Let the Day begin

Here’s to the babies in a brand new world,
Here’s to the beauty of the stars…
Here’s to the travelers of the open road,
Here’s to the dreamers and the bards…
Here’s to the soldiers on the desert dunes,
Here’s to the farmers in the fields…
Here’s to the preachers of the sacred Word,
Here’s to the loving God who heals…
Here’s to you, my little loves, with blessing from above, now let the Day begin.

Just sharing a friendly good morning and a now-historic photo of the windmill which used to stand near Farmer’s Livestock southeast of Bismarck (it’s a parking lot now).  Lyrics modified from one of my favorite songs by The Call.

It’s no secret that I’ve been posting very little lately.  Naturally that’s because I haven’t been out with my camera lately.  I’m hoping to rectify that, but it’s going to take a little bit yet.  I have good reason:

  • As you’ve probably discerned, nearly everyone in my little family has had a very serious medical predicament.  No two have been alike.  I myself have had to make multiple trips to Mayo Clinic for complicated surgeries, the first of which failed.
  • In the midst of all that, we gave up our house and were homeless briefly.  Thanks to friends from church, we had a place to stay while we hunted for a new place.  Then it was a stretch as apartment dwellers, with most of our lives in bins as we awaited the next stage of life.  Now we’re in a new home, and it is wonderful – but time consuming.

I’ve learned a LOT over the past two years.  God has brought us through many serious situations.  He’s sent a lot of people our way to provide assistance.  We’re humbled as we look back over the past two years and, although we’re not out of the woods completely, we’re excited to see what He has in store for us.

Since handling of the UND logo debate has been so comical…

Sioux-Logo-ComicalThe choice is clear.  UND has bungled the UND logo and mascot issue so horribly, that only a cartoon character is appropriate to portray the laughable nickname of “The Fighting Hawks”.  Thus I dive into Photoshop, my beloved playground.

From denying the Sioux people (yes, I said Sioux) a seat at the NCAA table in Indianapolis when the edict was given to stop using the nickname, to denying the people of Standing Rock to vote on the issue,  to the farcical “vote” taken to choose the replacement while omitting “North Dakota” (no nickname) from the ballot, the people involved in this process should be ashamed of themselves.

They’ll always be the Fighting Sioux.  No matter what pointy-headed PC liberals want you to think.

We’ve got Redhawks, Blue Hawks, Skyhawks, and now Fighting Hawks. So what?

hawksWhat the heck is a “fighting hawk” anyway?  I wasn’t aware they had such a propensity for combat.  Besides, isn’t “Fighting” anything 50% “Hostile and Abusive™” anyway?

So, Dickinson State has the Blue Hawks.  Fargo-Moorhead has the Redhawks.  Bismarck has the Skyhawks.  Now UND has the Fighting Hawks.  Ho Hum.  The two words together don’t even roll off the tongue, much less inspire…anything.

The “Roughriders” wouldn’t have been much better.  In addition to everything in the southwest corner of the state being named Roughrider something-or-other, it’s also the nickname for a Grand Forks high school team.  That would be weird.

I have always planned on sticking with the Fighting Sioux anyway, but now I’m certain I’m making the correct decision.  Fighting Hawks…unbelievable.


hay_tree_23072Who among you has never done this on a road trip:  Yell “Hay!” when driving by a bunch of stacked bales, maybe even pointing, then ridiculing anyone in the car who rubbernecks wondering what the “Hey!” was all about?  If you haven’t, you don’t know what you’re missing.  For the first ten miles, tops.  All the way to Big Sky: the vehicle’s occupants could come to blows.

Then you run the risk, being from North Dakota, of someone in the car declaring that it was straw, not hay…injecting utter buzzkill into one more semi-annoying way to pass the time on the road.

Hey!  (look up)

Cell phone photo stream part 9

Yes, I’m still digging through previously unshared photos of note on my various portable devices.  Here are a few more:


ipod_photostream_7126This cloud dropped a column of rain, but technically you’d call that virga.


ipod_photostream_7129That actually isn’t the only cloud doing so.  I had to pull over and do a quick pano to get it all in.


ipod_photostream_6995We don’t do Halloween at our house.  We don’t have to; costume days are frequent without need for a holiday.  Bad guys beware!


ipod_photostream_6573The town of Fairmount, located in the southeastern corner of North Dakota, nearly had the top of its municipal water tower ripped off by one of the many wind storms that roared across the state this summer.  The only thing preventing this from ending up on the school grounds or somebody’s back yard was the ladder.  A replacement was fabricated by a company in Devils Lake and installed after a few weeks.


ipod_photostream_6289Getting ready for a climb.  While I didn’t get to go all the way to the top of the boom, I did get to hike up a ways.  I’m still kicking myself for not taking the one opportunity I’ve had in my lifetime to walk all the way to the top.  I was working, shooting stills and photos, and I wanted to get a compressed telephoto shot of the worker doing a regular inspection of the boom, and before I realized it he was halfway up and I was stuck at the bottom.  Someday…


ipod_photostream_0089TJ Maxx is making darn sure that rock gets watered.  Maybe it started out as a pebble?  Maybe it’s one of those spongy things that expands when it’s wet.  I don’t know.


