Friday, August 29, 2014

Forecasting photos

I'm not one to be constantly checking weather patterns, atmospheric phenomenon forecasts, etc., but sometimes just a little paying attention to the weather helps in the hunt for good photos.

The forecast for this morning was heavy fog, which made sense with how humid it felt on Thursday afternoon. So I made plans to hike into the forest on LaFramboise Island in Pierre very early and hoped the sunrise would break through the fog creating magical streaks of light in the trees. Everything went well except the only streaks of light I saw were created by my headlamp shining through the mist.

Taking these two pictures was kind of a fun exercise in figuring out the length of exposure and duration of the self-timer to get me and the headlamp into the proper spot. It took several tries and these pictures aren't going to win any awards, but I enjoyed the process.

Somewhere during the half-mile hike in the deep, dark forest a large tree decided to give in to gravity and come crashing down through the brush, scaring me half to death.

As the sun came up I still didn't get the streaking sunbeams, but did find some subject matter that worked with the foggy conditions.

The night before I noticed the cloud formations looking like they were going to provide a late evening opening for the sunset to burst through. One of the more spectacular sunsets I've seen in a while developed over Capitol Lake in Pierre. This is a three-frame HDR composite.

Photographers before me have said it many times and they are right - bad weather makes good photos.

BHSU to host Canon photographer Vincent Laforet

Internationally known photographer and Canon Explorer of Light Vincent Laforet will be giving a free public lecture at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 3 in the Meier Recital Hall at Black Hills State University in Spearfish.

In addition to the lecture, the public is welcome to attend an open house where the public can learn more about the BHSU photography program, tour the facilities on campus, and view student work on display in the Photographers Gallery in Jonas Hall, Pangburn Hall and Meier Hall.

For more information regarding the lecture and open house, call 642-6769. Inquiries via e-mail can be sent to Steve Babbitt at or Jerry Rawlings at Learn more about Vincent Laforet by visiting

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fireworks foregrounds

I've always been a fan of including an interesting foreground subject in a fireworks shot, so the historic Meridian Bridge was the perfect thing when it came time to photograph Yankton's Riverboat Days fireworks.

The bridge is now a pedestrian/bike trail connecting South Dakota and Nebraska, reportedly the longest such bridge between two states. Riverboat Days includes a huge arts festival, rodeo, concerts, helicopter rides, parades and lots of fun activities.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fun at the fair

Parker's Turner County Fair is a lot of fun and offers pretty much everything you would want in an annual county celebration. It has been churning out the traditional entertainment and amusements since 1880.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Buffalo Ridge is an experience

After years of driving by the Buffalo Ridge "1880 Cowboy Town"  just west of Sioux Falls, curiosity finally got the best of me and I stopped in this summer.

The experience was...ummm....interesting. I will let the photos speak for themselves.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Good Earth provides good photos

I'm really developing an affinity for South Dakota's newest state park - Good Earth State Park at Blood Run near Sioux Falls.

The hiking trails there are beautifully placed amongst deep wooded ravines and along the Big Sioux River. Heading down the trail just before sunrise and spending about two hours exploring last Sunday provided quite a few good photo opportunities. Here are some of them.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Know your South Dakota wildlife

Just thought I'd feature a few animals that I see or hear people identifying incorrectly. These may not be the technical scientific names, but I went with the most common references for those of us who live around these critters.
PRONGhorn antelope

BIGhorn sheep (female and young)

BIGhorn sheep (male)

Mountain GOAT

Whitetail deer

Mule deer


Buffalo or bison



Prairie dog

Red squirrel

Ground squirrel

Bull snake (not venomous)

Prairie rattlesnake (venomous)

Garter snake (not venomous)