Tag Archives: headstones

Photography from Saint Peter’s Cemetery, Saint Charles, Missouri

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For the full set of photos, visit the Saint Peter’s Cemetery album on my Flikr page.

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Other recent cemetery photography posts:

Return to the Old Catholic Cemetery in Lexington, Missouri

The Iron Fence and the Family Plot

Cemetery of Immaculate Conception of Dardenne, Missouri

Francis Howell Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri

Perfectly Lonely and Snowy City of Souls – Return to Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis

 

 


Introducing my Cemetery Grave Adoptions for 2014

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If you listened to episode 11 of The Big Séance Podcast on Cemetery Grave Adoptions, I promised to keep listeners updated on this year’s adoptions. Well today I took advantage of an absolutely splendid autumn-like day (finally!), and headed on out to a local cemetery that I’ve heard a lot about, but until today had never been. I had flowers ready to go, and I intended on finding two graves to adopt. I spent a little over an hour just taking photos and checking the place out.

Shortly after arriving, I met a Abby, who was very happy to see me. Once Sabrina, her owner, caught up with her, we had a very nice conversation about cemeteries and how much we enjoyed them. After Sabrina gave me some tips on where to find some of the older headstones, and after Abby (a dog, if I wasn’t clear enough) gave me a few last slobbery kisses, she got bored and ran off to find another friend, forcing Sabrina to follow. There were several four-legged friends and their owners enjoying the cemetery today. Just before leaving two hours later, a cute little doggie ran up to me as I was getting into my car. This little doggie looked almost exactly like my dog Meril, only smaller. 

I was really having a hard time making this decision. After such a great experience last year, I really felt pressured to just be drawn to two graves. As I’ve said before, lately I tend to float through the cemetery with more of a photographer’s eye. Other than the ones I kept photographing, I wasn’t really feeling like I was being drawn or pulled toward any specific grave for adoption purposes. Then, like happens so often in my school gig with things like auditions and solos and choosing who gets spotlighted, I kept feeling guilt for passing up all of the other hundreds of graves and monuments. Don’t they all deserve to be adopted? 

I couldn’t narrow it down to one named grave and one nameless (as I suggest in that same recent podcast episode), so what did I do? I decided to go with four of them. I may regret his decision in the busy month of October.  

So here they are. I’ve done no research or genealogy at this point.

 

Schwester (Sister) Maria Georgia (1862) & Schwester (Sister) Maria Germana (1872), Requiescat in Pace

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Sister Maria Germana’s monument is broken off of the base, which is right next to Sister Maria Georgia. One leaning on the other, it makes a beautiful photo, and I can’t help but wonder about the friendship these ladies must have had in life. I took so many photos of their crosses that I just knew I was adopting them this fall. 

 

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H.W. Rühenpohl (1812-1850)

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I’m not entirely sure of the name on this soul, but the base behind the rest of the monument says “W.H. Rühenpohl”. To the best of my ability, the monument in front says “Hier Ruht” with a smaller inscription that I’m not able to make out (probably in German), and then “Rühenpohl”. Someone has tied the base and the top together with wire.

 

Cemetery Grave Adoption Ruhenpohl 2

 

Unmarked

cemetery grave adoption unknown

 

I’m really hoping this stone marks a grave. I can’t imagine it being anything else. It must just be incredibly old and weathered, or perhaps it is the base of a monument that no longer exists. This stone rests right in front of the crosses of Sisters Maria Georgia and Germana. I decided this was a good thing, because otherwise I’d have a hard time finding it.

 

The Tradition Continues

Today I introduced myself and explained my intentions with this grave adoption tradition. I’ll now return every two weeks (at least), leaving flowers or gifts, visiting with them (should they choose to be present), and praying that their souls are at peace. Hopefully I’ll be able to do some genealogy sometime soon. I’ll be sure to keep you updated. 

 

Want to learn more about this cemetery grave adoption tradition? Again, check out episode 11 of The Big Séance Podcast to hear me discuss last year’s project, my inspiration for starting it, and my 8 tips for starting your own grave adoption tradition!

 

Stay tuned!

