An Unexpected Completion

It’s official.  I have now been to all 50 States!  The last State I had on my list was North Dakota.  Many moons ago I travelled through South Dakota on a trip with my parents but we never went out of the way to hit the North.  Unless you’re going to Canada, it isn’t really on the way to anywhere.  You pretty much go to North Dakota if you have a reason to go there.  Well, let me give you a few reasons to visit.

Here’s one

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Landing in Bismark, my buddy and I drove to a small town called Dickson where we were sent to do a site survey of an oil rig.  Highway 94, aka ‘The Emerald Highway’ is just stunning!  The 120 mile drive out to the rig was a photographer’s dream.  Rolling hills?  Check.  Blue skies?  Check.  Clean and serene?  Check.  Besides the hay bales in the fields, there are very few features to the land.  To me, that’s what makes this place so amazing.  Wide open space that’s full of color and fresh air!  Some places I’ve been just seem so claustrophobic that you can’t wait to get out.  Not at all the case here.

I wanted so bad to find a lawn chair and park it on top of one of these hills and just sit back and enjoy the quiet.  The only sounds to be heard was the wind blowing through the grass, the buzz of bees, and the faint cackling of birds perched on the fence posts.

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This to me would be the perfect vacation for relaxation.  I’m not much for crowds, gimmicks and tourist traps. Oh yeah… or beaches because they have all three.  A comfortable chair parked next to me wife and room for the kids to spread out – that’s my idea of a good vacation.  I’m seriously putting this on my list of places to return to with my family.


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As you head west out of Dickson, you’ll find canyons hidden among the fields.  I couldn’t get close enough with the lens I had but there were some Pronghorn Antelope roaming around in the shadows of this canyon.

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While driving around, we happened on Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  The park protects a large span of painted canyons.  Guess what?  No crowds!  I love this state!

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I had only the one afternoon to get all these shots before heading back to Houston.  Regardless of the brief amount of time I got to stay, I am so glad I got to visit.  I certainly will have to return some day.   What a way to finish off the list of 50 states.

I have another post waiting in the wings.  For my readers and followers who are photographers, I’ve recently gotten rid of the Nikon D600.  I’ve switched to the new Sony A7, a full-frame mirrorless camera.  I had an opportunity to take it out this afternoon to put it through its paces.  I’ll be posting sample photos and an informal review of what I think so far of the new setup.

Technical Details:

All photos were shot with a Nikon D600 with a Nikon 24-85mm G AF-S VR.  In some of the photos, I used various stacks of neutral density gradient filters to add a little intensity to the sky.  Some resources claim that “proper” use of a gradient filter should mean that you can’t tell it was used.  Nonsense!  Gimme dark skies and a little drama!  Maybe I watch too much Top Gear UK.



4 thoughts on “An Unexpected Completion

  1. As always, you are a true photographer… Simply a beautiful translation of beautiful land.
    A shame it has to be spoiled… by a well- and all that accompanies. it. 😦
    Will be in Maine next week… living on a 200 acre farm until we fine a place of our own. SO looking forward to a land that is 80% forested!Real lakes and streams and mountains- Ahhhhhh… the life fer’ me!


  2. I can’t wait for you to get up there and start settling in to your retirement. I’ll bet for the first few months you’re gonna be a little stir crazy. I can see you still waking up at 4am, shuffling around the house in slippers checking all the power breakers, ohming out the oven coils and verifying the answering machine is ready to record. It’ll be just like firing up the old airfield again. LOL. Once you’re settled in, I’ll have to come up for a visit.
    You’ll have to send photos of the fall colors. Spectacular up there!


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