Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #213 – Here Comes the Sun

Sunrise at the Turtle River State Park.

Somewhere in North Dakota.

This week Amy celebrates the sun that gives us life and brightens our days. There are billions of suns in the universe. Still, only one is close enough for us to have become a routine part of our daily existence in more ways than being responsible for the planet’s continuing existence as we know it.

Amy writes, “We will explore the sunlight and things under the sun, whether it’s in the morning, middle of the day, and/or before sun goes down.” You can find her entire challenge post here.

For my challenge response, I will mostly focus on those summer days when we have the longest time to enjoy the sun. Around the time of the summer solstice in June each year, North Dakotans enjoy an average of almost 16 hours to enjoy the sun. In my opening photo, even though we can’t see the sun through those layers of clouds, its light is shining across Turtle River State Park appearing to ignite the trees.

Antique Aircraft
Cessna 195 at Bismarck.

This beautiful antique aircraft is mimicking the color of the sun as if to say, “It’s time to share the morning skies with you, Mr. Sun.” The airplane is about the same age as I am. The Cessna model 195 was manufactured between 1947 and 1954. Cessna’s first aircraft with all-aluminum construction was available in both civilian and military versions.

Under the Bridge-1
Hi-line Bridge at Valley City.

At Valley City, the Hi-Line Bridge has carried railroad traffic since 1908, and it still is in use today. At the time of construction, it was the longest bridge of its height in the world. Today, at 3,860 feet (1,180 m) long and 162 feet (49 m) over the Sheyenne River Valley, it remains one of the longest and highest bridges in continued use in the United States. Early one morning, positioned so the bridge shielded my camera lens from the morning sun, I captured this image of the eastern ascent where it rises toward its maximum height over the Sheyenne River.

Prairie Dinosaurs-1
Dinosaurs on the Prairie.

Just east of the town of Napoleon, North Dakota is a tribute to a modern “dinosaur”, the threshing machine. A local farmer, John “Custer” Grenz gathered a collection of steam threshing machines. He lined them up in a row on his farm and even though he has passed on, his family honors his memory by continuing to share his collection with the public. The sun was responsible for helping to grow the crops, and the threshing machine was responsible for helping to harvest them.

Abandoned House-1
An abandoned house at Sims.

Even with hazy skies, the morning sun reflected gold off of the brick facade of this house in the ghost town formerly Sims.

Sunflower Field-1
Sunflower field near West Fargo.

Sunflowers are a major crop in North Dakota. This view from my drone was captured in the late afternoon. When sunflowers are young, their heads turn to follow the sun as it travels across the sky every day. When the plants mature, however, the heads are too heavy to turn. In this image, the heads are facing easterly even though the late afternoon sun is just off to the left side of this view that is looking to the northwest.

Sunflower portrait-3
Portrait of a Sunflower.

In that same field about an hour later, the sun much closer to the horizon, I captured this portrait of a sunflower. I know I’ve shared this image in challenges before, but humor me. It’s one of my all-time favorite images.

Horace Sunset-1
Christmas sunset in Horace.

I would be remiss in not including a winter image, especially considering winters are so long in North Dakota. This is a view from the front steps of a friend’s home on Christmas day in 2017.

Thanks to Amy for her challenge that allowed me to share some of my favorite sunny images of North Dakota. To view any of these images in HD on my high-definition Flickr site, just click on it. Or you can view and scroll through the entire album in HD here. Next week, for the last challenge in August, it’s Ann-Christine’s turn to provide the theme. If you’ve been considering joining the challenge each week, but aren’t sure how to get started, you can find out here.

John Steiner


  1. A very beautiful set of sunlight series. I love how you captured the sunlight of the second one. The Dinosaurs on the Prairie is special, indeed. It gets better and better as I scroll down. W.O.W…

  2. Such a warm glow from your photos this week John, perfect for this theme! My favourite is the abandoned house, probably because it’s a shot I would love to take myself! Followed by the sunflower field and single sunflower. I never knew they stop turning their heads after they get too heavy!

    • Thanks, Sarah! I was surprised when I visited the field to see the heads facing in the “wrong” direction. Of course, I had to do some research, Google-style, where I learned about why they stop following the sun. πŸ™‚

  3. Awesome response to this challenge John! I liked that you used the sun as the vehicle for making your subject outstanding. It shows us how to use the sun to our advantage in photography.

  4. A beautiful assortment of sun’s variety John – well done! Of the set my favorite is the airplane – not surprising considering they’re second nature to you!

  5. Another remarkable collection, John. I am particularly fond of the way you composed the Cessna image, and of course there is no denying that the sunflower portrait is a winner by any standard!

    • Yup, John. My rule of photography is take a thousand photos, one of them might be good. I don’t have that many good ones to choose from. >grin<
      Thanks for the compliment on the Cessna!

  6. I like how the sunlight interacted with the other subjects in your photos. I have never seen sunset in a snowy place in person before. It looks great and must be nice to photograph.

  7. What a beautiful collection of sunny images, John. Just lovely….the antique plane, the sunflowers, the abandoned house, the dinosaurs…really terrific.

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