Thursday, August 27, 2009

Derek's Senior Shoot

With the return of students to school, more and more parents (definitely the parents, because the guys anyway aren’t too fired up about it!), are starting to think about senior pictures.

Here is a small sample of images from my recent shoot with Derek.

Give me a call at 605-641-2335 or email at if you are interested in booking a session for senior pictures. If you have a favorite location in mind, don't hesitate to suggest it! My session times are not limited, so if we have to drive all over the country to find your perfect location, we will do it! Chances are good in this area that I will find something along the way back home to photograph to add to my image library, and I love to drive! It is important to get your session booked early though, because fall is setting in, and the days ARE getting shorter!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fresh Air Fund-Racers Raise Almost $80,000!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! To the Fresh Air Fund-Racers who raced in the New York City Half-Marathon on August 16 and raised almost $80,000 for the Fresh Air Fund Programs for disadvantaged Yew York City children. Click here to learn more about the Fresh Air Fund Programs.

You can still donate to this year's runners by visiting this site:

Weekend in the Big Horn Mountains

I was lucky enough to grow up in Story, Wyoming, with the beautiful Big Horn Mountains right in my backyard. With my husband also being from Wyoming, we both feel the call of the mountains, and every chance we get, we load up the truck and head west to the Big Horns. This past weekend we spent three days camped just below Cloud Peak Reservoir, and while my husband took care of his fishing addiction, I did a lot of hiking and exploring.

Penrose Trail

The first night, there was not a cloud in the sky, and with no moon, I was anxious to try shooting some star trails over Cloud Peak Reservoir. Tom wanted to do some fishing, so I convinced him to stay after dark with me so I wouldn't have to go the three miles back to camp by myself! While he fished, I hiked downstream to Flat Iron Lake, hoping to catch a moose in the lake.

Fishing in Cloud Peak Reservoir

Flat Iron Lake

South Piney Creek running out of Cloud Peak Reservoir, into Flat Iron Lake

Flat Iron Lake

By the time I made it back up to Cloud Peak Reservoir, it was about 8:00 PM, and night was starting to set in. I really wanted to get some star trails over Cloud Peak; unfortunately, that was the brightest part of the sky, and the last part for stars to show up! As we stood there on the dam and the darkness settled in around us, it was incredible watching sky slowly fill with stars! Away from town lights at an elevation of about 12,000 feet, it is amazing how clear that sky is! We sat in the dark and watched the stars and listened to the coyotes for about an hour while my camera did its thing. By then, with both us freezing, and an extremely rough ride ahead of us on the dark trail to get back to camp, we called it a night and headed back to camp and our warm sleeping bags!

Click on picture for enlarged view to see silhouette of Cloud Peak

I didn't quite get the results I wanted, but it was my first attempt and a very short exposure due to the cold, so hopefully next time I will do better!

Saturday Tom wanted to hike (I should say climb) into South Piney Lakes, but I didn't figure I would find any moose there, so I went the other way and hiked into Frying Pan Lake, hoping to run into a bull moose.

Trail to Frying Pan Lake

Didn't find any moose today, but I found out why when I got back to camp. Tom had ran into two other guys at Cloud Peak Reservoir when he got back down from South Piney Lakes. They told him they had seen my 4-wheeler parked at the top of the trail to Frying Pan and there was a cow moose and her calf about 20 feet from it! Guess I should have just taken a nap on my 4-wheeler for the afternoon!

After I got back to camp and had some dinner, I took my camera out to look for the moose that had been so far giving me the slip. Once again, I didn't find the moose, but found a cute little pika!

Just having some fun with my lens!

Our last day on the mountain, we hiked to "Wally Park", where my Dad used spend hours upon hours sitting in a pile of rocks during elk season, for as many years as I can remember. He was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis, so he would go to his "chair" in his rockpile to hunt. Everyone knew where Wally Park was and would stop by and visit and drink coffee with him. Not sure how much hunting actually went on, but my Dad sure looked forward to elk season every year!

