Lens Artists Photo Challenge #208 – Summer Vibes

Redhawks Baseball in Fargo, North Dakota

This week, guest host Andre of My Blog – solaner asks us to revel in the summertime. He writes, “Show us your favorite activity (yes, chilling is also accepted as an activity in this context) in summer.” You can read his entire challenge post here.

Well, as it turns out, my favorite activity in summer is traveling to places I haven’t seen before. Of course, regular readers know that’s my favorite activity all year long. Why should summer be any different? For my challenge response, in addition to a couple of summertime activities around Fargo, I am featuring images captured on our journeys during summer in the Northern Hemisphere, June 21 through September 23, in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

A book by Roger Kahn defines the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers as “The Boys of Summer.” That moniker has been extended to all baseball players over the years. What could be a better summer activity than attending a baseball game? We enjoy the family activities at a Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks game as much as the game itself. We often invite our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson to spend an afternoon or evening at a game with us. Our grandson Owen likes to attend the game on Friday Night Fireworks night when a fireworks show concludes the evening festivities. The opening photo features a game played on July 6, 2019.

Peacegarden 2021-6
International Peace Garden in Dunseith, North Dakota

On the U.S. and Canadian border in North Dakota, there is a beautiful garden that is a great place to visit in the summertime. The International Peace Garden is a joint project of the State of North Dakota and the Province of Manitoba. Here is one of my favorite images from a visit in September 2021.

Neowise Comet
Comet Neowise

I don’t know much about astrophotography, but when celestial events like Neowise make a once-in-6500-year visit, I have to give it a try. On a clear North Dakota summer night in July 2020, I captured this image of that celestial fly-by.

Fort Peck Lake Storm-1
Fort Peck Lake in Montana

On July 4, 2020, we were visiting family in Montana. Late in the afternoon, a summer storm grew out of nothing, a common occurrence on any given day. This unusual sky was captured by blending three cell phone images using the Panorama function of Adobe Lightroom.

Durango RR Excursion-14
Durango-Silverton Railroad out of Durango Colorado

Trains, especially steam trains, are a fascinating result of the industrial revolution to me. One of my goals was met in July 2021 when we rode the Durango-Silverton steam train. The trip is so popular, that they needed two engines to make it up some of the higher mountain passes.

Drone finals-1
Burlington Northern freight train on the Highline Trestle at Valley City North Dakota

Valley City, about 60 miles (97 km) from our home in Fargo, North Dakota, has one of the longest and highest trestle bridges in the country. I had my drone up just to capture images of the bridge. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my timing was superb in getting a view of the passing freight.

Bald Mountain UHD-1
Bald Mountain in Great Basin National Park, Nevada

On the last full day of summer in 2021, I captured this view of Bald Mountain on our first visit to the Great Basin National Park. The scenic drive starts at the base of a desert and climbs to an entirely different environment.

1880 Train-15
Deer enjoying their summer in the Black Hills of South Dakota

On the 1880 Steam Train excursion out of Keystone, South Dakota, the old mining train tracks wind through mountain passes, along a stream, and into woodland areas. Along the way, we spotted many deer families enjoying the shade on a hot September day.

Northern Cascades Byway-10
Northern Cascades Scenic Byway

In Washington state, on the last full day of the summer of 2020, we were traveling a high mountain highway through the Northern Cascade Mountains. Even at the height of the pandemic, we traveled, but we did so carefully. We practiced social distancing and visited many outdoor venues. Prior to this year, we had never visited so many national parks in a single year. We carried on with that mode of travel through 2021, and so far, we’ve been able to avoid Covid. With a flight leaving in less than a week to Alaska and our second cruise in less than a year, we hope to maintain our health. So far, our methods have worked. Keeping our fingers crossed.

Thanks again to Andre for giving me the opportunity to share some of my favorite travel photos of the last two years. For those who like to pixel peep, you can view the entire gallery in HD on my Flickr site here. Next week’s guest host is Tracy. If you’d like to join in our challenge but aren’t sure how you’ll find instructions here.

John Steiner


  1. Great set of photos, and a fund documentation of your summer activities.

    I was wondering about the flaming (?) smoke belching ouCt of the Durango-Silverton train. Can’t really be that much of burning coal being ejected, can it? That could set the countryside on fire. Would it be an effect of the light?

    • Good question! There was plenty of smoke belching from those two engines. The train is always followed by a fire car (self-propelled, not attached). It is the job of the people on the fire car to extinguish any embers that could lead to a wild fire.
      I haven’t been on a steam train in recent memory where this precaution was omitted.

  2. Nice collection, John. Neowise was also on my list. I set the check mark in June. But my favorite is your image of Fort Peck Lake πŸ‘

  3. Ah yes, I’m with you – my favourite activity all year round is travelling, ideally to places I haven’t seen before πŸ™‚ Although actually we do more travelling in the other three seasons as 1) it’s cheaper, and 2) that way we get to enjoy summer at home. But if we have many more heatwaves like the last one I think we’ll be travelling north in future summers!

    Your shot of Comet Neowise is excellent and I enjoyed all the landscapes, especially the Northern Cascades as that took me back to our own road trip there πŸ™‚

  4. Beautiful images of your favorite summer vibes John! I especially like your narratives to go along with each picture. It gives the picture so much more meaning.

  5. Thank you for sharing your travel experience through your beautiful images. The skyscape of the Fort Peck Lake is spectacular!

  6. Great idea John! Of course here in the U.S., nothing says summer like Baseball!! And your sky combo shot is amazing! What a fun set of posts this week, including (of course) yours!

  7. Great collection of summery shots, John, love the panorama at Fort Peck Lake especially, but you always have stunning shots!

  8. Awesome shots of most of the things I like/want to do if I ever get to go to the USA again. The nature is grand. Astrophotography is something I really want to do, but it’s difficult without good enough gear, so I’ll enjoy things other photographers have captured for now.

    • Indeed on that astrophotography. My grandson has a small telescope and I am in the process of seeing if it will allow a T connection and a Nikon ring. I gave him my D7000 a few weeks ago to get him started in photography and then remembered he also has a telescope.

      • That sounds great. You and your grandson can make a team and try astrophotography together. I look forward to the results if you can use his telescope for photography.

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