All posts by Renda

My passion is photography. When you’re passionate about something, you strive to make it perfect…from the introduction, the experience, to the final product…in every way.
I combine high quality photographs with excellent customer service to create a wonderful experience for all involved.

Life and Senior Pictures

©Renda Brooks 2017

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve updated the blog. Isn’t it funny how life throws things at us, sometimes of our own making and other times not. Regardless, I plan to make this blog a priority! Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Recently, I was able to do some Senior Pictures for a co-worker’s (Brenda) son, Chris. I’m still learning the area and searching out all the locations that would make good photo shoot backdrops. I suggested Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park because it offered good backgrounds with the little stone buildings and train tracks. Unfortunately, many of the fall leaves were off the trees due to windy conditions a few days before. Still, we managed to get some great shots in.

©Renda Brooks 2017
©Renda Brooks 2017
©Renda Brooks 2017
©Renda Brooks 2017
©Renda Brooks 2017

Brenda and  Chris had another location in mind, the Mandan Indian Village Site in Bismarck,  and we ended up going there too. It was a great location and has given me an additional shooting site.

©Renda Brooks 2017
©Renda Brooks 2017
©Renda Brooks 2017
©Renda Brooks 2017

Chris was a great model, pleasant and easy to work with. He has that chiseled look many people would pay good money to have. I asked him what his future plans were. Like so many, he isn’t sure. Chris was sure about going to college and furthering his education. I encouraged him to find something he loved to do and not settle on less. I sure wish him the best of luck on his life journey.

©Renda Brooks 2017
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Falls Park, Sioux Falls – Let’s Relax

Falls Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota? A little time to relax!

After leaving Minot the second week of February, I never imagined I would have found myself heading back north three weeks later. On March 4, I found myself on a journey back to the Dakotas with Aberdeen, South Dakota as my destination. Prior to reaching it, my first true exploration on the journey to the frozen land was Falls Park in Sioux Falls.

In the past, the Native Americans used the quartzite from this area to make ornaments and utensils to use in everyday life. This same material from here has been used by the white man as early as 1822. Presently, it is used today in concrete construction.

Sioux Falls had the nickname of Queen City, with the falls being the center of the city years ago. In addition, the Queen Bee Mill was there to take full advantage of the falls’ power. The mill was a seven-story building at one time, however, there are only parts of it that remain after a fire in 1956.

The park is a wonderful area for exploration as it covers 123 acres and approximately 7400 gallons of water drop over the falls every second. If that isn’t enough, the beauty and history of the area add to the allure.

Unfortunately, during my visit, the observation tower wasn’t opened. Things up here tend to be very seasonal due to weather conditions so if you plan a visit, plan accordingly. Thankfully there was no snow to contend with and I just struggled with the strong, cold winds during my visit.

As I walked through the park, I noticed a tower off in the distance. It resembled Big Ben. And then there were twin towers off to the right of this clock tower. I had to check them out to see what they were and was not disappointed.

http://www.siouxlandmuseums.com/museums/exhibits/old_courthouse_museum.asp
Old Courthouse Museum
http://www.sfcatholic.org/
Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls
http://www.siouxlandmuseums.com/museums/exhibits/old_courthouse_museum.asp
Old Courthouse Museum
http://www.sfcatholic.org/
Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls

Both Falls Park and finding these two buildings gave me a great break in my travels and allowed wonderful photo opportunities.  I am going to try to go back here on my return trip (assuming I return this way and don’t have another assignment straight away) and go up in the tower, as well as have a bite in the cafe at the park.

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More of Minot, The Scandinavian Heritage Park

I refuse to even acknowledge how quickly time passes. Okay, so I guess that was somewhat of an acknowledgement. Let’s just say that we do not need to mention it further. This post is to continue my journey in Minot. While there, I was fortunate enough to have a decent day or two to explore the Scandinavian Heritage Park located near the middle of Minot.

I had driven by it several times before the weather permitted me to make a stop there the first time. It was in the early morning hours and I was on my way back to the hotel from work. The lights draped in the trees beckoned me to stop if only for a few minutes. I complied and as I gazed around at the snow-covered park, I vowed to make it a point to take a day to explore it further.

That day presented itself a short time later. The temps rose from the subzero mark to the high 20s and low 30s. I parked the Jeep and gathered my gear. With a long swig of the steaming Starbuck’s concoction, I opened the door to brave the frigid air, piled snow, and slippery ice.

My first stop was at the visitor’s centre, where I enjoyed the heat for a bit longer than I should have. I did pick out some unique gifts for the twins and little Steven.

I proceeded down the pathway and was greeted by none other than Hans Christian Andersen. As one of my friends pointed out, he was up to his bum in the snow for our meeting and I wondered what stories he would write about if he knew just how deep in the stuff he was. Regardless, he and the ugly duckling made me smile as I attempted not to slip and slide too much on the pathway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The windmill replica was beautiful against the blue sky even though it seemed frozen at the moment. The blades stood motionless in the cold air.

