Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas !

For anyone who might come across this blog, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I'm writing this following an ample Christmas dinner held with three generations of family. This includes the first and second cousins of the extended family! The new fiance is fitting right in.

The pleasant elements of the meal, the conversation, and the family fun are the warming offset to the chill winds outside. We are visiting my mother at my childhood home on the high plains of Nebraska. Today's weather is temperatures in the single digits with winds gusting into the 30 mph range. Truly a bitter day out for man and beast, which makes the warmth of the celebration inside all the more precious.

No photography to share today (unless you want snaps of the cousins watching movies in the family room). I went out early this morning to try to capture some winter scenes, but the day has been flat and gray. The wind only let you stay out in the open for a few minutes, so I quickly gave up. The timing of my decision to give up for the day was good, as the wind increased and new snow began mid-morning. It has been a near white-out most of the day. I want to take those captures I did make and see what can be done with black and white or duotones.

May your home be filled with warmth and joy! May you travel safely whether across town or around the world.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

First Day of Winter

After a warm fall, we are seeing a rather cold and gray December.  We are not anticipating a White Christmas, but many areas west of Kansas City will see a major winter snowstorm starting tonight and running through Christmas day.

I drove up to Squaw Creek NWR yesterday.  The winter has truly arrived.  There was quite a bit of snow remaining on the ground.  The marshes are frozen and the migrating geese and ducks have moved on south.  The only waterfowl we encountered were two pair of swans that we saw fly by a couple of times.

The eagle was the first one that we encountered on the refuge. It was sheltering in a tree near the entrance to the refuge. There were only a few eagles left of the 150-200 that were there a few weeks ago. The covered lane is a connecting road between two portions of the refuge.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sports Shooting - Basketball Updated

It was a gray and gloomy weekend in Kansas City. No good photo light. I took the opportunity to wrap-up my Christmas shopping and some other year-end tasks.

A week-ago I posted some basketball photos from the McPherson - Ottawa games.  Those images were quick grabs after some initial post-processing.  I took the time this weekend to do some more processing, primarily color- and better exposure correction and cropping.  They can now be viewed through the original blog post.  Follow the link to see them.

The men have done well since last week.  They went 2-0 for the week, and go into the break 10-2.  The ladies dropped their two games and are now 4-7.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sports Shooting: McPherson - Ottawa Basketball

Our weekend schedule this winter does not line up nearly as well with basketball as it did with the football season this fall. We took advantage of an alignment of the stars to spend the weekend with our daughter and younger son. This gave us the opportunity to see the Neil Simon play "Rumors" put on by the McPherson College theatre department, and the McPherson mens and womens Basketball teams play Ottawa University.

Shooting indoor sports is a challenge. The light in high school and small college gyms is dim and spotty by photographic standards. In the McPherson Sports Center the baseline of the court is darker by a full stop (or more) than the mid-court area between the two free throw lines. I've shot in this gym before and I knew the challenges that I would face. Even when you start with a good f/2.8 lens the compromise you often have to make is tp underexpose or shoot at high ISO settings in order to freeze action. This results in noisy (grainy) photos.

The womens team opened the evening with a 69-61 victory over the Lady Braves. This was one of the Lady Bulldog's better efforts from the field and on defense this season. The Lady Bulldogs are 4-5 overall and 1-1 in conference.

The McPherson mens team has a good season underway. They earned a 69-56 victory over the Ottawa men. They are now 8-2 overall and 2-0 in the KCAC.

I had done some research into changes that I could attempt to make my images better. The change in process that made these images come out as well as they did was a change to my post-processing workflow. The originals were underexposed as mentioned above. The raw files were processed through a software package called DXO to raise the exposure and remove the noise. DXO has recently come out with a new version (6.0) that I used for the first time.

Update 12/14: the images you see on this post now have been further processed.  I started with the DXO processed images I originally posted.  One or two of the originals were re-processed using DXO 6.1 to raise the exposure a little more.  Then all were cropped, black- and white-point adjusted, and sharpened in Capture NX2

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Photo of the Week - Smoky Hills of Kansas

Many people perceive Kansas as having a flat and unremarkable landscape. The reality is that the state has many hills and valleys. The Flint Hills are probably most famous, but the Smoky Hills of the North Central part of the state can present equally dramatic views.

