Dear Mister Postman, we have a President and Vice President

If you find yourself in the post office / federal building on 3rd and Rosser, you’ll be greeted with this wall upon entering the building.  It has the building directory, these large official seal plaques, and up until recently a photo of the President of the United States and his vice president.


Above the building directory a photo of the nation’s top executives has hung for as long as I can remember.  As I recall, it took a little while for the photos of The Preezy and Joe Biden to come down after the inauguration of our current president, but it’s taking even longer for the replacement photos to arrive.


“Insert president here” apparently.  All we have are hooks, no photos.  It’s easy to make pithy comments about the speed of federal bureaucracy, but really…seven months to hang a pair of photos?  That’s pretty slow.

update: I should point out that the building is operated by the GSA, and the Post Office is merely a tenant – just like the federal courts et al.

One Foggy Morning

Sunday morning’s sunrise was memorable not only because I finally got up and ventured out with my cameras, but also due to the heavy fog that blanketed the area.  I bolted north of town to find a spot I’d scoped out earlier in the week for just such an occasion, then worked the area for a while before the fog burned off and I had to get ready for church.  Yes, this post’s title is a play on “One Froggy Evening”, a Warner Bros. favorite.


This is the little barn I had in mind.  I rolled up right as the sun crested the horizon, giving me the splashes of color for which I’d hoped.


Coming a little closer.  Some of the leaves are changing already, which is a frightening thought.  I want a lot more summer yet.  I hope we get a lengthy autumn and all the color that entails.


And a little closer.  The morning color was so wonderful, the air so crisp and cool, and the subject was every bit as good as I’d hoped when I scouted it several days ago.


Then it was time to move on and capitalize on the fog… I had a hunch that the right hay bale would make for a great photo.  I was right.


Then I came upon this valley, with rolling hills and evenly spaced bales to decorate the ditch.  The fog was just sticking to the valleys at this point.


The sunrise light turned out to be far more versatile than I thought.  Oh, wait…that’s also the brand of this combine.  I honestly thought this shot was going to be a throwaway, but then I got home and saw its potential.


This was actually the first shot of the morning, but I wanted to save it for last.  Thankfully it didn’t delay me too long, allowing me to arrive on site for the shots of that little building just as the light I wanted started to develop.

It’s been a long time since I got sunrise photos, but I sure made the most of this one!

Like Golden Swirls

I’m naturally attracted to various “fallen farms”, but sometimes they surprise me with something else nearby that catches my eye.  This wheat field, for instance, had some really cool geometry.  The way the rows curved along the hill and around this old house was really neat, so I figured I’d try a few angles.


The swirls actually kinda remind me of when I was doing tile installation, as my glue pattern would have little swaths like this.


Gold and blue always go well together, don’t you think?  Throw in the remains of this farmstead for accent, and you’ve got a pretty straightforward photo opportunity.


As much as I liked the colors, I decided to go all monochrome for a second and do this angle.  I’ve traveled past this particular photo spot numerous times, but I’m glad I finally stopped and investigated this time around.

It doesn’t happen often these days, so make it count

I haven’t gotten up for a sunrise in a LONG time, but at the last last weekend I made a point of it.  I was “off the grid” to a degree, and actually went to bed at a decent hour with my family while we camped.  I got up in time to stagger over to the shoreline and nab a few shots.  Sunrises have been few and far between for me, so i was determined to work this one over completely.


Sunrise and sunset bring rapid changes to the sky, in the color cast and lighting overall.  I perched with the frogs (which my kids loved all weekend) and waited for the sun to come around the corner.


There was some deep fog on the lake, which played its own tricks with the approaching sun’s light.  The fog comes on little cat feet, by the way.  One of my favorite poems.


I love how the gold and blue offset each other – they are, after all complementary – and the fog just rolled lazily across the water.  I needed this kind of peace and quiet.  The fam was still all sacked out, so it was just me and the various critters.


As the sun rose it seemed to almost push the fog  away.  It took a while for things to clear, though, giving me plenty of time to capture partial reflections like this.


The spider webs in the trees were illuminated, too.  They were pretty ragged, though.  I would have loved to have seen an intact orb-type web, but no such luck.


With the sun risen, the light cast changed entirely and I spun the camera around to catch some nice morning color and the last of the fog on the lake.  Then I did what any camping dad would do…I sauntered back to bed!



Shot through a chain link fence, but I got it

This is the kind of photo that you want to edit while listening to Joel Porter (which you should do anyway).  We had a spectacular sky leading up to sunset tonight, and I was way out of position when I noticed it.


What had really caught my eye was this blazing hole in the clouds, and the swirling wisps behind it.  I pulled to the side of the road, found a gap in the tall chain link fence in my way, and started snapping some shots before the clouds shifted too much.


And it did within the span of a couple of minutes.  The sun moved into this little window, and the various clouds morphed and drifted until the hole was completely gone.  But I’d caught what I needed.

I’m not always so lucky.  Last night, while trying to get home with four TCBY waffle cones for my family still intact, I just barely missed an amazing cloud in the east.  So it was nice to be able to catch this.  A friend texted me that he was taking his camera down to the river to catch the coming sunset, but I went home to watch it on the deck with my wife.  That’s one of our favorite things to do.  I’d been on the road for work all day, and just staring up at the sky without having to try to capture it in a photo was some nice R&R indeed.

Double Ditch dash

Wednesday night’s clouds were too good to resist.  I wanted a fresh photo spot for them, but with a tiny window looking like it might present itself I opted to just find a nice high spot.  Double Ditch was the most obvious choice, although the entire site is lined with orange construction fence and heavy equipment right no.  It made for some challenges, but it also forced me to consider some angles I hadn’t before.


Right as I got there, a little sliver opened up in the clouds on the horizon, beaming brilliant rays of color all over the place.  Thankfully I had just dashed across the prairie grass and rolls of the Double Ditch terrain and set up to the south of the little stone hut I know so well.


As soon as the gold light abated, I worked feverishly to capture some of the remaining purples and pinks that managed to sneak through the otherwise diffused sunset light.  The horizon had closed off again, but plenty of color managed to find its way through the low, dense clouds that had brought me here in the first place.


There were some clear spots from time to time, with blues and even pinks making fleeting appearances.  The clouds were moving very quickly, and many were close to the ground.  That’s why I was here, as I’ve mentioned.  They didn’t disappoint.


This is the only view I could get from the stone wall without featuring dirt berms, orange fencing, and/or earth moving equipment.  Thankfully the clouds did their part.


I was walking back to the truck when I realized there was a different kind of show taking place to the northeast.  This turned into a cell that dropped a bunch of rain on northeast Bismarck on its way through the area.


This was a quick dash, but I’m so glad I took it.  The skies were really dramatic, with low, fast-moving clouds, and although I didn’t expect any grand sunset light I was treated to a few minutes anyway thanks to that sliver opening up on the horizon.  As with any sunrise or sunset, being there in case something happens paid off big.