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

Interlude: Carondelet Park

Posted in Adventure, art, Hike, Interlude, Jason Gray, Park, perception, Photo Walk, photography, prime lenses by Jason Gray on August 15, 2017

Created as a concession to demands for a southern and northern park following the planned establishment of Forest Park, Carondelet Park is the third largest green space in St. Louis, and the only one that honors the karst topography original to the area.

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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: 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 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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Road Trip!

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I am getting ready for a 5-day trip to the Great Smoky Mountains with my wife and first-born son, later this month.  The travel itinerary that I have made will take us to both Louisville and Nashville, up to the second highest peak in the Appalachians, to a pond full of salamanders, into a cave that’s been haunted for two hundred years, behind the curtain of a waterfall, and more.

This will be the first adventure where all three of us will have a camera.  I’m excited, and can’t wait to share the pictures!

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Interlude: Big Muddy Adventures

Posted in awareness, beer, cruise, family, Hike, Jason Gray, links, photography, prime lenses, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on June 20, 2016

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For Father’s Day, my beautiful wife booked a moonlight canoe trip with Big Muddy Adventures, an adventure tour operator located adjacent to the Riverview neighborhood of St. Louis.  The business’ founder and primary guide is “Big Muddy” Mike Clark, who has logged more than 10,000 miles on the water.  For a mere $75 and a bit of “devil-may-care” daring, Clark will lead you onto the world’s fourth largest watershed, with nothing between you and 300,000 cubic feet of water per second but a wooden canoe and “Big Muddy” Mike’s ingenuity.

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Dan Zarlenga: Night Visions

Posted in art, Hike, Jason Gray, photography, technique, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on May 30, 2016

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I have been curating the exhibitions at The Dark Room Photo Gallery and Wine Bar for a year and a half, and I am pretty excited about the next exhibit opening on Friday, June 3rd (more info in the link above).  Dan Zarlenga: Night Visions has the ability to appeal to a really wide audience, with some stunning images of landscapes that you are likely to never have seen in exactly this way.

From Dan:

“Under the dark cloak of night, the world becomes an open palate upon which you can play with light in new and creative ways.  When it comes to photography, daylight is merely an option.”

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F-Stop Gear Loka

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Over a year ago, I switched from using the rugged Pelican 1510 roller to the Loka, by f-stop Gear. For the most part, this has been a happy trade off (with a few caveats), which has given me more flexibility for how and where I can take varying volumes of photo equipment.

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Interlude: Onondaga Cave State Park

Posted in art, awareness, black and white, family, Hike, perception, photography, prime lenses, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on April 29, 2016

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St. Louis has some of the most self-deprecating residents of any major city that I have lived in or visited.  Part of that has to do with conflated crime statistics (believe me, STL is by no means the “most dangerous city in America”), and part of it has to do with rust belt issues (ie. population loss, factory closures, etc.).  To my wife and I, who decided to move here from Chicago, this attitude is wholly crazy.  After all, not only do St. Louisans enjoy free cultural amenities that other cities’ residents would pay a pretty penny to attend, like the Saint Louis Art Museum and St. Louis Zoo, and have an enviably low cost of living (our three bedroom, two story, Art and Crafts home cost less than a one bedroom condo in Chicago), but they can drive an hour or so out of the city and feel like they have arrived on another planet.

Onondaga Cave State Park is one of our favorite planets to visit.

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