Category Archives: WPC – Reminder

Postcard Recreation Project – Presbyterian Church

I need to start today by wishing Laura a happy birthday. Happy birthday Laura!


Nate and Laura Engagement Pictures

Miller Family - 2020

Jonah Turns 3

9 EMOTIONS PROJECT - LAURA MILLER

Baby Tri-Force 1st Birthday Party

I hope your birthday is as amazing as you want it to be!

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This set of old-timey postcards I recreated for THE POSTCARD RECREATION PROJECT, are of the First Presbyterian Church. Their website has a pretty good “History” section. Here is some of its content:

·The First Presbyterian Church of Montana, Boone County, Iowa was organized with nine members on March 12, 1866

·A church building was erected on the spot where the current Educational Building now stands on March 1, 1868. The cost of the structure was $1,500.

·The town of Montana changed its name to Boone on August 30, 1871.

·1878 was the year of the organization of the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Society.

·A congregational meeting was held to consider the erection of a new church building on February 24, 1879.1879 also marked the beginning of a Christian Education Program.

·The present church building was dedicated on December 28, 1879.It was estimated that the cost was $10,000.

·At a congregational meeting on March 3, 1887, it was decided to build a manse, the cost not to exceed $2,000.

·Hope Chapel was erected at the corner of Sixteenth and Tama Streets in March 1895.The building and lot were sold in 1949.

·In 1906 this congregation was the largest in the Fort Dodge Presbytery with a communicant membership of 321.

·In 1916 the congregation numbered 519, the Sunday School enrollment was 615 and the annual budget was $5,302.The organizations included the Young People’s Society, the Men’s Brotherhood, and 3 women’s societies.

·On November 10, 1935, the present organ was dedicated.

·In 1939, the first Vacation Bible School was conducted for children.

·In 1947, the Women’s Groups voted to reorganize and become an all-inclusive group to be known as the Presbyterian Women’s Organization.

·The current Educational Building was completed in 1954 at a cost of $147,000.Dedication was held on March 27, 1955.

·The Jordan Presbyterian Church merged and was welcomed to the Boone church by action of the Presbytery on September 22, 1964.

I think the Presbyterian Church is the second oldest standing church building in Boone. I think the Marion Methodist Church is older, but I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Here are the postcards:


1st Presbyterian Church2229 - Boone Iowa - Original
1st Presbyterian Church – 2229 – Boone – Iowa – Original

1st Presbyterian Church2229 - Boone Iowa - Redux
1st Presbyterian Church – 2229 – Boone – Iowa – Redux

Presbyterian Church - Boone IA - 938 - Original
Presbyterian Church – Boone IA – 938 – Original

Presbyterian Church - Boone IA - 938 - Redux
Presbyterian Church – Boone IA – 938 – Redux

Presbyterian Church - Boone, Ia - Original
Presbyterian Church, Boone, Ia – Original

Presbyterian Church - Boone, Ia - Redux
Presbyterian Church, Boone, Ia – Redux

First Presbyterian Church - Boone, Iowa - Modern Interpretation
Presbyterian Church – Boone, Iowa – Modern Interpretation

The next time we check in with THE POSTCARD RECREATION PROJECT it will involve a train depot.

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


WEEK 286 - PLAY
PLAY

A PLAY image is simply an image where the composition includes either something that is PLAYed or somebody PLAYing. There are all types of things that can be PLAYed. Games to musical instruments to sports to people.

Of course, PLAY has multiple meanings. A PLAY can be words on a piece of paper that tell a story or a PLAY can be acting out those words on a stage. It is more than just humans that PLAY. Animals also PLAY.

Think about the following old proverb when you are considering your PLAY interpretation:

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.

Meditation on these words will no doubt lead to a fascinating PLAY image.

Happy photo harvesting!

Postcard Recreation Project – More Downtown Boone

I need to start today by wishing Micky a happy birthday. Happy birthday Micky!


Pie In Your Face!

August 30, 2019

2019  Computer Mine Holiday Card

Every once in awhile I will let people behind the curtain at Photography 139. Very few people and not very often. But Micky is the reason (more or less) for my using the term “harvest” so many times when referencing taking pictures.

You see, back in the day, the west bathrooms at the Computer Mine were loaded up with hunting magazines. Now Micky isn’t necessarily the person that brought them in and dumped them in the dumping station and while I’m definitely no hunter, when you are about your business, you read what is handy.

