Sunday, March 31, 2013

13/52 - Photo Project 2013

What a week - lucky 13, maybe? I had 3 significant photographic opportunities for great pictures - last Sunday's late spring snow, butterfly house and an urban explore.

I've had some tough decisions before in this photo project but this is really kinda tough. This one is the overall winner - it's one of my favorites from the week:

Late March Snow

It's still an incredibly lucky shot - right place, right time. I am thankful for another photographer (who I don't know) underneath that beautiful umbrella.

Runners up:

Urban Explore East St. Louis  

March Morpho Mania    Late March Snow   Urban Explore East St. Louis

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Urban Exploration

Today, I urban explored for real with 3 other more experienced urban explorers. We picked an ambitious site - over the Mississippi river - a former meatpacking plant. It was well-worth the time and effort. We didn't stay very long but I think these shots came out pretty good considering we were kinda on the move.

Urban Explore East St. Louis    Urban Explore East St. Louis    Urban Explore East St. Louis    Urban Explore East St. Louis    Urban Explore East St. Louis    Urban Explore East St. Louis

Urban Explore East St. Louis    Urban Explore East St. Louis   Urban Explore East St. Louis    Urban Explore East St. Louis    Urban Explore East St. Louis    Urban Explore East St. Louis    Urban Explore East St. Louis    Urban Explore East St. Louis  

While I wish we didn't let building deteriorate like this, there is beauty and history in their ruin.  And that's while I love urban decay as a photographer.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

March Morpho Mania

One of the hidden treasures of St. Louis is the Butterfly House which is associated with the equally awesome Missouri Botanical Garden. March is the time when the Butterfly House 'floods' the conservatory with tons of Common Blue Morpho butterflies - they are eye-catchingly blue - and one of my favorites for their vivid color. Somehow, I never knew about this or had forgotten, but I finally made it!

A and I traveled to the Butterfly House a day after the early Spring/late Winter snow whomping - so it was interesting to be in 80 degree weather and see the outside white with snow. Of course, with the temperature difference, I had to wait a while for my lens to acclimate to the warmth and humidity. I'd also forgotten that I don't particularly like things flying at my head, even tiny little butterflies, so I spent the first part of the visit ducking a little. There seemed like there were millions (probably just hundreds) of butterflies flitting about.

The only annoying thing about these beautiful common blue morphos is that their color is only seen when they have their wings spread - which means, that the only chance to get to really get a good picture is when they land... and when they land, it's usually like this:

March Morpho Mania     March Morpho Mania

But patience and persistence paid off:

March Morpho Mania    March Morpho Mania     March Morpho Mania     March Morpho Mania

March Morpho Mania

There were more than just morphos flying about:

March Morpho Mania    March Morpho Mania  

Paper Kite - March Morpho Mania

Also some flower pics for you to enjoy:

March Morpho Mania   March Morpho Mania  

March Morpho Mania

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring? Surely You Jest...

So St. Louis got a 'surprise' snowstorm on Sunday. It wasn't really a surprise, we'd known about it for a few days. But unlike the last few predicted snows, the snow exceeded expectations. The official tally was 12.2" which is a record since 1982. In my area of St. Louis, I'd say we got at least a healthy 6-8". The biggest factor is that it came down fast and hard in the beginning and was preceded by a rainstorm that prevented the roads from being pre-treated.

Needless to say, it threw my work for a big loop on Sunday - and we had to scramble to cancel performances AND classes - something we were pretty reluctant to do. I spent several hours getting things all ship shape with some of my coworkers before heading home for an unexpected partial snow day.

One factor about this snow, is that it was a nice, heavy snow that sticks. Bad for roads and such, but really pretty for photographers. So before I headed home "for good", I stopped in Forest Park for a slow drive around. I certainly wasn't the only shutterbug to be paying a visit, but I didn't really want to get out of the car (wasn't fully outfitted/prepared). So I drove around in search of some good sights. I purposely overexposed some of these shots to get the effect I wanted, and one of them was just pure luck.


Late March Snow    Late March Snow    Late March Snow    Late March Snow    Late March Snow    Late March Snow    Late March Snow   Late March Snow  

Late March Snow    Late March Snow    Late March Snow    Late March Snow

Now as much as I photographically love snow, and really am a fan of it... it's time for Spring to arrive!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

12/52 - Photo Project 2013

I'm definitely making a more concerted effort to get out on the weekends to take pictures. I'm going urban exploring (my version) when I can, and I'm really working quite hard on the doors and windows sub projects of Photo Project 2013, intentionally or not.

