Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tonight is Halloween

"Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,
Voices whisper in the trees,
'Tonight is Halloween!'"
                     --Dexter Kozen
"On Halloween the thing you must do
Is pretend that nothing can frighten you.
If something scares you and you want to run
Just let on like it's Halloween fun."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Pumpkin Patch

For as far as the eye can see, orange objects the size of bowling balls litter the landscape -- wouldn't that make for a great aerial shot!  Anyway, couldn't resist a few scenes from a pumpkin patch and another line from It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

 Linus:  Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere.  He's gotta pick this one.  He's got to.  I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one.  You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy.  Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Around Town: More Scarecrows

As promised, here are two more of the carefully crafted scarecrows found at local businesses throughout town.  The first sits in front of a shop that sells yarn and all types of supplies for the textile/needle arts -- notice the ball of yarn and extra large knitting needles in its lap.  Below is a character created by owners of a hair salon and the clever saying makes it adorable.  Hope you have seen a few of these seasonal creations in your neighborhood.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Got Pumpkins?

With Halloween in just a few days, this week I plan to post images of pumpkins, scarecrows, zombie décor and more!  Of course, because I am fond of pumpkins, I am starting the week with a few shots of these wonderful members of the gourd family. Enjoy the photos along with some quotes from the movie It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Linus:  This is the time of the year to write the Great Pumpkin.  On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of his pumpkin patch and flies through the air with his bag of toys for all children.

Charlie Brown:  You must be crazy.  When are you going to stop believing in something that isn't true.

Patty:  (as Linus is writing to the Great Pumpkin)  You're wasting your time; the Great Pumpkin is a fake!
Linus: (writing)  Everyone tells me you are a fake, but I believe in you.  P.S.:  If you really are a fake, don't tell me.  I don't want to know.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Signs of Fall in Iowa

Well, I considered a "Top Ten List" regarding proof that the seasons have changed in Iowa; however, I think these images are convincing in themselves.  First, my tennis matches will resume in May as the courts are full of leaves and early morning temperatures have dipped below freezing.  Second, at nearby Backbone State Park, only Canada Geese occupy the beach and designated swimming area.  Third, instead of hay, this wagon is full of gorgeous pumpkins ready to be purchased for outdoor décor, carving and even making pies.  Of course, we all know it's late October and this is what we expect in Iowa...but maybe not that bit of snow that fell a few days ago!

Backbone State Park

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Part of a Giant

"You can't look at abstract art without thinking."
                                                          --Patricia Cole-Ferullo

So, right now are you wondering what this is or have you already identified it as a portion of a windmill?  If so, you are correct.  And, yes, I do enjoy photographing things with strong lines that make bold statements and then have fun enhancing the original image.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Around Town: Scarecrows

A local organization sponsored a scarecrow contest in which various merchants participated, and these photos feature a couple of the entries.  Since I am especially fond of pumpkins, these faces caught my eye.  In upcoming posts look for a few more images of these festive fall figures, including one clever creation made by owners of a salon.
And, remember this verse that is fun to recite with youngsters:
"Scarecrow, scarecrow,
How scary can you be?
You scared (insert name)
But you didn't scare me!"

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Adorned in Everything Autumn

Do you have any outdoor space filled with autumn décor?  Today's photos feature a few interesting combinations of items used to decorate homes for fall.  Even if the notion of gathering and neatly assembling such items doesn't interest you, perhaps you may enjoy a stroll through your neighborhood to see the unique creations of others.  And, since lots of folks have decorated for Halloween, be sure to drive down a few streets after dark.  Of course, in upcoming posts, I will include more autumn décor along with some Halloween ensembles.


Monday, October 21, 2013

A Church No More

So often I stumble across beautiful things that I never knew existed, including what appears to be a church in the photo above.  Recently I was photographing scenes along a river in the tiny Iowa town of Garber when I noticed this place still had what I thought was a Catholic church; however, after further investigation, I realized that was not the case.  Although the steeple remains atop the brick structure, it is now a private residence.  While I was snapping photos of the gorgeous maple tree in the foreground, one of the owners emerged and shared that she and her husband purchased the home several years ago after the church was closed.  She went on to say that this has been a labor of love and that they are constantly working on something within the dwelling. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Halloween Humor

With Halloween just around the corner, let it all hang out!  Yes, this image is an original that I took at a residence in our town!  Hope you enjoy the humor as much as I do.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Autumn Images: Color Abounds

"The foliage has been losing its freshness through the
month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows
itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen
one season too many....