 


Return to the Old Catholic Cemetery in Lexington, Missouri

 

It hasn’t changed a bit, this old cemetery. Until two years ago when I visited it last, it had been over 20 years since I’d seen it. I remembered several of the individual headstones like I had just been there the day before. It’s weird, the things our brains choose to remember and hold on to. Growing up, I spent quite a bit of time here as my grandparents lived nearby. In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories is of an uncle of mine giving me a ride through this cemetery on a four-wheeler, and coming back with a collection of pine cones. I’m sure it wasn’t very deep back then, but I remember strolling through this grass and over the hill… and pondering life… and probably death. I don’t remember my reasons for enjoying my time there so much, but I do recall having general conversations with any spirit wanting to listen. I also recall my Bama (grandma) packing a lunch for me on a few occasions. One thing is for sure. When I think about a cemetery, or when I’m reading of a fictional graveyard, it is always this beautiful place that ends up being the setting in my mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other recent cemetery photography posts:

The Iron Fence and the Family Plot

Cemetery of Immaculate Conception of Dardenne, Missouri

Francis Howell Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri

Perfectly Lonely and Snowy City of Souls – Return to Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis

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Cemetery of Immaculate Conception of Dardenne, Missouri

 

On Wednesday of this week, I made some time to sneak away after work to find a few places to take some photos. I decided to stop by a small Catholic cemetery that I pass by often when I’m coming home from work. This was the first opportunity I’ve had to take colorful spring photos with my new camera. Having colors to play with is a whole new experience. On this Good Friday, and especially for those of you who celebrate Easter, I hope you enjoy the powerful monument that depicts the crucifixion of Jesus. It clearly caught my attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more of my photography, including cemetery photos like these, please visit my Flickr page.

 

A few recent cemetery posts you might like: 

Francis Howell Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri (Big Séance)

Perfectly Lonely and Snowy City of Souls – Return to Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis (Big Séance)

 

 


Francis Howell Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri

 

More Recent Cemetery Posts: 

Perfectly Lonely and Snowy City of Souls - Return to Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis (Big Séance)

Perfectly Lonely and Snowy City of Souls – Return to Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis (Big Séance)

Lessons in Photography & Other Nerdly Stuff (Big Séance)

Lessons in Photography & Other Nerdly Stuff (Big Séance)

Another Visit to Gumbo (Big Séance)

Another Visit to Gumbo (Big Séance)

A New Lens and a New Cemetery (Big Séance)

A New Lens and a New Cemetery (Big Séance)

 

 


Lessons in Photography & Other Nerdly Stuff

 

I wanted to be inspired to blog about something exciting tonight, but it turns out my brain (and my body) is tired from long work days this week. How about some more photography from two new cemeteries? While at the second cemetery, I captured a killer sunset that just took my breath away. I’m not entirely sure I did a great job of capturing it, but it was fun trying. 

 

 

Fifteen minutes later I caught this one with my iPhone in the grocery store parking lot. 

 

 

Back to the cemeteries… Bellerive Gardens in Creve Coeur, Missouri and Thomas Howell Cemetery in St. Charles, Missouri. 

 

 


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While I’m at it, I’d love some constructive criticism from any experienced photographers. I had a chance to talk photography with a colleague at school today. He’s a “retired” administrator and former music teacher who has been doing some long-term subbing in our building. He does photography on the side, and so I took advantage of the opportunity to ask him some of those silly questions that a new photographer might ask when they’re learning lingo and the how-to. You know, like when do I need to switch lenses? What’s ISO? Things like that. I’ve found that he is GREAT at explaining things to me and making me not feel stupid. Ha! (He’s really great at explaining new sound systems too, by the way.) 

 

 

 

A lot of times when I’m shooting in a cemetery, I have the urge to lay on the ground for several shots. If you don’t know me, physically, crawling across the ground, under trees and bushes, and straining to get back up again is not the greatest activity for my back and will almost always result in breaking out the good pain pills. It’s also funny when you stop by the grocery store on the way home and realize you have twigs and leaves clinging to you everywhere. It’s totally worth it, though. 

 

 

Anyway, I’ve suspected this, but I’ve learned that I think I tweak things like the saturation and contrast a little too much in Photoshop Elements. I need to find a balance. You learn as you go, I guess. Here’s the link to most of my favorite recent photos from the new camera.

 

 

 

This was on a grave marker. How cool is that?!

This was on a grave marker. How cool is that?!

 

Question: Do I need a Flickr account, or something similar? Why? Why not? What’s the point of it?

