Friday, July 31, 2015


Wow, it's the last day of July already!  Where does the time go?  We wait so long for summer to be here and then it's gone so fast.
So I have been saying that I got close up photos of Big Horn Sheep while in the Badlands of South Dakota.  We were driving along a road that was supposed to be good for viewing various types of wildlife and saw a couple of people taking photos of something on the hills.  I got out to see what it was and saw it was a Big Horn.  While heading back to the car for a bigger lens people driving by told me just a bit down the road there were more and better, people are nice like that sometimes.  Sure enough, there was quite the group of them all over the hills.  I got this image of a female and 4 kids relaxing.  I was amazed how they blend into the background, I'm sure it's protection against predators.  I used this image for my Black & White project today because the theme was Living Things and in that form they seem to blend even more.  You can see the B&W version by going to the link in the About Me Section on the right hand page of the Blog if you like.  Also, you may notice the radio collar on the female.  Several sheep had these so the park could track their movements and habits within the park.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


It's cooler here finally!  I like it when it's cool in the morning, feels fresh when I am going to work.  Wish it would stay year round with these types of temps but it won't.  Ah well.  So this photo I got a few weeks ago when these lovely Thistles were in bloom.  They have lovely lines in them and vivid color.  Apparently the bees love them as well because there were a number of them around going from blossom to blossom.  I got this macro of one that stopped long enough to focus in on.  :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I actually have a title, not a great one, but it's a title.  We were hiking on one of the trails in the Badlands of South Dakota, the Door Trail I believe, when I spotted this guy off in the distance.  I dug out mt zoom lens and captured this Big Horn Sheep posing on the cliff.  I'm not sure what he was doing up there, there did not seem to be any vegetation for him to eat, I think he was just surveying his territory.  He'd walk around a bit from one side to the other, stop and pose, then do it again.  I got off a few shots while he was posing.  He left the cliff shortly after.

Sheep On A Cliff

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Well, I hope this is really our last day of 100F for a while.  It's getting old.  All you feel like doing is staying in the AC and hibernating.  This is from cooler times in South Dakota.  I even had a jacket with me though due to the exercise I never needed it.  This was during our 20 mile ride on the Mickelson Trail, an old Burlington Northern Rail route.   I was riding behind at the time while I snapped off this shot.  It shows well the type of scenery we rode through.  The stream was alongside us for most of the way.  We rode through a lot of forested area and you can see some of the rocks of the Black Hills.  A great place for a ride and very glad we did it.

Monday, July 27, 2015


This is an older image.  Last year was a good year to see these guys, they seemed to be everywhere.  Lately I have not seen much nature, I think most things have gone somewhere cooler since it's been so unbearably hot here lately.  This Hummingbird or Glasswing Moth was enjoying the blooms of this Milkweed when I got this image of it.  They are such cool little moths the way they hover like the birds of the same name.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Some more rain this morning and then up to 98 at least.  A sauna again.  The only thing good about this is I don't have to go out and water things in the heat.  This image for today goes back to much cooler times when we were in South Dakota.  On this particular day it was only in the mid 60s F and it was cloudy out.  We were riding the 1880s Train, or more accurately, The Black Hills Central Railroad, while I took this image as we were going around a curve.  Because of the cool conditions while they were blowing the whistle for the approach of the crossing it created quite the nice plume of steam.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Hot hot hot today already!  I was just outside for a bit and it was boiling at 10:30 in the morning.  Yikes.  I thought I would share this butterfly image.  I have lots and could share one everyday for a while but I won't Because not everyone may likes them as well as I do.  :-)  This Great Spangled Fritillary was enjoying the Bee Balm when it was blooming.  I seem to find one of these types of butterflies there every year when it's in bloom.

