John Hall frequently photographs his mid-Missouri surroundings, and he has been sharing his images with the Missourian for several years.
There were great opportunities this past weekend to take some great photos and I blew every one of them. I won't go into all the chances I had at taking great photos but had I availed myself of them I might have won some kind of prize. Well, I did win a prize on Friday. I was informed that my name was put into a jar, for a drawing, at the Missouri School of Journalism, for people who recently contributed material for that publication. My contributions to that entity are these photo submissions. I write narrative with my photos, as you are all aware, but a school of journalism would never award me anything for my verbiage. My prize for winning were two tickets to the Missouri/Syracuse football for Saturday evening. That would have been an opportunity to take some photos of a big and eventually sad crowd. However, my wife informed me, right away, that I wasn't taking my camera into a crowd like that. Wives always win.
Early Saturday I had the choice of going back to Amish country to take photos of a large number of Percherons or attending a public auction of a member of Mickey Mantle's Missouri ancestors. None of those options worked out, and the camera didn't shutter until Sunday morning. It was a very bright morning and the brightness prevented me from getting good shots at a few deer that were between my camera and the sunrise.
I suppose the best photo I didn't get was Saturday afternoon. I was looking out the window and spied something dart, and I mean dart, across the street about a block away. A few minutes later I walked the dogs past that spot and never saw a thing. On the return home I was walking on the other side of the street when I heard a peck, peck, peck. I looked around and didn't see a thing. Then, I heard it again and looked toward the neighbor's storm door. There, knocking at the door, begging to come in for Thanksgiving dinner, or better said to "be Thanksgiving dinner" was a large, wild tom turkey. I was standing there with a dog leash in both hands and trying to figure out in which pocket my cell phone might be. I was going to call my wife and tell her to bring me the camera. In fact, I could have taken a photo of the turkey with my cell phone. However, my weekend luck was intact. I didn't have my cell phone with me either. So, I stood and watched the turkey peck on the front door as he obviously adored his reflection in the storm door. Finally, he saw me and ran around the house and over to the nearby Methodist Church. He's in hopes they will have a vegetarian Thanksgiving.
Early Sunday morning my wife told me to get my camera and she'd show me where she usually spots turkeys on her early morning walks. Of course, we didn't see any turkeys but we did enjoy a bright morning. We walked by a neighborhood cemetery that was first populated by a young man who drowned in a nearby creek around 1840.
On the walk the evidence of squirrel housing is everywhere. There is always a dog taking its owner out for exercise.
The owner was hitting a tennis ball and the dog was bringing it back until it spotted my wife.
My wife knows every dog in the area, and they know her.
This photo shows "Halls Half Acre" from where the dog was exercising its master.
This photo indicates how tough it was to take photos early Sunday morning because of the shadows. As I said, this past weekend wasn't a good time for me to attempt to photograph anything. Those shadows remind me of an old saying "When small men cast long shadows, the sun is about to set." Well, when small men cast long shadows it can also mean that the sun has just risen.
P. S. These photos are of a bird that was sitting on the bird feeder that at first I didn't spot. I got close and then closer to it and it didn't seem to mind. I took the first photo thinking it was one species of bird and then I immediately changed my mind after a couple of shutter clicks. I'm sending along a few different angle shots of that bird and you either know the species or you can look it up in your bird book. If you are alert I've already given you a HUGE hint as to the name of that bird. Look for the hint and then send in your identification of this bird.
This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising Editor is Joy Mayer.