My boys and I ventured out to Fort Lincoln on the night of the eclipse to see how visible it would be. I don't own a welding helmet (yet) but figured I might still be able to get a good shot if the cloud cover helped a little bit. It did...sorta. Things were still bright and I found myself wishing for a ten-stop neutral density filter. I ran out of patience and we took off, perhaps a little early, but I felt like it was pointless trying to get a shot while so ill-equipped.
I looked at this shot tonight from the beginning of the eclipse and it's actually not that bad. If I'd waited a little longer for the sun to approach the horizon, backed off a bit to bring the blockhouse and sun closer in size, and waited for the clouds to roll and the eclipse to proceed more fully, I might have had something. This photo isn't a total loss, but sadly it's only a hint at what could have been.
We did run into some folks who had built a neat pinhole viewer out of a long slender box with a window cut in the side. It made it very easy for my little guys to see the eclipse while not being tempted to look at the blinding sun. As a photo trip it was only a partial success, but I think as a father-sons trip it worked out just fine.
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What do you do when those cute little saplings you planted in the 80s start encroaching on overhead power and/or phone lines? Well, sadly, you've gotta cut 'em. As you can see, that can get a little awkward.
I got a chuckle when I noticed this line of trees on South 12th Street a while back. I've seen the same sort of phenomenon along Divide Avenue as well, and I'm sure it's not an isolated situation.
If trees are becoming a hazard near power lines on or near your property, you can fill out an online request on MDU's website and request that they come and trim the trees back to a safe distance. As the pictures above indicate, sometimes the result of all that safety is a sight that would make Edward Scissorhands proud.
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So there I was, working this abandoned farmstead with my camera along with my good friend Ken...when I noticed something right in front of me that had escaped my attention the entire time I'd been there: a windmill. You'd think that, with my penchant for photographing old windmills, it would have been the first thing I'd have found; however, this one was lying face-up in the grass at least a hundred feet from where one would expect to find it.
It would be interesting to find out the story behind this...the absence of twisted metal leads one to believe it was removed and not torn asunder by the prairie wind. It wasn't talking, but I'm glad it did manage somehow to attract my gaze so I could try a few angles for my "Fallen Farms" series.
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30 second photo technique: by keeping my distance from the east blockhouse at Fort Lincoln I was able to "compress" my shot in order to get it in perspective with a couple of other local landmarks: the state capitol and the Cathedral tower.
How is this most useful? When doing things like this: putting the capitol directly in front of the sun. Twice a year the sun sets directly behind the capitol, and in order to get this perspective I had to drive out nearly to Lincoln to capture it with a 300mm telephoto lens.
Once again, with our most prominent local landmark as the foreground object, I found just the right spot - a friend's yard on a hill in east Bismarck - to line the two objects up correctly. The capitol is very tricky to photograph in this way, because there are few places from which to get both high enough and far enough to accomplish the desired perspective.
The theory here is that I can't make the object in the background bigger by traveling significantly closer to it, but I can certainly make the foreground object smaller by traveling away from it. After that it's a matter of having a long enough telephoto lens to get a decent photo of the arrangement. Try it once...it's fun!
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Sticking with the Double Ditch theme for another day, I thought I'd share a nice picturesque sunset from beneath the cliffs. I had taken my little towheads down to the bottom of the walking trail to stand along the shore and throw rocks in the water, which they gladly did for as long as I'd allow before going home for story time and bedtime. On the way back I noticed that the sky had some really cool ripples and that the color of the sky was very striking, so we stopped for a second to take it in before heading home for baths, stories, stuffed animals, and blankies.
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