Tuesday, December 31, 2019


Today is the last day of 2019 and the last day of the teen years.  The decade is not actually over until a year from now but heading into the 20s seems pretty significant.  I hope this year was a good one for you and I hope the year to come will be even better.  May it bring you health and happiness.

Monday, December 30, 2019


This is one of the best snowflakes I was able to capture the day of the snow.  It was a fairly large flake and I did 9 images of it and focus stacked them for this result.  This is a good example of the fact that I should have done more because you can see some of the tips of the flake are out of focus.  Ah well, live and learn, I thought I had covered all areas of it while shooting.  Being that close you have to shoot multiple images and focus just slightly different in everyone.  Don K who I learned this from, can do many, like 40 or more to have enough to pick and choose from to get it all in focus.  Anyway, I thought it turned out fairly well considering.

Sunday, December 29, 2019


Today is the last Steamy Sunday for 2019.  I had to post something fun.  This is an image of the Porter locomotive that I got to help operate again this year after it had been down for several years.  I was grateful to the people who got it up and running again and allowed me to help fire it up and also fire it around the track during the Labor Day Show.  It was a blast.  This locomotive does not have a tender, it carries it's water in a tank over the boiler and the coal is in a bunker in the rear.

Saturday, December 28, 2019


The day of the frost I just had to take a bit of a break and go out close to where I work a take a couple images.  This is a view of the Smoky Hill river looking east with the trees all covered in Hoar frost.

Friday, December 27, 2019


I am going to take a break from the winter images for today and share one from late autumn.  This is an image of my lovely Sea Oats Grass that I am fond of due to the color and light and the bokeh.  The latter is why I wanted to post it today because it's Friday and Fridays Are Bokehlicious!

Thursday, December 26, 2019


Today's image is one that shows just how thick the Hoar frost was that day.  This is a part of the chain link fence behind where I work.  I went out and shot a few quick images with my phone.  I am glad I decided to get a Google Pixel which takes very good images since I did not have my actual camera that day.  The phone camera did pretty well in capturing the detail.  I have never seen Hoar Frost so thick, it was pretty amazing.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019


Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!  Happy Wednesday everyone as well!  This is an image I took at a light show in a park in St Joseph Missouri last year.  I thought it was fitting for me to share today.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019


Merry Christmas Eve!  Happy Tuesday!  Two days after it snowed it was very cold out but we had a foggy morning that created some lovely Hoar Frost. The closer you got to the river, the thicker and more beautiful the Hoar frost was, I have never seen it as big as it was that day.  Unfortunately i did not have my actual camera with me as i would have loved to do some macros, that is one thing phones are not good for yet. This is a tree that was covered in it.  The white dot to the upper left is the moon.  

Monday, December 23, 2019


As I mentioned, the previous Sunday we had a good snow, 6 inches fell at my house.  I was out a few times trying to photograph flakes.  Most of the time they were not very good at all, they were quite rimed up with sleet.  This is a good example of that.  You can see the shape of the flake but it has quite a bit of rime or sleet all over it as well.  This is an 11 image focus stack.

Sunday, December 22, 2019


Changing up from my 611 and 4014 shots of late and going back to the steam locomotive that I have the privilege of working on for 4 days out of the year when it runs at the Western Minnesota Steam Thresher's reunion every labor day Weekend.  This is former Soo Line 353 heading up the steepest grade on the track towards the station to pick up and drop off passengers.  This year was Case Tractor feature so someone had put a stuffed toy eagle on the engine to join in as the symbol for Case is a Bald Eagle.

Saturday, December 21, 2019


Today's image moves from autumn into full winter.  Last weekend we had a good snow, 6 inches at least at my house, some areas had more.  The birds were out in full force at the feeders.  I titled this image Sharing for obvious reasons.  This Carolina Wren and Black capped Chickadee seemed to have no issue with eating from the peanut feeder together.  It was quite cute.  By the way, the snow background created the absence of bokeh in contrast to yesterday's image.

Friday, December 20, 2019


Today's image moves from late summer into early Autumn.  These are some leaves on my lovely Maple tree that did not get into it's full color this year due to an early hard frost.  A few of the leaves were determined and remained on the tree long enough to turn.  I chose this image because of the beautiful bokeh because Friday's Are Bokehlicious!

