Tag Archives: landscape

Missouri River in January

IMG_0220For this first post of 2015 I would like to share a picture taken from the shore of the Missouri River right outside of Bismarck, North Dakota.

While temperatures this day dropped below zero, with enough warm clothing I was able to stay toasty (except for my hands which I had to de-glove a few times to operate the camera).

Any cold I experienced was well worth it, to see the river in a transitory state during this time of year.  As seen in the photograph, the surface of the river was just beginning to freeze and ice floes bobbed there way down river.

It’s likely that in just a few short weeks, this entire stretch could be frozen over.

If I could make one photography related New Year’s resolution it would be to embrace the winter more and spend more days like this, walking around with a camera.

Camera: Canon Rebel T2iLens: 10-18mm


Lake Sakakawea


Canon XSI, Tamron 17-50 2.8, 8-stop Neutral Density Filter, Cokin P-Series, P120 Graduated Neutral Density Filter

June.  The eastern shore of Lake Sakakawea.  After setting up my camp, I venture out to a nearby shoreline for the magic hour.  It’s just me, the camera, and a few birds in the trees.  In the middle of June the evenings are still cool, especially off the lake.  The sun sets for hours.  There’s no rush.  I look for light, for reflection, for compositions, for the “strongest way of seeing”.  Fallen branches and driftwood form abstractions against the sky and in the water.  The light changes in fine gradients.  Every so often a bird flutters in the brush.  The water laps the shore, almost imperceptibly.  All tallied, the evening is nearly silent.  The air tastes cool, fermented.  The sun is golden, subdued.  There’s a picture waiting in the water.  I walk around the scene, examining it as if were something expensive for purchase.  I secure the tripod, affix filters.  I survey through the viewfinder, the world miniaturized and vibrant.   I adjust parameters.  The gauges balance out.  Everything around is still.   I depress the button.  The shutter opens and snaps closed,  capturing the calm while at the same moment shattering it to pieces.

Montana Landscapes

It’s been awhile since I’ve last posted. As this is a photography blog, and not an online journal, I won’t stray too far from the theme.  However, some context might be useful.  Here’s a brief rundown of completely relevant information entirely specific to the pictures of Montana featured below.

– Moved back to the United States after a year and half living in Taiwan and New Zealand.
– My blog post New Zealand Landscapes was featured, or “freshly pressed” by WordPress.com, attracting a deluge of visitors, comments, new subscribers, and support.  I felt overwhelming excitement.  Thank you all who visited.
– During the summer I split my time between North Dakota (the homeland) and the scenic resort town of Big Sky Montana.
– I hiked at least 50 miles of trails around Big Sky.  I became exponentially stronger and more sunburned.  I video documented myself hiking to the top of Yellow Mountain, so I could show my parents what I do when I say “I hiked up a mountain.”  Intended as a documdrama, the film unexpectedly turned out as an awkward comedy.
– In what I consider a Facebook success story, I sought out a co-worker I worked with in Yellowstone National Park ten years ago.  Turns out, this summer he had returned for employment in the northern region of the park and invited me on an overnight backpacking trip into the wilderness of the park.  The two days of hiking through Yellowstone were the highlight of my summer.
– In September I moved to my current location, the country of Georgia, to serve as a volunteer English teacher.
– For the last two weeks I thought about updating my blog with some of the pictures from Montana, but all efforts were hampered by general distraction
– The sound of a rooster awoke me very early today.  Other animal sounds soon followed including squealing of nearby pigs, and a chorus of dogs, who bark at each other every morning.
– It’s raining very hard.  There’s thunder and lightening so I probably won’t go outside.
– There’s soup being cooked in a big kettle.
– The neighbors are distilling homemade whiskey, and wisps of smoke from their wood fire are drifting through the windows.  The smoke is calming and acts as a serum keeping me inside.
– There’s a loud television somewhere broadcasting Georgian soap operas.
– I drank two cups of coffee, before starting this cup of green tea.

Ahem . . . oh yes, Montana. During my time kicking around Montana I took thousands of photogrpahs.  Below are a few that I found interesting and worthy of sharing.

Also, I acquired the Olympus E-PL2 camera with the two kit lenses.  I also picked up a k-mount adapter and an old 50mm f/1.9.  In brief, I’m a convert to the micro four thirds format.  I intend to do a comprehensive write up of the camera’s features and performance, but, in truth, it’s unlikely to happen, unless it rains through the rest of the weekend.

