with my wife.  That’s one of our favorite things to do.  I’d been on the road for work all day, and just staring up at the sky without having to try to capture it in a photo was some nice R&R indeed.

Double Ditch dash

Wednesday night’s clouds were too good to resist.  I wanted a fresh photo spot for them, but with a tiny window looking like it might present itself I opted to just find a nice high spot.  Double Ditch was the most obvious choice, although the entire site is lined with orange construction fence and heavy equipment right no.  It made for some challenges, but it also forced me to consider some angles I hadn’t before.

 

Right as I got there, a little sliver opened up in the clouds on the horizon, beaming brilliant rays of color all over the place.  Thankfully I had just dashed across the prairie grass and rolls of the Double Ditch terrain and set up to the south of the little stone hut I know so well.

 

As soon as the gold light abated, I worked feverishly to capture some of the remaining purples and pinks that managed to sneak through the otherwise diffused sunset light.  The horizon had closed off again, but plenty of color managed to find its way through the low, dense clouds that had brought me here in the first place.

 

There were some clear spots from time to time, with blues and even pinks making fleeting appearances.  The clouds were moving very quickly, and many were close to the ground.  That’s why I was here, as I’ve mentioned.  They didn’t disappoint.

 

This is the only view I could get from the stone wall without featuring dirt berms, orange fencing, and/or earth moving equipment.  Thankfully the clouds did their part.

 

I was walking back to the truck when I realized there was a different kind of show taking place to the northeast.  This turned into a cell that dropped a bunch of rain on northeast Bismarck on its way through the area.

 

This was a quick dash, but I’m so glad I took it.  The skies were really dramatic, with low, fast-moving clouds, and although I didn’t expect any grand sunset light I was treated to a few minutes anyway thanks to that sliver opening up on the horizon.  As with any sunrise or sunset, being there in case something happens paid off big.

“Some days, it’s better to be lucky than good”

So I’d taken my youngest kiddo out for ice cream as a reward for a job well done, and didn’t want him to come home still eating it or I’d have some jealousy on the home front.  So we went for a short drive.  I ended up out of town just a bit and noticed the developing sunset.  I quickly whipped into an approach on the side of the road, stepped out, and nabbed this shot.  I hadn’t put any planning into it, just had my camera handy and thought I’d give it a whirl.  I didn’t see the purple flowers when I pulled over, they were a pleasant surprise when I stepped down out of the truck.  Everything just fell into place.

One of our former producers I worked with on various TV sports crews (NBC, CBS, FOX, ESPN, OLN, Shotime, I’ve worked for ’em all at one point) used to have a saying, the very one that comprises the title of this post.  Sometimes you just luck out in a way that could be mistaken for talent, preparation, or both, and you just roll with it.  Check this out:

That wasn’t one of our shows, but it would definitely evoke a “lucky than good” reference.  In the case of tonight’s photo, God made the sunset and I happened to stumble upon it with my boy at just the right time, in just the right place.  You know, maybe it wasn’t luck at all.

Reflections at church

This was my destination last Friday as I meandered through the countryside, one of two destinations I’d planned to visit after taking off work a little early.  My wife teased me, saying that I would be home much later than the “just a couple of hours” that I estimated.  She was right…I got into position and, seeing the sky to the west developing in a way that was sure to provide a colorful splash at sunset, I couldn’t resist.  I put out my camping chair, got my gear ready, and waited.  I was not disappointed.  I even got the right angle to catch the sunset reflecting off the windows!

 

As for the other angle, you can see that it was a great sunset all around.  I was going for the color in the east rather than the blazing sunset in the west, but they both have their appeal.  I couldn’t help but try to catch the sun through the steeple.

 

As far as that “just a couple of hours” thing – well, this image says it all.  I’m thankful to have a gracious and patient wife.  Being married to me should make her eligible for some sort of lifetime achievement award!

I used to take a lot more of these

capitol_sunset_45401-3This is the sunset from last Saturday night.  I was on my way home from a men’s prayer meeting and noticed the sunset as I passed the capitol building, so I whipped around for a quick photo.  By “quick” I mean I took 98 of them and ended up choosing the fourth one.

Check out the “Sunsets” category if you like this one, there are plenty more.  Or the “Sunrises” category.  Or the “Skies and Stars” category…they’re all good.

Going places

I’m primarily a video guy, but not when it comes to drone work. Yeah, I can do it, but there would have to be a really unique subject or conditions for me to want to do video seriously with an aerial camera. Drones (I hate that word) are kind of a one trick pony in a way, and to get remarkable drone (I used it again) video one has to do a lot of planning or live in an area that’s breathtaking without drones (dangit).

fox_island_DJI_0452-6So what do I like to do, you ask?  Use the unique ability of being able to position a high quality camera anywhere I want.  Sometimes that may be up in the sky, but normally it’s at an altitude just slightly different from anything you could get without a really tall ladder.  Typically I try to keep the effect very subtle, so that the angle catches the subconscious eye as unusual but without making it obvious that I’m shooting from an aerial camera.  Or, in this case, out over the ice that would never support my weight if I tried conventional photo work.  It may not look like it, but I was only about a foot or two above the ice.

 

river_ice_DJI_0462-6_hdrI was hoping for a sunset, and that never really materialized in the typical sense, but there was still some scattered color in the sky to the south.  So I worked the area, snapped away a few times, and caught what color there was in the fleeting moments before all went dim.  And the best part is, I kept my shoes dry.

Who says winter is dull and colorless?

fallen_farm_dji_0246-50When I set up for this photo, I was really just going through the motions.  The reason is that there wasn’t a cloud in the winter sky to break things up or throw some colorful reflections into the sunset. Well, that’s what I thought, anyway.  I was pleased to get a splash of all kinds of color as the sun reached the horizon.  At one point the barn was blazing with a beautiful gold, and then the blues, purples, and even a touch of reds kicked in.

I haven’t been able to do a whole lot of photography-related stuff lately, so it’s like I’m forgetting the fundamental technique of getting in place and letting the light come to me, and to anticipate great things from God’s creation.  I’m glad I got this reminder as I slowly dust off the cobwebs .

Wherever I may roam

sunset_road_44542-4_hdrNo, the title is not a Metallica reference.  In fact, a more appropriate word for the title might be whenever. I haven’t had many opportunities for photo trips lately, but I did get my garage Sheetrocked and lots of other big projects are coming along nicely.  I did try to get out this weekend for some drone flight, but strong winds seemed to kick up as soon as I got into position.  I marked a few locations for future flight opportunities and headed home, stopping to catch this sunset shot along the road as I was heading back toward civilization.

Waitin’ around pays off

bethel_church_43477-9_hdrI camped out by this former church in Morton County to allow the sunset to do its thing.  A row of storms had just moved through, and I had correctly guessed that the clouds tagging along the tail end of those storms would provide a lot of color to the sunset.  I was correct.  But I wasn’t done just then…

 

bethel_church_43550Waiting for the sun to go down and the moon to come up gave me the opportunity to capture some different clouds, albeit with stars sprinkled in as well.   To top it all off, my friend Zach and I headed out to a different prairie church, the one I wrote about a couple of days ago.