Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another Year Passes

A shot taken at the Sioux Empire Fair in August.

With 2011 coming to a close, I thought it would be a good time to add some of my favorite photos that I had not posted yet. I also thought that since I did not get Christmas cards out this year, I could use this blog as a quick update on my year. Don't worry, I'll try to be brief.

2011 was the "year of photography" for me as a lot of really cool things happened because of this hobby of mine. First of all, I had the honor of working more and more with the good folks at South Dakota Magazine in both contributing to the magazine itself as well as writing an e-column twice a month starting in August. It has been a fun challenge to not only get better at photography (so I had some decent photos to share), but also try to get better at writing with a purpose in mind. If you are interested in seeing the ten columns I have produced so far, here is a link that will list them all for you:

This year, I had two more photos make the "Daily Dozen" at National Geographic's "yourshot" web page. They've also added two of my photos to the National Geographic stock site, so that is kind of fun. I also created a photo book in honor of my hometown's centennial. During the centennial itself, I spent three days with the wagon train documenting the journey across the plains west of town and then creating DVDs of the experience. Some of the footage was noticed by South Dakota State University's advertising agency and they are now using it in SDSU's advertising campaign.

I also changed roles at my day job at Midcontinent Communications this spring and am now "Special Projects Coordinator." It basically means I get to edit and shoot more photos and video for the company itself. It has been a nice change and I think I'm finally starting to settle into the role a bit better.

I've also been able to create a few time lapse videos this year that have gained some nice attention on the web with many views from all over the world. The UND Hockey piece called "Border War" that I created in February has almost 10,000 plays last I checked. For a full list of videos I've created you can check out my Vimeo page here:

The year has not been without sadness and some trials. One of those was losing my uncle (artist Jack Reich) this year. He and his work has always inspired me to be a better photographer.

As I look back on the year, it's hard to believe that so much has happened and that my shutter has fired so many times. I wouldn't have it any other way as the majority of the time there is scene in front of the lens that shows off the Creator's wondrous work. God is good, all the time. I appreciate you stopping by and checking out my work, feel free to comment or contact me as I'd love to hear from you. Click on the images for a larger file to view and Happy New Year!

A monarch butterfly found unexpectedly (while working on a different project) in Duel County in late August.

This double rainbow was the result of a windstorm coupled with a fast moving rain shower near Vivian, SD in October.

The last light of the setting sun turned the grass in this grove of trees a beautiful shade of orange just north of Lake Vermillion. Taken in November.

Sunrise in the Badlands on Thanksgiving Day morning.

One of my best shots of elk ever. This was early morning in Wind Cave National Park in late December.

A light snowfall adds an interesting background to this bald eagle perched along the park road at the border of Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park.

A couple Sioux Falls holiday light icons in the same shot. KELO's tv tower and the giant evergreen on Minnesota avenue.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

West River Highlights - December 2011

A group of mule deer south of Midland, SD

I was able to take some vacation time right before Christmas this year. I borrowed a long lens from a friend at work and went on a quest for western South Dakota wildlife, ghost towns and to just simply wander on some back roads. This post will give you a general overview on some of the sights I was able to see. I'll follow up in a day or two with another post on the ghost town quest. In the meantime, enjoy the photos (click on each image for a larger file to view) and thanks for stopping by!

A new view of the Badlands (at least for me) as I approached the park on the White River gravel road that you take a few miles south of Kadoka. Great scenery along this road. I wish I would have known about it a lot sooner than now!

A couple shots of a nice mule buck that crossed road in the Badlands right in front of me. This was near the Bigfoot Pass viewpoint I believe.

Here are a few shots of sunrise at Wind Cave National Park. At first light, the coyotes began to call each other from opposite ridges. It was really quite something to listen to.

The color from the early morning clouds gave a unique hue to this shot of a grazing elk in Wind Cave National Park.

I stayed in a cabin at Game Lodge area of Custer State Park. I was the only one there for three nights. Solitude is bliss. Here is a two hour exposure of the stars wheeling around the North Star just 50 yards behind the cabin I stayed in.

After my stay in the hills I traveled north towards the Slim Buttes and Short Pine Hills area of northwestern SD. The day was overcast with occasional heavy snow flurries. The photo below is haystack butte in Butte county and it reminded me of the paintings my late uncle Jack Reich would paint. I swear this exact scene is in one of his paintings. I just can't remember which.

I had never been to the Short Pine Hills before so the below photos are my first views of the Eastern portion. The highest point is called Moreau Peak. I grew up along the Moreau River further west of these hills. In fact, the southern branch of the Moreau River originates in these hills if I read the map correctly.

Here is a shot of the West Pine Hills.
Looking back to the East Pine Hills from the road that goes through the ghost town of Harding, SD.

Here is a shot of one of my favorite views of the Moreau River. The bend in river to the right contained our "fishing hole" that my brothers and I spent time in search of catfish as well as other things.
Another lovely west river sunset just south and east of Isabel, SD at an abandoned farmstead.

I saved my favorite for last. This is a shot of the sunset on Christmas Day out near Thunder Butte. It was an amazing show. I need to take more vacation time like this!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Isabel Centennial Wagon Train - Day 3

Thursday, August 4th we waited to leave later in the day in order to get to town in the afternoon. So I spent a good chunk of the morning wildflower hunting in Firesteel creek near camp. The first five images below are some of what I found.

Back on the trail.

I thought this was in interesting image of the prairie grass bent in a new trail after all the wagons had passed over.

Finally here is a short video of the wagon train in motion. I created DVDs of the event so feel free to contact me if you are interested in ordering. Thanks for viewing!

Isabel Centennial Wagon Train - Day 2

Wednesday morning, August 3rd saw me up with the sun to take this multiple image panoramic of the beautiful and rugged prairie. Click on the image for a larger file to view and thanks for stopping by.

Getting the horses hitched and ready.

Views from along the trail.

I added a tilt-shift effect on this one to give it a unique look.

Circling the wagons at the end of the day's ride.

Isabel Centennial Wagon Train - Day 1

The first of August was my hometown of Isabel, SD's 100th birthday. As part of the centennial celebration, a three day wagon train ride was organized to commemorate the days of the pioneers. I was asked to document the event with photos and video. I wanted to share some of my favorite images from the ride in this post and few more to follow. Click on an image for a larger file to view and enjoy!

We started about thirty miles north and west of town at a ranch nestled under the south butte of the twin butte area. The first two photos below are the rocks and view from the butte.

Making coffee the cowboy way.

Sunflowers along the trail.

I rendered some of the images black and white for a historic, timeless feel.

Tuesday night camping out under the Milky Way. I pitched my tent a little ways away from the rest of camp in order to work on some star photography. It was a gorgeous night for star gazing. There isn't much light pollution out in God's Country!