A Blast from the Past

Red Barn near Calaveritas, California
Red Barn near Calaveritas, California

As we end August let’s go back to April… 2004.  I was still living in California.  I was into my photography.  I had another website that I allowed to go defunct a couple years ago (I don’t even own the URL anymore), and this was one of the premier photos.

Now, California is known for its awesome beauty.  The Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite National Park, the redwood forests, the coast, and yes, even the desert.  So much to choose from.  And yet even within all that splendor, you can find little nuggets like this.

This photo has always been one of my all-time favorites.  I shot it several times from varying angles, and was never disappointed.  I spoke with the owner one day… an extremely nice gentleman… and he told me that its even better in the winter with snow on the ground.  I can believe it.  I would be willing to make a special trip back just for that.

I plan to incorporate some of my better west coast photos into my blog and website, though they will remain primarily Iowa and the Midwest.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, this photo is still literally a “wall hanger” in my home.

Always take your camera with you

Calvary Cemetery, near Ryan, Iowa
Calvary Cemetery, near Ryan, Iowa

Leave early for work or your appointment, especially if you’re going to be driving around sunrise and/or sunset.  Always take you camera gear with you.  Maybe not everything you own on every trip, but the basics… camera body, tripod, a couple lenses and/or a versatile zoom lens.  A polarizer filter is always handy when you need one, as is a remote release of some kind.  Personally, I also like to carry a bubble level that attaches to the hot shoe to help me keep things level.  (Tilted horizons are one of my two biggest pet peeves.)

Because, if you do, you can get shots like this when you see them, instead of driving on by figuratively kicking yourself for leaving your gear at home.  And trust me, I have certainly done that more times than I care to count.

I shot this series handheld and bumped the ISO up to 800 purposely to get a slightly grainy effect.  I thought that would help with the moody feeling of the scene.

This particular photo was taken just after sunrise on a nice foggy morning.  It is the Calvary Cemetery just south of Ryan, Iowa, on State Highway 13.  I will have to stop there more often.  It’s a neat little cemetery.

The View from Iowa!

MW-4-118Right now, this is it.  As you drive down the road, this is pretty much all you see.  Corn and more corn and still more corn, as far as the eye can see, and taller than you are.  It’s like being the short person at a general admission rock concert.

Not being a farm boy myself, I was somewhat shocked when I first moved here.  The planting season is late, compared to what I was used to seeing on the west coast, and the corn starts out slow, then increases at a dramatic pace as the summer winds down.

Sweet corn near the end of summer is a BIG DEAL in these parts.  You will see stands everywhere.  Prices range from $3/dozen to $6/dozen, and quality is not consistent.  There’s a place just outside Manchester that has fantastic quality sweet corn.  They’re $5/dozen and well worth it.

Soon will come the harvest and the landscape will feel naked.  And we’ll have to do it all again next year.  I can’t wait!