There were billions of stars last night in a clear beautiful sky in North Iowa. The Milky Way was extremely bright without a cloud anywhere and just a little haze on the horizon, and of course the light pollution from the nearest town to the south. I was at this location with this lone tree on a quiet country road near Union Hills Wildlife Management Area a couple of times last year, but the clouds always moved in on me. Last night I nailed it. We don't have 'dark skies' like some parts of the country because of all the light pollution from cities, towns and rural farm lights, but this is about as good as it gets. Jupiter is the bright star in the lower right of the image and Saturn is at the tip-top of the tree. I couldn't have asked for a better night - a slight breeze, not a single mosquito, what a great night to be out. There was also a meteor shower, but I only saw two in the couple of hours I was out, but I was mostly looking to the south. A tripod, a wide angle lens, a long exposure and some enhancement on the computer are the recipe for pictures of the stars.
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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
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- Animals of Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands 2012
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- Animals of Yellowstone 2011
- Birds of Yellowstone 2011
- Yellowstone/Tetons Landscapes 2011
- Yellowstone Textures
- Custer State Park, SD
- Great Smoky Mountains NP
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Cerro Cordo County Conservation is draining out all of the water from Zirble Slough to allow aquatic plants to get re-established for a better environment for birds and wildlife. Then they will allow it to naturally fill again. As the water is very low for awhile it has been full of shorebirds pecking in the mud for insects and whatever else they eat. There was a lot of wildlife there the morning that I visited.
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Last evening we had a North Iowa Photo Club outing to take photos of prairie flowers, birds insects and more in a private prairie in North Iowa. It was a beautiful evening and fun to see how the other photographers approached taking photos in this location. The highlight for me was first time photos of several Bobolinks and one Dickcissel, both are birds that normally only found in prairie areas. There was a nice fiery sunset to top off the evening.
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Yesterday a group from the North Iowa Nature Club went out for a walk in the prairie at Wilkenson Pioneer Park. Here are a few photos from the trip. [Click images to see larger.]
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.)
Just a few notes about my photos. See more on Facebook.