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Sept. 6, 2012 Volume 34, No. 3

A power plant worker and his muse

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Jesse Hall by Chris Heffner

Chris Heffner bought a mid-cost camera five years ago. Nothing has been the same since.

Born in Columbia, Heffner worked at MU for 38 years, including 35 years at the Power Plant. He retired Aug. 3 as a material handler. Over the years, he’s taken hundreds of photographs of MU sunrises from perches in the sky. 

Many days Heffner arrived at the plant at 5:15 a.m., even though his shift started at 6 a.m. He’d climb five stair flights inside the plant and two exterior flights along the coal silo or one of two cooling towers. 

Then he’d look east. 

“I’d wait for the sun to do its thing,” Heffner said. “Every minute or so the scene changed.” 

When the bursting colors looked right, he started clicking. Jesse Hall, in his direct line of sight, became his muse. 

“I was fascinated by Jesse Hall,” Heffner said. “It had its own lights and would kind of glow.”

Now that he’s retired, he won’t be taking anymore Jesse Hall pictures, he said. 

His new muse is the Katy Trail.