Category Archives: Nature

Season ‘Em, Put ‘Em on a Beat with Me, Then I’m Eating ‘Em

The world wasn’t ready for these MACRO pictures for the WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE on Monday. I’m not sure that the world is ready for them now, but I can’t hold them back any longer:


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The grand majority of these pictures were taken in my back yard. The first seven were taken at Herman Park. The closed eye is Kim Barker. It was taken behind the building at the Day Job.

Remembered with Nostalgia

Now that I’ve been back to reality for 7 days, probably a good time to go over my vacation.

FRIDAY

Left work at 4 PM or so. Vacation starts.
Had FNSC with Willy. Ate at Colorado Grill.
After Colorado Grill. Started watching a new show, NARCOS.

SATURDAY

Breakfast at Legal Limit with Mom.
Photography for Amber and Steve’s Wedding.


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Not Steve pictured.

SUNDAY

Went to the Lutheran Church in Gilbert with Jesse and Nader to celebrate Nader’s 30th year in the United States.
Ate lunch at the church with some of the people that helped Nader when he got to the country.
Went to Gene’s farm to admire his car collection.


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Sent this picture to Russell of Youth Nazis harassing this old woman.

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Sent this picture to Logan because he sent me a picture trying to make me jealous of his lunch.

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A Studebaker with an El Camino back.

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Naima getting her pills.

Went to the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad and Shorty was there working it.


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While this food stand looks awesome, the ice cream isn’t that great.

MONDAY

Loaded up Mom’s car and headed for Mount Rushmore.
Stopped in Sioux Falls for gas, human fuel, and Falls Park. It rained all the way to Sioux Falls.


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Sent this picture to Jorge and Joe to remind them that I wasn’t at work.

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Falls Park

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Mom struggles with the selfie concept.

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Confused by the bridge they built to seemingly just to wreck the view.

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I wonder what this picture would look like with me in it.

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Oh. Like that.

I give Falls Park the thumbs up. I’ll have to go back when I have more time at some point.

Stopped for gas again next to 1880 town.


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Stopped at Wall Drug right before it closed.


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Still don’t have the selfie thing down.

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Free Water.

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Pretty horrible restaurant across the street from Wall Drug.

I’d give Wall Drug the bird. Don’t waste your time. A bunch of touristy garbage with ridiculous hours.

Got to Rapid City and checked into a hotel with free WI-FI and continental breakfast.

TUESDAY

Got up in the morning and ate continental breakfast at the hotel. Had a lengthy conversation with two women from Arizona that came up there for the Buffalo Roundup.
Left for Mount Rushmore.


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Posted on Instagram. #wafflelife

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First view of Mount Rushmore

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View from the parking lot.

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One armed woman took this picture for us.

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Getting better at the selfie game.

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What Mount Rushmore was supposed to look like, but they had to stop because of WWII. Another thing we can blame on Hitler.

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I give Mount Rushmore the thumbs up.

At the base of Mount Rushmore we ran into Brad Dighton. The cousin of a member of my church. He gave us several pro tips for the area. We weren’t able to get to all of them, but maybe next time.

One of his pro tips was take the Iron Mountain Road to Custer State Park.


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All of these tunnels point back to Mount Rushmore. You can’t tell in the picture, but trust me.

I give the Iron Mountain Road the thumbs up.

Custer State Park is a great example of white privilege. I have no clue why a park is named after Custer. His 2 claims to fame are graduating last in his class at West Point and then getting his buttocks handed to him at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

Custer Park (like the man) was more hype than pay off. We were told we would see hundreds of buffalo. We saw one. That being said, the feral donkeys and the prairie dogs made up for the lack of buffaloes.


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I give Custer Park a thumbs up, but it didn’t live up to the hype.

After we left Custer, we went to Needles Highway.


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Still working on the selfie game.

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We’re starting to get there.

Needles Highway is a road about the width of McHose Park road, but with a 400 foot drop to your death on one side. It is amazing!

I give Needles Highway a big thumbs up!

After that we went to Hill City to eat lunch/dinner at a place recommended to us by Brad Dighton. That place was closed, so instead we dined at the Hill City Cafe.


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We bought fudge there.

Hill City Cafe wasn’t terrible, but it certainly was not great. Thumb sideways.

