Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cat on a Cool Limestone Rock

The Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, Illinois (near the Quad Cities) is home to many animals large and small. On the large side is this leopard who was cooling off on a huge rock in the midday sun when I came around. Zoo keepers made sure the animals get lots of water and shade from this oppressive summer heat. In the case of the leopard he was content by letting his body heat be absorbed by the limestone slab while checking for intruders as a potential quick snack.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

FiFi - It Was a Dark and Stormy Night at KCID Cedar Rapids

Once again Fifi, the WWII B-29 is on Cedar Rapids concrete for a few days. She will be joined by other WWII era combat planes and trainers for static display and rides. This shot came at a time of diminishing light and increasing rain. Besides having to photograph through chain link fencing the potential for me to be a lightning rod was very high. Go visit the plane if you are in the area.

Spectacular Sunset in Cedar Rapids Tonight

A spectacular sunset tonight in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In the foreground is Penford Products, a bio starch producer. Aside from correcting a tilt, there was no post production filtering used. A thunderstorm was passing to the south of the city at sunset. There was a rainbow too - but my photo of that was poor at best.

Fifty Shades of Green

Strong sunlight is filtered by scores of trees in the Wapsipinicon State Park near Anamosa, Iowa. Soaring high humidity seems to feed all things green to bring out Nature's spectacular verdant shades.

The canopy of green light is so vivid that you may think it will last forever. But in about two months the first day of fall arrives and with it the green will become yellow, red, orange and brown. Enjoy these green days while the summer lasts. I will.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Iowa's Most Abundant Grain Crop Looks Great During the Summer of 2015

This is Iowa. We are situated in the western corn belt of the United States. The state's soil type and near perfect growing conditions help produce record or near record amounts of corn annually. Most of the corn you see throughout the state is used as feed or turned into ethanol. However Iowa's sweet corn is some of the best around.

According to the USDA in 2014, Iowa corn farmers grew almost 2.4 billion bushels of corn on 13.2 million acres of land. This year (2015) Iowa is projected to grow over 2.3 billion bushels of corn on 12.6 million acres of land.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Who You Lookin' At?

A close up of a bug-eyed bug resting on a chunk of calcite today. This morning the local area received 1/2 inch to 2 inches of rain followed by soaring humidity. This winged creature was apparently trying to soak up more sun before taking off. I am positive that he was aware that I was invading his airspace.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Ah, the mystic ZA GA ZIG organization and all the charitable work they do. Outside of this cool fez for sale are the symbolic meanings of the scimitar and crescent over the star. While their meanings will take some research the availability of the symbol was near enough to be photo captured.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Purple Velvet Clarinet

This clarinet in a well worn carrying case was for sale at an outdoor antique sale in downtown Mount Vernon, Iowa earlier this month. The sale is part of a growing regional event since Hanson's Grove closed last year. Mount Vernon, Iowa City and Amana have picked up the slack and have committed space and dealers to attract people and dollars.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Some Impressions From the T-6 Trainer Association Gathering at Dubuque Regional Airport

The T-6 Trainer Association meets the weekend of the start of EAA's Oshkosh air spectacular, The T-6 Texans stag at the Dubuque Regional Airport for a private gathering where the pilots practice two by two take offs and formation drills. This year I was able to visit the planes from both sides of the fence with the help of some event organizers. This photo is of a spotless T-6 that sports a chrome and paint look. I thought the contrast of metal and paint made for a great composition. Note the Iowa backdrop.
Two P-51 Mustangs were also present on the tarmac. The Rebel was cleaned before its flight to Wisconsin. I'm guessing that the cost to purchase this would be a couple of millions of dollars if it were on the market. Who knows what it costs to maintain it?

I met Tom Swindle from the Fort Worth, Texas area. Tom watched his pilot buddy fly a T-6 earlier in the day. Tom works at Cowtown Aerocrafters where WWII era aircraft are restored and maintained.

This is usually my vantage point to see the Oshkosh bound WWII planes. Sometimes I can get the lens through the chain link fence or in between the gate door. This year was a bit different.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Thank You From North American T-6 Texans Over Dubuque Regional Airport

This afternoon about 25 AT6 single-engine advanced trainer aircraft departed the Dubuque Regional Airport bound for EAA's Oshkosh fly in (also known as OSH). The T-6s were joined by two P-51 Mustangs which departed a few minutes before the trainers. The Texans practiced formations over a two day period flying throughout the Mississippi River valley.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Collection of Old Time Clicks

Nothing like a collection to make you smile. My first camera was a hand me down just a year or two younger than the Brownie model above. I may still have it somewhere or gave it away long ago. The twin lens reflex was my first excursion into photography, a passion that began on 620 film and continues today digitally.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Discovering Steve Scorfina at the Lincoln Highway Antiques Extravaganza

Went to the Lincoln Highway Antiques Extravaganza in Mt. Vernon, Iowa on July 4th. Talked to a dealer about a variety of things. When the topic of music came around he told me that he was the lead guitarist for REO Speedwagon - but left just before the band made it big. He also played with Pavlov's Dog band. His name is Steve Scorfina. I Googled him and yup, that's him. Steve still plays and fronts the Soul Steel Band. He is also recording a song with good friend Michael McDonald formerly of the Doobies. Here he is showing me a 1930 steel guitar. Rock on Steve!