December 25 – Lonely Capitol Grounds at Christmas

All Veterans Memorial

Christmas night I headed back home to Wilton after sharing a Christmas dinner and gifts with a friend in Bismarck.  As I drove by the State Capitol I swung in to the building that glowed in the trees — the All Veterans Memorial.  It wasn’t planned, it’s not even a tradition, but I felt touched at that moment to give thanks for the gift these men and women have given me — their service, their lives for my freedom, for America.  Yes it was cold. I didn’t stay long.  I didn’t have my tripod.  I used a slow shutter speed and braced the camera on a nearby tree. It seemed to work.

When I turned to go back to my truck I saw the moon was rising on this sub-zero night, illuminating the air over the sidewalk lights.  Again, bracing my camera, I tried a couple of different shots, slung my camera back over my shoulder and walked to the truck. I am thankful not only for the Gift God has given me, but the blessing of living in a free country where I can walk around the capital complex on a holiday night without thought to my safety and without the hassle of soldiers and guns.  America, a gift.

Christmas Season


Merry Christmas from Burnt Butte

Yeah, I know…kinda out of order — Christmas and all.  But this is a fun project I started this week using my North Dakota 365 photos from earlier this year.


I have a plethora of images to use, and it’s very hard to make up my mind which to use.  For example this one of the bridge in the Wilton Park is moody, but people seem to like it.

I like the one of the large deer herd bunched up moving across the prairies in Sheridan or McLean County.

I had forgotten about many of these images, some of them posted here on this blog, so it was a good reminder to go back and see what I’ve accomplished this year.

Obviously I used the same template for several of these images, merely adjusting the words  and of course changing the historic tale on back that relates to the images on front.

It would have been kind of fun to use some snow plow imagery and make some remark about making way for Santa or some kind of thing.

But generally, I tried to stick to more generic kinds of images from Central North Dakota including Wilton, Washburn, Bismarck, Center, McClusky and Wing. The Soo Line Railroad Depot that houses the railroad museum in Wilton is a natural for this kind of project.    It has that kind of “down home” feel to it.

The one I’m most proud of, however is the one on top. That one is not a template, but is a complete start to finish image that I worked up on Photoshop, including the page curl, the drop shadow, the background and of course the image itself.

In the end, I had 11 postcards but only turned three in to products for cash register impulse buys at local retailers.  I’m so jazzed by the whole process I think I’m gonna go make some more.

Got any suggestions?  Which do you like?


February 13


Those white elephant Christmas parties…you never know what your about to be given.  Even after you open the package, you still may not know.  Such as these beads and the jar of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly.  A middle class neighborhood.  Large garage, warm fire, plenty of libations and who knows what will happen.    Oh you  know what will happen.

You’ll have fun and laugh a lot.  There may be some surprising gifts that you wouldn’t want to take home to kids to play with, but you’ll have fun.  We did at this February 13 Christmas/Valentines Day party in Mandan.   It was a very cold snowy night.   And if you’re familiar with cabin fever, it is just starting to set in by mid-February.  That’s why a party like this in the garage can break the doldrums.  12 or 15 people, exchanging gifts, each snickering as their gift is opened by the unsuspecting receiver.   Good conversation. Good food.  Good laughs. I was having such a good time, I forgot to take good pictures.  An oh, my gift?  I wear them to bed at night — minus the long purple dangly balls.tuck those long dangly things behind your back, Mike

January 29

January's evening glow behind a farm with Christmas lights

Diana called me from Washburn and asked if I could shoot their farm with the Christmas lighs for their 2010 Christmas card.  It was cold, very cold. I left my truck running when I’d go out and try different settings. Finally, after having shot their farm from high and from low, from north and from south, I just stood right in front of their place, at the end of the driveway to get this shot.

January 18

Christmas lights still shine

South of Washburn along highway 83 is one of the most photogenic farms anywhere.  Don and Diana Peterson have a show place of neatness.  Their Christmas lights are very tastefully mounted on their white fence, their barn and their home.  They asked me to go up on a hill a mile or so away to shoot it for their 2010 Christmas card, but well, the $2400 lens I would need for that isn’t in my bag.  Instead I shot it from the highway and stylized it a bit.  However, later in the month, I went back to see what I could do.

January 13

Kharem and Oliver unwrap Christmas presents

After the Christmas rush, family still congregates to celebrate the traditional Christmas gift exchange.  Every Christmas I can remember, even as a child has one traditional gift — the gift of books.  This was no exception, a story book for Oliver and a book of brain teasers for Kharem.

Kharem and Oliver, close as mother and son