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.

July 22

A family portrait backdrop

Can you imagine the collection of family photos that would show families in this same position on the steps of the North Dakota State Capitol?  It is one of North Dakota’s most photographed backdrops.  By itself, it’s a towering monolith, 17 stories of granite rising above the prairies.  It looks as though it belongs in downtown New York not the prairies of  N.D.  It’s Capitol #2 because the first capitol building that looked much more like you would expect with pillars and stone scrollwork burned down in 1930.  So, the pragmatic and functional characteristics of North Dakotans prevailed and an office building was built for $9 million.

On the left is the legislative wing of the capital.  The tower is the executive branch.  Off to the right outside of the scope of this image is the judicial wing of the capital.  Each of the three branches with their own architectural image.

The family on the steps is posed where so many families stand for their photos.  They are just above the flower bed that spells out in red “North Dakota.”

Have you had your photo taken here?  What is the prominent family portrait backdrop where you live?

April 21

ND State Capitol

Most North Dakotans are familiar with the Skyscraper of the Prairie, the North Dakota State Capital.  When the original capitol building burned down in 1930, depression-era workers were hired to build this 17-story structure for $9-million.  It is a tribute to North Dakotan’s pragmatism and practicality. No gilded domes or greek columns adorn the main building.  However the legislative wing has the columns. But in 1930, this is what North Dakotans said the state needed to house the work of governing the state.