The Union Pacific "Big Boy" Number 4014 Steam Locomotive steamed in to North Iowa this week. I was able to take photos and video from several locations in a couple of days. What an incredible machine. The first day it arrived under steam in the pouring rain and I had to take some of the photos from inside the car. I also took a photo at night with the light from the moon (left). Here are a few photos and a video for you to enjoy.
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- Animals/Birds of the Badlands, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks 2016
- National Parks Landscapes 2016
- Animals of Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands 2014
- Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands Landscapes 2014
- Animals of Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands 2012
- Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands Landscapes 2012
- Animals of Yellowstone 2011
- Birds of Yellowstone 2011
- Yellowstone/Tetons Landscapes 2011
- Yellowstone Textures
- Custer State Park, SD
- Great Smoky Mountains NP
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Utah National Parks
- About Me
Purple Coneflowers and the Milky Way at Winnebago Oxbow Wildlife Area in north Iowa. Clear skies at night have been rather rare for awhile with storms, high humidity and haze, but I did get a few pictures between passing clouds. When I first saw these coneflowers during the day I knew I had to go back and try this night photo. It took a couple of attempts and I still didn't get a really clear sky. Taken looking a little toward the southwest the glow on the horizon is the city lights of Garner. This image is multiple exposures taken from the exact same location a few seconds apart and blended on the computer. I also donated blood to some of the dozens of mosquitoes that were swarming around me in the midnight hours.
A few more fireworks photos - taken in Clear Lake, IA on July 5, 2019. (I'll stop posting fireworks photos now.)
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Fireworks in Mason City, July 3, 2019. Like snowflakes no two are alike. My strange relationship with fireworks displays - I don't like the noise, I don't like them going off around me, but from a distance I do enjoy photographing them, and I can't decide which ones I like, because they are all different. (Click images to see larger.)
There is a lot to this photo of the Milky Way taken Monday night after the storm passed. Jupiter is the bright planet to the right of the Milky Way core. Saturn is to the left. There is a thunder storm in the distance and fireflies in the lower right foreground. It was a quiet night on a lonely rural road in North Iowa. This is a single 25 second exposure.
Here are a couple of more lightning photos from earlier in the night.
Our week-long trip along the Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior included stops at several state parks, waterfalls and lakeshore. Our travels took us to Gooseberry Falls State Park, Split Rock Lighthouse (see previous post), Tettegouche State Park and the Baptism River, Caribou Falls, the Temperance River State Park, Grand Marais, Hollow Rock near Grand Portage, the High Falls of the Pigeon River at Grand Portage State Park which borders Ontario, Canada, and many more stops along the way. Here are a few photos.
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I spent part of a couple of days at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park on the North Shore of Lake Superior last week. My intent was to get some photos of the lighthouse from this location where I had never been before. I have been to the lighthouse and the park many times, but not to this part of the lake shore. These views are facing northeast, where the sun rises at this time of year. A few of the photos are obviously in the mid-day. The sunrise photos were all taken on the same morning. As the light changed and I used different lenses and different positions the photos changed dramatically. [Click images to see larger]
The Milky Way and Jupiter over the Winnebago River (a little closer to home) in north Iowa. Now the rest of the (long) story. I have been waiting for the right conditions to get a photo and time-lapse video of the Milky Way over this spot in the river where it heads straight south. I had scouted the location and knew where to go but needed a clear sky, low humidity, little wind and a moonless night for the period when the galactic center of the Milky Way would be visible. It all came together a couple of nights ago when the crescent moon set early. I went out a little before midnight, got out of the car and was swarmed with mosquitoes so I turned off my headlamp to walk the 20 yards or so through the woods to get to the right spot along the river. I turned on my flashlight briefly along the way to make sure I was in the right spot only to find that I was in the middle of the largest patch of poison ivy that I have ever seen. In the course of setting up the time lapse camera, going home to take a nap then going back at 3:30 AM to retrieve my camera I walked through that patch four times. I did have on my knee-high leg gaiters and boots, but now I was afraid to touch either of them and had to put on gloves to remove them, (and later wash everything in a bucket outside), I have a history of huge breakouts from poison ivy, so I'm waiting to see what happens, but I did wash very thoroughly when I got home. Ugh. The photo turned out okay even though we have a lot of light pollution in this part of north Iowa.
Below is a short time lapse video. I had to edit out a section in the middle because a moth landed on the lens and did a dance. The camera was running on auto-pilot so I didn't see it until I got home.
The Milky Way from Voyageurs National Park, near International Falls, MN. There are hundreds of billions of stars but we see so relatively few of them. It is great to get to an area with a dark sky with very little light pollution from nearby towns or farm lights. The sky was lit up from the stars, but a long 20-25 second exposure helps to enhance the stars.
If you have followed my posts previously you know that I go on a fishing trip to Voyageurs National Park near International Falls, MN every year and try to get some time for photography while I am there. Here are a few of my Common Loon photos on Lake Kabetogema from this year, taken from the fishing boat while my buddies were trying to fish. I'm glad that they briefly tolerate my photography obsession long enough for me to get a few photos. [Click the images to see larger]
The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary near Orr, MN, is an area where 'wild' Black Bears come in from the surrounding north woods to eat a specially designed nutritious feed that is being put out for them in the woods. For a fee, visitors can watch and take photos from an elevated enclosed area. This started in the 1970's at a logging camp to keep the bears out of the camp and was later taken on by the non-profit American Bear Association. You can read more about the history here - History of the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary. It is an interesting place to see bears but even though they a wild in the woods they have been habituated to humans and some have never known life without this guaranteed food source. [Click the images to see larger]
Baltimore Orioles and Orchard Orioles at the Cupola Inn Bed and Breakfast. There are lots of Orioles here across from the road from the Winnebago River. They tend to nest in hanging nests in the trees above the river, and they flock to the grape jelly feeders at the B&B - a delight for guests They also like to perch on the weather vane with the cow that is on top of a cupola near the feeders. I took all of these photos from the car - my mobile photo blind, parked in the driveway.
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A fat, wet Racoon wandering in the cat-tails along the side of the road , mama Canada Goose taking the goslings out for a stroll (the other adult and a few more goslings were just out of view of this photo), a busy Lark Sparrow with a beak full of nesting material, and a Killdeer. The Killdeer lay their eggs on the ground, often among rocks or gravel. When confronted they will walk away from the nest area displaying their tail feathers to try to distract and draw the visitor away from the nest.. Just a few of the critters and birds that I saw while driving through the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, Polk County Conservation. Photos taken from the car - my mobile photo blind.
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Three of my photos have been accepted to the 39th Annual Cerro Gordo County Photo Show at the Charles H. MacNider Museum, this year. Such an honor among so many great local photographers. It is always fun to see the works of others in this show. The show runs until the end of June, I hope you can go see it.
You can see these photos and previous entries here.
Just a few notes about my photos. See more on Facebook.