The writing in hunting magazines is amateurish at best. Plus they try to whitewash the fact that they are murderizing animals that never really did anything to them. So these articles about personal hunting experiences almost always include a sentence about how before or after the hunter murderized the animal they said a prayer thanking God for the opportunity to murderize the animal. But they never use the term murderize (and not because it is just a word I invented) or shoot or kill. They always whitewash it with the word harvest. Like they just picked an ear of corn or some tomatoes from their grandma’s garden.

I would frequently discuss these articles with Micky and I started to use the term “harvest” to mock hunting magazines. I’m not anti-hunting, it just isn’t for me. However, I am very strongly anti-bad writing.

All of that being said, Micky, I hope your birthday is amazing as you want it to be and you get to murderize all the animals you want. But only the ones that have it coming. Like the beavers that destroyed your dock*.

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This collection of pictures from THE POSTCARD RECREATION PROJECT is another collection of postcards of downtown Boone intersections. I wish Boone still had that sign that hung over Story Street near 9th greeting people to Boone. I have wondered why they chose that location for it. I get that Story Street is the main street in Boone, but back in the day there would have been 2 depots that served railroad passengers. The Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern depot was a block north of the sign. The Chicago & Northwestern Depot was about a block to two blocks west. I guess they chose the location because it was about equidistant from both depots.

Here are the postcards. You can see the old sign in three of them:


Boone, IR 787 - Original
Boone, IR – 787 Original

Boone, IR 787 - Redux
Boone, IR 787 – Redux

Story St. from 10th St. North, Boone, IA - Original
Story Street from 10th Street – North – Original

Story St. from 10th St. North, Boone, IA - Redux
Story Street from 10th Street – North – Redux

Story Street lookin South, Boone, Ia - Original
Story Street Looking South – Original

Story Street lookin South, Boone, Ia - Redux
Story Street Looking South – Redux

The Main (Story)Street, Boone, Iowa - 2226 - Original
The Main (Story) Street – Original

The Main (Story)Street, Boone, Iowa - 2226 - Redux
The Main (Story) Street – Redux

The Story St. from 10th St. postcard put me on the right path for a future THE POSTCARD RECREATION PROJECT post. However, the next THE POSTCARD RECREATION PROJECT post will feature a church.

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This is your reminder that THIS WEEK’S THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is LINES:


WEEK 285 - LINES
LINES

A LINES image is simply an image that heavily incorporates LINES into the composition of the image.LINES that appear in a photograph CAN BE framed and positioned by the photographer to draw the viewer’s eye towards a specific point of interest. LINES draw the viewer’s eye to a specific direction of an image.

You can use all sorts of lines in your composition. You can use horizontal LINES. You can use vertical LINES. You can use diagonal LINES. You can use converging LINES. There are just so many options!

Of course, the term LINES has more than one meaning.

Think about the following quote from Martin Luther while considering your LINES image:

God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick.

Meditate on these words and you will no doubt create a fascinating LINES image. No matter how crooked you think you are.

Happy photo murderizing… I mean happy photo harvesting!

*Truth is that I wish he would’ve live trapped the beavers and rehabilitated them.

A Pandemic Menagerie

This is a clearinghouse post. Grouping together some small collections of photos that might not be large enough to stand on their own. Plus getting multiple folders “finished off” and filed away to their forever homes.

These pictures aren’t pandemic related, but they did occur in a pandemic. Like every picture I take these days. Some were taken at the Ames Farmers Market. Some in my yard. Some on the backroads of Boone County.


Eggcited
This sculpture is called Eggcited. Eggcited! Get it?

Eggcited
Despite the awful name, I love it so!

Bittersweet
From my yard.
Bittersweet

Bittersweet

Halloween 2021
My socially distanced trick-or-treat setup for Halloween.

Halloween 2021

Liberal Values

Nope!
One of the small joys of the pandemic was stopping to photograph this sign and meeting the woman who put it up. She went to school with my Dad and we got to talk about him for a bit.

Early Voting
Self-portrait after voting on the first day of early voting.

Early Voting

Early Voting

Shrooms
My mouth is watering…

Train Art
One of the reasons I like living in a town with a railroad (besides the obvious economic impact) is that it is…

Train Art
Like having a new art museum in town every single day. While Boone has an Art Commission (despite the fact that there are a ton of local artists)…

Train Art
there is a decided lack of public art in town. A mural of a train. A statue of Teddy Roosevelt. A local guy that paints his snow banks…

Train Art
That is really it. Although I will point out that Boone does a decent job with the performing arts. It just isn’t the same. So thank you Union Pacific!

Good to get all that cleaned out. We’re getting close to my having my backlog cleaned out. It will be interesting what this space will look like when that happens.

