The photo above is the one which started it all. I had picked up photography in 2005, and I wanted a place to share it. And so it began on New Year’s Day, 2006. And, like many of you, I’ve made a tradition of visiting the capitol on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, whichever works out. I’ve only missed it once, a few years ago when I was busy having surgery at Mayo Clinic. Otherwise, I’ve a spotless record.Continue reading
Well, I went back to the capitol tonight…and got my breeze. I threw up some flash units and went to town, and got the photo I was looking for!
Special thanks go to Wayne Stenehjem for the inspiration. I’m just shamelessly ripping off this idea from a photo he posted on Wednesday night. I’m a little jealous I didn’t think of this composition on my own!
I was inspired by Wayne Stenehjem’s photo, similar to this, with the North Dakota flag unfurled in the middle of the heart displayed via the capitol tower’s windows. So I ventured out to do something similar with my own touch.
I got there, and the breeze immediately died. I hung around for quite a while, thinking that certainly the breeze had to come back. After all, don’t we live in “The Saudi Arabia of Wind?”
Well, sadly, it was not to be so. I finally gave up and came home, so I hopefully won’t be too much of a zombie at work Friday. We’ll see.
Last weekend Main Street in Mandan was home to Touch a Truck, put on by the Mandan Progress Association. If you were coming into Mandan from the east and didn’t know what the heck the DOT sign flashing “TOUCH TRUCKS AHEAD” meant, your confusion probably only lasted a moment until you saw all the crane booms up ahead.
Of course, one doesn’t have to be a piece of heavy equipment or possess hydraulics with super powers to be an awesome truck. The Bookmobile was there, too. And it looked like it was getting a lot of attention from the kids.
Another attraction that amounts to playing in the box the toy came in: These sections of conduit were a hit with the kids, who climbed in and promptly insisted their parents roll them around on the grass. Yes, I did it too…rolling, not climbing inside.
One time my kids saw me running camera for a monster truck show, getting closeups of giant trucks doing wheelies and burnouts. The next day my wife took them to watch me on a rooftop, shooting video and stills of a helicopter doing touch-n-go’s on a helipad. When I was tucking them in, I asked if they thought their Daddy had a pretty cool job. “Yeah,” was the reply, “But did you know that Uncle [my brother-in-law] is a mailman?” He’d subbed in our neighborhood and let them walk his route with him for a bit, totally stealing my thunder.
I bet I could set off these scales nowadays…I need to bike more and shovel less food into my head. But when I keep coming up with things like blueberry ice cream float recipes, that isn’t very easy. Actually, these scales did weigh my kids, so they don’t just work for heavy things.
This was a fantastic event, with lots of fun for kids and big kids. I sure hope they do this again next year! I may bring ear plugs next time, though, because they let the kids tug the air horns in the trucks. It was a wonderful cacophony, don’t get me wrong, but they get pretty loud!
The Global War On Terror Wall of Remembrance made its way to Bismarck last weekend, and I was able to take my kids there and give it some context. One side features terrorist attacks on our country going back over thirty years as well as important points in history along the way. The other side features names of those who lost their lives due to terrorism or the war against terrorism.
I thought ND National Guard Adjutant General Al Dohrmann put it best when he said tht every name on this wall was the most important person in the world to someone. I sat in front of this wall with my kids and did my best to impress that upon them.
After a long day at the Touch the Trucks event, and hungry as heck, my kids did a great job of patiently listening to me trying to give context to this traveling monument. On the way to get our Pizza Burgers Flyin’ Style at Big Boy they asked me about how I remember the attacks of September 11th, 2001, and it was good to share my memories of the day. I hope they don’t have a similar experience in their lifetimes, although I’m not too sure what the odds are on that.
I didn’t actually spend much time photographing the ceremony, but I did attend it this year. Due to wind and threat of rain, the event was moved to the capitol’s Memorial Hall instead of outside at the monument on the east side of the J-Wing.
I did shoot some video of the rifle volley:
The video is in HD if you click through to watch it on YouTube.
This is a somber event, and one that I hope will get a lot more attention now that the community has gone through a major event with law enforcement and pro-LE sentiment seem to be at an all time high. Our community honors our heroes.
This weekend I’ll post a couple things from the peace officers’ memorial ceremony on Wednesday, but there’s no time to do so today. I did want to share this photo, though, because it is one of the few photos I’ve taken that lends itself to a particular effect.
I love HDR (High Dynamic Range” photography, especially with drone footage. I’m no master, but I hope to improve. I love the way I can grab details from the lightest and darkest parts of the photo and blend them all together into a “hyper-realistic” final product, and if done with the proper restraint it can be breathtaking while still not entirely artificial looking. Sadly, so many examples of HDR imagery (especially when it first took off) are overblown, oversaturated, pasty conglomerations that reduce the technique to an eyesore.
Not this one. I wanted a “painted” effect for the Peace Officers’ Association honor guard, and it worked. I had the right lighting, I had the right subjects (they stood STILL), and it all came together. I’d love your feedback on this effect. I’ll post a couple of photos and a video sometime in the near future.
Thanks to the legislature, this will be an annual event commemorating the men and women of law enforcement in our state.
You’d think I would be wishing you a Happy New Year, but that’s so cliche’. Instead I’m celebrating the birthday of this website. It was New Year’s Day 2006 when I started this thing with a photo of the year in the capitol windows. Since then I’ve written thousands of posts, with more thousands of photos, and I’m still standing.
I used to post almost daily, and wondered how long it would be until I simply ran out of material. That hasn’t happened. There have been plenty of life changes since then…kids, new house, severe medical setbacks, and just generally being busy. For instance, it’s been two months since I’ve taken any significant photos, even though I bought a new drone in December! Life is like that some times.
I’m hoping the next couple of months bring a slowdown so I can get back to doing what I enjoy: roaming Bismarck-Mandan and other parts of North Dakota, having fun with my cameras and sharing the results here. Hopefully there will be many more anniversaries like this one each New Year’s Day!
That’s right: I didn’t say “July 4th” – it’s Independence Day. I was hoping to walk in the parade today, but my knee said otherwise. So it was painkillers, Ace bandage, and sidelines. But I did get to spend the time with my oldest boy and some friends in town from Idaho, so that’s a plus. Here are some photos of things I found interesting:
I can’t see this without thinking about this song by They Might Be Giants. It’s a beast like this which helped assemble that
giant weather vane construction crane at St. Alexius.
One participant to keep an eye on every year is Butcher Block Meats. They always do what I wish more Mandan parade entries would do: make an actual FLOAT. They always motorize something, too – and this was no exception:
Here’s one of the Touchstone Energy logo folks out representin’.
At this point the heat was getting to my little guy, even though we had shade nearby for an occasional respite, so I honored his wishes and packed up for home. Looking down the line I could see that the next several entries were mostly vehicles, not actual floats. Although I have no doubt there were some occasional gems in there, nothing within view caught my eye, so it was easy to pry myself away. In future parades it would be cool to see more bona fide floats of clever design rather than vehicles with logos plastered on them. But for the time we spent today, the photos prove that we saw plenty of cool stuff on parade for Independence Day.