Thursday, December 19, 2019


Going back to a late summer day with today's image.  This is a Snowberry Clear Wing Moth that was enjoying the Ironweed blooms.  Ironweed was quite popular with all kinds of insects for me this year.  It is in the Sunflower family so maybe tastes good.  😀

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


This is my last Wildflower Wednesday post for the year and maybe till next summer due to running out of images to post.  I need to see if I have any others.  Hope you have enjoyed them.  This image is a group of Black Eyed Susans that is actually a phone shot.  These grow wild along the sidewalk near my home.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


So we ended up with 6 inches of snow on Sunday.  I was out taking a few snowflake images.  I was able to get a couple fairly good examples and here is one of them.  This is an 18 image focus stack macro.  I use a macro lens and a 2X converter and still have to crop a bit.

Monday, December 16, 2019


Sorry about the late posting of the image yesterday.  Forgot to set the time for it.
We had quite the nice snow yesterday.  As I write this it is at least 4 inches and still coming down quite heavily.  It's actually quite lovely when you don't have to go out in it.  
My image today is a 5 image Focus Stack of my Toad Lily from a different angle than I shared previously.  This flower is a quite interesting one I think and lovely despite it's name.  Because of the mottled color and the fact that they prefer shade is where the name originates from.

Sunday, December 15, 2019


I took this image of Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 in Salina, Kansas where it was overnighting after coming through my town.  The locomotive is so large and I was very close to it that I actually did a 4 image panoramic to get it all in, top to bottom and lengthwise.  The Big Boy got it's name from something that has been recreated on this locomotive and can be seen a bit in this image.  When the first one of this style locomotive was produced, number 4000, a worker chalked the words "Big Boy onto the smoke box door as is seen here and the name stuck for these as they are certainly big.  Their wheel arrangement is a 4-8-8-4 articulated style meaning it can move in the middle and navigate tighter curves.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

12/14 19

This is another image of the interesting fungus I saw growing on a tree out on Konza Prairie in early October.  We had just had a significant rain.  A friend helped me ID it.  We think it is Gilled Polypore (trametes betulina) .  I like the frills it has on the underside.

Friday, December 13, 2019


I rarely get to see this bird in my yard but was very pleasantly surprised by a visit of a few a couple Sundays ago.  They were bathing and drinking in the stream of the waterfall to my backyard pond.  I captured this Bluebird getting a drink.  I had to share an image of it with great bokeh behind because Fridays Are Bokehlicious!

Thursday, December 12, 2019


My Surprise Lilies Resurrection Lilies, or Naked Ladies as they are also known, did very well this year.  They put on quite the lovely show.  I captured this one by itself in my neighbor's yard.  This flower is in the Amaryllis family.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


Today's Wildflower Wednesday is another one that I found blooming on Konza Prairie in early October.  This one is a late summer to autumn bloomer and is called Blue Sage or Pitcher Sage.  It is a type of Salvia and is also in the Mint Family.  They usually like dry conditions and part shade.  My image on my Kansas Wildflower pages shows it more in a full bloom.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


This is another lovely autumn image from the large scale railroad I get to play at outside of Topeka.  This is looking at the main station and the trees behind had some lovely color too them.

Monday, December 9, 2019

12 /9/19

This is another Collared Lizard that I saw out on Konza Prairie in early October.  All the ones I saw seemed rather small so must have been this years brood.  This one posed on a large limestone rock for me as well.

Sunday, December 8, 2019


I took this image at the Union Pacific depot in Salina Kansas on the day the Big Boy 4014 came through my town and several others on it's way back to Cheyenne Wyoming.  While it is not really that obvious that the steam train in the photo is 4014, it is my favorite image I took that day.  It had been cloudy and dreary the whole time up until about sunset when the clouds started to break up in the west and created this fabulous light which fell on the train, the station and even the tracks.  A great way to end my 4014 experience in Kansas.

