Saturday, January 31, 2009

January 25th - Lost Nation, Iowa

Our second stop on this journey was the intriguing city of Lost Nation. Despite a distinct lack of children or corn (see previous post) this was still an interesting place to visit. In particular the full wall mural located just off of Main Street really caught our eye. Another thing of note is that the city did not seem to have a water tower. Based upon previous places I had just assumed it was a requirement for any incorporated city!

7 shots were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, with 3 added to the updated article on Wikipedia. Here are a couple of my favourites:







Links
Lost Nation, Iowa pictures on Wikimedia Commons
Updated Lost Nation, Iowa article on Wikipedia

Thursday, January 29, 2009

January 25th - Preston, Iowa

Our first stop last weekend was the delightful city of Preston, Iowa. This eastern Iowa locale of around 1,000 people turned out to be a real treat, with both my wife & I commenting on how thriving this community seemed to be with several new buildings, including a church and a City Hall/Library. In fact interestingly enough both of the cities we visited decided to combine these two institutions into one building!

11 shots were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, with 3 added to the updated article on Wikipedia. Here are a couple of my favourites:







Links
Preston, Iowa pictures on Wikimedia Commons
Updated Preston, Iowa article on Wikipedia

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Name!

Admitting that "Some Completely Random Iowa Place.....On Sunday" or "scripos" was perhaps not the catchiest name ever, I am happy to report that we have now rebranded to the shorter and punchier "Random Iowa" both here and on Twitter. Future plans include a logo and perhaps using something other than one of the default Blogger templates, so stay tuned!

Also a programming note, due to a longer than expected trip home our photos from Preston & Lost Nation will be added to Wikimedia Commons and the Wikipedia articles updated tomorrow (Monday) night. I'm sure they will be worth the wait though!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

January 25th - Lost Nation, Iowa

Our second stop for this Sunday is the interestingly named Lost Nation, Iowa. There appears to be no definitive origin for the name of this city, although legend tells of a German looking for a lost nation in the area or inhabitants of the Nation river in Canada finding their lost people here. This city of around 500 (as of 2000) was also one of the filming locations for an upcoming remake of Children of the Corn! The city website has a link to a nice gallery of shots taken during filming.

In fact, there were several movies shot in Iowa during 2008. Hopefully we will be able to visit a few more of these locations for you over the coming months.

What sights do you think we should look to document in Lost Nation? Have your own interesting shots of this place? Feel free to share them via the comments section below!

Links
City of Lost Nation, Iowa website
Wikipedia article for Lost Nation, Iowa (as it stands today)

January 25th - Preston, Iowa

Without the usual mystery due to it being Saturday already, here are our destinations for this week!

First up is Preston, Iowa. Established in 1870, Incorporated in 1890 and with a current population of almost 1,000, this city features in not one or two but four of our themes for this journey!

* Preston is the name of several towns and cities in the UK, including the most well known in Lancashire
* The United States has 13 other Preston's located in 12 states
* There are also Preston's in Canada and Australia; and
* Preston, Idaho was the location and setting for the film Napoleon Dynamite

With nothing specific identified so far we will be going in expecting big things from this city of many themes!


Source: Wikipedia. Author:Seanyb123


What sights do you think we should look to document in Preston? Have your own interesting shots of this place? Feel free to share them via the comments section below!

Links
City of Preston, Iowa website
Wikipedia article for Preston, Iowa (as it stands today)
Wikipedia disambiguation page for Preston, listing all of the other towns & cities

Our Photo Illustrating the News!

Through a random fate of chance, my wife discovered that one of our pictures from these trips has been used by the World News Network to illustrate one of the stories they linked to!

The specific picture in question was of a lion statue in Pleasantville, and accompanied a story from The Times about two lions in the Gaza zoo.



This was a surprise to us as we had not thought about these photos being featured anywhere except Wikipedia, but now I'm a little excited to see where else they are featured!

Links
World News Network - Zoo's pride as lions that dodged missiles prepare for parenthood

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 18th - Scranton, Iowa

Even though we've only been to a couple of places so far on this journey I've started to notice some reoccurring themes, one of which is how each city puts effort into installing their own welcome sign in addition to the standard name plate. Scranton's in particular I thought was a really nice example of this. The city also has a "claim to fame" as home to the oldest water tower still in use in Iowa and is obviously proud of this, as evidenced by the banners along Main Street featuring the structure and their motto "Towering above the rest"!

