The hail, you say

hail_2001As the old poem goes, the fog comes on little cat feet.  The hail on June 9th, 2001, however…well, that came in its own indescribable fashion.  The most noteworthy memory of this is the two underpasses on 7th and 9th Streets filling up with ice and water.  I was at a friend’s house that evening and remember walking to Thayer Avenue just east of St. Alexius to watch the city clearing chest-high piles of hail stones with a payloader and grader!

In the process of going through old motorcycle racing video tapes last week I found the footage of this event, footage I had presumed lost.  This was before I was into photography or videography, so even though I had a digital camcorder at the time I did not have a steady hand.  But shaky amateur footage is better than none, right?  Have a look:


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it was over ninety degrees out that evening, so once all the hail fell it began to melt and give off steam.  That’s why it seems so dark and foggy, it was a sauna outside.  My camera gave multiple high humidity warnings before actually shutting down to protect itself. 12th Street was half river, half avalanche for the duration of this storm. It was unbelievable. The hail piled up in a low spot at 12th Street and Thayer Avenue, forcing the city to bring in heavy equipment and dig/plow it out.  . The clouds were incredible.  And the underpasses needed to be dug out and cleared by that same sort of heavy machinery.

Do you remember this storm?

Dramatic clouds east of Bismarck-Mandan

clouds_44287-9_fusedA couple of nights ago I saw these really wild clouds east of town, and had to snap a photo once I got home.  They remind me of jellyfish in a way…tendrils hanging down and all that.  Or perhaps something from a science fiction feature?

 

clouds_44317-9_fusedThese reminded me of birds, perhaps blue jays.  I got home just in time to catch some golden light reflecting off the clouds, so they looked even more dramatic.

Work and stuff is so chaotic right now that I haven’t had much time to chase any sunrises or sunsets, so to catch these clouds at such an opportune time was a really nice break!

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.

Fleeting fall

fall_barn_43937-9_hdrAutumn can be pretty short in central North Dakota, but we have had a nice period where the trees are still adorned with various colors of leaves.  Unlike the last few years, I’ve actually been able to get out and capture some of them!  Hopefully I’ll have a few more shots like this one to share.

Tuesday night turbulence

clouds_42486I worked late Tuesday night, and when I left my south side studio at just after 9pm I was blown away by the clouds to the south.  I’m told this cell actually put down a tornado somewhere to the west.  I was concerned more with the colors, oblivious to what it was doing down along the ground.

I bolted as fast as I could in the new truck to find a spot where I could try to capture the color.  I know how fleeting that sunset light can be, and last night was no exception.  As I got set up and mosquitoes as big as dimes began to swarm around me, a cloud moved in along the western horizon and choked off that amazing light.  There was more than what you see here when I first bolted in search of a suitable spot, and almost immediately after I took the shot these clouds faded into dull blues and grays.

Tail end of the storm

stormy_tree_42193As the driving rain made its way past Bismarck-Mandan on Saturday morning I was hatching a plan to follow behind it.  I had to head to north central North Dakota anyway to pick up some kids from a church camp, so what better way to spend a Saturday morning than depart very early and work in a bunch of camera time along the way?

I’ve stopped at this particular spot along Highway 3 many times, but never had a really dramatic sky to work with.  That was not the case on Saturday.  There were crazy clouds moving in all directions at around 400 feet or so (if my eyes deceive me not) and the deep blue of the departing storms was a wonderful offset.

Not only did my plan work: I got plenty of photos in various locations with the dramatic skies in the background, but I also found a lot of new locations and took photos there, and I was able to mark a bunch of potential future spots for the next time I head northeast.  Trifecta.

My cameras and I were busy over the last few days, though.  More on that later.

I bet it’s seen lots of these storms

windmill_storm_40782-4_hdrYesterday’s storms missed my family’s abode, but they did cause plenty of excitement east of Bismarck-Mandan.  I took the opportunity to venture out with my boys and my new used truck to see what the clouds were doing.  Thankfully they obliged – I caught this shot not far northeast of Bismarck.  Wow.  I also got some cool video, but I don’t have time to post it just yet.  Maybe I’ll update the post later.

This old windmill, weathered as it is, has probably seen quite a few storms roll through.  It looks as though it’s probably been battered by them, too.  Is there any wonder why I’m so attracted to this feature of the North Dakota prairie?

Thursday night thunderhead

clouds_ip_8571We were treated to quite a show here in Bismarck-Mandan tonight.  I was on the east end of Bismarck when I spotted this building cloud to the west.  The sun had just moved behind it, making that “silver lining” glow like a bolt of lightning.  And oh, the rays!

 

clouds_ip_8564My little boy thought it looked like God was playing hide and seek behind the cloud, and I couldn’t argue that assessment.

 

cloud_38620-2_fusedBefore long it was in full bloom and moving overhead, so I grabbed my camera from the back of the truck (the previous photos were from my iPod) and snapped one more shot before the cloud dissipated even more.

Wow, what a beautiful sky tonight, eh?

Frosty four wheelin’

frosty_4x4_36458Lately the temperature swings have made for some cool frost.  Not the long spiky kind, unfortunately, but frost just the same.  This is one knobby on the tire of my truck, and it caught my eye as I was getting ready to head out with my camera the other day.  This was before the current warm stretch, of course.  I hope I can start getting back out with my camera more, just like the old days…