In the studio today. Starting a portrait series, and Eric, my first subject, was the guinea pig as I tested a few different lighting setups. Light on the right wasn't firing. Hm.


I realized I posted this on reFocus, the Gazette photo staff blog, but neglected to post it here.. NYT published this photo in their Sunday Week in Review section (neat!)

Erinn Brehio of Iowa City (from left), University of Iowa junior Miranda Welch of Stratford and UI senior Cody Shafer of Wapello wave flags in front of the Old Capitol building before the start of a rally celebrating Friday’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling upholding a lower court decision legalizing same sex marriage on Friday, April 3, 2009.

I covered a rally at the Pentacrest in front of Old Capitol two weeks ago, held in celebration of the Iowa Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage. An historic decision celebrated at an historic location — speakers reminded the crowd that in 1839, slavery was abolished in the Iowa Territory, years before it was a state, and in 1851 struck down a law banning mixed race marriage. The LA Times archive has an article detailing Iowa’s progressive politics, and provided a good education to this Iowa transplant.


Flood Buyouts: Elkport, IA

All but one home in Elkport was destroyed by the flooding Volga River in 2004 and bought out shortly after. Residents have relocated to higher ground in Elkport and surrounding towns. The floor, flag and satellite dish of the old community center still remain.

One of the houses burned before the flood; the other was bought out and demolished. The garages and telephone poles are evidence of the destroyed town.

Some residents still receive mail at the mailboxes in the valley. In the background to the left, you can see work beginning on a new community center.

The playground and baseball field were there before the flood. The valley used to be filled with homes and businesses.

Flood Buyouts: Independence, IA

I worked on a story about flood buyouts in other Iowa towns a few weeks ago. About 1,300 people in Cedar Rapids are awaiting word on buyouts.

Independence bought out 84 homes near the Wapsipinicon River after flooding in the 1990s, and turned the land into parks. A band shell was built in one of the parks, along with picnic shelters, trails and playground equipment. These sisters grew up in Independence and remember the area when it was full of houses.