Another year, another folder for my computer photo archive. Here are some of my favorite shots from the year 2012. You know the drill — you can click on any of these shots for a larger view.
Two of my favorite photographic subjects are right here in this picture: the “Captains Return” statue of Lewis & Clark on the St. Louis Riverfront, and the Gateway Arch. I’ve taken pictures of the Lewis & Clark sculpture at varying river levels over the years, and when the river dropped to 4.25 feet in late February, I took the opportunity to go get a shot when I thought it was as low as I was going to see in a while. (I was wrong; the river stayed remarkably low throughout the year, and at this writing it’s at minus 4.4 feet.)
A few weeks after I took this picture, the river had fallen some more, and I went down early one morning to try and get a picture at an even lower gauge. But when I got there, I discovered that there was a man, apparently homeless, sleeping on the river side of the statue. I’m just not enough of a photojournalist—or maybe too much of a human being—to take that picture.
Another early-morning excursion produced what was one of my favorite series of photos from the year. The surface of the Gateway Arch is smooth enough to be highly reflective, but just rough enough to scatter any sunlight that hits it. And at sunrise, on the right day, the sunlight is bright orange. The combination of those two phenomena, viewed from the right angle, makes it looks like the Arch is ablaze. I had a lot of fun walking around and under it that morning.
Near year-end, I went to East St. Louis to try to capture the flaming-Arch view from the Illinois side of the river, thinking that maybe I could capture the whole structure in reflected bright orange. Alas, the angles weren’t right—the sun was actually a little too far south. I’ll try again in the spring, but upon further consideration I think it still might not work because the angles of the Arch itself won’t reflect directly across the river. But I’ll find out.
In early June, we went to Michigan City, Ind., for a long weekend of multiple colorful sunsets over Lake Michigan. This is one of them. I don’t know that group of people on the beach, but they fit quite well in front of the setting sun.
So did this seagull.
June also brought the wedding in Cincinnati of our niece. I snapped this picture just after the priest had introduced the couple as husband and wife, and they were beginning their walk back up the aisle.
I love the expressions of pure joy and love on everybody’s faces, particularly the priest’s.
Late July/early August: Back to Michigan City, and another seagull (or perhaps the same one.) This is actually one of my favorite pictures of the year, just because of the colors of the lake water behind the gull, and how they blend together and complement the sand and the bird in the foreground.
Meet Chop. Chop is my brother’s dog, and he joined us at Tilles Park in Ladue, Mo., one Tuesday night in August for “Food Truck Tuesday,” a relatively new event at which we quickly became regulars. If my own dogs read this, I hope they won’t feel hurt that I’m highlighting a picture of Chop and not of them, but who could resist this look on his face? Also, Chop is a much better-behaved dog than either of ours.
A big ribbon, and a big pair of scissors. That’s our neighbors, who got the honor of supplying the props for the grand reopening celebration of the Rock Hill Public Library in September.
I was on the library’s Board of Trustees for nine years, and now am on the library’s fledgeling “Friends” group, and for years and years we tried to find the library a new home. After the previous home—in the former City Hall building—was razed to make room for a retail development, the library was forced to pay rent in a strip mall for several years, before finally finding a building it was able to buy. A lot of sweat and tears went into finding a new home, and in 2012, they finally made it work. The new place, in the former MAB Paints building on Manchester Road, is bright, clean and relatively large inside, compared to how it looks from the outside.
In October, we went to the Montelle Winery near Augusta, Mo., with some of Jean’s friends. There’s probably no better way to spend a fall day in eastern Missouri than to visit one of the state’s wineries along the Missouri River. Montelle is high on a hill, with an overlook that lets you see miles of landscape. The wine’s not too bad, either.
Here’s a work in progress. This is the new Mississippi River Bridge, which will—when it opens in 2014—carry I-70 across the river. You can view the construction from a nice vantage point on the bike path that runs along the river. Every few months I hike up there during my lunch hour to get an update on the progress. It’s going to be pretty cool when it’s finished.
Autumn in St. Louis. I snapped this picture on another lunchtime walk, to City Garden … although it could be almost anywhere. Bokeh is the word photographers use for that blurred background, produced by using a wide-open aperture and/or a telephoto lens. It’s a beautiful effect, and one of the chief advantages of using a single-lens reflex (SLR, or, if it’s digital, DSLR) camera.
This dude is a Red Panda, one of the many, many attractions at the St. Louis Zoo. At least once or twice a year, I try to go to the zoo in the morning to get shots of the animals while few other people are around. This year, more than ever before, I saw a lot of other people with nice cameras doing the same thing, which was pretty cool. I’d never noticed the Red Panda before (and although I said “dude,” I’m actually not sure of the gender, so I apologize if I offended anybody); there’s always a surprise or some beautiful and previously unseen creature there. This crane, for instance. It’s all happening at the zoo.
Thanksgiving Day, and we were back in Michigan City. Fortunately for Andrew and his cousin Sydney, the temperature was in the 60s, so when they took the dare to go swimming in Lake Michigan, it wasn’t bitter, bitter cold for them. Still pretty darn cold though. The next day brought a cold front and wind chills in cryogenic territory, so it’s lucky they went when they did.
On one of our last evenings in Michigan City, after that cold front came through, I took a walk down toward the deserted beach for some “golden hour” photos. Personally, I prefer the hours around sunrise, but the time around sunset is great for taking pictures as well. The low angle of the sun really helps bring out the colors of the sand dunes and the November flora.
I have a new toy. For Christmas I received this little camera, which is going to travel with me wherever I go in 2013. It can cram 16 megapixels into each picture, twice as many as my regular camera, and yet it’s smaller than a cell phone. But most importantly, it’ll allow me to capture a lot of shots I’ve otherwise missed because I didn’t want to carry around my big and (relatively) bulky camera with me. (This picture was taken in a mirror, and yes, it was “flipped” so you could read the lettering, if you so choose.)
I’m hardly a pro photographer and I don’t aspire to be one. But I do enjoy capturing images of life as it happens, and I hope you find one or two shots you like among the pictures I post here once in a while. Cheers.