These photos were taken at sunrise. We are setting at the top of the southernmost hill of the ridge that helps define the Smoky Hills. These hilltops rise 300 feet above the valley floor.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Photo Adventure - Squaw Creek NWR

Sunday dawned gray, but the day quickly turned into broken sun and clouds. I decided to take a drive up to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge. It is one of the prime waterfowl and eagle watching spots in the midwest during the fall migration. We are far enough south that it serves as an over-wintering spot for eagles.

The waterfowl migration is well underway. Over 80,000 Snow and Blue Geese reported on the refuge. Over 20,000 ducks, dark geese, coots, etc. in addition. The eagle migration is behind schedule. We saw a dozen to two dozen birds on one section of the refuge. There was only one in adult plumage, but the younger eagles were fighting over food which was interesting to watch.

This was just a scouting trip. I've got to work on my wildlife technique as well!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Photo of the Week - Quality Hill

I took a drive into the city to scout some photo locations for possible future use. The day had been overcast, and I didn't expect anything more than shots of possible angles. As usual, the light changes and opportunities may abound!

I went up into the Quality Hill neighborhood of downtown Kansas City. This neighborhood sets at the crest of the Missouri River bluff. It holds a lot of older architecture and views in many directions.

The sun was just at the horizon, and it was illuminating the underside of breaking clouds

The setting sun also shone on the gilded dome of the Cathedral, making for a bright spot in the closing dusk

Sport Shooting - McPherson Bulldogs in the NAIA Playoffs

Saturday November 21 the McPherson College football program reached a new level in it's most successful season on record. The Bulldogs met the Mid-American Nazarene Univ. Pioneers in the first round of the NAIA National Championships.

It was a close game for three quarters, with McPherson leading by one at the end of the third. However four turnovers in the fourth quarter by the Bulldogs led to 17 unanswered points for the Pioneers. The final score was Mid-American Nazarene 40 McPherson 24.

Congratulations to the Bulldogs on a record-setting season. It was a privilege to follow the team and document the seasons successes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Photo of the Week - The Work Train

Several weeks ago I was out, and discovered a string of rail cars on a siding. The cars were obviously a work train, waiting for a crew to arrive or a return to some yard.

It was nearly mid-day and bright out. The deep shadows and rugged and worn nature of the cars made a natural fit for black and white images.

Sports Update - Bulldogs in the Playoffs !!

It has been a busy week for sports at McPherson College. The fall sports are wrapping up and the winter seasons have begun. Since last weekend there have been games in volleyball, soccer, and mens and womens basketball.

The big news is that the Bulldog football squad finished their regular season Saturday with a 44-17 win at home over the Bethany College Swedes. The big plays kept coming for both the offensive and the defensive squads. On defense the team intercepted the Swede's QB's five times, returning three of the picks for touchdowns. With the win the Bulldog gridders finished with a season record of 9-1. This gives the 2009 squad the all-time record for wins in a season.

With this win, and Ottawa's defeat of Friends, the Bulldogs own sole possession of second place in the KCAC and earned the #12 national ranking in the final NAIA regular season ratings.

With a successful regular season the Bulldogs have earned their first trip to the NAIA Football Championship playoffs. McPherson College will meet Mid-American Nazarene University in the first round of the playoffs next Saturday. The game will be at NMU's home field in Olathe, KS. Kickoff is at 1:00 PM. The NMU Pioneers also finished the season with a 9-1 record. The Pioneers were runners-up in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, and hold a #8 national ranking.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sport Shooting - McPherson Womens Basketball vs. Stephens College

McPherson College womens basketball played in an early season tournament this weekend. The games were on the campus of Univ. of St. Marys in Leavenworth, KS. This gave us the chance to go over and see the team play.

The action was good, and the Bulldogs hit a three-pointer with under 30 seconds left to win the game. McPherson is not a tall team, and they struggled all night with being able to get the ball down low. But the ladies play a tenacious defense, and they stepped it up in the last few minutes of the game to cause the turnovers they needed to pull out the game.

The lighting in the gym presents several photographic challenges. First, the main lights were various colors, and there are fluorescent fixtures on the side walls just above eye level. The ends of the court were much darker than the mid-court, and the building is dark overall. Most of these images were shot underexposed by 2/3 of a stop. The 60 hz cycle of the lights can be seen in some of the images too. An advantage of the facility is that it is a multi-purpose building, and there is a running track around the entire perimeter at about the height of the basketball rim. That provides the opportunity for the overhead shots.

