Iowa Winter with Wildflower “Sunshine”


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Next week I’ll post about an oral history book that I’ve found to be helpful. Within the next ten days I’ll post an image of Mother’s (Marion Gunderson) watercolor of which we’ve most recently had prints made.  The original and prints are g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s.

On another note, fortunately, Bill and I lost power for only a few hours yesterday. Friends of ours from west central Iowa said this morning that for 1 1/2 miles in either direction of their rural home, there is not a single electrical pole standing. With weighty ice on the power lines, the poles going down is like a domino effect that continues until a line snaps or comes loose from a pole.

* * * * *

From our wildflower garden. September, 2009. (Click photo to enlarge.)

I’ve been wanting to post a few pre-rain-and-ice winter photos from my time at Gunderland (my dad’s farm) early this week. The wintery weather is getting quite old, especially for those without electricity. Because of that, along with the “gray” weather photos below, to pep things up I decided to throw in the above photo of last September’s “sunshine” and color.

None of these photos are edited, except for resizing (but not cropping) the image files. I thought about Photoshopping these winter photos before posting so they would more closely resemble the actual scenery. I decided against editing them because, for one, I can’t really remember what the actual scenery looked like as far as color and whiteness because it was so foggy that day (Tuesday, January 20th). Also, because the photo shoot that day was an exercise for me in adjusting camera settings, including exposure, I figure I’ll post the original images and learn from them.

Next time I take photos of this wintery nature, I’ll try to have a gray card handy. (I’ll post about the benefit of a gray card sometime, as well. I learned about gray cards in my OLLI Photography Field Trips class.)

The following images are of the same tree at my dad’s farm and from approximately the same direction. For those of you aware of where my dad lives, this tree is to the west of the driveway, close to the gravel road.

Shutter: 1/250; Aperture: f/6.3; Exposure Bias: 1.33; Exposure Program: Aperture Priority; FL: 30 mm; Metering: Pattern; ISO: 200. (Click photo for detail.)


Shutter: 1/160; Aperture: f/8.0; Exposure Bias: 1.00; Exposure Program: Normal; FL: 23 mm; Metering: Pattern; ISO: 200. (Click photo to enlarge.)


Shutter: 1/400; Aperture: f/5.0; Exposure Bias: 2.00; Exposure Program: Aperture Priority; FL: 36 mm; Metering: Pattern; ISO: 200. (Click photo to enlarge.)

When I took this photo (immediately above), I tried a variety of exposure settings.  If I reduced the exposure at all, the photo looked too dark for how bright the scene actually was. It was pretty bright, but not this chalky white.

UPDATE:  In response to Clara’s comment asking from which direction I took these photos, click here for a photo that includes more of the surroundings.  If you are familiar with the area, the photo should help give bearings.

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9 Responses to “Iowa Winter with Wildflower “Sunshine””

  1. Clara Hoover Says:

    Wow! Your sentence about no utility poles standing for 1 1/2 miles in either direction is totally amazing. I keep checking the IAEC web site and see that the area without electricity keeps growing. I like the three photos of the tree. Which direction is the camera pointed? Part of me thinks the driveway is to the right, ending at the road (middle photo)–so I’m looking north. But in the last photo, I feel like I’m looking west–parallel with the road.

    I’m glad to see the bright yellow flower. It at least reminds me of sun.

  2. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Clara: I would say that the camera is pointed pretty much northwest, anyway not close at all to straight west or straight north. In the middle photo the driveway is not in the photo, but after you mention it, I can see how the ridge of snow and then the flat part make it look sort of like the driveway.

    In the middle photo I’m closer to the tree (than in the third photo) and so am closer to the ground than in the third photo. In the third photo I’m on the east side of the driveway and am a few feet higher on a long, (running north/south?) wide ridge of snow. The ridge is snow that had been pushed onto the lawn away from the driveway.

    In the first and third photos, the faded grayish line going from the tree to the right edge of the photos is the gravel road, I think. Wow, I was there and even I have to think about it!

    I’m glad you like the photos.

  3. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    I added a link at the end of the post. The link is for a photo that includes a larger area, including the driveway and gravel road.

  4. Marti Says:

    Beautiful photos. They make me miss being in Iowa with family – though I’m glad I don’t have the challenges of the weather.

  5. Clara Hoover Says:

    Thanks for adding the link to the other photo. I understand the tree’s location now.

  6. Peg Says:

    As crisp, vivid, and cheery as the wildflower photo is, the winter ones convey (at least to me) so much more of a mood!!! Wow! And I’m with Clara about your sentence about the utility poles. Must be dramatic for anyone who “gets” to watch! Thanks for posting, Louise. I’m sending the link to J, B, J, C, and J.

  7. Nancy Brinkman Says:

    Gals, I saw your dad at the PO this afternoon. He’s braver than I, as I’d like to have stayed home, but had to pick up my hubby in town after he took a tractor to be fixed. He was talking to the postmistress about one of you girls. He turned to me and asked if I knew his daughter Margaret. I said, yes I knew Peg, and that I’d heard some pretty wild stories about her from Karen and Laurie. I think they had something to do with walking beans, riding in a car with Peg to the fields, and other assorted tales of hilarity. Your dad reached over and touched my arm, and after I left, I thought that I should have just given him a hug! Would that have surprised him? Kind of surprised me I thought of it, as I’ve never hugged your dad before, but just thinking about how we all love Deane. It’s always good to see him…and let me tell you, he gets around!

  8. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Nancy: Thank you for “reporting.” That is so kind of you as is your having fun talking with Daddy today. I wish I had been a mouse in the corner, but, thanks to your report, I sort of feel like I was. I hope that when I’m 91 I “get around” like he does. He would have loved a hug, but just knowing him I’m sure he enjoyed having a social time with you on what was probably otherwise an uneventful still-winter day.

  9. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Not only were the utility poles down for 1 1/2 miles both directions from their home, the utility company temporarily ran out of replacement utility poles. Our friends had a generator, but otherwise would have been out of electricity for eight days.

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