Makeshift polarizing filter

Unfortunately, my good lens had a slight malfunction so it’s in the repair shop so I had to use another lens – one without a polarizing filter!  My sunglasses working surprisingly well but I put them one after most all of the lightning had passed.  I’ve learned you really need a filter to cut down on the sky brightness when photographing lightning (especially when it is afternoon), or the bolts hardly show up.

Lightning hitting the Bottle Opener (SWFC)


I am obsessed with catching lightning.  I got about 20 bolts today in about 1,000 frames.


I’m quite happy with how these turned out.  They are shot through glass, but quite clear and I love using a narrow depth of field.

Insect museum

Johnna, Jade, Finn and I were going to go to the Railway Museum, but when we got there we discovered it was closed from 11:30 to 2:00 every day!  (It definitely did not say that in any of the listings!)  So we went to the Insect Museum instead.  There was a lot more than insects – a seal, bunnies, goats, crickets, snakes, fish, monkey, reptiles… but I think I did manage to get some good shots.  Note to self:  Bring glass cleaner to wipe off all of the grubby hand prints before shooting.

Shanghai Natural Wild-Insect Kingdom

1 Fenghe Lu, near Binjiang Da Dao

丰和路1号, 近滨江大道


These little guys were at the bird and flower market in Kunming.  I hope the dye was at least non-toxic!

Birds at the Market

The address of this little market is 261 Changhua Lu, near Kangding Lu. Look for a small entrance to the alleyway (above).  I was the only foreigner there and everyone stared a lot (not surprising, but always a bit uncomfortable!)  You can read another article about it here.

Cows in Frost

It’s the last frost post, I promise!

More Frost

Frost on Trees

I finally got out of bed early enough to catch the frost hanging onto the branches before the sun melted it away.

Bald Eagle

We were driving down this road near the house when Jon spotted a bald eagle.  We went back to the house and grabbed my camera and 300-mm lens.  He flew off, and we followed.

More Australian Animals

Emus, Tasmainian Devils, Lorikeets, etc.


Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Cuddling a Koala was the only thing that I REALLY wanted to do in Brisbane (other than seeing the Smiths.)  I was super hot and sweaty, but Dan did a decent job of getting a photo anyway!  He was really cuddly, just like a teddy bear.

Boots playing

I bought a new toy for Boots in the US.  It’s just a ball that can be filled with food.  As she plays with it, the kibble falls out one piece at a time.

Christmas Day

Our little tree – Boots and I shopped a lot while Jon was away so we’d have lots of things to put under the tree!

Boots is a really good shopper, but I had to wrap them for her.  You know… the whole “I don’t have opposable thumbs” deal.

Spearfish Canyon

When the leaves begin to change colors in the fall, Spearfish Canyon is beautiful!  The leaves were just starting to turn.  On October 1st, it SNOWED!!  That’s too early, even for South Dakota!  (The sky really is this blue in South Dakota, almost every day.  That may be the thing I miss most about home.)





Mount Rushmore

After the Buffalo Round-Up, we drove through the Black Hills a bit.  Some people ask me what South Dakota is most well-known for – it’s Mount Rushmore!


Mount Rushmore seen through the trees.


There are seven tunnels in the Black Hills, around Keystone and Sylvan Lake.  They are only wide enough for one car, and motorhomes or buses fill the entire tunnel.


There are actually two tunnels that you can view Mount Rushmore from while going through.  Another blogger recently posted a photo from one.  After we drove through one tunnel, I thought I missed my chance at getting a photo.  After we drove through the second one, I made my father-in-law stop the car so I could get out and take photos!

IMG_4655It was quite hard to get the correct exposure, as the darkness of the tunnel surrounding the pinpoint of light coming through the end made difficult lighting conditions.  I spent quite a while in the middle of the road trying to get it right.  (photo by Jon)


We also visited the Mount Rushmore memorial.  Even though Jon’s family lives about 1.5 hours away, it’s not something we visit a lot.

Custer State Park Buffalo Round-up

Every year, Custer State Park rounds up the herd of buffalo to vaccinate and cull the herd.  The public is invited to watch.


We spent a couple hours waiting for the buffalo to appear.


Cowboys riding up the ridge.


Close to 12,000 people gathered to watch it.  About twice as many pickups as cowboys followed the herd down the ridge.



That was it!  They came in very easily – too easily, according to the newspaper.  It was the first year that no small groups of buffalo tried to break away from the herd.  The cowboys were a bit dissapointed that they didn’t get to work very hard!

The new best lightning photo

I thought it was special to get lightning shots before, but it’s actually not that hard.  Basically, you keep the shutter open and hope a bolt appears in at least a few photos.


This one hit really close.  This photo is not Photoshopped (well, basic levels and cloning out some dust.)

huge bolt zoom

Close up, lightning looks just awesome!  You can see little white particles of energy all around in the air.

Fashion around West Lake

Here we have a classic summer look. It’s hot, so wear shorts and roll up your t-shirt for maximum air flow. You need to look stylish though, so wear your black dress shoes with white socks.

This white poodle had a fluorescent orange tail and ears. Poor little guy doesn’t even know he looks like a traffic cone.

During the summer, many dogs are shaved like lions (to keep cool, I suppose.) They leave the head furry so that it looks like a lion’s mane!


All of these photos were taken from the cruise ship with my Tamron 70-300mm telephoto lens. After getting a camera upgrade, I realize how mediocre it really is.

Örebro Castle

In Örebro, we also visited the castle. Instead of a traditional tour, they made the tour into a play of sorts. It was much more interesting than hearing a guide rattle off dates!

A person walking over the bridge is reflected in the moat.

I think this little ducky was laying eggs in this flower pot.

Ultrasounding cattle

This is probably my last post from South Dakota photos for a while! (Until October, anyway.)

When I was home, Jason and dad spent a couple days ultrasounding cattle. Not to check if they were pregnant, but to determine their back fat and marbling and the date they would be ready to sell.


Jon snapped this photo as Boots was lying in her box on the balcony. We can’t believe how far her jaws are open in this yawn!

Monkey Island

I felt a bit bad participating in photographing these monkeys – these little guys are kind of exploited. They get thrown some fruit (and the big rotting piles of peels attract lots of nasty bugs), and then people leave their trash on their little tiny beach. I just can’t believe how people will throw beer and soda cans on a little tiny beach on an uninhabited island. Who do they think will pick it up??

October 12 – Bridgewater

Jon and Megan invited us to Bridgewater to sit by the fire and drink beer.

I definitely was missing America….

And what will they think of next? Budweiser came out with lime-flavored beer. Maybe they are trying to compete with Corona (which is the beer that should always have a lime in it.)

This is Blaze – she’s a really sweet Rottweiler.

Jon got a new camera, the SD1100IS. It has a pretty good macro mode and also takes time lapse videos. (I will post some eventually.)

John and Megs

October 5th – Close ups of bugs

October 5th – Wiener dog races

Deadwood was holding their annual Oktoberfest celebration that weekend. It included Wiener Dog races!

First there was a costume contest:

Then the race! There were several heats. Most of the dogs didn’t care too much about being the first to the other end – they were more interested in each other.

This guy won! He’d been in a few competitions before. His owner’s secret was to have a T-bone in his pocket, let him smell it right before the race, and hold it so the dog would race to the bone. It worked!

Birds at the wharf

Alcatraz is in the background.


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