Monday, August 1, 2016

July 2016

Verbena flowering in southern Hand County, South Dakota
 The heart of summer can sometimes be a deterrent to getting out into nature in this part of the world. The heat and humidity tend to drag a person down and shoo them indoors.  I'm not immune to this.  Thankfully the beauty of the sky, the sun and stars pulled me out of the dull comfort of my living room yet again this month and I was able to experience the wonder of nature all over again... and again.  From wildflowers in central South Dakota to amazing storm clouds above Sioux Falls a and then finally being able to spend a couple days at a prairie reserve in southwest Minnesota... The month of July did not fail to show beauty and wonder.  I had a very hard time narrowing down to twelve photos this time around.  This is a good problem to have.  Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for checking in!

Dramatic mammatus clouds at sunset over Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD

Sunset in rural Lincoln County, SD

Star trails and a touch of aurora paint the sky behind historic Telemarken Church along the Codington/Clark County line in northeast SD

Sunset in rural Minnehaha County, SD

Fawn in wildflowers in southwestern Pipestone County, MN

Touch the Sky Prairie near Luvurne, MN

Painted Lady Butterfly at Touch the Sky Prairie

Dragonfly at Touch the Sky Prairie

Dragonfly wing detail at Touch the Sky Prairie

Prairie Blazingstars and yellow coneflowers at Touch the Sky Prairie

Sunset in the tall grass at Touch The Sky Prairie

Saturday, July 2, 2016

June 2016

Northern Lights above Crow Buttes on the Harding and Butte County Line of northwest South Dakota.

I spent two week in Custer State Park and the surrounding area this June.  Not a bad place to be in late spring!  Things were a touch dry, so the wildflowers were not as abundant as I've seen in the past, but the scenery, wildlife and views were still spectacular.  Later in the month I hiked the walking trail at Lake Vermillion Recreation area and found some wildflower pockets adding color to the prairie hills.  Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for checking in!

Mountain Bluebird on a Custer State Park boundary fencepost.

Scarlet Globemallow in bloom in northern Wind Cave National Park.

Detail of a Rocky Mountain Iris (Blue Flag) flower petal.

Sunset over Sylvan Lake.

Thunderstorm approaching Sylvan Lake.

The Milky Way above Zoar Church in northeast Day County, SD.

Showy or Swamp Milkweed in bloom at Lake Vermillion Rec Area.

Prairie Coneflower in a patch of Daisy Fleabane.

Black Samson

An orange moth amongst the flower patch.

Black-eyed Susan

Sunday, June 5, 2016

May 2016

A double rainbow after a spring shower passed Sioux Valley Baptist Church in rural Moody County.
 May passed in a blink of an eye this time around.  I spent a lot of time looking for migrating birds as well as wildflowers and storm clouds.  Here are 12 of my favorites from the month.  Hope you enjoy. Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for checking in!

A family of geese cruising the creek on backside of Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls.

Red Columbine in bloom at the Dells of the Big Sioux.

A great horned owl from across the canyon of the Dells.

I happened to be snapping pics when it decided to find a new roost.

Small wildflowers (Wood Sorrel possibly) at the Dells.

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird at the Dells.

Another Ruby-throated Hummer in the leaves at Newton Hills State Park.

Prairie Smoke at the Dells.

Immanual Lutheran of northeast Douglas County after a storm system moved through.

St. John's (also called Hillside Church) just a few miles further west of Immanuel on the same evening.

I drove back to Immanual for this last parting shot of the retreating storm.  The sky was unreal.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

April 2016

Sunset over West Prairie Lutheran of Lincoln County, SD
Spring is always a fun time to get out with the camera.  Even though the rain and temperate weather can often slow you down, they can also provide great opportunities for interesting and dramatic photos.  I was able to catch a couple really nice sunsets after rain clouds and the year's first thunderstorm.  Also, the birds are coming back to the prairie and a few posed for me in late April, I hope to find more in May.  Thanks for checking in and click on an image for a larger file to view.

A little later in the evening the clouds turned pink, purple and red.

A wild plum thicket at Union Grove State Park.

A white trout lily at Union Grove State Park.

Water droplets on my back windshield with the lights of downtown Sioux Falls as a backdrop.

The setting of the Full Pink Moon over an abandoned house on the Turner/Hutchinson County line.

An orange-crowned warbler working a plum thicket for ants.

Got one!

Female Eastern Bluebird at Good Earth State Park.  This was a first for me.

Her male suitor.

After the first thunderstorm of the year at Willow Creek Lutheran between Colton and Dell Rapids, SD.  A rain puddle in the road allowed for the mirror reflection.

First lilac blooms of the year at Union Grove State Park.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

March 2016

The Milky Way rising behind the Divine Infant Mission Chapel in northwest Lower Brule Indian Reservation, SD
Over the years I have always thought that March was one of the toughest months to find beautiful scenes to photograph in South Dakota.  Usually the winter's last battle with spring are cold, wet and messy.  This month proved me wrong.  There was warmer weather than usual which brought our first wildflowers along earlier than usual, then winter counter attacked with a couple snow storms that actually provided some very interesting scenes to photograph.  As usual, click on a photo for a larger file to view and thanks for checking in!

Pre-sunrise color at Ft. Pierre National Grasslands in central South Dakota

Twin one-room schoolhouses in southern Meade County, SD

Mid-March sunset over Immanual Lutheran of Leona, SD

Flurries adding snowflakes to some pasqueflower above ground in Hanson County, SD

Photographed the day before the first day of spring

Snow Trillium in bloom on the first day of spring at Newton Hills State Park, SD

A close-up of Snow Trillium soaking up the early spring sun

Pasqueflower patch in the early evening light

A single pasqueflower in the early evening light.  I love how the spider gossamer trails off the edge and the stem looks like grinch fingers holding the blossom.

A late March, heavy snow fell at the Sioux Falls Outdoor Campus and I was able to find this colorful Cedar Waxwing foraging on last year's berries.