Category Archives: Nature

2010-06-29, 2010-06-30, & 2010-07-01

The folders 2010-06-29, 2010-06-30, & 2010-07-01 Center Street Bridge are fairly small, so I combined them all into one fair sized post. Most of them are pictures of flowers, but a few are pictures I took with Sara at or near the Center Street Bridge in Des Moines.


Never the Same River

Personal Photo Project of the Week #23 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project of the Week #23 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project of the Week #23 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project of the Week #23 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project of the Week #23 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project of the Week #23 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project of the Week #23 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project of the Week #23 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project of the Week #23 - Alternate

Girl in the Blue Skirt - 2010


By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

PERSONAL PHOTO PROJECT OF THE WEEK #34

THE INCIDENTAL GARDENER FILES

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve skydiving again. This time, maybe Shannon gets to jump out of a plane.

Time Lapsed

Back in September, I strapped the Sony RX0 II to the side view mirror of the Camry. Loaded Naima into the car and drove down the canyon road at Ledges taking time-lapse images. Here are a few of them:


Ledges
I’m not sure what happened here, but I absolutely love the result!

Naima at Ledges

Naima at Ledges

Naima at Ledges

Naima at Ledges

Naima at Ledges

Naima at Ledges

Naima at Ledges

Naima at Ledges

Naima at Ledges

Naima at Ledges

Naima at Ledges

Naima at Ledges

Naima at Ledges

I never turned them into a time-lapse video, but that was never really the intent. I need to crack that little camera out more.

Loess Hills Road Trip

I’d like to just start with saying how completely impressed I was with Amanda Gorman, this nation’s first ever youth poet laureate and the poem she read at the inauguration on Wednesday. Wow! Goosebumps. I was one the people that rushed to Amazon and pre-ordered her book and made it the best selling book on Amazon. It doesn’t come out until September, so to tide myself over, I thought I would just put her inauguration poem down here, so I could find it and read it anytime I want:

THE HILL WE CLIMB

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promise to glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

+++++++

Today I’m going to share what I would call auxiliary images from my road trip to the Loess Hills back in September. They are auxiliary because they were not taken at the Loess Hills and they also don’t fall into THE TOWN SIGNS PROJECT either. These are pictures I took on the way to the Loess Hills and on the way back.

I do want to start with a brief history lesson. It comes from a question I had to ask when I stopped at a historic marker on the trip. A historic marker honoring Merle Hay. I’m sure many of you have driven on Merle Hay’s road and shopped in his mall, but do you know who Merle Hay was?

I myself only knew that Merle Hay was a war hero of some kind, but I didn’t even know from what war and what he did. Take a look at this historic marker in the cemetery where he is buried:


Loess Hills Road Trip

When I saw this, I couldn’t figure out what was going on in the picture. So I researched it and while it is maybe obvious to some, I didn’t deduce that the guy carrying the fallen soldier was Uncle Sam. Carrying Merle Hay home.

So who was Merle Hay?

He was the first or one of the first Americans to die in WWI. Here is his story from the Wiki:

When the United States entered the First World War, Hay was young enough to avoid being drafted. With his father’s blessing, he voluntarily enlisted on May 9, 1917. He was among 8 men from Glidden who enlisted that day. They were first shipped to Fort Logan, Colorado, then to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. He was assigned to the 16th Infantry Regiment. On 26 June 1917, the regiment disembarked the troop ships in St. Nazaire, France, as part of the 1st Infantry Division. By November 1917, he was assigned to Company F along with Corporal James Bethel Gresham and Private Thomas Enright. They were posted in the trenches near the French village of Artois. In the early morning of 3 November 1917, the Imperial German Army attacked. After an hour of fighting, Hay, along with Corporal Gresham, and Private Enright were the first three casualties of the American Expeditionary Force.

