Sunday, December 1, 2019

November 2019

A Bighorn Ram on a mission at Badlands National Park
It is hard to believe November is over. Not counting shooting sports, I was only out having fun with my camera a handful of times. Even so, a trip across South Dakota early in the month to Harding County to watch my nephews win a playoff football game made for a great opportunity to travel through some of the most ruggedly beautiful parts of the state. I hit Badlands National Park on both the way out and back and travelled a few back roads in Meade County as well. These excursions yielded encounters with raptors of all sizes including bald eagles. I witnessed excited Bighorn Rams guarding their territory as the rut was on. I also saw (and took portraits of) a prairie rattlesnake that, for some reason, was not yet cozy in its den. I nearly drove over him on a gravel road on a mild and sunny afternoon near the Belle Fourche River. Afterwards, I took in one of the best South Dakota Sunsets at Badlands National Park that I've seen for some time. All in all, it was a good November for photography despite the end of the warm season and the oncoming of winter.  Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for checking in.

Juvenile Bald Eagle in flight

Prairie Rattlesnake potrait

Badlands National Park from the Conata Basin Road

Moonrise over Badlands National Park

Golden hour light at Badlands National Park

The last of the sunlight at Badlands National Park

Sunset over Badlands National Park

Sunset over Badlands National Park

Sunset over Badlands National Park

Northern Cardinal at the Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon

A lone tree on the prairie north of Miller, SD on my way home from Thanksgiving break.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

October 2019

A regal American Bison roaming the high plains of Wind Cave National Park
October of 2019 seemed to be a moody month. Early snow and intermittent rain showers kept the green around longer than normal. Just as the trees started to turn, cold and windy days swept over the northern plains. The result was a feeling that the autumn season seemed to barely touch down this time around. I was able to get out to the Black Hills early in the month for my annual trip to look for fall beauty. Later in the month I spent three evenings along the flooded mud flats of the Big Sioux River near Brandon to play around with fall color reflected in still water.  All and all, it was a fun month for photography. Here are twelve of my favorites from the excursions. Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for stopping by.

Yellow coneflowers were still in bloom in early October in Custer State Park 
A cool morning mist over Legion Lake

With the temperature hovering around freezing, the rain that fell along Needles Highway in Custer State Park began to freeze on the fall foliage

Frozen water droplets on red underbrush at Custer State Park

A late season aster with raindrops in the Black Hills

Fall color along the south fork of the Grand River in Perkins County

Early snowfall at the Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls

Autumn reflections at the Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon

Autumn reflections at the Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon

Autumn reflections at the Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon

Autumn reflections at the Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon

Sunday, October 6, 2019

September 2019

Burrowing Owl at Wind Cave National Park
It seemed that September was here and gone in the proverbial blink of an eye. Part of the reason was that most of us had our minds elsewhere in Southeastern South Dakota with multiple crazy weather events including tornadoes in Sioux Falls, flooding from Madison to Mitchell and on down the James River. I've never seen a summer so rainy and wet as 2019. All that plus a full slate of work at the day job made getting out and finding photographs a bit tougher than usual. Even so, it happened. I don't think I can stand to not be out in a nature at least once a week nowadays. I believe I've picked up a habit... but I don't think it is a bad one. Here are twelve favorites from the month that was September of 2019. Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for checking in.

Bottle Gential wildflower in bloom

Gobbler and gobble-et at Lake Vermillion Recreation Area

Macro shot of a raindrop on a glaucous white lettuce bloom

Red-tailed hawk with a background full of blooming golden rod

Sumac as it looks in September

Monarch on golden rod at Sica Hollow State Park

Ghost pipe in the evening light at Newton Hills State Park

A late season storm cloud catching the sunset light beyond Trinity Lutheran of Lincoln County, SD

New moon night scene in rural Roberts County, SD

The beginning of fall in the Cheyenne River breaks in the four corners area south of Bridger, SD

Mountain bluebird at Wind Cave National Park

Saturday, September 7, 2019

August 2019

Sunset light beaming through a wild sunflower patch in Lake County, SD
This August a good chunk of my free time was spent walking through our Nature Conservancy Prairies in Eastern South Dakota... Usually with both my telephoto and macro lens at the ready. The summer of 2019 has been extremely wet and the prairie's responded with tall, thick grass growth, prairie flowers, butterflies and bugs galore. I tried my hand and finding and photographing flowering tall grasses as you'll see with the vibrant Sideoats Grama blossoms in the photo below.  While checking out these tall grass preserves I found plenty of other cool things to photograph too. You'll see these detail shots make up the majority of this month's favorite 12 photos. As the month waned, so did summer it seemed. It is a bittersweet time as we move into fall, but also filled with beauty. One of my favorite things to do in late August and early September is monitor the Monarch Butterfly migration as they gather then move south.  The last few photos show what I've seen so far... one evening's view on the prairie hills of Lake Vermillion Recreation Area even inspired a few words... It is the last image of the batch. Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for checking in!

Sideoats Grama grass flowers

Prairie onion blooms

Skipper on a thistle bloom

Melissa blue on white clover

Whitetail fawn on the edge of a cornfield

Late summer thunderstorm

Lightning of the Falls of the Big Sioux River

Dragonfly darter on Bottle Gentian flowers

Regal fritillary, skipper and stinkbug on a prairie blazing star 

Monarch roost

Monarch on a blazing star in the early evening light

Summer's End

Thursday, August 8, 2019

July 2019

The setting sun painting storm clouds above Belleview Lutheran  northeast of Howard, SD

July of 2019 wasn't boring. Abundant rain, storms, heat, humidity all made for explosions of color and growth in this part of the world. I was fortunate enough to be able to chase a couple pretty amazing storms on two different weekends that provided amazing rainbows and sunset painted clouds.  My favorites from those trips are here for you plus a few more bits of July goodness. As usual, click on an image for a larger photo to view and thanks for checking in!

Close-up of Yellow Goatsbeard going to seed (we called them giant dandelions as kids)

Summer sun over Eminija Burial Mounds

Rainbow road north of Carthage, SD

Brilliant rainbow over cattle north of Carthage, SD

Double rainbow with abandoned house north of Carthage, SD

Belleview Lutheran with rainbow

Belleview panorama after the storm

Baby killdeer

Highland Lutheran with building thunderhead

Full rainbow over Immanual Lutheran west of Dimock, SD

Rainbow and lightning above Immanuel Lutheran