Saturday, December 7, 2019


Today's image is a 2 shot panoramic image taken out on Konza Prairie in early October.  This is looking towards the northwest.  Of course it is best viewed large by clicking on it.  😃

Friday, December 6, 2019


I have Blue-jays in my yard but i rarely see them even when I put food out specifically for them.  I hear them a lot but they are elusive.  My in-laws are able to feed them regularly so they seem them every day.  This is one that came to the bird bath for a drink.  Because Friday's Are Bokehlicious, I had to share this image today with the great bokeh behind it created by the Ornamental Pear tree.

Thursday, December 5, 2019


I need to share a butterfly, I miss them already and the cold weather has just begun.  Sigh.  I did not see all that many late this year which made me sad but one of the few I saw were Monarchs so it was kind of a mixed feeling.  I captured this one on the fading Ironweed plant as it stopped by my yard for some nourishment.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


It's another Wildflower Wednesday here on the Blog.  This is another that I see fairly commonly but I only recently discovered exactly what type it was.  This is an Aromatic Aster.  We have several Aster varieties here in Kansas and the difference is mostly in color but there are other subtle differences as well like the leaf shape and how they tend to flower, either single on a stem or clustered.  Asters are in the Daisy family.  This variety is one of the last Aster species to bloom and you can find into autumn.  I found this one in early October on Konza Prarie.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


This is another image I took at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Shops in Topeka Kansas.  These locomotives were sitting in the yard waiting to be worked on.  It was interesting to see the various paint schemes still on the locomotives like the two in the foreground from the pre-merger years.

Monday, December 2, 2019


It's December and only 3 weeks till Christmas Break.  Yikes time is flying by.  Today's image is another of my Spoon Flower from the Osteospermum family or African Daisy as it is more commonly known.  I dug it out of it's pot and re-potted it in a different one to bring indoors for the winter.  It has been happily flowering indoors better than it did outside.  Brightens up the work space where I have it.  The purple variety has never flowered as well so if you find one, this is the better color to get if you want blooms.

Sunday, December 1, 2019


The Union Pacific restored Big Boy locomotive 4014 came through our area a week and a half ago now.  It was a thrill to see it and be able to capture it in our area of Kansas, never thought it would be able to come through here.  I captured it as it was departing Junction City and on it's way to Abilene and Salina.  In the background is the rock quarry. 

Saturday, November 30, 2019


Our autumn was rather short this year due to an early very hard freeze and also high winds.  There was some nice color to be found like in this scene at the large scale railroad I get to play at outside Topeka Kansas.  This is the view as you head into the main station.

Friday, November 29, 2019


Friday's Are Bokehlicious and this image fits perfectly.  I love bubbly type bokeh and I captured this head of Sea Oats grass with just that in the background.  In autumn, the heads turn brown and then during late autumn/early winter they will drop and hopefully spread.  I found the perfect place for this lovely grass by my pond and I hope it will spread.  I may help the seeds along to fall in the right direction and not into the pond.  😃

Thursday, November 28, 2019


It's Thanksgiving day here in the US.  It is tradition to serve Turkey on this day.  This is an image of one that won't end up on someone's table, at least not this year.  Turkeys are allowed to be hunted in Kansas but only in the Spring.  This is the mom to the young ones I shared a while back that were visiting my yard and looking for seed under the bird feeder.  I took this image back in September.  Wild Turkey are quite different looking than the ones raised to eat.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019


Today's wildflower is another I seemed to have overlooked on my Wildflower Pages as i am sure I have taken a photo of this before.  This is Dotted Gayfeather and it is just about past it's prime when I captured it in mid September growing on the land of the old schoolhouse I take care of the grounds for.  It's main flowering period is August through September.  It is also called Blazing Star.  It can have a very deep tap root making it very drought hardy.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Today's image was taken near the Topeka Kansas train station as well.  You can catch a glimpse of it to the left.  This Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe caboose was sitting there the day I went to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Shops.  It seemed a bit odd at the time because you don't see many around these days and in looking at my photo there seems to be something else odd with it.  I see nowhere on it in the photo that it is marked for BNSF.  Makes me wonder if it is one someone has purchased and is in the process of being delivered?  A note as well, Passenger Trains never used cabooses, they were only used I freight trains. 

