white-knuckle driving

Weather continues to be the Big Story in these parts. Yesterday, we had whiteout conditions on the rural roads. "Go west! Toward the storm!" was the assignment as I bundled up against the bitter cold and headed out the door. Yes, I did get out of my car to shoot. But yes, the second photo was taken while driving, a skill I've perfected after many trips between TX/MO/WA/UT/IA/IL and back again and again.


step back

More catching up.. a warehouse and a basketball game.


Catching up with some work from the first few weeks of January.. Below, feature hunting on a foggy morning downtown -- you can barely see City Hall / Mays Island in the upper right corner. As long as there's open water, he'll fish. If there's no open water, he stays home.

With the closing of Osada (a lower-income apartment building) to become slightly higher-income housing, 3rd Street Boxing moved to the southeast side of town and became East Side Boxing. Posters of legends hang on every wall, this one overlooking a local boxer named Diamond (what a great boxer name, huh?).

Back in my day, "computer lab" was a half-hour spent playing Oregon Trail, giggling as caravan members named after our classmates came down with dysentery or drowned while fording the river. I bet these kids couldn't kill a buffalo to save their lives, but their math skills are probably a lot better than mine.

Seniors work on a mural project at a private school in Dyersville..


Last Saturday, a fire destroyed half a block of Maquoketa.. we didn't send anyone the first day, but I went with a reporter to cover the day after. The fire was still smoking more than 36 hours after it started, and not only did the firemen -- from 24 surrounding communities -- have to battle the fire, but deal with the subzero temperatures.. Read our coverage here and here. (Some great work came out of the Dubuque TH and the Quad City Times -- those photos are attached to the first story.)

It was a surreal scene, with ice covering everything -- the electric company worked through the morning to chip ice off the powerlines.

The Maquoketa volunteer fire department got back to work after a few hours' rest, getting their trucks cleaned up and thawed out, and rolling hoses.

To contain the fire, the interior walls had to be knocked down. They started sorting through the rubble and checking for hot spots as we were heading out of town..


Sorry, kids, I'm not really sure where I disappeared to these past couple weeks. Playing catch-up, here's the final layout from the Gazette 125th anniversary edition essay on how the content of the paper comes together (click to enlarge), and a few outtakes from the press. (More photos from the printing press here.)


Caucus night

I was assigned to photograph the GOP caucus at Viola Gibson Elementary School -- one of the tamer caucuses (due to size, party affiliation, and location -- some caucuses are held in bars, auto shops, private homes, anywhere that's convenient for the precinct).  The GOP caucus is really just a secret ballot, with some speeches by supporters before the vote is taken. One of our other photogs, Jonathan Woods, covered the Johnson County GOP caucus much better than I did Linn County's - click here.

The GOP side was done pretty quick, so I headed downstairs to see what the Democratic ruckus was all about. After the initial dividing up and elimination of nonviable candidates, supporters regroup and recruit new supporters for their candidate. Obama swept, with 96 supporters out of 215, which means they'll be sending three Obama delegates from Monroe Precinct 1 to the next caucus (county? or state?). Richardson's camp split themselves between Biden and Obama, abandoning their own corner of the gym. I knew some of Obama's people would be ecstatic when the final numbers were announced, but wasn't quite prepared... so when I saw this woman cheer, I managed to get one (slightly underexposed) shot before she put her arms back down.

Since I moved here so close to the caucus, I didn't get to cover as much of the campaigning as I had hoped, but here are some outtakes from the past few weeks..

Romney at Kirkwood College 
Biden at the Washington Public Library -- he mentioned a few times his respect for Iowans and how seriously they take their 'job' as first caucus state in the country.  It was a low-key (but packed) appearance, and he took more questions than any other candidate I photographed.  (Biden and his coffee is the only published photo from this post.)

Edwards was late, as usual, to this event in Washington, so they showed his campaign DVD to the standing room only crowd (to kill time, I can only presume).

Hello, Mr. Edwards.  Hello, Edwards' handler. (From Coe College bus tour stop.  At both Edwards appearances I photographed, I seemed to have a knack for getting in his way.)


the best mexican food in iowa

...is surprisingly delicious. This is what was left of my steak-topped, steak-filled enchilada dinner. Appetizing, hm? So if you're ever in Postville, Iowa, make sure you stop at Sabor Latino, at the one intersection in town.

(I'm working on a caucus post, stay tuned.)