Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Sadly, many, many locations I scouted and used for photography are gone now. Bridges widened, houses demolished, crop land increased by a few feet, and then, poof, history disappears! Thank goodness for photos that remain. This location, on the edge of Shannon, is where I took some beautiful shots of Paige in 2011. It’s difficult to see in the bottom photo but there was a lush canopy of trees that met in the middle with grass below. A week ago I took the top, left photo with my phone and, then, Tuesday, the last trees were waiting to get hauled away. As a photographer, I’m especially sensitive to changes in my environment.

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Saturday was the first day that was nice enough to be on Apple Canyon Lake in a boat – and SO many property owners took advantage of that small window of opportunity. Paige giggled and teased and tossed grapes across the length of the boat into her Dad’s mouth. Most of them found their target. Here are a few shots from the day.

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3-2-1 Ribs

August 21, 2013

3-2-1 Rib Smoking was Jim’s project this past Saturday. I’m just learning about the fine points of BBQ but now know that the ribs are cooked unwrapped for three hours, wrapped in foil for two and then unwrapped for the final hour. This gives the meat time to soak in smoke during the first three hours, when most smoke is absorbed. During the wrapped period the ribs are steamed, making them more tender and loosening the meat from the bone. During the last hour the ribs are exposed to the dry, smoky heat again to form a surface crust. This crust is actually called BARK and it’s so yummy! The night prior to smoking, Jim rubbed the ribs with mustard and spices before wrapping them in foil. Being out on the deck with Jim for part of the long cooking time gave me the opportunity to knit in that beautiful weather and to observe this Hummingbird Moth in our back yard.

Jim used a ceramic cooker Dawn found for us at a neighbor’s garage sale in Iowa City. These cookers weight 400 pounds, so, Lars needed to take out some screws so we could lift it into the Highlander.

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A nostalgic meander through northeast Iowa is my idea of a great road trip. The countryside is so lush, hilly and peaceful it almost feels like I’m in Ireland, the Smokey Mountains or northern Wisconsin. The farmland is not planted from road-to-road like it seems to be in Illinois but instead has graceful stands of timber and contour crop plantings.

When we drove down the very first gravel road that we lived on right out of college, we were kind of stunned at how really rural it is. Jim’s first job right after graduation from UNI in Cedar Falls was at the small school district of Elkader, IA, with the fifth grade located all by itself in a teeny, tiny town called Littleport that has since been taken away in a Turkey River flood. I didn’t see a single new house along the road that is 14 miles outside of Elkader, the county seat of Clayton County.

We had two little girls and only one car so most days the three of us were at home finding ways to amuse ourselves. The home was part of a group of three and also part of a large dairy operation. After applying fresh paint in fruity colors to every single room, we were just thrilled to have much more room than we had in married student housing in college. Jim and I did this work on the first warm, summer evenings with our lights beckoning the gnats to fly in and get stuck in our fresh paint. He came home from his summer job surveying new roads for the county, ate supper and then helped me paint.

Our time in Elkader, while short, seemed to have a big impact on our lives. There I learned to plant a vegetable garden, took a pottery class and became involved with the wonderful group that have kept the historic Opera House alive and beautiful. We learned how dairy farms operate and had four litters of little kitties (in just one year) to give away to Jim’s students.

Our road-trip plans included a stay at the Country Inn and Suites in Prairie du Chien but made a spontaneous switch when we came across the Landing, a newly-remodeled inn right on the Mississippi in historic Guttenberg. There we sat on the patio glider and watched orioles, a bald eagle, a river otter and a plethora of boats and barges coming through lock and dam number 10. It was infinitely more interesting than our first choice.

OK – I’m a very bad blogger. I’m a pretty good micro-blogger but these days, I can’t seem to set aside the time for the real blog with the big and beautiful photos and the thoughtful writing. Anyway, here I am. I’ve started a sunset study and plan to carry it through the month of June. I just cannot imagine how these photographers do the 365 projects where they post images every single day for an entire year. I’m just not that disciplined but I can see how this will be a valuable learning experience. Plus, I’ll get out into the country during the most spectacular time of year when the days keep getting longer and the corn grows and it’s warm and just lovely. I’m not venturing any farther than a 10 minute radius from my home in Freeport and I won’t be gone for more that an hour. This is the hard part for me. Once I get going it’s hard for me to stop. This is true in photo sessions, as well. I’ve already discovered roads that I didn’t know existed with places like Pheasants Forever and the RC Modelers field that I had never driven by before.

Today the sunrise was at 5:24 and the sunset was at 8:30. Maybe in September I’ll do a sunrise study when it’s a little later – yeah, right!

Blackhawk War Monument & Cemetery near Kent – great, expansive view here

I’ve Been Waiting for the Perfect Sunset to Photograph these Mailboxes

Spring green is my absolute favorite color. That fresh, brand new olive, shiny green goes away all too quickly.

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I Found Some Color

December 31, 2008

The leaves on this tree caught my eye while walking in the park the past two days – lovely yellow color in a white & brown winter landscape. So, I stopped to get the shot and my dog, Mully, leaps into the front seat and honks the horn at me. I thought, no problem, and then she lays on the horn and doesn’t stop until I get back into the car. I have to remember to take the keys out when the dogs are in the car. I was doing an engagement session this spring and after the couple’s dog had appeared in a couple of photos with them, they put her back in the car. When we moved to the next location, they found their dog had locked them out!

Yellow leaves picture.

Yellow leaves picture.