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 third.

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. 🙂

I need some color

Everything’s been so blah lately because of the smoke from fires which, thankfully, are not in North Dakota.  But we get the byproducts.

I’ve got friends in Redding who are on edge because of the perennial California wildfires, friends in Hawaii who have to deal with the “vog” (volcanic fog) from the constant lava flows, a friend from Fiji who’s actually in the States for a while but I’m sure is keenly aware of yesterday’s massive earthquake offshore.  I don’t know if any of my old acquaintances are in regions of Canada that are on fire (probably, since most of western Canada is ablaze).  My old stomping grounds in Montana is having its share of issues as well.

As a photographer, I can whine about the fact that I don’t have any blue skies with puffy clouds to work with, and even when the occasional thunderstorm rolls through it’s obscured by the gray stuff.  Hardly compares to the real-world problems that others are experiencing, this smoke being only an indicator of what’s far worse upwind, but it’s still got me a bit grumpy.

Before the fires really ramped up, I stopped at this church to take some photos from different angles for a project I’m working on, and my favorite (even though it doesn’t fit the project layout) is this one featuring the colored glass in the steeple.  And, even though the sky is gray, at least it has some texture…and it didn’t smell like a bonfire.

(Updated) This is about how bleak I feel right now

Well, actually this photo has more color than it should if I want it to convey my frustration with this continued wintery weather.  I should be riding motorcycles to work and doing all kinds of other fun Spring things, and I’m craving some green vegetation as well.  Now I hear there’s a chance for another winter storm next weekend…well, that’s just fantastic.

Well, you know what?  In that case, let’s make it a MONSTER.  I’m talking Spring 1997.  If we have to put up with this kind of meteorological nonsense, then let’s go all-in.  I want ten feet of snow, delivered sideways.  In fact, I dare Mother Nature (whom I don’t believe in) to hit me with your best shot.  Yeah, that’s right…a Pat Benatar reference.  Bring it.

(UPDATE): There will be no winter storm in the Bismarck-Mandan area.  How do I know?  Simple…I stretched the main belt in my snowblower last weekend, and had to spend a ridiculous amount to get new belts (one replacement, one spare) shipped here before the upcoming weekend and predicted storm.  As soon as I did that, the forecast models began nudging the area of heaviest snow southward.  If I just run out and by a sled we’ll be totally in the clear.  Maybe I should set up a GoFundMe…?

You left your stools, I bet they were cold to sit on

These ice blocks caught my friend Rich’s eye before they caught mine.  Thanks to him, I was able to pay them a visit after work today.  They sit in a conspicuous location, but I can only guess how they got there.

 

When I first arrived, I was afraid I wouldn’t have the skies I wanted.  And, while it’s true that the clouds overhead didn’t have any of the brilliant oranges blocked by clouds on the horizon, I still had some sweet clouds to work with.

 

Bonus: I caught some of that color shining through the ice blocks.  I had to get to church, so I took off at the last possible moment…but I have a suspicion that going back with some different skies might yield an exciting result!

Melting Blue Delicious

I figured I’d get the music reference out of the way right off the bat with this post title, from the Wild Swans song.  It might not look like it, but the frost on these trees is actually melting, as last Tuesday had a brilliant, sunny blue sky.  Even the thickest hoarfrost’s hours are numbered when the sunlight is blazing.

 

It wasn’t all trees this time around, however.  There was plenty of other subject matter east of town as I roamed, although I must admit it was all vegetative.

 

I had two new professional lenses and two high-end polarizing filters in my brand new camera bag, and I was eager to wield them all.  That’s how I was able to accurately portray the beautiful blue of the skies and capture all that sharp detail!

 

I did find one favorite subject, of course, as the end of my lunch break was approaching.  I had a video conference that simply would not wait, so my day had an unbending structure to it.  I was determined to make the most of the time allowed, however, and I spent the remainder of my available time at this point.

 

I love the whole “big tree, little tree” thing we’ve got going on here.  It wasn’t more than an hour or two before trees like this one lost their white coat as the sun beat down.

 

Blue, huh?  What a fantastic experience.  With the cheaper lenses I’d been using until now, these blue winter days would be full of glare and haze.  No longer.  I’m excited to see what I can do with the proper tools.  That, combined with the sheer luck that brings the photos I typically post here, should up my game a little.

 

Oh, as far as the song reference goes, here’s the video.  Sadly, the version I have is out of print and not available on YouTube either, but this one’s almost as good.

My other candidate, was “Call Me Blue”, since I’m in kind of a 1989 mood all of a sudden:

Needles

I shared this particular photo already, because I simply love it so much.  But last Monday I found lots of cool pine trees, each with its own special frosty coating.

 

Long needles, short needles…conifers are simply at their best when the frost comes along.  Green needles, brown stem-like branches, and a white dusting.  Lovely.

 

White lines.  There.  I made my music reference for the day.  Technically these needles are leaves, so when winter strips the cottonwoods et al of their broad leaves, we’ve still got plenty of these pointy leaves to photograph.

 

Fuzzy needles.  Do you know the difference between a spruce, pine, or fir? These shapes are the key.  I thought they were all the same, but (as a geek) I decided to read up on it.

 

Doesn’t this look like a damsel of some sort?  That’s the vibe I got.  The shapes formed by the branches of these trees really start to become apparent once they’re frosty.

 

I thought these long-needled branches were my favorite, but then I saw some of the cooler formations of shorter needles and realized that they’re all beautiful.

 

This isn’t a conifer, but it sure is pretty.  These flat fronds were tipped with white.

 

I tend to see things through the lens of my Christian faith, so it makes perfect sense that I would see a cross in this branch, at least from the angle at which I noticed and snapped this photo.

 

These are particularly bushy.  For some reason they remind me of Linus, although I can’t put a finger on exactly why.

Okay…we’ve covered Day One of the frost last week.  Day Two is unique in that it was both frosty and sunny!  I had two new lenses, new polarizer filters, and an hour to wield them.  I think you’ll be pleased when you see the results in an upcoming post.

Not all frost is the same

While I’m posting a bunch of frost photos, let me hearken back to 2009, when the frost took on a decidedly different form.  These long spikes grew along a fence a few miles east of Bismarck.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I like the thick hoarfrost we had last Monday and Tuesday, but this stuff is unreal.  Of course, the weather conditions were different, and it takes quite a unique set of conditions for frost like this to occur.

 

Since it’s never exactly the same twice, I’ll never run out of opportunities to chase the weather with my cameras!

Wired

Continuing the frost theme for this week – over the lunch hour Monday I was able to find a nice frosty fence to photograph.

 

The barbed wire collected a thick coat of chunky hoarfrost Sunday night, and it was a welcome sight.  This is one of the more photogenic winter phenomena.

 

Fuzzy like a caterpillar.  This was some really thick stuff!  It’s hard to even spot the barbs.

 

Twistin’.  The patterns of the frost are really keen (I was looking for a way to use that word).

 

There are some of those barbs I was talking about.  I had to be careful not to lean against any of them when I tried to get some of the other shots.

 

Cool, huh?  The pattern inside the corner of this post is almost organic looking.

 

Bonus: Here’s the post from a stop sign near our property.  One set of holes ringed with frost, another set completely plugged.

In case you think I’ve exhausted my Monday frost photos, you’re mistaken.  Oh, and there was another batch of hoarfrost on Tuesday as well, but with beautiful, sunny blue skies as a backdrop!  I’ve got an entire lunch hour full of those coming as well.