All of the images have been corrected for both color and exposure. That helps account for the noise in the images.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sports Shooting - McPherson Football vs. Bethel

On a bright, warm afternoon in November McPherson College traveled down the road to play the Bethel College Threshers. Bethel entered the game with a record of 2-6 and the Bulldogs entered the game ranked #15 in the country with a 7-1 record.

The game was a hard-fought contest. McPherson prevailed 34-16. The 2009 season is proving to be one for the record books for the McPherson football squad. With their eighth win the Bulldogs tied the all-time school record for wins in a season, equaling the famed 1952 squad. Another record on the day for the 'Dogs was reaching 418 points for the season, smashing the record for a single season with one game to go.

The light conditions for photography were great. Shooting at ISO 200 and a f/4 aperture allowed for great shutter speeds all afternoon. It was almost too bright, as the sharp shadows can attest. By the third quarter there was a thin veil of clouds that made photo conditions almost perfect. Another issue that came up was in the fourth quarter the grandstand on the west sideline was casting a shadow over the north end zone, putting the action in that area of the field in deep shadow against a bright background. Those image attempts were basically unusable.

Sports Shooting - McPherson Volleyball vs. Southwestern

My sports photography has been centered on McPherson College football this season. This has been as much due to my personal scheduling as interest. Most volleyball games are either weeknights or on the same day as football, but in another town.

This weekend we got football and volleyball an hour apart in schedule and distance. We took in the Lady Bulldogs vs. the Southwestern College Moundbuilders in a post-season tournament game in McPherson.

The Lady Bulldogs are a young team, and have had their ups and downs this season. They finished the regular season with a 7 - 19 record. This placed them eighth among the ten members of the KCAC. The SWC squad finished ninth, but had beaten Mac in both of their meetings during the regular season.

The Lady 'Dogs started slow, losing the first game 18-15. From that point McPherson stepped up their game, especially their setting, and won the next three games for a 3-1 victory in the match.

McPherson's next match will be against the #1 seed Tabor College at Tabor's gym on Tuesday. Good Luck Bulldogs!

These images were my first try for shooting this sport. I'm really pleased with how they came out. I shot a basketball game in the McPherson gym last year before the upgrade to my equipment. The results that time were pretty disappointing. I'm much more satisfied with these images. To get fast shutter speeds I shot with the exposure compensation set to -2/3 of a stop. The ISO ran 2500 to 3200 to keep the 1/400s shutter speed and f/2.8 aperture I was using. To me the noise is acceptable given the limits of my D90, but I want to look into post-processing options for noise reduction. The lighting is about as the images came from the camera, so they are a little darker than the room appeared to the eye. They are PP'd with black point, white point and contrast adjustments.

There are images that have to be thrown out due to particulars issues of the venue: there is a bright sign at floor level that throws off the automatic exposure, and the camera occasionally captures the 60 hz cycling of the lights.

Volleyball offers different photographic challenges and opportunities from football. Obviously, you can get up close and personal to the participants much more easily, which is one reason I like these images so well for a first try. Inadequate lighting (from a photographic standpoint) and the resulting shallow depth of field make for interesting challenges as well. I would like to experiment with using manual focus, as the auto-focus would seek and find other targets (the net in front, or the crowd or player behind) than the one I was trying to capture.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Photo of the Week - A Chase County Barn

We often travel through a section of the Flint Hills west of Emporia, KS. Coming home from the Mac Bulldogs football game (see Sports Shooting this week) it was approaching sundown. It was a vivid light day. Clear and bright, the "golden hour" approaching sundown was just beginning as we pulled off the road.

This barn has obviously had many years of use. The foundation is build of dry-stacked hand-hewn local limestone. There are portions of the barn of various ages as reflected by the tin roofing over the wooden shingles. I didn't explore the inside beyond what I could see from the outside, but I thought I saw some square nails in the central structure.

I hope you enjoy these images.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sport Shooting - McPherson Bulldog Football vs. Tabor College

Saturday October 31 was a bright, clear day in the 50's. A perfect day for the McPherson Bulldog gridders to visit Tabor College to take on the Bluejays.

