Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Indianola Balloon Classic

Every year Indianola plays host to the National Balloon Classic.  Many years ago we were host to the National Balloon Championship but they decided to go elsewhere but because balloons were so ingrained in our community we decided to continue with the Classic.  We haven't had any problems getting teams to come for the competitions and the hospitality and the community loves it.  (Ok, maybe some in the community are balloon scrooges but they don't really count, do they?)

If you have never had the opportunity to see a hot-air balloon and especially the chance to see one set up and take off then too bad for you.  If you ever get the chance, I would definitely recommend it.  They are really cool and pretty amazing up close.  Even after all of these years (35 and counting) I continue to gawk at  the sky when 25-30 balloons all take off and fill the horizon.

Like many things of this nature, there are plenty of photographers who have captured the experience for all to see and share.  These are my first attempts.

Balloons will take of from wherever they can but they MUST get permission from the homeowner before setting up.  It is a major faux pas (and just plain rude) to just trounce around someone else's property without getting their consent.

God Bless America Statue

A little over a month ago a new statue arrived in my hometown.  It is a statue by J Seward Johnson called "God Bless America".  This 25' statue is his homage to the famous Grant Wood painting "American Gothic". It will be at Simpson College in Indianola, IA until the end of 2013 at the least.  You see it is up to the town that wants the statue to come up with the funds to move it.  When you get the funding you are guaranteed 6 months with the statue.  If no one comes up with the money needed to move the statue before your 6 months are over, then you get to keep the statue until someone does come up with the money.  As you can imagine, this statue has generated quite a bit of interest around town.  We have had visitors from across the state coming to see it (you'd almost think it were actually "American Gothic" instead of a tribute.)  I suppose though, because "American Gothic" was painted in southern Iowa and Grant Wood is himself an Iowan, something this big (pun intended) is bound to generate some buzz.

Anyway, there has also been no shortage of amateur and professional photographers trying to capture the essence and awe of such a large sculpture and of course they all want to do it their own way.  Some are trying to get special assistance from Simpson for lighting from surrounding buildings and some are trying other techniques.  As I have been taking walks with the dog and rides with my daughter, I usually try to look for a different perspective than what is usually taken and I'm pretty happy with my latest attempt.  As I was walking before the statue I happened to look right up at it and there was a fantastic glow from the sun right behind the couple.  I thought it looked interesting and had some potential so I put my camera to my eye and started snapping a few shots.  Here is my favorite of the group.  I hope you enjoy.