Saturday, June 25, 2011

Des Moines Arts Festival

Brian and I enjoyed visiting the DesMoines Arts Festival this weekend, eating "street food" and taking in a part of Iowa's culture that we don't see very often.

We had favorites, and enjoyed visiting with the artists, asking about their technique and inspirations.

First, we visited Becky Arkema from Sully, who was a part of the "Iowa's Emerging Artists," and was having her first art show.  She is a beautiful girl with beautiful artwork.  Outside the Line Design:

It was hard not to think of Megan, a beautiful young girl from our church, in the Pediatric ICU just a few blocks away, who was planning on starting photography courses this fall.  I wondered which art booths she would like, and what kind of photography she would be drawn to.

Another Iowa Emerging Artist that we liked:

Photographs on Steel from Kansas:

Pastel Drawings and Paintings:

Probably the best of show from our point of view:

A photographer that taught me a few things:

A creative idea for an old seed corn pallet:

An artist who made dresses out of recycled things (roof shingles):

And then a stop at the Iowa Capitol Building for some photos as the sun was setting.  The setting sun brought out wonderful gold tones of the Capitol.  Brian's first time to the Capitol building in Iowa.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Presidential Candidate Visit

Our family was excited to help host presidential candidate, Senator Rick Santorum today at the StillwatersIowa cabin.  We were able to meet the senator, hear his views and vision, and eat some good Iowa food.

Here is a picture of Senator Santorum meeting my Grandpa Harry.

You can't visit Iowa (especially the Boender house) without eating food.  Good Food.  Grown on the farm food.

The Zach-ster with daddy.  It is wonderful to see a political leader value family and be comfortable around children.

Proud young Iowans, Cody and Gideon, posing for the camera with a campaign sign.

Thank you so much for visiting, Senator!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


 Last night I was able to capture a picture that I had been thinking about attempting since the beginning of summer when I learned that the Iowa State Fair Photography competition's theme was "Our World in Motion."

My goal was to capture two levels of motion: the train that runs by my parent's house and fireflies.  I was able to capture the train, and unsuccessful at capturing the fireflies in the same frame.  The lighting was too much of a challenge.  In hindsight, I was setting my standards too high.

Too give you an idea of the challenge, the following photo is a picture of the lighting by the railroad bridge that crosses the Muchikanic Creek.  You can see that I caught just a few fireflies with a long shutter speed.  This is when my dad and I were getting bit up like crazy by mosquitoes...

You might recognize the Classic Union Pacific engine:

Here is the resulting photo that we captured:
Theimage was far brighter, because I kept the shutter open for 10 seconds.  The train wasn't moving too terribly fast, but I was still able to capture the motion of the train, and the streaks of light along the sides.  I also love how the front of the train you can see the headlight of the train shining on the trees in front of it, giving them a yellow glow.

Here were my settings for other photographers interested:
Aperture: F8
ISO: 100

I'm still learning what all those settings mean, but I feel good about knowing approximately where they needed to be to take on the challenge.

A few more pictures:

I give dad my credit for coming up with the title, "Locomotion."  The ironic thing is that I had already brought my entries to the State Fair competition in Des Moines just yesterday morning because they were due this weekend.  Oh well, I'm still so please with the results and had a good time with my dad, who tromped down all the weeds next to the track so that they didn't interfere with the shot.  There is always next year.

Thanks to "Jimmie" who works for Union Pacific who helped me out on the timing of the train. Jimmie, could your post the link to the Union Pacific Railroad Calendar?

The images I decided to enter in the State Fair:

Hydrant by the Barn (Family Farm Class)

Flea Market Salesman (People)  Note:  My dad's title for this one is "Hell of a Hailstorm," but I declined.

Snakeweed in Water (Flowers and Plants)

Ezra's Colors (Things and Still Life)

None of them may be selected, since there are likely over 5,000 entries, one of the largest photography competition in the U.S.  I'll be OK with that.  I'm thankful to be able to use my creativity to capture the world around me.

A quote from Michael Card's book, "Christ and Creativity,"

Creativity is not about me.  It is not about you.  It is not us somehow acting like little gods, creating on our own in the same way God creates.  Although he asks us to imitate him, we are not imitators of God in this dimension.  The most we can hope for is to respond appropriately and creatively to who God is and what he means.  Creativity is a response.

Creativity is worship insofar as it is, at its essence, a response.

God Speaks, I respond in worship.  I hope my photography and creativity is always about who God is, and a response of gratitude for what he has done in my life.