Two days later, on 5 Nov 1917, Enright, Gresham, and Hay were buried near the battlefield where they had died. An inscription marked their graves: “Here lie the first soldiers of the illustrious Republic of the United States who fell on French soil for justice and liberty.” Their bodies were eventually returned to their families and reburied in the United States. Hay was then re-interred in July 1921 in West Lawn Cemetery in his home town of Glidden, Iowa. The West Lawn Cemetery was later renamed the Merle Hay Memorial Cemetery. An 8-foot monument commissioned by the Iowa Legislature marks his gravesite.

Remember that story, the next time you are driving down Merle Hay Road in Des Moines.

Here are the rest of the Loess Road Trip auxiliary photos:


Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip
I can’t figure out if this is brilliant, sacrilegious, brilliantly sacrilegious, or sacrilegiously brilliant. Hopefully there is a theologian out there that can assist me.

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip
This sign confuses me so much. So very much.

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip
I love this tiny mailbox so much. I want to bundle it up and take it home with me, but of course that is a federal crime.

Loess Hills Road Trip
Birthplace of Merle Hay – Now you know where he started and where he ended.

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

I wish I would have gotten better pictures of the ghost town that is Carrollton, but it was just pouring down rain when I rolled through there. But I’m sure I’ll get there again some day.

Here is another history fact for you:

The first American military casualty in WWII was also from Iowa. Robert M. Losey was born in Andrew, Iowa. He was killed in a German bombardment of Norway on April 21, 1940. If you are doing the math, that is well before the United States entered the war.

Also semi-interesting fact. Andrew, Iowa is in Jackson county. Jackson County is named after racist piece of trash Andrew Jackson. Andrew is also named after racist piece of trash Andrew Jackson. Double fail for that town.

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is HOBBIES:


WEEK 280 - HOBBIES
HOBBIES

HOBBIES can be all sorts of activities. Collecting things. Making things. Building things. Destroying things. So much, much more. Just remember the words of Norman Bates…

As you should know, the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic PSYCHO is tied for being my favorite movie of all-time. Think about the scene is PSYCHO where Marion Crane and Norman Bates are eating supper together in the backroom of the Bates Motel office, with all of the birds that Norman has stuffed.

INT. NORMAN’S PARLOR -(NIGHT)

In the darkened room, lit only by the light from the office spilling in, we see Norman placing the tray on a table. Mary comes to the doorway, pauses. Norman straightens up, goes to lamp, turns on the light.

Mary is startled by the room. Even in the dimness of one lamp, the strange, extraordinary nature of the room rushes
up at one. It is a room of birds. Stuffed birds, all over the room, on every available surface, one even clinging to
the old fashioned fringed shade of the lamp. The birds are of many varieties, beautiful, grand, horrible, preying. Mary
stares in awe and a certain fascinated horror.

CLOSE UP – THE VARIOUS BIRDS TWO SHOT – MARY AND NORMAN

NORMAN
Please sit down. On the sofa.

As Norman goes about spreading out the bread and ham and pouring the milk, we follow Mary across the room. She studies
the birds as she walks, briefly examines a bookcase stacked with books on the subject of “Taxidermy.”

CLOSE UP – THE BOOKS ON TAXIDERMY MED. CLOSE SHOT – MARY

She notices, too, the paintings on the wall; nudes, primarily, and many with a vaguely religious overtone.

Finally Mary reaches the sofa, sits down, looks at the spread.

MARY
You’re very… kind.

NORMAN
It’s all for you. I’m not hungry. Please go ahead.

Mary begins to eat, her attitude a bit tense. She takes up a small slice of ham, bites off a tiny bite, nibbles at it in the manner of one disturbed and preoccupied.

Norman gazes at her, at the tiny bite she has taken, smiles and then laughs.

NORMAN
You eat like a bird.

MARY
You’d know, of course.

NORMAN
Not really. I hear that expression, that one eats “like a bird,” is really
a falsie, I mean a falsity, because birds eat a tremendous lot.
(A pause, then explaining)
Oh, I don’t know anything about birds. My hobby is stuffing things…
taxidermy. And I guess I’d just rather stuff birds because… well, I hate
the look of beasts when they’re stuffed, foxes and chimps and all…
some people even stuff dogs and cats… but I can’t… I think only
birds look well stuffed because they’re rather… passive, to begin
with… most of them…

He trails off, his exuberance failing in the rushing return of his natural hesitancy and discomfort. Mary looks at him,
with some compression, smiles.

