A long overdue sunrise

sunrise_tree_32667It’s been longer than I can remember since I’ve been out to capture a sunrise.  It’s about time to start doing that more often, and yesterday was a new beginning for me.  I was initially discouraged since the sky was mostly covered with dense clouds, but the horizon held some promise.  I stopped for a cappuccino at B&J and headed east.  This is what I found developing.


sunrise_tree_32669Even though there was a mere sliver of clear sky on the horizon, it was doing its work to difract beautiful red, pink, and orange colors on the clouds above.  I set up shop and waited for the drama to start…


sunrise_tree_32868Although the purple and red sunrise photo was enough to make my day a success, I hung around a little bit to see what would happen before the sun climbed past the available window.  I was not disappointed.  The blazing orange sky that resulted was nothing short of breathtaking.  The ripple of low clouds between the sun and me became a perfect reflector for the fiery hues.


fiery_sunrise_32856Looks like rolling fire, doesn’t it?  This is the most dramatic part of a sunrise and also the most fleeting.  I’ve seen photos of this pop up all over Facebook, rightly so.  The intensity was amazing.


sunrise_tree_32890After a couple of minutes of this, the colors began to wane and I headed back to town satisfied.  This was a fantastic way to start getting back into the swing of things.  I’m going through my selection of GPS waypoints and other notes to recall suitable foreground objects for sunrise silhouettes, and as the sky cooperates I hope to bring more sunrises home with me.

Tribune article features quote highlighting one-way liberal “logic”

tribune_012215Tinfoil-hat liberal groups are active as ever in North Dakota, and they were in full batscat-crazy mode this week at a hearing for modifying the state’s legal levels of TENORM (technologically enhanced, naturally occurring radioactive materials if I remember correctly).  At the forefront is the Dakota Resource Council.  One of their minions made a comment that caught my eye immediately.  According to the Tribune:

Kathryn Hilton, of DRC, challenged the Argonne study because it used computer models instead of testing radioactivity levels from affected sites.

Well, now…wait a minute.  Someone should point out to Ms. Hilton that, according to her fellow advocates, computer models are gospel.  That’s what they’ve been insisting for twenty years or more in order to advance us toward global socialism (the only purported cure for global cooling warming climate change).

The only way one can “prove” that American SUVs are causing global cooling warming climate change is by programming computer models to say so.  That assumption is “baked in” when the simulations and models are first constructed.  That’s how scientists can be so confounded at the lack of warming which their models predictably foretold, yet bears no correlation to the actual data.

In other words – no, in Kathryn Hilton’s words, computer models are not the same as actual observations and data…two things that don’t bear out the AGW (American-made Global Warming) theory.  Yes, theory.

Just this week I was engaged in a discussion where it was pointed out that none of these liberal positions have a leg to stand on in that they have to constantly violate their own precepts in order to adapt their “logic” to fit the premise of the day.  If the liberal mind was made into a city, it’d be an impossible place to navigate since there would be no two-way streets.  This single quote, while largely unnoticed, is a perfect example.

That’s my boy

jonathan_sunset_57900The sky only allowed us a few minutes, and it was cold and breezy outside, but there was a pretty good sunset the other day.  I had my littlest guy with me and handed him one of my cameras so he could accompany me in style on a brief photo jaunt between errands.  I looked on the camera’s card yesterday and found this shot.  Pretty darn good for a young boy with no training!  I didn’t have to level it or crop it. I added a touch of saturation because my old 20D is set to produce very neutral photos, but that’s it.

Photography and time with my boy.  Can’t get much better than that!

Aaaaahhhhh…now that’s more like it

sunset_32646What distinguishes tonight from just about every other night in recent memory?  I got out with my flippin camera, that’s what!  I took the day off and spent it with my family, then met with some folks on fixtures for the home we’re building, and then had a chance to grab my cameras (and one little boy) for a dash to the river.  I handed him a camera, albeit without a memory card until I realized my mistake, and had mine as well.

It was a short window of opportunity.  Things got gold really quickly for us, but then the clouds you see on the horizon above rolled in and prevented the sun from splashing any other colors across the sky ahead.  That’s okay…we took advantage of our opportunity.  I’ve often said that any photo trip from which I bring even one photo I like is a successful trip.  Today was an obvious success.

Now that’s recycling

spidey_ip_4869I was up in Minot last night as part of one of the video crews covering the Century-Minot boys’ basketball games that evening.  Man, were those two INTENSE games.  After initial setup it was time for a Fuddrucker’s run (it’s ALWAYS time for that).  As I rounded the corner in the commons area, though, I was confronted by our friendly neighborhood webslinger.


spidey_ip_4871It looks like Spidey was made from recycled streamers or other pep club materials, plus a lot of plastic and tape.  In any case, it was an admirable rendition.  No explanation as to why he was there, though.


spidey_ip_4872My compliments to the sculptor(s) of this tribute to my favorite Marvel superhero.  The web was a nice touch, even getting his fingers in the right position to match the way he’s drawn in the comics.

