I’d say it was a couple of bucks but it’s actually a load of bull

elk_41665I’m no hunter, so I had to use Google to verify that a male elk is a bull and not a buck.  Don’t ask me why.  All I know is that these guys and a few of their friends hung out near me for a little while after I arrived at the part of Theodore Roosevelt National Park where they were grazing at sunrise.

badlands_sunrise_41752-7_hdrI’m glad they sauntered off when they did, because if they hadn’t I’d have missed this shot…my favorite of the summer!

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.

Journey to Aylmer

aylmer_42318-20_hdrI had the opportunity to stop into a former North Dakota town, Aylmer.  I suppose that’s how Southerners like my wife say “Elmer”.  Anyway, there isn’t much to indicate that the town used to be there except for an old metal sign at the railroad crossing and a few deteriorating buildings.


aylmer_42438-40_hdrI remember reading somewhere that this was a combination general store, blacksmith, and something else at one time.  I’ve seen photos of it with the roof intact, but sadly those days are long gone.  Here you can see a piece of it which the wind has carried quite a ways from the structure.


aylmer_42336-8_hdrIt looks like, and I think what I read backs this up, things were added onto this building as needed.  It’s a shame that it’s crumbling now.


aylmer_42472-4_hdrThere are also a couple of other buildings within a stone’s throw, such as this house with a barn that still has patches of a brilliant blue paint.  It too is suffering from a rooftop deficiency.


This was a fantastic trip.  I had picked up my kids from camp in my new-used truck, which absolutely loves the back roads.  For the weekend I’d clocked around 950 miles, and this was the cherry on top.  At some point, although I’m busy as heck at work and with freelance stuff, I’ll have to show more from that weekend.  I still have a few more photo targets I hope to visit while we still have some nice weather!

Gonna try not to be a part of the scheme


I’m trying to refrain from posting any further comments on the tantrum south of town. Why?

Although they’re engaged in illegal activity down there and the whole thing seems to be pressure-cooking toward violence, it is presently a war being waged primarily on social media (this weekend’s violence notwithstanding). I’m not going to feed the drama.

I try to avoid friends who treat social media like their diary and act out their own personal online soap opera. Likewise with this situation.

Meanwhile, this nonsense has very real consequences. My law enforcement family and friends are subject to very real threats, stoked by online hyperbole and lies. They and their families have had to change their names on social media due to stalking and threats from the “peaceful protesters”. I’ve seen Photoshopped imagery and reckless, incendiary online accusations against authorities which even Snopes has discredited with a mocking tone. As a result of this online campaign, the possibility of further and greater violence continues to increase.

I’m convinced that this whole thing is being orchestrated by professionals who know exactly what they’re doing, and I’m not going to be a tool for it by hurling things back and forth in this arena.

Some assembly required

old_truck_42105-7_hdrActually, you might be shy a few parts too.  This truck cab  and fenders are nestled into a hillside along the river, where they enjoy a fantastic view for their retirement.  No sign of the rest of it.  I bet it was pretty fancy in the day – that yellow is still brilliant after what appears to be a decades-long abandonment!

Waitin’ around pays off

bethel_church_43477-9_hdrI camped out by this former church in Morton County to allow the sunset to do its thing.  A row of storms had just moved through, and I had correctly guessed that the clouds tagging along the tail end of those storms would provide a lot of color to the sunset.  I was correct.  But I wasn’t done just then…


bethel_church_43550Waiting for the sun to go down and the moon to come up gave me the opportunity to capture some different clouds, albeit with stars sprinkled in as well.   To top it all off, my friend Zach and I headed out to a different prairie church, the one I wrote about a couple of days ago.

Starlight steeple

starlight_church_43558I don’t even remember how I located this old church, but it had to do with Google Earth and Garmin Mapsource.  This little church is in the middle of nowhere, not on a main road, surrounded by trees, and absolutely wonderful.  I had another old church to explore at sunset, so this one became a twilight target.


starlight_church_43555It’s a remarkable little building…while not fenced or posted, it looks privately owned.  I didn’t even consider going inside, although looking through the windows showed an intact structure with a choir loft, pews, and everything.  How fortunate the owner must feel!


starlight_steeple_43563After some long exposure shots it was time to head home.  I had a flat tire in my near future, a blowout actually, but I didn’t know it.  Thankfully that waited until I was in city limits, although still on I-94.  That made for a later night than planned, but I’m sure glad I was able to explore this awesome find!