What Does Music Look Like

Classical, New Age, Country, Classic Rock, Rock N Roll,  Gospel, Acoustic etc…  We all know what music sounds like, but what does it look like?

One of my favorite music movies to watch is August Rush.  August talks about the music “being all around us.”  This young little musical genius (my words) creates an amazing symphony all based on what you see and hear around you.  The trees blowing in the wind, the grasses moving in the wind, the water, the sky, the sounds of a city, everything.  It is a very heartfelt movie.  

So that brings me to, what does music look like?  If you know it’s all around you.  What does that awesome blue sky with the puffy white clouds sound like?  Can you imagine it?  

I love music, I have always been around it.  I can read it, play it, and sometimes sing it. (depends on who you ask) Some of my best memories are of listening to my brothers play the guitar.  I love a good old fashioned acoustic guitar.  One of my brothers could totally rock The Ventures Pipeline, while one would nail country, and my youngest older brother would make up songs, or sing The Troggs, or Bob Dylan.  I was introduced to music at a young age.  

I would sneak into my youngest older brothers room, and grab the electric guitar and strum until I had a blister on my thumb.  (insert Beatles “I Have Blisters on my Fingers” In that wonderful english accent) I still have that guitar. It belonged to two of my brothers.  Something I will always cherish! 

My sister and I would hold concerts in our bedrooms and sing to the #1 Hits of the 60’s.  I still love to listen to her sing.  

What type of symphony would you create if you could with your pictures?  Would you choose the rush of living in the city? Or would you scale it down and choose the country?  Would you create your life as living and working on a farm? We all know what that would look like!  Putting them all together, you can see what it should sound like!  At least that’s what I think.  I could write a song about Montana with my pictures, as well as Oregon, or any other place I have visited or lived.  Where would you choose to write your song with pictures?  The beach?  The mountains? Or just spending time with family?  All of them could make a wonderful song.  Try it!  

My symphony would be titled My Montana. 

I grew up on both sides of the state. The far east side in the Badlands of Montana, then in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley of Western Montana.  The best of both worlds in my opinion.

As a child I really didn’t appreciate it like I do now as an adult.  There were chores to do growing up, and now that we only plan “vacations” to go “home” it’s a lot different.  As an adult I haven’t been able to see as much of Montana as I would like.  I would love for hubby and I to go back and explore Western Montana.  There is so much to see, and so much I would love to share with him.

So to sum it up. Create your symphony. 

To you, I give “My Montana”

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Glndive 02 copyGlendive 01 copyBNSF copyBlack bridge copyGlendive 03 copyKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAGusthauf copy copyMontana sky copyKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIntake copyPleasant view copyRosebud copyYellowstone 01 copyKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERARiver in Missoula copyFLorence 01 copyCarolne lane copyBitterroot valley 01 copyBitterroot River copyBitterroot Valley 03 copy

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As you can see, My Montana is a symphony of beauty.  One of memories of growing up in the best of both sides of the state.  I relate Montana to always being home.  No matter where I live, it always calls to me.

Find your symphony.  Perhaps you may find it in your children, your animals, your place of worship.  It’s out there.  Its up to you to create it.

Don’t be afraid to embrace the music.  It really is “all around us”

Blessings to you all.

Tracy Lynn

 

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The Ones That Got Away

When we moved to the southern pacific northwest, never did I imagine I would start photographing birds.  Then, someone gave me a bird book, and I have been learning how to identify them.  How did this happen? This just wasn’t me.  Where we lived in the high desert of Southern California, there would be ravens, pigeons, sparrows, finches, and an occasional hawk.  It was cool when the hawk would land on the tree.  But it wasn’t often.  Nothing super exciting to take pictures of.  I did the hummingbirds and the house birds, but that was simply because there wasn’t anything else to shoot at. (with the camera)

Fast forward, moving where the Pacific Flyway is.  I remember researching what it was.  I didn’t know there was such a thing. I knew birds migrated.  I remember as a kid in Montana, being outside and hearing the Canada Geese before you could see them high in the sky heading for the warmer climate!