After that, we went to the Crazy Horse Memorial.


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Almost there!

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We might’ve regressed on our selfie game.

I’d give Crazy Horse another big thumbs up! My only complaint is that all the information seems to be on the family carving the memorial and hardly anything on Crazy Horse himself. You know, the guy that ripped Custer’s buttocks off and handed them back to him. He took out Custer’s brothers while he was ate it. Crazy Horse was an OG.

Pro Tip: Pay for the $4 bus ride.

After leaving Crazy Horse, went back to Mount Rushmore for the lighting ceremony.


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Sent this picture of Thomas Jefferson ice cream to Russell since Russell hate Thomas Jefferson for being a slave owner and a rapist. True, but he also made a mean ice cream.

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Paid and extra dollar for the Thomas Jefferson ice cream.

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The lighting ceremony kind of drags on for awhile, but the part where they bring veterans on stage and take the flag down is powerful. While waiting (forever) for them to light up the mountain we became single serving friends with Lance Young. A former Iowa State wide receiver that played in the Dan MacCarney era.

After the lighting we went back to Rapid City and crashed.

WEDNESDAY

Got up in the morning and hit the continental breakfast. Hard. Going home day. No time for single serving friends. Ate and hit the road.

Stopped at Badlands National Park.


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This sign was all hype. No snake.

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Still working on it.

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I think we have it. At least we’re in striking distance.

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Taken by a woman who was friendly, but strangely afraid of falling down the side to her death. She has no future as a Photography 139 Assistant!

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“I’ll take one to the side and one of you in the middle.”

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Not afraid of the edge. Pimp.

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Badlands. 2 big thumbs up. They just need to work on their rattlesnake game.

Next stop on the way home was to see the Dignity Sculpture. It looks like the Big Jesus in Sioux City, only less creepy. I don’t have a picture with the cell phone, but when I unleash the camera pictures, there is one there.

The next stop was Mitchell. I was going to avoid the Corn Palace but it just lined up with when we needed gas and human fuel.


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Go home corn. You’re drunk.

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SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER in corn. Well, I can’t hate that.

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Mic Drop! I think we finally nailed it!

Last time I went to the Corn Palace, I gave it the bird. I’m going to upgrade it to just a thumbs down. It is worth seeing, if you don’t waste time going inside.

We stopped at a place called The Hungry Dog for lunch.


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The Hungry Dog was by far the best eating experience of the trip. 6 out of 5 Stars!!! It only seats about 5 people on the inside and after the only employee took our order, made our food, and delivered it; she locked the door and told us she’d be right back. She had to go pick up her kids from school.

I loved every second of my experience!


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On the way out of town we saw this Albert the Bull wannabe. Jason Baier will get that joke.

The last stop of the evening was in Jefferson for gas and human fuel.


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I wish so badly we had this sign when I worked for the evil clown empire. I can’t even count all the times some dirty white trash blew cigarette smoke in my face as soon as I opened the drive-thru window.

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1424.3 miles in 3 days.

Then home for sleep.

THURSDAY

Did not much in the day. Hung up a bunch of pictures in my bedroom. Cleaned out the guest bedroom now that Alexis has moved out.
Picked Derrick up for the Iowa State game.


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I don’t care what anybody says. I love the new Bugle Cyclone secondary logo.

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Well almost everything about that game sucked, except the company.

FRIDAY

I can’t remember next to anything that happened on Friday.
I visited Scottie D. to get a yard sign. He is running for City Council for Ward 5.


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Also had FNSC with Willy. Think it was at Jimmy’s Barbecue.

SATURDAY

Don’t remember much about Saturday either.

Went uptown during YesterBoone to complete another page of the Photo Journal Project.


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Sent this to Micky and offered to buy it in case he got shutout on his hunting trip in Wyoming.

Went out to McHose Park and with Jesse’s assistance completed yet another page of the Photo Journal Project.


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After that, we went to a Gender Reveal Party for one of the members of the Youth Group. It’s a Girl!!
Headed up to Jay’s for Chili Lab. Both Jay and Wily made great chilis and we enjoyed a viewing of KONG ISLAND.

