The Night Belongs to Me

Broadway 11-13-2015_2464I like roaming the streets at night. Maybe part of it is that I don’t like to get up early. Even most of my bicycle riding was done as the sun was going down and later. The streets were quieter. People weren’t in as much of a hurry. It was fun cruising through neighborhoods chatting with people walking their dogs, pushing baby strollers or rolling their garbage cans to the curb.

If you saw a flickering light in a darkened room, you knew the residents were watching TV; if the light was steady, they were on their computer. If their windows were open, you could smell their dinners cooking, and maybe even guess what part of the country or world they were from by those fragrances.

After I dropped off my late-night meeting or sports photos at The Missourian (so I wouldn’t have to get up early in the morning to do it), I’d roam up and down the streets and alleys listening to police calls, talking to the night watchmen or just enjoying a city asleep. The cops all knew my car, so they never stopped me to see if I was up to something.

View from Fort A

View from Fort A 11-13-2015The view from what had once been Civil War Fort A at the end of Bellvue is arguably the prettiest view of Cape Girardeau. I wish I had been there 15 minutes earlier so the barge would have shown up better in the reflections of lights on the river. Of course, had I been there 15 minutes earlier, the boat would have been below the bridge, and it wouldn’t have mattered what the light level was. As it turned out, I had to wait about five minutes for it to get where it is here.

KFVS antenna farm

KFVS at night 11-13-2015Coming down the hill from Bellvue on North Lorimier from Fort A, my eye was drawn to the KFVS tower and the antenna farm behind it. I drove past, wondering if it was worth a shot. When I saw the crescent moon over the Marquette Hotel. I circled the block and was lucky enough to find a parking spot just about where I needed to shoot. (You can click on the photos to make them larger, by the way.)

A car pulled in across the street just about the time I got out of mine. The driver must have wondered what I was up to, because I could sense he was watching me. Finally, when I opened the door to get back into my van, he got out and walked across the street. I didn’t stick around to see if he went into KFVS or walked down the hill to what used to be the the N’Orleans, the brick building on the left.

The antenna on the right is a twin to the iconic one on the last hill on Highway 61 coming into Cape from Jackson.

It’s that time of year again

Buy From Amazon.com to Support Ken SteinhoffEverybody is getting all excited about Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Overspend Wednesday (I made that one up), so I’m going to join the din.

If you are going to shop Amazon anyway, please go to my blog and click on the big red ‘Click Here’ button at the top left of the page (or, this one). That’ll take you directly to Amazon with a code embedded. If you buy something, I’ll make from four to seven percent of your purchase price without it costing you anything.

Think of it as being your painless Christmas present to me.

August 2014 Super Moon

Super Moon w Bill Emerson Bridge 08-10-2014After reading all the hoopla about yet another Super Moon, I checked the moon tracker on my Droid smartphone and told Mother we’d better saddle up so I’d be ready at 6:46 when the moon was supposed to rise at 110 degrees, slightly south of east. I calculated that the terraces at the River Campus would be a good place to use the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge as a foreground object.

6:46 came and went. Then 7:00 and 7:15. That’s when I discovered that my moon ap thought I was still in Florida. I was an hour early. I cut a nap short for nothing.

That gave me plenty of time to shoot the trees in the gathering twilight, the river hiding behind a curve and a couple getting acquainted on the old bridge’s overlook before the moon made its appearance.

Super Moon photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.

Last Gasp of Missouri

Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge before crossing into ILL 05-05-2014Almost every visit I shoot a series of photos when I first hit the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge leaving Illinois for Missouri, and a series when head back out of the state. (Click on the photo to make it larger.)

No, I don’t shoot and drive at the same time. I adjust the polarizing filter and exposure long before I get to the bridge, set the zoom on a medium length and just balance the camera on the steering wheel with one hand. I shift the angle after I see the image that pops up on the LCD display on the camera’s back. It’s a matter of luck, not particularly skill.

The little green sign on the right side of the frame, just at the crest of the bridge, tells me I’m leaving the Show Me state and entering Illinois.

See you again in the summer.

[Editor’s Note: I’m doing a quick post because I have to get up before the chickens to take Curator Jessica on an airboat ride in the Everglades. I tried to discourage her by describing what would happen if the airplane propeller behind her back broke loose if the boat hit a snag at high speed: she’d turn into a pink spray the gators could suck down with a straw. Ohio Gal thinks I’m kidding, but wait until she sees it.]

“Reality” Is Just a Level Adjustment

BNSF Tracks in Cape Girardeau 04-11-2014I’m pretty much a photo purist. I don’t set up photos and I try to manipulate the image only enough that the finished product matches what my eye and mind saw when I pushed the button. On one of my walks from the river at dusk, I saw the light reflecting off the BSNF train tracks between the floodwall and Water Street.

It’s pretty similar to a shot I took in 2009, but that didn’t stop me from shooting it again.

That’s pretty much what my eye recorded, except that my eye saw the reflections on the rails as more red.

So, is THIS real?

BNSF Tracks in Cape Girardeau 04-11-2014One of the first things I do when I open a frame in Photoshop is decide if it needs cropping. The second step is to adjust the levels of the highlights, shadows and midtones. The program has a feature so you can adjust it by a graph rather than with your eye. You just keep moving a slider until the highlights or shadows block up, then you look at the picture and see if you want to tweak it. Generally you do.

In this case, I blindly moved the highlight slider to what should have been the “optimal” point and let go of the button. As you can see, the photo is radically different: the red reflections are gone, the sky has turned a brighter blue and the mural on the floodwall has become more prominent.

Neither iteration of the photo captures exactly what I was looking for, but it goes to show how a few twitches of your finger on a mouse can serve up two radically different views of the same subject.