Running out of angles

I’ve photographed this building from all over the place, including the air, and I’ve taken photos while hanging off of its roof on multiple occasions. So I struggle with trying to find something different each year. I don’t think I’ve tried this one, so it seems like a suitable way to ring in the new year.

My top 18 of ’18

I suppose it’s time to pause and reflect on “last year”, so let’s look at some of my favorite photos from 2018. I haven’t been able to get out with my cameras lately, and it’s driven me absolutely nuts, but I did actually produce hundreds of photos I like during the year. I posted 148 of them on my blog, the rest being part of projects I’m still working on. Here we go:

My beautiful bride actually took this one with her cell phone. We love lighting up them windows on the capitol tower, and the Bison gave us a grand reason to do so!

I took this photo (and a 360 panorama of it, if you check my Facebook page) down by Hazelton. It’s gone now…razed later in the spring.

We had a brief period where there was a ton of frost each morning, so I was able to work the Bismarck-Mandan area pretty hard and grab a variety of frost photos. This is among my favorites.

Every now and then I even nab a pretty decent shot on my lunch break! This was one more from the frost collection.

This is one of Mandan’s best kept secrets. I’ve lived in the Bismarck-Mandan area on and off for forty years and didn’t know it was hiding right here!

Then there are these ice chunks, left behind by ice fishermen, on Harmon Lake. Combined with just the right North Dakota sky, of course…

I did manage to do a fair bit of flying this year, which is the best way to get shots of barns like this one. That’s quite a lean. I’ll need to revisit it and see how it looks a year later. Hopefully it still stands.

The old Berlin Baptist Church northeast of Ashley was purchased by a private party and was in the process of being dismantled when I stopped by. I don’t know if the work was completed over the summer. Too bad…this looks like it was a breathtaking building before. Right on the lake, too.

I got soaked walking out to this shot, but at least I came back without a single tick crawling on me, despite it being the peak of the season.

Hootie the owl
I had big plans for a relationship with Hootie, the young owl who took up residency in my friends’ tree. Sadly, I never saw him again after the day this was taken. They sold the house and moved away, and Hootie moved on as well.

If you’ve followed this blog at all in the past, you know that I have had a thing for windmills. Not as much in 2018, but I did get this shot. I had my oldest boy with me along with the camera I bought for him to help me on these trips.

I spotted this while flying around northeast of town. You’d never know it was there if looking from the ground. And the sun and clouds decided to play along.

I’m not sure if this church is still holding regular services, but it is being maintained. And I loved the colors in the steeple – they were a wonderful suprise.

Another product of flight. I’m not sure, but I think I was slightly closer to Montana than I was to Canada…but I was in the extreme northwestern part of our great state when I discovered this guy. I have some other wild photos from this area that I’ll post as part of another project someday.

Featured recently from a different angle, this is one of my favorite barns of 2018. I spotted it in east-central North Dakota while working my way from Harvey to Fargo using “the creative route”. I love to roam, after all.

I missed my chance to shoot this windmill west of Harmon Lake in the way I’d always wanted; neighborhoods have sprung up on all sides, and the farmstead it sits upon has been dismantled. But I did get this westward angle just after sunset, and that’ll have to do. So many of these opportunities are disappearing.

This little house – I know it looks like a barn, but it’s not – sits near Danzig Dam. I didn’t have much time to investigate, just enough to dash out there, fly around a little bit, and get home in time for some family stuff. I’m glad I found it.

This house sits northeast of town quite a ways, and was something I’d been hunting for quite a while after seeing a historical photo of it. I have many angles of it, and most feature its most distinctive feature: the overhand above the remains of the porch. This isn’t necessarily my favorite, but it demonstrates what made this house catch my eye. I’ll be going back here…I ran out of sunlight when I arrived this fall, and the sunset began shortly after I pulled up.

So that’s it: if I had to pick eighteen of my favorites, I think this is how I’d roll. I have so many more that I’d love to shoehorn in, including different angles of the ones already featured above, but I’ll try to trickle those out as future blog posts in the future. Here’s to 2019, may it be even more productive from a photography standpoint than last year! If I can wrangle more gas money, I think we’ll be set. I have big plans…


I stumbled upon this barn earlier this summer, and was thrilled to find it. What a unique architecture! At least I hadn’t seen one like it. And it had a great shade of red remaining in places.

If it looks familiar, it’s because I posted this angle a while back. Both are from a flight over the area, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the find.

I haven’t been able to get out with either aircraft or camera lately, but I’m hoping to venture out soon! All my friends are posting cool stuff, and it’s driving me absolutely nuts.

Got a bit of an overbite there

I’d seen a photo of this home posted online and knew I had to find it.  A lot of Google hunting based on a description with the posted photo gave me what I needed to load up the truck and venture off to the northeast.  I marked six or seven spots that looked promising from space, then proceeded to hunt them all down.  This was the last spot on my list, and it didn’t disappoint.


I’m sure you spotted the same feature about this house that I did: the overhang of the upper floor, no longer supported by columns to the deck below.  I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before this collapses, but for now it has a great visage.


Before long, the sun departed behind me and I had to head home and pressure wash a LOT of sticky mud from my truck.  But this home holds a lot of promise, so you can be sure I plan to check in on it from time to time.

It always comes back to this

I haven’t been able to get out with my personal cameras for fun in quite a while, but I do still have plenty of photos to post.  It’s just a matter of combing through them, another activity for which I have little time to do.  But here we are.

Given my affinity for windmills, I figured this might be a good place to start.

Joe’s garage

Okay, I don’t know if the owner’s name is Joe…but I struggled to come up with a title for this post.

The big question is…what are they trying to prevent from escaping?  All the doors are barricaded from the outside. >gasp<

Bismarck-Mandan area has the best autumn colors (Part 6)

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 sixth.

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!

Bismarck-Mandan area has the best autumn colors (Part 5)

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 fifth.

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!

Bismarck-Mandan area has the best autumn colors (Part 4)

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 fourth.

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!

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.