Let's play a game. Where in Council Bluffs is this? At noon tomorrow, I'll pick a winner randomly from all the correct guesses (comment below or on my Facebook page) and send them a print of this image. Specific guesses only. Okay, go. Here's the clue: It's a pocket of wilderness in one of the most developed (and busiest) parts of Council Bluffs. If you drove by here this morning, you might have noticed me taking this picture.
Lake Manawa. During the past few days, several of my favorite trees around Lake Manawa have been cut down, presumably because they were dead or dying and posed some type of hazard. Or at least I hope so, since they have long been some of my favorite photographic subjects there. But if they were simply deemed aesthetically unpleasing by some park authority, I present this photo as proof to the contrary. The one pictured here sat along Manawa Road and served as a lookout perch for more bald eagles than I count. It's now in a pile on the opposite side of the road.
On a lighter note, Happy New Year, everybody. Stay safe out there, and enjoy the heck out of 2015!
Lake Manawa State Park. If you visit the park often, you probably know exactly where this is. The morning sun was shining, the leaves were turning, and the fog was rising. I love this time of year.
Lake Manawa, yesterday morning. The road around the lake has some great trees, and I've spent countless hours photographing them, especially on cold, still mornings when the mist is rising. Happy Autumn, everybody!
A family of geese swim past the northernmost tree on Boy Scout Island, Lake Manawa.
So I’ve been continuing my exploration of local backroads in my search for rural Americana, neglected barns, abandoned farmhouses, forgotten structures that stand as reminders of semi-recent antiquity, and lone trees along dusty gravel roads keeping an eye on the rolling Loess hills, somehow surviving storm season after storm season with no protection from the relentless prairie wind. I’ve been trying to stay more organized, keeping notes and placing virtual pins in Google maps, to keep from retracing prior steps. It can be a challenge, though, since much of the terrain begins to look pretty similar on those backroads, except when you stumble upon a really memorable scene like the ones I did this past Saturday morning. The weather forecast called for a cold morning and a possibility of early fog, so I left the house hopeful that I’d find some. I headed toward Mineola via Woodland Trail and Brothers Ave and found this scene waiting for me, just before the descent toward Keg Creek, the entire valley awash in rolling ribbons of fog and only the tallest trees pushing through as if to breathe while treading water. It was one of those moments when I again felt fortunate to live among the hills, where so many great views can be found. Which leads me to my question of the day: With so many high points around the Loess Hills, which offer your favorite views?
A lonely side-road in the Nebraska Sandhills.