One cannot live and work in Washington County without being in awe of the beauty in our neighborhoods, parks and countryside. Over the next few days we may reach the peak of our autumn color. For the most part, the trees seem to have recovered from the drought conditions of a few years ago and last summer’s hailstorm.
I have taken snapshots of beautiful trees in Fort Calhoun and Arlington and throughout Blair. Every time I think I have seen “the” most extraordinary tree, I come upon another just as beautiful. The rainstorm on Friday that fortunately did not affect the State Cross Country meet in Kearney cleansed the air of dust and pollen providing optimal leaf peeping weather.
And speaking of State Cross Country, congratulations to Fort Calhoun runner Taya Skelton for winning the Class C girls state cross-country title. I have watched and photographed the diminutive runner leading the pack at cross-country meets throughout the season, and she did the same thing during the Class C State contest on Friday. Kudos as well to individual performances by Fort Calhoun Sophomore Colton Folkers and Blair runners Evan and Alec Wick and the tenth place Blair boys team finish. Blair runners Mia Nielsen and Magdalene O’Brien also finished with excellent times.
As a news photographer, every now and then I get the chance to do something totally different from anything I have ever done before. That certainly was the case ten days ago when I climbed onto the saddle of Dondi Eckert’s power parachute aircraft for a scenic ride over western Washington County.
I had not totally made up my mind to take the ride until online editor Leeanna Ellis and I arrived at Eckert’s home overlooking the Elkhorn river valley for the interview. As we talked with Eckert I got more and more excited, and knew I would be disappointed if I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.
Sitting up behind Eckert, the sensation was something like riding a motorcycle in the sky. We took off from a harvested alfalfa field, and circled over the Camp Fontanelle corn maze before heading south along the Elkhorn river valley toward Arlington. It was a beautiful morning for a ride and just a bit gusty. The view was fabulous, and the video is posted on the enterprisepub website.
Another memorable experience this month was photographing the Blair musical production dress rehearsals of “Les Miserables.” I have attended many high school musicals over the years, but none more spectacular than this Blair production. Performances by lead singers and actors Nick Nelsen, Sarah Koch, Emma Thomas and others too numerous to mention were extraordinary.