Friday, July 24, 2015


With rain early this morning and the hot temps it's like a sauna out there today.  Yuck.  Looks like we will be this way till about Wednesday.  I've had this shot for a while now and never shared it.  The theme of Bird Poker over on Google Plus today was Hummingbirds so I thought I would play my hand.  I'd rather that this was with a flower and not a feeder but I got the Hummer nice and clear so there you go.  :-)

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Well, nice days are over and it's hot again.  Ah well.  To cool myself off I am thinking of a day in South Dakota when I was in the Black Hills and the high for the day was only about 68.  It was the day we were looking for waterfalls.  I love Daisies and these were growing wild along the stream down from one of them we stopped at so I thought I would get a little artsy with them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


A beautiful day here in Kansas and then downhill from here into the heat again.  This was taken on our trip to South Dakota.  When we were in the Badlands we were able to see a variety of wildlife like the Bighorn Sheep I already shared.  These guys are on a different scale and there were several colonies we saw of them throughout the park.  These are Prairie Dogs and were just so much fun to watch giving their warning barks and popping up out of their tunnels or playing together like these 3.  They get a bad rep by ranchers but studies have shown they actually benefit the land they are colonized in by keeping it aerated and so the soil stays more fertile and the grass grows better.  Plus they are so cute, how can you resist those faces.  :-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


It was only in the mid 60s this morning and it was glorious!  Only going to last for a couple of days before the heat returns but I will take it.  It was a refreshing morning for once.  I'm taking a break today from vacation images and going back to a shot from the Bi-plane Fly-In that was held in Junction City Kansas in early June.  This is a close up of a Stearman B-plane that I decided to do in a monochrome style to make it look more vintage.  They are former navy planes and are quite nice to see still flying.

Monday, July 20, 2015


Yikes the summer is flying by!  Seems worse this year than ever.  I guess because I have been very busy.  I have so much more to do though.  Sigh
Anyway, this is another artsy type photo I did in the Badlands of the state flower of Kansas, which I can't find a field of this year.  The ones I know of are not planted with them this year.  I thought the rock cliff of one of the formations made a very nice backdrop for these.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Well, hopefully we are going to cool down now, got some rain and it's only predicted for low 90s today.  Right now it's rather steamy outside with the humidity.  Makes this post for today fitting.  :-)
This is the Black Hills central Railway in South Dakota.  We were chasing the train after riding and this was the first shot I got of it.  I was up on a rock hill, there were chairs set up near where I was so the locals must go up there to watch fairly regularly.  As you can see from all the steam coming out towards the cab in the shot, he was blowing the whistle.  This was something I did not consider and should have since I was at a crossing but I was just thinking about the cool shot.  It was quite loud and startling.  LOL  Even though it does not look like it I was safely away from the edge of the cliff.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Today is going to be hot!  100 F most likely again.  This is really getting old.  It looks like it might be our last very hot one for a while, keeping my fingers crossed.  This picture goes back to cooler days and one morning at the railroad I work at when it was still rainy and we couldn't do much yet so I walked around taking photos.  I found these two Shroom Buddies.  The color is natural even though it looks like an old sepia image, this is straight out of the camera, just re-sized.

Friday, July 17, 2015


The theme for my Black and White project was Bubbles.  It looked pretty cool in B&W but when I was looking at the images I liked the colors that were captured as well and thought I would share a shot here.  It's fun to play and share different things sometimes than the usual.  
The hubster helped me out with this by blowing bubbles in front of a dark background while I snapped off shots.  Once we got the bubble mix right and I figured out the right shutter speed because even flash shots were blurring, it started to work pretty well.  I think the cat thought we were a bit odd but....  :-)  I also liked the way some of the bubbles clustered together and made neat colors too.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Another hot one today, at least 95 F.  I hate it the most when it's not even cool in the morning.  I am really missing South Dakota.  Anyway, this image is not from there, I captured it before I left.  There is a spot just down the road from me of a very large group of Bee Balm flowers.  It's a great place to spot butterflies and bees.  I was able to capture this Bumble Bee in flight as it took off from gathering pollen on one bloom and was headed for another.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


