The Great Flood of 2011/1993

A crawdad takes a defensive stance on Highway 2. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD

When I covered the Great Flood of 1993, I remember crossing the Missouri River at Brownville, Neb., and looking with amazement at the amount of water covering the valley. I could see just the spines of center pivots curving out of the water like some mythical serpent swimming in the muddy flood waters. Wow, I thought, I’ll never see this much water again.

So, it was astonishing to see even more water this year, and this time, the flood lasted for months. While the river is back in its banks (mostly), the story remains in coverage of damage caused by the flood. I went in search of a farmer trying to salvage his crops and found Lyle McIntosh and what was left of his crops near Missouri Vally, Iowa. I photographed him picking corn in one of his bottom-land fields and the photos were so-so. My DOP, Jeff Bundy, said I needed to get into the air for the photo.

After talking with Mr. McIntosh, I knew the field where they would be harvesting and also knew the time. He warned me that it wouldn’t take long to harvest. It was only 3.5 acres instead of the 80 acres he had planted. It was a quick flight from the Council Bluffs airport to the field, and I photographed through the wide window of a Cessna 172 with a good pilot who flew in a tight circle. I think we were about 3,000 feet up and I used an 80-200mm lens, minimizing vibration by not leaning against the plane’s body.

Mr. McIntosh was right: It didn’t take long harvest the corn and, luckily, it didn’t take long to get the right picture.

What’s left of an 80-acre cornfield after the Missouri River recedes. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD

Jeff Beiermann

About Jeff Beiermann

I'm from Clarkson, Neb., a small farming town 100 miles northwest of Omaha, where I started my first career at a OW-H as a paperboy. I'm a 1984 graduate of Midland Lutheran College, and my first job was as a staff photographer at the Fremont Tribune. I left the paper after five years to freelance for The Associated Press in Omaha, and on Jan. 1, 1994, I joined the Omaha World-Herald. I am married to Julie Anderson, a World-Herald reporter, and we have two boys. I love to take nature and scenic photos and, like most of the staff, anything that gets us out into the state. One of the most interesting facets of being a photojournalist is watching history unfold. It's also one of the most challenging aspects, as it's important to be an observer only and record what is happening, most times in split seconds. 
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