Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The Black Hills area of South Dakota offers an amazing amount of things to see and do. Enough diverse attractions keep anyone happy no matter what your interests are. With the limited schedule we were on, I had planned several days worth of sightseeing and photography in one long day. June 13th started pretty early. Most of the attractions we wanted to see where in the Rapid City area about 40 miles south. There are a number of wonderful ad reasonably priced hotels in that area, but I stayed in Deadwood for the atmosphere and ambiance of the town. I had planned a route that would circle us back to Deadwood through Sturgis. The early first stop of the day was Custer State Park.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Prairie Dogs were almost wiped out at one time by ranchers as being a pest, and their dens were dangerous to livestock and horses when then ran and stepped in a den hole. But they were given government protection and are making a strong comeback. To see a large village of this creatures is a real sight. Hundreds and hundreds of them sitting near the entrance's to their dens ever on guard for the many threats they face.Then suddenly there was some dramatic breaks in the clouds and blue skies and rays of sunlight started filtering through. I was nearing the end of the hwy. 240 loop and was now on the west side of the park. I took a side road to find this large prairie dog village in the grasslands area of the park.
At the point we exited the park, we were at Wall South Dakota. If you have ever been through this area, or are planning a trip in the future, another slice of Americana is the Wall Drug Store. Just like the Corn Palace in Mitchell, it is one of those places you must stop and experience. Once you have been here you may not stop again, (I won't) but you have to do it once to say you have been there. They have signs along all the major highways for hundreds of miles advertising the Wall Drug Store. Kind of like driving in Florida and seeing all the signs for Ron Jon's Surf Shop. This tourist attraction has grown over the years and has turned into a sprawling maze of rooms and stores that ecompass an entire city block. If you have kids you will have a tough time getting them to leave here. Here is a good link with more information on the Wall Drug Store.
After that stop it was on to Deadwood South Dakota. Why Deadwood? Can you say casino hotels!
Monday, March 29, 2010
Two words that will make my day. Road Trip! In this day and age of compressed vacations and sometimes reasonable airline fares, many people now abhor travel by vehicle for any extended trips. Not me, I was raised on family vacations where each summer my father would pack us in the car and we would see as much of the country as we could. No Interstates back then, so you actually got to see towns and local scenery. I remember driving Rt. 66 all the way to California and back. Even if it is just a one day trip, I enjoy getting off the beaten path and just driving old highways and country roads. so this past summer my wife and I took a road trip with some friends of ours. I look forward to the day I have plenty of time and don't have to rush, but like most people I only have so much vacation time and on this trip, I was trying to squeeze what should have been a month long trip into 10 days. So sit back and enjoy the view because we will cover a lot of ground.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Steve not only has superb vocals and sounds like Elvis, but he has the look, mannerisms, and whole Elvis persona to make his show very special. His interaction and involvement with his fans help make his show so special. Sadly I do not get to enjoy it very much as I am concentrating so hard on the photography.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Here is one of my favorite photos that I have from my trips to Las Vegas. The New York New York Casino is located at the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd. and Tropicana Ave. I took this shot just after the sun went down below the horizion. I love how it brought out the blue twilight color of the sky.
So what do you do on the plane ride home from Vegas after a Photoshop World Convention? Why you take a photo out of your plane window, download it onto your laptop, and then practice the skills you just learned by creating your personal Southwest Airlines poster.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
It is not always pretty, and in reality it is often gory and bloody when you watch all creatures struggle to survive and pass along their genes to the next generation. But it is fascinating to see how they overcome much adversity to survive and thrive. But one mistake, or lax moment, can make them just another link on the food chain for a creature that is higher than them. I have come uncomfortably close a few times to being a link on that chain, but hopefully I will be around to document some of the action for a while longer.
Monday, March 22, 2010
This cute little fellow above is a Northern Pygmy Owl. They are not native to this area and can be found in the Rocky Mountains west to California. The Northern Pygmy Owl is a tiny, woodland, diurnal Owl that is most active between dawn and dusk. This little guy is usually about 6-7 inches in height.
So how did I get such amazing closeups on these owls? These are all captive owls that I have photographed at various bird sanctuary's, zoo's, or raptor rehabilitation centers. They are difficult, but not impossible to photograph in the wild. The single best resource for information on owls that I have found on the internet is called The Owl Pages. Here is the link.
This is a Spectacled Owl, and can be found in South America
Friday, March 19, 2010
One day I decided I wanted to capture Barn Swallows in flight. Trying to track and photograph these little flying jets was impossible. Then I noticed one on the deck railing and another making high speed passes to harrass it. I focused on the stationary bird and froze the action with a 1/2000 second shutter speed. The background is the lake.