The Bulldogs controlled both sides of the ball all afternoon to earn a 43-10 triumph over the Bluejays. The McPherson offense rang up a season-best 588 yards of total offense on their way to the victory.

The victory takes the Bulldogs to 7-1. They have reached seven wins in a season only twice in the last 20 or so years. The defense continued their dominance of the second half of games by allowing no points and holding their hosts to 44 yards of offense for the half.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sport Shooting - McPherson Bulldog Football vs. Southwestern College

The McPherson College football team entered it's contest with the Southwestern College Moundbuilders looking to improve on their 5-1 record and #17 ranking in the NAIA poll.

The game started slowly with each team going three-and-out on their first possessions. But the Bulldogs turned the ball over on a fumble on the Moundbuilder's punt and quickly found themselves down by seven points early in the first quarter.

From that point forward the Bulldogs showed their teeth and the game was all McPherson: 48 unanswered points, five takeaways, seventeen tackles for loss, six pass breakups, three sacks, one blocked field goal.

The Bulldogs are currently tied for second in the KCAC standings with Friends, with undefeated Ottawa leading the league. Next week the Bulldog football team visits the Tabor College Bluejays in an away game at Hillsboro, KS.

It was a successful week for the Bulldog and Lady Bulldog soccer teams. The Ladies continued their string of shutouts with a 1-0 victory over Southwestern and a 3-0 win over Univ. of St. Mary. Men's Soccer extended their winning streak to ten games and an overall record of 11-1, defeating SWC 8-1 and USM 1-0. The men currently lead the KCAC soccer standings by two games over Kansas Wesleyan.

Photo of the Week - More from the Fall

We spent the weekend out in central Kansas visiting our children. Saturday morning dawned crystal clear and bright. We were far enough further south that the fall colors were just developing for many of the trees. These images are from the front lawn of our son's place in McPherson.

All The Colors

Morning Dew
Sun Beam
Fall Light

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Photo of the Week - Fall on the Missouri River

The seasons have turned from late summer to deep fall quickly this year. The July and August were wet and relatively cool. The trees should be primed for great colors. The maples are showing brilliant colors, but the oaks and other trees are apparently going to go from green to brown and drop their leaves. We've had a killing frost without a warm, dry period to push the trees into dormancy.

These two images are from the Missouri River valley near Beverly, MO. The panorama is the Weston Bluff. You can see the bright maples among the otherwise still-green trees.

This panorama is an eight image set, handheld, assembled with Photoshop CS4

Sports Update

We were not able to get to the McPherson College football game this weekend, but it was another successful Saturday for the Bulldogs.

McPherson scored 42 points in the first half, and went on to a 52-38 victory over the Kansas Wesleyan Univ. Coyotes.  The #16 ranked Bulldogs dominated the statistics through the first three quarters.  At that point Coach Brian Ward of the Bulldogs pulled his starters and the Coyotes scored some meaningless point on the McPherson freshmen and sophomores.

It was also a good weekend for both the Men's and Women's Soccer teams.  The Bulldog Men's team won their eighth straight contest 2-0 over the Friends Univ. Falcons.  The Women's team posted their second consecutive shutout, tieing the Lady Falcons 0-0.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sport Shooting - McPherson Bulldog Football vs. Univ. of St. Mary

McPherson College traveled to Leavenworth, KS to meet the University of St. Mary Spires in a KCAC Conference football game.

The Bulldogs were dominant from the beginning, holding the Spires to three-and-out following the opening kickoff. McPherson then took the ball 68 yards in five plays to score the first touchdown of the game. For the day the Bulldogs would never trail in the score.

The defense had one of their best days of the season. The Bulldog defenders held the Spires offense in check in the first half with two three-and-outs, three interceptions and a fumble recovery. All the USM turnovers resulted in McPherson touchdowns.

The first half ended 51-0 in favor of the McPherson College Bulldogs. The final score was 58-13 McPherson.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Digital Photography Shares in Nobel Prize !

This morning it was announced that Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith of Bell Labs are being honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention of the charge-coupled device (CCD) imaging sensor. The CCD sensor was the invention that led to the wide range of digital imaging tools that we have today.

They are sharing the Physics prize with Charles Kao. Kao is being honored as the inventor of fiber optic data transfer. With out this invention we photographers couldn't share our work around the globe via the internet nearly as easily or cheaply as we do!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sports Shooting - McPherson College vs. Sterling College

This past weekend was Homecoming at McPherson College, and Bulldogs met the Sterling College Warriors in football on Saturday afternoon.