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Such great memories!

Now here we are,  we love to do our Saturday drives on the Refuge and Sunday drives on the side roads.  You never know what you will see.

Last week we were driving the side roads and there were hundreds of White Fronted Geese in the fields and canals.  This week, no more geese.  It’s interesting how one species leaves and another comes in.

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      White Fronted Geese

The last couple weeks the White Face Ibis started coming in, and this week  by the hundreds.  A very unique bird.  They are colorful in the sunshine and have a crooked beak.   They are pretty good formation flyers too!

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  White Faced Ibis

As you all know, I have a great love for the eagles and hawks.  I think it’s just that they are so majestic.  We are noticing less eagles and hawks this time of year.  They are hopefully sitting on their nests!  Every now and then they can be seen sitting on the power poles, or in the fields.  Hubby will stop the truck if they are on the poles, and I will sneak out (like you can sneak up on an eagle) and then I will start photographing them, inching closer and closer.  I can shoot the same bird 20-30 times, with the chance of getting close enough to get the  detail on the beaks, talons, or feathers.  And eventually they will take flight because of the annoying red-headed lady holding up something and pointing it at them.  So I smile, thank the bird (honestly I do) and happily walk back to the truck.

But not every photo turns out.  That’s just a part of learning.  Yep, I have tried flight pictures and they aren’t pretty.  I get half of something, or the whole thing is blurry.  I am still trying to be more patient with the in flight birds.

All that said,I wanted to share with you, the get aways….  Yes they are blurry and I am not ashamed to share that with you!  It happens to all of us!  Some more than others I am sure.  Ducks 01

Ducks 02

Ducks are one of the flightiest birds I have seen.  They must still be shell shocked from hunting season.

Egret 01

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Blue Herons and White Egrets aren’t easy either.  They can be so still, and as soon as you get up on them whoosh….  they’re gone!

Hawk 02

     Hawks are fun.  They keep me on my toes.

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   At least the feet are in focus!

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   Hello Majestic Eagle

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    Good bye Majestic Eagle

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Not quite sure what this was. I think it was an eagle. but its a nice foot and wing!

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This is by far, the stuff that bad dreams are made of!  Kind of eerie if you ask me!!!

While you are viewing these photos, you are wondering… WHY do I keep these blurry photos?  Well, of course to share with all of you!  I guess maybe someday I will go through the files and delete them.  Or Not.  What if I need that perfect get away blurry shot?  Well, it could happen!

Enjoy your day!  Go outside and enjoy spring!  Shoot some pictures, try new things and don’t be afraid of the blurry ones!  I’m not!

Happy Shooting

T Lynn

The Ends

High Dynamic Range – HDR

According to Wikipedia, “HDR is a technique used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than is possible with standard digital imaging or photographic techniques.  The aim is to present a similar range of luminance to be experienced through the human visual system.  

HDR images can represent a greater range of luminance levels that can be achieved using more traditional methods such as real-world scenes containing very bright, direct sunlight to extreme shade.  This is often achieved by capturing and combining several different exposures of the same subject matter.”  

In my lesser technical world,  HDR can be shot using 3 pictures on up to however many you decide.  My cameras will allow me to shoot 3 shot HDR photos.

The series is this; one at normal settings, one at a step up to capture the highlights, and one a step down to capture the shadows.  You are shooting the same photo composition 3 times.  It may sound silly, but sometimes you can get more depth, or feeling in a photo that has more shadows or detail.  IMG_5813

Normal Photo

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1 Stop down to capture the shadows

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1 Stop up to capture the light

 

Photomatix

Three shot HDR, processed using Photomatix

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Three shot HDR, processed using Aurora HDR

Yes, you need specific software to “merge” or “layer” your images.  I use mostly a software called Photomatix.  When I first discovered it, I had a fun time learning.  Yes some of the photos were a bit over processed, but it was still fun. You can indeed take one photo (instead of 3) and run it thought the gauntlet so to speak, and make it a new image to you.  This is a photo you may have taken 10 years ago!  It’s all about learning and trying new things for your old photos, and of course your current photos.

