Hard core

I spotted this core along Highway 36 a while back. There were actually a couple of them, along with the tracks of the ice fishermen who made them. They looked pretty cool when backlit with the afternoon sun. This one was better than the other, so I decided to give it star treatment.

I don’t think a sump pump will help

Actually, it looks like the water has gone down significantly on this old building, but it’s a total loss nonetheless. It’s been a wet year.

Although I have water behind my property, and the cattails are taller than I am this year, I have yet to experience a drop of water in my basement sump…until recently. I got a pretty significant amount of water in the pit, which I pumped out promptly upon discovering it.

With the ground saturated, the lakes full, the rivers high, the mountains with plenty of snow, and a winter that’s barely even begun yet, I imagine the spring of 2020 should be plenty interesting, indeed.

Bismarck-Mandan area has the best autumn colors (Part 6)

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 sixth.

Digging deep for one last blast of fall photos. This one is from the beginning of fall, when leaves were just beginning to turn. I noted the appearance of that first little patch of orange in the background.


This tree had green and orange bursting forth. What an amazing sight!


One more shot into the valley…looking toward the Square Buttes from north of Bismarck.


This is at the Crown Butte Dam on my way home from a long and particularly productive photo roaming day.


Final photo of the night and of this series. The moon was up, the sun was going down, and I revisited this old automobile camping out under a hilltop tree. It was the perfect conclusion to a very therapeutic day of roaming.

That’s it for foliage photos, but I have tons of additional North Dakota shots to share. Stay tuned!

Bismarck-Mandan area has the best autumn colors (Part 5)

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 fifth.

What can I say, I like old farm stuff. I don’t know if it’s due to some nascent feeling that I missed out as a city kid…more likely it’s a by-product of beginning to feel my own age.

This was a “bucket list” photo. I’ve wanted to get this shot for over ten years. FINALLY. Nice hill, nice sky, nice old cabin…and beautiful autumn leaves.


The tree on the left lost its leaves very early. The ones growing out of this old stone structure, however, put on a brilliant display.

Having dramatic skies to work with doesn’t hurt, either. The skies on this day alternated from unfavorable to fantastic all day long, from before sunrise until after sunset.

Gold and green on the branches, red and brown on the buttes. I love these hills, they make for a great backdrop no matter what the season.

No, I’m not done yet. This has been my most productive autumn photo season yet!

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 fourth.

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!