Monday, August 10, 2020

Riveting Span over Pine Creek

In Iowa terms, 144 years is a long time ago. But that's when a Canton, Ohio bridge company made iron truss spans, rods and rivets for a bridge that was constructed over Pine Creek, northeast of Muscatine, Iowa. That single intersection truss bridge still stands and is now part of Wildcat Den State Park. Today the sun position was just so in illuminating the pitted bridge span surface and its shadow casting rivets. Almost a century and a half's worth of weathering and lichen growth adds rustic charm to the bridge aesthetics. Ultimately, those elements will lead to the bridge's structural demise - hopefully not for another 150 years.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Meet the Best Angler on the Cedar River

A few days ago this colorful heron filled itself with small fish caught from the Cedar River.  The bird looks to be a Great Blue Heron based on its bill colors, head and neck feathers. The water's color is due to the reflection of nearby green foliage and seasonal algae.

The expert angler fished in the afternoon sun, below the low head dam at Palisades Kepler State Park near Mount Vernon, Iowa. Apparently unfazed by my approach, the heron made the choice of catching food versus fleeing. Smart bird.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Fishing Opportunity During the Pandemic

At some point during the COVID-19 pandemic, the loosening of shelter at home restrictions coincided with warm weather and sunshine in northeast Iowa. One of the joys of this new found freedom is fishing. Earlier this Spring, these two anglers tried their luck in Shell Rock just below the roller dam. While personal flotation devices were certainly within reach, and social distancing was practiced in the boat, the fish just were not biting that particular afternoon. These guys did not mind.

Friday, June 26, 2020

DEKALB Country in Northern Iowa

Corn is king in the Midwest. DEKALB seed corn is one of several leading brands grown throughout 42N country. In this particular field near Shell Rock, Iowa, some 203 miles from company headquarters in DeKalb, IL, there is no mistake as to what this farmer plants. I believe this display is also a weather station. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Glacial Deposit from 12,000 Years Ago in Iowa Fields

During the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago, glaciers deposited granite rock on what would become Iowa fields. Typically the granite is well rounded and range from a few inches in size to several feet. Some house-size boulders can be found scattered around the state. A road trip in farming areas will usually yield sights of granite rock piles on the edge of farm fields. These piles represent the land owners collection of stones harvested over time as the fields are worked mechanically. With some analysis these granite specimens can be identified as originating from Minnesota or further north in Canada.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Venus Visits the Pleiades

Our closest planetary neighbor, Venus, passed near the Pleiades, an open star cluster in early April 2020. This alignment was a stunning sight with the naked eye as well as with any magnification. Just this week Venus and our Moon aligned for another great show - if you had a cloudless view. A host of comets were also predicted to offer a sky show this year but two have fizzled as they rounded the sun. However, there is another promising ice ball (Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) on its way and may be seen in the northern hemisphere during mid-July. We will see.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Grain Bins of Lisbon, Iowa

Just north of Lisbon, Iowa is a farm with these grain bins on the property. Bins shelter harvested corn or soybeans for livestock feed or delivery to market. On this day, a cold front passed through and offered a more dramatic sky than normal.

Friday, June 19, 2020

World's Largest Umpire Calls Strikes and Balls in Ryan, Iowa

The world's largest umpire can be seen in Ryan, Iowa. Since 1981 the former Happy Chef icon from a restaurant in Cedar Rapids, has been calling outs in a second career at Ryan's baseball diamond. His right hand once held a big spoon as a restaurant chef. Restorers fashioned the spoon into a finger, added face mask and hat, and gave him a new paint wardrobe.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Over There: Mechanicsville's Spirit of the American Doughboy Statute

The Spirit of the American Doughboy statue in Mechanicsville, Iowa is a favorite photo target of mine. Although I have posted other photos of the E.M. Viquesney sculpture previously, this time the corn is coming up in the fields during Memorial Day weekend. The WWI doughboy is one of several statues sold to communities following the Great War for use in cemeteries, parks and near municipal buildings.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Capcom to Iowa - We have Grain

Modern grain bins dot the Midwest landscape. Looking like huge Apollo command and service modules (or Orion capsules in modern space exploration terms), some bin complexes contain grain transport tubes that resemble construction cranes. In Iowa, these massive structures store corn and soybeans. This bin is one of several located near Haverhill.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Jesus of Haverhill, Iowa

Located in a small Catholic cemetery in Haverhill, Iowa is this life size crucifixion display rising out of the farmland. The rural area is dominated by corn and soybean fields, farms and grain elevators. A black and white treatment of the image brings out the contrast of the cross with the Jesus icon and clouds.

Monday, June 15, 2020

VIDEO: Memorial Day 2020 - Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown, Iowa

Memorial Day 2020 at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown, Iowa. 90 seconds of flags flying over the veterans' headstones with ambient sounds of nature and nearby street traffic.

Monday, March 16, 2020

A View Through Maintenance Gate 8

Accessing a clear view of a runway at the Eastern Iowa Airport (CID) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa is limited. But there is just enough room to place a telephoto zoom lens through the opening to capture arriving and departing planes. 

Last weekend was the start of local Spring Break. With the widespread corvid-19 making its rounds, the idea of social distancing is in full force. In this case it means many midwesterners have a chance to get away for a week against the risk of quarantine or a delayed return.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Photographing a Fast Moving 1946 Beech D18S Aircraft

Several years ago, I photographed this 1946 Beech D18S with twin 450 hp engines at Blakesburg, Iowa's annual fly-in known as the Historic Airfield Rally to Antique Airfield. Now, through the magic of Photoshop, the image comes alive as it races to take off. See the original unedited photo below.

Here's a list of what was done to the top image to give it a more dramatic feel:
1. Zoom in and crop
2. Straighten the ground perspective
3. Increase sharpening
Now the magic..
4. Select subject
5. Invert selection
6. With inversion fixed on the background, use the blur tool for the desired effect.
7. Export as a JPG, save PSD file

I'm sure there is fine tuning that could be applied, however this version turned out well. And, by the way, as a spectator on the field close to the grass runway, I can tell you that this plane books, as well as it should, with twin 450s delivering powerful thrust. It was quite the site with other spectators remarking that it resembled the body style of Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Model 10 E Electra.