Archive for the ‘Minot’ Category

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




I have had this blog for less than one year and recently I posted my 365th post so I decided to memorialize the occasion. has been pretty difficult for me. I suffer from a chronic disease that makes it hard to concentrate and to stay focused and I am often in pain and quite tired (thus the “fog”). When I started this blog I had no idea how much energy it would take and what a challenge it was going to be (thus the “war”).

I started this photo blog in part because the writing that used to come so easily to me now comes slowly and messily like the last bits of toothpaste squeezed out of the tube. Until relatively recently, I was able to work at least part-time in the career I had long pursued (I was an attorney working with intellectual property and technology law). That work is no longer available to me because it requires more energy, a better memory, and greater nimbleness of mind than I currently possess. I tell my friends that I am not dumber, but I am slower.

During the early days of my illness, boredom was a constant companion. Then, a few years ago, my wife bought me a new camera. While I had always enjoyed photography, suddenly I had a lot of time available in which to pursue it. So off I went on a photo binge. Many of my photos are taken of things very close to home – typically in our yard or neighborhood; indeed I have a category in my blog for “Photos Taken within 100 Meters of Our Home.” Many others are taken on the way to visit or at my in-laws. (My wife has a great family!)

As the years went by and the shutter clicked, hundreds and then thousands of images filled up space on my hard drive(s) and I began to think about sharing my photos. I am and always will be an amateur photographer. I do not have the energy nor do I have the desire to sell any of my work (although I do donate my work to non-profit auctions and the like).  Eventually I decided to try blogging and started start

Keeping up with this blog has been difficult for me. What has made this easier is that many of you who have visited this blog have been extraordinarily generous with your thoughts about my photos. I am not too proud to admit that when someone says a photo of mine is “stunning” or “wonderful” or “amazing” it makes me feel good. That isn’t the sole reason for the blog, but it sure doesn’t hurt! More important for someone who had spent all too much time just sitting at home is that my blog brought me into a community of people from around the world whose blogging about their lives and travels has made boredom impossible and made frustration, fatigue and pain more bearable. While it is still so very much more difficult to write than it used to be, I have all of the time I want to do it and so it is okay.

This post contains some of my favorite photos from my first 365 posts. When I was looking through the posts to put together this collection, my biggest thought was how thankful I am that I have had this opportunity. Mostly I thank all of the people who have visited my blog. I also want to give a shout out to WordPress because I really doubt I would have had a “Post 366” had I not been blogging with WordPress, which has made setting it up my blog and keeping it going so much easier for me than would otherwise have been the case.

I hope you enjoy this collection.

Trip on Hwy 12 West2 July 26, 2013 - 44

I just came across the Sunday Stills challenge and thought I’d make my first contributions.

This is an older trestle bridge that I call “Span 27” based on what was scrawled on a rusty leg of the bridge in what looked like chalk. The Span 27 Bridge is a few miles outside Minot, North Dakota and extends over a gully through which an old highway (Hwy 12) now runs. I had no idea it existed. I was just out with my camera looking around. Honestly I wouldn’t have thought it was in much use given how rusted it was underneath, but during the three or so hours I was there two trains passed overhead.

Playing with your little cousin is pure happiness.


“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” ~ Dalai Lama


North Dakota is in the dead center of the Great Plains, which for the most part means flat, flat and more flat. However like everywhere else where water’s imperative meets an obstruction, water wins. Here a lone pine stands surprisingly high on its perch overlooking the work of thousands of years during which the Souris River has cut a valley in and around what is now Minot, ND. The photo makes my more conventional contribution to the Word a Week Photo Challenge.

Air Ballet v2

“Artists, whatever their medium, make selections from the abounding materials of life, and organize these selections into works that are under the control of the artist…. In relation to the inclusiveness and literally endless intricacy of life, art is arbitrary, symbolic and abstracted. That is its value and the source of its own kind of order and coherence.” ~ Jane Jacobs

“[C]omplex aerobatic maneuvers are a test of the pilot’s ability to give multiple control inputs while maintaining orientation in unusual attitudes.” ~ Anthony Romano

My contribution to Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Intricate is a photo of an intricate aerobatics maneuver performed by the Royal Canadian Snowbirds at an air show I attended last summer in Minot, North Dakota. This photo is (obviously) digitally enhanced (principally the color of the smoke emitted). Why? Because the original photo couldn’t capture the drama of the actual performance.  I just started experimenting with this photo, which I retouched using Topaz Lab’s ReStyle Photoshop plugin.  I realize this result may be seen as over-the-top by some, but having this many jets flying very fast in a relatively confined space is pretty darned dramatic. Doing this successfully is a tribute to the training and skill of the pilots. Incidentally, the artists referred to in the first quote are the members of the Snowbird’s team (including all support personnel).

Full Length of Train on Trestle


Finally the locomotive reaches the other side of the Span 27 Trestle Bridge. When you stand there and watch the train cross the bridge, it is relatively easy to wonder what the train engineer and others might be thinking as they take their very heavy train high across the valley on what probably looks like a pretty narrow bridge. Of course well-built and well-maintained trestle bridges are very strong and safe and, to the best of my knowledge, this one is and has been safe for many years.