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I am a second-year art student at the University of Iowa with a passion for photography. As, I'm originally from the West Coast and not familiar with the local landscape, I am very interested in hearing what other have to say about what they think are some of the most scenic parts of the state. I'm looking for suggestions specific to natural geography and geography that includes manicured rolling fields. Additionally, I'm would love to photograph beautiful old barns, bridges and railroad tracks. Basically, anything that would look captivating in a black and white photo. Appreciate any help!
Northeast Iowa (to most people) is considered photographers paradise. Especially sites along or within five miles of the mississippi. Highway 52, so far, is the BEST spot for photography. It is so beautiful. You get one-of-a-kind valley views, and you can see over to Galena and even Savanna in some spots. The area around Decorah is also very beautiful. Travel a few miles NORTH, SOUTH, or EAST of Dubuque and........ wow is it pretty. I have thought about becoming a photographer myself. Even the city of Dubuque and how it is such a beautiful town on the banks of the Mississippi is a great spot. There is also a road off Highway 61, 6 miles north of Maquoketa in Jackson County that is considered one of Iowa's scenic roads, and is especially pretty in fall and summer, and with a coat of snow....Go too far west....... and you'll find REDUNDANCE as quick as Christmas. I'd also consider the town of Bellevue. Located on Highway 52, 20-30 miles S of Dubuque, and 30 M N of Clinton.
I didnt read your whole post before responding. But Clayton,Dubuque,Jackson,and Clinton counties are PERFECT for old barns and railroad tracks, and rolling hills, especially as you get closer to the Mississippi River.
Dubuque County: Highway 52: St. Catherines,Dubuque,and Northwest areas of Dubuque, including Asbury.
Clayton County: 52(Guttenburg, Marquette)
Jackson County: 52, 62, CRE17, the road I mentioned above that originates 6 miles N of Maquoketa,Bellevue, Visit Bellevue State Park on the south side of town, it is a cliff, mountain like form that sticks up about 800 feet up, and looks over Bellevue, Iowa, The Mississippi River, and on some days you will see Dubuque, Clinton, and Galena/ Beautiful in Spring,Summer,Fall, and the first snow of winter-or fall. Also look areas in between SABULA and BELLEVUE. It is such a breathtaking drive in summer or fall. Oh i love it. It inspires me to become a photgrapher.
I will second what dubuqueaskme has said in the previous posts. My fiancee lives in Dubuque, and it is some of the most beautiful terrain in the world. I have been to the Alps and all over the United States and there are views in Clayton County that are second to none. If there is a hard winter the Saylorville Lake area near Des Moines will make for some beautiful photography. That is a harder area to find really good pictures, but I spent a lot of time walking around Saylorville as a kid, and if you do some exploring there are hidden treasures.
I'll go along with what the others above said. The Mississippi River is considered the Midwest's Best Kept Secret. The most spectacular, in my opinion, is along the Balltown Road (in Dubuque County) which is pretty high up above the river. This is a part of the Great River Road which is a tourist route designated by cooperative promotional locals for touring the Mighty Miss more or less. It consists of a series of federal and state highways plus some local roads.
Another stunning view is along the Upper Iowa River in Allamakee County, Here you're looking from a road close to that river looking up at the cliffs on either side of it.
In summary, from my point of view, the Mississippi River seems to create almost a whole separate Iowa from the rest of the state. I haven't seen the entire state. But I've seen a fair amount of it. There is the famous Bridges of Madison County which is Southwest of Des Moines. If you're looking for cliff dwelling pigeons without having to go to Paris, France, check out Iowa Falls in Hardin County. It's along the Iowa River, the same that flows through Iowa City. There is a restaurant called Camp David at the south end of Main Street which offers a buffet and a dining room with a view. There's even an outdoor balcony where you can sit and eat on a nice summer day and view the river, cliff and the pigeons. It's my hometown by the way.
You can follow the Iowa River between Iowa Falls and Iowa City and see some pretty good scenery such as Pine Lake State Park just east of Eldora. And the Amana Colonies in Iowa County. They cater to tourists who are into German culture. It's a great place to enjoy Octoberfest without having to go to Germany.
As far as farms with rolling hills in concerned, you might ask the extension service in each county. The one in Johnson County for example is located on the county fairgrounds south of the airport. This is a resource for all county residents to use in doing practical things around the home and farm. They've gotten out to visit farmers in assisting them in their problems. So they know the territory. It's people like these that the Iowa Film Office can turn to when a movie producer wants to find certain types of locations for film settings. I believe they were used in Dubuque County when the film "Field of Dreams" was shot.
I don't know how much you've gotten out to scout out Johnson County. But I might suggest you try your luck along either of the highways running through Iowa City. US 6 going east of town offers some hilly scenes as well as Highway 1 going either Northeast of Southwest. Anytime you get near a river like the Iowa River, there are feeding tributary streams that create the many hills you see around here.
to Council Bluffs (Western Iowa) from Des Moines and the beauty of the fields always impresses us. That's from the interstate. Get off the interstate and you can find some truly beautiful areas. Rolling hills, streams surrounded by trees, farm houses, barns, silos, old windmills, trains and train tracks, tractors and harvesters (time of year specific), gravel roads, you name it.
Ledges State park north of Des Moines is a good spot.
If you're looking for train yards there is a large one in Council Bluffs and I think Omaha also.
Along the Des Moines and Raccoon river valleys - they meet in Des Moines.
Boone, Iowa trains and the High Bridge - now there's a view!
I grew up in NE Iowa, Clayton Co, and it is beautiful. Try visiting Pikes Peak, beautiful river views. And the drive up Hwy 13 into Elkader is very pretty. I now live in Iowa City and the drive from North Liberty to Solon is very beautiful especially in the fall, and you can get some great water shots. Good luck.
I just moved to Strawberry Point in Clayton County this month from Independence in Buchanan County.
Yep, NE Iowa is a place to sightseeing many places especially scenic places. The best drive is to drive on Great River Road from New Albin, Iowa in Allamakee County to Davenport, Iowa in Scott County. Towns on Great River Road are New Albin, Lansing, Harpers Ferry, Marquette, McGregor, Clayton, Guttenberg, Millville, North Buena Vista, Balltown, Sherrill, Sageville, Dubuque, St. Catherines, St. Donatus, Bellevue, Sabula, Clinton, Comanche, Princeton, LeClaire, Bettendorf, and Davenport. Bluffs are everywhere in this region. For more info., click this website --> http://www.riverroads.com/ then click on "States along the river" and click "Iowa".
Yeah about Western Iowa, it is very beautiful and stunning to see Loess Hills.
Hope this helps you.
Have a great day!
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