Thursday, March 31, 2011

Project365: Day 89 - Century Farm

Day 89 - Century Farm, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

A farmstead in West Des Moines. The sign at the driveway says it has been around since 1891. I rode my bike across a very lumpy but luckily mowed hay field to this spot.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Project365: Day 88 - Greenwood Park

Day 88 - Greenwood Park, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

I know what you're thinking:

"Three black and white photos in a row? Really?"

It's been really cloudy again lately, which makes for cruddy color photos. And in my defense, the Day 87 photo is technically a color photo (I didn't convert it to black and white), there just wasn't much color between the silhouettes and the flat gray sky.

The forecast for Day 89 calls for more sun and warmer temperatures too. I promise to bring some color back to my Project365 then.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Project365: Day 87 - In the Trees

Day 87 - In the Trees, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

Another sign of Spring! Birds are returning to Central Iowa in giant flocks. This flock decided to rest in the trees near my apartment on this cool, overcast evening.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Project365: Day 86 - Insect Galls on Goldenrod

We explored a little park today that we drive past frequently in West Des Moines. Across the street from Westbridge Elementary is the Westbridge Outdoor Classroom, part of Jordan Creek Park. This area of the park has been left as a natural prairie along the trickling Jordan Creek. Nothing was blooming yet (still too early) but I was able to find some interesting textures and dormant plants to photograph.

Project365: Day 85 - The Golden Dome

Day 85 - The Golden Dome, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

More geocaching with my brother today. This time near the Iowa State Capitol Building. I had already photographed the Capitol at night, but didn't have any daytime shots that I liked yet. I'm happy with how this one turned out considering I took it without much planning or setup.

Project365: Day 84 - Hanging On

Day 84 - Hanging On, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

My brother was down visiting in Des Moines this weekend, so we got together for dinner and a little geocaching of Friday night. I had come across a couple caches that I needed a second person's help in finding and he offered to come help.

This one was hidden about 10 to 12 feet of the ground in a hole of a tree. The tree had leaned over to the point where it was very difficult to climb to the hole, but the hole still high enough off the ground to be out of reach.

I lifted him up as high as I could. He reached into the hole, grabbed the ammo can, and tossed it to the ground. Knowing we would have to put it back after signing the log, he decided to stay hanging from the tree. I took my time signing the log book and taking this photo before he put the cache back and hopped down.

Always good to have help for the tough caches!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Project365: Day 83 - Gears and Spokes

Day 83 - Gears and Spokes, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

It was 37 degrees yesterday, but my bike had been feeling neglected. I had invested in some cold weather riding clothes a few weeks ago and decided it was time to use them.

I had intended on riding 8 to 10 miles and getting home before sunset. Apparently the gauge on my personal energy tank is faulty. I had ridden about 8 miles from home already and was feeling great. So I kept going. Rather than turning around and heading back the way I had come, I decided to loop north and take a different trail home. I got on that trail and, after less than a mile, hit my wall. I went from full-speed-lets-go-this-feels-great to you-dummy-why-didn't-you-turn-back-five-miles-ago-like-you-planned. I got off on the side of the trail to rest and take my photo of the day. Still over 8 miles from home.

Sunset? 7:30pm. The time at my stop? 7:20pm. Clearly, I did not get home by sunset. Thanks goodness for bike lights! My plan to ride 8 to 10 miles turned into 18.5 miles and a ride back home in the dark. My legs were probably not ready for that this early in the biking season.

I'm still glad I went riding last night instead of holding out for warmer weather--it's snowing here (again) as I write this.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Project365: Day 82 - Engineering Hall

Day 81 - Engineering Hall, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.
Engineering (Marston) Hall by Proudfoot and Bird Architects, 1903.
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Project365: Day 81 - End of the Storm

Day 81 - End of the Storm, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

It's only March, but our first strong storm of the year rolled through Flyover Country tonight. A couple tornadoes, some golf ball sized hail to the south, and noisy thunder and lightning made for an adventurous evening here. This was the scene as the back of the storm loomed over us on its way to the east.

I would like to be a storm chaser/photographer if I had the guts to drive right at tornadoes and other nasty weather. But I don't. So I won't.

Project365: Day 80 - Swept into the Corner

It is officially Spring, but the gray winter days are still here. Leaves from last Fall had been ushered into the corners of the fountain in front of the Des Moines Public Library. I'm still eager for sunnier days and warmer temperatures. Maybe they will clean out these leaves and turn on this fountain soon.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Project365: Day 79 - Roosevelt High School

The sun came out as we drove back into Des Moines from the Twin Cities today. We were near Roosevelt High School (another early Proudfoot and Bird building), which I have wanted to photograph for awhile. After I took this shot, I spotted another great view of the building that I'll save for a future photo when the trees around the building have leaves again.

