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Category Archives: Fall

After participating in the Crazy Horse Volksmarch we decided to drive over to Mount Rushmore. We made an earlier visit about a month ago and our pass was still good so we decided to take advantage of it. We were also thinking of trying some of Thomas Jefferson’s ice cream.

On the drive over we noticed some great fall color so on the drive back toward Sylvan Lake we stopped a few places to get some photos.

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One of our goals for the Black Hills trip was to participate in the Crazy Horse Memorial Fall Volksmarch. We had made the Volksmarch on a number of other occasions. I think this was our fourth time.

More photos from the Crazy Horse Memorial can be found on my website.

When we arrived in the parking area there was already a large crowd gathering. The march had not started so we walked over to the registration area and paid our fees.

The first part of the March was through the woods. We walked for quite a while with a young man from Washington State who was working in Wyoming for a few weeks and decided to drive over to the Custer area.

After leaving the woods the trail heads up the road to the back side of the Memorial.

It had been a beautiful fall day but by the time we reached the Memorial it had clouded up. Everyone says that they can’t see any progress on the Memorial but we did the Volksmarch two years ago and we could definitely see a lot of progress. On previous visits I had to use my wide angle lens to capture the full face but on this visit they had made more progress on the arm and hand and there was a lot more room at the top so it was easy to get a full shot of the head.

From Crazy Horse’s arm we could see the parking lot and the rest of the complex. We thought for sure we were going to get wet given the clouds we could see off to the west.

Since it looked like rain we didn’t stay on the arm long. This is a shot from the back side of the arm taken on the way down.

Of course, on the way down the sun came out and the fall colors were beautiful. I suggested that we walk back up to the top but couldn’t convince my wife. These are shots from the construction road.

These are some shots of the original buildings that were used when construction started as well as some of the old and new construction equipment.

 

 

 

 

The day following the Buffalo Roundup we planned on doing some hiking out of Badger Hole. There is a nice hike over the mountains to a horse camp that I made about fifteen years ago and we were going to try it. We had a couple of false starts before getting off on the wrong trail. We finally decided it was way too hot to hike. I thought I had lost one of my camera cases at the roundup the day before so we decided to drive the wildlife loop and stop at the parking lot to see if it fell out of the car. It was also a beautiful fall day so we thought we would get some nice fall photos.

More photos from Custer State Park can be found on my website.

When we reached the Buffalo pens there were quite a few folk taking photos of the Buffalo that had been rounded up the day before. The fall colors by the pens were near peak making for some great photos.

We didn’t see the Begging Burros at their normal place and were wondering where they were. A little while later we found them wandering down the road. It took us about a half an hour to get past them. For some reason they kept wanting to walk down the middle of the road.

Just past the burrows we noticed some outstanding fall color on the hills. I had to shoot fast because the burros were coming up the road and we didn’t want to get stuck behind them again.

A little while later my wife noticed this Coyote come out of the woods and walk through a Prairie Dog town. We quickly pull off the road and started taking photos. For some reason the last few times we have been in the Black Hills we have seen Coyotes. I’ve probably hike in the Black Hills fifteen times and had never seen a Coyote until recently. This one walked up to the road and stopped. It looked both ways then crossed the road. It seemed to have more sense that most people. It stopped on the other side of the road so we could get some more photos. Notice in the second photo there is a Prairie Dog at the very top of the photo watching the Coyote.

It was a beautiful morning and on the cool side so we decided to hike up Black Elk Peak (formerly Harney Peak). It was renamed in 2016 to honor of Nicholas Black Elk and recognized the significance of the summit to Native Americans. Nicholas Black Elk was a famous medicine man and holy man of the Oakota Sioux. I suppose the child in the white house will want to change the name back to Harney Peak since it was renamed when Obama was president.

The fall colors were outstanding. This is the first time I’ve hiked the trail from Sylvan Lake to the top when the fall colors have been this good. It was mid week and there were not a lot of hikers on the trail. We did meet a woman who had three dogs with her. Two of them were hers and the third was a rescue dog she was training to walk trail.

More photos from Custer State Park can be found on my website.

This was the only wildlife we saw along the trail.

There were some great views from the top of the peak. We walked through the fire tower and then down to the peak where we found a stone structure.

On our way back we met a couple of hikers in cowboy gear (hats, boots and chaps). They left their horses down lower and walk the last part of the trail. It was a good decision because  the trail near the top has deteriorated a bit and the steps were quite high. We found their horses tied to trees down below.

