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.

Fog and Wind

This was actually my first photo of the morning last Sunday when I went out before church to chase the dense fog.  I’d been watching the data and was certain that we’d have a thick blanket of fog in the morning, and I was right.  It was fantastic!

I suppose you could attribute inspiration for the post title to a song if you prefer.  My iPod has been serving up some wild 80s stuff lately, such as the Bats, Stranglers, Daysleepers, Severed Heads, and the like, so why not a little Robert Scott?

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!

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!



I’d say it was a couple of bucks but it’s actually a load of bull

elk_41665I’m no hunter, so I had to use Google to verify that a male elk is a bull and not a buck.  Don’t ask me why.  All I know is that these guys and a few of their friends hung out near me for a little while after I arrived at the part of Theodore Roosevelt National Park where they were grazing at sunrise.

badlands_sunrise_41752-7_hdrI’m glad they sauntered off when they did, because if they hadn’t I’d have missed this shot…my favorite of the summer!

Worth sleeping in the truck, I’d say

I bought a new truck a few weeks ago.  Well, new to me – I don’t have the money to buy a brand new one, and if I did I still would hate to take that depreciation hit the minute I drive it off the lot, so I always buy cars at least a year old.  Anyway, it’s the most fun four-wheeled vehicle I’ve ever owned, and to prove it I took a 950 mile weekend photo jaunt – Thursday and Friday on my own, and Saturday on a roundabout way to pick up my kids from Bible camp.

After roaming all the way to the South Dakota border (and past it by several feet before dipping back into Best Dakota), I rolled into Medora later than I’d hoped.  It was at least 10:30 local time, and I didn’t feel like setting up a tent only to take it down a few hours later.  My plan was to wake up before sunrise and enter the South Unit of the national park, so the best option seemed to be just sleeping in the truck.  I had already folded the back seats down, so I stacked all my gear on one side, inflated my air mattress on the other (I’d reserved a campsite with electricity), plugged in a cheap little fan I’d bought at Walmart in Dickinson to combat the heat and humidity, and dozed off.

Not only am I pleased to report that I slept like a baby in the new ride, but I also woke up before sunrise without the aid of an alarm.  I let the air out of the mattress, hopped into the front, and entered the park just in time for the sun to come up.  I hiked down to the Little Missouri and got this:

badlands_sunrise_41752-7_hdrSteam on the water, rays streaming from the sun, and loads of color all around.  I couldn’t have started the day better.  Didn’t even have too many mosquitoes at that time of the morning, either!

I made the park loop, but nothing really caught my eye – except some elk you’ll see another time – so it was time to head back to the campground for a shower, into town for some bacon and eggs, then off to roam the North and South Units and the National Grasslands in between.  I’ve been tied up with multiple gigs lately that have involved 12+ hour days, so I haven’t sorted through them all yet…but I have loads of photos to share as time allows.

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.

Good morning, sunshine

I don’t know about you, but I’m loving the fact that the sun is coming up earlier in my day. You’d think I’d be trying to capture as many of those photons as possible on the sensors of my cameras, but life’s been a little too busy for that lately. I hope to be able to acquire some photograhic gems at some point in the near future. All work and no play, they say…

A rosy glow…a pinkish hue

I thought I’d start off the morning with an early Seinfeld reference. One of the greatest things about this time of year is the brilliant colors at sunrise and sunset. This winter certainly has not disappointed in that regard. We’ve had our share of cloudy mornings but also some brilliant sunrises and sunsets! The trick is to be ready to capture them when they occur.