Monday, November 25, 2019


My African Violet is doing pretty well in the spot I picked out for it.  This is a 4 image focus stack I took of it recently in it's first new bloom.  I liked the detail it brought out in the hairs on the stems and in the detail in the flowers themselves.

Sunday, November 24, 2019


So this past Wednesday the Union Pacific Big Boy came through my town in Kansas.  It was a bit late but a great sight to see.  A lot of people turned out to see it where it stopped just down from where I took this shot.  I actually took 4 people out of this image who were closer to the track than UP likes.  For safety sake, UP recommends that you stand 25 feet back from the track.  It was a cloudy and windy day but quite the exciting time to see a piece of history come through our town. 

Saturday, November 23, 2019


November has been a good month for sunrises.  This was the sky on Wednesday, November 13th.  Quite the colorful sky and a great way to start the day.

Friday, November 22, 2019


It's Friday and Fridays are Bokehlicious!  I have never really thought about a mushroom photo as being that beautiful but I really liked how this one turned out.  I captured this on a hike at Konza Prairie in early October.  I am not sure what kind this is but it has neat frills on the bottom and was a bit ruffly.  The bokeh really set it off in my opinion. 

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Today's image is another Bumblebee.  I find them to be pretty decent subjects.  They usually let me get in fairly close and don't seem to bothered as long as I don't disturb their search for food.  I captured this one on a vibrant bloom of my Budhelia or Butterfly Bush.

On another note, I saw that if your sky is clear tonight at 4:50 UTC which is 10:50 CST, if you look east towards Orion there may be a burst of meteors as the earth travels close to an old comet trail.  I think we will be cloudy but hopefully not.  It also may not happen, they are not sure how close we will hit to the trail but if it does it could be pretty spectacular for about 15 mins or so.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


It's Wildflower Wednesday once again on the Blog.  Today's flower is yet another new one.  I have seen this one before but never captured it for some reason.  This is a fairly common one in my area of Kansas as well.  This is Rough Leaf Dogwood.  It usually flowers in May and June but we had a weird year and I found it flowering in early October on Konza Prairie.  My lilac had flowered in late September as well.  I have update my Page of White Wildflowers found in Kansas as well.

On a side note, for those who live in the Manhattan/Junction City/Abilene/Salina area of Kansas and see this post in time, Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 comes through these towns today!  Hopefully I capture a decent shot of it to share on Sunday.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


I took this image of these Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotives in Topeka near the shops and Topeka station.  The left locomotive is painted in the Heritage III scheme and the right one is in their Executive colors.  These are both working locomotives and were running at the time I saw them.

Monday, November 18, 2019


This is the other color African Daisy/Osteospermum/Spoon Flower than I had this summer.  I love the unique petal shape this flower has.  I have kept it alive so far at the office and it's been blooming well there so far.

Sunday, November 17, 2019


At the Strasburg Railway in Pennsylvania the locomotive backward pulls the train out to Paradise PA and then uncouples and moves around to the front of the train and pulls it forwards back to Strasburg.  I captured this image at Picnic Grove where Norfolk & Western 611 was heading back while N&W 475 was heading out.  The ride is short but nice through the Amish farm countryside.

Saturday, November 16, 2019


This was the lovely sky I was treated to on the morning of November 4 as I headed to work that day.  I had to stop at the end of my driveway and get a quick pic.

Friday, November 15, 2019


My Maple Tree did not like the cold weather and dropped most of it's leaves very quickly.  Made me sad.  The few leaves that did stay on turned a lovely color.  I captured these with some lovely bubbly bokeh behind because of course, Fridays are Bokehlicious!

Thursday, November 14, 2019


I was able to get this image in Pennsylvania.  This Bumble Bee was enjoying these flowers which were blue Lobelia, the same kind I shared last week but these were in Pennsylvania.  There is a bonus bug in the shot as well which I think is a Hover Fly.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


It's Wildflower Wednesday!  Today's flower is another new one for his year.  It is not a very photogenic one but it is a common one around our area.  It is called a Stenosiphon.  Some may call it an Antenna plant but that isn't a totally common name.  It usually blooms July through September but I found it still blooming in October on Konza Prairie.

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.