Monday, April 27, 2015

Keokuk's Battle of Appomattox Ends Reenactment Series after 28 Years

A deeply sorrowed 'President Lincoln' watches the final surrender ceremonies at Keokuk, Iowa's Rand Park this past Sunday. The reenactment featured the replay of the Battle of Appomattox and the surrender of General Lee. Following the ceremony, actors from both sides resumed their normal personalities. Mr. Lincoln (who is played by Max Daniels of Wheaton, IL) posed with many audience members for selfies and group photos.

Keokuk's tourism board decided to not go forward with the Civil War series due to dwindling audience attendance, aging reenactment member population and the lack of younger members joining the players community. At Sunday's reconstructed battle a crowd of 300 or so people looked on to experience the sights and sounds of soldiers, horses, canons, guns, tents, bands and of course the Lincolns.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Illinois Central in Independence, Iowa

A favorite photo subject of mine whenever I go to Independence, Iowa is this long retired three car train. This time I tried an aperture priority at f/22 but it was this f/9 version that won the battle. The sky conditions were sunny with some haze. Since Independence was once served by the Illinois Central Railroad (a portion of the depot is in the background) and this is an Illinois Central locomotive, coal tender and caboose the following is appropriate from song composer Steve Goodman:

"...All along the southbound odyssey - the train pulls out of Kankakee
And rolls along past houses, farms, and fields..."
- The City of New Orleans

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fragments of Amana's Past Shore Up the Lily Pond

Along the shore of Amana, Iowa's lily pond there are fragments of fill material. The former wetlands depression was made into a pond when the mill run was dug many years ago to provide water power to the society's woolen mill. Among the fill material exposed is this brick and mortar material from an unknown source. Most likely the bricks can be matched locally to buildings in Amana and therefore a date can be established. If you are looking for some detective work - here's a project for you.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Iowa Byways at Amana's Lily Pond

Directly across from Amana's lily pond is this Iowa Byways sign. In the summer the lily pond looks much like the sign with blooming yellow water lilies but not so much at the moment.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Iowa Honor Guard

An honor guard unit presents the flags of Iowa and the United States at an award presentation in Johnston, Iowa this weekend.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chief Black Hawk's Hat in Exchange for Food

Sauk and Fox Chief Black Hawk continues to be studied here in the Midwest. Long after the 1832 Black Hawk War, his arrest near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and later death in 1838, he remains a strong influence on the region and in American lore. At the Des Moines County Historical Museum in Burlington, Iowa situated in the heart of Sauk and Fox country the chief's hat and autobiography were on display earlier. The revolving exhibit may have closed by now.

A nearby sign near the chief's hat reads that Mrs. Evan Evans received this beaded hat from Black Hawk in exchange for food. Mrs. Evans' great, great granddaughter donated the hat to the Burlington Free Public Library in 1965.

Following his death, Black Hawk's Iowaville grave was dug up and his bones removed. His remains were to have resided in an office in Burlington shortly after their removal. That office was destroyed by fire and presumably his bones were lost too. But there is growing speculation that Black Hawk's bones may have been stored in an office across the street and therefore survived the fire. The physical trail ends there at the moment but his legacy lives on.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Revisiting Coal Creek in the Black Forest

A couple of years ago I took some late afternoon photos of nearby Indian Creek at f/22. Photos looked so dark that I played with the name of the creek and location. That post received some interest from Germany. These photos are from a couple of days ago near sunset, ISO 200 and f/22 of the same spot on Indian Creek.

All three of these photos are in full un-retouched color and owe their dark inkiness to a tight aperture and slow ISO.

A few seconds later the sun passed into the tree line and the light changed fast. Maybe one day I can get to the Black Forest and take some real dark green imagery of the historic woods.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Canada Bookin' in Flight

Sounds of geese honking turned my head. I saw two Canadas flying over the creek bed at a fast clip. My camera was set up for an f/22 exposure and 200 ISO, so it wasn't going to freeze the action. Since the light level was fading, I didn't have much hope for sharpness too. As I panned with the bird I hoped the photo would turn out well. I think the bird in flight image turned out rather interesting.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Slice of Wood Reveals All

A wooded area adjacent to Indian Creek in Cedar Rapids is being cleared for flood protection reasons. Part of the clearing activity is the harvesting of trees. These two mid sized trunks are being piled for removal. Their inner rings reveal the history of the flood prone area.

What is unclear is whether these two trees were once involved in a fire. The burnt orange ring is either evidence of a fire, disease, water or an over heated chain saw.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pickin' the Pickers in LeClaire, Iowa

I hadn't been to the American Pickers place for nearly three years. They have added a brick building that houses some of their TV finds and lots of souvenirs. The car which is a Nash Statesman Super is seen in many episodes and is located on the front of the property.
Their original store is still open and filled with picked items and souvenirs too. On this day - no Mike, no Frank and no Danielle but Emily who does the store's social media was there.
Inside the new brick building is the 1940 Indian motorcycle that Frank and Mike pulled from the earth in Salem, MA in April 2014 - Season 6, Episode 21. The title of the episode is the Legend of the Lost Indian.