8 shots were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, with 3 added to the updated article on Wikipedia. Here are a couple of my favourites:








Links
Scranton, Iowa pictures on Wikimedia Commons
Updated Scranton, Iowa article on Wikipedia

January 18th - Jamaica, Iowa

Apologies for the delay, but now I'm happy to add reports from Jamaica & Scranton!

You cannot miss the turn into Jamaica due to the brightly coloured sign situated along Highway 141 which appears to be a nod to it's tropical namesake. We found plenty of shots to take in this small town of around 200, and were even met by a welcoming committee (a rottweiler I think) running up the street to greet us! It is interesting to note that the city is home to a music recording studio, one of the largest in the midwest and where Slipknot recorded their recent Billboard #1 album!

7 shots were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, with 3 added to the updated article on Wikipedia. Here are a couple of my favourites:





And one of our "greeter" that didn't make it!



Links
Jamaica, Iowa pictures on Wikimedia Commons
Updated Jamaica, Iowa article on Wikipedia

Sunday, January 18, 2009

January 18th - Scranton, Iowa

Our second stop for today is Scranton, Iowa. Located about 26 miles from Jamaica, this city shares its name with the county seat of Lackawanna County in North-eastern Pennsylvania. That Scranton has also achieved a certain level of notoriety, at least in the US, due to it being the setting for the US version of The Office. The Scranton located in Iowa also, according to Wikipedia, has the oldest water tower in the state so that is definitely on our list of shots to capture!

What sights do you think we should look to document in Scranton? Have your own interesting shots of this place? Feel free to share them via the comments section below!

Links
Wikipedia article for Scranton, Iowa (as of today)
Wikipedia article for Scranton, Pennsylvania

January 18th - Jamaica, Iowa

As posted in the comments, our first stop this Sunday is Jamaica, Iowa, which shares its name with an island nation in the Caribbean that has a slightly higher population count: 2.8 million. As it is currently 75 degrees and sunny, I can only hope that Jamaica in Iowa also gets to share some of the weather!



Here are some of the shots we are thinking of capturing during our trip:

* City Hall
* Water Tower
* Welcome sign (I hear it is very colourful!)

What sights do you think we should look to document in Jamaica? Have your own interesting shots of this place? Feel free to share them via the comments section below!

Links
Wikipedia article for Jamica (as of today)

Friday, January 16, 2009

January 18th - S _ R _ N _ O _, Iowa

The second:

* Starts with an S
* Located in north-west central Iowa
* Population of 604 as of 2000
* Falls under both the "Visit the US in Iowa" and "Iowa Entertainment Connections" themes

Feel free to post your guess in the comments below, and check back tomorrow when our destinations are revealed!

January 18th - J _ M _ I _ A, Iowa

With the weather again changing our travel plans for the weekend (we were going to be heading to Illinois) our Sunday destination has also changed. However to make it up to everyone we now have two places that we will be visiting.

The first:

* Starts with a J
* Established in 1882
* Population of 237 as of 2000
* Falls under the "Visit the world in Iowa" theme

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Equipment

While we determine our next destination (as with last week, weather permitting) I thought I would do a quick post on the "tools of our trade".

* Camera - EOS Digital Rebel XTi with a 28-135mm Ultrasonic Image Stabilizer lens (whatever that means!)

Source: Wikipedia. Author: Sujit kumar

* Tripod (as yet unused, but thats because it is so cold!)

* Computer (uploading, cropping & straightening) - MacBook

Source:Wikipedia. Author:Alison

* Transportation - Mazda5

Source: Wikipedia. Author: IFCAR

* Catering - Various (depends what is on the way!)

Check back for teaser information on our next destination coming very soon!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

January 11th - Pleasantville, Iowa

Here is the report and photos from our trip to Pleasantville.

Simply, what a wonderful place! Almost immediately after arriving we found a couple of good shots, and it kept getting better from there. We located all of our planned targets, although we could not drive around Shadle Park to photograph the memorial garden due to the snow. Maybe a trip back during spring or summer is in order!

One thing I found really interesting about the place is that, in this age where chain stores are everywhere (our prior destination of Ankeny being a prime example), there were practically none to be found in Pleasantville. The gas station, grocery store, coffee shop / soda fountain and restaurant were all (or at least appeared to be) 100% "Mom & Pop". It is a shame Dave Gorman didn't drive through Iowa as I'm sure he would have loved it! We saw a police car drive by us at least four times during our hour or so there, which was initially nice to see until I wondered if they were checking up on a call about "some strange people taking photos all over town"!