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This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is SYMMETRY & PATTERNS:


WEEK 284 - SYMMETRY & PATTERNS
SYMMERY & PATTERNS

I can’t help but think of Shannon when I think of the theme of SYMMETRY & PATTERNS. Back in the day, we would occasionally go to art shows and fairs together. It often ended up being a painful and frustrating experience because the art booths that she would like to stop and look at were the art that actually hurt my soul (at least a little bit) to look at. It was all symmetrical lines and shapes. I always thought, “if this is the kind of art she likes and she likes my photography, what does that say about my photography? Is it this awful and boring?”

On the other side of the coin, she also hated most of the art I liked. Considered it to be derivative of the illustrations one sees in children’s books. Whatever.

I’m not saying you should tap into your inner Shannon when making your SYMMETRY & PATTERNS picture, but it might not hurt. I’m not saying your picture should be boring and uninteresting. I borderline enjoy the theme reveal picture of the bathroom floor in front of my toilet*. I am saying that you should find a pattern and/or a subject that has symmetry. While this isn’t my favorite theme, I do look forward to seeing your interpretations. I bet Shannon will be counting down the days.

When thinking about creating your SYMMETRY & PATTERNS image, think on the following quote from noted Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki:

Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.

Meditate on these words and you will no doubt, make a completely almost interesting SYMMETRY & PATTERNS image.

Happy photo harvesting!

Postcard Recreation Project – Motels

The subject this week’s THE POSTCARD RECREATION PROJECT are a couple of former Boone Motels. The Shangri-La Motel and the Topper Motel. There is another defunct motel in Boone that is behind the Barkley House on Mamie Eisenhower between Boone and Story Streets. I don’t know the name of that old motel and I couldn’t find a postcard of it. It is now apartments. The Topper Motel is now an apartment as well. The Shangri-La buildings didn’t stand the test of time. It was torn down and replaced by a Subway.

That is about all the knowledge I have on either motel. Their histories don’t seem to be documented. At least not in an easy online place that I could find about on the Googles. I did find a little bit of info on the Shangri-La on Mo Kelley’s blog, KELLEY’S KORNER:

From the Texas Hill Country, Chuck Brainard, BHS-50, wrote, “the Shangri-La motel was on the east side of Story Street between Fourth and Sixth Streets. It was a small, white double row of rooms, built, owned and operated by Glenn and Polly Brooks in the beginning. Glenn was a railroad passenger conductor and they were friends of my family. People said that Glenn bore a strong resemblance to the late actor, Franchot Tone.”

Loren Frazier, BHS-58, wrote, “you were correct on the location of the Shangri-La, north of the telephone company building on the east side of Story Street. The current occupant of that area is the Subway store.” Loren even sent a photo of the Shangri-La.

John McLeod, BHS-58 added, “I recall the Shangri-La’s grand opening. It was quite an event. The motel was hailed as “up-scale” and a real benefit to Boone. That Fourth and Story intersection, in those days, was the “cross-roads of the city” for years as Mamie Eisenhower then was Highway 30, the Lincoln Highway. The Shangri-La motel was in a perfect location to capture travelers. The other three corners of the intersection, as you will recall, were occupied by service stations.”

The Kornerman has just one more thought on that subject. Way back in a small corner of my 82-year old mind, I’m getting a “recall.” Didn’t the late Alex Mahood, the old drummer, and family own and operate the Shangri-La in its later years? Sandy, BHS-64, where are you? Is the Kornerman right, or dreaming………again?

With recollections, it is hard to tell how much of that information is accurate, but I will accept that it is. Especially the part about Franchot Tone.

Here are the postcards:


Shangri La Motel - Original
Shangri-La Motel – Original
Back of Postcard: Block off Highway #30 at Stop Light. Boone, Iowa – Tiled Showers, Automatic Heat, Air Conditioning

Shangri La Motel - Redux
Shangri-La Motel – Redux

Topper Motel- Original
Topper Motel – Original
Back of Postcard: On Highway 30, Boone, Iowa. Phone 2681 – First stop from the East… last stop from the West. Tops in sleep… Tops in food… Tops in Service. Television in all units.

Topper Motel - Redux
Topper Motel – Redux

The Topper Motel was next to the old Chick-A-Dine Restaurant. That would eventually become the Black Knight. That eventually would become… well that is a story for another POSTCARD RECREATION PROJECT.

Both of these postcards were published by The Hamilton Photo Co. of Ames, Iowa.

The next time we check in with the POSTCARD RECREATION PROJECT, it will involve a church.

On an unrelated note, on my list of things to do in the post-pandemic world is to stay in a small town motel. I need to compile and publish this list so you people can help keep me accountable.

Looking forward to getting that vaccine some time in late July!

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


WEEK 283 - WIND
WIND

WIND was a theme that was suggested by Andy. He practically dared me to use it as a theme because he said it would break the double digit streak. Well, challenge accepted!

But what is a WIND picture? You can’t see the WIND after all. While WIND might be invisible, you can see the effects of WIND on many, many things. In the photo reveal/example image, it is WIND that is blowing snow across the road. Tamara’s submission for USE OF SPACE could just as easily be a WIND submission. At least here in central Iowa, WIND will be a major factor in our lives this week. WIND chill temperatures could get lower than -30. Andy says we can’t do double digit submissions for WIND. I say that it is almost too easy!

But while thinking of how you are going to compose your wind image, think on the (one of my favorite songs of all-time) lyrics to the song THE WIND by Yusuf Islam:

I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul
Where I’ll end up, well, I think only God really knows
I’ve sat upon the setting sun
But never, never, never, never
I never wanted water once
No never, never, never
I listen to my words but they fall far below
I let my music take me where my heart wants to go
I swam upon the Devil’s lake
But never, never, never, never
I’ll never make the same mistake
No, never, never, never

Meditate on those words while you make your WIND interpretation.

Happy photo harvesting!

Webster County Auxiliary Images

Today feels like a good day to share the images I took while I was prowling around Webster County harvesting their town signs with Mom and Teresa several weeks ago.


Webster County

Webster County
I truly love this sign so much!

Webster County
I do love small town water towers.

Webster County
Stumpy’s Finished Top 5 Tenderloins in the State of Iowa in 2016 – What, you don’t think I have that list memorized?

Webster County
Business Opportunity!

Webster County

Webster County

Webster County

Webster County
Stop… You had me at Charlie Brown. You had me at Charlie Brown.

Webster County
Badger, Iowa in case you were wondering.

Webster County
Whenever I hear people say God Bless America, I think of Rob Bell’s “Rich”.

Webster County
Also “Noon Specials”.

Webster County

Webster County
Insect sculptures? Yes please!

Webster County

Webster County

Webster County

Webster County

Webster County
Don’t you even think of invading Clare, Iowa!

Webster County
Best Wishes T & Morga!

Webster County

Webster County
Tell me there is a better mailbox in the world and I will call you a liar, straight to your face!

Webster County
The church where T & Morga tied the knot appears to be out of business.

Webster County

Webster County
Now this is what I call outreach! Too bad coffee sucks!

Teresa’s co-worker Eduardo gave us a couple tip on places to see in Webster County. Apparently Vincent and Badger are his old stomping grounds. It was his tip to visit the John F. Kennedy Memorial Park near Badger that lead to the discovery of those sweet, sweet insect sculptures.

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This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is USE OF SPACE:


WEEK 282 - USE OF SPACE
USE OF SPACE

USE OF SPACE is an important theme historically for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. It was the very first theme ever for THE WEEKY PHOTO CHALLLENGE. All the way back when Vest and I invented THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE in the build area of the Computer Mine. Back then it was called THE RANDOM WEEKLY PHOTO EXPERIMENT and the theme was determined each week by a program that Vest wrote. Back then we both received submissions and he also published submissions on his website.
Much has changed back then, and not just the name. While that little bit of history is fascinating, it doesn’t answer the question, what is a USE OF SPACE picture?

It is possibly a confusing theme on the surface, but couldn’t be simpler in reality. All you have to understand is that in an image, there are two types of “space”. Positive space and negative space.

Positive space is the area in the photo that attracts the viewer’s eye. It’s the main subject that commands attention in the composition.

Negative space is the space in the composition that is typically the background. It usually doesn’t attract very much attention. It is used to define or contour the positive space.

In the example, my hand is the positive space. The brick wall is the negative space. In a USE OF SPACE (or negative space) photo, the photographer uses the space that is usually not the primary focus and uses it to fill in most of the composition. The negative space commands more attention than the positive space and creates a unique perspective. It also adds definition and can create strong emotions.

The challenge of this week is to make an image that is mostly negative space.

It is a counterintuitive way to compose an image. The natural instinct is to fill most of the frame with positive space. But you can really ratchet up the emotional impact by putting more negative space in an image than you normally would.

Of course, there are other ways to define USE OF SPACE. You can meditate on this quote by Bob Dylan, while you think about how to compose your USE OF SPACE picture:

Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow. They can be closed but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways there is no difference.

Meditate on these words while you thinking about how you are going to create your USE OF SPACE photo.

Happy photo harvesting!

Hamilton County Auxiliary Images

Today I’m sharing images I took while tooling around Hamilton County harvesting signs for THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT. There aren’t many of them because I actually had already harvested most Hamilton County town signs before this little road trip.