We got lucky while in the Badlands of South Dakota that we were able to see a large number of Big Horn Sheep.  It was one of my main desires, to see one in the wild.  We saw a number of them a lot closer but I chose this one to share first because I liked how it showed the landscape.  This is Sheep On A Butte.  :-)  There are several Buttes in the Badlands.  In pioneer days because livestock could not get to the grass up on the buttes, ranchers would get the grass for them.  It was a large process of disassembling their hay cutters, hauling them up the butte, reassembly, cut the hay and then haul it all back down.  Now the buttes are just used by the sheep and other animals or birds that can make it up there.  I felt fortunate to catch an example of one doing just that.  It's best viewed large by clicking on the image.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


While we were in South Dakota we went for a ride in the Black Hills on the historic Mickelson Trail.  It's an approximately 109 mile hiking/biking trail on a former Burlington Northern railway that they stopped using in 1983.  We did a 20 mile round trip starting at the Mystic Trail-head and rode 2 miles past the Rochford Trail-head because we wanted to ride through a 2nd tunnel.  The 2 trail-heads we rode between were quite scenic and the whole route has 4 tunnels and many trestles and 1 waterfall which we got to see.  The particular part we were on ran beside a creek most of the time.  Parts of it were through rock cuts such as this one the hubster is going through when I took this image and you can kind of see how the Black Hills were named with the dark rock.  It was great fun.  The first 10 miles were the hardest because they were mostly all uphill but only a 4% grade at most.  It was nice on the way back because it was mostly downhill.  :-)  We had a water bottle and camera equipment in our backpacks.  I would love to do it again sometime and see more of the trail.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Taking a break for a day from vacation shots to share one that I got not too long before we left.  I was out trying to find bees and butterflies and found this Argus Tortoise Beetle walking on blades of grass.  I even came up with a title which is rare for me.  I Walk the Line  It's to be a scorcher today, hope you are staying cool.  Hope we cool off a bit as predicted as well though it's not much.  Sigh

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Wow, it's going to be hot!  99 today 102 tomorrow.  I want the 80s of South Dakota.  Sigh.  While we were in South Dakota we rode a steam train of course.  :-)  It is called the 1880s Train but there is not really anything about it from the 1880s except the station which was an original Burlington Northern from 1889 so barely made it.  It was a nice ride but the people were rather strict about not moving when the train was moving even though it was one of the smoothest rides I have been on.  I like to be able to move about to take photos and most rides I have been on allow for this.  Anyway, it was pulled by a locomotive I had never seen before, an articulated Mallet Tank engine built by Baldwin in 1928.  Articulated means it has 2 sets of drivers that are separated and work independently, this is so it can negotiate sharp curves.  Mallet is the designation of the wheels arrangement 2-6-6-2.  It carries it's water in the tank that goes over the boiler.  It was oil fired because they stopped using coal in the 1930s due to trains traveling through the Black Hills Forest.  With oil you don't get cinders that could start a fire. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Well, back home again after a rather trying and eventful trip that caused us to get home rather late.  Could have been worse, we could still be stuck in South Dakota I guess so we got lucky in that way.  I took this image on Wednesday early evening after a rain storm that only bothered our trip just for one half hour which we spent looking at things in the Visitors Center.  This is the Badlands in silhouette, a bit different image of it than usual I thought.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Well, leaving South Dakota today.  It's been a great time.  I took this image today of a wildflower common in Kansas but with a different background.  Behind it is a view of the Badlands where we spent a day and a partial driving and hiking and seeing lots of wildlife and beautiful scenery.  For my first share from there I decided to go a bit artsy.  :-)

Thursday, July 9, 2015


This is an older pic from a Colorado trip.  I took this along Clear Creek Canyon.  It's a very lovely and soothing place.  Had a long day in the Badlands on Wednesday so no time to process anything new.  It was quite lovely and I took quite a lot of images and I'll post something soon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


