Arches National Park, Utah

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“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit…”

-Edward Abbey

Photo Location: Arches National Park, Utah

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Sparrows in Winter

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“I do not live happily or comfortably
with the cleverness of our times.
The talk is about computers,
the news is all about bombs and blood.
This morning, in the fresh field,
I came upon a hidden nest.
It held four warm, speckled eggs.
I touched them.
Then went away softly,
having felt something more wonderful
than all the electricity in New York City.”

-Mary Oliver, “With Thanks to the Field Sparrow, Whose Voice Is So Delicate and Humble”

 

Photo Location: Cedar County, Iowa

Cedar River Sunrise

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“The great miraculous bell of translucent ice is suspended in mid-air.

It rings to announce endings and beginnings. And it rings because there is fresh promise and wonder in the skies.
Its clear tones resound in the placid silence of the winter day, and echo long into the silver-blue serenity of night.

The bell can only be seen at the turning of the year, when the days wind down into nothing, and get ready to march out again.

When you hear the bell, you feel a tug at your heart.

It is your immortal inspiration.”

– Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Photo Location: Cedar Valley Park, Cedar County, Iowa

While I haven’t always been big on resolutions, I do have many goals for 2018, both personal and professional. One of those being to re-establish my online photography presence, and part of that will be through a daily photo and inspirational quote shared across my social media platforms. Please keep an eye out for these on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and feel free to like, comment or share!

Warmest wishes to everyone out there for happiness, health, love and inspiration, and a year full of wonderful adventure in 2018!

Josh Meier Photography Best of 2017

Well here we are again, New Years Eve, always a time for both reflection and intent. And for photographers it’s an occasion to dream of shoots in the year to come, and to look back on work from the one about to pass. One thing I’ve really come to look forward to at this time each year is Jim Goldstein’s annual Best Photos of the Year blog project. In this, Jim invites anyone who wishes to participate to create a blog post highlighting 5-10 of their favorite images from the year, then graciously compiles a list of submissions, linking back to each photographers work. It’s a wonderful opportunity for networking and a chance to see some of the truly amazing photography that people are putting out year after year.

While I’ve enjoyed viewing submissions to Jim’s project from the shadows for several seasons now, last winter was the first I actually contributed myself. And finding it difficult to narrow my favorites down to a list of ten, I ended up creating one post with my Favorites from 2016, and a second with Honorable Mentions. (Click HERE and HERE to view those.) This year, over abundance was not a problem…

2017 brought some really big changes as in January we welcomed our first child, our son Caden. Life has been an absolute whirlwind since. Somehow I managed to keep up with weekly market appearances and had only a slight drop off in the number of art shows I did, but finding time to get out and shoot was a different story. It’s almost embarrassing to admit, but I’m guessing 2017 allowed me less than 40 hours of actual time in the field. While I did get out to Northern California for a family trip and was able to sneak a few shoots in, the rest of my efforts have been concentrated very close to home. Generally within 30 miles (and in some cases closer to 30 steps!) from my backdoor. That’s life with a newborn, and you just have to take what you can get. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t capture a few shots that I’m pretty proud of.

With all of this in mind, and since many viewers who find this via link from Jim’s blog will already be familiar with the more iconic western scenes from California, I thought that this year it might be fun to share all Iowa images for this project. It’s always a goal of mine anyhow to show people (or remind those who live here) of the natural beauty that, contrary to stereotypes, we are blessed to have here in the Hawkeye State. All images below come from Eastern Iowa, and in fact, all were shot in Cedar or Johnson County.

So without further ado, I submit my favorite images of 2017…

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Cedar River, Cedar County

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Cedar River, Cedar County

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Meier Family Farm, Cedar County

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220th Street, Tipton

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Morse Road, Cedar County

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Lake Macbride State Park, Johnson County

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273rd Street, Tipton

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Coralville Reservoir, Johnson County

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Rock Creek, Cedar County

 

Thanks so much to Jim Goldstein for all of the work he puts into organizing this project every year. I know a lot of people really enjoy it, and his efforts are greatly appreciated!

Just as this past year brought big changes, 2018 looks to have more in store. But I’m feeling more inspired than ever, and look forward to getting back to shooting with much greater frequency, and re-establishing my online presence too. I’m always eager to connect with other photographers or nature lovers, so look me up on any of these social media platforms.

Facebook- Josh Meier Photography
Instagram- Josh Meier Photography
Twitter- Josh Meier Photo

 

Oh, okay, I can’t resist… Here’s one more…

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Happy New Year Everyone!

 

2018 Josh Meier Photography Iowa Calendar

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It’s that time of year again, and I’m happy to announce that my 2018 Calendars are now in production and pre-orders are being accepted! I’m really excited about this years offerings; again two versions- one being all Iowa scenes and the other “All Over” with images from the US and International locales. You can get a preview of the Iowa Calendar images here, as from November 18-29 I will be making daily updates to this post, highlighting a new months image and providing a little backstory for each photo.