You never know what you might find when you come around the corner.  After all, I encountered the Batphone in an armory in Dickinson two years ago!



parhelion_60d_0813Here’s one cool side effect of the bitter cold today!  There were plenty of ice crystals in the air today, and the sun didn’t disappoint.  Brrrr.  Thanks to my friend Zach for the tip, or I’d have missed this.

Gettin’ its good side

capitol_2015_32601This morning I posted how I prefer to take photos of the capitol windows in the morning rather than at night.  Even so, I came out tonight to chase some more photos of the tower with 2015 in the windows.  January 2nd is a weekday, and the people working in the capitol don’t get it off, so I think the numbers will be gone tomorrow.  Fortunately, the low cloud cover bounced and diffused the city light to give a similar effect.

Having tackled the lighting issue in the morning and at night, I thought I would point out something that will have make your capitol photos stand out from the typical:  the capitol’s best side is not its front side.


capitol_2015_32588This is my favorite angle of all: from the northwest corner.  This has actually gotten simultaneously easier and harder with all the construction going on in the area.  When they put in the new parking lot in the northwest area a year or two ago, that provided a nice angle no longer obstructed by a row of trees.  The recent renovation and reconfiguration of the north parking lot has put a lot of really bright lights in the way.  Thankfully I was able to find an angle that avoided most of them and their glare, providing the only clean angle you can get of both the tower and the legislative wing.  I don’t even mind that the front steps and Memorial Hall are absent from this photo.


capitol_2015_32616This one requires a short hike from Divide Avenue, but it’s worth it.  You get two unobstructed sides of the tower with trees in the foreground.


These are two of my favorite views of the capitol.  The view from the bottom of the mall is so cliche’ at this point, the view from the southeast is full of those pesky streetlights, and the view from the southwest makes getting the whole legislative wing nearly impossible.  It was fun working the angles and listening to a podcast tonight, watching all the people driving through the grounds and snapping quick cell phone photos.  It occurred to me that perhaps my favorite part of the capitol window displays isn’t the displays themselves, but the enthusiasm so many North Dakotans have for them.

I’m not a smart man, Jenny…but I know this trick

capitol_2015_32539Last night was a little ugly for photography. It was cold. It was windy. I was preoccupied with taking my little guys to Mandan to light a few dollars’ worth of fireworks, then bringing them home for story time with Rush Revere.  I checked the weather on and off through the night, but the wind and cold kept me indoors.  That’s okay; I had another plan, anyway.


capitol_2015_32537One problem I had right off the bat when doing photos of the capitol with the windows lit was the dark surroundings; the lit windows looked like dots floating in the dark.  I realized that I needed a brighter background if I wanted the photo to look better, so I started chasing my capitol photos just before dawn.


capitol_2015_32546Showing up a little before dawn gives one the flexibility to let the light you want come to you.  It’s a delicate balance between having things too dark and too bright, because you want the “2015” to stand out.


capitol_2015_32551Of course, it’s half part luck. If this morning had been sunny, I’d have been sunk.  The cloudy sky, however, diffused the waxing light of the sunrise just enough to give me what I needed.  The snow and capitol were lit, as was the sky in the background, but not enough to blow out the numbers in the windows.


capitol_2015_32555It’s a just-perfect set of circumstances that will allow you to get a shot like this, where it looks like daylight but the windows are still visible.  I didn’t do any Photoshop or Lightroom trickery to make any of these shots happen.  It’s all by trying to glean an understanding of the light, being in the right place at the right time, and having the good fortune of the weather conditions required.  I was out of bed, done with my photos, and back home before my first bleary-eyed little boy wandered out of his bedroom to say good morning to Daddy.

Happy New Year!



How to tell it’s still Christmas

chmielewskis_32517It wouldn’t be Christmas without a photo of the Chmielewski’s Christmas Corner.  I went by last night to grab a photo or two, and it was magnificent.  I didn’t have to wait for traffic, either!

One other display you should check out, which I didn’t photograph, is the Holiday Lights 4 U display on Columbine Drive.  I’m not going to ruin the surprise, but there is an element of this display that I haven’t seen anywhere else, and which will blow your mind the first time you see it.  If you’re a kid, it’ll be especially cool.  That display should be up through the weekend, too.

I still have the Christmas lights and tree up in my studio at work, and the Christmas songs play on repeat.  I suppose I’ll take them down next week when I return to work, but for now I’m keeping the spirit of the season alive and well.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!