The Bulldogs and the Warriors both entered the game with identical 2-1 records. In a hard fought battle the Bulldogs defense shut down the national ranked rushing attack of the Warriors, coming away with a 21-0 victory. It was the first shutout for the McPherson defense since 1997.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sports Shooting Update

This past weekend was taken up with church and home activities. We were home in time on Saturday to watch the Nebraska Cornhusker - Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajun football game on television. Photographic activities were limited to sorting and processing some images we hadn't been able to get to yet.

In football the McPherson College Bulldogs were off this weekend. The Winnetonka H.S. Griffins continue to have a good season. They defeated Oak Park H.S. (local district rivals) to go to 3-1.

The McPherson College soccer teams are having good seasons. The women's team is 3-3-1 with a winning streak of two games. The men's team is 6-1 with a 18 to 4 goals advantage over their opponents.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Photo of the Week - Fall Colors

On this final weekend of the summer, the hints of fall are definitely in the air. This morning was cool, and we have had several foggy mornings recently. The 'traditional' fall colors of the trees are just starting to hint at what might be coming. This evening I explored an undeveloped area of some local parkland, and I discovered this early set of 'fall colors'.

I found a meadow that was bright yellow with blooming goldenrod. As you worked through the grasses there are many flowering plants that are making a last show. The cool and wet summer has kept these plants flowering late into the summer. There are other interesting forms and colors, such as the foxtails. Enjoy this end of summer display.

Sport Shooting - McPherson Bulldog Football vs. Ottawa University

The McPherson College Bulldogs traveled to Ottawa University to play the Braves Saturday evening. Both Ottawa and McPherson came into the game undefeated and ranked nationally in the NAIA coaches poll.

It was a beautiful night for football game. The game was a see-saw battle that saw McPherson holding a lead at the end of the first half. In the fourth quarter the Braves tied the game and then scored a go-ahead touchdown. McPherson came back to tie the game and send the game into overtime.

The overtime was marked by offensive errors for both teams. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs made last turnover and Ottawa Univ. made a clinching field goal to win the game 44-41 in two overtimes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Photos of the Week - Tour of Missouri / Summit Avenue

Sunday was the final day of the Tour of Missouri. The Tour is one of three world-class bicycle races held in the U.S. There were a number of teams and riders who had competed in the Tour de France earlier this year.

This was the first time that the race ended in Kansas City. The final leg was held as a circuit race. This made it very entertaining for the crowd. We camped out on a location along Summit Avenue on KC's West Side. We saw the racers pass in front of us seven times.

Summit Avenue is one the core areas of the West Side. The West Side is the traditional Hispanic area in KC. The area had been declining, but rebuilding (including some gentrification) can be seen.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Photo Walk - Eudora

When I take off for photo shooting adventures out-of-town Debbie usually goes along with me. To make the trip interesting for her (as well as me) we look up quilting shops along the way or in the town were I'm planning to shoot.

This weekend one of our stops was in the small town of Eudora. Of course I wandered around the small downtown main street.

These images are from my personal photo walk around Eudora. There were some interesting architectural features on a couple of the buildings. One of the businesses on the street was the motorcycle shop.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sport Shooting - McPherson Bulldog Football

The McPherson College Bulldogs opened the 2009 football season at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS. I had the opportunity to shoot the game from field level for the McPherson College Sports Information Department.

The Bulldogs dominated the game. It was 48-0 McPherson at half time, and the final score was 61-6. The game recap and statistics are found at

Monday, August 31, 2009

Photo of the Week - Bulldog Soccer

We will be shooting sports for the next five or six weekends. I'm wanting to improve my skills in this area (like everything else!). This weekend was unplanned, but a great exercise. Debbie and I were in Wichita, KS visiting our son and his bride-to-be. Bryan is the Drama teacher at Goddard H.S. Michelle is the new Vocal Music teacher at Wellington H.S.

Our other two children came down to visit as well. Our second son is the new Sports Information Director at McPherson College. Both of the soccer teams were playing pre-season scrimages on Saturday night, so we drove there to shoot and see other friends.