Happy Father's Day!

 In front of our house, 3 yrs, 1986.

 Singing with dad when I was ten, 1993.

Brian checking our soybean stand with the boys.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Families are like Fudge

Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts. 

There is no cure for laziness but a large family helps.  ~Herbert Prochnov

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cousins in the Barn

Sunday afternoon we celebrated my niece Rachel's birthday.

I was able to "catch" them playing in a quite dilapidated barn.

Rachel shows up to say hello when she sees the camera.

And then a very, very rare thing happened.  They all posed.

And they stood there.

There were birds nests and ropes and barn doors waiting to play with...

So I zoomed out to grab more shots.

Weirdly, they watched out the barn door without running away.

And almost grew quiet.

Someone cracks a joke.

It's starting to get boring. 
And then they are off.

Rachel turned seven.  So we were celebrating her birthday on a Sunday afternoon.  A few of my friends from grade school who know Rachel and knew me at her age say we look alike.  She looks a lot like her aunts on her mom's side too.

Rachel showing the egg that she found.

Amelia taking a turn.

Church shorts and cowboy boots for Sunday afternoon in the barn.

The hybrid truck in its resting place.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Painting with Light

While watching the sunset over a quiet Iowa landscape I experimented with a photo technique called, "Painting with Light."  I switched my camera to Manual ("M" on the dial)and decreased my shutter speed so that the shutter was open for about 10 seconds.  I set the camera on a flat, stable surface in order to decrease camera shake as much as possible (no blur!) after pressing the shutter release, I "wrote" with a flashlight in the sand.  Keep in mind I had no clue what was being captured.  To me it looked like I was shining a flashlight in the sand.  Here is what happened:
COOL!  So next we faced the camera toward the sunset, and Brian faced the camera while "writing" a name with the flashlight on...which feels rather strange since you can't really "see" what you are doing.  The results:

Nice cursive name.  And he was smart enough to write backwards so that it was forwards for the camera.  He is such a smart guy.  OK, my turn again.

I'm not as smart.  I was more concerned with good penmanship.

Then I got a bright idea.  What if I shut the flashlight off between letters during the 10 seconds of writing?  Could we avoid cursive?

Sweet, it worked!  But I still wrote it backwards.  Brian's turn again.

Oops, didn't write fast enough!  Missing the "Y."  We decided we'd better get back to the kids, who were sleeping in the cabin.

Can't wait for the fourth of July to capture some sparklers with long shutter speeds!  And capture the long streaks of fireworks too! 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Memorial Day in Black and White

We had a beautiful memorial day starting out watching airplanes land on the Sully, Iowa grass airstrip.  We then enjoyed the cadet pancake breakfast, then headed south to my parent's farm to go swimming.  The day ended with a bonfire and a beautiful sunset with friends from church.  Friends who are family and friends who are practically family.

Airplane parked along the airstrip, Sully Co-op in the background.

Joe let me take a picture of him in his veteran's hat.  He served in the Korean war, and was a boy in Europe during the WWII.

Plane landing on a very windy morning.  The boys love to watch the planes fly in.

I took a few pictures at Forest Cemetery in Osky, across from the church I grew up in.  The flags are always stunning. 

Row of Soldiers.

A pasture of cattle adjacent to the cemetery.  Since my camera was set for black and white, I thought the monochrome cows would make a nice photo.  They pose so well.

Another picture of the cows on the middle horizon. 

Daughters of the American Revolution.  Brian thought it was interesting to see a flag on a woman's grave, especially in the older section of the cemetery, born in late 1800s.

The gates to the cemetery.

And a picture from our bonfire party in Sully.  This is Jan's merri-go-round, which the boys thought was fantastic. It is from her school in Rose Hill, Iowa.  Surprisingly, it didn't creak much, and worked smoothly.  My dad rode on this merri-go-round as well when he was a little boy, since my dad's family and her family were good friends.  It was wonderful to see my boys riding on it, and hard to picture my dad as a little boy riding on it.

Although the windy day made for a breezy swimming in the farm pond, it made the flags in the cemeteries stunning.  This picture from Sully cemetery.  The boys fell asleep in their car seats on the ride home from swimming hard, and so Brian drove through so that I could see the grave of a young man, T.J. Christensen, who died in an accident while I was in high school.  He was a class older than me.  I sang in the choir at his funeral, and remember so many details of the day of his funeral, down to what music they played in the prelude.  It is one of the many formative memories from my time in high school and another connection to Sully CRC from my past.