There is one snake in Iowa that was on my shot list. Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa. It had been years since I had been to Snake Alley. Once given the title “The World’s Most Crookedest Street” by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. This street was built in 1894 using tooled limestone curbing and locally fired blueclay bricks and was an experiment. The full history of this amazing and beautiful street can be read at snakealley.com. My vision was to shoot the alley with fall color and preferably just after it rained. Why after it rained? So the bricks would have more contrast to them than if they were dry.
Fall color had started to show and as luck would have it, one morning when I awoke, it was lightly raining. This would be the perfect day to photograph Snake Alley. I loaded my camera gear and made sure all of my rain gear was in my car as well. As I drove towards Burlington there was more rain coming down. Not wanting to shoot in the cold rain with boring gray skies, I decided to find a local coffee shop to wait out the rain. By the time I had finished my cafe mocha and dutch letter the rain had stopped. Time to start shooting.
I parked along the street near the entrance and unloaded my gear. The fall color along the alley wasn’t showing as much as I would have liked, but at least the bricks were wet. I took several photos from the top and as I was watching the sky, the clouds started to break and the sun was just peaking through. The architecture in this river town is absolutely beautiful. And from this viewpoint you can see the steeple of St. John’s Catholic Church. There was color showing in the trees near the church and it was a beautiful site. I made several images from this vantage point, both wide and zoomed in. I was disappointed the clouds had once again moved in, but at least they had texture.
As I was shooting a couple of cars drove down Snake Alley. I can remember my aunt’s taking me and my siblings to Burlington and driving down this very steep and winding street. And you can only drive down as it is very narrow and one way. This particular vehicle was occupied by two mature ladies and they must have had so much fun driving down the alley, they drove around and went down twice!
At one point, I did walk down the alley to see the view looking up. It wasn’t nearly as impressive from the exit as from the entrance. So back up the hill I went and continued shooting from the top. After taking several images this day, one of my last is probably the classic shot of Snake Alley, but it’s my shot and the bricks are wet just as I had envisioned.
Some of the photos are available for purchase at TBecker Photos.