My entire Big Horn Mountains photo gallery can be viewed at Thompson Photography. All of the images in the gallery are available in prints as well as a wide variety of gift items.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Moon, Mars, and the International Space Station

It was all a matter of being in the right place at the right time...and blind dumb luck! My husband was getting ready for work at about 4:30 this morning when he glanced out the bedroom doors and noticed that the moon and Mars were framed perfectly by the trees off of our deck. He delights in having a legitimate excuse to wake me up that early in the morning, so he of course told me I needed to set up my camera and get a picture because it looked really cool. I mumbled something about it probably still looking really cool in half an hour, and tried to go back to sleep. But within a couple of minutes, my curiosity had me out of bed and looking outside, and sure enough, the moon was absolutely gorgeous. So I grabbed my camera and tripod, threw on some sweats and slippers (my standard work attire!), and headed out onto the deck. For about the next 30 minutes, I proceeded to take a variety of exposures of the moon, but it wasn't until I got back to my office and downloaded my pictures that I realized that I had captured the International Space Station at about 5:10 this morning. Definitely worth getting out of bed for!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thunderstorms During Rally Week

Rally week during the Sturgis Rally this year brought some of the most incredible and severe thunderstorms I have seen in this area in a few years. Sure there has been a hail storm here and there with baseball-sized hail, but to have hail and lightning almost daily for several days in a row is not that common! Although I was busy working most of the time, I did manage to get out a couple of times with some friends, photographers Pat and Cindy Bonish of Every Miles a Memory, and my local storm fanatic friend, Kym Reis, and do some storm chasing!

This is the storm that passed through and nailed the Buffalo Chip with softball-sized hail and 70 mph winds.

Rainbow on the back of the storm

Mammatous clouds forming over Bear Butte following the thunderstorm

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Glacier National Park - Day 4

For those of you who have been following our Glacier National Park trip and have been left hanging in limbo...I finally got the pictures from Day 4 edited! I think this may have been my favorite day of all. We didn't see much in the way of wildlife, but we saw a lot of beautiful country and took about 300 pictures! And the best part was Tom cooking our anniversary dinner during a beautiful sunset on the top of Going to the Sun Road at Logan Pass!!! Okay, it was only a Cheddarwurst and a bag of chips...but in a setting like that, it could have a PB&J sandwich and I would have been happy!

We were both tired from hiking about 20 miles the last couple of days, so today we decided to go for a drive up the northwest side of the park, a very sparsely traveled area with a primitive, unmaintained dirt road going to Kintla Lake just south of the British Columbia border. The road went through about 30 miles of burned timber and was prime grizzly habitat, so we were hoping to possibly run across a bear since the area was so lightly traveled.

While Tom was still sleeping, I headed out bright and early to get a sunrise shot from just outside of our campground.

I headed back to the campground and Tom was ready to go, so we packed up camp and headed west back over Going to the Sun Road. One nice thing about camping in Glacier National Park is that when you leave camp, you have everything in your vehicle with you because due to the bears, nothing can be left in camp except the tent, so you always have your food, water, supplies, etc. Today we planned on stopping at all of the "tourist" stops along Going to the Sun road, which we had avoided throughout the holiday weekend due to the crowds. We came to the first stop, The Sunrift Gorge, which had previously been so packed with people there wasn't even a parking spot, and today we were the only people there!
The river running through Sunrift Gorge

The weeping wall going west over Going to the Sun Road

A glimpse of Heaven!

The view from the forest floor!

At least 60 miles of burn and fog...we never would have known if we did drive past a grizzly unless he ran in front of us!

Tom was laughing at me as I was sneaking up on these bucks and they kept going from tree to tree trying to hide from me. One finally decided just to show me how tough he was, and the other one was mouthing off!

One of the neatest tourist stops that we stopped at along the Going to the Sun road was the Trail of the Cedars Nature Trail. It was getting dark when we stopped, and very few people were left on the trail. I could have spent hours exploring on the boardwalk and well-maintained nature trail that winds through the massive cedars.

It was getting late, and we had to race up the side of the mountain (which was kind of fun in a 1-ton long-box crew cab truck!) to make it to the top of Logan Pass in time to catch the sunset, but Tom had promised me a sunset for our dinner, and we made it with just enough time to get my tripod set up! So while I happily snapped away, Tom slaved over a hot stove and prepared our gourmet anniversary/birthday dinner!

It was the perfect ending to finish out an absolutely perfect vacation!

The complete gallery from our trip to Glacier National Park can be viewed at Thompson Photography !