Nature’s Stained Glass


I was driving down to Kansas the other day, and contemplating how busy the fall had been. There had been little time for any “personal” work between the multitude of harvest-related assignments, and I suppose I was feeling sorry for myself. I do that sometimes.

So, I did what I used to do often in the old days…I turned off the highway into the next small town, parked my truck, and started to walk around. I’ve always been an advocate of trying to see things on foot as opposed to seeing things through a windshield, because the act of driving is distracting to the art of photography. You just don’t see things the same way when you’re behind the wheel.

So, I walked up to this church in Talmage, Nebraska and started to shoot the large, colorful tree next to it, framing the church. The sunset light was great, and the side trip was already a success when I noticed the tree’s reflection in one of the church’s stained glass windows.

What a nice surprise! Nature’s stained glass. I hadn’t felt this good about a “found” feature photo in a long, long time.

So I did it in the next small town down the road. A junior varsity football game had just ended in the village of Johnson, and apparently the custom here is to eat pizza after the game:


Again, a feature shot that I was very proud of, shot at a wide-open f2.8 and very candid. Nothing that would win any contests, but it meant way more to me than winning anything…it gave me the thirst for feature hunting again, and made me think that I really need to jump start those new book ideas rolling around in my melon.

I’ll take any excuse to just walk around a small town again.


Capitol Offense


I’d like to think I don’t copy other photographers, but am only influenced by their styles.

Not in this case. I totally ripped off Chad Coppess when I took this photo.

Chad is our state’s chief photographer for the tourism department, and a longtime friend. Quite often he shoots photos that…well…I sure wish I’d seen first. He has an enormous talent for finding some great angles of some very ordinary South Dakota scenes.

So, when I saw his shot of the Capitol building in Pierre framed by fall colors, I was jealous…and I shot my own version of it the first chance I got (it actually took a few years before I was there at the right time, and even in this picture the colors aren’t completely turned). His shot is better, but hey…I tried.

Thanks Chad!