MARY
It’s a strange hobby. Curious, I mean.

NORMAN
Uncommon, too.

MARY
I imagine so.

NORMAN
It’s not as expensive as you’d think. Cheap, really. Needles, thread,
sawdust .. the chemicals are all that cost anything.
(He goes quiet, looks disturbed)

MARY
A man should have a hobby.

NORMAN
It’s more than a hobby… sometimes…
a hobby is supposed to pass the time, not fill it.

Happy photo harvesting!

Post #4,000

August 9, 2006. That was the date where I first took keyboard in hand and began typing out the blog that I entitled “An Artist’s Notebook”. I entitled that first post “First Journal Entry”. The categories for that first post were “Blogging”, “Contests”, “Jay”, and “Sara”.

This is the first paragraph I posted:

So here is the first journal entry. I felt like having as pretentious sounding name as possible for my journal. I have a few goals about this journal. My main goal is just to actually write in it. My second goal is to be as truthful as possible towards my true thoughts and feelings. I have another journal on another website, but it is really just a collection of sarcastic statements and cheap jabs at open faced sandwiches. This journal is meant to be about what my achievements and failures are in the world of art. What projects I am working on and what I have accomplished and what I have failed to accomplish. What I am photographing and what I am thinking about entering in photo contests. What I am thinking about. It might not always make sense. It might just be things I need to write down because they strike me as poignant or inspirational. This is in a small way an online “idea box”.

Then it goes on to talk about how I attended the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Reception with Sara to see what two pictures had been accepted for display that year. Then I would go on to talk about how Jay had talked me into entering the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

The last line of the entry was simply:

I don’t want to mail it in.

While I was actually referencing the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest, it is my hope that I also didn’t choose to “mail it in” as it pertains to “An Artist’s Notebook”.

It has been 5,276 days since that first post. 5,276 days to reach this day and the 4,000th post in this blog, or “online journal” like I sometimes call it when I don’t like calling it a blog. It is hard to believe I have made it this far, for this long.

It hasn’t been necessarily smooth sailing the whole time. My website has been through a couple different servers. I have been through a couple different hosts for the blog part of the website. I have been through 4 (I think) different image hosting options in those 5,275 days. That jumping around for image hosting solutions did cause the problem that images from my posts from the first few years of this website’s existence have had to be “restored” slowly over time. So far I have semi-successfully restored all the entries though June of 2010. Which means, I still have a full year’s worth of entries left to restore. Somewhere in 2011, was when I fully made the move to my current SmugMug image hosting solution. I have unfortunately lost a few images, probably forever, mostly old phone pictures, but those old posts are as complete as they will ever be.

When I hit these milestones, I like to publish a lot of fairly meaningless stats. This one will be no different. So, here are the “An Artist’s Notebook” categories that I have used the most often:

Top 10 An Artist’s Notebook Categories

#1. Black & White – 698 Entries

#2. Flowers – 693 Entries

#3. Animals – 620 Entries

#4. Jesse – 495 Entries

#5. Portrait – 472 Entries

#6. Shannon – 421 Entries

#7. Carla – 391 Entries

#8. WPC – Submissions – 381 Entries

#9. Teresa – 364 Entries

#10. Mom – 363 Entries

Top Ten An Artist’s Notebook People Categories

#1. Jesse – 495 Entries

#2. Shannon – 421 Entries

#3. Carla – 391 Entries

#4. Teresa – 364 Entries

#5. Mom – 363 Entries

#6. Jay – 320 Entries

#7. Derrick – 295 Entries

#8. Willy – 268 Entries

#9. Vest – 258 Entries

#10. Jen – 254 Entries

Top Ten Non-People An Artist’s Notebook Categories

#1. Black & White – 698 Entries

#2. Flowers – 693 Entries

#3. Animals – 620 Entries

#4. Portrait – 472 Entries

#5. WPC – Submissions – 381 Entries

#6. Nature – 349 Entries

#7. Macro – 332 Entries

#8. Photoshop – 327 Entries

#9. Road Trip – 326 Entries

#10. Art – 314 Entries

People often ask what is the best way to improve their Photography 139 Category Score. The easiest way is to submit pictures to THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. But posing for and assisting me with photo project or photo adventures is also a very good way.

