Crosses I Remember

Bald Knob Cross near Alto Pass, Ill. taken in the late 1960sEaster Sunday is a good day to look back at some of the crosses I’ve photographed over the years. We’ll start off with an aerial photo of Bald Knob Cross in Illinois at Alto Pass. Here’s how the photo was taken (and saved in the darkroom).

Bald Knob Cross from the ground

Bald Knob Cross c 1967Here’s the cross from the ground.

Ft. Jefferson Cross at the Confluence

Ft Jefferson Cross 11-20-2015The Ft. Jefferson Cross at the Confluence in Wickliffe is pretty at night. By the way you CAN make the images larger by clicking on them.

Cape LaCroix Creek marker

Cape La Croix Creek Cross 04-21-2011 The Cape LaCroix Creek marker has been a rolling stone looking for a home.

Old Lorimier Cemetery grave marker

Old Lorimier Cemetery c 1966 01When I took this photograph in the mid-1960s, the angel in the picture had wings and arms. She was vandalized twenty years later.

Elder B.A. Armour in 2013

Bishop Armour from New Madrid Baptism series 11-20-2013Elder B.A. Armour’s faith is as important to him today as it was when I photographed him baptizing people in the Mississippi River off New Madrid in 1967.

New Madrid baptism

New Mardrid Mississippi River baptism 09-03-1967Elder Armour is on the left, and J.C. Pullen is on the right. The congregants marched from the Church of God in Christ church, through downtown New Madrid, and down to the river.

St. Mary’s Cemetery

St. Mary's Cemetery 08-30-2015I photographed this cross at St. Mary’s Cemetery twice – almost exactly 48 years apart.

Judas got a raw deal

Kenneth Saunders of the Church of Judas walks through Cape 07-16-1965Ken Saunders, a British citizen, walked across the country trying to convince people that Judas really wasn’t a bad guy. He liked what he saw of Missouri.

Dutchtown Cemetery

Cemetery on top hill in Dutchtown 10-27-2011This old wooden cross is in the Dutchtown Cemetery on a ridge overlooking the slowly diminishing community below it. The dead outnumber the living.

St. Vincent’s Church at sunset

St. Vincent's Church at sunset 07-03-2012I was really planning to shoot Fourth of July fireworks, but St. Vincent’s Church at sunset caught my eye.

Crucifix came over with the Saxons

Altenburg Trinity Lutheran Church 11-08-2011_7588This Crucifix in Altenburg’s Trinity Lutheran Church, was made in Oberammergau, Germany, and came over with the Saxons in 1839. The Last Supper was installed in the altar in 1938.

Guardian Angels Catholic Church

Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran 02-03-2013The Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran is one of the most ornate houses of worship in the area.

 

Through Ace Taylor’s Eyes

DSC_0448I had the pleasure of roaming Illinois, Kentucky and a chunk of the Missouri Bootheel with Ace Taylor, the 13-year-old nephew of museum director Carla Jordan. Carla mentioned that Ace was interested in photography and was good company, so invited him to hit the road Thursday.

It’s never good to waste a perfectly good seat, so Carla’s ready-to-ramble mother, Carolyn Taylor, filled it. I have the feeling that she may become like Mother was: jingle the keys and she’s ready to go.

I tried to think of a photo-rich environment where taking good pictures would be like shooting fish in a barrel.

It turned out to happen, almost literally. When we got to the spillway at the southeast end of Horseshoe Lake, we saw hundreds of minnow-size fish frolicking in the overflow. We couldn’t tell if they were trying to fight the current to get upstream into the lake or if they were beings swept out of it. A couple of fishermen said they were baby carp. It’s worth clicking on it to make it larger. Maybe someone can tell us if the fishermen were right.

The kid has a good eye

Ace Taylor - Thebes RR bridge 03-17-2016_5951I got my first camera at 12. Ace is so far ahead of where I was at his age that there is no comparison. I didn’t point out any particular shot to him. I would give him a little background about why the location was interesting from a geologic or historical perspective, then I’d look around and Ace was already scoping out angles and getting busy.

Experimenting with framing

Ace Taylor - Thebes Courthouse 03-17-2016_5954Ace wasn’t a plain old point-and-shoot photographer. He experimented with shooting through things and with the relationships of shapes. He also had a good grasp of depth of field and the relationship between lens settings and shutter speeds. He tried using slower shutter speeds when shooting the fish photo so the water movement would show up, then he switched to higher speeds to freeze the fish. All of this without a word of advice from me.

In fact, I tried to capture the jumping fish in a video, but Ace aced me hands-down with his still shot.

Not afraid to get in the middle of it

Ace Taylor 03-17-2016 Cairo_6098I told him that photographers have a responsibility to document the world around them for future generations. He took a dramatic photo of a machine eating one of my favorite old buildings in Cairo.

“You realize,” I told him, “that you have taken the last photograph of that building that anyone will ever see. If you come back tomorrow, it’ll be gone, and the opportunity to document it will never be there again.”

[Note to Ace’s Mom: he was very cautious. He was careful to step in areas clear of nails and glass, and I always made sure he wasn’t any place where he was in danger.]

A deliberate shooter

Ace Taylor - Horsehoe Lake 03-17-2016_5989The kid wasn’t a pray and spray shooter. After he took a photo, he would study it to see if he had captured what he was looking for or if he should take another crack at it.

A quiet kid

Ace Taylor - Horsehoe Lake 03-17-2016_5987I don’t know that I’ve ever met any boy that age who was so quiet and soft-spoken. When he DID talk, he had something to say. I liked that.

The next day, he was helping Carla at the History Center in Jackson, so we didn’t roam around. I stopped by the center to give him a polarizing filter that I discovered had a small scratch. It probably won’t make any difference, but I’m persnickety about that kind of thing.

We talked gear and techniques, then I watched him wander around the room checking out how the filter would eliminate reflections. I give him credit for understanding when you DON’T want to use it.

“I WANTED the reflections in the water in the picture of the cypress trees, so I wouldn’t use it there, would I?” he asked.

You nailed it, kid.

If he continues at the pace he’s on, he won’t have to talk: he can let his camera and photos speak for him.

Ace Taylor’s work

Here’s a selection of what Ace photographed in roughly six hours (including 150 miles of driving). Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.

Keep in mind while you are looking at these pictures that Ace Taylor is 13 years old.

 

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.