Sunday, May 31, 2009

Castle Rock

Finally made it to Castle Rock.  Glad we took the truck as the roads were not that great following the wet spring.  Lots of ruts and deep fissures in the dirt and gravel keeps the regular autos out for now.  This is not an easy place to find coming from the south but I am certainly glad we keep at it until we found the place.  Hoodoos available for photography and plenty of neat photo ops exist.  Even found a nice cooperative snake.  Sure is nice to find a miniature version Utah, right here in our home state and only about 2 hours away.

Fossil Finds Some Fossils

Yesterday we took a geology hike with two guys from the Kansas Geological Survey. The hike took place on the Smoky Valley Ranch, owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy. We learned a lot about the history of the ranch in addition to the geology of the surrounding area. We then got a chance to look in the erosion areas for fossils. One young lady (maybe 9 years old!) found a sharks tooth. I stumbled onto something I could not identify. Bob and Rex came over to look and were shocked to see what I had found, the fossilized remains of an invertebrate creature, predecessor of the starfish and similar species. It has never been identified in this area nor in this strata. The fossil is approximately 65 million years old based on the layer it was associated with. I took photos for the geologists and sent them on to the guys today. They geo-tagged the post and made some mental notes about the location as well. As soon as I find out the real name of the fossil, I will add it to this post. For now, these are the images.

The name of the fossil is Uintacrinus, a crinoid, which is in the starfish family.

Kansas Divided Highway

To a few of us, all roads should be dirt or at least no more than gravel. We spent the better part of the weekend on dirt and gravel roads or on foot on hiking trails in central and western Kansas. Glad we left my company car at home and took the truck. Ground clearance was a necessity in a lot of the places we visited. This happens to be the road into and out of the Castle Rock formation. Great place to visit but take a truck, four wheel drive if it has been raining.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Monument Rocks

Made it to Monument Rocks in Western Kansas in time for the sunset light.  Lots of rain out here recently as can be seen by the abundance of flowers and a few mud holes along the gravel/dirt roads.  Get me off the pavement and let me drive on gravel or dirt and I feel at home.  Beautiful evening.  80 degrees when we started shooting and 66 when we stopped.  Headed to the Nature Conservancy Ranch tomorrow for some geology and to meet with them about using some of my images on their web site and in their magazine.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Flint Hills Day - Kansas

Spent a great afternoon in the flint hills at a car show in the small town of Burns and then went hunting for likely suspects.  The birds were out and showing off and the sky was littered with puffy white clouds.  Nice day to be out with our friends, the Graham's.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Down the Dusty Road

Made a quick trip to SW Nebraska today.   On the way home I must have really made my GPS lady, Agnes, mad.  I missed a turn because I changed my mind about the route to take home and after a few blaring "Recalculating's" she tried to get me to take this road.  NO WAY.  I had to have a photo.  There was a sign at the start of the road that said, Unimproved Road.  No kidding.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stanton Airfield

Stanton Airfield is located in Minnesota south of MSP.  Great history.  I was driving thru the back roads on the way to an appointment which I was WAY early to attend and saw the open hangers and old airplanes.  Had to stop.  After walking around for a few minutes I went back to the car and picked up my camera for some images.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Roaring River State Park

I visited Roaring River State Park back in 1970.  Always said I wanted to go back but never did until....        ....last week, while driving from one appointment to another in SW Missouri I saw on the map that I was only 20 miles away and had over 2 hours to drive another 10 to my appointment so naturally I had to make the drve to see why I was so intrigued that many years ago.  Now I know I need to go back again, SOON and for a longer time.

For those keeping score - the top two images are composed of three exposures while the bottom image is a composite of two exposures.

Friday, May 8, 2009

May Day Parade - McPherson, KS

The annual May Day (All Schools Day) parade was this morning.  As it has for every year we've been, it looked like we would have rain.  A series of strong thunderstorms rolled thru starting at 3 am and finally worked their way out about 7 am.  Dad wanted to go this year to see the old tractors and cars so we made plans to get him there with a front row seat.  Weather went in our favor for once.  In addition, we had the Fort Riley Mounted Color Guard in attendance with a friends son part of the color guard.  Turned out to be fun meeting him and doing some photos of the group including a special lunch for them.  This same color guard was part of the inaugural parade this year.  The horse in this photo was part of both Bush's inaugural and also Obama's.  He has been at this for almost 14 years.  Learned a lot about the parade groups and their uniforms.  For local parades and when it is hot, they use their rodeo uniforms as worn today.  During cooler or more formal occasions they wear traditional US Cavalry uniforms from the Civil War era, wool and HOT!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Road Home

Driving home today I decided to take a short cut through the Oklahoma Tallgrass Prairie Preserve which is run by the Nature Conservancy.  Every trip through there I have been graced by the presence of Buffalo.  Nice to see them again this trip along with the puffy clouds and the old and new grasses at their feet. This young bull posed nicely for me to get my normal vertical shot to include a huge section of the sky.  This is after all, what the prairie is about, sky and grasses with a lot of SKY (or SKYY if you like!).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

High School Senior Composite

Composite image of a high school senior.  We started shooting last summer and decided to put together a grouping of all the seasons.  Worked well.  These will be double matted and in the same frame about 32" wide.  The prints will be 5 x 7.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

McPherson College Car Show

McPherson College had their annual car show yesterday.  For those who don't know, the college offers a degree in auto restoration with scholarships from none other than Jay Leno.  There were a number of excellent restorations there as well as some in process vehicles that show all the work that goes into this type of effort.  We took my Dad, who will be 92 in about a month.  He always loves looking at the cars he grew up with.  There was one exceptional Buick, 1938 best I remember, that is identical to one he owned.  I made him a sepia of it for his apartment.  He stopped to explain to us how the vacuum fuel delivery system worked on the old Willys but we had to get back to the Model T's to find a car older than him.  I think the highlight was a "running" Stanley Steamer.  He had always wanted to see one.  They were giving rides so we got in line (not sure he could climb up into it) but as they were driving off with the group in front of us something went wrong.  Dad had wanted to see under the hood and he got his wish.  Never got to ride in it but that's OK.  If you ever get to McPherson, KS, the school offers free tours of the restoration area, well worth the time if you are a car guy (or gal).