Monday, June 15, 2015

Capturing Iowa's Seasons

Capturing Iowa's Seasons
Text and Photography by Ty Smedes
Iowan Books
Des Moines, Iowa
ISBN: 978-1-934816-07-3
October 2008
$ 19.95
164 pages

Once in a while you find a book that is a perfect combination of photography and writing. Capturing Iowa's Seasons is one of these accomplishments created by Iowa author, Ty Smedes.

Relying on Ty Smedes experience and artistry in photojournalism, he has created a collection reflecting the natural beauty of each season in Iowa. Understanding the conflicts of preservation of the prairie as opposed to the maximum utilization of the state's farmland, he captures the natural world into photographs of the rarely viewed wildlife both flora and fauna.

Realizing that less than one percent of Iowa's natural prairie still exists, he has devoted numerous hours to focus on the lives of the mammals who daily need to adapt to a diminishing area for their families to thrive. Between the spreading of urban areas and the need of farmland, the challenging of maintaining life for the prairie in challenging for the survival of these creatures.

What this book has captured is a beautiful moment for each animal, bird, or plant that naturally resides in the state of Iowa. Each picture is art balancing the light, shadows, form, structure, texture and color into a photographic masterpiece.

Beginning with springtime in Iowa, this section beautifully illustrates the awakening of new growth, complete with babies of all kinds. As with many babies, these picture are adorable and even comical. The pudgy baby raccoon clinging to a branch is a rare gem. With the focus on the young wildlife of deer, coyotes, woodchucks, red foxes, rabbits, otters, skunks, owls, bobcats, many birds and plants, this collection is an unusual collection. The photos are obviously the result of numerous hours of loving diligence to record the beauty of the creatures of this land.

The summer months open with a variety of colorful butterflies. Each picture is gorgeous. Ty Smedes view of the world is obviously one looking for the beauty in the surrounding world. To prove this, one of the most unusual photographs is of a spider web covered with the morning's dew. Capturing the light perfectly, this web actually resembles a piece of jewelry, a beaded necklace. This with numerous other examples are a result of his expert photography as an accomplished piece of art.

The lush autumn colors are expressed in the next session with the focus on the glorious deciduous trees. In this section, Mr. Smedes simplifies the rare loess soil found along the Missouri River explaining how the wind blew around bits of earth from the valleys into drifts of this soil. Naturally, no book of Iowa would not be complete without including the migrating snow geese showing their grandeur with expressive photos.

The bald eagles are included in the winter chapter combining educational information in a majestically entertaining manner. In this section is a photograph of a fence in Clear Lake. Covered in ice, this perfectly capture the stark isolation of the winter in many farm communities across the state. Also reflective of the winter months are his pictures of the trees. Each one perfectly captures their shivering, cold beauty.

The concluding chapter is an educational resource for nature photography tips.

Ty Smedes photos excel in beauty. Compared to the legendary National Geographic photos, his selections perfectly match the pride he has in discovering and sharing the beauty of his state, Iowa. In addition to this book, he has also published The Return of Iowa's Bald Eagles which is now in its second printing.

Both books can be purchased through local retail book sellers or at Many photographs capturing the natural world seen through Ty Smedes' eyes can be purchased for reasonable rate at

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” For this phenomenal book, Ty Smedes photographs are unquestionable a work of art that beautifully reflects his love of the natural world in this state.

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