Tuesday, November 12, 2019


I took this shot the day I was visiting the BNSF Shops.  These are a couple working Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotives that were siting by the Topeka Kansas station which is still used as an Amtrak stop.

Monday, November 11, 2019


It's Veteran's Day here in the US.  Take a moment out of your day to remember those who served.

I had bought this mini Carnation plant late this Spring.  I was pleased to see that it flowered all season long.  Usually I have only been able to get them to flower in Spring.  Not sure if it was the mostly cooler temps and all the rain but these flowered all the way till frost.  This image was taken in October.

Sunday, November 10, 2019


While I was watching Norfolk & Western 611 on it's runs to and from Strasburg to Paradise Pennsylvania I was sitting in the Picnic Grove Station.  I got this shot as it approached the station on it's way back to Strasburg.  People could get picked up here after having their picnic.

Saturday, November 9, 2019


This is a quite lovely sunset we experienced on the first day of our new time after falling back an hour last Sunday.  

Friday, November 8, 2019


It's Bokeh time because Friday's Are Bokehlicious!  These are some lovely Lobelia flowers I photographed at a friend's house.  I believe they are Blue Cardinal Flower Lobelias.  The grass and plants behind created some lovely bubbly bokeh for them.

Thursday, November 7, 2019


There were not many butterflies around this autumn.  Maybe they knew the early cold was coming and headed out faster than usual.  I stopped seeing larger ones in late September.  I still have to share some butterfly shots every now and then. This is an older image of a lovely Black Swallowtail visiting a Zinnia flower. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


It's Wildflower Wednesday on the Blog once again.  This is another new one for the Wild Flower Pages for this year but one I probably have photographed  without realizing which type it was.  It's quite a lovely specimen and the one that is the state flower of Kansas.  This is a Common Sunflower.  They usually start blooming in July and can be found through October.  They are an annual and spread by their seeds if birds don't get them first.  All Sunflowers are part of the Aster Family.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


I am going to do something today I rarely do and share more than 1 image for the day.  I was able to visit the BNSF Shops a couple weeks ago and found it quite interesting but others may not find it that way so I will share what i found most interesting in one day's post.  Here are the things I enjoyed seeing and found especially interesting.

Sitting in the main Shops area which used to be filled with Steam locomotives back in the day, were various locomotives in different states of repair, you can get a glimpse of a couple in the rear of the 2nd photo.  Also there were a couple of passenger cars.  This one is the William B Strong (named after a president of the ATSF railway from 1881 to 1889) which is a Theater lounge car where riders, usually executives, get a good view of the track.  I took this image with my phone due to the low light conditions and was pretty impressed with how it came out.

This Lounge car was also sitting there and was quite fancy and used for executive trips as well.

This is a view of part of the interior of that car.  Quite fancy but I was told by someone who had been in it before that it has been quite extensively refurbished and isn't as ornate as it once was.

The Topeka Shops now focus on locomotives.  In one area they do the wheels and the electric motors that are between the wheels on the "trucks"  (A chassis or framework-like structure underneath a railroad car to which wheel axles are attached through bearings.)

Then in the old Machine Shop area they work on refurbishing the huge diesel motors with giant lathes and mills.

It was all quite interesting to see and I was very glad to have been able to visit there.

Monday, November 4, 2019


We lost all our flowers early this year due to an early hard frost.  I am going to be longing for the days of spring and new flowers blooming.  Until then I will have to dip into the archives from time to time and find lovely ones to share like this yellow Iris that grows by my big pond.

Sunday, November 3, 2019


Today's image is a closer up view of Norfolk and Western locomotive 475 4-8-0 Mastadon waiting at Picnic grove on the Strasburg Railway.  It was running alternately with N&W 611 the day that I was there and it's passenger cars were very full because everyone, like me, that day wanted to be riding behind 611.  I didn't know until after how rare 475 was as well.

Saturday, November 2, 2019


We had an early snow this year on the day before Halloween.  The temps at night were in the low 20s.  Early for that kind of thing.  It did make for a pretty view of homer's pond in town with the autumn colors and the snow.

