These are the pictures I entered in the Boone County Fair.
It was a busy 4th of July.
I started the day at about 9 AM by moving mortars into place. Then at 10:30 I went over to Half Shell to help set up and serve beer until about 3 PM.
Check out some pictures from Half Shell.
At 3 I headed back to the fireworks area to set up sandbags. Fireworks was a very educational experience. For starters, fireworks don’t look anything like I thought they would look like. I thought they would look like giant bottle rockets or like the big red rockets that Wile E. Coyote shoots at the Road Runner. Instead, they look like this:
The main thing I learned though was that being in the pit or ground zero of a fireworks display is about a million times more entertaining and fun than watching a fireworks display.
To let off fireworks there is a dress code. You are required to wear boots, long pants, a cotton long sleeve shirt (polyester will catch on fire), a hard hat, safety glasses and ear protection. Even with all of that clothing and protective gear it is hard to put into words how powerful and loud the fireworks are in the pit. It is an intense experience.
I was really down in the pit to take some pictures. However, I was ordered to set off a couple of fireworks. So I set off three.
After we finished some clean up I went over to Jen and Derrick’s traditional 4th of July barbecue. I was asked the same question a few different times while I was there:
“Which fireworks did you light off?”
Shannon would usually answer the question: “The good ones.”
Although I enjoy her vote of confidence, that answer has no basis in fact. The truth is that you never get to see the fireworks that you light off. In fact, you barely ever see any fireworks at all. You feel them. You hear them. You never see them.
The steps to setting off the fireworks prevent you from ever seeing them. When you go to light off the fireworks you are handed a 5 or 6 foot pole with a road flare taped to the end. You approach the mortars with the flare pointed away from the fireworks. When you get near the fireworks you remove the protective sleeve that covers the fuse. Then you take a few steps back and light the fuse with the flare. As soon as the fuse starts to light, you turn your back to the fireworks, get low and move away from the mortars.
While you are moving away from the fireworks, there is another person acting as a spotter. The spotter tells you when it is okay to go light another fuse or to get down. Trust me, you definitely know when the shell has shot into the sky. You feel it. However, there are a couple of things that could go wrong. The shell could blow up in the mortar or the shell can come a few feet out of the mortar and then blow up. If these things don’t happen, you get to go back and light off more fireworks. But you never really get to see the fireworks that you light.
Here are a few pictures from the pit:
Of course there are about 80 more pictures in the Snapshot Gallery in an album named “Jaycees – Independence Day – 2008”.
When I concluded my evening at Jen and Derrick’s barbecue I found out that something pretty major had happened in my absence. However, that is not my tale. All I can tell you is that congratulations are in order next time you see them.
One last story.
While I was walking around Half Shell taking pictures two girls came up to me.
“Do you want to take our picture?” they asked.
“Why would I want to take your picture?”
“Because we are so cute.”
“Are you serious?”
“I can take your picture.”
I’ll leave it to you to make your own assessments about the level of cuteness these girls possess.
I have a feeling this is how the Girls Gone Wild guy got started.
*I bought a new hat for this coming Half Shell on Saturday. I think it is perfect.
So I went on a small cruise around Boone County with Becky on Monday night. Here are a few images from that experience.
What I learned about Becky from this trip is that there is a strange inconsistency in a person that claims that Halloween is their favorite holiday, but freaks out when you tell them a simple story from Boone’s historic past. I also hear that the Jaycees Haunted House isn’t her thing, but she insists on going through it every year. Well, I guess not this year.
On Tuesday Night, Elainie’s Little League team won their league championship. Below are a few photos.
The game was at night, so there is some digital noise and blurring caused by slow shutter speeds, but you’ll get the general idea.
Elainie made the All-Star Team, so I might have to make a couple of those games this year, since it looks like I won’t be able to make any of her 9th grade games.
Last week I had a heated debate with Andree, Russell and Andree about what is the best Asian restaurant in Ames. This happened because Andree had the temerity to badmouth Hu Hot. Somewhere in the debate, the good name CoCost was slandered, everybody agreed to the greatness of CHC and the restaurant China One International Buffet was discussed.
