Bison on the Hillside

Bison on the Hillside

This is another one in Custer State Park showing bison on the hillside. It was quite a nice autumn scene. The bison were all around us just happily eating what was left of the green grass. Because it is unsafe to be near such large, wild animals I had to be quick about this shot. The other three people in the car were my spotters as I got out long enough to get this shot. None of the bison were near enough to be a danger, and I had a road guardrail between me and a lot of them so I was not in any actual danger. Still, it is best to be cautious. It was a small risk for a pleasant photograph of bison on the hillside.

Pregnant Burro in Grass

Pregnant burro in tall grassIf you have never visited Custer State Park in South Dakota, you are really missing out. I found this pregnant burro in tall grass while we were driving through the park during our brief residence nearby. It is a great place to see the burros, coyotes, prairie dogs, buffalo (bison), fox, deer, elk and much more. This burro was just a few steps away from me. They are quite tame and like to come and greet the visitors, who often provide various types of snacks (against park rules). This picture brings me a great deal of peace and satisfaction. The rolling prairie that surrounds the scene is just as calming as you might expect.


Seaside, Oregon Sunset

Seaside, Oregon SunsetIt is always such a pleasure to go to the beach and watch the waves roll in. Sometimes you just don’t want to leave. I visited Seaside, Oregon a couple of years ago and was in no hurry to leave. It was such a peaceful evening and the salty air was so refreshing. There was a large festival in town with a concert so most of the beachgoers were over at the venue, leaving the rest for me to enjoy on my own. As the sun began to dip I decided I needed to keep this memory fresh so I made a dash for the car to get my camera. I hope you get to visit some day and take in a Seaside, Oregon Sunset just like this one.


Baby Bump HIll

Just a bump on a hill. Lines on it’s sides. A baby bump on stripes. I stopped here to shoot a tree, but was unsuccessful at finding a shot of said tree that I was happy with. I did find a way to capture this nice little hill. It took me several months, maybe even a year, to figure out why most of the hills around here have this stripes all over them. The deciding factor was a fence – one side with stripes and the other side smooth.

baby bump


Morning Cattle Guard

I was up early a few weeks ago, with nothing much to do that day. So I decided to go out looking for a nice photograph. The sun was far from coming up so I had time to go poking around on this unplanned shoot. I came to a meadow filled with cattle, but more impressive were the approximately 200 elk grazing on the early spring grass. There were about a dozen elk calves wandering around in a clump. I did shoot a few shots of them, but simply wasn’t prepared for wildlife that morning. Nothing to show for it. I did hang around for a couple of hours watching the light do it’s little dance across the horizon to the west, gradually creeping down the sides of the mountains. As the sun finally peaked over the hill in front of me, I clicked off a few shots, but nothing was really exciting my artistic eye. As the morning wore on I suddenly became aware of the cattle guard I had been standing nearly on top of for the past two hours. The sun was glinting nicely off of it, making it a magnet for me. The sun rose higher and happily the clouds grew more interesting. The result is nothing short of pure joy for me. I hope you like it, too!

Cattle Guard

Squaw Butte Sunset

I was watching a concert pianist on YouTube this morning and she said we could watch her practice all day long. She practices for 10 hours each day! I guess that is what it takes to become an expert at something. That really struck me hard because sometimes I think I can just pull out the camera and make an awesome shot, but that is rarely the case. It takes loads of time and practice to hone any craft or skill, not just the desire. It was with that same attitude that I got this nice Squaw Butte Sunset last night.

All day long I research and learn new techniques for improving my skills, if I’m not actually shooting. But what good is research if you never actually do anything with it? So I set out to go and find something to shoot, even if I didn’t have a solid plan. It’s a good thing I was committed before I left because as it turns out my initial target was no good. Then I remembered Squaw Butte and how nice it is up there. I wanted to get the sun while it was still up, but I was just about 5 minutes too late. As I was driving up the mountain I was watching the sun creep higher and higher, while growing softer and more faint. When I finally arrived at my destination, all was lost. Ok, not really. I just had to modify my plan and hang about for 2 hours while it got dark. I decided I could at least shoot some stars. In the mean time, there was plenty of sunset watching (and a little shooting) to do.

Plans had to change again as the clear sky turned to partly cloudy, which is no good for shooting stars. It’s funny too because the initial reason I went out was because the sky had nice clouds, but by the time I got to my location they were all gone.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy looking at the Squaw Butte Sunset as much as I enjoyed being there. It was a cold fall treat, and I might just go do it again someday soon.

Squaw Butte Sunset


River of Color

Autumn bring such nice changes to the visual world. Clear skies, crisp air to look through, different colors to paint the landscape and more gentle midday sun. In this scene I was particularly impressed with the beauty of the river that most people never see, because you have to walk across a train bridge for access to the view. What is normally a drab and dreary part of the Payette River has now become a river of color thanks to the autumn change. Enjoy this little trip to a peaceful place in a busy life.

River of Color

Autumn Oasis

From time to time I drive past things (ok, every day) and I have such a strong urge to stop and photograph them, but there isn’t time usually. Or there isn’t a place to pull off. Or the weather is wrong. Or whatever. In the case of this autumn oasis I found near my home, I decided the stop was worth it. The clouds didn’t seem to want to cooperate all that much as they were continually behind the tree, and never beside it. Odd that, but it was a fun scene to be a part of, watching the patches of shade and sun undulate over the hills, smelling the pungent sagebrush and basking in the autumn breeze.

This just happens to have been on the same day that I was out shooting the old train bridge, of which I’ll share more in the future. For now I hope you’ll enjoy this autumn oasis, and let me know what you think in the comments.

Autumn Oasis

Tree of Life

Since I am just beginning to explore the realm of HDR photography, I continually find myself trying to push the limits of what it can and cannot do. What that tends to mean is that I shoot into the sun a lot. Since we’ve been having a record dry summer here in Idaho, that means there aren’t any clouds to photograph. What then? Well, I just make the most of it. On this occasion I saw this cool tree gracing the hillside and knew that I had to at least try and make a photograph. Facing away from the sun meant a rather flat and boring scene, but facing into the sun brought those nice long shadows and also gave me something to use for framing and reducing the glowing sun. And so we have something that looks like an oxymoron, a dried up and dying tree of life.

tree of life


I’m beginning to play with HDR. My goal is not to create images that LOOK like they are HDR, but that have a nice range of tone that is visible to the human eye. Because current camera technology is limited, the only way to do this is to combine several images into one. This can produce some very crazy results. This image looks closer to normal than it started out. Surprisingly, it takes a lot more work to get a natural looking image using HDR processes, rather than a crazy psychedelic scene. This little view is just outside my driveway here in Idaho. It is one of my first attempts at capturing and processing HDR and I hope it is a pleasing skyway view.

skyway in Idaho