Tuesday, December 06, 2011


On my way out of the Black Hills today, I finally found one (1) member of the Bighorn species, a lone ewe grazing near the Custer State Park Visitor Center. I hung around for a few minutes to see if more of the flock would appear, but they didn't. So I guess the sighting of the day was a couple of coyotes roaming the fields. (Or was it my first-ever ID of a prairie chicken?) Click on the yote image to start the slide show.

After four months living in downtown Chicago, I was struck by the magnificent desolation of South Dakota, especially this time of year when the bikers and other tourists are long gone. I-90 across the state was devoid of traffic. When I was photographing the eagle, I was parked on the shoulder of a state highway for 25 minutes and zero (0) cars came by in either direction. If you want to get away from it all, South Dakota in winter...or late fall if you want to get technical.


Monday, December 05, 2011

As Long As I'm Here

While checking on my trail camera, I took a few snapshots around Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park. An eagle I'm sure I've seen many times before was one of the main subjects, along with some pronghorns, turkeys, and prairie dogs. Update: On 4/10/12, I drove past this tree, which is (was?) my favorite dead tree. It looked as though it had been hit by lightning because the top was shattered and the were big limbs on the ground. No sign of the eagle, so apparently the both of us are going to need to find a new favorite dead tree.

I've been looking for Bighorn sheep in the usual locations in Rapid City and Custer SP, but haven't found them. I've got one more loop through the park Tuesday morning, so this photo group might not be complete yet.



Elk on the Trail

Way back in July I planted my new trail camera in Wind Cave National Park. I was finally able to retrieve the images today and was happy to see almost 1,300 images on the card. Upon further review, it turns out that the first 500 images were snapped between 2 and 3 hours after I left the camera on July 2. Good thing I didn't wait until July 3! All of the daylight shots in this slide show were taken on that first day. The nighttime shots were scattered over the following three months.

It was a good location, but it was hard to get to (and hard to find again without my GPS) so I moved it to another promising location a few hundred yards away where I saw elk grazing and resting today. The batteries were still at 78% and the memory card will hold tens of thousands of images, so maybe I will leave it there until June. Click on the images to start the slide show.


Sneaking through

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back to New Mexico

After several months getting situated in Chicago, it was time to take a break and head off to New Mexico. Usually Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is about the sandhill cranes, but this time it seemed like the cranes were't very accessible and the snow geese were. So most of the images are of snow geese. I also went south to White Sands National Monument. The clouds were very interesting that day.

Click on the images to start a slide show.

Bosque del Apache

White Sands

Monday, September 05, 2011

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Fellow Traveler

My move to Chicago is almost completed. Although I have been working here for a month, this was the first weekend I've been in the city. I took a stroll across downtown and through Millennium Park to the Field Museum.

I also happened to have a new camera, a Canon S95. My G6 is still a capable performer after X number of years (6?) but it is not very pocketable. The S95 is not the tiniest camera available, but it is much thinner than a G6. But it appears I have to upgrade my software. I had to jump through some extra hoops to edit the images.

I met a fellow South Dakota transplant at the Field, a Tyrannosaurus Rex named Sue. From ground level she really didn't seem that huge for some reason, but from above you get an idea of her scale. Click on the image for a larger versions.

Here another photo from the stroll, Buckingham Fountain, before it started raining.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Little Bighorns

I went out to the Black Hills this weekend to plant my new trail camera along a previously successful elk trail in Wind Cave National Park. On the drive through Custer State Park, I caught sight of a flock of bighorn ewes with four lambs among them. It was an unexpected sight because the last I heard, the local flock has not been reproducing since a 2005 pneumonia outbreak. Hopefully this is the start of a recovery. Click on images for larger versions to go to the full slide show (20 images).

Two lambs racing through the woods

All four lambs

Monday, May 23, 2011

Shot in the Dark

I have a little travel tripod about six inches long that comes in handy for shooting dark indoor spaces or outside at night. Here's the interior of St. Patrick's Cathedral. This is a 15-second exposure, which is why the people in the aisle look like mist. (Click on images for larger versions.)

Here's another attempt at a Grand Central Station blur. I didn't want everyone to be mist, so this is a shorter time exposure of 1.6 seconds.

There are some rose sculptures on Park Avenue. I tried some time exposures but it turned out that just using flash worked best.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

DSK's Hideout

I didn't have a plan for Sunday in New York, so I decided to walk south until I got tired, then take the subway back to the hotel. I didn't expect to cover the 4.5 miles from 50th Street down to Battery Park, but I did.