What people have a shot at cracking the Top Ten by the time we hit Post #5,000? Kim, Sara, Logan, and Micky all have a shot. But 1,000 posts is a long ways away. So anybody has a shot!

But what are the Ten Most Popular Photo Galleries in Photography 139 history? Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question. I can only process stats up to 365 days ago. However, I can tell you the Ten Most Popular Photo Galleries of the last 365 Days are.

Click on the image to peruse that gallery.

Top Ten Most Popular Photography 139 Galleries (by view) of the Last 365 Days


WEEK 209 - ARCHITECTURE - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
#1. WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – YEAR 7 – 57697 Views

Be True
#2. Christopher D. Bennett – 41080 Views

9 Emotions Project - Johnathan
#3. 9 Emotions Project – 36972 Views

Taylan Howard
#4. Taylan Howard – 2020 – 34075 Views

Girl in the Blue Skirt - 2016
#5. Daisies – 26800 Views

Morning in America
#6. Drone – 24659 Views

WEEK 274 - FACELESS PORTRAIT - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
#7. Weekly Photo Challenge – HOF – 24603 Views

Be Aggressive!
#8. Family Happenings – 18,231 Views

Alexis Pregnant with Anela
#9. Alexis Pregnancy Photo Shoot – 2020 – 17057 Views

Black Lives Matter - Boone
#10. Black Lives Matter – Boone – 2020 – 16160 Views

The Ten Most Popular Photography 139 Images of the Last 365 Days (by Views)


Alexis Pregnant with Anela
#1. 7254 Views

Taylan Howard
#2. 3153 Views

2020 Birthday Party Invites
#3. 2460 Views (Photo by Logan Kahler)

Cousin Amy and Sam - 2009
#4. 2228 Views

Garrett Larson
#5. 2127 Views

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009
#6. 2111 Views

Camping World Bowl Road Trip - Day 3
#7. 1971 Views

2019  Computer Mine Holiday Card
#8. 1916 Views

The Most Tolerable Third Party
#9. 1891 Views

The Hero of Africa
#10. 1830 Views

Now the secret to the popularity of some of these images is that they are cover photos for albums, but shhhh… don’t tell anybody!

Another category of meaningless statistics, I’d like to share is what have been the most popular posts since the inception of “An Artist’s Notebook”. Although it might not be the most accurate way to judge such things, the only statistic I can use to judge this is “Comments” left on each post. That doesn’t mean emails or text messages or comments I received in person. These are comments that were left in the Comments section of each post.

Most Popular An Artist’s Notebook Entries (by Comments)

#1. The People’s Choice Round Two – 24 Comments

#2. Weekly Photo Challenge – Week 9 – Food – 22 Comments

#2. Weekly Photo Challenge – Week 43 – Sunrise/Sunset – 22 Comments

#4. Town Sign Project: Hamilton County – 21 Comments

#4. Town Sign Project: Dallas County – 21 Comments

#6. Postcard Recreation Project: Some Churches – 20 Comments

#6. Rodan139: Swede Valley Lutheran Church – 20 Comments

#8. Will History Blame Me… – 19 Comments

#9. Yo, Ya Just Get in that, You Get in that Head Space, Ya Know – 15 Comments

#9. You Can Call it a Comeback – 15 Comments

#9. Wild Goose Chase – 15 Comments

#9. Sorry Not Sorry – 15 Comments

One thing to note is that each “An Artist’s Notebook” entry has its Comments section close 30 days after being posted. Some of those still have a chance to grow, but most have been locked into place forever.

The last statistic I want to share before closing out Post #4,000 is kind of a loyalty score. To even be considered for this list, you first have to have a Photography 139 Email Subscription. The following is a statistic based on “loyalty” for lack of a better term to that service.

