Mississippi River Photography

Based on other frames filed with this one, I was on my way to another river assignment when I saw these tourists (I assume) shooting a family portrait on the riverfront.

I shoot a lot of family photos on the fly when I’m on my bike. When I spot what are obviously tourists lining up for a group shot, I always stop to see if they’d like me to shoot something with their camera so they can all be in the picture. Since this fellow had his camera on a tripod, maybe he was setting it up so he could run into the frame before the shutter tripped.

16 Replies to “Mississippi River Photography”

    1. I never left a lens cap on, but I managed to do just about everything else:

      Shot with an empty camera.
      Double exposed by sticking the same film in camera twice (4 x5).
      Opened the back of the camera and fogged the film.
      Didn’t get film on the takeup spool, so it didn’t advance.
      Thought I was shooting black and white and it was color or vice versa.
      Set the film speed wrong on the meter.

      Geez, this is depressing. I’m going to quit before I’m in a funk all day.

      That doesn’t even count the number of times I messed it up in the darkroom.

  1. It’s great to see a picture of the old bridge. I’m sure there must have been a reason why it had to be demolished. Would someone who knows the reason please tell me?

  2. I started offering to take group photos after snapshots became digital and people could actually check that I have gotten everyone in the frame. Before that, they would be better off handing their camera to any 6 year old passing by.

  3. Pictures of the old bridge have always touched my heart, I think because my dad was a captian on the river his whole life and we would always go down to waive as he went by. I have a framed picture of it in my home, which everynight when I go upstairs for bed, I am reminded of my roots.

  4. The old bridge was put up in 1927 (the year my mother was born) and I was told that it had a life expectancy of about 50 years. But, who could have predicted the amount of heavier semi traffic that would go over it now. I have a wonderful photo shot by David Crowe of the demolishing of the bridge, and the way the charges were set it was only supposed to bring down only one of the sections at a time. From the photo you can see the second section give way at one point, which indicated a weakness in the bridge at that joint. From all the oscillations when heavy traffic went across the bridge (and you could really feel it when trapped there due to traffic!) the metal fatigued and it was only a matter of time. I miss it, too, since I crossed it twice a day 5-6 days a week for the 10 years I went over to SIUC.

  5. The best photography blunder for my husband happened on our honemoon 40 years ago! Since it was June and the temps were pretty hot, he decided to put the 35mm Nikon in the cooler to keep the film cool. As we were going through Paducah, KY, we came upon a beautiful, huge Oak tree. We stopped, he grabbed the camera, took off the lens cap, looked to line up the perfect shot . . . all he saw was “fog”. Never again did he put a camera in a cooler! Of course certain people have never let him live down that moment either!! We traveld past that tree several other times, but never was the lighting, clouds, etc. just right.

    1. Phyllis,

      I had something worse than that happen. I had to cover an indoor swim meet at SEMO when the temperatures were in the teens. I kept all my equipment in the car, so it had cooled to the temperature of the outside air.

      As soon as I walked into the hot, humid air of the indoor pool, condensation dripped off it like a glass of iced tea in the summertime.

      That was on the OUTSIDE of the camera. The same thing was happening on the inside, too. I got off about two frames when it stopped working altogether. When I took it to the camera shop, Bill Nowell said the innards of the camera looked like they had been dropped into a mud puddle.

      I tried to avoid major temperature changes after that.

  6. This comment has nothing to do with the nostalgia of the old bridge, but rather the nostalgia of one super nice man. Wasn’t Mr. Nowell a wonderful man? He helped me complete my photography badge for Girl Scouts. I will never forget the dark closet he put Mary Lynn and me into and then tried to get us to transfer the film to the canister for developing. It was a taffy pull for me. And the smell of the fluids we used in the processing…..peeeee uuuuu! What a patient man he was.

    1. I’ve been setting aside photos of Nowell’s and Mr. Nowell until I get a few more.

      There was no nicer guy than Bill Nowell. He got a lot of us started in photography.

      I miss those old darkroom smells.

  7. When I decided I had to have a better camera for taking pictures in caves, Mr. Nowell gave me advice and sold me a camera, even though he didn’t know why anyone would want to take pictures underground. He checked some of my first pictures and was impressed with the variety of color he saw – I guess he thought they’d be nothing but brown… Anyway, I carried my camera in an ammunition case for protection and it popped open and the camera went into a stream. Mr. Nowell repaired it himself and I don’t remember him charging me. Dennis

  8. My Aunt Anna Dittlinger used to go to the shop when I was younger and visiting in
    Cape. I remember his as a really kind and knowledegable man. Patty

    1. Hi Patty,

      did your aunt live in Cologne (Germany) for a while?
      Thank you for a short feedback.

      Best regards,

  9. Audrey,

    This is Mary – one time when we were crossing the bridge as the new one was being built, I was trying to take photos of the new one and happened to get a girder of the old one in my frame (hard to take EXACTLY what you want going that fast). The girder was rusted through and when we saw the photo, we couldn’t understand how it was staying upright!

    That is why the old one needed to be torn down.

  10. I always enjoy seeing old photos of anything in Cape. All my family was from Cape, the last one dying in 1994. I always loved to go look at the river and the old bridge. Sorry to say I still remember the old toll booth.
    Kind of tells about my age.

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