On a very white, overcast day recently I decided to pay a visit to an old friend, a house that I’ve liked to check in on frequently that isn’t too far from my property. I took the opportunity to explore a few new angles, as I had some drone batteries I needed to run down to 50%.
Since it’s already April, the bleak winter scenes are losing some of their appeal, but I was totally into it back when I flew to these shots. Sometimes in the winter you get days where the air is just heavy – it’s like the entire outdoors is one giant soundproof room. I love days like that. They remind me of growing up in the Rockies where the mountains and their thick blanket of snow seem to absorb all the sound. It’s so serene.
Of course, there was nothing serene about my propeller noise, but I did manage to enjoy the day anyway. Coming home with some nice pictures to play with in Photoshop didn’t hurt, either!
Now I hope we can get to some green photos as quickly as possible. With the snow gone, we’re left with brown grass and leafless trees. This is why I prefer autumn in North Dakota to the spring; the weather is about the same, but in the fall we have green whereas in spring we’re stuck with brown. Regardless, I look forward to the turning of the season. It can’t happen quickly enough!
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!
2018 is an exciting time…plenty of new photo gear to try out. So I took a little time Friday afternoon to visit a church nearby that I hadn’t stopped to investigate before: the Glencoe Sloan church, southeast of Bismarck-Mandan on Highway 1804.
I had a good photography year last year, and one thing I did (but didn’t post on the ol’ Blog) was to chase down many old prairie churches. Some were abandoned, some were almost wreckage, but all were beautiful in their own way.
I hope to work on a calendar or some other project featuring these churches, but I still have a few I’d like to add. On my travel budget, that might have to wait for a bit. But you’ll see them, I can assure you.
I ventured out to Double Ditch tonight for a number of reasons, but one of them was to see if it was still blocked off for construction purposes. Thankfully one can now drive in on the north road, although the walking path heading south to the stone hut is still marked as closed due to construction.
The ice was melted in spots, and definitely had its share of dirt blown into it. In fact, it was pretty breezy tonight, too. But I got some cool shots, satisfied my curiosity, and headed home to thaw my fingers.
Oh yeah – one of the other reasons I was out there was to check on my favorite post. It’s still hanging in there, I’m glad to report, despite the continuous bank erosion. I remember being able to walk around this post on the left side, although the land to the north of the fence is posted. That part of the bank has been down below for a long time. That’s some sturdy barbed wire holding this thing in place!
Well, there are many ways…but this is one. My wife was at a friend’s, painting a portrait of some sort, and on her way home she stopped to grab this photo for me! I didn’t even know they were doing this in the windows. I have to admit, when she first said there was a giant “6” in the front windows I didn’t connect it to the Bison. Duh. I’m glad she’s got an eye out for things like this! Now I don’t have to go out in the cold tonight.
If you’re on your way to Flasher (and let’s be honest, who isn’t) you might want to keep your eyes open for this old foundation. It sits along Highway 21 just a little ways east of town. It’s on posted land, but thankfully the best angle for it is just outside the fence anyway.
There are actually a few decrepit windmills in Bluegrass, ND, but the remnants of the little town are encroached upon by subsidy-sucking wind turbines on all sides. I stopped to grab a quick old-vs-new shot during my most recent drive past the remains of this ghost town.
This barn sits south of Mandan, beckoning to me every time I’m near St. Anthony. Of course, the correct pronunciation is more like “Snatnee” – sometimes even with some h’s in there for good Cherman measure – but I won’t get mired in the details.
Some mornings I like a blazing sunset, washing the landscape with brilliant color. But overcast mornings have their way of bringing out color, too. First off, there are none of the hard shadows of that piercing sunrise light. Second, the muted tones lend themselves very well to the color already present.
I’m glad I had the clouds on my side when these photos were taken. Much of the detail of a beautiful barn like this one would be lost in shadows, and I wouldn’t have been able to photograph both sides of it in one sitting!
Here are a couple more shots from Friday, when I didn’t let the haze of smoke from fires in Montana, Canada, et cetera get in the way of a great photo day. I’m actually starting to like the drab background it provides, without any cloud distractions and the change to the color cast of the light in the foreground.
Take this shot, for example. I was going to post it later on its own with something about “leaning” in the title, but it is actually a great example of the diffused light provided by the haze. And, just like a previous photo, the color of the otherwise drab building stands out against the gray background better than a brilliant September blue.
More to come! I went out thinking the light was giong to kill any chance of good photos but came home with a whole pack of candidates.
Oh yeah…the post title comes from this dreamy song by Walls… a wonderful little instrumental track just perfect for roaming the North Dakota countryside.
I took off work a little early today and roamed Morton County for a bit. I have to say that Morton County is one of the most beautiful parts of North Dakota (or, as I like to say, “Best Dakota”) due to its variety. But with all the smoke in the sky, however, it was not a really great photography day. Nevertheless, I found a few good shots…I will share them over time.
Here’s the first – the haze actually worked in my favor with this one. I figured I had to seek out a subject that would benefit from a drab grayish sky, and thankfully this red roof fit the bill.
As for the post title, that comes from the song that my iPod appropriately served up via its shuffle feature (as it’s wont to do). A perfect, dreamy tune for the drive back to town under such dreary canopy, since I’d been craving some color in the sky all along. I think part of the feels I got from this song had to do with the realization that this part of Morton County was overrun by terrorists last year. Gonna be a while until that memory fades.
I hope the fires in Montana relent soon, not just for the sake of those in danger but also for everybody downwind. The smoke is a health hazard as well as a nuisance to photographers. But I do yearn for those clear skies once again.