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Shutters, apertures, nature and more

Bridge over the Niobrara River.

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is one of my favorite places in the world. I like it so much, I’ve left instructions in my will to spread my ashes there.

A few weeks ago, KC Heath, co-owner of Nspire Today forwarded me an email about John Emery, a black and white large format photographer, who was going to be their artist in residence. KC thought it would be an awesome story. I agreed, but it’s not the kind of story Nspire does. We talked for a few minutes and I said, “You know what, KC? I like taking pictures and I love being in nature. They’re both good for my mental health, especially when I can actually go and do those things. I can write my column about it.”

Just a few cool photos

I wanted to share one of my recent favorites again for this post because I find myself looking at it often and smiling.

Throughout 2023, I’ve been taking steps to spend more time outside and slowly get back into the world. I took a break from the world for a while for two reasons.

The first was that I worked the night shift and worked three 1-hour shifts on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. This doesn’t leave a lot of time to do anything else, especially when you stick to that time all week.

The second I haven’t really spoken much about until lately. I don’t know how much I’ll share, but therapy had become a detriment for me and I couldn’t really see it. It’s not that I didn’t want to go out and do things, I literally couldn’t. It wasn’t depression. It was the extreme fatigue that comes with constant flashbacks.

I think that’s all I will say for now as I wanted to share some neat photos I took. There isn’t really a long story for each one, just something cool I wanted to share and put out there.

Photo Essay: An adventure in an adventure

One of my favorite places to hike is the Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. If you sit quietly anywhere, you can hear the birds and the crickets. If you’re there on the right day, you might hear elk or see bighorn sheep.

Today, I went for a hike with my friend, Jen, who is relatively new to the Scottsbluff area. We hiked a little over five miles in total.

This is our adventure, or mis-adventure if you’ve ever hiked with me.

I didn’t go looking for fish anyway

Nine Mile Creek State Wildlife Management Area is a great place to fish for trout in western Nebraska. I don’t fish, so this is not that story.

Starting off on the right foot

In my first excursion into the world with other people in 10 months, I began 2021 on a high note. Traveling with my friends Steve, Katie, and Jeff, we hiked to the top of the bluff at the Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area, walked across the bluff to the far side and back. After 8.5 miles, it was my first physically distanced, non-mask wearing trip since February 2020.


Pronghorn are notoriously difficult to get close to in western Nebraska. They are naturally skittish and always on high alert for predators. Most people in Scotts Bluff County will see them racing in the fields away from anyone trying to catch a glimpse of the majestic animals.

At Custer State Park, pronghorn wander freely as there is little worry of their natural predators – coyotes, bobcats, and golden eagles – preying on them. Cars are always a danger, but they seem carefree as they run across the open land.

Pronghorns are diurnal and are active between dawn and dusk. They live for about 10 years. Some linger and let you get within 20-30 feet of them.

The only way to soar is to believe you can fly

A mule deer runs around the back of the Scotts Bluff National Monument in the late afternoon.

One thing I wanted to work on in 2020 was becoming a better photographer. I’m an okay one right now. I know I can get better. It takes practice, thought about how to frame your picture and why you are taking the picture, and some more practice.

A walk in the fog

Two hours after starting our hike, the fog has mostly cleared and Chimney Rock can now be seen.

I have written about how the day after Labor Day is the worst day of the year for me, so my friend, Sandra, offered to take me on a hike the day before to try to create some happy memories around this time of year.

A hike into history

The first visitors to the area called the sandstone slabs resting upon their clay pillars, toadstools. The name stuck. Each year, thousands of people are drawn to western Nebraska to see the unique landscape known as Toadstool Geologic Park.

I’m not saying it was Aliens but…

I read a lot of things on the internet so you don’t have to. I research and look at the all the angles to make sure I can dig down to the truth. Then I share it with you.

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