Friday, November 1, 2019


Happy first day of November!  The year is flying by, Christmas will be here before we know it.  It's Friday and Fridays are Bokehlicious!  I captured these leaves of my Maple tree against some lovely bubbly bokeh created by leaves and sunlight in the other trees.  They were just turning a lovely color.  Not sure what the tree will be like after this week of wind and cold, they probably won't make it to their red color.  I am not sure if this is a Sugar or Red Maple tree or possibly some other variety.  it's trunk is similar to a Japanese Maple so very confusing.  😊

Thursday, October 31, 2019


Hello and Happy Halloween!  Hope you have a fun and safe time!  I enjoy seeing all the kids in their costumes.  Might be a bit chilly for them here as we may have snow.  I am writing this earlier in the week and that is what the forecast called for.  Stay warm out there too!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


It's Wildflower Wednesday again on the Blog today, probably one of the last as the wildflowers are done for the year.  I will have to dig through my photos to see what I can still share.  Today's though, is a new one for this year.  This is Pokeweed.  It gets the somewhat long strings of dark berries on it but this is a few of the flowers just beginning to develop.

I have pages of Wildflowers by Color on the Blog and they have been updated with these that I have found and photographed this year to help ID ones when you find them.  They might be helpful to you as you are out looking or going through photos of your own.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019


The Santa Fe Railroad was always my favorite so when it merged with Burlington Northern that made it my favorite.  It was very cool to be able to go inside the shops in the BNSF era where the Topeka ones only do locomotive work.  They used to do a lot of boxcar work back in the late Santa Fe era.  These 2 locomotives were sitting inside the shop area waiting for some finishing touches.  In the area just beside them on the left were diesel engines being refurbished,  It all was very interesting to see.

Monday, October 28, 2019


My Toad Lily is blooming and has the most blooms on it that it has ever had.  The bad part is that it is supposed to get down in the 20s this week so it probably will not get a chance to finish blooming.  Sigh.  I captured this image of it which is actually a 4 image focus stack a few days ago.

Sunday, October 27, 2019


This is another image from Strasburg Pennsylvania of Norfolk and Western 611 heading out after 475 went past on it's way to Paradise PA.  That is where the trains go, a 9 mile trip there and back on the same track.  It's a nice ride through Amish farm country even though short.

Saturday, October 26, 2019


Autumn has come to Kansas but it won't be as beautiful as last year.  Some trees were stressed due to the weird large rains and then intense heat and now the wind is blowing like crazy.  Some more secluded areas have some beauty like this one at the large scale railroad that I get to play at.

Friday, October 25, 2019


Fridays Are Bokehlicious and today is about butterflies again as well.  This is a Common Variegated Fritillary I was able to capture out on Konza Prairie a couple of weekends ago.  There were several of these and other types around that day enjoying the last of the wildflowers like these Asters.  The long grass behind provided some nice bokeh to make the butterfly stand out a bit better.

Thursday, October 24, 2019


My Zebra Grass' blooms have dried now and catch the sunlight in a lovely way.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Time for Wildflower Wednesday on the Blog once again.  Today's flower is a white one called Wild Snakeroot.  It grows rather abundantly in our area and even after the hard frost we have there is some still blooming in places.  It's fairly short, only growing about 24 inches tall at most and found in late summer into autumn.  It is in the Aster family and is poisonous.
This is another new one for the year and the pages of Kansas Wildflowers here on the Blog have been updated with several new ones this year.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


This past weekend I had a special opportunity to visit the BNSF shops as a guest of a retired employee.  It was very cool to see what they do in the Topeka shops.  They repair locomotives there for the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railroad.  This is one of them being worked on in the original shop building where steam engines once sat and were repaired.  Very cool to see the old original building still in use.

Monday, October 21, 2019


This shot is rather cliche.  😃  People always talk about frogs on Lily pads but you rarely can catch them on them.  I was successful with this one in my backyard pond recently.  A Leopard Frog hanging out on a Lily Pad.

