Tag Archives: Viola

Vine-Covered Barn

Exploring southwest Wisconsin is always a treat, because behind every bend seems to offer another photographic opportunity.

Months prior to taking the above picture, I was driving near Viola, Wisconsin and passed this barn. For a couple of reasons I couldn’t stop to take a picture, but recently coming home I made a point to swing by it. While, originally, the barn caught my eye because of it’s old state and the various vines growing on it, the most recent visit was even better with the autumn color changes.

(2679) 1012.

Posted in Scenic Also tagged |

Garter Snake on the Lookout

Wandering around in my parents’ garden (the size of which dwarfs my garden), I was introduced to the resident garter snake. Apparently, he hangs out and eats whatever may pass by and does fairly well himself. Knowing he was fairly docile allowed me to get pretty close for some pictures. Occasionally he’d flick his tongue out (a snake’s way of smelling) but that was the extent of our time together. I didn’t want to stay too long to freak him out and I didn’t have the patience to sit and wait hoping for him to devour something scampering by.

(6263) 0512.

Posted in Nature Also tagged |

Early Morning Fog

Some days I get up really, really early and drive for an hour to shoot the sunrise. Other days, like with the image above, I walked ten feet from the front door to take pictures.

Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time in rural southwest Wisconsin. The region is referred to as “The Driftless Area” because years and years and years ago the glaciers missed this region leaving an abundance of rolling hills. Given the flat land that makes up most of the midwestern United States, it’s a welcome change to see hills roll off into the distance. Early on several mornings, the fog gets trapped in the low-lying valleys.

(8828) 0911.

Posted in Scenic Also tagged |

Farm Field Church

One of my favorite areas to photograph is the Southwest corner of Wisconsin.

Being from Chicago and having ten million of my closest friends and family within an hour’s drive, getting four hours outside of the big city and life changes quite a bit. A traffic jam is nothing more than a tractor puttering along down a two-lane road. There are small stands set up along the road with farmers selling their extra corn, potatoes, tomatoes or whatever else.

The roads are fun to drive, too, as they’re old roads the milk trucks used to drive to get from farm to farm. Those roads have since been paved, but a lot of them haven’t been maintained much after they were paved. Driving down the roads is nice to do with a GPS, because I can get lost and look for random fun stuff without worrying about finding my way home. On one of those drives down various roads, I came upon this small church seemingly engulfed from the surrounding corn crop.

(8428) 0811.

Posted in Travel Also tagged |

Busy Bee

I’m not sure spring can get here any faster.

This image was taken at my dad’s farm near Viola, Wisconsin.  On this photography blog, I’ve posted a number of pictures taken on his property. While I normally do big, expansive wide shots, it’s always nice to watch nature do it’s thing on a much smaller scale.

August 2011. (8402)

Posted in Nature Also tagged |

Driftless Pond

In the Southwest corner of Wisconsin is an area where the glaciers missed.

Instead of slowly grinding along and leveling everything in it’s path, this area was bypassed and, as a result, has a lot of rolling meadows and the famous midwest range of the Ohcooch Mountains.

June 2009. (3674)

Posted in Nature Also tagged |


I like to tell the story of my first visit to my parent’s farm after they picked up their new golden retriever, Casey.

Some time back I was scheduled to work a Chicago Bulls game on a Friday evening.  Additionally, I received a phone call to work a softball game in Iowa City the morning after said Bulls game and, mathematically, the hours in the car would make it a long drive with minimal sleep.  So, I turned the job down.

A day or two later, the phone rang again. “I really need you for softball,” said my contact.  So I agreed.

As the weekend grew closer, I found myself dreading my decision more and more.  However, I had made my bed so I must sleep in it, so to speak.  On Friday night after the Bulls game (about 11PM), I jumped in the car and made the four-hour trip to Iowa City.  After arriving at the hotel in the wee hours of the morning, I jumped into bed for a quick two hour nap before heading to work.