 

 

 

 

Love creative photography? You might also like:

Something Unsettling (KarlPfeiffer.com)

Photos by Randall Keller on Viewbug

 

 


Another Visit to Gumbo

 

This afternoon I made another visit to Gumbo Cemetery in Chesterfield, Missouri. I hadn’t been there yet with the new camera, and I was excited to get more practice in! This cemetery is the resting place of Clara, from my Grave Adoption series. All photos taken with the Canon Rebel T3i and a prime 50mm f/1.4 lens.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The back of Clara’s headstone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You might also like:

A New Lens and a New Cemetery (Big Séance)

Learning Curve and the First Shots with my New Camera (Big Séance)

Christmas Eve at Machpelah Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri (Big Séance)

Oak Grove Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri (Big Séance)

 

 


A New Lens and a New Cemetery


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Emmanuel United Church of Christ Cemetery
Weldon Spring, Missouri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emmanuel United Church of Christ, Weldon Spring, Missouri

 

Some of my first shots with the new lens

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You might also like: 

365 and 2014 and New Chapters (KarlPfeiffer.com)

#HauntedPhotoAWeek (Renae Rude – The Paranormalist)

A Very Wintry Update (Big Séance)

Learning Curve and the First Shots with my New Camera (Big Séance)

 

 

 


Learning Curve and the First Shots with my New Camera



When I was little I would get really excited about an idea, or what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I’d put one-hundred percent of my energy toward that project or career move… before changing my mind the next day and moving onto something else. Remember those days? I had the greatest parents ever. They’d completely humor me and roll with it when I decided I was going to build a massive bridge that would start from the side of the house and travel all the way across the lake that was an acre away and down the hill. Or smile and give me encouragement when I had every intention of building a water slide park on the side of the house. In each of these examples that I just mentioned, I literally began digging. That’s how serious I was about those ideas… and most of the time no one judged me for my dream of the week.

 

The above photo really ended up being an accident. I was holding the camera up so high to capture the urn that I didn’t see my car in the background. But… I kind of like it. 

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You probably know that I take a lot of cemetery photos, which is something I started doing less than two years ago. After the really cool snowy shots that I captured recently on Christmas Eve, I got inspired to invest in a real camera (a Canon Rebel T3i) and an extra fancy lens for nerdy, artistic shots (due to arrive Monday). Before this week, my equipment consisted of my iPhone, and I’d occasionally edit them using the Camera+ app on my phone. Also before this week, I knew absolutely nothing about a real camera and jumped right into reading and watching videos before my camera arrived. Boy have I been going through a learning curve… and it’s ongoing, obviously. Not only am I figuring out the camera and photography, but using Photoshop Elements is blowing my mind and taking a lot of time to figure out. I haven’t done anything too fancy with these photos though. What do you think about my watermark? 

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So for the time being I’m really excited about my new toy and want to be a photographer when I grow up. All of these photos are from my first trip out of the house with the camera for practice shots. They’re from Linn Cemetery in Wentzville, Missouri, a location I’ve visited and photographed many times before. I took a lot more than you see here, so these were the best. I would have stayed longer, but it was so cold and my fingers at times couldn’t even feel the buttons on the camera.

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I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned her or not, but much of my recent inspiration for wanting to be a cemetery photographer when I grow up, is the amazing and talented Mary Homick of Historic Cemeteries on Facebook. It’s her fault. She has a book and some other projects coming out that are very exciting! Please take a look at her beautiful work. 

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If you follow my blog much, you probably already recognize this stone as belonging to my buddy Johnnie, from my recent grave adoption posts. 

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A close up of Johnnie’s headstone. 

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So hopefully in a week or two I’ll have all of this mastered and I’ll be a rich and successful cemetery photographer. (Did you laugh? You were supposed to.) At least that’s my plan this week. I know one thing. These crazy ideas get expensive really quick. I’m having a lot of fun though. I’d LOVE to get your feedback or suggestions, especially if you have photography or Photoshop expertise, or are named Mary Homick!

 

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You might also like:

Christmas Eve at Machpelah Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri (Big Séance.com)

Oak Grove Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri (Big Séance.com)

A Lonely Old Country Cemetery at Magic Hour – Bellflower, Missouri (Big Séance.com)

Walnut Grove Cemetery, Boonville Missouri (Big Séance.com)

Machpelah Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri (Big Séance.com)

Adopting Graves 2013: My Thoughts and a Look Back on a New Tradition (Big Séance.com)

Images of America: Lexington, Missouri (Big Séance.com)

 

 


Christmas Eve at Machpelah Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You might also like…

Oak Grove Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri(Big Séance.com)

A Lonely Old Country Cemetery at Magic Hour – Bellflower, Missouri (Big Séance.com)

Walnut Grove Cemetery, Boonville Missouri(Big Séance.com)

Machpelah Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri (Big Séance.com)

Adopting Graves 2013: My Thoughts and a Look Back on a New Tradition (Big Séance.com)

Images of America: Lexington, Missouri (Big Séance.com)

 

 


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