Project365: Day 78 - Toppings

Day 78 - Toppings, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

We made homemade pizzas with my fiancée's family, and the toppings just looked too good to pass up the photo opportunity.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Project365: Day 77 - Pencil Box

Day 77 - Pencil Box, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

The best way to spend a friday at work? Coloring.

Oh. Sorry, that's right. When you're getting PAID to do it, it's called "hand rendering."


Project365: Day 76 - Saint Patty's Parade

Day 76 - Saint Patty's Parade, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.
The annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade through downtown Des Moines travels down Locust Street and right past our office. I wanted to find a way to photograph the parade from a different viewpoint than standing in the crowd. The parking ramp across the street from our office (also used for this shot) offered a great view of the parade and crowd below.

Project365: Day 75 - Office Lunch

Day 75 - Office Lunch, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

Everyone from my office heading out to lunch together at Dos Rios Cantina on Court Avenue. No jackets--Spring is here!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Greenbelt Geocaching

It is finally warming up in the DSM area. We decided to take advantage of a beautiful evening and go for a walk along the Greenbelt Bike Trail. I knew there were a few geocaches along the trail that had not yet found, so I figured we could grab a couple easy ones along our walk.

Easy ones. Why do I always assume that caches along a bike trail will be easy ones?

I had to climb up the skinniest ladder on the side of the wobbliest old neglected windmill to make this find. I think my climbing made Brittany a little nervous, but she was able to snap a great photo of me on my way up to the cache.

I hadn't done a lot of geocaching lately due to the terrible weather (I don't really care for winter) but now that it's getting warm again I'll have to go out and find some more excellent caches.

If you're not familiar with geocaching, check it out here.

Project365: Day 74 - Church of the Cantilever

Large, imposing concrete cantilevers at both ends of the building? Not really what you'd expect on a building for a church organization in the Midwest.

I haven't had any luck digging up history info on this one. I will say, though, that it is definitely one of the strangest buildings in Des Moines.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Project365: Day 73 - Pi(e) Day!

Day 73 - Pi(e) Day!, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

Happy Pi(e) Day!

I love apple pie with ice cream :D

Monday, March 14, 2011

Project365: Day 72 - Raccoon River Nature Center

This is one of my favorite parks and park buildings in Central Iowa. The Raccoon River wraps around the outside of the park. The park has on oxbow lake for canoeing, swimming, and fishing. Two playgrounds, a softball complex, a dog park, and a beautiful hiking trail around the lake fill the rest of the park.

Project365: Day 71 - Home for Sparrows

Day 71 - Home for Sparrows, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

The only remaining wall of this demolished building is now a haven for sparrows and other small birds. I shot this while leading an architectural photography tour in Downtown Des Moines as part of the Iowa Architectural Foundation's spring community education class on local architecture.

Project365: Day 70 - Waterworks Bridge

Day 70 - Waterworks Bridge, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

Tried a little photographic experiment today and didn't necessarily get 100% success. I tried to photograph an old steel pedestrian bridge across the Raccoon River at Waterworks Park. The challenge? The amount of light I had to work with was extremely minimal--moon glow and a few stars.

I tried some ultra-long exposures, some light painting, and different angles to catch the available light. I am pretty happy with the final result (30 second exposure, moon light from out of frame to the upper left), but will likely go back during the golden hour around sunset or shortly after later this year to try a different lighting condition here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Project365: Day 69 - Below Us, All the City Lights

Parking ramps take up far too much space in Downtown Des Moines, but I'll be damned if they don't offer some of the best vantage points for photographing this city.

This is the civic heart of Downtown Des Moines. The Civic Center theater (left) and Nollen Plaza were both created in 1979. The plaza has not worn well since then and is in dire need of an overhaul. The sunken pool and fountain leak, the grove of trees on the far side is suffering, and the entire park feels disjointed from the rest of downtown. A few homeless people and hundreds of crows are the plaza's most frequent occupants.

There have been multiple proposals to reinvent Nollen Plaza, but as with all public improvement project recently, securing funding is likely to be a challenge. Hopefully this one is successful and provides a much needed lift to this end of Downtown.

Oh, and give yourself 10 bonus points if you know the reference for today's photo title.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Project365: Day 68 - Number 12

Day 68 - Number 12, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

We had a little time to kill before Ash Wednesday mass, so we drove through the neighborhood by our church. I drive past the North of Grand neighborhood very frequently, but had never taken the time to get off of the main arterial street. I am glad I did today. Every time I explore a new part of Des Moines I find another hidden gem!

