Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cherry County Nebraska, Part 3

One of the great things about traveling to Cherry County in the fall was to see the abundance of wildlife. A prime place for this is the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge, above, just a few miles east of Valentine. The refuge encompasses the grounds of the old Fort Niobrara, as well as nearby sand hills and Niobrara River bottom.

The refuge has a very nice overlook that's worth a visit, although the first time I tried to go there my way was blocked by this guy:

He refused to move out of the road, and I saw no way to make him. My only option was to back up to a place where I could turn around, and come back another time, which was what I did.

The refuge is also home to large communities of Priarie Dogs, who do get out of the way of your car. They are, as you can see below, both cute and photogenic.

There was plenty of wildlife outside of the refuge as well. I saw, but didn't get photos of, Mule Deer and various game birds. Surprisingly, I saw a number of flocks of wild turkeys by the side of the road. Although they moved away from me when I stopped to get a photo, they weren't as panicked by humans as I had been told they would be.

If you like wide open spaces and unspoiled countryside, Cherry County Nebraska is well worth a visit. There are a number of good hotels, along with other services, in the county seat Valentine. This was my second visit to the county and I really enjoyed myself.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cherry County Nebraska, Part 2

Cherry County benefits from the presence of two rivers: the Niobrara, which I mentioned in the last post, and the Snake River, pictured above. The snake is dammed just south of here to form the Merritt Reservoir, a major body of water with excellent fishing and camping sites.

The Merritt Reservoir is far enough from any major light sources to be one of the darkest places in America at night, and is therefore celebrated as a star watching location. Below is a photo I took at night on the edge of the reservoir. Note the meteor I managed to catch at the top of the photo.

Adjoining the Merritt Reservoir to the northwest is the McKelvie National Forest, which I found notable mostly for its complete lack of trees. But then, who am I to judge? Apparently there are "islands" of trees dotted around the 120,000 acre national forest, all of which are hand planted. The photo below is of the entrance to the forest.

Finally, I have a picture of one of the old box-girder bridges that span the Niobrara outside of Valentine. Almost all of them are still in use, and they add to the picturesque qualities of the countryside.

In my next post we'll take a look at some of the wildlife that can be found in the area.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cherry County, Nebraska, Part 1

I have just returned from a brief but delightful trip to Cherry County, Nebraska. Cherry County is in the north-central part of the state, in the sand hills. The county itself is larger than the states of Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island, and with a population of just over 6000, it is one of the least populated places in the country. What it offers is the stark beauty of rolling grasslands, truly unspoiled countryside, and quiet.

One of the gems of Cherry County is the Niobrara river, which has been designated a National Scenic River. The picture above is of the Niobrara just east of Valentine, the county seat.

The sand hills are just that: Sand dunes, left by the last glacier,  covered by a thin layer of vegetation. In the picture above, of a portion of the Fort Niobrara Wildlife Refuge, you can see then undulations of the grass-covered dunes.

Autumn was a beautiful time to visit Cherry County. The colors were rich and warm, and wildlife was abundant. In my next several posts I will post more pictures from the trip.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Photo of the Day

Here's a photo I took yesterday, of an old building in Monowi Nebraska. The building has seen better times, as has the town. I converted it to black and white, and then gave it a selenium toning effect.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Photo of the Day

This is an infrared study of trees and clouds in Cherry County, Nebraska, rendered in black and white. Autumn at its finest.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Moody Rockies

 Two black and white studies of the Colorado Rockies today. Above is a view of rain over the Sawatch Range, in the central Colorado Rockies. The road at lower center is US 285, a very nice road south from Denver if you want to see the mountains.

The second photo is of a lightning-blasted tree in a meadow. This is also in the Sawatch Range on US 285--at this point with the Collegiate Peaks in the background.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Photo of the Day

Here are some of my favorite elements for a creative photo: Poles and wires, and the geometric lines they create, a deep blue sky, and the moon.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Photo of the Day

I've been posting a lot of black and white on the blog recently, so I wanted to post something colorful. Here are some nice pink flowers from Provence, in the south of France. I suppose I should have bothered to find out what kind they are, but I didn't. If you know, tell us in the comments.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Photo of the Day

Yet another view of the Autumn countryside here in East-Central Illinois. Not infrared this time, just good old black and white. the location is southeast of Urbana.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Photo of the Day

Here's a black and white infrared study of the autumn countryside near Urbana, Illinois, taken just this afternoon. I was out testing out my new Canon G15 camera, but unfortunately the camera model is so new that my photo software won't work with its RAW files yet. Fortunately I had my infrared camera with me (an old Canon G9 converted to IR) and so I was able to work with some of the pictures I took. I like the corn and the trees in this shot, and, as always, the clouds and sky.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Another Strange Little House

Here is another strange little house that I meant to include in my recent post. this one is in Ludlow, Illinois.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Post Number 400

This is my 400th post since I started posting sporadically on this blog back in 2009. It's hard to believe I've made it this far. To celebrate, or at least to commemorate, this achievement, I've tried to pick four of my favorite photos to post on this 400th entry. All of these have been seen here before.

Above is the city of Chicago at night. I like the composition, and the colors, but I also like the fact that it is HDR, but it uses HDR appropriately--that is, to bring out the range of light available in the scene, and not to create a bizarrely lit monstrosity.

The photo above is my favorite street shot of all time (so far). It is an intentionally blurred view of a couple in Kyoto, Japan.

Next up is an early morning view of a road in western North Dakota. I like the repeating patterns of the trees and the undulating road disappearing into the mist.

Finally, the shot I liked enough to put at the top of this blog: Monument Valley under a full moon, with star trails.

Writing this blog has been more fun than I anticipated when I started, and I hope to keep it up for the foreseeable future. I try to post three times a week. Sometimes I don't make it (like this summer, when I was so busy at work I had no time for posting or photography) but I will continue to try. I have plenty of photos I haven't posted yet, and will be taking more soon.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned...