Wabash Trace, Mineola, Iowa. There is nothing like a cold, frosty morning in Iowa. For the procrastinators out there, our dining room has become a temporary gallery for last-minute Christmas gifts. Email me if you’re interested in stopping by to browse through the big selection of prints I have on hand. An added bonus is that you’ll see a 30X60 print of my favorite local photo, which I’ve never shared (nor will ever share) online.
It's brutally cold out there today (at least here in Council Bluffs), so here's a flourish of warmth for everybody.
Here's a thistle I recently found in a local prairie preserve here in Council Bluffs. They're not the easiest flower to handle, obviously, but they're worth the trouble. Thanks to everybody who visited my display at Lauritzen Gardens over the summer. It was an incredible experience.
I've never had much luck photographing hibiscus blossoms, so I've been experimenting a bit with hibiscus buds and seeds. Here's the former. By the way, because of the subtle out-of-focus gradient around the flower, this photo will probably look bad on some screens. It should look mildly better here than on my Facebook page, but the image as I see it in Lightroom (and hopefully the future print) looks as it should. Just one of the pitfalls of jpg compression/screen differences/other technical ado. Thanks for looking.
Thanks again to Teri for planting so many zinnias in our flower garden this year. I had never realized how expressive they can be. As we approach the (second) end of my Lauritzen Gardens show, this is perhaps the best weekend to go, since admission is free on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (Labor Day).
I misidentified this flower last week. It's not a coreopsis; it's a cosmos. Same tribe, different genus. But do I get partial credit since they're fellow tribesmen?
This photo was taken a few mornings ago at the Vorthmann farm, near Treynor. They have been kind enough to let me wander around on their farm for sunrise photographs. This scene embodies so much of the western Iowa I’ve come to love. Enormous sky meets enormous farmland, hinged gracefully by a Loess hill on the horizon, the top of which would undoubtedly offer another grand vista to the east, and so on and so on.
I’ve encountered some very generous people lately who have let me sneak on to their land here and there for a few photos. If you’re one of them, thanks so much.
We were all excited that one of our California poppy plants was about to blossom, worried constantly that they'd be eaten by deer every night, and then cosmos popped out instead. Here's to beautiful impostors. Or to garden ignorance. Hell, here's to the weekend!
Here's another in my Boy Scout Island series. It was taken this morning. I originally began this series of photographs to document the island (some would insist that it should now be called Boy Scout Peninsula) in all seasons and in various weather conditions, but now I go back again and again mostly because it's the most peaceful spot I know of to greet the rising sun.
Well, the good folks at Lauritzen Gardens asked if I would extend my show until September 14, and I thought about it for a quarter second before answering yes. I'd be a fool not to, right? This is one in a new batch of prints I dropped off at the Gardens yesterday to replace some that have been either sold or stolen. I'm kind of hoping for the latter, since nothing sells like a scandal. They say that you know you've made it when people start stealing your work. I'm not necessarily condoning theft, but it is the theme of my show (A Theft in the Garden), so if I'm on the receiving end of it, I kind of had it coming. Plus, if you know me, I'm not always one to take the high road.
I found this scene in the predawn glow a few morning ago on my way out to Avoca to deliver some prints--one of those peaceful scenes that I love to stumble upon before the rest of the world has awoken.
Having a 2-year-old in the house means that I read a lot of kids' books, and many are adorned by cute little drawings of background flowers (and bunnies, butterflies, birds, etc). They are typically 5 or 6 rounded red or yellow petals above a green stem and maybe a few hastily drawn leaves. I'm usually unsure which type of flower they're meant to represent; maybe some British flower that I'm unfamiliar with, since so many kids' books have deep English roots. Regardless, I'm always on the lookout for flowers that seem to match the characteristic style of those in storybooks. A few months ago, my wonderful grandma sent Teri a bouquet of interesting little short-petaled tulips for Mother's Day, and at certain angles, they resembled the flowers in Gavin's books. So I spent an afternoon trying to emulate that look. This one falls seriously short of the description above, but it's one of the "outtakes" that I like.
This was taken a few months back. The poppy was from our (well, Teri's) flower garden.
Back to nigellas. Have I mentioned how much I love these flowers?
This was taken just a few hours ago at Lake Manawa State Park, Council Bluffs, Iowa, and this shot nearly put me in the lake.
Just a flash of homegrown color to enhance your Monday.
As I explained in my last post, I bought a bunch of nigella from one of the vendors at an Omaha farmers' market last weekend. It's a flower of many dramatic faces, and here's another example.
I know of only two places to buy nigella flowers, and they're both at Omaha farmers' markets on weekends in summer. I believe that Thai families operate both of the vendor tents that sell them, and something must be lost in the translation every time I try to buy a couple stems of them, because I always end up leaving with gargantuan flower arrangements of which nigella are a minor component. It's a small price to pay, though, to photograph one of my favorite flowers. From bud to blossom to seed, they go through dramatic and varied transformations, and two are seldom alike. They appear forbidding with thorns, but the "needles" are just flimsy leafy projections, and the pointed blue or white or purple petals are translucent and delicate. It's all a beautiful ruse.
Just another reminder that my floral prints will be on display at Lauritzen Gardens for about another month. If you have time, please go take a look.
A family of geese swim past the northernmost tree on Boy Scout Island, Lake Manawa.