This is the old Des Moines Fire Station No. 12. After being empty for a very long time, it was converted into a medical office and spa in the early 1990s. The addition and renovation are beautiful (at least from my vantage point outside the building). I'll be back to wander through this neighborhood again, as I'm sure there are lots of other gems for me to find there.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Project365: Day 67 - Snowfall

Day 67 - Snowfall, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

Every time I think I see Spring coming in on the horizon we get tricked with more winter and snow. These flakes were gigantic and wet. With temperatures a little above freezing, the heavy wet snow had already started melting into brown slushy pudding this morning.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Project365: Day 66 - Maplenol Barn

Day 66 - Maplenol Barn, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.
The Maplenol Barn is a very old dairy barn that sits on the campus of Valley High School in West Des Moines. The barn has been in the news recently, but the story is long. Here's my short version:

Valley High School is making plans for an addition to their building. The barn is in the way of code-required green space (stormwater pond) that needs to be part of this addition. The School Board decided to have the barn torn down to make room on the property. Local residents stepped up to try and preserve this piece of West Des Moines history with a "Save the Barn" campaign.

The School Board compromised with them a little and issued a new statement--the barn doesn't have to be destroyed, but it cannot stay where it is. If someone wants to pay for the removal of the barn they can have it, otherwise the school district will proceed with its plans to demolish the structure.

The barn is still there now, but work on the High School's addition is set to begin soon. It will be interesting to see how this continues to develop.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Project365: Day 65 - Capital Dome Reflected

Project365: Day 64 - Adel City Hall

Day 64 - Adel City Hall, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

I needed a little change of surroundings for my daily photo inspiration, so we drove west of the DSM metro to Adel, IA. I knew Adel had a beautiful county courthouse in the main square and a restored train depot along a regional bike path. I did not know that they had a stunningly beautiful City Hall and Library as well!

I'm thinking that it may be a good idea to explore some other Iowan small towns for future photos.

Project365: Day 63 - Hotel Randolph

Day 63 - Hotel Randolph, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

The Hotel Randolph was once one of the premier establishments of Des Moines' "Hotel Row." The building is now used for weekly-paid low rent housing. The main lobby was decorated with white marble floors and green marble stair trim. That area is now a laundry room.

The Randolph Hotel originally occupied only the taller building shown. Its shorter neighbor, with the beautiful arched windows on its top floor, is the Earle and LeBosquet Block. This shorter building and the one around the corner past the Hotel Randolph are now inter-connected on the interior.

It's been a long time since that Hotel Randolph sign has been lit, but with long exposure and a little help from my MagLite I was able to give a little life back to it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Project365: Day 62 - DSM Midcentury Modern

The Downtown YMCA Club and Residence was built in 1959. It was designed by Wetherell and Harrison and is one of the best examples of Mid-century Modern architecture in Des Moines. There have been a number of proposals recently to tear down this building and construct a new YMCA campus on the same site.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Project365: Day 61 - Crossing

Day 61 - Crossing, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

Pedestrian bridge across Interstate 35 in West Des Moines. These bike trails are calling my name as the weather starts to (slowly) get warmer.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Project365: Day 60 - Lens Repair Triptych

Day 60 - Lens Repair Triptych, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.
Almost two weeks ago, while heading out to take my Day 48 photo, I opened my car door and my camera bag rolled out. It fell a little less than two feet, so I assumed the bag had protected everything since the fall wasn't very big.

I was wrong.

My 18-105mm lens (the one that I bought with my D90 and the lens I use most frequently) was attached to the body when I last put my stuff back in the bag. When I opened the bag a few hours later the lens was dangling from the camera body like a partially-severed limb.

Two of the three plastic tabs on the bayonet mount had simply snapped (Dear Nikon: DESIGN FLAW). This made the lens pretty much useless, as it wouldn't even stay attached to the camera unless I held it in place while shooting. I called my friendly local camera store to get a repair cost estimate and they wanted my first born child. Or $180.

That seemed too steep for my budget, so I called up the Nikon Parts Department. One short conversation and $16 later, a new (still plastic) lens mount was on its way to me.

The repair itself was actually pretty easy...except for the part where I dropped the World's Smallest Screw and watched it roll off the table and bounce somewhere on the floor. There are no extra parts when putting tiny stuff back together, so I crawled on the floor with a flashlight looking for that stupid screw. AND I FOUND IT.

So now the lens is fully operational again, and thus ends my DIY lens repair adventure.