Posts Tagged With: South Dakota

Spearfish Canyon – Black Hills, South Dakota

I spent Memorial Day weekend this year in the northern Black Hills in western South Dakota.  The weekend was mostly a mini family reunion; so, that meant drink coffee, eat, chit chat, repeat.  However, Nancy of Prairie View Imagery and I did find time to hit up a few of the highlights of Spearfish Canyon.  Even though I was raised in South Dakota, I have not spent much time in the Black Hills, but Nancy was an excellent guide!  Sadly, with the cold and rainy spring, even though it was the end of May, few trees had budded out and had leaves.  At least the above average snow in the winter accompanied by the spring rains meant more water flowing through the canyon and over the waterfalls!  I thought Spearfish Falls were especially picturesque.

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Prairie Silhouettes – Stanley County, SD

Cows are anything but sexy, so thinking of them as a good photography model or subject would probably be considered a bit odd.  I must say, my opinion of cows is probably less romantic than the average person.  After spending six years of my youth working on a large scale dairy farm, I’ve lost nearly all interest in spending my free time around these big and smelly animals.  I have no illusion of how “cute” baby calves are and how much “fun” it would be to feed and take care of them.  Spoiler alert: when you have over one hundred calves to feed twice daily, seven days a week, the “fun” runs out in a hurry!

Despite my current lack of interest in bovine, cows are not difficult to spot on the great plains and a lot of areas in the American West.  After all, much of the landscape has been modified by man in order to raise cattle.  Indeed, they are an important food resource and without them the world would be a less tasty place!  Can you imagine the world without ribeye steak or a good beef roast with mashed potatoes and gravy?!?

This weekend I went for a drive down the Bad River Road outside Pierre, South Dakota.  After driving around for an hour or so, I was confronted with a beautifully colored sunset but the majority of the landscape was still nothing but short, brown, and wholly uninspiring grass, I turned my attention to these large four legged residents of  the expansive ranch land and said to a herd of cows, “You will be my models tonight!”  Well, cows are not sexy, but it turns out they can still look good in a picture!

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Icy Evening Along the Missouri River

While driving in to Pierre, South Dakota in early February to visit my folks, I couldn’t help but notice the ice build up on the Pierre side of the Missouri River.  I thought, “Hey, that ice might make an interesting foreground subject!”  So, on a brisk Saturday evening, I took  stroll down by the river with my camera.  I had to carefully negotiate the rock lined river banks to get close to the ice, and being careful not to get out onto the ice (I had no idea how thick it was) was able to get a few enjoyable images.

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The Oahe Dam is just a few miles upriver from Pierre.  Because the flows from the dam vary day to day, so does the level of the river downstream.  Because of this fluctuation, ice sheets along the Missouri shore can crack apart and fall back into the river.

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Wind and water currents pile up ice blocks along the banks of the Missouri below the 100+ year old train bridge that is still used by trains on a daily basis.

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A historic flood hit this area a few years ago, with currents so strong, the sandbars and deep channels of the river were rearranged.  This stretch of river used to be much deeper, but after the flood is very shallow, which probably promotes the ice formation along this section of shoreline.

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2010: A few long trips into the mountains (and elsewhere).

2010  was a wild year for me.  After more than two years in the Vail Valley, I moved to Glenwood Springs to be closer to the construction project that I was promoted to manage.  Unfortunately, the new project and responsibility left little time for hiking and photography.  Even though I did not have as much free time as I would have liked, I was able to sneak away from civilization for a few longer backpacking trips. In one trip, I hiked Mount Sopris, near Carbondale, Colorado, and followed the 12000 foot high Elk Mountains Ridge from Mount Sopris all the way South to Capitol Peak.  Four days, thirty miles and twelve thousand vertical feet of hiking later, my black lab Sally and I emerged at the Capitol Peak trailhead  where my roommate had kindly stashed my truck for me!  Another memorable hike of the Summer was over the Fourth of July where I hike nearly thirty miles to the headwaters of  the Piney River in the Gore Range, crossed West Booth Pass and descended the Booth Creek drainage ending my hike near Vail.  During that hike, I had a very close encounter with a friendly mountain goat and spent the night of Independence Day curled up in my sleeping bag hunkered down in my tent during a snow storm!  I lucked out in the Fall when I visited the Kebler Pass area near Crested Butte and the McClure Pass area near Marble during the height of Fall colors.   Of course, when winter set in, I spent as much time as I could sliding down the local mountains on my skis.  Even though I wasn’t able to get out into the wild as often as I wanted, I was very productive with the free time that I did have!  What a great year!

