Photography Places

Life in Missouri

I wasn’t in a crowd mood yesterday so didn’t go to the Grand Mardi Gras parade in St. Louis. Besides, I’d rather focus on the true Mardi Gras parade Tuesday night. I plan on taking my digital camera and my film camera will have the ISO 400 B & W film–what is, I feel, the perfect choice for this type of event.

Though I didn’t go to the parade, the weather was fine and I grabbed my cameras and headed out to a park to hike and take photos. However, I hadn’t walked too far before my hiking boots were getting stuck in the inches thick mud, having forgotten that rough dirt trails just after a thaw are not the best terrain. I then moved to my favorite lake region and spent a happy time walking around the lake, letting the moist marsh grasses clean my shoes, and pestering the geese along the way.

I also picked up what is probably one of my best photos to date, at least in my opinion. I’ll have to figure out a nice essay to use it in, but I want to use some care – it’s a strong photo and needs a strong subject.

I captured the photo with both my digital and my film camera. I rarely go anywhere now without both cameras ever since I lost the chance to have my photos highlighted in an article of their own at Missouri Life magazine. Still feeling the effects of that one, and probably will for some time. However, life goes on.

(Heh. At least I still have my sense of humor. )

Yesterday, though, my film camera was acting sluggish and when I’d finished the roll and tried to reroll it, it wouldn’t budge. I got home and took out the batteries and one of them had failed and was leaking. Luckily, the leak didn’t hurt the camera housing, but I’m not sure how this roll will turn out, so the one photo may only be captured in digital and not film. That doesn’t matter; all that matters is that I captured it.

My time wasn’t just devoted to photos. As I was driving yesterday, and walking in all the muck, I was thinking about turning 50 this year and how I wanted to do something special. I thought that I could take a road trip and finish all the states in my ‘visited’ list, including visiting Alaska, but this just doesn’t have that much appeal for me.

After playing around at that web site that allows you to generate your ‘visited’ maps, I’ve been thinking how my visited country map has so few countries that I won’t even post it. The only countries I’ve visited are Canada, Mexico, and the UK (London to be precise). Not much when you look at it on a map.

I had planned some trips out just before the dot-com bust, back when I had money. I had already completed one trip, the one to London. Also on my list were other countries such as Ireland and Scotland, Germany and France, and perhaps even Italy or Spain. Outside of Europe, I wanted to visit Japan, China, Africa, and Australia. Especially Africa and Australia. Since I was a little bitty kid I’ve desperately wanted to visit Africa and Australia. I still do, though if I visited Africa I’d probably restrict my visit to South Africa primarily because I know folks there, Farrago and Mike Golby. (BTW, Mike Golby is back writing online again.)

However, my preference of all these countries would be to visit Australia. When I worked at Skyfish, several of the people were from Australia, and I learned much about the country through them–enough to want to visit. A couple of them have gone back home, and I’d like to see them again, catch up on old times. Besides, there’s at least one person from Skyfish who I’d love to visit because he owes me a really nice, expensive dinner, and good bottle of Australian wine.

Then there’s the people I’ve met online who are from Australia. I’d list them out but I don’t want them to think I’m inviting myself to their homes. They might be forewarned and then have to pretend they’re not home if I come knocking. However, it was working with one Australian friend, Allan Moult on Leatherwood Online that really did it for me. I kept looking at the photos and reading the stories, and I wanted to visit and see the places for myself; not just Tasmania (the focus of Leatherwood) – I want to see as much of the country as I can, culminating with New Year’s night in Sydney Harbor.

More than just wanting to visit, to explore and to experience (not to mention fill in countries on a map), the trip would fill another purpose. For the last year, I’ve been primarily living each month at a time, and I’m getting a bit weary of this. I want to have something to plan for, something that extends out past the end of the month. Just getting by isn’t enough. I want, and need, more.

What I need is to start a Australia travel fund. I’d reserve my books for paying for day to day living, and then any funds I receive from articles and photos and teaching would be marked for this fund. I have some good article ideas I’m in the process of marketing, and I’m thinking of starting up a site to sell prints of my photos, including the ones that Missouri Life wanted to use but declined when they found out I had no slides for the photos. Sort of my own version of “Missouri Life”.

In addition, I hope to teach a few classes at the St. Louis CC extension program, and that might earn something. Maybe I can even use a trip to Australia to promote my new book, or generate new article ideas and grab new photos. I might see if some of the training companies there would be interested in me training a class or two.

I’d like to stay in the country a couple of months, and might be able to swing this if I live and travel frugally. There are a lot of inexpensive hostels in the country and one can get a good deal on airline tickes if you shop around carefully.

Then, once I’ve been to Australia, I’ll start planning my next trip to Africa.

Regardless of how long it takes, and it probably will take a long time, the nice thing about having something to plan for is that I find myself thinking of new ideas and getting enthused about writing and photography again. I’m not sure how fast my fund will grow, but it’s nice to have a dream again.

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