Work was work, but after we were finished, severe thunderstorms were going to be rolling in, with a strong potential for tornadoes.  Not being a fan of tornadoes, I decided I’d rather spend my final night alive at my parent’s house then die in a hotel room in Iowa City. Therefore, on two hours of sleep, I made the decision to head to my parent’s farm, which was about three hours away.

I pulled into the driveway exhausted and was greeted by the smallest, most adorable puppy I’d ever laid eyes on.  His name was Casey and as he ran up to me with his high-pitched bark, his ears where so big that he proceeded to trip over them. Again and again, as a matter of fact.

Casey was so young that he didn’t know how his body worked, and promptly tripped and stumbled over his own paws, or more adorably, his own ears.  We played in the yard for a long time, before I finally fell asleep for an extremely long time.  It happened to be Easter weekend, so while finishing touches were being made on a fantastic brunch, I played with the puppy some more.

That dog is one of the luckiest dogs in the world as he has nearly 50 acres to run around and call his own.  He’ll chase birds, cars, thrown balls and sticks, or just fall asleep at your feet while you watch the sun set.

In the above picture, Casey buried himself down in the shrubs and waited for my dad to throw a stick into the river. Leaping off the banks of the river and swimming out to get sticks is one of Casey’s favorite activities.

July 2007.  (0571)

Posted in Nature Also tagged |


Every year around this time I try to visit my parents. My work schedule doesn’t allow a couple of days off regularly, until the calendar gets to October.

The journey to their place involves passing several roadside stands selling fruits and veggies. This particular year I stopped and bought a few apples and such, but decided to load up on some other things. I had my camera gear with me and I was curious if I could pay around with some Fall fruits and vegetables.

The result was what you see above. I like close-up shots of things, and the gourds provided a good opportunity for just that. My step-mom and I took turns taking pictures and trying new things. She later turned one of her images into a water color, which, to this day, is still her single best-selling painting.

October 2007. (1088)

Posted in Lifestyle Also tagged |

Foggy Wisconsin Barn

My dad lives near Viola, Wisconsin, so I get up to their neck of the woods quite  a bit to visit.

Whenever I do, I bring my camera.  Some days it sits in my bag on the floor the entire stay, but most of the time I get it out and go wander.  Some days I get up to watch the sun rise, other days I stay out to watch the sun set.  Sometimes I do both.

The last time I was up there I found this old abandoned farm.  (The farmhouse sits across the gravel road from it, but I’m not entirely sure the house is abandoned.)  I like places like this barn, and I’ll continue to stop and check on it when I visit. It takes on an entirely different view when it’s fogged in or a bright sunshine-filled day.

September 2011. (8735)

Posted in Scenic Also tagged |

Wisconsin Wildflowers

Wisconsin Wildflowers

Some time back a friend asked me what my favorite picture I’ve ever taken was.

I didn’t really have an answer.

After a bunch of thinking, I may have to vote this picture, which is funny because it doesn’t really register on the “awesome-meter”. The reason I’m voting this picture is because photography has taught me A LOT about patience … because I have none. Photography forces me to sit in mittens, a hat, and snow pants while underneath my tripod, waiting for that one small break in the clouds to get just the right picture. I’m really learning that photography is a lot of timing and preparation to capture that single moment in time.

So, back to the above picture.

While at my dad’s farm in rural Wisconsin, I took a picture. The sun was in a terrible spot and the shadows were awful.  The next morning, with the sun in a better position, I took a handful of shots and something was always missing. Then I realized the clouds were really adding to the mix, but I had to wait until the right clouds. So, I waited. And waited.

And then waited some more.

Eventually I saw the right clouds come over the distant hills, and after seeing the potential composition for a picture, it was about twelve hours of waiting to get the sun, clouds and flowers into the right spot. Is this the best picture I’ve ever taken? No, but it is one of my favorites, because I learned a lot about timing, preparation and patience.

(0944) 0707.

Posted in Nature Also tagged |