Fallen Rock Preserve

Fallen Rock Preserve

Base Of Sandstone 2

Even the onset of a nasty head cold couldn’t prevent me from getting out early on the morning of Dec 23. The above image is of Steamboat Rock located in Tower Park south of Steamboat Rock Iowa. This day I went to the top of it, something I have never done in past visits. Not sure of the exact path to the top so I just did a zig-zag switchback trip up the 30 to 45 degree incline.

The view from the top was nice and my vertigo kept me away from the edge but I found a split Birch tree at the top and took a few images of that view.

On Top Of Steamboat 2

A late December climb of Steamboat Rock above the Iowa River in Hardin County Iowa. A scene more indicative of Autumn not Winter.

Fallen Rock Preserve lies past the sandstone monolith and is a secluded nature preserve of untouched woodlands and hills. I did not venture in too far as my cold was getting to be a hindrance. I was fascinated by the birch trees at the top of the hill. All were shaped with a lean to them from the prevailing winds that travel up the hillsides.

Prevailing Winds

Fallen Rock State Preserve

Winter Visit of Brush Creek

Winter Visit of Brush Creek

The first day of Winter arrived and it still had a feel of Autumn. Forecast temps were to be in the 40’s to 50’s the next few days and I took advantage of the weather to see how Brush Creek Canyon would look at this time of year. Normally it is snowed in and unreachable this time of year.

Brush Creek Solstice

It was a tough hike, as always, but this time the ground was frozen with a layer of frosted leaves all about the forest. One had to make sure of his footing in most places. I really liked the above scene as the dolomite block had the appearance of a rustic old cabin with the logs laying on top. As the light hit the open waters of Brush Creek steam rose adding to the scene.

Frozen Cascades

A further hike in to Moine Creek with it’s dolomite boulder field revealed water frozen in time. But you could hear the water flowing under the ice. I made the hike out and got rather warm from the strenuous hike back to my car. I ended up getting a nasty head cold that to this writing has stuck with me for a week now. I did manage another visit to another preserve a couple of days later but will post on that trip in a future blog.

Brush Creek Solstice 2

Hard time between seasons

Hard time between seasons

Went out this morning and hike in Maynes Grove and Mallory Park both south of Hampton Iowa. I must have covered 3 miles hiking in the woods looking for something to capture. My favorite one of the day is the below image of a fallen oak leaf on a bed of moss. Become difficult finding images when the colors are gone and the snows have not arrived.

Another one I kind of liked is below, Minimalism shots are the ticket when you fall in between the seasons.

Spring Woodlands

Spring Woodlands

Earlier this past spring I did a lot of hiking in the woods. Everywhere I found fungus growing I would take a picture of them. I particularly liked this one because of the color and the way the saddle back mushrooms stepped their way up the dead tree trunk. I had this printed up as a 68 x 80 wall tapestry to cover a part of the bedroom walls.

Some would look at this scene as chaotic with the dead fall but I see it as true to what the woods are. Chaos abounds in the woods but I think it works here.

Into The Woods

Into The Woods

As I said in an earlier post I spent my year wandering the woodlands of Iowa. Most of my Winter was spent watching photographers such as Adam Gibbs and Thomas Heaton and I decided to see what Iowa could have to offer up in photography.

I spent three Saturdays in May at a place an hour away called Brush Creek Canyon as soon as the first leaves began to form. One of my favorite images was this image of Brush Creek. I liked the pattern on the pool of water showing the movement and currents. Again very few people ever visit this preserve which makes it a nice calming experience.

The End of Autumn

The End of Autumn

I spent a lot of time trying to capture Autumn this year making 3 separate two day trips covering three weeks. The above image was almost a month later than the first trip and was shot locally at Mallory Park south of Hampton Iowa. We had a light snowfall a few days earlier and I knew these oak trees would be the last ones to display color. I especially liked the view with Mayne’s Creek in a half frozen state. I may visit again before they shed their leaves. A peaceful place to walk in the woods alone.

Nikon D800, bracketed 3 shot HDR panoramic, total of six shots stitched together.

Wilder Reflection

Wilder Reflection

Wilder Park

Near the town of Allison Iowa the town has a nice park they have invested a lot of time, effort and money. A place where all residents can come to and enjoy. But this picture is more about the farm just to the east and the sunrise reflections on the surface of the water. A simple Iowa farm scene, I just like it.

Mt. Hosmer, Lansing Iowa

Mt. Hosmer, Lansing Iowa

Black Hawk Bridge

I am proud of this image because of the effort and perseverance I used to get it. Mt Hosmer is a high bluff with a park on it maintained and ran by the city of Lansing Iowa.

I got the idea to photograph the Black Hawk bridge a couple of weeks prior to my first two day trip for Autumn colors. I did some research and found the contact on the internet. The problem I was faced with was to gain access to the park prior to sunrise as there is a gate and does not open until 8AM and I wanted to get up for the sunrise. All I needed to do was ask for permission to enter prior to opening. This would require someone to open the gate up at 6AM.

They responded with a polite email and arranged it for me. I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity. This was for the morning of October 11th. The weather was changing and we were having a very wet beginning and that morning when I woke up it was rainy and foggy. I was upset because my shoot was done for.

The fog on the river was thick as seen with this barge pushing under the Black Hawk Bridge.

When I left the motel I had all but given up on a sunrise shoot with the chill in the air and a light mist and thought about not even going up the bluff. But then I thought of the effort to make this happen and the person who had to get out and open the gate for me and I could not just leave. So I drove up the bluff.

Just as I thought it was bad conditions for photography but again I stuck it out. I went through the motions trying different things but it was just too misty for any landscape shots to come out good. I decided to go back down hill as half way there is a pull out overlooking the Black Hawk Bridge.

As it go closer to sunrise the clouds began to crack letting in bits of light and there was some hope. As I began to get set up with my tripod it was beginning to get lighter and the excitement and enthusiasm returned in me.

What started out as a gloomy day changed in 15 minutes time and I began clicking away at the scene that appeared before me. The sky opened up just for me that morning or it seemed that way.

This too was very short lived as the sky closed back up and I packed it up and headed west. Less than an hour later I was driving in snow near Decorah. Don’t always listen to what you mind says but follow your gut and when you put people out of the normal morning do the right thing and put out as much effort as they did for you.

Time to get serious about blogging

Time to get serious about blogging

I have had a busy year and have neglected this blog for far too long. Photography is the easy part of this adventure. So I am going to attempt to pick my favorite images out and publicly discuss what I like about them and why I like them or what I do not like about them. I had a fun Autumn traveling 1200 mile and never leaving the state of Iowa. So until I start this I will add a video of my autumn travels.