Sunday, March 1, 2015

February 2015

A Bald Eagle watching over the highway on the northeast edge of Newton Hills State Park
Here are February's best for 2015.  It has been a good winter for birds of prey.  I saw and photographed my first ever Northern Saw-whet Owl this month.  Cool little guy but really hard to find.  I actually found the three different mice it caught hanging in various branches for later meals before I actually found the the owl.  I've never seen that before either.  Anyway, as always click on a file for a larger file to view and thanks for stopping by!

Sunset at Lake Campbell Lutheran of rural Brookings County

Northern Saw-whet Owl

I retreated to get a different shot through the branches and he got sleepy

Winter sunset over Lake Alvin near Harrisburg, SD

Bergen Church sunset of rural Clay County

Mirrored sunset on the Mighty Missouri at Myron Grove in Clay County, for this month's column over at I wrote about reflection photography:

Sunset over Falls Park in Downtown Sioux Falls

The sunset clouds reflected in melt water

Falls Park evening

Another view of Falls Park on a colorful evening

Trinity Lutheran of rural Lincoln County at sunset

Friday, February 6, 2015

A look back at January 2015

Trotting for the barn just before sunset on New Year's Day.
For my monthly photo column over at I showed my favorite 12 January photos (taken in South Dakota) and wrote a bit about the exercise of choosing 12 a month to post.   You can find the link here:

Some of the photos posted in this edition will be the same, but I also spent time in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and North Dakota in January so I've added a few favorites from those trips as well.  As always, click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for checking in!

The second sunset of 2015 as viewed just east of Hartford, SD.

Frost art on my window during a mini blizzard in early January.

An abandoned schoolhouse in north Codington County, SD.

The faint, winter Milky Way with the Andromeda Galaxy (upper left) over Salem Methodist just over the Minnesota border (southwest of Pipestone.)

Star trails over Salem Methodist.

A very colorful sunset in downtown Sioux Falls in mid-January.

The famous bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  I'm not much of a race fan, but it was cool to see these and learn a little of the history of the place.

The lights of downtown Indianapolis from the west Canal area.

A snowy owl in Day County, SD.

Another snowy owl near Hague, North Dakota.  I saw a total of six owls on my trip to Bismarck, ND.  This was number 5.

A colorful sunset with a tall prairie windmill taken late in the month.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

High Desert Scenes - Joshua Tree National Park

First light paints the scene and sets the mood at Joshua Tree National Park

I visited Joshua Tree National Park for a couple days after Christmas 2014.  What a place!  First off, the park's namesake provide great subject matter for photography and the high desert has a mood and feeling all it's own.  I found the best times to shoot were early in the morning or around sunset.  The park is a popular place with LA only being a couple hours to the west.  By Saturday afternoon it was quite busy in the central area.  I found a nice unpaved road on the western side called La Contenta Road which led me lower and upper Covington Flat as well as only a few people and taller Joshua Trees.  I was able to hike to the edge of the high desert and look out to the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs to the southeast as well as the San Andreas Fault.  Pretty fun stuff for a country boy from South Dakota.  Here are my favorite photos from the time at the park.  Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for checking in!

Sunrise in the center of the park.

I saw my first ever Scrub Jay on a hike around Barker Dam.

The Joshua Trees were huge in the Covington Flat area.

Sunset on the edge of lower Covington Flat.

The southeast part of the park is a different desert ecologically and feature such plants as the Cholla Cactus but no Joshua Trees.

A multiple image panorama of pre-dawn colors above the Cholla Cactus "garden" area of Joshua Tree.

Scenes from Death Valley

The Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes in the afternoon light.
In late December of 2014, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a day and a half discovering Death Valley National Park.  Turns out, I could have used a week and a a half and not seen it all as the park is huge (around 3.4 million acres of wilderness). Not knowing what to expect weather wise, I was happy with a high of 77 degrees on the valley floor in the afternoon and upper 30s in the higher elevations at daybreak.  Here are a selection of my favorite photos from the trip.  Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for stopping by!

Near Furnace Creek Inn, two road runners were hunting butterflies.

One road runner (who must be used to human activity) allowed me to get rather close for this portrait.

A lone Joshua Tree on the eastern edge of the park. I found it interesting to see the evidence of the last rain still scarring the ground.

Another shot of the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

Hikers on the sand dunes just before sunset.

Pre-dawn colors on the road up to Dante's View in the south central part of the park.

Soft morning light in the high desert.

A multiple image panoramic of Dante's View at first light.  The white in Death Valley is not snow but salt flats.  It is the lowest place in North America and hottest place in the world. What little water makes it to the valley floor has nowhere to go but into the air as evaporation... leaving behind salt.

Telescope Peak is over 11,000 feet in elevation and was sporting snow.

Shadowplay on the flanks of Telescope Peak as morning drew on.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best of December 2014

Swedona Church (rural Brandon, SD) at sunset - December 5th
Here are 12 favorites from December.  For the most part it was a cloudy and dreary month in South Dakota.  I was fortunate enough to be able to visit family in Southern California over the holidays and in doing so, took some time to explore Death Valley National Park as well as Joshua Tree National Park.  I learned the desert at sunrise and sunset are just as magical as anywhere on the great plains.  Look for more posts with images from the high desert soon!  As always, click on a photo for a larger file to view and thanks for stopping by!

Ceder Waxwing feeding at Lake Vermillion Recreation Area

Ceder Waxwing posing at Lake Vermillion Recreation Area

Zion Lutheran at sunset in rural Roberts County

An abandoned homestead with frosted trees on a dreary December day just west of Enemy Swim Lake 

The standing remains of Concordia Pioneer Lutheran in rural Roberts County

Sand Dunes and hikers at Death Valley National Park near to sunset

I was lucky to find a semi-friendly road runner which allowed me to get a this close-up.

The first light of day on Telescope Peak above Death Valley

Sunrise at Joshua Tree National Park

Pre-dawn clouds above the Cholla Cactus region of Joshua Tree

On my last day in Los Angeles we visited a botanical garden that was full of hummingbird activity