Hamilton County

Hamilton County

Hamilton County

Hamilton County

Hamilton County

Hamilton County

Hamilton County

Hamilton County
Might be wonder why I took this picture of this bench in Williams. It is because these people went to my church. I was surprised to see their name on a bench in another town.

Hamilton County

Hamilton County

Hamilton County

Hamilton County

Hamilton County

Hamilton County

There are a few more counties worth of auxiliary photos to share out there.

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


WEEK 281 - BLACK
BLACK

A BLACK image can be of all sorts of things. Things that are BLACK. Things that make you feel BLACK. Or it could be BLACK humor. Who knows, let your BLACKest imagination run wild!

I don’t have a movie quote for you to meditate on this week, instead I have song lyrics from Johnny Cash:

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black
Why you never see bright colors on my back
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone
Well, there’s a reason for the things that I have on

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down
Living in the hopeless, hungry side of town
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime
But is there because he’s a victim of the time

I wear the black for those who’ve never read
Or listened to the words that Jesus said
About the road to happiness through love and charity
Why, you’d think He’s talking straight to you and me

Well, we’re doing mighty fine, I do suppose
In our streak of lightning cars and fancy clothes
But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back
Up front there ought to be a man in black

I wear it for the sick and lonely old
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold
I wear the black in mourning for the lives that could have been
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men

And I wear it for the thousands who have died
Believing that the Lord was on their side
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died
Believing that we all were on their side

Well, there’s things that never will be right I know
And things need changing everywhere you go
But ’til we start to make a move to make a few things right
You’ll never see me wear a suit of white

Ah, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day
And tell the world that everything’s okay
But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back
‘Til things are brighter, I’m the Man In Black

Meditate on the words of the greatest country singer, while thinking about how to create your BLACK image.

Happy photo harvesting!

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.

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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.

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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!

Light it Up!

A few months back, I took a dead zinnia down to my basement, lit it and then lit it up. I believe Jesse and Anders were standing by as potential firefighters. Even though, they didn’t understand why I was starting even the smallest fire, inside my house.

Here are the pictures:


Digging for God - 2020

Digging for God - 2020

Digging for God - 2020

Digging for God - 2020

Digging for God - 2020

Digging for God - 2020

Digging for God - 2020

Digging for God - 2020

Digging for God - 2020

Digging for God - 2020

Digging for God - 2020

Digging for God - 2020

Digging for God - 2020

I actually start have a small collection of dead flower sitting on my dining room floor that I intend to light up at some point in the future. Flowertography doesn’t have an offseason.

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


WEEK 279 - COMMERCIAL
COMMERCIAL

What defines a COMMERCIAL photo? I want you to think of something that you really like. Maybe even love it. Something that you think other people would enjoy or find useful. It could be something that you already sell. At least a few of you own your own business! Now think about how would you sell it to other people through the language of photography.

While this image, might recall a bit of the old days of magazine (anybody remember magazines, I used to subscribe to 6 or 7 of them) advertising, it isn’t the only avenue of sales. For example, the picture that people take and put on dating apps, that is a way of trying to sell yourself.

That is this week’s challenge, to think of something (or even somebody) and try to photograph it in away that other people would think, I want some of that.

You can even think of trying to make a COMMERCIAL image for something that is reprehensible like smoking. Here is a quote from a character named Nick Naylor from the movie THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. Nick Naylor is a lobbyist for the tobacco companies and this is an exchange he has during a meeting with tobacco executives:


Nick Naylor: [during a meeting with company executives and other staff members] In 1910, the US was producing ten billion cigarettes a year, by 1930 we were up to one hundred twenty three billion, what happened in between? Three things: a world war, dieting and movies

BR: Movies?

Nick Naylor: In, 1927 talking pictures are born and suddenly directors need to give their actors something to do while their talking, Cary Grant and Carole Lombard lighting up, Bette Davis a “chimney”, and Bogart, remember the first picture with him and Lauren Bacall?

BR: Not specifically

Nick Naylor: She shimmies through the doorway nineteen years old, pure sex, she says “anyone got a match?” and Bogie throws the matches at her, she catches them, greatest romance in the century, how did it start? lighting a cigarette, we need the cast of Will & Grace smoking in their living room, Forrest Gump puffing away between his boxes of chocolates, Hugh Grant earning back the love of Julia Roberts by buying her favorite brand, her Virginia Slims, most of the actors smoke already, when they start doing it onscreen, we can put the sex back into cigarettes.

Meditate on that, while thinking of how to make a COMMERCIAL image.

Happy photo harvesting!

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.

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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!