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Brush Creek Headwaters – Holy Cross Wilderness, Colorado

Lake Charles and Mystic Island Lake sit at the head of East Brush Creek; a creek that finds its source in a cirque with towering 13,000′ peaks surrounding the valley.  The scale of the image above is impressive.  More than a mile separates Lake Charles (in the lower right of the frame) and Mystic Island Lake (in the upper left of the frame).

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Ripsaw Reflection – Eagles Nest Wilderness, Colorado

Black Tooth Mountain and Ripsaw Ridge are reflected in a small pond northwest of West Booth Pass in the Eagles Nest Wilderness outside Vail, Colorado.

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Piney Goat – Eagles Nest Wilderness, Colorado

A curious goat says hello deep in the Eagles Nest Wilderness north of Vail, Colorado.

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Desert Survivor – Utah

A lone tree clings to life in the Utah desert somewhere along a lonely highway.

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Desert Tracks – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

The desert is alive!  Insect tracks crisscross a windswept pattern in the sandy landscape near Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

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Logging Landmarks – Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, Colorado

Even though a large portion of the Colorado high country is now protected as Wilderness, the land was not always held in such regard; the results of past clear cut logging are still clearly visible decades after this area, near 14er Huron Peak, was protected.

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Mount Callahan Clouds – White River National Forest, Colorado

The great thing about Colorado is almost every town in or near the mountains is incredibly scenic.  I took this photo of a clearing storm from from the sidewalk in front of city hall in Parachute, Colorado; no hiking involved!

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Homestead Pond – Moffat County, Colorado

Decaying remains of an old homesteader’s cabin sit right alongside the highway North of Meeker, Colorado.  I drove by these remains this fall and this interesting window has deteriorated greatly in just the three years since I took this picture.

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Fiery Flat Tops – Flat Tops Wilderness, Colorado

A clearing storm is lit ablaze by the last rays of sunlight high above Wall Lake as seen from Trappers Peak, deep in the Flat Tops Wilderness.

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Flat Tops Vista – Flat Tops Wilderness, Colorado

Puffy Clouds drift by a small pond surrounded by a grassy meadow on top of the plateau southwest of Trappers Peak in the Flat Tops Wilderness of Colorado.

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Crystal Mill – Near Marble, Colorado

One must follow a rough 4×4 road into the mountains outside Marble, Colorado for more than six miles to reach this landmark. To see a structure so old in such a remote place is really something special. Unfortunately, as beautiful as the Crystal Mill is, it stands a reminder to me of man’s zeal to exploit nature; even in the most remote and beautiful of places.

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Fall and Fire – Crystal Mill outside Marble, Colorado

A fiery sunrise and fall color combine to create a scene to remember at the often photographed Crystal Mill, deep in the Elk Mountains.

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Arkansas Peak Cloudscape – Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness, Colorado

An interesting cloud forms over a lone tree on top of Arkansas Peak with the massive Treasure Mountain looming in the distance.

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Prairie Ruins – Western South Dakota

A slowly decaying fence stands alone on the vast South Dakota prairie.

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A Capitol Morning – Pierre, South Dakota

The final stop on my road trip moving from south Florida to Wyoming was in my childhood home of Pierre, South Dakota.  Although the main purpose of the trip was to visit family, but I did manage to slip out before sunrise one morning and photographed the capitol building.

Sadly, the sunrise wasn’t anything to get excited about, but I still took a few images I thought were worth sharing…enjoy!

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Capitol Reflections – Pierre, South Dakota

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Architectural Detail – State Capitol Building – Pierre, SD

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Flower Gardens – State Capitol Building – Pierre, SD

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