Monday, March 30, 2009

Old Links - A brochure from the Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club using a few of my photos. - National Geographic used one of my images on their web site to illustrate the field notes by Jim Richardson.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Glaciers in Retreat

The Glaciers are in retreat.  House is now visible behind the retreat.  Temperatures hovering in and around the 40's will help.  Supposed to hit the 60's this week.  Sure helped my weekend plans!  I was going to have to mow the yard for the first time and I was not looking forward to starting the mower for the first time this year.


This is the "HOLE" left by my car.  Dug it out so that my friend with his truck and plow could get in and push the snow into glaciers which are now in retreat.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Blizzard of 2009!!!!!

So I made it a point to get home early from my trip to Wisconsin because the boss said he didn't want me on the road Friday because of bad weather.  We had some snow on Friday but it wasn't too bad......      ....but overnight the snow and the wind picked up and we got pounded with somewhere between 12" and 18" of snow along with blowing and drifting.  My guess is that we will not even be able to get out of the driveway until Sunday afternoon.  Ranger kept thinking he wanted to go out in it.  He did and had to bound his way over to a tree where the snow was shallow enough for him to somewhat walk.  he wasn't out long before he was back at the door saying, "Let me IN!"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lake Superior

Got up early this morning and headed to a place called Stoney Point along Lake Superior between Two Harbors and Duluth. There are a couple of old boats there that lend themselves to nice photography. Overcast and rather cold at 28 degrees, the snow was crunchy under my shoes but the soft light was perfect for what I envisioned the night before. Just down the beach from the boat was an old cabin nestled among some trees. Made a nice image as well. I used several lenses including 100-400L IS; 24-105L IS; 11-18; 100 Macro. Used the macro to document the old paint on the boat hull.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ice Anyone?

Drove along the south shore of Lake Superior late this afternoon. In a few places there were ice blocks shoved up against the shore. Stopped at one place and put on more coats, gloves and hats. Wind was blowing in off the lake and even though it was only 25 degrees it felt MUCH colder.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Timing and Instinct?

Finished seeing customers this afternoon about 4 pm and headed to Rice Lake, WI where I am seeing another customer at 8 am tomorrow. The sun was headed down so I grabbed my camera gear and took off for some back roads in the area. It was almost getting too late to shoot when something told me to "TAKE THIS ROAD". So, knowing that I have had this feeling before and good things happened, I turned up a gravel road toward a local lake. Spotted a few deer and some geese in a corn field but nothing to write home about. Just then a large bird flew overhead. I could tell by the large chord of the wings it had to be some sort of eagle. It landed in the top of a tree just over a slight rise in the road ahead. I eased forward hoping to get close enough to get a few shots before it flew away but.... ....there on the side of the road opposite the drivers window (DARN!) was another eagle, a bald eagle, sitting on the head of a dead deer eating away. I slipped the car into park, shut off the engine, pulled the keys out of the ignition, slowly opened the door and slipped out to get a shot or two before it flew away. At 400mm the shots were good but the deer was about 2/3rds of the shot. I climbed back into the car, slipped the shifter into neutral and let the car roll closer. Climbed out again. This time the eagle took notice but still was occupied eating enough so that it almost entirely ignored me. This time I took a series including the one above. Sometimes if a road is calling it is best not to ignore it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Drove thru Oshkosh today and was just getting there at lunchtime so I drove up to the Museum of the EAA. Cell phone shot. I had very little time so I didn't go in or even get out of the car.
Maybe next trip if I have time. BUSY BUSY with sales at an all-time low.
For those not in the know, EAA stands for Experimental Aircraft Association. This is where the fly-in occurs every year with literally thousands of planes and owners and wannabees show up for a week.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Smack in the Middle!

Connie, my GPS lady chose a route home right through the middle of the USA!  Only one mile off the main highway was a spot designated the geographic center of the USA.  One mile?  I can handle that if only to say I was there.  I listened to the chorus of "recalculating" several times, parked, shutoff the engine and reached for the camera gear.  There is a nice plaque and monument marking the spot as well as a picnic table, a small chapel (maybe to pray that you can find your way back to the main highway?) and some trees planted to offer a backdrop and windbreak.  Most interesting to me was the road leading to the center.  it appears that the center of the USA has a strong gravitational pull and has folded the road drastically.  The 400mm lens helps heighten the effect of the folds.

