Monday, August 15, 2022

Bridges of Madison County, Iowa

Somewhere in my life, (likely in high school) I fell in love with the movie, The Bridges of Madison County.  The emotions between the two lead characters were so intense that it really stuck with me, only having a close call with P.S., I Love You.  When I started photography later in life, it took this favorite movie - about a National Geographic photographer on assignment - to a whole new level!  So, when our family vacation plans finally landed on the Northern US, and we were going to be driving through Madison County, Iowa, I was all in!  As my son described it: I giggled like a little schoolgirl.

There are 6 covered bridges in Madison County, and finding them is fairly easy - once you realize that there are road signs everywhere telling you where to head.  Previous to that, you might miss one like we did.  Our first find was the Imes Bridge.  I won't lie - it was sort of magical to walk through our first bridge.  It felt dreamy and surreal and I couldn't stop smiling or trying to get pictures of it from different angles and with different light.  Oh, the plight of a photographer.

After that, the hunt was on (and my son was so excited, as you can see)!  Our next stop was the Cutler-Donahoe Bridge.  While only a couple of the bridges are in their original homes, they all have signs detailing the history of where they started and if / when they were moved.  It was neat to read about each one and consider how they had been traveled on during their heydays.

Next stop was the Cedar Bridge.  The COOLEST thing about this one was that we got to DRIVE THROUGH IT!!!!  The saddest thing about this one is that it has been damaged by arson twice and had to basically be completely rebuilt.  As we visited different bridges, it was interesting to see the sprinkler systems and video cameras that are now inside all of the bridges because of the arson attempts on others.

The Hogback Bridge was one of the bridges that have remained in its original home, although traffic no longer crosses it.  I really enjoyed visiting this one and getting to take pictures because you could see the water that goes under it so much better!  Plus, it just makes prettier pictures.  I also loved that it had more of a natural surrounding that allowed for wildflowers and butterflies.  I wasn't so fond of the biting flies, but I survived.

Our last stop, and one that I definitely squealed over, was the Roseman Bridge.  If you've seen the movie, you might recall that this is the bridge where some of the more iconic scenes and photos take place.  It was fantastic to think about the history of this space and try to remember the scenes from the movie and guess which angles different things were shot from.

I felt a little like a kid in a candy shop and loved the final shots that I got.

I try to make sure I get shots of my whole crew now on our travels.  Hopefully you enjoyed seeing the bridges up close with us and may even be inspired to finally go see The Bridges of Madison County.  I'll warn you though - it really doesn't have much to do with bridges.

Until Next Time,

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Hanging in the Sunflowers

If you have been following me for a while, you are aware that my family has had its adventures with sunflowers.  From our previous visits to our local sunflower fields, to our own backyard sunflower journey, we certainly aim to get our fill of these lovelies each summer.  Some years prove to be more challenging than others with a Boy Scout that spends weeks camping in the summer, but we lucked out this year and were able to find a night that wasn't sweltering, raining, and everyone was home!

My boys can really take or leave the whole sunflower idea.  They go along, they wonder for a little while, my husband even takes some killer selfies, but at the end of the day, my girl could wander and smell and notice all their little nuances for hours, while the boys have made their way back to the Jeep and wondering what ON EARTH we are still doing after 30 minutes.

The reality it, our girl is definitely more interested in the details of nature.  She's is my Botanical Gardens buddy, my splash in the rain child, and the one who wants to see the details of the flowers the rest of the world wants to fly over with their drones.  It may have a lot to do with that fact that after she was born, I started to slow down and take a closer look at what was around me.

The struggle every mom with a camera has is 1 - to make sure to participate in family things and 2 - to be in the photos as proof that we existed.  I have gotten better at asking my husband or son to take my camera and take some shots of me while I play.  I'm always grateful for the photos others take (big thanks to my son for these).  I also started taking selfies a few years ago with my crew and I have gotten better and better at it and often love the outcome!

As the sun began to set, my boys headed back, but my girl was still so interested in exploring.  She wanted to walk the path until it ended, but we soon realized we would likely be another 40 minutes and we were loosing light fast.  As the sun dipped, I caught some Monarchs mating and watched as my girl ran and ran down the fields.  I may have encouraged a few jumps after I saw her hair flying behind her.  And it will be a while before I forget the breath in her voice when she saw the moon over my shoulder. 

As I pulled this set together, I couldn't help but remanence on the years we've enjoyed the sunflowers, and how our time to do these sorts of things is having the sun set, just like this.  And yet.  Over our shoulders sits the moon, ready to take on a beautiful new part of journey.  One, that if you are watching for it, just might take your breath away too.

Until next time,