Archive for June, 2014

The Painted Canyon is actually a Rest Area/Scenic Overview that located on I-94 just east of Medora, ND. The canyon is part of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It is my impression that most visitors think of the site as more of a rest stop and spend 15-20 minutes looking around and taking a few photos of their loved ones with the canyon in the background. There is nothing wrong with  this, but these people are missing what is probably the easiest opportunity they will ever have to see some spectacular landscapes.  The Visitor’s Center walkway that runs along the rim of the canyon for a few hundred yards took me a few hours to walk while carefully examining the canyon for photo opportunities. There were a lot of them. If you are a photographer, visiting this “rest area” is a no brainer.

Painted Canyon - Theodore Roosevelt National Park - June 25, 2014 - 1096

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When I first met the woman who eventually became my wife and learned that she came from North Dakota I asked her what were 5 great things about North Dakota. One of the things she identified was the “big sky” — the fact that you could see forever. Being from Wisconsin, I didn’t have a clue about what that meant, but as time has passed I have come to get a glimmer of understanding.

One of the things I love about North Dakota is its spectacular sky. There is no place else that I have ever been where I have seen such consistently beautiful cloudscapes and they are only visible because of that “big sky” my wife spoke about years ago.

I’ll be posting some of the “big sky” shots from my current trip over the next few weeks. Here is one example.

Big Sky - Cloudscape I

The largest national wildlife refuge in North Dakota is the J.Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge that is 64 miles northeast of Minot (take Hwy 2 East to Towner and Hwy 14 North to the refuge). I was only able to stop there for about 30 minutes, but was lucky enough to catch some rather nice photos.  I will be making a longer visit to this area a priority for my next visit.

 

J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge - June 23, 2014 - 0001-Edit-2

 

 

 

North Dakota sits on top of the largest oil discovery in at least a generation. This week the North Dakota Petroleum Council is celebrating  the fact that the state is now pumping one million barrels of oil a day. This is an astonishing figure and has not come without costs.  In another of my series of photos from my North Dakota trip, here are two photos of oil wells in the Bakken Formation. In the color photo, you can see natural gas being burned off as a waste product of the drilling. While burning natural gas byproduct of oil production was common in early drilling, it has become less prevalent as producers have sought and found ways to recover this valuable resource.

Oil Wells - Bakken Formation, North Dakota, June 2014     Trip to Williston Area - June 22, 2014 - 351_2_3pmatrix

 

 

I have been in North Dakota for the last 2 weeks and have been so busy traveling and taking photos to post anything.

I know this is no excuse, but I hope what I will be posting over the next few weeks will make up for some of my negligence.

I took this photo last week at the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, which is north of Bismarck and south of Minot off of Highway 83. There is an 8 mile long gravel road along the south shoreline of Lake Audubon. Remarkably, during the day I was there ((admittedly a weekday), I met only one other person on the road and as a result I was able to park my car and sit and just see what was going on and wait for photo opportunities. When I was moving, it was often at one or two miles per hour.

While I was at the refuge I saw eagles, owls, egrets, antelopes, numerous birds that a birder could identify but I could just photograph and admire, as well as some spectacular scenery. Here is an example of what you might see (the bird in the distance is an owl carrying a recent catch).

Audubon National Wildlife Refuge

 

Ducklings - May 31, 2014 - 269

I continue to go through the hundreds of photos I took of a duck and her ducklings the other day. Here is another photo of a duck exercising its wings; this time with a straight on view. It is pretty cool how they instinctively “know” that they have to be doing this. Somehow it seems like a nifty symbol of striving.

FYI, I strongly suspect that the motion blur behind the duckling was due to the ruffling of the larger duck’s feathers although it almost makes it look like the duckling was landing, which it was not. The exposure was ISO 400 1/90 sec. at f/5.6

Ducklings - May 31, 2014 - 137

I was out with my camera recently having no intention of photographing ducks when I ran into a duck and her ducklings. It was a beautiful day. I had a fully charged battery in my camera as well as a large memory card and, most important, a willingness to wait and watch for several hours to see what might be seen. In summary, I saw both more and less than I expected and hope for.  There was no troop of duckling waddling down to the water and launching themselves off from shore as a small flotilla, which would have been fun but is also visible enough so that it has been photographed a lot. What I captured instead were images like this one – a duckling exercising its wings. I’m sure this is a common enough event in the life of a duckling but it isn’t so in your face cool (like a duckling flotilla) that it gets a great deal of photographic attention. I don’t recall having seen a photo of this necessary little piece of a duckling’s life before, so in that sense I captured more than I expected. I hope you enjoy seeing it as much as I did.