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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!