I use two programs.  Photomatix, as stated above and Aurora HDR.  I am still learning the Aurora HDR, and I find it a bit qwerky, but I guess it’s all in the learning process.  Photomatix was my first, and I do believe it was one of the first HDR programs.  Used by many photographers,  the Aurora HDR was created by an amazing photographer Trey Ratcliff, who I learned alot from watching his Photomatix video tutorials.  I think (but don’t quote me)  Aurora HDR was first created strictly for Mac computers.

How did I get into the world of HDR?  I used to be big into digital scrapbooking, and one of the guru’s that made all kinds of neat things for that hobby, was also a photographer.  He did some awesome amazing HDR of Montana, close to where I lived in Western Montana.  I followed his processes, and bought a few books.  Then I discovered Trey and took a course of his and thats how I got hooked.

There is something in HDR that is called “Ghosting” and sometimes this gets the best of me.  If you are like me and take mostly hand held photos, there is going to be some movement.

When you take the three picture HDR, there are great chances if you are not using a tripod, you will have movement.  So when your pictures are merging they also need to line up.  So if they don’t line up properly, you get “ghost” effects on your photos, it can be pretty ugly, and no amount of adjustments, will take away the failed photo merge. I know this because I have given up on trying to merge the three photo set numerous times.

I do not claim, nor will I ever claim to be an expert on HDR photography and processing. Because once you claim you are an expert, you quit learning.  I learn something new every time I process photos.  Once I really like the outcome of the HDR process, its time to step into the studio so to speak, I will remove any unsightly power lines, or spots that are on my sensor that come through. I will also remove signs, if I find them annoying.  The bottom line digital footprint is still there, but I am merely enhancing my photo.  It’s not for everyone!  And I don’t do it to all my photos.  Most of what I post online are “SOOC”  Straight Out of the Camera.

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Normal Photo

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1 Stop Down

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1 Stop Up

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3 Photo HDR

In this final photograph, I removed most of the power lines, removed buckets and trash, and cleaned up any other distracting objects that I felt were not beneficial to the photo. As a side note, this particular photo I entered into the local county fair in the Digital Manipulation category, and I am happy and proud to say, that it took Best of Show!  I was/am a very happy girl!

You can indeed as stated above, turn a one photo shot, into an HDR, similar photo.  I have done it many times just to give it a “pop”.

I have friends and family that don’t like the “digital manipulation” and that’s OK!  They’re entitled to like what they like.  They like the real stuff.  So do I, but sometimes a photo straight out of the camera just needs a punch of something.

School

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The world of HDR isn’t just for color photos either!!!!  While you process them the same, they can really make a Black and White Photo really pop as well.

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3 Photo  HDR Black and White

If you notice the signature in the above black and white, it is my husbands signature, with my camera of course.  He loves to shoot in HDR but refuses to learn the processing part.  That’s okay.  I give him credit, but the photo belongs to Tracy Lynn Hart Photography.  In case you are wondering why he was taking these,  I have a fear of all things ticks.  AND…  this was a field, in eastern Montana, with tall weeds, so I refused to go beyond the gravel road.  He was the one that took the shots for me!  Good job honey! You had a great teacher!!!

While HDR seems to be used in mostly landscape photography, I sometimes play around and use it for flowers, still life, and whatever else I think might work. If it works great, if not, there is that lovely delete key that will move the stuff to my trash can!

My advice to anyone wanting to try HDR. DO IT! You can download free trials of the programs, that is what I did in the beginning. You will need to learn your camera settings. Most DSLR’s have a custom setting where you can program it to take the 3 shots. Or however many your camera will take.  Read your manual, google it, find out how to make it work for you.

Experiment! It’s all about finding what you as a photographer like!

Alot of your cell phones now have an HDR feature, I know mine does, and I think it works okay, but it’s not what I am used to.

