One blog post a week. That was my goal for the year as 2016 started.
Ahem. It’s now Groundhog Day, and this is my first post of the year. “Getting back in the habit” is harder than you might think. Anyway, before it recedes too far in the rearview, here’s a look back at 2015, in the form of some of my favorite pictures that I took during the year.
With all of these pictures, a click on the thumbnail on this page will open a larger version of the picture in a new tab.
In February, my work took me to Birmingham, Ala., for a meeting of the Inland Waterways Users Board. After I got there, I had some time to walk around the city, and I went to see the 16th Street Baptist Church, which was bombed by the Klan in 1963. I didn’t tour the church, but across the street is a park with this sculpture and a series of other sculptures that depict the civil rights battles in Birmingham. Very moving and definitely something to see if you’re in the area.
While there, the board toured two locks and dams on the Black Warrior River: Oliver L&D on the left, and Holt L&D on the right. Even though they’re only a few miles apart, they’re vastly different structures, as you can see. In between, we got a lunchtime tour of the University of Alabama football stadium, which was a real treat, even for this non-Crimson Tide fan.
In April, we had a “Cousins Reunion” in St. Louis, with members of my dad’s side of the family. I had a lot of fun catching up with folks I hadn’t seen in years, or even decades. In this picture, my dad, at age 94, talks on Facetime for the first time in his life, chatting with another cousin who wasn’t able to make the trip to St. Louis.
This is our youngest son Andrew, all dressed up to go to the prom. As usual, he wasn’t really really liking having his picture taken. He didn’t go to the Webster Groves prom, but the one for Kirkwood, where his girlfriend went to school. Andrew later graduated from Webster Groves High School, closing the books on the fourth generation of Mahanays/Shoulbergs to go there.
In May, I got a new camera, a Canon 70D, to replace my 9-year-old 350D. I’m loving it. The first evening, I went over to Tilles Park to capture this sunset, and this duck swimming in the lake. The next morning, a photo trip to the Zoo, where I captured the butterfly below, and then to the new sculpture park in Webster Groves for the splash of purple. (If anyone can name either of those species, let me know in the comments below.)
A few days later, I took my new camera down to Sister Marie Charles Park in South St. Louis to try to get some good barge/towboat pictures. Not much luck with the barges and boats, but as I was walking back toward my car I nearly stepped on this little guy, peering up from the weeds next to the sidewalk. I tried to get a shot of him flicking his tongue at me, but he only brought out the tongue when I put my camera down. Otherwise, he was very cooperative.
Later in June, we got a proper vacation and went to Michigan City, Indiana for a week. Readers of this blog have seen probably pictures of this lighthouse before, but I particularly liked this shot of the sun setting while the waves crashed against the breakwater.
In August, we were back in Michigan City, and, one day on the beach, I decided to caucus with the seagulls to try to get some pictures; they’re generally good models, as long as you don’t get TOO close. Purely by chance, I got this one flying in formation with its shadow. One of those shots you never know you got until you download the pictures to your computer.
Later in August, there was another Inland Waterways Users Board meeting. On the first day, the board toured Chickamauga Lock in Chattanooga, Tenn. After the tour, and before driving to Nashville for the “meeting” part of the meeting the next day, I went a little south to another Chickamauga: the Civil War battlefield in Georgia. I did a lot of reading about the Civil War in 2015, so I wanted to see where at least some of the action took place.
If we’re going to go in chronological order, and I guess we are, I must direct you now to the picture of the coneflowers at the top of this post. They are in City Garden in downtown St. Louis, with the Arch in the background, shot through a 10mm lens. For more pictures from that day, click here.
In September I took part in a Mississippi River cleanup with Living Lands & Waters, along with a dozen or so of my colleagues from work. It was hard work, but also incredibly fun, and I hope we can do it again this year. You can read more about it, and see more pictures, here.
This was a close one. In December, I was in New Orleans for the International Workboat Show. During a lunch break, I went out onto the balcony on the Riverwalk to get some pictures of the river. Somehow, apparently a barge got loose and the towboats were chasing it down, while a cargo ship was bearing down on them. As you can see, they managed to miss each other, but, at least from where I was standing, it was by the narrowest of margins. Here is a crop of the same photo.
And finally, New Year’s Eve. After I finished up the day’s—and the year’s—work, I drove over to East St. Louis for some last pictures of 2015. After a bizarre weekend of unseasonably heavy rain, the rivers had been pushed up to flood stage. In St. Louis, I believe it was the second- or third-highest crest ever, and in December, which was previously unheard of. The crest was right about when this picture was taken. Strange times.