The women played before the men when there was still some daylight. The pitch was not well lit, so shooting quality images of the men was a challenge.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Photo of the Week - 'Tonka Football Jamboree

The fall sports seasons are here. In Missouri they hold Football Jamborees the Friday night one week before the season starts. A jamboree is held with four teams. Each team plays a set number of plays on offense and on defense with each of the other three teams. It is a nice way to get scrimmage time with someone other than your teammates.

Winnetonka H.S. is one of the four North Kansas City, Missouri district high schools. All three of our children are graduates of 'Tonka.

The jamboree was held at the new District Athletic Complex. A very nice venue for all the high school sports. The Winnetonka Griffins (Maroon and Gold) were the hosts. The other teams were the Liberty Bluejays (White and Blue), the Platte County Pirates (Black and Orange) and the St. Pius X Warriors (Blue and Yellow).

I will be doing a lot of sports shooting this fall. I am shooting photos of small college football several weekends in September and October. We are also having an international class Bicycle touring race in Kansas City this September.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Photo of the Week - Cat & Darren

July 5th was a time of special recognition of the joining of two lives together. Cat Rooney and Darren Howland held a special ceremony and party for friends and family to celebrate their marriage.

I had the special privilege of capturing images of their special day.

Cat chose a beautiful spot on the shore of Lake Shawnee in Topeka, KS. The day was clear and warm, and the gardens were in full bloom.

Cat arrived for the ceremony in this bright yellow '36 Ford.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Photo of the Week - Sunset

My photography this week has been scouting for an event that will be taking place in September. For photos to share I'm reaching back to our vacation trip in July. These images were taken the same evening about 15 minutes apart.

This image is the earlier of the two. The sun was just about to go below the horizon. Note the bank of clouds on the horizon

That low line of clouds rapidly moved through as the broken clouds you see in this image. The sun was below the horizon from the ground, but was still lighting up the bottom of the clouds

Monday, August 3, 2009

Photo of the Week - Abandonment

This weekend I took a walk up through an abandoned shopping center near our home. The stores have been closed for several years. Renewal of the site has been planned, but with the downturn in the economy things have been delayed. I was looking for images at sunset.

Sad Reflection

Deferred Maintenance


Clean Up?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Photo of the Week - The County Fair

Went out last evening to see what photographic opportunities the Platte County Fair might bring. It is a typical rural county fair. A small midway, lots of festival food (let's hear it for funnel cakes!). The one young lady wasn't so sure that they were having a good time... The big event going on last night was the tractor pull. If you don't know what a tractor pull is, well, I don't think I can explain it to you. Think smoke, noise, dirt, drag racing with tractors. It was so crowded that I couldn't get a shot of anything.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Photo of the Week - KC River Market Photo Walk

Debbie and I participated in Scott Kelby's World Wide Photowalk '09. One of the local walks in Kansas City was in the River Market area. The River Market is a shopping and entertainment district on the north end of downtown KC,MO. It is the area where the original city was settled, just above the Missouri River. Much of the shopping is a farmers market and ethnic foods market. The three photos are just a few of what I'm posting on my gallery. I highly encourage you to look at the other photos in the gallery this week.

This motorcycle is a Ducati. It was parked outside of one of the office buildings on Delaware Street.
The vegetables in the market building offered great opportunities for color and texture

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Harvest - Epilogue

A little closing information on the wheat harvest pictures that were posted earlier.

The field being harvested yielded 57.7 bushels/acre, which is a great result for this field. Average test weight was just slightly under 60 lbs/bu, average moisture 12.4, and average protein 10.4. The test weight and moisture are right on hard red winter wheat. The protein is a little low, but to be expected with the high yield.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Harvest - Day 4

The last task at the farm of turning seed into grain is moving the harvest to town. It is from here that, combined with the yields of numerous other farms, the grain moves to the miller domestically or overseas.

