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Monday, April 23, 2012

My Humble Iowa Genealogical Society Report

Eric Basir at the Iowa State Genealogical Society
Eric with the Iowa State Genealogical Society Spring Conference
Des Moines, Iowa has a seriously relaxed rush hour. So our trip into the heart of Iowa to share the gospel of good photo retouching with my friends in the genealogy world was quite easy. The 6 hour trip was uneventful and stiff—even with cruise control at a laid back speed of 59 MPH. However I was a little anxious: This was my first workshop in the state from which our country's 31st president was born.

Iowa State Historical Museum mastadon tooth replica
Hand next to fossil replica of a mastadon tooth
The wonderful volunteers and officers of the Iowa Genealogical Society were gracious hosts. They allowed my wife and I to set up the evening prior to the event. They also gave us tips for getting to the hotel. That helped bring the anxiety level down a notch. 

They have a wonderfully large auditorium attached to their very large library (of which I forgot to take some pictures). It is also across the street from the Iowa State Historical Museum. The State museum is quite fascinating place.
Mastadon exhibit at the Iowa State Historical Museum
Mastadon model and fossils from ancient Iowa times!

Printing industry exhibit at Iowa State Historical Museum
The American printing industry has many roots in Iowa

The state of Iowa has gone to great lengths to tell its story. It's more than what many of us might assume from a midwestern "plains" state. They are quite proud of being the home of President Herbert Hoover. You'll see many plaques around commemorating various historical figures and trades with roots in Iowa.

Anyone in the graphic arts fields, including fiction authors would benefit from some study of the Iowa history. Many of the rest stops on the Interstate 80 highway are dedicated to some of the great accomplishments of industry in Iowa.

Typography is clearly the theme at this Johnson County rest stop below. Such an ordinary building has been turned into a beautiful work of art on many levels.

 Iowa Interstate 80 rest stop by Photo Grafix

 Iowa Interstate 80 bathroom by Photo Grafix

While in Des Moines, my wife and I braved an incredible storm. I never experienced anything like it. After we finished up the conference, the rain started to pour. And pour. And pour. It got so bad, I almost thought the wind was going to blow over the car—with me in it. Of course, my wife was safely in the Clive Super 8 hotel room. She was so safe, she took a smartphone video of me being crushed by the wind and rain as I ran back in (it's impossible to see me it's so thick)!

I came to Des Moines to visit this?
Innocent young tree victim
Of course after it was all over, there was some evidence of the storm in some downed trees and my confused mental state, which was apparent in my appearance in front of an famous big box store. Where was I? Why am I here?

In a few hours, things returned to normal. I came to Des Moines, enlightened some eager folks about the virtues of saving as TIF, using open source photo editing software and how to make quick color corrections. Now I could go home, I thought. This was a great adventure.
Interstate 80 dashboard view in Des Moines Iowa by Photo Grafix
Headed back east to Chicagoland from the Iowa heartland
Eric Basir is a photo retoucher and owner of Photo Grafix. The videos from the workshop are now available for viewing on the Photo Grafix Youtube Channel. Subscribe to the Photo Grafix Email Newsletter for updates.

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