(Click here for “All Over” preview)

Calendars are $15 each plus 3.95 shipping. For additional information or to order, PLEASE CLICK HERE…

Pictured above is the cover photo for the Iowa edition. It features a lovely stand of purple coneflowers, found along the Macbride Recreation Trail near Solon. Iowa was once covered in tall grass prairie and summer bouquets such as this would have been found in abundance across our sweeping expanse. Unfortunately this is no longer the case, as it is estimated that less than one tenth of one percent of our virgin prairie remains. On the bright side though, there is an appreciation here amongst nature lovers, romantics, and conservationists for what once was; and with it a growing prairie restoration movement.

 

January-

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In keeping with what is always one of my greatest photographic ambitions, I love to share photos of Iowa side by side with those from other beautiful destinations, just to show people that despite stereotypes we live in a very special place here. Therefore I often have some overlap between my two calendars by including a couple favored Iowa scenes in both versions.

The January 2018 image is one of these cases. This image, the lead off feature for both calendars, was taken at sunrise on New Years Day, 2017. It was shot on the Cedar River at Cedar Valley Park (located between Tipton and West Branch) and is the result of ice that had broken up when the river thawed, and then refroze in a cold snap. I could think of no better way than to usher in a new year than to be out in nature before dawn; and watching the landscape come to life as Canadian geese stirred with the rising sun and a bald eagle soared above.

February-

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The February image in my 2018 Iowa Calendar features Little Paint Creek in Yellow River State Forest of beautiful Allamakee County. Known as the Driftless Area, the landscape here was never touched by the glaciers that shaped much of the Midwest, and boasts stunning characteristics unique to the region. Towering bluffs, cool flowing trout streams and heavily wooded hollows make it an outdoor lovers dream. If you’re an Iowan who has never ventured to this area, you have yet to fully appreciate what beauty our home state has to offer. I highly recommend that you get yourself there soon!

March-

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Here is another image serving dual purpose in my 2018 Calendars, gracing both the cover of my “All Over” edition and featured for the month of March in the Iowa version. As I mentioned the other day, it has a little extra sentimentality for me. It was taken on my Dad’s farm west of Tipton, and this lone cottonwood has watched me grow as I have passed beneath it countless times since my days of youth; wandering “back in the hills” as we always called it in search of adventure through the rolling pastures and along the banks of Rock Creek. I have photographed this tree many times before, but this past winter it again became a focal point because of its beauty and easy access- just a hop, skip and a jump out my door. For the week or so prior to my sons birth I set out every morning ahead of the dawn, intent on photographing the sunrise, just in case that would be the day he was born. I just had it in my mind that it would be cool to provide him a photo of sunrise on his literal birthday. Ultimately my plan didn’t work out. My wife went into labor on January 29 at about 4:30 in the morning, he was born at 7:34, and neither one of them had the patience to let me run out and shoot the sunrise in between! So no, I didn’t get a shot from that day… but I have some great ones from the days prior, and this turned out to be one of my favorite images captured last year.

April-

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The April shot from my 2018 Iowa Calendar features a view of the Coralville Reservoir, as seen from the spillway at Lake Macbride State Park. Located between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, the Macbride-Coralville recreation complex is a favorite local hangout, offering ample outdoor opportunities ranging from fishing, to hiking and mountain biking. It is a real treasure in this part of the state.
Despite what you may have seen on the internet, the flow here is not a waterfall. Not a natural one, anyway. Again, it’s a spillway where the outflow from Lake Macbride pours into the reservoir. It’s manmade, as are about half of the so-called waterfalls on the written for views “tour Iowa’s best waterfalls” list that has made it’s rounds on Facebook the past couple years. It’s still a very beautiful site and worthy of a visit, but those misleading clickbait articles annoy me… I’ll step off of my soapbox now.

May-

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The May image featured in my 2018 Iowa Calendar is another from the beautiful Driftless Area in the Northeastern corner of the state. Malanaphy Springs can be found in its namesake nature preserve just a few miles outside of Decorah. A gentle, well maintained trail leads you through a scenic hardwood forest about a mile to the spring; and there you arrive at the top of this lovely waterfall pouring about 10 feet to the Upper Iowa River below. We don’t have a lot of natural waterfalls in Iowa, but this one is the real deal and between the gorgeous falls and the pleasant hike to it, it’s my personal favorite. Next time you’re in the Decorah area take some time and check it out!

June-

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Continuing with the breakdown of images that make up my 2018 calendars, the June photo is another that earned it’s place in both the Iowa and All Over versions. They don’t get much closer to home that this, as it was taken on 220th Street west of Tipton, about 50 yards from where I sit typing this now. Free time has been virtually nonexistent this year with my wife engrossed in PhD work and a newborn son commanding lots of attention, so unfortunately my photo opportunities took a serious hit. I could honestly count on my fingers the number of times I’ve shot outside of Cedar County in the past 10 months. But on this summer evening with the passing of a wicked little storm, I sensed a change of light in my periphery. I rushed to the window to witness this most amazing sky then looked to the west and saw that the sun was dropping beneath the cloud cover. Cris and Caden had each other occupied allowing me a few minutes to grab my camera, race out to the road, and fire away. It was a wonderful reminder that you don’t always have to travel to exotic locales to be awed by the wonders of nature. Sometimes you just have to steal a minute and step outside your door!

