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.
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.
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 “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.
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.
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 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.
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!