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A fallen leaf on the season’s first snow at Terrace Park in Sioux Falls.
A fallen leaf on the season’s first snow at Terrace Park in Sioux Falls.
Fallen leaves on snow at Terrace Park, Sioux Falls.
Fallen leaves on snow at Terrace Park, Sioux Falls.
Fallen snow on a leaf at Terrace Park, Sioux Falls.
Fallen snow on a leaf at Terrace Park, Sioux Falls.
Yellow-rumped warbler at Terrace Park, Sioux Falls.
Yellow-rumped warbler at Terrace Park, Sioux Falls.
Squirrel with a snack at Terrace Park, Sioux Falls.
Squirrel with a snack at Terrace Park, Sioux Falls.
Harvest haze in rural southwestern Minnehaha County.
Harvest haze in rural southwestern Minnehaha County.
October rainbow over a red barn in rural Minnehaha County.
October rainbow over a red barn in rural Minnehaha County.
Backlit rain behind a prairie windmill a few miles northwest of Wall Lake.
Backlit rain behind a prairie windmill a few miles northwest of Wall Lake.
Autumn colors along a hiking trail at the Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon.
Autumn colors along a hiking trail at the Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon.
Leaf detail at Big Sioux Recreation Area.
Leaf detail at Big Sioux Recreation Area.
Downy woodpecker at Big Sioux Recreation Area.
Downy woodpecker at Big Sioux Recreation Area.
Blue jay at Big Sioux Recreation Area.
Blue jay at Big Sioux Recreation Area.
Northern cardinal at Big Sioux Recreation Area.
Northern cardinal at Big Sioux Recreation Area.
Autumn arch reflected along the Luce hiking trail at Lake Herman State Park near Madison.
Autumn arch reflected along the Luce hiking trail at Lake Herman State Park near Madison.
Cedar waxwing determined to get that perfect red treat at Lake Herman State Park.
Cedar waxwing determined to get that perfect red treat at Lake Herman State Park.
An old barn along the James River in rural Davison County.
An old barn along the James River in rural Davison County.
A whitetail doe along the James River road near Milltown.
A whitetail doe along the James River road near Milltown.
A lone tree with harvest haze at sunset south of Bridgewater.
A lone tree with harvest haze at sunset south of Bridgewater.
A mallard pair on Covell Lake in Sioux Falls.
A mallard pair on Covell Lake in Sioux Falls.
Autumn leaf detail at the Japanese Gardens of Terrace Park in Sioux Falls.
Autumn leaf detail at the Japanese Gardens of Terrace Park in Sioux Falls.
Autumn leaf detail at the Japanese Gardens of Terrace Park in Sioux Falls.
Autumn leaf detail at the Japanese Gardens of Terrace Park in Sioux Falls.
A late October sunset over Buffalo Slough near Chester.
A late October sunset over Buffalo Slough near Chester.
Ice art with fallen leaves at the Outdoor Campus of Sioux Falls.
Ice art with fallen leaves at the Outdoor Campus of Sioux Falls.
Ice art with fallen leaves and running water at the Outdoor Campus of Sioux Falls.
Ice art with fallen leaves and running water at the Outdoor Campus of Sioux Falls.

In a Thanksgiving Mood

Nov 15, 2018

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been compiling this online photography column for seven years. I’m thankful for the opportunity the folks at the magazine gave me back in the late summer of 2011. Contributing has given me a concrete reason, besides my general wanderlust, to explore South Dakota. Meeting column deadlines with something worth sharing has honed my photography style and skills. For that I am truly grateful. Since it is the season of Thanksgiving, I thought it might be apropos in this edition to list a few more things for which I am thankful.

First, since this November has come in rather cold and windy, I’m thankful I own a couple good pairs of long johns, plenty of warm socks, a good jacket and waterproof boots. That winter wind is tougher to be thankful for, but without the cold and gray, how would we appreciate those perfect June days?

I’m also thankful for the freedom to roam the back roads; the variety of public lands; city, state and national parks; and friends and relatives who allow me access to experience so much. I’m thankful for my pickup that isn’t quite paid for and tends to drink too much gasoline. I’m thankful for football games, podcasts and good music to keep me company while the miles roll away.

I’m thankful to my folks who encouraged my late-blooming interest in photography. I was in college when they went out on a limb and helped me buy my first “real” camera, a used Minolta Maxxum 7000 film camera with three lenses. They followed it up with a brand new Bogen tripod for Christmas that same year. I still remember Dad making it quite clear that he expected me to use the gifts and not waste the opportunity. Mom has been my biggest fan and often jokes about being my marketing person. And she’s not wrong. It was my mom who first encouraged me to reach out to South Dakota Magazine because she was “just sure” they’d want to print my photos. I distinctly remember telling her that I didn’t think that was how it worked, but, as usual, Mother knew best.

I’m thankful for mentors, friends and collaborators along the way. From exchanging ideas to working together to get specific results, I’m grateful for all the help I’ve had. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised to meet and become friends with so many folks because of this photography hobby of mine — accomplished musicians, inspiring entrepreneurs, church and community leaders and just good old-fashioned, hard-working farmers and ranchers. This ride has been a blessing, and when I actually pause to think about it, I can’t help but be overcome with gratitude.

That brings me to the end of another column in which I get to show off and celebrate South Dakota. I think that’s really cool because I’m truly thankful that I live in this place. There is beauty to be found even on cold, almost winter days when the wind cuts you to the bone. There is art evident in our sunsets, unfolding drama in the sky, exquisite detail in the undergrowth and a wealth of wonder in our wildlife. Thanks to the Creator and thanks to all of you for letting me share this place as my camera and I see it. Happy Thanksgiving!

Christian Begeman grew up in Isabel and now lives in Sioux Falls. When he's not working at Midcontinent Communications he is often on the road photographing South Dakota’s prettiest spots. Follow Begeman on his blog.

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