 

2018 Josh Meier Photography Calendar

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It’s that time of year again, and I’m happy to announce that my 2018 Calendars are now in production and pre-orders are being accepted! I’m really excited about this years offerings; again two versions- one being all Iowa scenes and the other “All Over” with images from the US and International locales. You can get a preview of those images here, as from November 18-29 I will be making daily updates to this post, highlighting a new months image and providing a little backstory for each photo.

(Click Here for Iowa Calendar Preview)

Calendars are $15 each plus 3.95 shipping. For additional information or to order, PLEASE CLICK HERE…

The above photo is featured on the cover of my “All Over” calendar, and also finds its place as the March image in my Iowa edition. It reveals a lone cottonwood tree at sunrise, captured on my Dad’s farm west of Tipton, Iowa. This photo is special to me for both it’s simple beauty and sentimentality, as it was taken in the days preceding the birth of my son last winter.

 

January-

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In keeping with what is always one of my greatest photographic ambitions, I love to share photos of Iowa side by side with those from other beautiful destinations, just to show people that despite stereotypes we live in a very special place here. Therefore I often have some overlap between my two calendars by including a couple favored Iowa scenes in both versions.

The January 2018 image is one of these cases. This image, the lead off feature for both calendars, was taken at sunrise on New Years Day, 2017. It was shot on the Cedar River at Cedar Valley Park (located between Tipton and West Branch) and is the result of ice that had broken up when the river thawed, and then refroze in a cold snap. I could think of no better way than to usher in a new year than to be out in nature before dawn; and watching the landscape come to life as Canadian geese stirred with the rising sun and a bald eagle soared above.

February-

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The February image in my 2018 “All Over” calendar comes from Bryce Canyon National Park in Southwest Utah. This enchanted landscape provides an other worldly view as visitors stand on the canyon rim and gaze upon towering rock spires which rise from the depths below. These formations, known as “hoodoos,” are the result of water and time, as liquid and ice has eroded varying rock types at different speeds over the course of thousands of years to leave us with the uniquely shaped configurations seen today. It’s a magical scene at any time of year, but in winter with the white snow contrasting against red rock, it is especially spectacular.

March-

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The feature image for March in my 2018 “All Over” calendar comes from the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. This unique and beautiful area is known for its hexagonal shaped basalt columns that appear as a walkway leading out to the North Atlantic and disappearing into the sea. Legend has it that the “path” was constructed by an Irish giant named “Finn MacCool” in order to fight a rival from across the channel in Scotland. Things get a bit hazy from there, as in one version of the story Finn is straight up victorious, and in another he hides out of fear when he realizes the Scottish giant is larger than expected. In the second legend, Finn’s wife disguises him as a baby, and when the Scottish challenger sees the size of what he interprets as Finn’s son, he flees in horror thinking the father must be even larger yet, and destroys the crossing in his retreat. Regardless of the geologic or mythologic origins, the location is absolutely gorgeous and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

April-

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The April photo in my 2018 All Over Calendar comes from Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park. This idyllic and often photographed scene features a picturesque barn set against the jagged peaks of the Tetons. The barn and neighboring structures were built by Mormon settlers who moved here from Salt Lake City in the 1890’s. Unlike other western pioneers, the Mormons established their homesteads in close proximity and relied heavily on community to eek out a living in this harsh environment. As pretty as this scene is, it’s hard to visit and not imagine the difficulties of homesteading here, especially during the winter months.

May-

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May in my 2018 calendar takes us to idyllic Mossbrae Falls; a magical site in Northern California. You might say this one is a bit off the beaten path as accessing the falls takes a little effort, and isn’t entirely legal. To get there one must overlook No Trespassing signs and venture about 20 minutes along an active Union Pacific train track, bordered on one side by a high canyon wall and on the other a steep drop to the Sacramento River. But despite the risk (the purported $300 fine might be worth it, just don’t get hit by a train!) the hike in is enjoyable and this waterfall might be the most amazing I’ve ever seen! Created by several springs seeping through a mossy wall it is a unique and tranquil sight that won’t soon be forgotten.

June-

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Continuing with the breakdown of images that make up my 2018 calendars, the June photo is another that earned it’s place in both the Iowa and All Over versions. They don’t get much closer to home that this, as it was taken on 220th Street west of Tipton, about 50 yards from where I sit typing this now. Free time has been virtually nonexistent this year with my wife engrossed in PhD work and a newborn son commanding lots of attention, so unfortunately my photo opportunities took a serious hit. I could honestly count on my fingers the number of times I’ve shot outside of Cedar County in the past 10 months. But on this summer evening with the passing of a wicked little storm, I sensed a change of light in my periphery. I rushed to the window to witness this most amazing sky then looked to the west and saw that the sun was dropping beneath the cloud cover. Cris and Caden had each other occupied allowing me a few minutes to grab my camera, race out to the road, and fire away. It was a wonderful reminder that you don’t always have to travel to exotic locales to be awed by the wonders of nature. Sometimes you just have to steal a minute and step outside your door!