Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

The Arch is not polished like a mirror but its stainless steel skin (come back tomorrow for further discussion) reflects its environment. Blue sky and clouds get re-interpreted. I discovered that you get a wonderful warm glow from the incandescent lights in the entrance to the underground museum beneath its center.

WHAT'S UP, DOC? My rheumatologist says my rheumatoid arthritis looks like it's in remission and he's tapering down some of my meds.
CDPB Monthly Theme Day - Metal. Lessee here, metal. Are there any prominent big chunks of metal in St. Louis that your faithful blogger is obsessed with? Oh, yeah, the statue of Stan Musial, probably.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Portraits of St. Louis Artists: Danielle Spradley

She looked up at me as I took this picture with an expression that seemed to say, "Excuse me? I'm trying to get some work done here, okay?" However, Spradley, master printer and shop manager at Evil Prints (see the first post in this series about Tom Huck, the proprietor), could not have been nicer about letting me photograph her at work. In this picture, she is using tools and techniques similar to Huck but she has a very individual style. Her images remind me of the original pictures of the aliens in War of the Worlds as revised by R. Crumb (one of my cultural heros) and remixed by Marcel Duchamp. Check out her work here and here.

That's all for St. Louis artists portraits for now. Let me know if you liked the series. I've got a couple of leads and it may return on an irregular basis in the future.

Good - I got my precious Canon 5D back from the factory service center after the third repair for the same problem. It $%#^@ well better keep working this time. Bad - I had to talk to more crazy, annoying people at work than anyone should (and I never even looked in the mirror.) I guess I signed up for it.

The Thursday Arch Series Returns.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Portraits of St. Louis Artists: Amy Thompson

This is as much an action shot as a portrait. Amy Thompson is a printmaker with an intense vision. She is also a craftswoman. In this picture she works at a manual press, full of wheels and levers and gears. The machine reminds me of the complex, non-electronic gizmos in Terry Gilliam's movie, Brazil. Thompson knows what to do with all this steel. She is developing a web site for her prints but take a look at her stunning photography on Flickr. Her pictures of China and Vietnam are fabulous. Note particularly the portrait Danny and the untitled photo here in the Vietnam set. I'd be proud to have takes pictures so good.

WHAT I MADE FOR DINNER LAST NIGHT: stir fry with yellow squash, eggplant (aubergine), chicken, carrot, portobello mushrooms, garlic, almonds and whatever herbs were lying around. I'm not much of a cook (and don't have to be in this family) but, hey, it was my night. Throw it in a wok and see what happens.

TOMORROW: St. Louis artists portraits continue with Danielle Spradley, printmaker.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Portraits of St. Louis Artists: Gary Passanise

When I was looking for Gary Passanise's combination home and studio, people up the hill around the spaces of Craig Downs, Sarah Paulsen and Stan Chisholm told me to follow the lane down the hill and look for the hobbit hole. Around a bend, in the lowest of the old commercial buildings built into the hillside over the Mississippi, was a door leading still further downward.

That's where I found him in an office/sitting room. The living quarters and studio were down yet more steep steps. Loft-style living and working space blended into one another.
Passanise is a painter in the tradition of abstract expressionism. The work hanging there, perhaps still in progress, reminded me a bit of Anselm Kiefer and Clyfford Still. Visit his sophisticated web site to see a variety of his work. His biography is worth a look. Besides his own art, Passanise is director of painting at the Leigh Gerdine School of Fine Art at Webster University in St. Louis.

I'm still inviting St. Louis artists to contact me if they would like to be part of this series.

WHAT I'M TRYING TO FIGURE OUT TODAY: How to use the Vanishing Point filter in Photoshop to paste text shaped in perspective into an image. Come back on Friday for Theme Day and grade my work.

St. Louis artists portraits continue with Amy Thompson, printmaker.

HEY, WAIT A MINUTE - I just realized that last Saturday was my 500th post! Are we there yet?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Portraits of St. Louis Artists: Thomas Shepherd

Thomas Shepherd is a photographer who works with traditional prints, collage, silver gelatin prints and even prints on canvas. You can see some of his images here. We had a long talk about his work. I was loaded with digital gizmos and he shoots film. He had some small prints for sale that he shot with a cheap imported film camera with light leaks camera, not a Holga but apparently something similar. I bought a terrific image of a broad, curly-haired man's head, nothing below the chin, that seemed to be launched upward by the triangular peak of a house's roof. It felt good to talk shop with a professional photographer, take his portrait and not feel like a total poser.