Here is the wheat coming from the combine harvester in the field to the trucks. This year the fields are soft and trucks can get stuck. This wagon can carry enough grain to nearly fill both trucks at once. With one driver on the wagon and one shuttling trucks to town the crew can keep up with the combine better than two truck drivers without a wagon.
Here is Travis, driving to town to deliver grain. Travis is a seminary student in Denver. He comes out to work on the ranch during his breaks from school. He is a college friend of several family members.
Here is a truckload of grain being unloaded at the grain elevator. At this point the grain is delivered. The farmer's bookkeeping with the grain dealer is all in terms of the delivered amount and quality. This truckload was about 480 bushels / 28,800 lbs of grain

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Harvest - Day 3

Day three woke up gray and humid. When the humidity is high, you can't harvest the wheat because it raises the moisture of the grain, and the threshing is much more difficult. The humidity and the clouds kept harvest shut down for the day

Vacation Photos - Day Six

Friday dawned with a thick fog. The evening cleared and I headed west to the upper end of Enders Reservoir for a vantage point. There are a series of bluffs along the south side of the lake valley. This photo is from that vantage looking across the sunset towards the hills southwest.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Vacation Photos - Day Five Evening

Thursday dawned cloudy, and then cleared for about an hour while we were shooting early. Then it clouded up again and stayed that way until mid-afternoon. The first two images are the clouds associated with the front as it moved out

The cloud bank stayed on the southern horizon all day. It spun off the feathery mare's tails all evening. These clouds gave us the great sunset this evening!

Harvest - Day 2

Thursday started off cloudy, but it soon warmed up with a breeze. It was cloudy at Enders until mid-afternoon (and it was sunny at Imperial eight miles away!) It appears that the front was setting right over us (see the next entry).

With the early moisture and higher humidity the crew didn't get started until late morning. But they cut all day until sundown with a crew of three: Joel in the combine, Rebecca running the grain cart and Travis driving the trucks to town.

Here is Joel at the controls of the combine. It is a complex machine, and has devices that measure the quantity and quality of the grain as it is harvested.
Here is the view of the wheat field from the cab of the combine. This field has soil conservation earthworks call terraces. The top of one is the ridge at the right of the image. The tractor and grain cart are sitting behind the terrace. You can see the farmstead in the background of the photo.
The grain cart is used to transfer the harvested grain to the trucks at the edge of the field. Trucks can be used out in the fields, but this year things are soft underfoot due to all the spring rains. So they use the cart and keep the trucks on the roads at the edge of the fields.
This is an image of the cut stubble in the sinking light near the end of the day. I enjoyed the pattern of the tracks and how they swept towards the village.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Vacation Photos - Day Five

Thursday morning dawned cloudy as my brother Roy and niece Nora and I headed out to the pastures. After a few minutes the sun broke and we had beautiful light on the hills and the cattle.

The calves are four to five months old. This fellow was enjoying life, running and jumping through the grass.

We watched a large group of the cows and calves at the water tank. This pair were curious about who are those people up on the hill.

This image provides an overview of the country. The windmill pumps water for the cattle. You can see the rolling sandhills on this part of the ranch.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Harvest Has Started!

At 7:40 PM Wednesday evening wheat harvest began on Grosbach Farms. Joel and Travis arrived with the combine early this evening and after a few adjustments cut a few acres to test the quality and the readiness of the wheat. Things look good. If the weather holds warm and dry they will be harvesting at full speed tomorrow.

Here is the combine making the first pass through the field

Here is the first grain being unloaded from the combine for delivery to town.

Vacation Photos - Day Four

My niece Nora and I went out early on Wednesday morning. We traveled north to visit another valley and the northern part of our family farm.

This image is of the end water cannon on what is called an Irrigator. An irrigator is a system of a 1/4 mile of water pipe on wheels fed by a well. I like the juxtaposition of the modern water technology and the old windmill in the background.

This image I call "The Old Corner". The corner post of a pasture fence is usually larger and more heavily reinforced than the rest of the posts. This one has been doing its job for many seasons.

Vacation Photos - Day Three

I went south to high points on Frenchman Creek for the sunrise.

This is the Frenchman Valley looking southeast across the rising sun. This area is considered semi-arid. The rain fall averages 15 to 18 inches per year. They have seen record amounts of rain this spring. The hills are greener at this point in July than some residents can ever remember.

After leaving the hilltop I was driving one of the canyon roads scouting photo sites for later in the week. I encountered a flock of wild turkeys. This photo has an adult female at the center. If you look at the lower right you will see three of an uncountable number of poults that were moving with the group.

The evening was overcast directly overhead, but it was clear to both the north and the south. This image of a thunderhead is from an access road south of the lake looking north towards Enders. The storm clouds were over 60 miles away. To the south we could see the tops of thunderheads at a distance approaching 130 miles away. This is truly big sky country.