Is anyone shooting with a M43 system or considering ownership?  What are your general impressions of the system?

[photography for the sake of photography]

New Zealand landscapes

Directions for blog consumption – please select one of the following options
1.  If you are a friend or family member please see to option A
2.  If you are a budget backpacker please see option B
3.  If you are a photography nerd please see option C
4.  If you are speak Spanish please see option D
5.  If you are a time traveler from the future please see option E
6.  If you are an intelligent life form from outer space please see option F
7.  If you are another wordpress user see option G
8.  If you want to give me money please see option H

To all: I apologize for the eye destroying white on black font scheme

A.  Hello friend and/or family member.  Here are some pictures of the New Zealand landscape.  Thanks for stopping by.  Geez, it’s been a long time since we’ve spoken.  I’m sorry I haven’t been in contact.  I’m doing well in New Zealand.  I’m working at a kiwi fruit packing facility and staying at a comfortable cottage not to far from the ocean.  I hope you’re doing well.  I really miss you, and can’t wait to see you soon.  If you feel inclined, send me an email.  I would love to hear from you.  Or give me a call sometime.  Love, Mike

B.  Hello wayfaring internet surfer.  Welcome to my blog. It’s likely you are scouring the internet researching for your upcoming journey to New Zealand.  A search engine has probably taken you here.  You don’t have much patient for small talk right now.  You want answers regarding your trip, because you want everything to be perfect.  You want to sit on a camping chair on a bluff overlooking the ocean during sunset.  You want to tour the south island in a thorough and cost effective manner.  You might even hold a work visa, and want to score a cool job while you’re here.  Well, let me cut to the chase.  Here everything I know, in no particular order.
1.  Sleeper van – transportation and lodging fused into one mean machine for the same cost as hostels each night.  drivenz.com  go with the super sleeper and you will have every thing you need, right down to clothespins and a corkscrew
2.  Department of Conversation campsites – numerous and beautiful averaging $5 NZ per night.  Get one of the mini booklets and a decent road atlas.  Remember water tablets and to bring your own tp.  It’s all good.
3.  Pak n Sav – “New Zealand’s lowest prices guaranteed” for real
4.  Milford Sound – MILFORD SOUND!
5.  Jobs – speaking only of the Bay of Plenty – apply in person – early and often
6. Talk to any and all fellow travelers as recommendations and friends will be made
7.  All the best things are free
8.  http://www.backpackerboard.co.nz/

C.  All images below were taken with the compact enthusiast RAW-enabled Samsung EX-1, also known as the TL500.  Some of the shots were taken by holding a Cokin graduated neutral density filter in front of the lens.  In others shots, a circular polarizing filter threaded onto a third party lens hood were used.

D.  Hola amigo! Espero que usted disfrute de los cuadros. Espero que usted haga bien. Espero que usted disfrute de la vida. Tengo que decir, pienso la lengua española y la cultura son hermosas. Gracias por visitar mi blog. Tenga un día agradable.

E.  Hello time traveler from the future.  These pictures represent the earth, specifically the New Zealand zone, as it once was circa the year 2012.  Yes, it used to be this beautiful.  I apologize on behalf of our entire current civilization for what may have happened to the earth from this day forward.  Hopefully you all have learned from our mistakes.  Also, I have buried a time capsule on the northern property line of my parent’s home.  It’s a lunch box filled with cassete tapes of our era’s greatest rock and roll, plus action figure toys of our time.  Cheers.

F.  Hello intelligent life form from outer space.  What is taking you so long to make contact?  Come and say hello already.  As you can see our planet is verdant, filled generously with oxygen, and very life sustaining.  Doesn’t it look beautiful?  Surely, it’s worth a stop, even for a brief time.  May I suggest first visiting a pacifist country with a small military.  It is there that you will likely be most warmly embraced.  Just try to avoid the United States at this time.

G.  Hello fellow wordpress blogger.  Thanks for visiting my site.  I hope you enjoy my pictures and stylishly themed blog.  I’ve taken great care in presenting the content found here.  If so inclined, please leave a comment, subscribe, or click the “like” button.  I will be sure to visit and admire your awesome blog in return.

H. Hello generous, handsome/beautiful, and intelligent benefactor.  Please contact me at your convenience.  I really look forward to hearing from you.  Have a wonderful day!