WHAT I SAW TODAY: Up The Yangtze, a documentary about the human cost of the Three Gorges Dam. If you've been to China or just are interested in its explosive changes, go see it.
St. Louis artists portraits continue with Gary Passanise, painter.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Portraits of St. Louis Artists: Stan Chisholm


Stan Chisholm's St. Louis studio is tiny, maybe 4 by 12 feet. Makes it a little tough to get enough space to set up a portrait but, hey, you play the hand of cards you are dealt. He spends most of the year at the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work is hard to characterize. He paints on canvas, wood panel or no parking signs, creates collages, designs clothing, makes prints and even decorates paper plates (amaze your dinner guests!). He's won a lot of awards and exhibited in many shows here and in Chicago (look at an example). You can check out many of his images (and his impressive resume) on his web site,

When I look at Chisholm's work, I see elements of cartoons, graffiti wall painting, dada and surrealism. Some stuff looks like the bizarre offspring of a Georgia O'Keefe cow skull and an ewok.

Once again, I am inviting St. Louis artists who would like to appear in this series to contact me. Click my profile to the left for an email link.

WHAT I'M GLANCING AT WHILE I WRITE THIS: Jon Stewart making fun of John McCain again on The Daily Show. Too easy.
TOMORROW: St. Louis artists portraits continue with Thomas Shepherd, photographer

Friday, July 25, 2008

Portraits of St. Louis Artists: Sarah Paulsen

Sarah Paulsen's studio is in same group of old commercial buildings as Craig Woods'. Some of the spaces are dug into the hillside leading down to the Mississippi and feel like bunkers. Paulsen's area, which she shares with Lisa Payne (whom I photographed at last year's open house), is on the top level and feels closer to the sun. It contains lovely watercolor sketches and photos of her grand tour of South America. I told her the painting on the wall behind her in this image reminded me of Max Beckman, who once taught at Washington University in St. Louis and has a room to himself at the St. Louis Art Museum. She told me that she had spent many hours in that room and that Beckman had been a great influence on her work.

You can see Paulsen's painting for the STL artists open house catalog here. She has also begun to create clever animations. Take a look at Midwest Hair and Begin. You'll enjoy them.

BY THE WAY, for my St. Louis readers: if you are an artist or know an artist who would like to be featured in this series and get some publicity, plus a free portrait to use, please click the link to my profile and email me.

WHAT I'M PISSED OFF ABOUT: The Canon factory service center has had my good camera, my 5D, for the better part of the last month and a half, now back for the third time for the same problem. Whah, whah, whah.
St. Louis artists portraits continue with Stan Chisholm, who is a bit hard to characterize, but that's because he's so original.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Portraits of St. Louis Artists: Craig Downs

The place was hard to find. I had the address on Broadway, a big street, from the list of open artists' studios last weekend but there didn't seem to be any such number. There was a small lane behind a ramp onto the Interstate from Broadway so I followed it. Around a bend I saw a dreary brick building with the Open House sign. There was a series of three old commercial buildings built into a slope down to the Mississippi, now all occupied by artists.

In the middle one I met Craig Downs, pictured here. Downs is a painter and a singer with a band called Box of Nerves.
Listen to some of their tunes here. His painting style may seem simple at first but click the image below and look carefully. The one on the right is particularly complex. Note the woman holding a tree whose wild red hair ends with snakes, like Medusa, placing her right hand on the head of a woman with a halo but no face, while an angel floats across the upper right carrying an Eastern Orthodox cross. Care to offer an interpretation?

WHAT I HAD TO DO: Listen to The Ride of the Valkeries from Richard Wagner's Die Walküre on my iPod, loud, along with other music of similar temperature and pressure, to stick it out on the treadmill. I think exercise is a boring, unpleasant chore but, damn, you have to.
TOMORROW: St. Louis artists portraits continue with Sarah Paulsen, painter

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Portraits of St. Louis Artists: Tom Huck

I did not know about Evil Prints until last weekend's studio open house (must be getting old and out of touch). The place is full of young artists covered to one degree or another in tattoos and flesh-eating steel hardware. Tom Huck here is one of the mainstays. He's the kind of person the phrase "fevered imagination" refers to. Tom makes outrageous wood and linoleum cut prints. Check out examples of his work here. While I watched him work, Tom used only tiny hand tools. I cannot imagine my own hands working with such precision.