On the way back we took a different trail that took us over to the Needles and Little Devil’s Tower before winding back to Sylvan Lake. This portion of the trail was even more colorful.

After leaving Scenic we drove on to Hermosa. The fall colors were very good as we approached Hermosa but due to road construction we were not able to get any photos. From Hermosa to the park the colors were also very good. More photos from Custer State Park can be found on my website.

When we arrived in the park we stopped at the new visitors center. They have an IMAX theatre at the center and the film depicting the park is well worth watching. They also have some butterfly gardens and they were attracting lots of butterflies. I believe these are American Ladies.

The leaves at the visitors center were not quite at their peak.

While my wife was filling up the water bottles I walked over to the Game Lodge Campground and took a few photos.

 

After photographing early in the morning we headed back to Wall and had an early breakfast at Wall Drug. First place I’ve ever encountered that refused to make sunny side up eggs. While at breakfast we check the map and decided to drive back out to the park and drive the Sage Creek Rim Road. We have been driving through the badlands for years but have never driven the Sage Creek Rim Road  other that the first few hundred yards.  According to the map we would eventually end up in Hermosa which was our destination.

It was a beautiful early fall day and the color was nearing its peak.

We saw all kinds of wildlife on the drive. We hadn’t gone far before we encountered this Bighorn Sheep ram resting at the side of the road. He wasn’t about to move so we had to drive around him.

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

As small herd of Pronghorn Antelope crossed the road in front of us.

Pronghorn Antelope

Of course there were the ever present Prairie Dogs. It seems like there are more and more of them.

Prairie Dogs

There are Buffalo in the park but they are rarely seen on the Badlands Loop Road. We see them fairly frequently on the Sage Creek Rim Road. At one point we found a large number of them in a pen. Apparently there had been a roundup but the bulls still seemed to be roaming the park.

Buffalo

We had gotten out of the car to take some landscape photos and noticed this Coyote walking along. I went back to get my long lens and, of course, he dissapeared. I went back and got my landscape lens and sure enough he reappeared in full view but he was too far away for a shot.

Coyote

While we were watching the Prairie Dogs we notice a large bird sitting out in the Prairie Dog town. It looked to be the size of an eagle but we knew it wasn’t an eagle. Later we found out it was a Ferruginous Hawk. Apparently Prairie Dogs are one of its favorite meals. They frequently sit by an active hole and wait for the Prairie Dog to emerge. We later encountered several of them flying.

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk

After exiting the Sage Creek Rim Road we ended up in Scenic, South Dakota.

We then drove through the Stronghold Unit of the Badlands. This place had been used as a bombing range. When we pulled over to take this photo I also took a photo of the warning sign.

In the fall when there is a lot of color I like to walk around the farm and do some abstract photography. All of these photos were created using the techniques or a combination of the techniques noted with each photo. It was a bright sunny day so I had to use a neutral density filter to cut down the amount of light reaching the sensor. This allowed me to shoot longer exposures which allowed me to tilt, pan, zoom. It is a fun thing to do in the fall and it provides some unusual shots.

The effect is achieved by slowly tilting the camera up or down.

This effect was achieved by focusing on a leaf on the ground and then zooming out using a zoom lens.

This effect was achieved my using a combination of a tilt and a zoom at the same time.

This effect was achieved by focusing on the tree and then slowly zooming out.

This effect was achieved by panning the camera.

This effect was achieved by rotating the camera.

My wife printed, matted and framed six of my fall photos for an exhibit at the Menomonie Public Library. The exhibit will run through the month of October.

Bonanza Falls – U.P. of Michigan

Black River Harbor Reflections – U.P. of Michigan

Leaves Canadian Hill Farm – Menomonie Wisconsin

The Z Bond Falls – U.P. of Michigan

Lake of the Clouds Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – U.P. of Michigan

Leaf Hoffman Hills Recreation Area – Menomonie Wisconsin

 

As winter approached we had a number of days with heavy frost so I decided to walk around the prairie on the farm to get a few photos.

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We spent some time driving around Seney National Wildlife Refuge on our last trip to the U.P. It doesn’t have the best wildlife but it is a beautiful fall photography location. It was created during the depression when no one else wanted the land. It now has a variety of wildlife including a large number of Trumpeter Swans.

More photos from Seney National Wildlife Refuge can be found on my website.

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