Continuing on the pathway, I noted the water was covered in snow and therefore was unable to see the babbling brook that meandered through the park. Temps just were not feasible and the babbling was non-existent on this particular sunny morn’.

In one of the pathway bends I came across Leif Eriksson, or Leif the Lucky as he was also known, with his unwavering gaze peering across the snow-clad park. If you do not know who this Viking is, read about him. His life just may interest you.

The waterfall wall, too, was frozen in time and no water fell down its face during my visit there. I could envision it, though…the water falling to fill the brook. Maybe I’ll visit it another time when it actually is flowing.

Past the waterfall, two gentlemen made my thoughts drift off to taking to the slopes and speeding down on skis. I quickly reminded myself that my skiing consisted of water and not snow…boats and not slopes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon, I was upon the beautiful church, with its intricate carvings. This church was simply stunning and although I wasn’t able to go inside, I knew what it looked like from my previous exploration of a church like it in South Dakota. You can view the video here.

No Scandinavian park is complete without the Dala Horse. The one here was colorful, even if a little cold, with icicles hanging from the belly. I simply loved how they designed the park with the pathway going underneath this creation.

After the horse encounter, I came upon a simply adorable cottage and imagined I could certainly live inside with no difficulty. Again, the intricate carvings and details left me in awe.

And then there was the Sigdal House, simple yet perfect. This too could make a special home without a problem.

The park was a perfect way to spend some time and to learn more about this culture. I definitely would go back to visit again when I’m in the area.

 

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Minot, North Dakota

The first day of the New Year found me in frigid, snow-covered Minot, North Dakota. I travelled here on another assignment during the last week of December. I wasn’t prepared to be snowed in the facility on Christmas, but I was.

Between working evenings and nights with very little time off and the weather, I haven’t seen much of this city yet. We did recently have a warming trend with temps in the high 20s and I happened to be off a day to take advantage of the sunlight.

The park I found was all but deserted on the day I ventured out. The sun was bright and felt good soaking through the layers of clothes I had on. I got as close to the frozen river as possible to take a few pictures, even venturing out on it a few steps. I had to remind myself that I was alone and the dangers of walking on unknown ground, or water, in this case, was risky.

Deciding to return to the path, I just enjoyed the solitude and beauty around me. I was amazed at the depth of the snow. The benches and picnic tables were almost buried. I guess you could get to them if you didn’t mind wading through snow up to the butt. I chose not to do it and stuck with the cleared pathways.

The glittery snow mesmerised me. I loved how it sparkled like diamond chips when the light hit it. Every time I see it now, I think the angels must surely cry diamond chips.

I did see a bird, a nuthatch I think, flittering from tree limb to tree limb between posing for the camera. He was pretty swift in his movements. His ground companion was a squirrel. They both took turns eating from a pile of seeds someone had left for them. Otherwise, I saw no other creatures.

All in all, it was a decent outing even if I couldn’t stay out as long as intended. It felt good to be able to get some fresh air and experience the winter like I never have.

Stay tuned for the next stop at the local Scandinavian Park…

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The Farm I Didn’t Buy

farm
Farm in South Dakota

When on the back roads to Mirror Lakes, I passed this beautiful farmland. It reminded me of the phrase, “bought the farm”, which has a meaning far different than actually purchasing a farm. However, I did chuckle as I thought  – there’s the farm I didn’t buy; but with its rolling hills, old farm buildings, rolls and rolls of hay, horses, and mountain range for a backdrop, it is certainly one I would love to have.

The setting is beautiful and being out of town, away from the chaos, is a welcoming reprieve. The long gravel road beside this little piece of heaven seems to remind you of a quieter, more peaceful time; surely less traveled than the paved roads throughout town.

farm
Gravel road leading to the farmland.

The buildings! I absolutely loved the buildings. I wonder how old they are. I was tempted to drive up to the house and knock, but the gate was locked and I didn’t want to jump the fence and get locked up for trespassing, or worse…shot. The thought did cross my mind as I contemplated exploring those old buildings.

farm buildings
Old farm buildings
farm
I wonder how old these are?
farm
Love the rustic look.
farm
A perfect setting.

The hay bales reminded me of home and my mom. She always wanted some pictures of her and bales. We need to find some when I get back home and get those pictures done for her. I will have to take away her excuses. If she had been with me on this trip, we would have taken advantage of one of these rolls! Probably the one that was on the edge of the fence, standing all alone.

farm
Look at all the hay! This place is huge.
farm
Hay bales….more and more hay bales.
farm
For my mom.
hay bale farm
The lone greeter.

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The horses were keeping a close eye on me, particularly the big one in the middle. I’m sure they were curious as to why a Floridian was way up here in the hills taken shots of their home.

farm
Farm guardians

I’m glad I detoured off that main road and found this farm. It was absolutely perfect and I hope the owners know how blessed they are to have such a haven.

img_0038 img_0035

 

 

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