Along the way I saw a few unusual things, such as a girl with bright pink hair and pink tights, set off with a stylish black cape and long black boots, walking back to her building with breakfast in hand. Quite an ensemble. Most people, even those with pink hair, would just throw on some sweats for a Sunday morning run to the bakery.

There were some other strange and colorful sights along my route. A girl with blue hair (not nearly as stylish). A guy in Battery Park dressed up as Lady Liberty, taking a break from posing with tourists, talking on a cell phone. A guy getting off the subway dressed up as a plastic army man, 100% bright green including his hands and face. (Full body spandex, not paint.) A British police constable riding the Wall Street bull (see below). Then there was the line of TV cameras staked out in front of 71 Broadway. "DSK?" I wondered.

My instincts were correct. The Gothamist reported that residents received the following notice:

"We want to inform you that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF Director who is under indictment in New York, is currently staying at 71 Broadway. Mr. Strauss-Kahn is here as a guest of a leaseholder. We were not consulted before the leaseholder invited him in, but we have been assured that he will only be staying here until early next week."

I didn't see DSK out looking for croissants, unless he was dressed as a girl with pink hair.

DSK's Hideout

London calling

Monday, May 02, 2011

NYC 5/2/11

I don't know what it was like down here last night, but today around Ground Zero is a hive of activity. In the daylight hours, overcast but not unpleasant, I saw no overt celebrations over the death an evil man. But everyone seems to be in a good mood, particularly the policemen and firemen. A new tower rises to the heavens. Click on the images for larger versions. I'll be updating the New York 2011 album throughout the eight weeks I'm here.

1 World Trade Center

Tulips at nearby Liberty Plaza

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Here's a snapshot I took at the Sertoma Butterfly House in Sioux Falls over the weekend. Will this be the first insect to win "Photo of the Year?" I have posted bunch more on my web site. Click on the image for a larger version.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

End of experiment

I placed my new trail cam at a pond near my house about a month ago. In the first few days I got a few daytime shots of raccoons. I let it sit for the past month and retrieved it today. I was happy to see 140 shots fired off and hoped there would be a few deer in there.

What it turned out to be was a whole bunch of shots of Canada geese roaming through the semi-flooded area, and a few ghostly nighttime shots of the raccoons. I've proven what I wanted to prove, that the camera works pretty well, and I'll deploy it in the Black Hills ASAP. Unfortunately that probably won't be until July. Once again, you'll have to use your imagination and pretend that these geese are elk or mountain lions. Click on the image for a larger version.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Another book

I really don't remember sending in a photo for this one, but another one of my puffin photos made it into another book about Maine. It's a paperback book with images of all the critters that can be found in Maine, including the New Brunswick puffins shown below. (Disclaimer: Although the Canadians claim Machias Seal Island and have operated a lighthouse there for 175 years, the official U.S. position is it is part of the Maine.) I only got one copy, so y'all have to buy your own this time! (Apologies to Southerners for any misuse of "y'all.") I have just the one photo in the book (below) although it appears on the dedication page and again inside. It's the same photo that's on page 28 of the other book.

Click for web site photo

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Camera Trap

I bought a Bushnell trail camera a few years ago and deployed it with limited success until an elk chewed the power cord on the solar panel. The image quality wasn't that great and it was prone to malfunction, so I decided to get a new camera.

Research indicated Reconyx is among the industry leaders, so that's what I went with. Eventually I want to deploy it out in the Black Hills to catch elk and maybe even mountain lions, but for now I stashed it in the woods near my house next to a pond. I was hoping to get some deer. All I've gotten so far is two raccoons, both at night and during the day. The great thing is this is in a sequence of five shots, and I chose the best one. On my old camera, at best I would have gotten one shot and it probably would have been way off center. Also, the image quality on this camera is much better. Just imagine what this would look like if the raccoons were the size of elk. Click for a full-sized version.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A few eagles

I didn't get many flight shots of eagles on my trip to the Mississippi River this year, but I got some good roosting images in the recreation area below Lock & Dam 18. I also got a few images in Keokuk, including the one below. The album also includes a few other critters from Credit Island and other locations in Iowa. Click on the image for the slide show.

Keokuk Eagle

Friday, January 14, 2011

South Dakota

I got a few shots of bighorns and other critters on a drive across South Dakota last week. The highlight was a flock of 12 bighorn sheep hanging around Cleghorn Canyon. See thomasoneil.com for additional details and photos.

Ewe at rest

Ram climbing