Friday, October 28, 2011

I told you I had another

Here's another shot of the trains at the abandoned train yard I came across on my trip. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


A lot of my photos are taken on the fly.  I try to be like the guys I read about i.e, they scout a location, check it out in morning light, check it out at sunset, get to know every nuance of the location, think about what settings to put my camera on, setup a tripod, hook up a remote so as to not have any vibration show up from pushing the shutter button, etc. And that's what I did with this shot for the most part.  I was there for about 20 minutes getting setup.  Not a single walker or bike rider came through at that time which I wanted to capture crossing the bridge.  I step away from my camera for 2 seconds, yes, 2 seconds to grab a sip of coffee, and, of course, that is when two power bike riders come shooting across the bridge. The remnants of their ride can be seen by the leaves falling off the bridge on the left hand side.  No time to properly frame and get my hands on my remote.  Didn't even catch the back wheel of the last bike.  I waited another 10 minutes thinking there would be more, but, of course not.  Back to shooting on the fly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Each year my son Derek and I try to add something to our front porch area during the Halloween season to help scare off any soliciting trick or treaters.  This, of course, means more candy left in the candy bowl when the night ends. It worked good last year(insert wicked laugh).  This year we've added a fog machine with the hope that the kids hear all the spooky sounds and can't see where or what they are coming from and they turn away and head to the next house.  But, we all agree that we must move to this location by the 2012 Halloween.  No way would I head down this road to get a miniature Snickers Bar. Kind of makes me want to grab my fog machine and just sit at the end of the driveway Monday night.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What's in a name

The name on the barn tells the story.  Here's a guy who really hopes and dreams of having his own large scale ranch, but, at the same time knows exactly  where he's at in achieving that goal.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Common Midwestern Scene

You see alot of fields like this, but I always have to stop and get a shot when the sun and the clouds above are just right.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The eagle eye

You gotta love roadkill. Well, you don't, but if you're an eagle you are definitely attracted to it.  While driving through some of the bluffs on the Minnesota side of the Mississippi, I saw plenty of eagles.  And, not surprisingly, if they were in the middle of dinner, they weren't in a hurry to move.  I came upon an eagle feasting right in the middle of the road and swerved to avoid him.  He did fly up and away, but I decided to turn around and sit and wait.  I parked about 50 yards away and sure enough he came back for more chow. Several more cars came through and it was the same routine each time.  Each time he would fly off, I was able to follow him to where he would land and wait till the coast was clear.  This happened probably about 6 or 7 times.  It wasn't until the last time I noticed he wasn't alone.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A different point of view

After a daily shot of the Mississippi area I decided it's time for a break, so tonight's post is a shot taken just before I left.  Don't know exactly what my son was doing.  Maybe just taking a different point of view on life.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Trail of dreams

This is tough to admit, but even though this is one of my favorite shots from my trip, I can't for the life of me remember where I took it.  I don't think I walked the steps, but I remember liking the look of the fresh fallen leaves on them.  I need to start carrying a pocket notebook.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Home in the hills

One of the fun parts of a trip like I just did is seeing the different lives people live in a different environment.  I'm not saying everyone lived in a house like this, but there sure were alot of them up in the bluffs.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Houston, Tranquility Base here. The eagle has landed

Two eagles to be exact.  Of course, the title above is Neil Armstrong's famous quote when he landed on the moon.  These were the first words in my head after seeing an eagle land in a tree about 75 yards in front of me.  It's a feeling that can only be beat when a second eagle lands right next to him. (Sorry, I know of no quotes regarding two eagles). The first one landed on this tree off to the side of a boat landing. It was a nice sunny morning and the sun felt pretty hot on the skin/feathers so I think he was catching some rays.  I grabbed some shots of him and about 4 minutes later the second one showed up.  The first was none too happy about it at first and made his displeasure know by lunging at the second and opening his beak as wide as he could.  Eventually, he settled down and both just sat there for about 5 minutes of tanning before they decided to head on out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Planes, Trains, and .....Barges

I live in the Chicago area so I definitely know the importance of planes, cars, buses, and trains in the transportation world.  On my trip, I didn't see many planes, but I did see trains, both sides of the river, running hourly if not more often, and barges.  Lots of barges.  And they are big. Huge.  I never realized how much the Mississippi River is still used to transport materials and equipment, but it must still be a vital means of transportation.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Remember the other day when I said it was hard to find good fall color along the river.  There were exceptions.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ghost Train

One of the best things about a trip like the one I just went on is that since there is a very loose plan or itinerary, you end up taking alot of wrong turns.  But, in reality they aren't really wrong turns since there wasn't a right turn in the first place.  Anyway, my point is you find cool stuff when you are just wandering.  I happened to find this shot in a yard where it appears old trains go to rust away for eternity.  A railroad graveyard if you will.  There must have been around 300 railway cars there and it looked like they had been there quite awhile.  Windows broke out, any wooden doors rotted away, etc. Here's a shot of a number of them still connected and sitting on the tracks as if they had a run to make in any moment.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Good idea

Not too far into my journey, in Iowa actually, I'm driving along a country road.  Midwestern farmland to the hilt.  I'm seeing the lush fall colors in the distance and then all of a sudden, I see in the foreground one lone cow looking at the same thing I was.  It definitely was a nice scene and probably one of the most colorful shots I got on the whole trip.  I kind of expected and was told and then confirmed it myself that I shouldn't expect the same autumnal colors I see on my trip to the U.P.  There is a different mix of trees in this part of the world, definitely a different mix along the river.  But, right here was the exception.  Don't get me wrong, I saw plenty of color; just not the same as up north. Once I saw this shot on my computer, my first thought was I wish someone was behind me taking a shot of me AND the cow checking out the fall hues.  That would have been a good one.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I just got back from my annual insanity trip that I do each fall.  For those who don't know, each fall I try to do a mini trip(3 nights/4 days) just to recharge the batteries, escape reality, and test my camera memory cards.  2 years ago I escaped to the eastern part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, last year the Western portion of the U.P. and this year I traveled to Iowa and followed the Mississippi north on the Minnesota side until I figured I best start heading South towards home, and I followed the Mississipi River South on the Wisconsin side until Southern Wisconsin where I headed East to home.  I accomplished the above goals and managed to shoot 20 Gigabytes of pics while testing those memory cards.  Yikes!!!  That is alot of pics to sort through.  The scenery was beautiful, the weather was the best anyone could ask for during the month of October, and I visited a few places that I hadn't been to since my college days(dare I say almost 25 years ago).  I even got to meet and visit with a follower of my blog and if you want to know more about this person, I list his blog on this page to the right.  I always get a kick out of it.  Needless to say, I'm a little worn out so tonight will not be a picture posting night.  Those will come throughout the next week, or three, but tonight I decided to post the route I took on my trip.  No, I wasn't drunk when I made this.  The route that's created when exploring and with no particular place to go can be a little crooked.  Here's a look at the 1208 miles I put on.  The red is the trip North, and the blue is the trip South.