This post is about chasing the sun and the evolution of a photograph. Friend Shari was in town from St. Louis, so I picked her up shortly before sunset at her Mother’s house where she had returned from playing bridge. I told her I was looking to shoot something quick and easy so I wouldn’t have to stay up late. I suggested we make a run out Bloomfield Road to take a look at Campster School. I knocked off several frames, but the light and angle wasn’t right, so we headed out Bloomfield road where I did my normal grousing about the city’s “improvements” to the historic scenic highway.
We headed south on 74 where I could see several big clouds of dust coming from fields, but none of them lined up right with the setting sun. When we crossed the Diversion Channel, though, I whipped off to the right onto the levee approach to knock off this picture of the reflection on a borrow pit without even checking the camera. For the geeks, I’ll provide camera settings: ISO 200 1/400 @ f/10 at 55mm and -1.67 eV.
THAT’S really how red the sky was due to all the dust and smoke in the air. I didn’t add any saturation or filters to get that. I was using a polarizing filter, but it didn’t come into play with the sun at that angle. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)
Maybe lighter would be better
That wasn’t a bad start, but I wondered what would happen if I gave the scene a bit more light. I changed the exposure to ISO 200 1/200 @f/7/1 at 55mm and -.67 eV.
That let me see into the shadows of the fields and made the dust show up. It still wasn’t quite what I wanted. That’s where I noticed that my 55mm to 200mm zoom lens was at its most wide angle setting.
Forget the reflection
Maybe I should forget the water and reflection and try to bring up the sun and dust more. I changed my settings to ISO 200 1/800 @f/5.6 at 200mm (maximum zoom) and -.67 eV.
If I had diddled with the frame in Photoshop, I could have brought out more detail, but I wanted to leave it pretty close to straight for comparison purposes.
Let’s keep going
“OK,” I told Shari. “I can go to bed early tonight, but I think there’s a better shot down the road.”
The dust started getting closer and the sun started getting lower and lower, but I couldn’t find any good places to pull off, plus I had traffic on my tail. Suddenly, a driveway appeared and I whipped in, throwing up my own cloud of dust. It was a long driveway, with a father playing with his kids about 100 yards away.
“I really need to be about where they are, but explaining what I’m doing is going to take longer than that sun is going to last. I’ll see if this angle works.”
It didn’t. ISO 200 1/400@f/5 at 120mm and -.67 eV.
Tractor in the field
I spotted the source of the dust about halfway between Blomeyer and Delta: it was a piece of farm machinery working in the field, but I couldn’t find a place to turn off to get the sun behind it. Then, with traffic too close to turn, I spotted a road. I went several hundred yards down the road, turned into a driveway and waited for northbound traffic to get by so I could back out. “We’re on a straight stretch here, so we not only have to worry about southbound traffic, but we have to worry about impatient PASSING southbound traffic, so keep a sharp lookout on your side,” I warned Shari.
I was afraid we might be too late. I told Shari that I had missed a photo by no more than 10 seconds the other night. It was a sunset just like this one, and it was setting the roadside weeds on fire. I had time to get off one frame. The exposure was off by about two stops, but by the time I changed the setting and put the camera back to my eye, the sun had dropped just enough to let the magic leak out.
Looks like we made it to the right place. ISO 200 1/500@f/5.6 at 150mm and -.67 eV
He’s coming our way
It became apparent that the farmer was headed our way. When I zoomed in on him, I saw him waving his arms around. I didn’t know if he was telling us to leave (Florida farmers aren’t particularly happy to see photographers because of all the migrant farmworker abuse stories we’ve done since the 1960s), bopping to music in the cab or what.
I was pretty sure if he kept coming, the sun would wind up almost exactly behind him. ISO 200 1/250@f/6.3 at 200mm and -.67 eV
The last frame
The sun didn’t exactly go where I thought it would, but it was close enough. I can’t decide if I like this shot or the one before it better. Both could be improved by some minor croping and playing with the tones. Still, this gives you a good idea of why you have to shoot it when you see it. And why you shouldn’t be satisfied with what you think is a good shot if there’s a possibility of finding a better one.
