Dark history on the hill

This is an interesting old farm, simply because of the backstory.  According to something I read about this property earlier this summer, it was the site of a murder-suicide.  Two contentious brothers were found dead of gunshot wounds, one in the house and one outside by the water tank.

The story goes on to say that the brothers didn’t believe in banks, and they were rumored to have buried $30,000-$40,000 somewhere on the property.  The money has never been found, although it’s possible another relative took the money with them before leaving the farm.

This farmstead is built into the side of a hill, and it’s quite scenic indeed.  One of my fascination with places like this is the fact that they each have an untold story, so it’s interesting to get a little bit of a glimpse into the background of this cool farm.

Some weekend color

Three shots, two different times and locations.  One downside of being a freelancer is working some Saturdays, but this time it allowed me to be in the right place at the right time.  The skies burst into color out by my place just as I was getting home from a late gig.  I grabbed a nearby section line and swung into action.


These are actually from my backup camera, because when I pulled my main out of the bag both batteries had been depleted.  That’s only happened once or twice before.  But that’s why you carry more than one camera!  I had a $6,000 camera and tripod get lifted and thrown unceremoniously down the highway last winter by a sudden gust of wind – I’d have been in deep trouble if I didn’t have a second unit in the back of the truck.  I grabbed it and kept shooting.


Back things up thirty-six hours or so, and we’ve got this Friday morning shot from west of the Missouri River.  The spot I’d originally intended didn’t look like it was going to work out, so I stopped here.  It turned out to be a great vantage point.  Before the skies lit up, I actually left this spot; but when I checked my mirror and saw the sky coming to life I whipped back around and set up to capture the color in the clouds.

The color may be getting stripped from the trees, but this time of year there’s plenty of it in the skies.  I hope this winter is as profitable as the summer and autumn!  And no protesters, either.

A sixth of autumn colors

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!

Cinco de fall color

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!

Fall colors, part quattuor

I’m spent on the whole “counting in French” thing…besides, I had to switch to Latin in honor of my first Latin instructor, Mandan’s beloved Ed Axtmann, who passed away this week.

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!

Fall colors, part troix

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.

Fall colors, part deux

I actually, without even realizing it, have had a very fruitful autumn photo season. I posted a few shots yesterday, and here is the second installment.

I liked this assortment of color, found at McDowell Dam on Wednesday afternoon. A little bit of everything, except one color is obscured somewhat…

…which is why you take the shot from another angle. I’m not exactly sure which of these two I like best yet.  Leaning toward this second one.

Here’s a nice row of golds and reds, with very little green remaining anywhere but on the grass.  I love the reds, maybe because they’re less common out where I tend to roam.  They’re typically part of somebody’s landscaping.


Here’s the other angle of that scoria road I mentioned yesterday.  I actually took the time to process this one, instead of just posting the raw of the other angle.  This, too, is one of those shots where I can’t decide which angle I like best.


Here’s yesterday’s shot with the same color treatment.  I like the tree being close and larger, but now you don’t see the hills in the background on the left.   Hm…

Yes, I have more…but that’s all for now.  I hope to share a few more tomorrow. 🙂

Fall colors, part one

I took Monday off and roamed around a little bit with a shot list I’d been working on for a few days prior, and I must say I had a very fruitful time. While many of the shots I got have some lovely fall foliage in them, I haven’t taken the time to process those yet. I’ve got quite a backlog of photo and video work projects that I need to get done, so personal stuff is going to have to hold off for a bit. But I did manage to stop for some shots of trees along the way…


I love the gold and green here.  Could have used a little red, but that’s going to be in Part Two of this little series.


I nabbed a couple angles of this shot, one being behind this one a little way and illustrating the curve of the road differently.  But I ultimately chose this one.  I might have to take another look at the other shot for Part Two as well.


This had lots of green and lots of gold…but the setting sun made the green a little hard to pick out.

I have a few more coming, so stay tuned!