Sunday, October 20, 2019


When I was out in Strasburg Pennsylvania to see the 611, I also was able to see one of Strasburg Railway's regular engines, Norfolk & Western 475.  The event was being billed as a Reunion of Steam with 611 also from N&W.  475 is a lovely steamer as well kept in beautiful condition.  It was originally built in 1906 and is the railroad's oldest locomotive.  It is a 4-8-0 wheel arrangement which is unusual and is know as a "Mastadon" or M Class.  It is the only 4-8-0 operating in North America. It was purchased by the railroad in 1991, underwent a huge restoration and pulled it's first train in 1993.  It is able to pull just about any size train for the railroad and Strasburg is still an operating freight railway so 475 is an often used locomotive for that use.

Saturday, October 19, 2019


I couldn't go the week without a butterfly image.  I captured these 2 Pearl Crescents on some Hairy Asters out on Konza Prairie a couple Saturdays ago.  It was lovely to see a number of butterflies around out there that day enjoying the last of the wildflowers.

Friday, October 18, 2019


I captured this cool female Praying Mantis this past Saturday.  She was out on the sidewalk by the garage most likely looking for a good plant since the cold killed off most of them.  She stayed still enough for me to get a few shots of, so this is 3 images focus stacked.  Plus I liked how the sidewalk created some nice bokeh and since Friday's Are Bokehlicious, I decided to share this image today.

Thursday, October 17, 2019


I felt like some bright flowers for today.  The frost and cold temps we had this past weekend killed off practically all my flowers already.  Sigh.  This is an older shot of some Tiger Lilies I saw growing in a yard in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


Today is Wildflower Wednesday here on the Blog once again.  Today's flower is Tall Joe Pye Weed.  It is very tall too, can grow up to 4 feet or more.  Butterflies like this plant and i have a smaller version of it in my garden which blooms a more red color while this wildflower is white.  This particular one was growing by my large pond but there was quite a lot of it to be seen out on Konza Prairie as well.
Just a reminder, I have Wildflowers by color pages here on the Blog and I have been updating with new ones I have photographed this year like this one.  Hope you will check them out.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019


On my way out to Pennsylvania, I stopped at a place that has always intrigued me when I saw it from the highway.  This is the original Mail Pouch Tobacco Warehouse in West Virginia.  It is still operating today as a Swisher International warehouse.  This image may look like just a normal shot but I had to take it up close with just a normal wide angle lens on so it is actually 3 shots stitched together with a good amount of work behind the scenes done.  I find it funny sometimes all the work I do to a photo but you would not know just to see it without knowing the behind the scenes work.  Anyway, this is the company that those old barns had painted advertising on them that you can still find a few of today including a couple along the Pennsylvania turnpike.

Monday, October 14, 2019


Hummingbird type moths are very cool I think.  I was able to capture this White Lined Sphinx Moth around some Petunias one evening.  Those are their favorite flowers and the time of day you will usually find them.

Sunday, October 13, 2019


I have always admired this style of locomotive, ever since I saw it made famous in the photographs of O Winston Link.  Link was famous for his night photography of steam trains of the Norfolk & Western line between 1955 and 1960.  He used numerous flash bulbs to illuminate his night shots.  One of them can be seen at the link here to his museum which helped provide some funding to bring 611 to Strasburg.  More of his images can be found if you Google him.  I learned of his photographs several years ago.  Anyway, it was wonderful to be able to see this beautiful locomotive in person in Pennsylvania.  

Saturday, October 12, 2019


Autumn is arriving quickly.  When I was out on Konza Prairie a week ago, there were still a few flowers blooming but the hills were mostly dominated by the tall grasses which this type of prairie is known for.  It is lovely to look at in contrast to the blue sky.  This is a 2 shot panoramic image shot along the Nature Trail.  It really needs to be viewed large by clicking on it.

Friday, October 11, 2019


Fridays Are Bokehlicious and for butterflies.  I had not seen many butterflies around late this past summer.  Just before I left for Pennsylvania the Monarchs were beginning to show up around the yard.  I was able to capture this pair on the Autumnal Equinox as they were feeding on some Goldenrod blooms.  I loved the creamy bokeh for the background that made them standout nicely.