ISO 200 1/250@f/6.3 at 200mm and .67 eV (Note that I went from a minus exposure compensation to a positive one.)
Why was the farmer waving his arms?
Oh, what was the farmer doing with his arms? When the big machine got close to the edge of the field, I hopped out and walked to the end of the row. Instead of a gray-haired farmer, a young Matt Brucker, shut it off and walked up with a big smile. “I figured you were taking pictures when I saw you come down the road and stop,” he said.
“I saw you waving,” I said as I handed him a business card. “You might find yourself here in the morning.” He looked at it and said, “I think I’ve been on that site before.”
I hope he sees himself. He made for an early night for me.
Embarrassing admission: Dad used to rant and rave whenever he read a story where some knucklehead reporter didn’t know the right name for construction equipment. I’m that knucklehead when it comes to farming and farm equipment. The sun was down too low for me to get a good look at what Matt was operating. I don’t think it was a combine because the corn looked like it had already been cut. On the other hand, I couldn’t tell if he was pulling a plow to turn the stalks under.
I’m sure somebody will set me straight. I leave gardening stuff to Wife Lila and her WatchMyFoodGrow blog.
I was pretty sure the brick apartment building I was looking for on Bellevue Street had been torn down, but I decided to shoot this house at 815 Bellevue just for the record. Tonight I did a search for any Missourian stories related to that address. It’s amazing how much you can reconstruct from personal notes, briefs, ads and obits.
The house belonged to the Glenn Hope family going back to the 1930s. Mrs. Hope was a teacher who was socially active in bridge clubs and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Mr. Hope owned the Ford, Buick and Nash automobile agencies in Cape Girardeau, and had been associated with the St. Louis-Cape Bus Lines.
Over the years, a number of different people lived with the Hopes.
Finally, we see the obits of the Hope and Siemers families, the announcement of a public auction for the contents of the house, followed by a rental notice. It’s like the whole arc of the house has been captured in newspaper briefs and personal announcements. Here is a sampling of the stories. [As much as possible, I tried to reproduce the actual wording and grammar of the day, even though it makes for some confusing reading today.]
- February 3, 1930 – Mrs. Glenn Hope, 815 Bellevue Street, was hostess to members of the Friday Club and additional guests at a bridge party at her home Saturday afternoon. There were two tables of bridge, and the club prize went to Mrs. Ernest Walker; the guest prize to Mrs. Ed Pott.
- December 8, 1930 – The Wimodausis Club of the Centenary Methodist Church will meet with Mrs. Glenn Hope, 815 Bellevue Street, Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock. Assisting Mrs. Hope will be the following co-hostesses: Mrs. W.T. Siemers, Mrs. J.D. McFarland, Mrs. W.P. Caruthers, Mrs. Ray Walb and Mrs. Earl Byers.
- February 12, 1932 – Mr. and Mrs. Glenn C. Hope, 815 Bellevue Street, are in St. Louis to attend the automobile show.
Front porch enclosed
- March 15, 1934 – Workmen directed by Will Taylor enclose front porch on residence of Glenn Hope, 815 Bellevue Street, with glass and screen; area to be used as sleeping porch.
- May 11, 1934 – The condition of Dr. W.G. Siemers, a dentist, who has been ill for four months with a heart malady and other complications, was reported today as grave. He is now at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Glenn C. Hope, 815 Bellevue Street. Prior to his illness, Dr. and Mrs. Siemers and daughter Lorraine lived at 1439 Bessie Street, and he had his dental offices at 801A Broadway.
- March 20, 1935 – W.O. Medley, former cashier of the Bank of Gordonville and who resides at 815 Bellevue Street, sustained cuts on the head and on his right hand when he stepped from behind one automobile, parked on Broadway in front of the Southeast Missouri Telephone Co. building, and walked into the path of a west-bound car, driven by H.E. McCormick, 1536 Whitener Street, and was knocked down. [Mr. Medley was Mrs. Hope's father.]