Top Five Most Loyal Photography 139 Subscribers

1. Michelle Haupt – 99%
2. Joe Duff – 97%
3. Shannon Bardole-Foley – 94%
4. Sara Lockner – 90%
5. Corey Faust – 89%

Thanks to everybody that has supported this adventure for 14 years, 5 months, and now 10 days!

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

A few weeks back, I took Rodan139 for a little flight around the Des Moines River Valley. Just off the boat ramp that is next to US30. It was a little late in the day, so it was a short flight before it got dark, but still got plenty of good pictures.


Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

Rodan139: Des Moines River Valley

This might be it for drone pictures for a bit. I don’t have any more in the hopper. It kind of depends on the weather and lighting on whether or not Rodan139 will take to the skies again before spring. I am hopeful though!

2010-06-05 Part 2

There were a literal ton of images in the folder 2010-06-05. Nearly 700. So adding the pictures that belonged in the gallery to the gallery, was no small feat. Now, don’t worry, I’m not going to post all of those images. It would be well over 100.

That being said, a ton of pictures from State Center and an abandoned railroad bridge that used to be in the heart of downtown Ames are still coming your way. This one might get long. Buckle up Dorothy:


Flame On

Flame On

Flame On

Flame On

Flame On

Flame On

Flame On

Flame On

Flame On

Flame On

Flame On

WEEK 22 - PAINTING WITH LIGHT - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT

Adumbrate

Adumbrate

Adumbrate

Adumbrate

Adumbrate

Adumbrate

Adumbrate

Adumbrate

Adumbrate

Adumbrate

Adumbrate

Adumbrate

Adumbrate

Adumbrate

RWPE #22 - PAINTING WITH LIGHT ALTERNATE

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

The Best Place to Seek God

That old train bridge has since been torn down. I believe it was the railroad tracks that ran a commuter train “The Dinkey” between downtown Ames and the Iowa State Campus. I used to like to visit that bridge on my lunch breaks or sometimes after work. It is sad that is gone.

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

RWPE #22 – PAINTING WITH LIGHT

Flame On

Adumbrate

PERSONAL PHOTO PROJECT OF THE WEEK NO. 26 ALPHA

PERSONAL PHOTO PROJECT OF THE WEEK NO. 26 BETA

PERSONAL PHOTO PROJECT OF THE WEEK NO. 26 GAMMA

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve a trip to Ledges.

Loess Hills

Back during the week of Labor Day, I took a week of vacation. I believe it was the only full week of vacation I took in 2020. One of the things I did while on vacation was take a road trip out to the Loess Hills. My ultimate destination was Preparation Canyon State Park. I think I may have entered from the wrong side, because I didn’t really find all that much there, but a few miles from the State Park, I found a beautiful Loess Hills observation deck. Here are some pictures:


Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

Loess Hills

If you don’t know about the Loess Hills, here is some information from the Wikipedia:

The dominant features of this landscape are “peak and saddle” topography, “razor ridges” (narrow ridges, often less than 10 feet (3 m) wide, which fall off at near ninety-degree angles on either side for 60 feet (18 m) or more), and “cat-step” terraces (caused by the constant slumping and vertical shearing of the loess soil). The soil has a characteristic yellow hue and is generally broken down into several units based on the period of deposition (Loveland, Pisgah, Peoria). Loess is known locally as “sugar clay” because it can be extremely hard when dry, but when wet, loses all cohesion. The Loess Hills of Iowa are remarkable for the depth of the drift layer, often more than 90 feet (27 m) deep. The only comparable deposits of loess to such an extent are located in Shaanxi, China.

It is a uniquely beautiful part of Iowa.

