We here at Iowa Landscape Photography are nothing if not about progress, and the times they are a-changin’. Here’s a photo that has been published on these pages before, but there’s something different… a new logo. I’ve been wanting to do a new logo for a long time now, and the time is finally here. I’m very pleased and excited.
My original logo is something that I threw together in AutoCAD… because that’s my day job and that’s what I’m comfortable with… then I converted it to *.jpg and went from there in Photoshop. I needed something quick and was impatient. Kind of a long strange trip, eh? It was modeled on a silhouette photo of an old windmill at sunset. It was hokey, but it was mine.
I commissioned my friend, Luke Gordon, for the new logo, and gave direction that I wanted to keep the same concept and feel, but modernized and updated. Luke came through with flying colors. You can see the new watermark here in this photo, and the logo itself at the top of this page. If you like his work, and desire to contact him regarding some work for you, let me know and I will give him your contact information.
Keeping in theme with Iowa, I took these about four years ago. They’re at Kinnick Stadium, home to the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. This is at the entrance to the north end of the stadium. It is named for alum Nile Kinnick, the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner, who died in World War 2. According to Wikipedia, it is the only college stadium named for a Heisman Trophy winner.
The statue is very striking. Very dignified. The location is kind of tight, and you don’t really have many good choices for vantage points and good composition. You’re somewhat stuck with what’s there. Move back too far and you get several extraneous things in the shot that seriously detract from the shot. While this can be disappointing, there are still several good opportunities, you just have to look up for most of them. Looking up at a subject isn’t always a bad thing. It adds something of a larger-than-life perspective, which works well in scenes like this.
I like the three layers in this shot. The plants in the foreground add a pleasant aspect that helps break up the hard lines of the stadium structure, in a pleasant way. The statue itself being the main focal point. The ‘sign’ on the stadium wall providing self-explanatory context. I have three shots total from this location currently processed and available, and two of them can be found on my nostalgia page, at least for now.
I’d like to go back and get some more shots from around the stadium, not to mention the historical aspects of Iowa City, itself. I don’t get down to the Iowa City area nearly enough. A nice local flare is always interesting, and helps break up what can be the monotony of farms and barns and windmills.
My ultimate goal… well, one of them, anyway… is to find a really good shot of an old windmill and a new wind turbine. That would be awesome.
In the mean time I have also been looking for anything that showcases the contrast between old vs new. (I love then-and-now photos!) I recently found an old barn surrounded by dozens of new wind turbines. I was able to get several nice shots from various perspectives. This is one of my favorites.
Missy and I were traveling between Champaign, IL, and Ottawa, IL, having taken side trip in a more purposeful venture to eat at Wienerschitzel. Their chili cheese dogs and chili cheese fries are that good, good enough to travel an extra night and four hours out of our way, but I digress.
Anyway, here we are gliding down Hwy 47 and I’m scanning the countryside for something to shoot. I spy this barn down a gravel side road and decide to check it out. Parked about a half mile away, and worked my way up so that I could get several perspectives.
As I got closer I see a hawk perched on top of the roof ridge. It seems to be very interested in this interloper invading its personal space. After several minutes and shots it takes off… in my direction. The bird swooped down about 20 feet above my head. I’m not sure, but I think it might have been sizing me up to decide if I was small enough to haul away for a tasty treat later.
The hawk eventually settled in a safe distance away and left me unmolested. Was kind of a relief. Not only was I going to be dinner, I was also left alone to finish my shoot. I finished up, hiked back to the car, and continued on the trip, and the result is the shot you see here.
Back on July 30th I posted this photo. It’s a great photo, but I wondered if maybe it was too bright. I also asked the question on my Facebook page, and some felt that it might be and said they’d like to see a darker version should I do one. In general, I like darker photos, but I also need to be aware that my tastes aren’t necessarily everyone else’s tastes. Many people prefer brighter photos. Plus, while my darker photos tend to look great on a back lit computer screen, they sometimes look way too dark when actually printed.
So, I reworked the photo a bit. All I did was back off on the exposure a bit… a full stop, actually… and here is the result. Same photo, just a slightly different exposure, and thus a slightly different result and feeling. So tell me, which one do you like better, and why?
Personally, I like the darker version better. It’s easier on my eyes, for one thing, plus it evokes a sense of a softer and less harsh time of day, which adds to the feeling of calm.
It’s been a few weeks since my last post. When not working and doing other life activities I’ve been processing a lot of photos. My goal is to do a major overhaul of my website. I’ve been re-processing many previously done photos. I’m adding a bunch of new photos, some really new ones and some older photos that, for whatever reason, have never been published but I am now realizing how good they are. I am also retiring some photos permanently, photos that I look at and am no longer enamored with and/or they’ve simply never generated a bit of interest.
This photo is one that I’ve never before published. It has a nice old-time feel to it. A link back to a simpler time… a neat yard and a simple tire swing. I almost want to get on the swing myself and go for a ride. I’d probably regret it in the morning, though. haha This was taken near Mt. Vernon, Iowa.
I’m a little unsure of the processing, though. It looked great in Photoshop, but now I post it here and it looks too bright. I naturally favor darker photos, but a lot of people seem to prefer brighter photos. What’s your opinion on this one?
