Des Moines Black & White Images

I had an interesting request from some customers at the gallery, Artisan Gallery 218.  They were looking for black and white images of iconic scenes in Des Moines.  Thinking about it a bit, I assured them I could locate a few.  I did so, they selected several and then I thought I'd share a few here.  I enjoyed the project and while I personally love color, some black and white images are special as well.

 

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Meredith Tower, Des Moines, Iowa

 


Taking Amtrak between Iowa & Chicago, a great time.

I wanted to go to Chicago for a long weekend, to attend OpenHouseChicago, which is another story.  After pricing airfares [$350+] and asking our daughter about Megabus [$90; she warned me I might not like the bathroom], I researched taking the train.

To take Amtrak from central Iowa to Chicago you have to go to Osceola [an hour south of Des Moines] and get on the California Zephyr.  It is the cross-country train between Chicago and Emeryville, California which for the whole route takes a little over two days.  The route from Iowa to /from Chicago is about 6 hours, although it can be a little more time coming from the West. That’s because Amtrak travels on freight rails and has to give way to freight train traffic.  

But, it cost me $100 to ride round-trip, leaving about 9:30am and arriving about 4:30pm, and returning from 2:00pm to 8:30 pm.  That’s $10 more than Megabus, but you have more room, the lounge car is available [as is the dining car], and I’d rather take the train.

Those who complain about the train ‘always’ being late generalize unfairly.  After all, even though the flight takes a little over an hour, you have to be there an hour ahead and wait for baggage awhile on arrival and pay three times as much.  There certainly are good reasons to fly to Chicago or elsewhere, but if you want to relax, read a book, work on your computer, sleep or play video games, the train beats a plane any day.

I also discovered something new [to me] in Chicago.  I arrived at Union Station to leave about 4 hours later.  Amtrak has created a Legacy Club for its passengers for $20 for a day pass.  That can be money well spent - free wifi, comfortable seating, free coffee and snacks, Clue and other board games, a happy hour twice a day and a place of relevant quiet [it has TVs running which I don’t care for, but that certainly is fine for most people and I can hide in a corner and ignore them]. 

So, if you have time and want to maximize it and enjoy it, taking the train makes a lot of sense.

 

Amtrak Union Station Chicago
Amtrak Union Station, Chicago

 

 


A report on the Eclipse of 2017 in Dubois, Wyoming

When the news of the August eclipse started going around last year, our daughter suggested that we should all meet in Wyoming to view it. Mark didn't want to go, but I was curious and thought it might be a special treat. So, I planned a trip with Kate - to meet in Salt Lake City and drive together the six or so hours to Dubois, Wyoming, a laid-back  town of less than 1,000 people.

As you might imagine, there was a pretty good crowd in Dubois for the occasion. We scouted locations from which to view the eclipse and found a perfect one at the Scenic Overlook in the middle of town. There were quite a few people there, but no one got in anyone's way and it really wasn't crowded given the nature of this event.

We arrived there about 9:30 am, as I wanted to set up and make sure all my cameras were working. I took my Canon 6D with its 300mm lens, Canon G3X [which has a 600 mm  lens and which took the best shots], and my iPhone 7+. I decided to put my 6D on my tripod and use the G3X as a handheld, every now and then using my iPhone.

To do this without damaging the cameras, I purchased a Mylar sheet 10" x 10" which I cut into pieces to cover the lenses of the cameras. I used rubber bands to attach the sheet to the two large cameras and the iPhone. I did have a set of glasses obtained through the eclipse2017.org site.  Frankly, the Mylar worked great for its purpose with the two larger cameras, but not so much with the iPhone.

As we waited, I took a number of pictures of the sun in its full glory, prior to the moon chomping through it. Then, a little after 10 o'clock, the moon started to cross the sun. It seemed to take a long time. But as the moon moved, the sky in the surrounding area got darker and darker and the temperature became cooler and cooler and then finally Totality occurred.

I made sure to get some pictures of the Totality and got a number of them with the full corona using the G3X camera. They're not fancy shots but I'm happy with them. While the moon was covering the sun, for approximately 2 minutes and 34 seconds, it was amazing how cold it got (must've been 10 to 15° below what it had been) and dark.  I looked behind me and took a picture of the far west horizon which seemed to show a sunset. That was rather odd, having the sun at almost noon in the sky and yet a sunset at the west horizon.

I'm glad I went, it was a unique experience and it was a lot of fun seeing family and friends there. I am going to collect some of these photos and post them. There are quite a few wonderful pictures by NASA, National Geographic, and many regular people who are much better photographers in these occasions. But I feel privileged to have taken some special shots.

I have posted a selection of some images on my gallery site.  I learned it's best to have a telephoto lens long enough [400mm or over] but even with other lenses you can get some good shots.  The gallery for the Eclipse images is:  http://gallery.journeyzing.com/Galleries/Newer-Work/Eclipse-2017-in-Dubois-Wyoming/

[pricing is special,  for family & friends].


Fun in Quebec City

We recently returned from a short trip to Montreal and Quebec City - perfect weather, we walked around both cities, but the following shot is just for fun, the Tall Ships were visiting Quebec City just before we arrived and in the basin some small boats were hung near a bridge - a joyous addition to the waterfront.

Quebec City flying boats
'Flying Boats' in Quebec City

Image accepted into 2017 City of Ames Water Plant Art Contest & Exhibition

I just received word that one of my images, Abstract Lily Pads, was accepted as one of the 17 finalists in Ames's Water Plant Art Contest.  The City just completed a new Water Plant and as part of the project opened a contest to artists.  Selected 2-D pieces will be displayed during the Ribbon-cutting and Open House on August 26th and for two months afterward.  

Abstract Lilly Pads3x2x96web
Abstract Lily Pads