That’s all I have for this blitzkrieg of mobile device photos (“cell phone” really doesn’t cut it these days), but I plan on going even further back in time.  I know there are plenty of gems that need to be shared.  Hopefully I’ll have some new photos from the “big cameras” to share in between.

Cell phone photo stream part 8

The blitz continues as I look through the archived photos from my various iOS devices, phones, or whatever portable thingamajig doesn’t qualify as a professional camera.

ipod_photostream_0132I hadn’t seen this truck in a while, but it was parked at the Little Cottage one day as I went by.  The back says “This Truck Contains Obama’s Stimulus Package”.


ipod_photostream_0083I took my family to see the Medora Musical this summer.  It’s celebrating 50 years.  It’s a great show and a great experience, but I just can’t enjoy it the same since my friend “Gentleman Wade” Westin passed away unexpectedly.  He was a fantastic Musical host and a remarkable man.  For the longest time I couldn’t even bring myself to see the Musical.


ipod_photostream_7372Getting ready for the football show.  Plenty of junk food on hand, of course.


ipod_photostream_0058I’m training some future photographers in my family.  Alliteration unintentional.


ipod_photostream_0047This was certainly eye-catching.  It looked as if someone yanked the chassis right out from under this Suburban.  I absolutely had to take a closer look.


ipod_photostream_6988I’ve never looked into all that’s required to do this sort of suspension modification to a vehicle, but I’m guessing it takes a lot of ingenuity.


Yes, I still have more.  Stay tuned!

Cell phone photo stream part 7

Here are a few more photos in my latest batch of cell phone / iPod / iPad collection. It’s cool to always have a device handy to snap shots of whatever catches my eye, even when my 20-pound camera bag is at home or in the truck.

ipod_photostream_5842I posted some photos of this with my big camera, but I also snapped some with my phone.  It’s a tree that grew through the gaps in a picnic table, and it happens to look like a butt sitting on the wood.


ipod_photostream_0117I found myself at the state capitol one day, and I always have to take this shot.  I had a fantastic sky to work with that day.


ipod_photostream_0115Memorial Hall at the capitol.  I made the mistake of referring to it as the Great Hall one day, since that was how I’d seen it in some SHSND literature, and I was sternly corrected by a veteran on the Facilities Management staff.  Rightfully so…now I get it right.


ipod_photostream_5022I’ve had media credentials for the legislature for the past five session or so.  Here’s a quick pano from the gallery of the state House of Representatives.


ipod_photostream_5061I took my kiddos to watch a local R/C airplane club enjoying a day of indoor flight.  This is a dogfight in which the planes pull tissue-paper streamers, and they slice through each other’s streamers as they wage combat.  Pretty slick.


ipod_photostream_5017I like gourmet sodas, and Mac’s Hardware is the place to go.  Runnings used to have a decent selection, but not the past few times I’ve gone through there.  Mac’s, on the other hand, has expanded their offerings.


Think I’m done?  Not hardly.

Cell phone photo stream part 6

The best camera is the one you have with you, and thankfully cell phone cameras have gotten a lot better lately.  I want to continue to share a few things I’ve grabbed since the last time I posted under the “Cell Phone” category.

ipod_photostream_6391I saw this bumper sticker at an paramedic/EMT event this summer.  Very cool.  Since then I saw a guy who had it tattooed on his forearm.


ipod_photostream_5833 That “Crazy Russian Hacker” dude wasn’t kidding.  This works like a charm.



Photographing the Gray House in Sims, ND after taking off work early.



The cockpit of a King Air 200.  It actually wasn’t too hard to push into the hangar – as long as you have enough guys. We used the hangar as a venue to watch the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight on Pay-Per-View.



Shooting some video of picturesque Powers Lake, North Dakota. Moments later I found a wood tick on my leg.  Ew.


I’ll post a bunch more in the next few days.  I have a pretty good batch collected, but I don’t want to dump them all in one gargantuan post.

Arena stop

arena_church_35888_89_90_tonemappedI had the opportunity to stop by one of BIsmarck-Mandan’s nearest ghost towns recently, and although I only had a few minutes to grab some handheld photos before dashing back to town I was able to get a couple I liked.  Naturally I want to share.

The church above, I believe, is on its last legs.  Its cinder block foundation has lost its walls on the long sides, and all four corners are beginning to crumble.  Already the structure is beginning to bow in the middle.  This is such a picturesque old church, it’s sad to see its demise imminent.


arena_elevator_35951-3_HDRI don’t believe I have ever photographed the Arena elevator before, and as I rolled up I was given a fantastic window of light as the sun passed through a sliver in the clouds.  I took several shots from the window of my truck, but opted to go all JJ Abrams on this one and use the one with lens flare.  I don’t usually do much with lens flare, but I thought it really worked in this instance.

I’m slowly easing back into one of my favorite pastimes: sharing my love of North Dakota in pictures.  Even going back to a familiar place and revisiting it one more time presents its own new opportunity, because it seems we never have the same weather or lighting twice.  For that reason I can confidently predict that this isn’t the last time I’ll be sharing photos of Arena, ND.