Sunday, February 16, 2014

A View to Magnetic North

My old compass still shows the way to magnetic north. This 16-point compass displays the four main cardinal points plus the 12 half wind directions. The traditional north symbol, a fleur-de-lis has been stylized from its French origins to something else from Germany. Looks to be pre-WWII. Now you will never be lost.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wyoming Coal Delivery Via the Union Pacific

The lights came on, the bell started ringing and the gates came down. Traffic stopped at the UP crossing in SE Cedar Rapids to let a fast moving train zip on by. Locomotive 6053 moved pretty quickly from the west pulling several cars filled with coal, that is most likely from the Gillette, Wyoming area mines.

One of the highlights of this fast mover was the cloud of snow that was kicked up by the moving train. The effect produced a small snowstorm in the immediate area as the powder snow settled nearby after the train past.

At the end of the train, where the traditional caboose would have been was an unexpected surprise. A pusher locomotive occupied the last position giving the train a bit more oomph to move that coal. Commonplace? Maybe, but its interesting to see how the nation's infrastructure works on the rails - in the winter - with a load of coal - moving fast.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Seems like it is a long winter. With camera pointed through the back window for photo ideas, this well fed squirrel chomps away on birdseed that he knocked from the feeder above. Its probably the same animal that I photographed a few posts ago. You are seeing this image because it turned out fairly nice and is in focus for being shot through a window.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Snowy Jesus at the Sisters of Mercy

A February 1st snowfall gave much of the region another 2-3" of precipitation. The Jesus statue at the Sisters of Mercy Sacred Heart Convent in Cedar Rapids seems to wear the winter of 2013-14 like a blanket. Perhaps his halo can warm this relentless cycle of polar vortex cold. There's always a snowball's chance.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Industrial Processes at Work

Cloudy, gloomy day? No problem when you have a camera. Following a small snowfall early this morning the skies remained cloudy with signs of clearing to the west. A ride around town for some weather related photo opps produced this industrial scene at the local Dupont plant in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Lots of textures, lines and forms combine for good subject matter.

Wintertime Backyard Critters

A visit to my backyard bird feeder this morning brought this colorful female cardinal. The more colorful male was around but never flew close to camera range. A couple of inches of snow fell last night making it difficult for birds and squirrels to find food.

What food the birds do disturb from the feeder, the squirrels make into a meal. This one looks well fed. It should be, after climbing all over the feeders and chowing down seeds all season long. A daily gang of deer also check out the bird feeder. Since deer generally feed during the evening, I haven't been able to get a decent photo of them - yet.