After being there the required number of seconds to record it and offer my appreciation of the daunting task of locating this exact spot, I was off for home, but really curious about how anyone determined this exact spot.  I short search online yielded the fact that it was extremely scientific.  A large cardboard cut-out of the USA was moved around on a point until it balanced.  The point was somewhere in this general area.  From the wispy, blurry beginnings this EXACT spot was located and saved for those travelers such as myself whose own Connie directs them to the middle of no-where; or is it the extreme gravity of the location that draws people here in huge numbers?

Dancing Cranes

Driving from one customer to another yesterday I passed fields of corn rows loaded with cranes.  There were literally thousands of them.  Most were well away from the road. This particular group was maybe 50 yards from the edge of the road and didn't fly away when I stopped to photograph their mating dances.  Maybe the dance had them occupied enough that they didn't mind me being so close.  I was under a time restraint so didn't stay as long as I wanted but then it was entertaining for those 20 minutes I did sit and watch them dance!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rowe Sanctuary - Nebraska

Made it to the sandhill crane migration restign stop along the Platte River in Nebraska. Only had one evening to be there and just barely got to the Audubon Nature Center (Rowe Center) in time to get into a blind. Unfortunately, the river next to the blind was full of ice and no cranes came in very close. Flocks flew overhead, looked the spot over and turned away. No clouds in the sky so the sunset was less than optimum but you pay your money and take your chances. Rowe is not the best place to get close up shots of cranes but the shear number of birds is impossible to beat. The peak is about two weeks from now when more than 500,000 snadhill cranes will be roosting on the Platte every evening and feeding in the fields adjacent to the river during the day. About mid-April they are mostly gone on their treck to Alaska and Siberian nesting grounds.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys

The Texas trip took us straight into Turkey, Texas, population of about 500 and per capita income of under $20,000 according to the last census. Home of Bob Wills. For those who don't know him, Bob Wills was known as the King of Country Swing. His music was very popular when I was a kid living in Texas. I didn't like it then but I do now, can't quite figure that one out. It was cool to ride around with my uncle in his '55 Ford convertible and listen to Bob Wills on the radio. I was about 10 years old and except for the music thought this was awesome. Now that I am older and wiser(?) I still think it would be a cool thing to do but with gas pushing $2 a gallon and the price of a '55 Ford convertible hiting maybe $50,000+ who could afford it.

The memorial is very cool. The images of Bob are very realistic with the exception of the missing Jack Daniels bottle, a fixture at the clubs where Bob and the Texas Playboys put on shows.

Turkey, Texas is not along the route to anywhere but is on the route to everywhere. I felt like every kids dream here would be to make a name and get to somewhere else. The town is not very vibrant and is run down, but then so are a lot of other small west Texas towns. Years ago, oil was king here and the small towns were booming. Now the oil is about gone and the small oil boom towns are dwindling. There is a small resurgence based on residual oil and new ways to extract what is left but that is left to big business and not to the small time producer like T. Boone Pickens in his early years. Maybe this area will be a good location for a wind farm or a solar collector?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Kopje in Oklahoma

Kopje is a Dutch word meaning roughly "Cap". All across the Serengeti there are kopjes, the result of millions of years of volcanic dust and ash filling in the valleys between the hills and mountains. These "Caps" have all weathered into smooth, rounded boulders and hills of granite, intrusive igneous rock. In SW Oklahoma lies an ancient mountain range of granite which has been exposed to weathering for eons and has taken on the look of the Serengeti kopjes. I was amazed to see such similarities between the terrain in Oklahoma and what I had seen in Tanzania. I kept looking for the herds of wildebeest and zebra and the stalking lions on top of the kopjes. The shot above is a granite hill in the middle of a farmers field near Quartz Mountain State Park in Oklahoma.

Jumping Deer

I watched a whole herd of deer running across a field of grass and cactus. They were headed right for the road where I was parked, but suddenly saw the pickup and turned straight for the fence. I get ready with the 100-400L IS and grabbed a couple of shots as they lept over the fence. The buck was huge and cautious. Turned away and went another 100 yards away to jump the fence. I did shoot thru the windshield but that turned out to be ugly with bug guts and distortion getting the best of my $1300 lens! Smart buck. No wonder he has lived to become a big guy!