I spend hours in the studio, mostly when the weather is bad or early in the morning.  I would rather be outside taking photos or just being outside, instead of being cooped up inside.
It’s all a learning process and curve. I feel fortunate to have done as well as I have with my HDR processes.  I have done alot of research, watched videos, and took a course online.  I refuse to put alot of money into something that I don’t know if I will like. That is why the trial versions of the programs are a huge help!

Try something different! Be brave! Step out of that box!!!

Most of all, Enjoy!

Be Happy!

 

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Abandoned Homestead in Eastern Montana along Highway 200

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Abandoned Homestead in Eastern Montana along Highway 200

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Historic Hotel Meade, Bannack Montana

 

Happy Shooting!

Tracy Lynn

 

The View From Above

The last month and a half, our skies have been filled with smoke from too many forest fires.  The smoke on some days was so thick you couldn’t see down the road.  While it made for some unique sunrises and sunsets, and a few good pictures, it was sad.

The last couple weeks we’ve been feeling “fall” in the air.  This past week it was really starting to feel like fall with the change of the weather, our first freeze warnings, and a little bit of rain.

The blessing in the change of the seasons was in the higher country in the form of snow.  In my home state of Montana, they have lost over 1 million acres of beautiful forest land to forest fires.  I will not get into my opinion of why, because this is a happy blog.  They said the only thing that could help Montana put out the fires was snow.  Glorious snow.  We also got the snow in Oregon and rain in Washington state to help with the fires.

At work this past week, the clouds were just beautiful.  And we all know how I love clouds!  I thought it was a good thing I didn’t have my camera at work because I would want to be outside capturing the beauty.  So I waited.

Friday morning (my day off) the Hubby and I went into town for breakfast and it was awesome to see white puffy clouds and clear blue skies. No smoke on the horizon.  We did some shopping and while we were in the stores, we came out and our puffy white clouds were gone and our skies were filled with white and gray clouds.   I think they were calling to me.  So we drove home to grab the cameras and go above it all.

To the top of a mountain called “Hamaker”

“1958-1979 A Cold War Air Force Radar Station was first established in Keno, Klamath County Oregon.  Named Keno Air Station”

To me, the above sentence is merely a “golf ball” on the top of Hamaker that we can see from our house.  But, there is history up on that mountain top.

Hamaker 11

 

Keno Air Force Station.  Established in 1958 and became operational in September 1958, manned by the 827th AC&W Squadron.  The station initially had both a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and early warning mission.  The early warning mission involved tracking and identifying all aircraft entering their airspace while the GCI mission involved guiding Air Force Interceptors to any identified enemy aircraft.  Controllers at the station vectored fighter aircraft at the correct course and speed to intercept enemy aircraft using vice commands via ground-to-air radio.

I could go on about the logistics and big words I didn’t understand in the article, but it is pretty interesting.  You can find more information here:

http://www.fortwiki.com/Keno_Air_force_Station

My story is this… It was a beautiful day in the Basin and the clouds were abundant and we were going to the top of that mounting to get some fresh air and beautiful views, and hopefully some pictures too.

It’s about and 8.5 mile drive to the top which is about 6500 feet. Don’t quote me on that, I was looking at the GPS on my phone.

We had been up here before when we first moved to the area.  I know it gets a lot of snow.  Hubby decided one day in March, to go on an adventure and travel to the top.  I am extremely glad I wasn’t with him. The last mile or so isn’t maintained.  It’s bad enough without the snow.

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He made it back slowly to tell about it!

Once on top of Hamaker, you can look to the northwest and see Mt. McLoughlin, which you can also see from Medford on the other side of the Cascades.

Hamaker 06                                      Mt McLoughlin with a fresh blanket of snow!

You look out to the north, you see the Klamath Basin, farmland, Klamath Lake, Klamath River, and points beyond.  I truly love it up here.  Except it was 43 degrees and a light breeze.  Once the breeze quit, it was quite nice!