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is FAMILY:


WEEK 278 - FAMILY
FAMILY

FAMILY! The first theme of the 8th (full) year of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

What defines a FAMILY photo? First, you need to define what makes a FAMILY? Is it a group of people that share the same Deoxyribonucleic Acid? Or does the definition stretch a little bit farther than what can be placed in a test tube? Is a FAMILY a group of people that have a common set of beliefs? A common set of values? A common set of goals? A common set of experiences? Or perhaps the one thing that binds a group and makes them a FAMILY is LOVE? I’m sure there are more than a few that have come from a dysfunctional FAMILY would argue that love does not define a FAMILY. And others that would argue that just because you share that double helix with somebody, doesn’t make them FAMILY at all.

Personally, I like to think that FAMILY is more than what is in the blood in your body, but is more defined by the people (sentient beings) that you would spill blood for. Yours or others.

There is a scene in one of my favorite movies (Top 100 for sure) GARDEN STATE where the main character (Andrew Largeman) is discussing the idea of home with his romantic interest (Sam). They have the following interaction:

Andrew Largeman: You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone.

Sam: I still feel at home in my house.

Andrew Largeman: You’ll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it’s gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something. I don’t know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.

Happy photo harvesting!

Dubuque Monument

I’m not the type of person that makes New Year’s Resolutions. So I don’t have any for you. Originally I was going to include a bunch of year in review stuff here. However, we are closing in on Post #4000 pretty soon, so I don’t see a need to do that now and then do it again in a few more weeks. So I’ll just say, Happy New Years! If you are the sort that celebrated.

Back on Labor Day, I took a road trip to Mines of Spain with my Mom and Teresa. I’ve already published all the pictures from Horseshoe Bluff. Now I want to post the pictures from the Julien Dubuque Monument.


Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Julien Dubuque Monument

Mines of Spain is definitely one of the prettiest parks I’ve ever visited.

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This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is TRANSPORTATION:


WEEK 277 - TRANSPORTATION
TRANSPORTATION

A TRANSPORTATION image is any picture where the subject is something that is used in transporting something or somebody somewhere.

Happy photo harvesting!

TOWN SIGN PROJECT: POLK COUNTY

The November image of the 2021 Photography 139 Calendar is actually a combination of 3 panoramic images taken with Rodan139. Something that was rekindled in 2020 was a love for panoramic photos. However, it is hard to include such an image in a calendar, so I combined 3 of them to fill up a page. I don’t know if it works, but at least one person told me that this was their favorite month in the calendar. So, that is something at least.


2021 Calendar - November

The top image is of Horseshoe Bluff in Mines of Spain. The middle image is of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in northeast Boone County. The bottom image is of the Loess Hills, taken in Monona County.

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When I looked the map for the TOWN SIGN PROJECT and knew that getting the town signs in Polk County was going to be next, I wasn’t overly excited. My excursion to West Des Moines to complete Dallas County was less than enjoyable and I anticipated finding town signs in places like Windsor Heights and and Pleasant Hill was going to be equally horrible. And it was. Only, I actually found decent signs for Windsor Heights and actually like the sign for Pleasant Hill. Now it took some time with Google Maps Street View before I even left on the trip to find those signs. Strike that, before I left on my second trip. I ran out of time and couldn’t find signs for Altoona, Pleasant Hill, Des Moines, and Windsor Heights on my first trip. I had to research it at home before I made a second trip, that doubled as a calendar delivery trip for Baier, Russell, Dre, and Sara. I don’t like doing that much research ahead of time. I like being surprised by what I find, but there is no way around it in Suburbia. Besides, this really is more of a small town project.

I will concede, I never really found a Des Moines “sign”. So I’m throwing in a downtown Des Moines Mural. I’m not going to consider it for Best in Show for Polk County though. Even though it is a pretty sweet mural. Think there is a fair chance that this spring I’m going to spend sometime photographing the murals in downtown Des Moines, cause there are some pretty cool ones.

