Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

My Best of 2016

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1. reveler at St. Louis Mardi Gras for PFSTL (Photo Flood Saint Louis)

Time again for my annual post of my favorite images (24 this time) and personal accomplishments.  To my recollection, very few years of my 36 or so in the world rival 2016 in terms of sheer awfulness.  I mean, the year was literally ushered in with a devastating flood for the record books….

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Camp Grits, In the Shadow of the Smokies

Posted in Adventure, art, awareness, Backpacking, family, Hike, Jason Gray, links, photography, Review, Travel, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on November 6, 2016

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Fall and spring in the Midwest are those lovely times of year when either summer’s veil of heat has lifted or the icy grip of winter has loosened, enough for most of us to yearn for those activities that bring us closer to nature.  The hiking boots slip on and our feet once again stomp the earthen paths through the forests of our imagination that have steadily grown up over the months of our climatized isolation indoors.   (more…)

Interlude: Senior Photos with Sam

Posted in art, Interlude, Jason Gray, model, photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on October 31, 2016

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Sam is a senior in high school preparing to embark upon a college career in baseball, while pursuing a degree in engineering.  I recently had the lucky opportunity to photograph Sam for his senior pictures, which was no sweat for this confident, bright athlete (that his location preferences were easy to work with and the fact that he’s got a little James Dean-ness to his look perhaps supported as well).

If you enjoy the images and want to book your own portrait session, message me at grayphotostl@yahoo.com

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Interlude: Great Smoky Mountains, Day Four

Posted in art, Backpacking, beer, family, Hike, Interlude, Jason Gray, links, photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on October 14, 2016

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Day four of our Great Smoky Mountains Adventure had us back early for a drive through Cades Cove, a sheltered valley containing more historical buildings in one place than any other area of the Park.  This route is notorious for slow-moving traffic, so we prepared ourselves for a veritable parking lot, but it was pretty much flowing the entire time we were there.  What’s more, the “Old Timers Day Festival” (a bluegrass and homesteader heritage event) was going on, which treated us to much live music and interesting conversation.

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Interlude: Great Smoky Mountains, Day Three

Posted in art, awareness, family, Jason Gray, learning, links, photography, science, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on October 13, 2016

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By Day Three, my morning ritual of waking up to a rooster distantly crowing (I must say, much more pleasant than an alarm clock) and getting the coffee started was firmly in play.  My cold still lingered, but the medicine that we picked up on our way back from Newfound Gap was working well, and I was looking forward to a relaxing day in the “big” city.

If you’ve never been to Gatlinburg, it is a real treat.  For those of you readers familiar with Branson, Missouri, it is sort of like that, on steroids, in the mountains….  As much as I thought I might scoff at this town (due to its unabashed pandering to the wallets of travelers), I actually really enjoyed it.

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Interlude: Great Smoky Mountains, Day Two

Posted in art, Backpacking, F-Stop Gear, family, Hike, Interlude, Jason Gray, links, photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on October 12, 2016

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Day two had us all up early, as it was to be our most strenuous day of hiking.  Unfortunately, along with enthusiasm for the 8-mile trek ahead, I woke up with a cold.  After coffee/juicepack and a delicious breakfast consisting of fresh eggs and handmade bread (a daily  courtesy of our amazing hosts at Camp GRITS), we were on our way!

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Interlude: Great Smoky Mountains, Day One

Posted in Backpacking, family, Hike, Interlude, Jason Gray, links, photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on October 11, 2016

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Gray family vacations always possess a spirit of adventure.  For my wife and I (and now our kids), the notion of taking time off to go lounge by a pool is sacrilege.  When we leave our daily lives behind, we like to explore new places, meet new people, try new things, and generally spend as little time as possible sitting still.  Simply, our time off is time on.  For this year’s excursion, we set our sites on the inimitable Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Interlude: PFSTL Top Ten, #1. Dutchtown

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Photo Flood Saint Louis turns four this August.  This post is a continuation of a countdown to commemorate this exciting milestone.

Dutchtown, named after a mispronunciation of “deutsch”, is St. Louis’ most populated neighborhood, and equally one of the city’s most threatened and potential-rich.

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Interlude: PFSTL Top Ten, #2. Forest Park Southeast

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Photo Flood Saint Louis turns four this August.  This post is a continuation of a countdown to commemorate this exciting milestone.

Forest Park Southeast is a neighborhood of contrasts.  The blocks north of Manchester look and feel very different from those south of it.  The area’s central business district, sort of an alternative to South Grand and Cherokee Street, seems perpetually half-revitalized (one of the street’s best known businesses, Sweetie Pie’s, just announced its closure).

To summarize why this is is a difficult thing to do, but I’d wager that the neighborhood will only remain this way for a short time longer.  As Central West End and Midtown to its north continue to attract new start-up investment, and Botanical Heights further matures to its east, FPSE has a good future outlook.

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Interlude: PFSTL Top Ten, #3. Bevo Mill

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Photo Flood Saint Louis turns four this August.  This post is a continuation of a countdown to commemorate this exciting milestone.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the south side’s most recognizable architectural feature would make it onto this list.  However, namesake aside, the Bevo Mill neighborhood is distinctive due to its cultural richness.  After all, the St. Louis area features the largest population of former Yugoslavic peoples outside of the Balkans, and this neighborhood is the local epicenter.

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