Saturday, December 29, 2012

Southern California Christmas

A willet at sunset on Manhattan Beach
I spent my first ever Christmas in California visiting family.  The temps were in the 50s and low 60s and rainy in the evenings.  Quite a difference from South Dakota's December temps.  We were able to spend some time at Manhattan Beach's pier for sunset shots one evening.  The surf was up and there were a handful of surfers showing their stuff close to the pier.  A few days later we went on a whale watching boat tour, but were skunked.  We did see a lot of birds, some harbor seals and a single sea lion though.  It was a windy day and the sea was rough.  Even though we didn't see any whales, I still really enjoyed being out on the rolling sea.  Here are a few photos from the trip.  Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for checking in. 

Manhattan Beach Pier at sunset. On the extreme right of the photo just off the edge of the pier, you can see a surfer waiting for a wave.

This image was taken with a much longer exposure as above to smooth out the surf and give the water an interesting ethereal look.

I followed this shorebird (I believe it is called a willet) along until he was lined up with the setting sun's reflection on the water's edge for this silhouette shot.

This Heerman's Gull glided just above our whale watching ship for a few minutes as we exited Long Beach Harbor.

Harbor seals soaking up the sun.

A lighthouse along the outer barrier of Long Beach Harbor.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Early Winter Scenes

A lone horse against an early winter sunset sky in McCook County, SD.

Here are some photos from late November and early December in South Dakota, 2012.  No real theme going on.  Just a collection of images I was able to capture in during my free time exploring the landscape on both sides of the river.  For more images and the stories behind them, feel free to check out my online column over at here: 

A nice white-tail buck near Lake Vermillion in McCook County, SD.

An early December sunrise over downtown, Sioux Falls.

Snow falling amongst the pine trees of Custer State Park's ponderosa pine.

Deer and falling snow at dusk in Custer State Park.

Rose hips frame the falling water of Spearfish Falls near Savoy, SD.

Spearfish Canyon in winter.

Snow covered snowberries found along Spearfish Creek.

Snow on rose hips also found along Spearfish Creek.

Sunrise near Iron Mountain Road.

Snow on the Badlands with Harney Peak on the distant horizon.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012 December Wildlife

A white-tail buck in Custer State Park.
The weekend after my birthday in early December, I decided to treat myself to a two and a half day photo getaway in Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park.  I love to find and shoot wildlife photos.  This post is a few shots that I happened to get my camera lens on over the weekend.  Click on an image for a larger file to view and enjoy!

Wind Cave National Park Coyote.

Snow started falling late in the day on Saturday.  There was no wind and big flakes.  Here is a white-tail I happened to catch around the Center Lake campgrounds when the first snowflakes started falling.

A nice 6X6 elk bull at Wind Cave National Park the next morning.

A grand old bull bison of Wind Cave National Park.

The fresh snowfall allowed me to see big cat sign on both Saturday and Sunday morning.  This set of tracks is either from a very large bobcat or a younger cougar on Saturday morning in Custer State Park on Lame Johnny Road. I saw bigger tracks on Sunday morning near Center Lake that were definitely mountain lion.

Custer State Park buck in the shadow of the pines.

I drove through the Badlands on my way back home.  I saw a nice group of Bighorns near the Pinnacles area.

A mule deer buck near the yellow mounds area of Badlands National Park.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Late Fall Images

Post sunset colors above the trees around Lake Alvin
Late fall and early winter always seem to provide stunning sunset scenes in South Dakota.  Here are a few I've captured this October and November for you as well as some wildlife spotted while on the road.  Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for stopping by!

Nearly a half hour after the sun sank below the horizon, these high altitude clouds colored beautifully.

Roadside weeds caught the last light of an October day in an interesting way in northwest Minnehaha County.

One of my favorite recent photos is this windmill somewhere between Hurley and Freeman, SD.

While driving by my boyhood farm just north of the Moreau River on the border of Dewey and Ziebach County I spotted this Bald Eagle perched on a tall cottonwood tree along a branch of Corn Creek.

Buffalo dot the prairie hills of Stanley County in late November.

A nice buck emerged from the trees flanking the Bad River late in the afternoon.

Brilliant post-sunset colors over the railroad tracks along the Bad River Road.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Black Hills Autumn

Vanocker Canyon Road
Spending a week in the Black Hills of South Dakota during Fall has been on my bucket list for quite some time.  This year I was able to make it happen.  I spent a lot of time in the northern hills in and around Spearfish Canyon.  I also spent a couple days roaming Custer State Park.  Here are some of the photos from the week featuring fall colors.  If you are interested more specifically in my Spearfish Canyon and/or Custer State Park photos, then check out my state park page over at South Dakota Magazine's website:  CSP's photos and column will be the grand finale to the series and the plan is to have it posted on Monday, October 15th.  Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for stopping by!

Aspen and an abandoned building near Custer Peak

Little Spearfish Creek in full afternoon sunlight.

Some colorful leaves at Red Gate/White Gate hiking area.

Backlit Aspen leaves in Custer State Park.

More color from Custer State Park.

A mountain blue bird near the buffalo corral in Custer State Park.  The fall colors of the creek in the distance made for a nice background.

Bison grazing along the wildlife loop road.

Whitetail buck in a thistle patch as the last light of the day shoots through the valley near the Badger Hole area in Custer State Park.

Colorful leaves in the waters of a small creek near the Game Lodge camp grounds in Custer State Park.

Majestic Aspen near Mystic, SD.