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There is one thing for sure, that you can’t deny.  It is beautiful here every season.  (except fire season)

My advice is this;

If it’s the beginning of fall where you are, put on that hoodie or flannel shirt, pack the camera, maybe a picnic lunch, and go find your view from the top!  You won’t be sorry.  If it’s not feeling like fall, wait a couple weeks!  It might skip fall and go right into winter.  I say this because it almost always gets really cold or snows before Halloween!

Enjoy fall.  Enjoy the Pumpkin Spice everything.  Enjoy life.

Just a girl and her suitcase 01_01

Happy Shooting

Tracy Lynn

 

The Enchanted Highway

Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend and sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind

There’s a world outside every darkened door
Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
Where the brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore

We won’t hesitate
To break down the garden gate
There’s not much time left today

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I wanna drive it all night long

Lyrics by Rascal Flats

Recently the husband and I went on vacation.  It was a wonderful trip!  We seemed to spend most of it on the road, not really stopping long enough to decompress.  It was all go, go, go.  We were able to stop and spend the 4th of July with a dear friend and her family, and we managed to see family and friends in Montana and South Dakota. (That’s always the bonus!)

As you all know I was born and raised in Montana, and my husband was born and raised in South Dakota.  So, this route from Eastern Montana through North Dakota and into South Dakota was familiar to us both.

Along a highway in Western North Dakota is this little offshoot highway called;EH SIgn 02                                                          “The Enchanted Highway”

“The Enchanted Highway begins at exit 72 on I-94 near Gladstone and terminates 32 miles down the road in the small town of Regent”

I have always wanted to tour the Enchanted Highway but never had the opportunity. Same with my husband. So this trip we planned our little tour towards Regent North Dakota.

My question was Why?  What was the reason for these sculptures along this little highway?  I did my google research and this is what I found.

“I saw the town was a dying community,” says sculptor Gary Greff, who grew up in Regent ND., population about 200, and returned in 1989 after working as a teacher and principal. 

I personally think it is a sad reason to have such amazing sculpture, but in turn, Thank You Mr. Greff, for your amazing work.

Sit back and enjoy our little tour down the “Enchanted Highway”

The first stop that you can see off I-94 is Geese in Flight.  The “eye” catcher to the highway tour.

Lines of geese copy                                                    The road is lined with metal Geese

 

And when you get to the top of the road and turn to your left… you see the Geese in Flight

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It was pretty spectacular to see up close for a change, instead of flying by it at 70mph.  This was built in 2001 as a billboard to the highway route!  For once a billboard you don’t have to read!

With EGTo show you the size of this “Little Sculpture” I made sure to put our truck up against it.

It’s a not so tiny when you see it against a vehicle.  I would love to see it in the winter with the snow!  However, I’m not quite sure I want to make the trip to North Dakota in the winter.

The second piece of art, is something pretty common to the area.  Something you always have to watch out for.

Stop 2 from hwy                                                                “Deer Crossing”

You can see it from quite aways off the road.  Deer Crossing was built in 2002.

The anticipation of what it really looked like was building.  It was a great representation of what you get on the roads and interstate.  You must watch out for the deer and antelope on the roads!

Stop 2

Also at this site was a metal crafted Maze of Enchantment.

I hope my husband doesn’t get lost.  I am sure it was built for the younger generation, but it was still fun!

The Maze

Amazing Husband                                               My a Mazing husband leading the way.

I think I can do this, however my sense of direction is something to be seen.

Tracy in Maze at E H copy                           Almost to the end! Whew!  (I only went the wrong way once)

It was fun.  I kind of hope there aren’t any more on the road, we will never make it to our destination.

Back on the road we head to the next fun sculpture.  What will it be?

Grasshopper 01                                               Grasshoppers in the Field built in 1999

A not so friendly reminder of where we are.  Grasshoppers can be not so nice when it comes to fields.

The amount of detail and imagination in these pieces is awesome.

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How did Mr. Greff ever come up with these ideas?  I don’t know but I am glad he did.