Last Sunday, I went for a drive around North St. Louis in search of a specific location, and found many treasures years ago. And yesterday, I explored the neighborhood of Tower Grove East with Photo Flood St. Louis. Though a bit abbreviated because I had to go to work, but I did absolutely find some treasures.

This one from Saturday, is still my favorite:


A very close second - a look through a large-format camera:

Tower Grove East

You can find more of the photos from this past week in the mix of this set.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Update #4 - Task #5: Visit all 50 States

See older lists here and here and here and here.

32 down, 18 to go! 

Just crossed off Rhode Island and Connecticut! Definitely need a return trip there - I've already been told to visit CT for the Dogwood Festival...

Washington will hopefully happen this summer when I cross off 3 national parks.

I don't have any specific plans in place for any others yet - though Mississippi/Louisiana/Tennessee is to happen in the near future. It was supposed to happen in January but atypical winter weather prevented that road trip.

Several states will be dual trips, like South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Maine and New Mexico - which also have National Parks I still need to/want to visit. 

Others, I have friends living in or near and I'd love the excuse to go visit folks I haven't seen in awhile. I'm still puzzling over Maryland - with as many trips to DC-area, how did I NOT manage to officially cross that one off???

States I've Lived In: (4)
California, Indiana, Missouri, Texas

States I've Worked In/Already Visited: (28)
Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming

States I'm Already Planning On:
Washington ('13)

States That I Still Need To Visit: (17)
Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Do YOU have any ideas of what I should go see in the remaining states? 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

11/52 - Photo Project 2013

Okay, these were the photos I was really excited about last weekend. I'm posting them now because I know that I plan to be a homebody today - cleaning, organizing, and being generally lazy. 

This is the winner of the week: A photo from a walk along Thames Street, in downtown Newport, RI.

Thames Street

A close runner up - along the Cliff Walk near Ochre Point:

Cliff Walk/Ochre Point

Now do you see why I was so excited about them? 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

10/52 - Photo Project 2013

I had some absolute gems to work with this weekend... but I just realized they'll have to qualify for week 11. Ack, cursed by my own deadlines. Go figure...

Well, then, this is probably the winner for the week:

USS Nautilus

A photo of the flags outside the museum of the USS Nautilus in Groton, CT. I took some great photos on the 7th at a Pentatonix Concert, but I haven't uploaded them to flickr yet.

Don't get me wrong - I still very much like this picture, but I'm really excited about the ones from this past weekend which will be Week 11.

Rhode Island/Connecticut

This past weekend, I crossed off two states with the help of a college friend and his family. They have moved to RI for work, and CT is super-close by, so it was two birds, one stone. Or really many things, one trip. I hadn't seen the friend since 2005 or 2006, and the wife, probably not since their wedding. It was great to see them, to catch up, to reminisce and see the sights as well.

One of the days, we headed to Groton, CT to visit the USS Nautilus - the world's first nuclear-powered submarine. It's been decommissioned and docked since 1982 near the Naval Submarine Base in New London. We can tour a few of the forward compartments and it was really eye-opening visiting the sub. I knew/know the quarters are tight in a submarine, but it is truly miniscule. The hatches are incredibly small and took some effort to get in and out of. The berths are even smaller - I would really love to see exactly how one gets in the berth with 2 1/2 feet of clearance.

USS Nautilus   USS Nautilus

It was really very cool - and so was the museum attached. It had a few periscopes integrated into the building in which you could spy on the HVAC and the parking lot.

Back at "home", we walked down Thames street, which is a Main Street of shops and restaurants, and conveniently by a harbor. Not sure which body of water exactly we were bordering - but it's still pretty and NOT the Mississippi.

Thames Street   Thames Street

We also visited the Cliff Walk - until we got to the point that the rest of it was washed away by Hurricane Sandy, in which you could see the Breakers, a famous Vanderbilt-owned 'summer home'.

The Breakers

Other fun sights:

Cliff Walk/Ochre Point    Cliff Walk/Ochre Point    Cliff Walk/Ochre Point   Cliff Walk/Ochre Point  

As well as a brief walking tour of Salve Regina - at least the part that borders the Cliff Walk, or rather that the Cliff Walk borders it. The whole area has majestic houses, equally majestic gates and tons of history:

Salve Regina     Salve Regina    Salve Regina  

Salve Regina   Salve Regina   Salve Regina   Salve Regina     Salve Regina  

All in all - it was a very fun, very worthwhile trip - despite the winter storm warning that threatened the trip before it began. After the initial day of snow and wind, the weather for the remained of the trip was wonderful. I can see how this area becomes a resort town in the summer - it is stunningly beautiful. I'll have to make a return trip again sometime.