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

Hickory Canyons Natural Area


I am well aware that much of the country does not think of Missouri first when they think of “outdoor adventure”, and that’s just fine. As a state positioned dead center in the continental U.S., we enjoy an abundance of resources that result from being a point of convergence: the convergence of cultures (and the legacies of those cultures- often this is a struggle too), the convergence of the largest rivers in North America, the convergence of a once sprawling ocean and once soaring mountains, lost in time, but leaving a geological uniqueness found little elsewhere on Earth. It’s all here, and frankly, if you want to flyover it, that’s fine too; it just keeps the crowds down for those of us that choose to revel in it.



Rainy Day Hiking and Nature Photography


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).


Glassberg Family, Phantom Forest and Bittersweet Woods Conservation Areas

Posted in Adventure, art, Backpacking, Hike, Jason Gray, nikon, Park, photography, St. Louis, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on February 24, 2019


We are fortunate to live in a State with a large number of wonderfully maintained and well apportioned State Parks (did you know that Missouri has more State Parks than Colorado?). With sites like Don Robinson State Park, Lake of the Ozarks State Park (the State’s largest at 17,000 acres), Castlewood State Park, and over 40 others, it can seem like opportunities to enjoy the outdoors are endless. However, if your intention is to really “get away”, the State Parks can be a bit crowded at times. Enter what I think are one of Missouri’s true treasures, its Conservation and Natural Areas.


Me as Gilligan on Chouteau’s Island

a lot of the Island is floodplain, as the levee is on the opposite side as the Mississippi


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.