You’ve Got Mail – and lots of available space

This mailbox is many, many miles from…well, anywhere. But I’m sure it makes rural deliveries possible for plenty of folks ranching or farming in the area! It sits just south of our border with South Dakota, and naturally it caught my eye as unusual.

I don’t know if it’s been repurposed by the nearest resident or if it serves as a distribution point, but it sure looks cool, standing in isolation out along a vast stretch of the CanAm Highway!

Settled in

I spotted this little old building on my way back from the Black Hills recently. It’s got a lot of chaotic angles going on here, and even plenty of curves, and of course that’s what caught my eye.

How could you not have your attention grabbed by something like this? It’s almost like the structure is melting from the rear forward. Of course I had to do a U-turn and come back to check it out.

I admit, one of the things which made this one stand out to me was the little cupola at the top. While it’s pretty ragged, it’s actually hanging in there quite sturdily.

Remember I mentioned curves? Much of this wood is positively wavy. This wood has aged in a way which gives it a series of incongruent curves reminiscent of the lumber pile at Menard’s!

I have plenty of other photos to share – FINALLY – and hope to get back to some regular posting here in the future. That is, until the next emergency gets me swamped again…until then, let’s have ourselves some summer!

Apparently this idiot is still out there doing his thing

I woke this morning to a buzz online about a CBS Sunday Morning story which ridiculed North Dakota. Its focus was the “controversy” over the location of the Geographical Center of North America™ and the validity of various claims to its location.

The story itself is really entertaining, but it has one boil on its bottom: Clay Jenkinson. Fond of his own voice and written word, he apparently couldn’t resist the opportunity to attempt to elevate himself by ridiculing North Dakota. Which is no surprise; every time I’ve encountered something Clay Jenkinson has produced, it’s come across as overly wordy, rambling, and “too smart by half” – not to mention self-serving. But he lays claim to representing North Dakota and the prairie lifestyle, somehow…except when looking down his nose at them can elevate his image in his own eyes, apparently.

This piece could have had entirely different tone if not for a purported “scholar” attempting to distinguish himself by ridiculing the state he claims to love and represent. I’m actually surprised anyone is still paying attention to this braying jackass. So I guess it’s time for a meme:

“I’m a loser, baby…”

2020 was ridiculously busy for me. 2021 hasn’t been much better. It’s been almost two months since I’ve posted on this blog, and longer than that since I’ve been able to roam my beloved state with my cameras. But this travesty managed to bring me to my keyboard to speak out. Perhaps it can serve as a catalyst for me to load up my truck, hit some section lines for some photography, and come back to share images which prove that we’re anything but a “loser state.”

Stumped again

I found this stump in a pretty remote spot within the boundaries of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park one morning. I’d slept in the back of my truck, enjoying a hot summer night, and woke up just before the sun to head into the park for one of my favorite photos ever – one which had me slogging up the Little Missouri in bare feet to capture just the right angle at just the right time. Afterwards, I went poking around the park for a little while – shoes on, once I left the water – and discovered a few gems like this one. Then it was on to the Ice Caves, which was an adventure in itself.


Along the way, in a spot where you’d have to be going there to get there, I found this little eroded column with a cactus adornment.


One thing about hardy plants like weeds and cacti, they sure are determined! This was actually almost as tall as I, and it was an unexpected discovery as I trekked across previously unexplored (by me) territory.

I did make it to the Ice Caves, and I hope to go back someday…and hopefully the trip there will be as unique as the destination.

Still standing, sorta

I recently got a chance to swing by this old barn near Wilton and check in to see how it’s doing. You see, I’ve made a point of taking a peek to see its progress – decline, really – since I first stopped by in 2010 to use it for a test subject on a brand new camera model I was evaluating for purchase.


This is what it looked like when I first came across it. Pretty cool, huh? It was already starting to sag toward the front, and a large beam had been propped up to arrest its fall.


Even back then, it was pretty obvious where this was heading. The collapse was inevitable, but the old barn has put up one heck of a fight. This photo is over ten years old.


It’s weathered many storms and seen hundreds of sunsets, but it’s starting to sunset itself these days. The stone side is completely crumbled, the wood from the ends is gone, and the entire structure has now sunk to the ground. But I prefer to remember it like this.

I’m afraid that before too long this barn, like many of my other favorite “Fallen Farms” photo subjects, will be gone. But for now, I’m going to continue to pay it a visit occasionally, and it has never disappointed me…it always provides a fantastic photo opportunity, and I’m sure it will faithfully do so until the end.

If ya gotta go, ya better go now

As a dad, I’ve said that phrase innumerable times. In this case, I don’t think anyone wanted to go. It was below zero. I was returning from a trip to Fargo and decided to take a detour through Fort Ransom for a short – but necessary – hike. That gave me the opportunity to stop for some photos here and there, including this one. You may recognize it, as it sits atop a hill just north of Kathryn.

Think Spring

As Austin Powers would say…I’m spent. That’s right, this is my last frost (okay, Rime Ice) photo. I might have more left in the “unedited” category, but they’re going to have to remain in limbo for the foreseeable future.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for Spring. Since I pretty much worked straight through 2020, I’m really hoping 2021 will make up for it. I’ve accrued a ton of vacation time, I’ve worked hard to get myself in the best physical condition I’ve seen in a long time, and I have big plans along with some re-evaluated priorities. So bring it on!

Right down to the wire

I have to admit: my go-to when it comes to frost (or Rime Ice) is barbed wire. It’s a no-brainer; it frosts up frequently, has its own wild geometry, and there’s plenty of it in North Dakota.

See what I mean? Spikes on spikes. I got a lot of cool photos over that stretch of frosty/icy days, but I started with the barbed wire.


I did do some of that “colored matte” thing in cases where I just couldn’t get the kind of separation I needed to highlight the spikes. I hope it isn’t distracting, but it was simply necessary in some cases.


One of the cool things about barbed wire is that you can twist it, loop it, and otherwise manipulate it in ways which become pretty cool once ice spikes start growing on it.


Twisted, ain’t it? And with spikes! Kinda reminds me of the 1990s.


Barbed wire is more than just strands of wire stretched between posts. It’s got plenty of variety, and thankfully the ice didn’t discrimate.

Beautiful, isn’t it? I froze my butt off over the course of four days, taking hundreds of photos in the process…but I have to admit: I don’t get tired of this stuff. It’s just so pretty – and so rare.

Then there’s stuff like this. I don’t even feel the need to compose any words about it. It’s simply marvelous, regardless of what I might try to say about it.


Gotta put some other metal in here. My iTunes just shuffled into Def Leppard’s “Rock Brigade” as an inspiration.


A post about barbed wire featuring a post wrapped in barbed wire. I couldn’t resist pointing that out.


This is the shot I had in mind when I first left the house that Saturday morning, having successfully predicted this phenomenon. I had no idea what nature had in store for me, though.


Talk about cooperative geometry! Opportunities like this come around so infrequently, and I was finally able to take advantage of one.


Nailed it again. See what I mean? I just watched Top Gun, so let me declare this a target-rich environment.


Intersection would be a good way to describe the serendipity of the weather conditions which brought about this spiky phenomenon occurring at a time when I could finally dig my camera out of the bag and go for it! I’m thankful for the ability to go out and appreciate this example of God’s handiwork.

Think I’m done with frost photos? Not yet…