Maquoketa Caves

It’s been a day of “finally’s.” Not only did we finally get a long, sustained soaking rain shower (by far the best of the summer) but the rain finally left me with nothing to do but stay indoors, and finally the chance to get caught up on some photo work. I have quite a ways to go yet, and haven’t even gotten into the stuff shot on my little road trip to northeast Iowa a couple weeks ago, but I thought I’d take a break here and share a few images from earlier in August.

The following photos were taken at Maquoketa Caves State Park in Jackson County, Iowa. This has long been one of my favorite parks in our region, if not anywhere, and my friends and I have found much adventure shimmying through the parks namesake passages over the years. On this particular day I brought my wife for her first ever visit, and considering she’s not much of a spelunker we spent the majority of our time above ground. It was still a good time, and an excellent opportunity to return not only to an old stomping ground but one of my primary photographic goals for the year: capturing views of Iowa’s natural world that exceed stereotypes.

My hope with this is simple. I want to show those who have never been here that the Iowa landscape is more than a fifty six thousand square mile tabletop entirely seeded with corn and soy beans, and remind those who are here what’s just outside waiting to be explored. I want to show the natural side of this state, where I grew up, developed my love for the outdoors, and now return to replenish my sense of wonder. I want to present these, in contrast to those vast cornfield images* as a reminder of the ecologically fragile areas that are also out there, worthy of our consideration and protection.

One of the real challenges I had on this sunny day, and others like it when visiting wooded parks under similar circumstance, was shooting the understory. There is an awesome interplay of shadow and light cast amongst the vibrant green vegetation under these conditions. However, what our eye may see as a “natural spotlight” shining through the forest canopy to set a chosen plant aglow, the camera interprets differently. It’s tricky to figure out the proper exposure settings and other techniques to compensate for this. While it does lend credence to the solution of saving deep woods shoots for overcast days, I also feel that trying to push through and capture good images in these conditions will help me to become a better photographer. Once I fully understand how my camera sees the world, I will surely improve my success rate in determining when to “click.”

I’m not there yet, but here are a few of my images from Maquoketa Caves State Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find more information on Maquoketa Caves by clicking HERE.

 

As the website says, it is definitely one of the more unique parks in Iowa, and one that I’ll always hold fondly in my heart. It had been years since my last visit, but it’s safe to say I’ll be heading back soon.

With these, I would like to announce my latest facebook drawing. Just like last month, I am looking for feedback on my work. Anybody who comments on or “Likes” any of the images in the “August 2012” album, or the “Morning on RAGBRAI” album on my Josh Meier Photography facebook page will have their name entered in a drawing to win a 4 pack of handmade greeting cards featuring my original photos. You have until the evening of September 3 to get entered, and are eligible to have your name included up to twice in the drawing (once per album your comments appear in.) You must be a fan of Josh Meier Photography on facebook though, so be sure you LIKE and follow that page as well.

As always, your feedback is very much appreciated. I consider every comment I get to be of great value, and am always humbled by those who are willing to take the time to review my work, and help me grow as a photographer.

You can find a link to my Josh Meier Photography facebook page in the menu to the right, and here are links to those specific albums.

 

“A Morning on RAGBRAI”

“August 2012”

 

Thanks!

 

*Just for clarification, I do and will continue to photograph the more traditional Midwestern farmscape scenes. I feel that this is an important part of our historical and cultural identity, and on a personal note also signifies where I come from.  Our rustic century old barns are disappearing at an astonishing rate, and for many, a photograph is the only hope for preservation. Those sorts of images are also by far my most requested. I have with age and observation, however, come to understand the consequence of modern agricultural practices, and this is why I feel it’s important to emphasize nature images as well; as a reminder of the environs tucked right smack dab in the middle of it all. Food production is important, but if we want to survive as a species we need to learn ways to place farming and the environment on even ground.

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