If 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.
It 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.
This is an American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) from the Camas Prairie in Idaho last May. I didn’t have a long lens with me, so this is a mega crop. I also didn’t have a fast lens, so my shutter speed was too slow. At any rate, I managed to get something. There are so many beautiful birds to see there for how far north it is. I was totally amazed! I’d seen this and another in a zoo in a special display, so I felt particularly honored to have seen them up close in the wild.
Sometimes, simple is best. This shot of a leaf and water drops was captured after a violent spring storm. What was left behind was peaceful and serene.
Labor Day weekend is a prime time to hit the Colorado high country. The majority of the summer adventurers have headed for lower climes, which leaves the higher and cooler areas less populated and more peaceful. Ice Lake is just one of those places that people love to visit, but not quite as much in the early autumn of the high elevation.
This particular day we encountered rain and hail on the several miles hike up to the lake. It was a tiring trek, but this view at the end was well worth the effort. Have you ever visited Ice Lake? If not, be sure to put it on your list.
Sometimes you don’t need a reason to shoot a location a second time in as many days. When an early autumn storm blew through this week, I knew I had to get out and see what was worth shooting. I had second guessed the sunset time wrong, again, and so was not able to continue to the location I had in mind. Instead I turned of 10 miles early and headed to where I thought I might see something nice. I was right. The elevation difference between the valley and the heights of Squaw Butte made for and excellent aerial playground. The clouds shearing across the landscape were interrupted by the stalwart ridge and forced to give way, washing around it like the sea around coastal shipwreck.
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.
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.
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.
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.