Cutting It Close in 1993 and 2011

Aerial 1993 FloodAfter I posted the photo of Red Star flooding in 1993, Reader Andy Pemberton commented, “The 1993 picture is dramatic! It looks like the levee / floodwall could be topped at any time.”

These aerials of the downtown DO make the flood look pretty scary. That’s a lot of water being held back and not a lot of freeboard. The murals are the wet side of the floodwall are barely visible.

Broadway intersects with Water Street on the right. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Had a way to go

High water marks on floodwall 07-03-2012If you look at the high water marks in this 2012 photo of the open floodgate, you can see the water still had a way to go before topping the wall, but I’ve seen towboats throw up wakes that high.

Close call in 2011

Aerial 1993 FloodThe floodwall makes a little jog on the left of the picture, at the foot of Independence Street. When I walked the riverfront in April of 2011, I noticed that some work was being done on that section. I found out later that the repairs were six to 12 months ahead of schedule because of $4 million in stimulus money that had been approved in 2009.

Had that project not been expedited by the stimulus, that 8-foot section would likely have been open when the Mississippi hit its fourth-highest crest of 46.09 on May 2, 2011. Fred Lynch had a photo of the gaping hole on his blog.

One of The Missourian’s normal grousers complained after the news of the stimulus broke, “…thanks to the federal stimulus bill…Yeah, they had a few extra bucks laying around that they were kind enough to share. So sweet! That 6 to 12 months gained will take years for our kids to pay for. Thanks kids!”

I’m sure Cape would have sustained more than $4 million in damage had that project not been sped up.

Parking Downtown and at Casino

Aerial Isle Cape Girardeau Casino 08-13-2014You wouldn’t have had to fight for parking at noon-thirty on Wednesday August 13 when Ernie Chiles and I flew over the Isle Cape Girardeau Casino.

I didn’t look at it under a magnifying glass, but I DID blow it up a bit on the screen to let me count about 244 cars, two buses and what might be an RV in the parking lots. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Here are some earlier posts about the casino and shoe factory area.

Downtown parking

Aerial Downtown Cape 08-13-2014I looked at a series of frames that showed the downtown shopping area parking lots from the city lot south of Independence to the two lots north of Broadway, plus Water Street and east of Spanish Street. The photos were taken on the same pass, just minutes before the Casino photo. I counted about 210 vehicles ion the downtown shopping district.

[I cheated a bit. Because of the angle, I couldn’t see cars parked on the east side of Main, so I doubled the number of cars parked on the west side, assuming that the same number of parking spaces were occupied on that side.]

(Sorry for the cloud shadows at the top left. I tried get Ernie to lasso them and drag them out of the way, but he said that kind of thing was out of his pay grade.

It would be interesting to know how many of the cars in both locations were owned by employees rather than customers.

Other downtown aerials

Carson Makes Splashes

Brad Bollwert and son Carson on riverfront 09-10-2014I was headed over to the Emerson Memorial Bridge to work on an illustration for a Bill Hopkins mystery book still in the plotting stage. There was time for a quick visit to the riverfront. In the distance, I could see a toddler about the age of my Grandson Elliot throwing sticks and rocks in the Mississippi while being photographed by Dad.

Checking out the video

Brad Bollwert and son Carson on riverfront 09-10-2014Amazing how kids that young can understand the workings of smart phones and tablets. He is obviously enjoying seeing himself. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Loud moving things are trains

Brad Bollwert and son Carson on riverfront 09-10-2014After watching for a few minutes, I walked over to meet Carson, age 18 months, and his dad, Brad. Brad has lived in Cape most of his 33 years and loves to fish on the river. While we were talking, the barge came close enough that Carson heard the noise of the engines and started saying, “Train, Train!”

Time to explore

Brad Bollwert and son Carson on riverfront 09-10-2014Before long, it was time to explore a new section of the riverfront.

More splashes needed

Brad Bollwert and son Carson on riverfront 09-10-2014Watching Carson pitch things reminded me of the boys skipping rocks with the old traffic bridge in the background in 1966, and the Duncan kids of Kennett learning the fine art of skipping from a stranger in 2011.

Toddlers are back-loaded

Brad Bollwert and son Carson on riverfront 09-10-2014When I first saw Carson bending over facing the steep downgrade to the water, I was afraid he could tumble forward and keep on rolling until he ended up in New Orleans in a few days. (Dad was keeping a close eye on him, not to worry.)

When I got closer, though, I remembered how back-loaded toddlers are. Their center of gravity is well behind them, particularly if that diaper is full.

Telling him all about it

Brad Bollwert and son Carson on riverfront 09-10-2014It was just about time to leave, so Carson was telling his dad all about his adventures. Another man and boy are content to sit in front of the floodwall mural watching the action.

You can’t beat the riverfront at the end of the day.




“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.