- January 22, 1938 – The date for a reunion to honor Miss Martha Shea of Teachers College faculty and to mark the 25th anniversary of the Black Mask Dramatic Club of the college has been fixed at March 5, and a dinner will be given at the Hotel Marquette. It was recalled at the college that the Black Mask was not actually formed on the college campus, but was organized by students and teachers, who had gathered for the purpose, at an apartment at 815 Bellevue Street.
- November 28, 1940 – Glenn C. Hope, 815 Bellevue Street, was taken to Southeast Missouri Hospital this afternoon. He had been at his place of business, the Hope Auto Co., 725 Broadway, until Tuesday night and went home with a severe cold. His condition was said at the hospital to not be serious.
- March 15, 1941 – One of the series of benefit card parties to be given by the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will be held a 2:30 this afternoon at the home of Mrs. Glenn C. Hope, 815 Bellevue Street.
- September 2, 1942 – Miss Lorraine Siemers, daughter of Mrs. Marie Siemers, 815 Bellevue Street, will go to Bonne Terre Sunday to begin teaching in junior high school next week.
- June 6, 1944 – The Wesleyan Service Guild of Centenary Methodist Church, will meet at 7:30 o’clock Wednesday evening with Mrs. Glenn Hope, 815 Bellevue Street. Mrs. Beulah Riley will have charge of the program on “The Present Day Status of Women.”
- March 7, 1945 – Arriving here Tuesday night from Topeka, Kans., where he has been a patient in Winter General Hospital since returning to the states, Jan. 31, Pfc. Clyde Arms will spend a 21-day furlough with his wife at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Hope, 815 Bellevue Street, Mrs. Arms’ temporary residence. Pvt. Arms, in service two and a half years, is in the Air Service Command and served, since October 1944, in New Guinea. Upon expiration of his furlough, Pvt. Arms will report to a redistribution center in Miami, Fla.
- December 27, 1949 – Mrs. Henry Ellis of Hobbs, N.M., arrived Saturday to visit with her mother, Mrs. Marie Siemers, 815 Bellevue Street. Mr. Ellis will arrive here tomorrow to spend New Years here with his wife and mother-in-law. Mrs. Ellis is the former Lorraine Siemers of this city.
- May 26, 1958 – Sunday visitor guests of Mr. and Mrs. Glenn C. Hope and Mrs. Marie Siemers, 815 Bellevue, and of other friends were Miss Tula Marie Standley, Miss Annie Lester, Miss Fay Champion and Mrs. Lola Pratt, all of Paducah, Ky. The group was taken on a drive around the city, especially to view the many roses now in full blossom, and to the Rose Test Garden and along the Ten Mile Garden span.
Mr. and Mrs. Hope, Mrs. Siemers die
- July 13, 1967 – Glenn Charles Hope, a landowner and former businessman active in civic affairs, died at 10:05 Wednesday at a hospital here. He resided at 815 Bellevue. You can read his obituary here.
- July 28, 1970 – Mrs. Marie M. Siemers, 76 years old, died shortly before midnight Monday. She had worked for Vandeven Mercantile Co., 22 years, before retiring in 1967. The former Miss Medley was born March 16, 1894, near Gordonville, and married Dr. Walter Siemers there in November 1918. He preceded her in death in 1933. [This is incorrect, because a story above said he was gravely ill in 1934.] Here is her obituary.
- August 14, 1970 – Mrs. Maude Medley Hope, 815 Bellevue, died this morning in a nursing home here. She was married to Glenn C. Hope, Nov. 27, 1911, at Gordonville, and he preceded her in death July 12, 1967. Mr. Hope was formerly owner of the Ford, Buick and Nash automobile agencies in Cape Girardeau, and had been associated with the St. Louis-Cape Bus Lines. Mrs. Hope was a retired schoolteacher, a graduate of the Old Normal School. You can read the full obituary here.
- July 29, 1971 – Advertisement: On Saturday, July 31, 1971, at 815 Bellevue Street, the following items to be auctioned are … This is the property of the late Glen C. Hope, Maude M. Hope and Marie H. Siemers.
- September 25, 1981 – Classified ad: Huge completely refurbished second floor of duplex for rent. Fireplace, carpet, heat and water. No pets. 815 Bellevue. $275 a month plus deposit.