CR Open

Sometimes the best photos from an assignment aren't used because they simply don't go with the story. Yesterday, I photographed the Greater Cedar Rapids Open golf tournament, and focused my coverage on the top two groups of golfers, making sure to photograph each of them in case one pulled ahead after I left for another assignment. The top two contenders, when I left, were Justin McCarraher of Fort Myers, Florida, and Scott Ford of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. So I sent these photos before my deadline, giving the sports desk two different options for each player, one standard action photo and one dejection photo.

We ended up running this photo of Ford's approach shot..

Even though I doubted Brian Carroll of Crystal Lake, Ill., would be a strong contender for the championship, I liked these photos of him so I sent them along in the first batch too. I had never shot golf before (how that's happened in my nine years as a photographer, I don't know), so I shot the expected, safe, fall-back photos, but kept my eyes open for the unexpected -- a grimace as the ball misses the cup or a search for the ball in the weeds.

I got a call later in the evening that Derek Lamely of Fort Myers, Florida, had come from pretty far behind and won in a shoot-out against Scott Ford. So I dug back into my take for this photo, which ran in today's paper, of him acknowledging the crowd after sinking a putt.


feels like summer

It was too hot for softball practice, so she jumped in the pool instead. What a great idea! (This never saw publication due to lack of space or lack of communication or something, but it's one of my favorite non-flood-related frames.)


One month later

I'll admit, I was a little intimidated by the prospect of tackling the photo portion of the month later edition of the paper. (At our paper, most of our front page stories are planned in advance, and assigned to a particular photographer to pursue, working with the reporter and editors to produce the package.) "We've seen enough of people cleaning," was the general consensus. So, how do we show the passage of time without being redundant to much of the work that's run on our pages? A brainstorming meeting came up with this: choose a handful of photos from during the flood, and re-shoot them now. So, I dug through our 1,500+ image archive from the flood, chose eight photos, and got to work. The photos ran as diptychs in last Sunday's paper.

Oddly, the photo that was one of the easiest to get during the flood was one of the most difficult now. During the flood, since all the exits and entrances from downtown were closed, so I was able to park in the merge lane to take the top photo. This time around, I didn't exactly have that option, so I had photo editor Rollin Banderob drive while I shot out the car window, strap wrapped around my wrists with the camera held high overhead to simulate the angle I had when I stood on the road. It took three passes to get it almost right. We cropped both photos long for the layout of the front page, and to match what I shot the second time around.

Jonathan Woods shot this photo from the boat as it drove up Second Avenue. I couldn't exactly block traffic, so it also took a few tries to get close to the original. In many of these pairs, the 'now' photo is pretty boring. But the contrast between the two was really striking, making them more interesting as a pair.

Another challenge: finding the exact locations. Fortunately, photographer Cliff Jette specified the street this house was on in the caption, making my hunt a little easier. Still, I couldn't stand in the street for long to take this photo, since Second Ave SW is *sort of* a busy street, so they're not an exact match.

I carried two different lenses while I tried to figure out Jonathan's vantage point on Highway 6 in Coralville. I took proofs of each photo with me, making the picture hunt a little easier. (Of course, he was there at sunset, while I was there late in the afternoon.)

The unique bark on the tree to the right helped me find Brian Ray's photo pretty quickly once I got to Normandy in Iowa City. It's amazing how different everything looks when it's dry..


Faces of the flood

Todd Gareau and his fiancée Julie Stevens have lived at 301 I Avenue NW for six months. They moved to the house six months ago. The home had undergone renovations before they moved in, and they planned to purchase the house. "We were building a home together," Stevens said. It would have been the first home either had owned. Now, they plan to leave Iowa. They had set a wedding date in August, but say they may get married sooner.

A few weeks ago the Gazette photo staff began photographing each house that is considered unsafe and scheduled for demolition, with each photographer taking responsibility for the homes in their assigned post-flood coverage zone. My zone centers around the Time Check neighborhood, so I spent a couple days photographing each house and leaving notes in the hope that the residents would return and contact me for a portrait before their homes are gone. So far I've photographed nine families, and have 12 that I haven't heard from yet.

We started running the portraits last Sunday, and plan to continue running them in the paper when we have space. Even if some of these are never published in print, we're creating a document of the history of these homes and the flood's impact.

We're also in the beginning stages of creating a database of memories and photos of homes in the flood zone, inviting contributions at our website.

Henry Franks, 61, and his son Mark Franks, lived at 321 I Avenue NW. Henry's grandmother bought the house shortly after it was built in 1900. Henry moved to the house in 1981.

Jeff and Shannon Gardemann lived at 317 I Avenue NW for four years with their daughter and three grandchildren. Shannon was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, and the couple plans to stay in Cedar Rapids. Their home was under 14 feet of water in the flood, damaging the foundation, floors and ceilings.

Sue and Roger Jensen had lived at 819 G Avenue NW for 16 months. They were renting the house from friends Steve and Jody Bursovsky after moving back to Cedar Rapids from Dallas. Both were born and raised in the area, and would like to move back to the northwest quadrant, depending on what happens to the neighborhood. They're currently renting a home on the southwest side. "We treated it like it was our home," Roger said. "It was our home, even though we didn't own it." Some flowers they had planted were still in the garden out front, but some of the plants had been washed into the basement when part of the foundation wall collapsed.

Dan Hartgrave (from left), his wife Tina Hartgrave and their daughter Megan Hartgrave planned to move into this house at 1232 3rd Street NW and were in the process of getting permits for renovation before the flood struck and ripped the porch off the front of the house. They had lived across the street at 1227 3rd Street NW until 2003, and bought this house in 2004 with plans to renovate. When they were gutting the house, they found a 1939 Quaker safety handbook.



Wow, a water feature not related to the flood! We were in need of a standalone for today's paper, so I spent awhile hunting before I drove past the splash pad at Daniels Park. The water fountains alone weren't enough to keep these kids entertained -- they had big buckets that they filled up and dumped on each other. What a great way to spend the afternoon..