September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and splendid marigolds
and starry zinnias.  October, the extravagant sister, has ordered
an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for
her grand reception."
                                         --Oliver Wendell Holmes
Mums & Asters

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Got Apples?

"It is remarkable how closely the history of the Apple-tree is connected with
that of man."
                                                                 --Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples
In these parts we continue to enjoy a bumper crop of apples.  As seen in the photos above, currently many of these trees are full of the shiny fruit in shades of red, green and yellow.  For about the last month my husband and I have enjoyed a plentiful supply, and daily I find myself eating several of these tasty gems -- plain, with peanut butter, baked and so on.  Yum!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Still Closed

Need I say more?  Due to the inability of legislators to reach an agreement about a spending resolution for the 2014 fiscal year, since the beginning of October the federal government of the USA has been operating on a very limited basis.  Of course, this shutdown has disrupted all sorts of federal programs as well as the lives of many citizens and thousands of furloughed employees.  And, if you plan to visit areas managed by the National Park Service, most, as seen with the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and National Historic Site in West Branch, Iowa, remain closed.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Faces

"A child's smile is like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day."

Friday, October 11, 2013

What a View!

This view of downtown Dubuque, Iowa contains several notable landmarks, including the Julien Dubuque Bridge that spans the Mississippi River and connects Iowa to neighboring Illinois.  In addition, standing tall to the far right is the Cathedral of Saint Raphael, the mother church of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.  And, one other area easily visible contains the harbor as well as the refurbished and well-known Hotel Julien Dubuque that appears on the upper left border of the image.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Garden Produce

Are you still enjoying some great homegrown produce from your garden?  We are still eating tomatoes and peppers while others have onions, squash, cabbage, beets and more.  With such wonderful colors and outstanding nutritional content, I am grateful for the bounty nature has provided.

And, just to leave a smirk on your face, here's a corny tomato riddle:
Question:  What do you do when a tomato goes on strike? 
Answer:  You PICKET!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It's GO Time!

These days in rural Iowa scenes like this are common as harvest is in full swing.  Whether it is soybeans or beans to pick, the combines are running, bins are filling and wagons are hauling grain.  And, if you live in the area you are familiar with the dust that is generated while combining soybeans -- that is evident in the first photo.  To all those involved in the industry, may this be a safe and bountiful harvest.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Blueberry Taffy

Blueberry Taffy by Stephanie Funke
This image, Blueberry Taffy, is one of five of my photos selected for the Upstream People Gallery's 15th Annual juried online abstract art exhibit.  In case you wondered how I arrived at this result, it was simple -- started with a favorite photo of a red and white tulip (Tulip Taffy as I have posted before) and let the creativity flow with editing tools until I was satisfied with the final product.  Anyway, to see my work along with other outstanding pieces of abstract art, go to and click on the image.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Acrylic Art

A.K.A. graffiti!  This image I found on the backside of a main street business in an alley in Spirit Lake, Iowa.  Of course, I was surprised yet excited to see the illustration and several others and quickly started to photograph the art.  And, as I clicked photo after photo, a local policeman drove by and kindly explained the whereabouts of more similar designs in that small town -- very helpful!  Anyway, look for more of these images in upcoming posts as I have several to share.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Gaudy Gobbler

Gaudy Gobbler by Stephanie Funke
What a bird!  Perhaps you remember another turkey that I featured back in March ( I C U! -- it's in the blog archive under March 2013) as that image was also an up-close view of the animal's head and beak.  These images are a bit unusual and have garnered much attention and sparked a lot of conversation while being on exhibit.  This particular picture was recently selected for the Santa Cruz, California Art League's Beasts On Broadway exhibit.  In addition, it received Special Merit in a current online exhibit.  To view more outstanding images of animals in that exhibition, click on the following link:
Light Space & Time Artist Badge

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fruits of the Season

"Autumn is the mellower season,
and what we lose in flowers
we more than gain in fruits."
                                                       --Samuel Butler

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Strong Shadow

"There is strong shadow where there is much light."
                                                                                              --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

And, just as the quote states, this photo was captured at night but in the presence of big security lights in a well-lit parking area.  Thanks to my husband for being patient as I set up the camera and tripod while cars were passing by making their way to the street -- yes, that is his shadow.  Nevertheless, taking photos at night can make for some extraordinary images; however, be sure to have a tripod and a flashlight plus bug repellent for the summer months.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Welcome to October

"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October."
                                                                                                            --Nathaniel Hawthorne