My employer, Hanson Inc, challenged the photographers on staff to get out and shoot locally for National Photography Month. The brief was to take a photo that celebrates Toledo and showcases our preferred photography style.

My first idea was to take a picture at the Toledo Zoo, but while driving home from work, something else caught my eye. Specifically, the wonderful fountain and historic church just a few hundred feet from my house, something that I drive past every day and rarely even notice.

Harvard Circle, Toledo

Last week, I got up before sunrise, put on a pot of coffee, and grabbed my tripod to play tourist in my own neighborhood. I walked down to the corner, took a left, and started shooting.

My neighborhood, Harvard Terrace, dates back to the early 20th century. Park Church, visible on the right, was opened in 1921.

"Clouds" and Park Church

The fountain in the middle of Harvard Circle is much newer. It’s a work by the Dutch-American sculptor Hans van de Bovenkamp entitled Clouds, commissioned by the city of Toledo and installed in 2000.

I really enjoyed working on these pictures and taking a photo walk in my own backyard. Thanks to Hanson for the assignment and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year!

There’s no real story here, just a fun moment from Louisville Zoo in July of 2018. It’s a new year and since winter shows no signs of ending soon, it’s back into the piles and piles of unprocessed photos for me.

Boy and Bear, Louisville Zoo


In west-central Morocco, where the Souss River meets the sea and discharges the dust of desert and mountains into the blue Atlantic, sits the port of Agadir.

Its roots are ancient, its earliest origins lost to time. The Romans traded and fished in the area, known to them as Portus Risadir. The Berbers were here before them, and they’re still here.

Agadir is a Berber name. It means “walled enclosure, citadel”. It’s an equally ancient word, possibly borrowed from Punic, the language of the ancient Semites that sailed from Lebanon and wrestled Rome for control of the Mediterranean.

Camel Parking

And yet, most of the Agadir you see is very young. In the 20th century, the sleepy old fishing village, home to Berbers and Romans and Portuguese and Arabs, grew into a major city, only to be completely obliterated.

On February 29, 1960, the third day of Ramadan, an earthquake shook the town to its foundations. The tremor wasn’t particularly strong, at 5.8 on the moment-magnitude scale, but Agadir was unprepared.

Morocco is not prone to tremors and earthquake-resistant construction was barely a consideration. The city was full of flimsy brick and rammed-earth structures, and when the quake hit, they toppled or simply disintegrated.

In minutes, three-quarters of the city was destroyed. The medieval Kasbah, perched on a hill at the north end of town, crumbled and slid down the slope. As many as 15,000 people died, and 35,000 more were left homeless as fires raged through the rubble.

WIthin hours, King Mohammed V broadcast a call for help and flew in to supervise the relief. French soldiers and American sailors came in to assist the Moroccans, but rescue efforts were slowed by oppressive heat and the near-complete scale of the destruction.

Corpses baked in the sun, spreading disease, and victims refused medical treatment, not wanting to break their Ramadan fast. In the end, large areas of the city were simply bulldozed under. In the photo below, the area left of the highway is a part of town that has been abandoned since the earthquake.

Agadir has recovered since 1960. The city is bigger now than ever, and it’s a major tourist center. People come from all over Morocco and Europe to enjoy the warm weather and stroll the wide beach, complete with theme park and marina shopping district. It goes without saying that reinforced construction is now required, and Agadir withstood quakes in 2014 and 2017 with minimal damage.

The road to Essaouira

You can see the ruined Kasbah from anywhere in town. There’s not much left, just a crumbling foundation and part of the old wall. I was almost the only visitor. Agadir has moved on and most folks seemed more interested in shopping at Zara and having an ice cream on the beach than reminiscing about antique destruction. Looking down at the sea of stones that were once a mosque and an entire district of homes, I thought about how quickly the most permanent of things can change.

Eastern Morocco is mostly desert. That is a broad term, though, and most desert is not what you might think. The picturesque, sandy desert with dunes (like Erg Chebbi) is fairly rare. Your average Moroccan desert is a bleak expanse of blackish-brown gravel, like a half-finished road paving project.

Trees, when you see them, are mostly acacias. Driving around Morocco I would sometimes forget that we were technically in Africa, but seeing those acacias with their splayed branches and flat crowns made me want to bust out that song from The Lion King. You know the one.

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