On Sunday, after the motorcycle museum we went looking for waterfalls in Spearfish Canyon, a beautiful drive.  One of the main falls we saw was this one, Spearfish Falls.  I took a one second exposure to get this effect.  It was a beautiful falls.  All of them were flowing well due to the large amount of rain the area has been getting this year.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


This is a kind of fitting post today because as this posts we should be on a bike ride, though not motorized, on an old railroad route in South Dakota.  On Sunday we visited Sturgis where they hold the huge motorcycle rally every year, this year is the 75th Anniversary.  They have a great motorcycle museum there and this is one of them featured.  This is an Indian Military bike which I had never seen before, these are usually Harleys.  This one was a 1943 Military Scout 741 bike that was restored in the 1990s.  If I could have any antique motorcycle, I would have an Indian.  They are very beautiful bikes. 

Monday, July 6, 2015


On our way to Scottsbluff we passed this fairly well known landmark so we had to stop and take a photo.  This is one of the images I got of Chimney Rock, Nebraska.  Reminds me of an arm with a finger pointing upwards.  :-)  As this picture is posting we are riding a train, or should be, in South Dakota. Isn't technology grand.   :-)

Sunday, July 5, 2015


So I saw this old Union Pacific locomotive in a park in Gering, SD yesterday evening while we were out scouting the Scottsbluff area.  It was surrounded by a chain link fence so I decided to get a bit artsy with it and only shoot the top of it.  This view shows off the whistle and the sand and steam domes well.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Happy 4th of July to those in the United States!  We are traveling at the moment so this is an image I got last year of the fireworks in my town.  I hope to see some tonight but not sure where that would be in Rapid City, SD.

Friday, July 3, 2015


I'm writing this early because I won't be able to be on the computer much at all if any today.  This image is the color version of the one I took for my Black and White Project.  The theme this week was Architecture.  This building demonstrates some interesting textures and shapes that were in use in the late 1800s.  While Limestone was the predominate material due to it's availability and proximity, brick was used in some early buildings and was much more expensive.  The B&W version can be seen in the About Me link to the right of this Blog on my Google Plus page if interested.

I was able to get this off the application for Historic Registration for this building.

 History: Bertrand Rockwell, a civil war veteran began his dry goods/grocery business in Junction City in 1865 in a one story frame building. He later built a two-story building on this site which was destroyed by fire in 1888. Rockwell immediately rebuilt after the fire. The existing building was completed in 1889. Holmgren & O'berg did the stonework, the stone being quarried west of the city; William Lawrence was the carpenter and Say & Hughes were responsible for the brick work. The building was remodeled in 1909. The Rockwell Store was a prominent business in downtown Junction throughout the early years; the store closed in 1925. This location was later occupied by Woolworths, the Scott Store, Duckwalls and Sjoholm Furniture. Duckwalls opened in this location in 1954; at that time the building had a modern slipcover over the facade. The original facade was restored by Dr. Ned Price in 1986. The building is now occupied by Rent-A-Center.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


It's supposed to be cooler today but was it yucky this morning, so muggy even though we haven't had rain in a good while now.  I hate it when the mornings are not refreshing at least.  I took this image this past weekend.  I was out in a field with lots of Bee Balm but this< I was told this is most likely a carpenter Bee female, seemed quite interested in this plant.  I forgot to look up what it was, it's rather tall, almost 4 feet.  I was happy to catch this guy in flight.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Well, July is coming in with a hot one today, it's going to be at least 95F.  UGH  There are things I'd like to do outside but it's just so hot in the afternoon.  Anyway, on to the photo.  I haven't had a waterfall picture to share for a while.  I took this back in early June when we were getting rain.  This is a nice waterfall in the new housing development behind where I live.  I believe this was always there and just exposed when the development was put in.  The stepping is all natural limestone and water always flowed on this path.  I think it's quite lovely when it does flow even though small.  It's about the only thing good that came out of that project that caused us to not be in the county any longer.  :-)