Christmas came early this year

I’ll continue my series of frost photos by rejoicing in the fact that I haven’t taken down my Christmas lights. They attracted a ton of frost (yes, I know it’s Rime Ice) last weekend and gave it some color to work with!

 

Orange you glad I was able to shoot photos like this one? Oh, I feel like I’m just getting warmed up with the puns. We got absolutely blasted out by my place. My wife said that it wasn’t as dramatic in town.

 

I’ve been green with envy in the past when others have had frost photos while I had none. I haven’t take photos like this in many years. The conditions need to be just right, and I need to be available to get out there with my camera.

 

It was actually pretty tough to get some shots of these bulbs without my gutters and stuff in the background. I wanted a nice, clean background for my frost photos, so I actually picked a corner with some good ones and dug out a ladder so I could contort myself and get these angles.

 

Moment of confession: I didn’t take my Christmas lights down after 2019’s holiday season wrapped up. And they’re all going strong, even after baking in the sun all summer long. Thankfully they hung in there (one last pun) and provided a wonderful batch of photos!

We now interrupt the frost for a pair of Parhelion photos

I was out early this morning and spotted some sundogs, so after running my errands I decided to roam around in the cold for a bit and capture them with my camera. It’s been a while since I’ve done any photography, so I’ve resolved to take any opportunities which present themselves.

I decided to find a solitary tree or two for some perspective and shadows. Thankfully, I quickly found a pair.

I like this tree better, but I kinda wish I’d framed a little wider to see if there was still a sundog above. Oh well…it’s still like -16F outside, so there’s no way I’m heading back out there. Even though photos like this are where I live “where the air hurts my face.”

Cold as ice

Cold as Rime Ice, that is…although I’m still going to call it frost. I actually predicted it, this time: I knew the weather conditions the night before, I’d decided that they were going to be perfect for this sort of development, and I was one hundred percent accurate the following morning.

When I first ventured out into the yard, I was astonished. I knew we were going to have an event in the morning, but in no way did I expect things to be so absolutely spectacular!

I don’t want to get into a measuring contest of any sort, but check this out! These are some pretty impressive spikes!

I also knew it was going to be cold outside when I wanted to go out and get these shots. Ya know what? It was worth it.

I’ve taken a few photos of this sort of phenomenon before, but only once have I gotten the really spiky type of ice crystals. And even then, they were nothing like this.

Naturally, I had to start close to home. There was just so much cool stuff! I knew I’d have a gold mine with the barbed wire, so I decided to check out some other surfaces around the place first.

It’s nice when you don’t even have to leave your deck in order to find an awesome photo! That made it easier to dart inside and warm up frequently.

X marks the spot. Over the next few days, I picked a lot of spots. I took a plethora of photos, too. I plan to group them into some awesome blog posts to share, too! So hang on, it’s gonna be like the good ol’ days when I used to post on this blog more frequently! At least for a while…

Frost ahead

It helps to know your way around Bismarck, paying attention to street names.

When we had a few days of spectacular frost (or Rime Ice, if you want to get technical) I was actually able to break away for a little bit and get my camera out!

I probably had my camera out of the bag more over the course of these four days than I did in all of 2020, so I’m pretty stoked to be able to present 109 edited photos of this phenomenon! And I’m going to continue to call it frost. The purists out there will have to concede that the difference between the two is in its formation, but the end result is the same: beauty.

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.