From about 100 total 15 photos were selected for addition to Wikimedia Commons, and four of these have been added to the Pleasantville article on Wikipedia. Below are a couple of my favourites.







Any comments or suggestions you have are appreciated, and check back soon for details on our next stop!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

January 11th - Pleasantville, Iowa

Well plans have changed again, so we are now back to our original destination (weather permitting!) of Pleasantville, Iowa

* Established in 1849
* Population of 1,539 (as of 2000)
* Shares its name with a 1998 movie starting Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon

Movie Trailer


The Chamber of Commerce website is a nod to this Hollywood connection, although I would have expected all of the pictures to be in black & white!

Here are some of the shots we are thinking of capturing during our trip:

* Pleasantville State Bank
* High School
* City Hall
* Cora Shadle Park and the Gladys Black Memorial Garden

What sights do you think we should look to document in Pleasantville? Have your own interesting shots of this place? Feel free to share them via the comments section below!

Links
Chamber of Commerce website (therealpleasantville.com)
Wikipedia article for Pleasantville (as of today)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Themes

Given there over 1,100 articles needing photographs and only 52 opportunities this year to visit locations, how do we go about choosing where to visit? While we could have compiled a very complex selection process utilizing population, wikipedia page popularity etc., I thought I would keep it a little simpler and instead use the following five themes:

* Visit the World in Iowa - world
* Visit the United States in Iowa - USA
* Visit the United Kingdom in Iowa - UK
* Interesting/unusual names in Iowa - unusual
* Iowa Entertainment Connections - entertainment

While there may be a couple of exceptions the majority of our future destinations in 2009 will fall under one of these. You will be able to track all places that fall under a particular theme using the labels for each post.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January 4th - Ankeny, Iowa

Well hopefully better late than never, here is the report and photos from our trip to Ankeny!

Unfortunately both time and the weather were against us, but we both had a great time driving around town for a couple of hours in the afternoon taking pictures. We ended up with 13 usable shots from about 150 taken, and these have now been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. In turn, 5 have been added to the Ankeny article on Wikipedia. Below are a couple of my favourites.





Look for some hints on our next destination later in the week!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 4th - Ankeny, Iowa

As guessed yesterday by my wife, the first stop on our journey around Iowa starts pretty close to home in Ankeny. This commuter town north of Des Moines has grown significantly over the last few years and as of the 2005 special census is the third largest city in Iowa.

Here are some of the shots we are thinking of capturing during our trip:

* View of the stores along Delaware Ave
* View of the car dealerships
* City Hall (looked like an interesting building)
* Uptown
* Tones Spice Factory
* "Welcome to Ankeny" sign
* Prairie Trail

What sights do you think we should look to document in Ankeny? Have your own interesting shots of this place? Feel free to share them via the comments section below!

Check back tomorrow for the results of our first trip!

Source for teaser information: www.ankenyiowa.gov

Friday, January 2, 2009

January 4th - A _ _ _ N _, Iowa

* Officially declared a city in 1961
* Population of 36,161 as of 2005
* Was named one of the Top 10 Best Towns for Families in 2008 by Family Circle magazine

Thursday, January 1, 2009

January 4th - A _ _ _ _ _, Iowa

The first stop on our journey:

* Starts with an A
* Is located in central Iowa
* Was incorporated in 1903

More teaser information and pictures to come!

Introduction

As I'm sure many are doing given the current state of the economy my wife & I have made the decision to tighten our belts financially. This ultimately led to the setup of this blog as we looked for new family activities to enjoy.

My wife is a keen amateur photographer, while I have always enjoyed contributing to Wikipedia in my spare time (what little there is of it! :-)). We also both enjoy traveling and seeing new & different places.

There are over 1,100 Wikipedia pages related to Iowa cities & towns for which photographs have been requested. From this the idea came that we could travel to these places and document them visually, using the best photographs to enhance each Wikipedia article. Not only will this get us out of the house and discovering something new about the state we live in each week but is also fairly low cost. Sunday seemed to be the best fit, and so our plan was set.

We hope you enjoy following along on our journey as we look to provide interesting and unique views of Iowa in the 21st Century!