Cab in the field

I was roaming around and spotted the remnants of this old car immersed in the snow. I got to tread through some pretty deep snow to get to it. The funny thing is, I think I saw the remnants of some windblown footprints on a path almost identical to mine!

You left your barn door open

When’s the last time you heard that euphemism? Thankfully, I haven’t heard it lately.

I was on my way to a certain photo destination when I came across this treasure. I had to stop and take a look, even though I was on a timetable, and it was time well spent.

I’d planned on some drone flight on this particular day, but it rained on me almost the entire time! I did catch a slight break, however, and during that time I captured some really cool shots. They weren’t the ones I intended; I discovered yet another hidden treasure that wasn’t part of my objective. I will share the results of that flight soon.

I wish I’d been able to thank him at the end

Well, it’s official: Video Action is closed after around 33 years. I’d been a customer for most of them. When it was announced in mid-November, I had a mixed reaction: part remorse that we’d be losing Video Action, and part surprise that they’ve been able to hang on as the last remaining video rental business in town.

This is where we’d come for all the new releases. In fact, even before many of them would hit the now-popular streaming services, you could find them on shelves ready to rent. Lately, though, I’d find myself stopping in for older movies that are otherwise hard to find.

Once the decision to shut ‘er down was official, things began to go on sale. I walked out with a large stack of some of my favorite movies going back to the 90s or earlier, thrilled to own some of them but sad that they mean the end of an era.

I remember the first day that movies went on sale: it was a Sunday, so I went after church. The place was packed. New releases sold quickly, but I was looking for older treasures.

Before long, the shelves began to empty. Prices dropped, and even more movies found new homes – permanent homes, this time – as December 31st approached. The building had been sold, and during one of my repeat December visits, someone bought the OPEN sign from the window.

I shot a few panoramas for old time’s sake, as I’m sad to see this local landmark go. I’m a big movie fan, but I have to admit that even I had begun visiting the store much less frequently. We view movies differently now, with streaming services and Redbox taking aim at the traditional video store. The fact that we still had Video Action up until 2020 is a noteworthy achievement.

I didn’t know the saddest part of the story until recently: Don Loeks, the owner who founded Video Action in Bismarck and Fargo, passed away recently. I remember wondering if I’d see him during the last month of the store’s operation, but then I heard the news of his passing and it made the closing even more of a sad occasion.

You can read Don’s obituary here or here.

I’m thankful that we had Video Action for so long, thanks to Don’s passion for movies and games. It’s clear that this store was a labor of love for him, and his commitment to that brought a lot of joy to moviegoers in the Bismarck-Mandan area for over thirty years. He and Video Action will be missed.

This is my fifteenth year doing this.

As crazy as it sounds, this is my 15th year of taking photos of Bismarck-Mandan, and actually of my photography hobby in general. It all started for this blog in January 2006, with a shot of the capitol windows lit to ring in the new year. Thousands of posts later, I’m still ticking. I have kids now, so the frequency has dipped quite a bit, but that’s life.

I almost didn’t head out this morning. My wife woke me up to ask if I was going to take a photo of the capitol windows. It hadn’t even occurred to me! I don’t know why. I’ve hit every other year, except once where I was recovering from surgery at Mayo Clinic. And this one is unique: the top and bottom rows contain the same numbers! This capitol didn’t exist in 1919, and I doubt any of us will be around in 2121, so this truly is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Thanks to my sweetie, I was able to say I witnessed it.

I’m pleased to say I’m still playing some different angles. After all this time, it’s easy to say one has exhausted a photo subject, but that would be lazy. I’m always looking for something a little different than what I’ve done in previous years.

I don’t think I’ve ever tried this from the steps of the State Library. The trees tried to obscure part of the 2020, but it peeked through enough.

Ditto here, but I don’t care. By the way, it rained last night…this sidewalk was, like all of the city streets, and ice skating rink. Wheee!

This statue was gifted to the state in 1910. Yes, for 110 years it’s been ours. I bet she never thought she’d see this day.

So, Happy New Year! I do actually have lots of fun photos to post here. Hopefully I’ll get around to sharing them soon.

Yeah, I’m gonna get it running someday

I’ve been by this car a couple of times, but before long it might be hard to even determine that it’s there! It used to be red. Now it’s obscu-red by the bushes which have overtaken it.

If I remember correctly, there’s a tractor or other implement in a similar condition nearby. I’ll have to look through my photo library and see if I can find that one as well.

I don’t think a sump pump will help

Actually, it looks like the water has gone down significantly on this old building, but it’s a total loss nonetheless. It’s been a wet year.

Although I have water behind my property, and the cattails are taller than I am this year, I have yet to experience a drop of water in my basement sump…until recently. I got a pretty significant amount of water in the pit, which I pumped out promptly upon discovering it.

With the ground saturated, the lakes full, the rivers high, the mountains with plenty of snow, and a winter that’s barely even begun yet, I imagine the spring of 2020 should be plenty interesting, indeed.

Still standing, for now

I got a chance to stop by the old barn north of Wilton on Highway 83 this summer. Its frame is still standing, but the stone foundation has crumbled and the walls are gone. It still takes a fine photograph, though!

I’ve been photographing this barn for years, and will continue to do so as long as it remains. It’s sad to see its decline, though.

Hopefully it presents a stately subject for some winter shots! I think that’s the only season in which I haven’t paid it a visit. Once the snow is here for good, I may have to venture north while this photo favorite still stands.

Stone in love

I love it when surprises present themselves as I amble along on my photo roaming trips. This is one of them. In fact, it’s merely one building of many sitting on a little farmstead west of here a ways.

I’d love to say I have a ton of closeups here, but the mosquitoes were far too large, plentiful, and aggressive. They didn’t seem to care one bit how much Deet I’d slathered upon myself. So I worked the area a bit, ducked back into the truck, and continued on to my next planned photo waypoint. But I marked this one in my GPS, and I intend to be back.

Hut on a hill

I spotted this little guy right along the road on a recent trip up Highway 1804. It’s actually in a farm yard, but I found this little building and pair of trees much more interesting than the old house.

Given the lean of this little shack, I don’t know how much longer it’ll be around. I have a lot of photos of places that are no longer there…perhaps over the winter I’ll look back through them and post some updates.

Off the rails

I spotted this old dining car on a rainy September morning as I was on my way to the south central part of the state. I simply had to jam on the brakes, spin around, and come back for a photo.

Old rail cars are really cool when repurposed. There’s one in town that’s been converted into an office suite. Do you know where it is?