By Gerry Schnepf

Fall is normally filled with color in the trees on the hillsides and in the valleys. The fall smell in the air is that pleasant subtle odor of decaying leaves. It is a reminder that one season is ending, and another season is about to start. It is the perfect time to take your camera or cell phone and capture those special images of beauty. Even better, consider entering your “beauty” in the Keep Iowa Beautiful photo competition. Submit your “best shot” to Keep Iowa Beautiful (KIB) by December 15th. Multiple entries are permitted. (More details at the end of this article).

The images that are left in our mind are often different than the photographs we take. Most of us tend to look at what I call the “grand scale” – the landscape view, the horizon, the sunset or the sunrise, the forest valley, the livestock in the field or the view of a community from some elevated place.

What we don’t tend to do, is to take a look at the things closest to us – the youngster playing with the dog, the special sign in a park, the person on the bench, the doorway with a unique design, the leaves on the path, the duck on the pond, the cat playing with a butterfly, the pie on the counter that catches our attention, the bicyclist on the trail – those close images that we tend to remember but don’t always photograph.

What is common at all levels is “beauty” and beauty has different meanings to each of us. Don’t limit yourself to only large-scale beauty, look around and capture the small-scale beauty as well. The butterfly on the milkweed or the bee in the flowers. Or maybe even the last rose of the season.

Images vary in type, design, color and style throughout the year. Sunrises and sunsets are great, but, how about looking at nature more closely to see the hidden beauty. Images that may not be as large a scale, but, that have true beauty. As fall approaches it is the time to catch mother nature at her most colorful, at any scale.

Generally, it is also the time that many volunteer efforts shift to in-doors. Leaf raking, clean ups, shut down efforts, outdoor classrooms and fall tree planting now transition to working inside in controlled environments. Look around those places as well for the hidden beauty of volunteers at work. Above all, take the time to enjoy the out of doors!!!!



Keep Iowa Beautiful 9th photography contest is aimed at raising awareness of Iowa’s rural and urban beauty. This photo contest offers both amateur and experienced photographers an opportunity to tell Iowa’s story in a fun, engaging way during your favorite season.

“This is a great way for Iowans to share what they like about Iowa,” said Gerry Schnepf, KIB Executive Director. “First place will receive $50, second place $40 and third $30. All three will receive a one-year subscription to “Our Iowa” magazine.

The deadline is December 14, 2018 and entries must be submitted as high-resolution JPEG electronically to [email protected] . $5 entry fee, contest rules and payment can be made HERE.