Cellpic Sunday – 20 December 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

My wish for you this year is Merry Christmas and good riddance to 2020, er, ah, I mean Happy New Year 2021!!

About the photo: Captured in 2019, this photo features the holiday lighting in the park on Main Street at Verrado, a planned community near our neighborhood in Buckeye, Arizona. Captured with a Samsung S7, the image was downloaded into Lightroom for some final tweaks.

John Steiner


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Precious Moments

This week Amy encourages us to consider and share precious moments that may have occurred before or after the pandemic. She writes, “We invite you to share your own precious moments captured while traveling, during the holidays, and/or while spending time with your family and friends.” You can read her entire challenge post here. My challenge-response contains a couple of my personal images that are in my own precious memories. I start with an image that is from December 2016, our daughter Carrie and grandson Owen settled down for a short read before bedtime.

Coincidentally, my second image share is six years earlier to the day, December 22, 2010. It’s grandson Owen’s first Christmas, his mom, Carrie, on the left. Aunt Nichole looks on as Uncle Josh and Owen compare mouth sizes.

On the island of Tabaueran (British name: Fanning Island), locals perform for a cruise ship audience while a young dancer holds his brother as he waits backstage for his turn to perform.

At a group meeting of enthusiasts who fly model aircraft by control wire rather than radio, a mother introduces her son to the hobby. Obviously, the two are enjoying this precious moment.

Thanks to Amy for this week’s challenge! It gave me an opportunity to review my personal photos and I even reprocessed some images that I will share with my family at an appropriate point in the future.

John Steiner


Cellpic Sunday – 13 December 2020

Deer Lodge, Montana.

On our way to visit the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Deer Lodge, we drove by the imposing gated facility at the south end of town. Just off I-90, the Old Montana Prison Complex contains five museums inside. Due to the pandemic, however, the facility is presently closed to the public as this is being written in November 2020. All I was able to do was capture some photographs of the walled exterior that was built by convicts in the late 1800s.

To be sure that the convicts knew how hard it would be to escape, they were made to build the 24-foot (7.3m) walls that were buried deep in the ground to prevent tunneling. When the museum is open, visitors can wander through the grounds, visit the cell blocks, and take advantage of the other museums in the facility. For a single fee, visitors can tour the Powell County Museum, the Frontier Montana Museum, Yesterdays Playthings, and the Montana Auto Museum. In 1979, work was completed on a new state prison complex about three miles (4.8 km) southwest of the town and all prisoners were moved there.

About the photo: The complex is a challenge to get an exterior shot from across the street. That sandstone wall is three blocks long. Capturing the entire east end of the facility required that I create a panoramic image. As you can see at the left end of the image, I wasn’t able to include the entire wall. I’d captured images from both my Nikon D500 and my Samsung S20U. I found the best images to stitch together came from the cellphone, only because I picked a better vantage point when I captured the cellpic images. I used Lightroom’s panorama stitching tool to create the image from two photos and then made the final tweaks in Luminar 4. Click on the image for a closer look (if your browser supports the function.)

John Steiner

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – The Letter A

This week, Patti Moed asks us to start at the beginning of the alphabet and find subjects that begin with the letter A, or signs that contain the letter A, or objects that look like the letter A, or images that reflect non-visual cues like “alone”, or “afraid.” You can view her entire challenge post here.

I start with an image of two African Antelope. Well, this could be picked apart by saying those antelope are Oryx, but then I would counter with the fact that these are specimens in a section of a museum featuring African Animals. Ha! Continue reading

Old Red Old 10 Scenic Byway – From Trail to Interstate Highway

Western North Dakota.

Going west through North Dakota? It’s a five-hour drive on I-94 from Fargo to Beach, 352 miles (566 km) of easy travel on a modern Interstate highway. My wife, Lynn, and I were invited to accompany my niece and her husband on a westward journey to visit national parks and other points of interest in the upper northwest. We were quick to accept and immediately put together a list of suggestions of places to visit for Pat and Gary to consider on our journey. The group’s itinerary planned, we loaded a month’s worth of luggage and associated travel gear, and off we went. Continue reading

Dronie Sunday – 6 December 2020

Custer State Park, South Dakota.

The largest of the four lakes in Custer State Park is Stockade Lake. The park is about a 40-minute drive from Mount Rushmore in the South Dakota Black Hills.  This artificial lake was created by the Stockade Lake Dam, construction completed on April 1, 1934. The dam created a haven for camping, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor recreation.

Named for the Gordon Stockade, a hastily built fort during the 1874 Black Hills gold rush, the lake is on French Creek. In a future post, I’ll feature a few more images of the lake and creek.

About the photo: On the southwest end of the lake, the road crosses a wooden bridge over French Creek. There is a small parking area with views of the lake, dam, and bridge. I launched the Mavic Air drone and captured some images. This image is a panorama of two images that allowed me to show more of the lake. The stitching of images and basic tweaking were done in Adobe Lightroom, with final touches completed in Luminar 4.

The two images are in RAW (DNG) format, and after processing the final image was converted to JPG for sharing here. I have mentioned before that I could let the drone create a panoramic image automatically. I don’t do that because that image is a JPG file, and I would have less control over final editing. As always, a better view of the image can be had by selecting it (if your browser supports that function.)

John Steiner

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – You Pick It

This week’s photo challenge is my choice. Tina’s comment on the subject is simply, “This week it’s all up to you – you get to choose your subject and to share whatever it is about it that you find interesting.” You can read her entire challenge post and view her impressionistic images here.

Since working with my first images as black-and-white prints in high school photography class (over 50 years ago now,) I have appreciated monochrome photography. For my challenge-response, I choose black-and-white photography. I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite monochrome images.

My opening photo features a view of the White Tank Mountains near our home in Buckeye, Arizona. It was one of three images of mine that was selected to be mounted and displayed in the White Tank Mountain Nature Center as the outcome of a black-and-white photo contest sponsored by the park conservators. Continue reading

Bonanzaville – Life in 19th Century North Dakota

West Fargo, North Dakota.

Every community of any size has at least one attraction that locals are aware of and maybe have visited once or twice. Other than that, it’s not considered unless friends or family come to town and you are looking for places to share about your community. In my mind, Bonanzaville is just one of those locations.

Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 29 November 2020

Whidbey Island, Washington.

Between the mainland and Whidbey Island, there is a narrow strip of water that separates Puget Sound from Possession Sound. There is a ferry that travels that passage with terminals at Clinton and Mukilteo. On a cloudy morning, we found ourselves on that ferry. It was the first time I’ve ever been on a “drive-on” ferry. I found the entire process interesting. Continue reading