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!

 

2016 Honorable Mentions

After years of gawking and admiring from the shadows, I’ve decided to finally participate in the annual Jim Goldstein “Best of…” photo project. This is a really cool opportunity for photographers to showcase their work while networking, discovering, and drawing inspiration from that of others. It’s a pretty simple concept. Each year, photographers submit what they feel are their best 5-10 images from the preceding 12 months. Mr. Goldstein then compiles a list of all of the photographers who have submitted, and posts links to their galleries or blogs. Photo lovers can then spend hours or even days clicking through the many excellent showcases; marveling at all of the beautiful captures.
As I’ve tried this past week to select what I feel are my years best images, I’ve realized that this in itself is no easy feat. I’ve been pretty fortunate this year in getting to travel to some amazing places and I’ve taken in some truly wondrous sights. It’s difficult to narrow the thousands of resultant photos down to so few, especially with the emotion of experience involved. I think I’ve finally settled on my selection, and I’ll be sharing that post on New Years Eve. However, it has been awhile since I’ve released any new work (online, anyway…) or written on this blog, so as a little primer here is a collection of 2016 images that were in heavy consideration, but finished just outside of my top ten.

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Little Corona del Mar, Newport Beach, California

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Rock Creek, Cedar County, Iowa

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Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

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Matthiessen State Park, Illinois

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Lanesboro, Minnesota

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Glacier National Park, Montana

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Banff National Park, Alberta

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Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

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Swift River, New Hampshire

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Acadia National Park, Maine

Earth Day 2016

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I shared this “dandelion”* photo on Facebook a few years back as part of an impromptu Earth Day post. Soon after, a friend questioned its appropriateness.

“Really?!!! A dandelion on Earth Day? Think about all the chemicals people pump onto their lawns trying to get rid of these things…”

This reaction caught me off guard. I’d chosen the image because I felt it portrayed a certain beauty and fragility emblematic of our natural world; and under the working title “Make a Wish…” I thought of it as a symbol of hope for a more sustainable future. I honestly hadn’t considered the extensive environmental damage caused by efforts to control what so many people consider a noxious weed. In my friends defense he wasn’t advocating these practices, but instead reminding me of this attitude and what results. And he had a point. Each year the mere sight of dandelions contributes to millions of gallons of herbicide being unleashed on the environment.

I’ve thought of this often in the years since, and have come to the conclusion that this actually IS a really good Earth Day image. Not just for the reasons I stated above, but for what my friend alluded to as well. Dandelions are actually extremely beneficial plants. They are edible and contain high nutritional value, and also contribute to soil health through nitrogen fixation. Yet most people fail to see this. Instead, they’ve been told that these are wretched weeds- something that cannot be allowed in a responsible homeowners lawn. Thus we must take any and all measures to eradicate them.

Why?

Because somebody said so? As children most of us loved dandelions. They emerged on those warm spring days when after a long winter we could finally run outside to play without need for jacket, hat and gloves. We smeared the yellow flowers on our faces, blew the seeds and watched with innocent wonder as they drifted off on the wind. But as we grew old, our attitudes were expected to change. Nature became something to be marginalized and controlled. Flowers were for window boxes and designated gardens, but shouldn’t dare emerge in our well-manicured lawns. Reasoning and truth and childhood sentiment didn’t matter. That’s just the way it was.

So much of what we do, so many social norms, come as a result of following blindly. An appliance quits working we send it to the landfill. That’s just the way things work. The same fate comes for clothes we no longer wear or toys our kids no longer play with. It’s just the way things are handled. We need a gallon of milk we drive two blocks to the grocery store, that’s just how things are done. Our work places are left to sit vacant overnight but still suck power for security lights, printers, microwaves and coffee makers on the ready. That’s just the way it goes. We get thirsty we buy a bottle of water. That’s just the way it is.

The way it is has got to change. Acknowledge it or not the way it is, the way we are living, has got us into a heap of trouble and it’s going to take a drastic and immediate shift in attitude to get ourselves out. It’s not about saving the Earth. The Earth will be just fine. This is a matter of respect and appreciating the opportunity we have to live here; and giving our children and grandchildren so much as a fighting chance to do the same.

This Earth Day, please take a moment and think about the world you wish to leave for future generations, reflect on your own daily choices and make the necessary changes to bring about a better end.

 

Iowa-based writer Catherine Haustein recently wrote an excellent piece celebrating the value of dandelions, and used this photo on her blog. Check that out here.

*I try to make it a point to acknowledge that this photo is not of a true dandelion. It’s actually a plant called goats beard, which looks almost identical only a bit larger. Sometimes the impression a photo gives and the emotion it stirs is all that really matters, so I call this one “Make a Wish…” and leave it at that.