SUNDAY

Got up and went to church at Boone First United Methodist Church.
Then lunch with the family.
Meeting for the Council to Elect Degeneffe.
Then I went to the Freedom Flight Send-off to see Jesse’s Dad.


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Derrick’s dad made an impromptu speech praising military spouses.

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Monica’s mom made a bouquet that they took with them to place on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Then I went home. Sat on my couch and soaked up the last few hours of vacation, before being back at the grind on Monday.

I’ve been back to work one week. Already fantasizing about the next time I dip my toes into the PTO pool.

Yeah, Real Photography

Last week was an insane week and I didn’t get out in my element much. Therefore, there aren’t many NATURE alternates I didn’t use. But here they are:


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The newspaper photo was taken in a garage stuffed with old Buicks about a mile north of the terrible town of Gilbert.

The next two photos were taken down by the Des Moines River near Milton Lott’s Grave. You don’t know the story of Milton Lott. Well the short version is that his dad Henry was a coward and a murderer.

The last two photos were taken in McHose Park.

A PHOTO JOURNAL – HENRY CARROLL – PAGE 19

A few weeks back I took what I thought might be one of the more intriguing pages in THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT. Page 19.


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Page 19 – Take the best picture you can right now.

How do you determine when is the “right now” from the page? What I did was randomly pick a day and a time and set a timer on my phone. On that day I took off driving. Then when my timer went off I gave myself a few minutes to pull over. Then I used the lens that was on the camera. A medium length and range zoom lens. Then I gave myself a few minutes to take a photo. That was how I defined right now.

Here are a few other pictures I took, but won’t end up taped into the physical manifestation of THE PHOTO JOURNAL:


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Interestingly enough, during this little photo subject, due to the limitations I placed upon myself, a picture for Page 50-51 was taken. A picture of one of our slithery friends.

A Photo Journal – Henry Carroll – Page 110

This was going to be one of the hardest entries in THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT for me to accomplish. Mostly because, it is a huge time commitment. Luckily, I recently did the thing that Page 100 asks you to do, sorta. Here is Page 110.


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Page 110 – Sit in one spot for five hours. Only take pictures when the light is at its most beautiful.

This picture was taken on the banks of the Missouri River in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Jesse and I left Boone at 4:15 AM and drove down there to see the Total Solar Eclipse. We met my cousin Sarah and her husband Tim and my Uncle Mike and Cousin Adam and his kid Florence there and prepare for one of nature’s rarest and most awesome spectacles.

Unfortunately for us, it poured rain right up to the totality. It stopped raining, but there was still nearly 100% cloud cover during the totality. Despite not being able to physically see the sun pass behind the moon, I wouldn’t have changed anything from that day.

We still got to experience the darkness of the totality. We still got to experience the 10 degree temperature drop of the totality. We still got to experience the effect the totality had on the animals in the area. We got to experience the totality with some awesome people.

The picture that will be physically adhered into THE PHOTO JOURNAL was taken during the totality. Something that wasn’t ever mentioned in my solar eclipse research is the ring of light that goes around the horizon. That was perhaps my favorite part of the eclipse.

There will be more eclipse pictures at some point.

The next time we visit THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT, we will probably hit up Page 119.

Yet Another New Toy

I recently picked up a new set of toys: Extension Tubes.

I don’t have a picture of the tubes themselves, but I do have a collection of pictures from the from the first test run. Have a look:


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I don’t have a picture of the extension tubes, but if you are wondering what it is they do here is a brief explanation.

Extension tubes sit between the rear of the lens and the body of the camera. What they do is reduce the minimum focusing distance of the lens, virtually making any lens a macro lens. Well, any lens with which they are compatible. Which isn’t every lens, by any stretch of the imagination. It is a relatively inexpensive way to play with macro photography without dropping a several Franklins.

It can also be used to turn a macro lens into a super macro lens.

Most of the pictures were taken with a lens that isn’t macro. The flower pictures were taken with a lens that was already macro.

The negative of extension tubes is you lose light (sometimes up to 3 stops) and they severely limit the focal range of your lens. But they sure are fun!

For example, the frog in the frog picture is about the size of a quarter. The pansies are also a little bit bigger than a quarter. More like a 50 cent piece. I’m sure these fun new toys will come in handy in about… oh 4 more weeks! If I was psychic.