If you don’t know Polk County, here is a look at it on the TOWN SIGNS PROJECT PHOTO MAP:


Polk County
POLK COUNTY

Polk County is the 7th County I have completed:


7 Counties - Town Sign Project
PURPLE=COMPLETED

Here is a look at the town signs of Polk County. Population Data is from 2010, so it is probably not remotely correct for Polk County:


Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa
Greater Des Moines – Better Together – Better Forever
Population: 203.433

West Des Moines, Iowa
West Des Moines, Iowa
The City of West Des Moines
Population: 56,609

Ankeny, Iowa
Ankeny, Iowa
Ankeny
Population: 45,582

Urbandale, Iowa
Urbandale, Iowa
Welcome to… Urbandale – Uniquely Urbandale

Johnston, Iowa
Johnston, Iowa
Johnston
Population: 17,278

Clive, Iowa
Clive, Iowa
Clive – District by Nature
Population: 15,447

Altoona, Iowa
Altoona, Iowa
Altoona
Population: 14,541

Norwalk, Iowa
Norwalk, Iowa
Norwalk Welcomes You
Population: 8,945

Pleasant Hill, Iowa
Pleasant Hill, Iowa
Welcome to Pleasant Hill
Population: 8,785

Grimes, Iowa
Grimes, Iowa
Grimes
Population: 8,246

Windsor Heights, Iowa
Windsor Heights, Iowa
Welcome to Windsor Heights – the heart of it all
Population: 4,860

Carlisle, Iowa
Carlisle, Iowa
Carlisle – The Natural Choice – Established 1851
Population: 3,876

Bondurant, Iowa
Bondurant, Iowa
Bondurant
Population: 3,860

Polk City, Iowa
Polk City, Iowa
Welcome to Polk City – A City for All Season
Population: 3,418

Mitchellville, Iowa
Mitchellville, Iowa
Welcome to Mitchellville
Population: 2,254

Granger, Iowa
Granger, Iowa
Welcome to Granger
Population: 1,244

Elkhart, Iowa
Elkhart, Iowa
Welcome to Elkhart – Est. 1902
Population: 683

Runnells, Iowa
Runnells, Iowa
Runnells Welcomes You
Population: 507

Alleman, Iowa
Alleman, Iowa
Welcome to Alleman
Population: 432

Sheldahl, Iowa
Sheldahl, Iowa
The People of Sheldahl Welcome You – Biggest Little Town in Three Counties
Population: 319

So what is Best in Show for Polk County. Normally the no-brainer would be Sheldahl or Granger. There are 21 town in Polk County or partially in Polk County. It is amazing that most of them are below average. My biggest disappointment is Mitchellville. There is a prison in Mitchellville! How does a town that has a prison not have a cool sign?

However, since Granger is really almost entirely in Dallas County, I’m going to put it aside. Sheldahl is fairly evenly split amongst Polk County, Story County, and Boone County. However, while I was driving home from Polk County, I made the most alarming discovery cruising through Sheldahl. They took down their town sign! It doesn’t exist any more. I’m going to assume that it was a victim of the derecho and the good people of Sheldahl will make amends for this and get it back up in the very near future.

Putting those aside, I’m going to give Best in Show to Bondurant:


Bondurant, Iowa
Best in Show – Polk County

I know it definitely isn’t my style of Best in Show, but while it has no art or a snappy town slogan, it is original and cool looking. I give the highest marks for originality and I have never seen a sign like it.

The worst signs in Polk County? Take your pick from Urbandale or West Des Moines or Norwalk. Although Grimes and Johnston are literally on the opposites sides of the same brick wall, so maybe they should share last place.

Time for the BENNETT TOWN SIGN POWER RANKINGS.


Collins, Iowa
#10. Collins

Sheldahl, Iowa
#9. Sheldahl

Badger, Iowa
#8. Badger

Granger, Iowa
#7. Granger

Scranton, Iowa
#6. Scranton

Boone, Iowa
#5. Boone

Dexter, Iowa
#4. Dexter

Farnhamville, Iowa #3 - East Side
#3. Farnhamville

Pilot Mound, Iowa
#2. Pilot Mound

Moingona, Iowa
#1. Moingona

Nothing has changed. However, I’m putting Sheldahl on notice. If the sign doesn’t return, I’m going to have to drop them from the power rankings. They’ll still make a book, but with several demerits.

The next time we visit THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, we will visit Marshall County, the site of the deadliest train crash in Iowa history.