Thursday, October 10, 2019


I love Sea Oat Grass.  I found the perfect spot to grow it this year.  It has been quite happy and flourishing by the big pond.  The seed heads are just beginning to get their autumn color but i shot this image of them while they are still nice and green.  I love how they hang and make for interesting subjects along the slender reed.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019


It's another Wildflower Wednesday on the Blog.  Today's' flower has been in bloom for a couple of weeks now and is called Hairy Aster.  If you look closely at the stems, you can see little hairs.  I saw quite a lot still in bloom at Konza Prairie but this was taken in my yard a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


I was out walking at Konza Praitie on the Nature Trial this past weekend and there was quite a bit of nature to be seen that day.  I saw a couple of these guys, young, small Collared Lizards.  This one posed quite nicely for me on a limestone rock.

Monday, October 7, 2019


I shot this image of the African Violet my friend gave me in some afternoon sunlight.  It was in bloom again and I was so pleased I hadn't killed it or done something to make it not bloom.  I love all the little hairs on it which showed up nicely in the sunlight.

Sunday, October 6, 2019


Last Sunday I was on a steamy adventure in Strasburg Pennsylvania.  I made a trip out there to see a locomotive I have admired for quite a while.  It was made famous in some night photography images by O Winston Link.  This is the Norfolk & Western J Class locomotive 611 which was spending several weekends out at the Strasburg Railroad.  611 is currently housed at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.  It is the only survivor of 14 of these J Class Northern type locomotives and was built in 1950 near the end of the steam era.  It has a 4-8-4 wheel arrangement and is a shrouded locomotive for a streamline look.  It is definitely gorgeous and quite impressive in person.  I captured it here on it's way back to the station across a field of soybeans.

Saturday, October 5, 2019


Last week I was in Pennsylvania.  Autumn was just beginning to show in the tree colors.  The drive back through the mountains was gorgeous.  I wish I had had time to stop and photograph.  I took this on an outing to an overlook this past Monday.

Friday, October 4, 2019


TGIF!  Fridays Are Bokehlicious and for butterflies!  This one is a very small and, in my opinion, nice looking butterfly.  It has a rather crap name though, a Cotton Square Borer which is actually the larval stage because cotton is what they mostly feed on.  As an adult, they are more know as Gray Hairstreaks.  I captured this one visiting the Autumn Sedum.  In the background is more Sedum providing some lovely bokeh.

Thursday, October 3, 2019


I tried growing strawberries again this year.  I bought a container variety and they seem to be doing very well especially lately.  I liked this image as it showed the flower along with the berries in various states of maturing.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019


It's time for Wildflower Wednesday!  Today's flower is Tall Thistle or Roadside Thistle.  They bloom in August and September and can be quite tall, over 6 feet.  They also attract butterflies and are native to Kansas.  Their flower color is often referred to a purple but I think they can be rather pink as well especially as the flower matures.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Happy first day of October.  This year is going quickly, less than 3 months till Christmas!  Yikes!  so, today's image.  I love to photograph the Leopard Frogs over at the large pond.  Sometimes they can be quite cooperative like this guy.  It's so funny to walk around the pond and hear the squeaks and splashes and see them flying into the pond too because they think i am too close.

Monday, September 30, 2019


I planted this flower a while back and it was the only one to survive until now in the place I put it.  It's a lovely autumn flowering plant called Caryopteris.

Sunday, September 29, 2019


This is the Porter locomotive that I was able to work on again this year at the Western Minnesota Steam Thresher's Reunion in Rollag.  These locomotives do not have a tender.  They carry their water in a tank that surrounds the boiler.  This locomotive was originally used in a quarry.  I captured it here in the Roundhouse.

Saturday, September 28, 2019


Fridays have been good days for colorful skies it seems lately.  This is a sunset this time from last Friday.  It was even more colorful and vibrant shortly before this but I was in a car in a not great place to capture it unfortunately.  It was still quite lovely though when I arrived home.