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

F-Stop Gear Ando 13

There are many positive things about my switch from DSLRs to mirrorless, though perhaps chief among them is scale. I can now fit an entire kit into an incredibly small space, which has had the ancillary benefit of encouraging me to look at old bags in new ways. One of the “old bags” is the Ando 13 from F-Stop. Read on to find out why it has become my go to bag for EDC and some event shooting.

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Virginia Sublime Part 1

Virginia may be for lovers, but it is also easy to love. The State possesses an incredible diversity of landscape (from the Atlantic Coast, to tidal marshes, historic towns, rolling mountains, mighty rivers, and busy cities), and even a great diversity of people (ranked 14th overall in the U.S. for 2019, whereas my home state of Missouri comes in at 37th). Its proximity to other interesting places is also good, being essentially centrally positioned along the east coast of the U.S.

My family has now had the chance to visit Virginia twice, though we’ve seen much of the State on those trips. Consider this post part travelog and part recommendation, though it only truly scratches the surface on all there is to do there (perhaps I’ll expand it in the future as we return to explore other sites). Nonetheless, I’m quite confidant that you could plan a stellar trip using the info contained herein, after all, we already did!

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Topo Designs Travel Bag Review

In just a few days, the family and I leave for an eight-day roadtrip to the East Coast. We’ll be visiting friends in Richmond, Virginia (who just had a baby; congrats Katie and Ed!) and Washington D.C., before heading on to the beach for a little, much-needed R an R. I thought it would be fun to take the opportunity to review my Topo Travel Bag, even if it is the older version. Enjoy!

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History of Nature and Landscape Photography, Transition to Artform

George Shiras and John Hammerin a canoe equipped for jacklighting, Whitefish Lake, Michigan, 1893; © National Geographic Creative Archives

Around the beginning of the 20th Century, significant innovations in camera technology, chemistry, and photographic equipment coalesced at a time when photographers were beginning to recognize the expressive potential of their image-making. An era was fast dawning wherein the photograph would no longer be simply relegated to the realm of science or to cheap novelty, but would instead serve to drive culture, both in and out of art.

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Fuji X-E3

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I’ve been shooting on Fujifilm now since December, so I figured that’s long enough to beginning offering practical reviews of my experiences with that equipment. Up first is the Fuji X-E3, a nimble, lightweight, rangefinder-styled mirrorless shooter that both appeals to specific needs in photography and to the photo everyman (that’s a feat in itself).

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History of Nature and Landscape Photography, The Beginnings

Sir Henry Fox Talbot; early 1840’s

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Photography has had a preoccupation with nature almost from the very beginning. In fact, it was probably a preoccupation with nature that led to photography in the first place. The Pencil of Nature was a photobook published in the mid-1840’s by Sir Henry Fox Talbot, who was the first to successfully develop a reproducible negative.

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Rainy Day Hiking and Nature Photography

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Cool, rainy days are for Netflix, cocoa and the couch, right? Well, sort of. I believe that they also offer some of the most fun hiking around, and some of the best conditions for nature and landscape photography. In fact, I think that just about any weather event is a good opportunity to get outside (not that I hate sunny days- they are just less interesting, photographically).

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St. Francois State Park

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St. Francois State Park is a pleasant park with a surprising variety of landscapes to explore. On our visit, we hiked the shortish Mooner’s Hollow Trail (2.75 miles), but still found ourselves transported through Ozark fens and glades, past a gentle cascade, and even across bridge-less streams. Our son, Harper surprised himself (and us) when he slipped into a creek (!!). The cool water was a relief, however, and he was quickly all smiles.

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Cliff Cave County Park

In May of 2018, the new additions to Cliff Cave County Park, in Oakville, officially opened to the public, including 2 miles of trail extension, connectors and bridges to improve access, and a scenic overlook of the Mississippi River (partial view from pictured above). All of this was a project of Great Rivers Greenway, which continues to assert itself as a important steward for the outdoors in the metro area.

I couldn’t make the opening, and I had not had a chance to explore it since, so I took a sweltering June afternoon (100 degrees at midday) to do just that.

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Castor River Shut-Ins Natural Area

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There are some places in nature that you just luckily stumble across. Places that are in the vicinity of your regular spots, that you finally take notice of, and are amazed that you could have missed them all this time. Castor River Shut-Ins Natural Area is not one of those places. It is tucked away inside the Amidon Memorial Conservation Area, down remote gravel roads, susceptible to wash outs after a heavy rain, that dead end at your destination. From St. Louis, it is also a bit of a haul (to be more precise, it is about the exact distance away as to necessitate ten or twelve “Are we almost there?!”‘s from a growingly impatient five year old). That said, it is totally worth all the effort.

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