Bismarck-Mandan area has the best autumn colors (Part 3)

Sadly, this autumn has been brief, cold, and gray…and I’ve been way too busy to get out. But last year was perhaps the best photo fall I’ve ever had. Worth reposting. Six posts in all, I believe. Here’s the third.

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.

Bismarck-Mandan area has the best autumn colors (Part 2)

Sadly, this autumn has been brief, cold, and gray…and I’ve been way too busy to get out. But last year was perhaps the best photo fall I’ve ever had. Worth reposting. Six posts in all, I believe. Here’s the second.

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. 🙂

Bismarck-Mandan area has the best autumn colors (Part 1)

Sadly, this autumn has been brief, cold, and gray…and I’ve been way too busy to get out.  But last year was perhaps the best photo fall I’ve ever had.  Worth reposting.  Six posts in all, I believe.  Here’s the first.

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!

An hour well spent

I managed to sneak out for an hour or so with my cameras this weekend, and decided to head out to a spot which I’ve been eyeing for a long time.  I’ve actually roamed within a couple of miles of this place on multiple other occasions, so it’s been a little frustrating that I’ve never made it to this location.  But that frustration has ended now.


I originally thought this was a barn, having viewed it from a distance…but that was based on the roof line.  Obviously that isn’t the case.  It sure is a unique little house!

I found some other cool stuff in the area, which I’ll post later.  I’m still cleaning mud off my truck.  Something about section lines after two or three days of rain and slushy snow that tends to introduce a lot of sticky mud into one’s life.

So legendary, we outsource stuff like this

I posted earlier about the new North Dakota wordmark done in three varieties of the Futura font, scrambled around and with a round part of the k’s tip removed. It hasn’t been well received online. Many have asked where it originated. Apparently, it came from Minnesota.

According to KNOX radio, a Minnesota design firm was hired to come up with the new branding. If I’m reading this properly, not all of the $10,000 spent went to the wordmark- the way I read this article, I infer that it was part of an overall campaign.  That seems kind of low, so maybe this was a $10,000 piece of the larger rebranding effort.

Again, I agree with Julie at the Lone Prairie Blog that North Dakota should be portrayed as “Legendary”, not its visitors. The experience of coming to our state should be the stuff of legend. This new brand is misguided, and the face of it (see above) is grotesque.

Not only is this logo controversial, but add to the mix that no North Dakota designer was chosen to help with the brand. That isn’t going to go over well.

It took “Legendary” audacity to choose this logo

The state of North Dakota released a new logo today.  Well, to be more accurate, they released a new wordmark today:

The wordmark is simply three versions of the font Futura. The lavender circle is the brush it takes to alter the k.

I’m not sure what about this wordmark says, “North Dakota” aside from the text.


Here’s the old wordmark.  That was a fine piece of work.  Doesn’t it have motion and energy to it?  Doesn’t it fit perfectly with the dynamic Josh Duhamel ad demonstrating the kind of “legendary” experience you can enjoy when you come to North Dakota?  Yup.


I struggle to figure out the new wordmark   Three different versions of the Futura font, arranged in a jumble…but what is it trying to convey?


Now make it smaller.  You know what the eyes lose first? North.  Remember, there are two Dakotas out there.


I noticed that the Tourism Division is still using the old wordmark on their website.

If you want a great comparison of old vs. new, check out my friend Jamie’s post on it.  He’s writing on it from the point of view of a designer, which I am not.

If you want a great exposition of why the “Be Legendary” slogan is misguided, check out my friend Julie’s post on that.  In other words, our state is Legendary, not its visitors.  But read the post.

Designer Ben Brick also makes the point that there needs to be some design function involved in this sort of process, and it doesn’t look like he can find any, either.

Branding is a huge deal, not the sort of thing you want to get wrong.  I don’t know what process resulted in the wordmark above, but I don’t think it’s going to accomplish what they want it to achieve.

How firm a foundation

I jetted out west early in the morning to take a photo of this little building near a friend’s farm.  It wasn’t until I looked at the photos that I saw the bottom of the building.  Looks like the foundation is a little lacking.  That would explain its sagging.  Unfortunately, once a building starts to bow like this I think the clock starts ticking.  The big barn nearby has already succumbed to the ravages of time.

Gloomy hut

I took the kiddos duck hunting a while back and stopped in the small town of Denhoff to check it out.  I saw this quaint little building and thought I’d snap a quick shot.  Didn’t do much else for photography that day, or much at all recently, as I’ve been so busy and the weather hasn’t exactly been great.  I know there are plenty of opportunities out there, but right now I’m just so stacked I don’t know if I’ll be out there to snatch them.

Jug a lug

I found this jug up at Arena last weekend, perched atop the fence post at the corner nearest the old abandoned church.  I’m curious as to who found that lying around the place after all these years!

The old church has settled significantly, now that its supports have failed.  I’ll post photos of that soon.

Imposter website warning…but it’s been sitting like that for a year and a half

I spotted a Bismarck Tribune article tonight on their website (I don’t subscribe) that caught my eye.  Apparently the Bismarck-Mandan CVB would like you to know that the website is an imposter.  I looked it up on, and the registration information is private (i.e., there isn’t any information to be had).  So, being the curious type, I figured I’d check the ol’ Wayback machine at to see how long this has been going on.


There are a lot of snapshots of the website, going back to 1996.  You can imagine what that one looks like – or check it out yourself.  By looking through the various snapshots, it looks like things went off the rails in 2004 – fourteen years ago.  Between June 18th and September 7th, the website was swept up by some generic web search engine thing.  My guess would be that someone forgot to renew the domain or something, and didn’t know how to get it back.


Here’s how it looked up until the end.  I actually wrote a blog post about those fantastic winged buffalo.  I don’t have a way of pinpointing when exactly things went sour; just that mid-2004 window.  After that it apparently bounced around a bunch.


The current iteration of this site, however, seems to have popped up sometime between October 24th, 2016 and May 12th, 2017.  The theme seems to have been tweaked a little in the past sixteen months, but otherwise it looks the same.

The big question is…why did it take them approximately a year and a half to notice?