Tracy and hopper copy

I felt very secure under this guy!  Except I might want to re-think that if there was a thunder and lightning storm.  I imagine these metal sculptures are lightning rods!  Wouldn’t you just love to see it though?

The artistic side of me, when it comes to photoshop, kind of wanted to see what one of these sculptures might look like on a cloudy night, with the moon breaking through.

Grasshopper at night bw

It was kind of eerie, but really cool!  I could make some great Halloween pictures with these as a background!

It would be really cool to see these on a dark night with only the stars in the sky.  This part of  the prairie has no light pollution to hinder the view of the stars.  Guess I need to add that to my list.  I wonder where the nearest hotel is.. hmmmmm

Next up on the road is another common site, more in South Dakota that we’ve noticed, but right after we stopped here and were headed to our next cool destination, we saw a rooster on the side of the road.

Stop 04 02                                                   Pheasants on the Prairie built in 1996

The colors in the hen and rooster were so true.  How did he do that? Magic perhaps?!

Stop 05                                                        The little ones are so cute too!

Tracy Shooting Pheasants               Me, shooting the pheasants legally in North Dakota out of hunting season.

What could be around the next corner? Although I must tell you, there weren’t many corners on this stretch of road. Just a lot of beautiful prairie and farm land.

ND Prarie

A lot of tourists to Montana and the Dakotas, love to hunt and fish.  There are so many beautiful lakes and rivers.  Something for every type of fisherman!

Stop 4                                                         Fishermans Dream built in 2006

This was to big to fit in one picture frame.  The sun was fighting with us at the time, but we managed to enjoy the big catch!

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It might be hard to fit those fish in the back of the truck. I might have to get rid of the suitcase. Or the beer cooler.  Um, nope I think we’ll leave these fish right here for the next traveler!

Theodore Roosevelt was a big part of Dakota Territory. Leaving the east coast after losing his wife and mother almost at the same time. He left politics and became part of the “Rough Riders”  The states that were part of the Dakota Territory were Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

Our next sculpture was for “Teddy”

Stop 06                                                    Teddy Rides Again, built in 1993

I would love to see this if it were lit up at night!   I did read that Mr. Greff (the sculptor) started a fire on the prairie while welding this in the summer.  He no longer welds in the summer due to the dry conditions.

North Dakota is also home to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  If you’re leaving Eastern Montana into North Dakota, it is well worth the trip!

Our last stop on the Enchanted Highway was to see The Tin Family.

LAst Stop 01                                                           The Tin Family.  Built in 1991

How cool are they?  The curly hair is all wire.  The little boy (Not so little) eating his sucker, and the farmer ready to go pitch some hay!

Showing how big the sculptures are copy                                                       Not so little Tin Ma and Pa (and me)

I was sad that our 32 mile side trip was coming to an end.  I have no idea how long we were, but long enough for the clouds to burn away and the sun to rise higher in the sky.

We ended up in Regent North Dakota.  Regent ND

A quaint little farm town.  We were pretty early, so we didn’t stop at the “trinket” shop, but we fueled up and got some refreshments.  You know, the bad for you food you have to have while on a road trip!

Mr. Greff is working on another sculpture!  We will go back and see that and add it to the photo collection!

We hopped into our truck and headed southeast to our destination in South Dakota.  I only  wonder what else we might see off the beaten path.

Our trip was 3400 miles total, and most of it was on the little highways.  From Eastern Oregon to all over Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nevada and California.  It was another wonderful trip in our book of road trips.

I know summer is almost over for most of us, and just beginning for other parts across the oceans.

School is back in session, the county fairs are starting up. Enjoy what’s left of summer.

Welcome Autumn with open arms and make it memorable!  Find some really neat fall colors to photograph, pumpkins and scarecrows too!

Vacations don’t always have to be about going somewhere far.  You would be surprised what you can find in your own back yard.  We have some amazing lakes and mountains in ours!

Pick a direction, go 50-100 miles and see what you can find!!

Most of all, capture it, enjoy it and remember it!

Best of all…Have a great day

Have a Great Day doing it!

Happy Shooting

Tracy Lynn