ST. LOUIS – As FOX 2’s chief meteorologist, Glenn Zimmerman can look at atmospheric data on a screen or computer printout and use those models and information to tell the residents of the greater St. Louis region what to expect when they walk out the door. But there’s another side to Glenn’s sagacious mind, one in which his keen perception relies not on numbers or data, but on mood and his own two eyes.
As a child, Glenn says he was fascinated by the outdoors and enraptured by the photography of Ansel Adams. He could look at an Adams landscape and be transported to the ranges or parks of the American West.
Glenn first majored in photography in college, and he once applied to be a photographer for the National Parks Service.
“…and to go around with a giant manual camera and photograph in the style of Ansel Adams… I didn’t get the job,” he says. “When I went to college, I was going to be some type of photographer; a newspaper photographer, artistic photographer, something.”
When he’s not prognosticating on-air, Glenn trades in his high-top sneakers for footwear more accustomed to the great outdoors. And though he can showcase his gift by snapping sweeping vistas or sunsets in Sedona, Glenn can reveal the marvelous in the mundane, be it a long-abandoned beer can or a stray French fry.
Glenn can photograph in black and white or color with equal aplomb. But it’s the feel of the surroundings where he intuits a decision on a particular medium.
“It depends on the situation,” Glenn says. “It depends on the mood of the capture. Each photo has a different mood to it, so there are some that scream for color and some that scream for black and white.”
Glenn admittedly takes a lot of pictures of a variety of subjects, but is protective of those closest to him.
“I don’t necessarily put the people in my life on for display, but I have a lot of photos of my kids, and family, and grandkids, and all that. But those don’t ever show up any place other than my house,” he says. “So, mostly what shows up online is nature and objects, and things like that.”
A day’s mood—yes, the weather itself—affects Glenn’s choices.
“(Sunday) I was taking pictures of… rotting pumpkins. And it just is the mood of the day. It was cloudy, it was cold, it was drizzly. And rotting pumpkins, it’s just kind of the mood of the day,” he says, undecided if those photos will go up on social media or not.
When asked what he uses to take photographs, Glenn gives an answer that would satisfy the ardent and the sarcastic.
“I use my eyes,” he crows. “It’s a smart aleck answer.”
He uses different kinds of cameras, from an iPhone to a homemade shoebox camera. Digital or film, whatever is at his disposal.
“There’s an old saying: the best camera is the one you have with you,” he says.
Like any photographer, Glenn has his favorite places – spots that mean something special and evoke a sense memory for him.
“There’s a valley in New Mexico that’s one of my favorite spots. There’s a lake in Minnesota that’s one of my favorite spots. So, when I photograph those areas, to me, they’re breathtaking.”
But the act of photography isn’t some heady subject. This isn’t a superpower. To Glenn, if you see something that makes you feel something, and you want to remember that feeling, get out your camera.
“I think anybody does that. It doesn’t make any difference if it’s a post-worthy photo or not. If it’s a photo that captures a moment that you want to remember, you’re going to remember that moment,” he says.