Yep, this is a landscape photography site, but every now and then I’ll post something different. I’ve highlighted Wesley before, and will again. I’ve given a shout-out to Missy, and no doubt will again. And here we have an old car, albeit not necessarily in the original condition, as you can see. I doubt metallic purple was a common color back in the 1930s. I took this shot in Rio Vista, California, I believe in 2001. Oh, and this one hangs on my wall, too.
This car is an old Chevy. I believe it is a 1932, but am not sure. This was handheld, on film, at a car show. I had to do all my shots close-in like this because of all the people wandering around. I didn’t want the people in the shots. I also used a star filter to get the star effect. I almost never use that type of filter, because I do not feel it generally gives a realistic effect, but in this case I thought it worked nicely. I have another identical shot without the star effect, and while it looks more realistic, it doesn’t look as good.
Moral of the story: Rules are made to be broken. (Where have I heard that before?)
This photo was taken on the same day as the previous photo. I was on the way to Backbone State Park and spotted this scene just outside the park, so I stopped to take a few shots.
There wasn’t any one thing that drew me. I cannot point to any single aspect that jumps out at me. It’s just the totality of the scene, in an overall sense. To be honest, it doesn’t necessarily inspire me, either, but it does scream “farm country”, and apparently several other people think so, too.
I posted this shot when I first started my website roughly a decade ago, when I hadn’t yet built up my portfolio of digital shots and I needed to put something up to fill out the website. Somewhat to my surprise, it has sold reasonably well. It sells mostly to native Iowans who now live out-of-state. They tell me it evokes a nostalgic-like feeling in them, and makes them long for “home”.
I can understand that. I have many photos of the Rio Vista Bridge in California and I certainly have nostalgic feelings there. Nostalgia makes us think of other times. Not necessarily better, but could be. We are the totality of our life’s experiences.
This past weekend brought Missy and I to Michigan again. Just a few months ago I had found a photo by another photographer of the Fisher’s Covered Bridge in Deerfield Nature Park, near Mt. Pleasant in Isabella County in Michigan.
It was about an hour drive from our base, and we enjoyed a fantastic sunrise that morning. Just enough cloud cover to catch some orange hues as the sun rose. We didn’t stop for any sunrise shots, though, as nothing jumped out at us.
According to the link above the original bridge was constructed in 1968. I say ‘original’, because it burned in 1995 and was reconstructed in 1996. It is on a steel and concrete structure, so I seriously doubt it has any “legitimate” old-time original purpose, and was maybe constructed simply for the park for aesthetic reasons. That’s my guess, anyway, and it IS just a guess.
I will also add that Deerfield Nature Park is a very nice facility. Hiking trails, a river, and other amenities are available. I would highly recommend it.
Speaking of recommendations, afterward Missy and I went into town and found a local mom-and-pop restaurant for breakfast. Stan’s (aka Stanley’s Famous Restaurant) is located downtown, and we cannot rave enough about it. The place is busy, and for good reason. Even while busy, we never felt neglected nor did we detect anything less than positive attitudes from the staff. This was probably the best place either of us have experienced. It’s basic breakfast fare… eggs, pancakes, hash browns, and so on… and it is simply fantastic. I cannot say if we’ll ever be back to town, but if we are we know where to eat.
All of this is what makes a good road trip… good photos, interesting locations, and yes, even experiencing new places to eat. It’s all good.
Yesterday was a rainy and windy day. Missy and I had been planning a road trip for over a week. I had decided that I wanted to look and try to find some wildflowers and/or prairie that might make a good shot. We decided to take the road trip in spite of the weather. Packed up the car, packed up the gear, packed up Wesley, packed up Missy, and off we went, into the wilds of Iowa.
We didn’t take a single shot, it was too rainy and windy, but that didn’t matter. We found a really cool old cemetery in Rochester Township near Tipton. It was a very charming place, both old and new, and still maintained. If a cemetery can be charming, this was it. We did stop and look and scout, and Wesley had a great time… especially when we visited Missy’s work and dogs are allowed. It was still a fun day and we made plans to go back when the weather is better. It takes only about 45 minutes to get there.
Since we didn’t take photos I don’t have a new one to share, but I will post some when we go back. The photo here is a sunset photo in Des Moines from a couple years ago during another road trip.
Another information source for the cemetery can be found here.
This photo has always been a favorite of both Missy and I. We took this about three years ago near McCallsburg, Iowa, in Story County. The image evokes kind of a nostalgic feel and nicely contrasts the old and the new. That and the quality and richness of colors is what makes it so appealing, I think. This photo is yet another example is stumbling onto something when you least expect it.
In our case, we had attended an all-day Toastmasters meeting in Ames. We chose to take an indirect route home, avoiding the main highway and using still-nice, but rural, county roads. Took longer, but we had the luxury of time, and we did purposely want to see new places both with photography in mind and simply just to see new things.
What’s strange, to me at least, is that in spite of how much we like this photo, we haven’t done much with it, and I cannot explain why. I’ve never put it up on my website for sale (that will change soon). I’ve never really displayed it, except a couple incidental publishings, and I think I entered it into a club contest once. This needs to go on my wall.