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 I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

The State Fair

The parade started early on Friday; we were on the route, everyone came to our front yard armed with lawn chairs and coolers. An hour or two of decorated convertibles with local leaders and princesses sitting high on the back seat waving the parade wave; closely following hay wagons, farm equipment, marching bands, motorcycles, horses, pooper-scoopers, and anyone who wanted to join in. As the street-sweepers passed, the North Dakota State Fair opened the gates.

I could smell the cholesterol-laden food and hear the announcers barking the latest activities and the music at the grandstand as my “sneak into the fairgrounds” adventure began. I have always enjoyed the State Fair; it’s an annual pilgrimage—a carnival of neon lights, turn your stomach rides, deep-fried everything, and sugar-laden delicacies. My priorities have changed a bit at seventy years old—I enjoy the people and their stories. I still can’t pass by the foot-long dogs and mini-doughnuts, then wash it all down with a cold one at the beer gardens.

The State Fair is about fun, and a chance to show your hard work and perseverance can produce a “Best in Show” Purple or Blue ribbon. The farmers are experiencing a drought year, and crops are looking poorly. But they all bring the crops, cattle, pigs, goats, chickens, rabbits, gramas best pies, canned goods, quilts, and flowers. The 4H kids get this year’s prize efforts for projects and animals.

North Dakota State Fair 4H

A Girl and Her Heifer

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,~ Colossians 3:23

About Photography:
This year we decided to boon-dock with our 2008 van-sized RV in the parking lot with the ranchers and carnies. The main objective of our visit is to sharpen our photography skills and find a great story to tell. We concentrated on action photography in challenging light—the list included Bull and Bronc riding, Motocross X Games, A Flying Water Circus, Enduro Races, and the Ninja Challenge. The light in the arena for the Rodeo was low-level metal hydride; the outdoor light was subdued grey skies filtered with smoke from nearby forest fires.

The Bull Rider at the North Dakota State Fair

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ~ Psalm 23:4

The images reflect the success, failure, and challenge of photographing fast action in varying light. I usually shoot in manual mode but doing that in this environment, I would be changing settings and missing shots. So I decided on aperture priority with my camera set to a minimum shutter speed of 1/60th of a second and maximum ISO of 25,600. Because of the slower shutter speed and higher ISO, I could have some blurred and noisy photos, and I did. In retrospect, I wish I would have manually set the camera for the fastest shutter speed, lowest ISO, and sharpest aperture that would give a decent exposure and enhance it during post-production. Any of you sports and action photographers— I would appreciate some suggestions. Also Coreen the sunrise photo on the way Home is for You!!

Motocross Jumping

I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. ~ Psalm 55:6

Water Jet Boots

No Gentle waters here!!!

Pow Wow, Native Dance

American Indian Dance.

For Coreen…


Fog and smoke filled morning sunrise

Smoky Foggy Morning Sunrise