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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.


Acquainted with the Night

Layout of night photos w Frost poemBack in the days when I was working at The Missourian, I’d cover some night event, maybe a meeting or sporting event, then I’d go to my home basement darkroom to process the film and print the photos. Since I’d rather stay up late than get up early, I’d drive the pictures over to the office that night.

If I wasn’t sleepy, I’d sit in the office doing my homework or listening to one of the three police, fire and highway patrol radios mounted on a column in the newsroom. Every hour, I’d jump when the West Union clock on the wall reset itself to the absolutely correct time with a jarring CLUNK!.

If I got bored doing that, I’d hop in the car and cruise the back streets and alleys, listening to police calls through a Tompkins Tunaverter, a little gray box that converted the car’s AM radio into a VHF FM monitor. Cape’s a town that goes to sleep early, so it was like it belonged to me.

I love biking after dark

To this day, I love riding my bike after dark. In the early evening, you can nod and speak to folks walking their dogs or pushing baby strollers. You can smell what’s cooking for dinner. If there is a flickering light coming from a dark room, you know they are watching TV, because a computer screen emits a steady glow.

From behind, I’m lit up like a Christmas tree; in front, there’s a generator-powered headlight cutting through the blackness. If I look down, I can see in the backsplatter of the light my sweat-glowing legs pistoning up and down, driving the chain with a snicccck, sniccck, sniccck sound.

Like Robert Frost, I, too, have been acquainted with the night.

This is one of my images that will be displayed at the Cape Girardeau County History Center in Jackson after Homecomers and until about the end of the year. The theme of the show will be Coming of Age in a Small Midwestern Town between 1963 and 1970ish. Click on the photo to make it larger.

Sunrises are Overrated

Sunset looking west from Staples plaza 07-20-2016I’ve seen two sunrises this week. I pulled two all-nighters editing pictures and sending them off to be printed. The sunrises were spectacularly reddish, or, that might have just been what they looked like through my bloodshot eyes.

What brought about this horrible flashback to my high school and college days? The Cape County History Center in Jackson is going to exhibit pictures from my coming of age years. I underestimated how long it was going to take to get the pictures done because they had already been scanned.

What I had forgotten

What I had forgotten was that I really didn’t know what I was doing when I first started digitizing the film. After doing the digital darkroom work and getting rid of all the flaws, I should have saved them as a Photoshop file. Instead, I output them for the web. That’s great if you are only going to look at it on a computer screen, but the image falls apart if you want to enlarge it.

That meant that I had to go back to the original scan and touch up 100 to 1000 scratches, dust spots and flaws per picture. Doing that once is a pain. Doing it a second time is agonizingly, boringly frustrating.

Anyway, Carla Jordan and I are going to be hanging the show Friday afternoon and night. With any kind of luck, it’ll be ready for folks to see Saturday afternoon. More info to come.

That’s not a sunrise

This isn’t a sunrise, by the way. I had to go to Staples to pick up some ink for my printer Wednesday evening. When I walked out of the store, I was blown away by the way Man and Mother Nature were having a color competition.