China One International Buffet was brought up by Andree as a place that I would love if I loved Buffet City. I do love Buffet City and sometimes I’ve been known to take their crayfish home to photograph, but that is another story.
A plan was hatched. Last night Jay and I met Jason, Andree and Russell after they concluded their work day at Principal and hit China One. We hit it hard. It was everything that Andree had hyped it up to be and I ate eel sushi.
After the meal was completed and we parted company with Andree and Russell, Jay, Jason and I loaded up into the Rideshare van and headed towards the Des Moines River because I wanted to snap off a couple of photos.
As we headed in that general direction we passed a parking ramp. I remembered a night after Sara’s graduation party where I stood outside that parking ramp in the middle of an ice storm lamenting the fact that this parking ramp was locked down tight as a drum.
I pointed out the parking ramp to Jason and told him how I wished that I was able to get to the top of that parking ramp.
He looked at me and said some magical words:
“I can get into that parking ramp with this card.” Then he picked up a card that was sitting near the dash.
“Then lets go to that parking ramp.”
We made a quick turn and entered the parking ramp. When we got to the top after about 10 minutes, the view was even more beautiful than I had dared hope. We were right across the street from the cheesy*, rotating cross that adorns the FUMC of Downtown Des Moines.
My only problem was that I wasn’t prepared for such a development. The lens that I wanted for this moment was sitting 30 miles away, in my car, in Huxley, attached to the Maxxum 5 (not to be mistaken for the Maxxum 5D). I was also planning on using a polarizing filter for when I came face to face with this beauty.
However, I shouldn’t complain. This was not the ideal circumstance, but I could get some shots and be satisfied with the knowledge that I could come back at a later date all prepared and with more time. As it turns out, Jason Baier makes a poor photo assistant with all of his whining about wanting to get home to see his family before he has to go to bed because he works at 7 in the morning.
So I present some of what I got on top of that parking ramp and some of what I got down by the river.
You might notice that some of these pictures are a bit crooked, more than usual. I broke the piece of my tripod off last night that I would use to straighten out the camera. I decided not to fix the slant in post to remind me of how angry I was when that piece broke of my tripod. I hope nobody thinks I’m into Dutch Angles.
*I do not condone the use of the word cheesy in connection with this beautiful cross, but I would not know this cross existed if Shannon wasn’t complaining about it being cheesy.
A few months ago Nader gave me a camera to test for his trip to London. I put in a roll of film and took some test shots. Then I put the camera away and forgot about it. I finally finished off the roll and got it developed. I thought I would share some of the images, not because of any of them are particularly interesting, but because maybe they are interesting as a whole. A study of intermittent shots taking over time from a forgotten camera.
I’m sure that at least one person is going to look at this and begin to think: “Is he ever going to just take a picture of something and then that picture will look like that thing again?”
All I can say to that person is this: “I’m being influenced by a mix of modern art and impressionism currently. I like recording trails of light and finding out what the picture will look like afterwards. I do have an idea of what I’m going to get, but I never really know. That is exciting to me. It is currently dark by the time I get off of work and this is a type of photography I can do very easily at this time.”
They then might reply: “If I took a picture like that, I’d throw it away.”
I can only reply: “Look closer.”
This person would then reply: “Look closer at what? Your pictures? The ones that I’m throwing away?”
I would only reply: “Look closer.”
I took these pictures that record more of an impression of the subject rather than the actual form of the subject while I was driving home from work yesterday. I was torn on explaining the subject of these pictures or leaving it entirely to your imagination. I’ll leave it to your imagination.
I hope you had a great and wonderful Christmas. My sister Teresa unloaded a new batch of beanies on me. I now have 7 new beanies. As it happens, while I was wandering around town last night, Fashion Photographer Jay Janson happened upon me several times and kept insisting on taking my picture with all my new beanies. Below is the result of his handiwork.