WHAT I LEARNED TODAY: Frank Zappa's perky composition Peaches En Regalia was inspired by his love of the sculpture of Alexander Calder. Thank you, National Public Radio.
TOMORROW: The Thursday Arch Series takes a week off as St. Louis artists portraits continue with Craig Downs, painter and singer

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The past weekend brought one of my favorite annual events, the St. Louis artists studio open house. More than a hundred local artists opened their workspaces or gathered in group exhibition areas. Last summer, charged by Bobbi Lane's portrait photography workshop, I made the rounds asking artists if I could take their pictures and posted some of the results (see here and here). A "portrait of the artist" series with shots from lthis year starts tomorrow, with sincere apologies to Stephen Daedelus.

Today, however, we have a shot from Third Degree Glass Factory, STL's premier art glass workshop. They had hands-on demonstrations on the art of glassblowing and invited visitors to come back and learn more. Indeed, several of the artists work tee shirts that read "Learn To Blow." However, I was surprised by the lack of safety precautions around molten glass and ovens at 2,000 degrees C. and more. Only half of them wore safety glasses (no pun intended). None wore insulated gloves or shoes. When I asked about this, one of them told me that when they go to clubs they do the glassblowers' shuffle, shaking his feet as if to throw off a piece of molten glass. I stayed the heck out of the way. Today's photo depicts one stage of the process. I like the strong hand and tool. The glass is red with heat, not just dyes.

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: Study for Player Piano No, 3a by Conlon Nancarrow. The devil's own boogie woogie.
TOMORROW: Portrait of the Artist series begins with Tom Huck at Evil Prints.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Gas Tank of the Damned

This is the gas tank of a customized Harley Davidson I saw at the Collinsville World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival. I'd like to know something about the designer and the owner of the bike who commissioned the work. It starts with a sort of Beauty and the Beast motif and then gets way darker. How would you interpret it?

I spent much of Saturday and Sunday wandering around the St. Louis artists' studios open house weekend. It's great fun to look at all the different creations. All of the artists are happy to talk about their stuff. And then, guess what? I ask if I can take their picture. It will take me a while to sort and edit it but I got such good stuff I'm thinking about an all-portraits week on STL CDPB. Would that interest anyone?

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: the St. Louis Cardinals game on the radio, driving from studio to studio. Aaron Miles hits a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth and the Cardinals defeat the San Diego Padres 9 - 5. What kind of name for a professional sports team is Padres, anyway? (Who's your daddy?)
TOMORROW: a strong hand and intense heat.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

American Gothic

American Gothic by Grant Wood is an iconic painting that hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago. It portrays a man and woman on an Iowa farm around 1930. If you are not familiar with the image, please click the first link. Gordon Parks, one of my favorite photographers, used the same title in 1942 for his famous image of a black cleaning woman in a Washington office building, dignified and worn. The people in the two pictures are very different. The common thread is the seriousness of everyday American working men and women. This is my small contribution to the genre. (Background music for the topic here.)

While I was eating my horrible carnival lunch at the World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival, I saw this man at the cash box of a beer vending truck nearby. Given my habits, I asked him if I could take his picture. He grunted assent but I couldn't get a flicker of expression. Maybe that was for the best.

WHO I'M HANGING OUT WITH TODAY: ShadowyOne, heir-apparent to the St. Louis Daily Photo fortune
TOMORROW: Gas tank of the damned

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hot Rod Lincoln

Actually, I have no idea what kind of car this started out as. It qualifies as a hot rod and I just love the song Hot Rod Lincoln by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, America's finest rockabilly band:

When I went to the Collinsville World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival I was talking about yesterday, I found there was a big classic and custom car show spread out on the grounds of the American Legion hall. Lots of cool wheels and interesting people. This photo above is a detail of the right front fender and chrome bullet headlight of something-or-other.

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: Why, Hot Rod Lincoln, of course. Oh, also the Commander's other classic, Lost In the Ozone Again.
TOMORROW: American Gothic

Friday, July 18, 2008

The World's Largest Collection of The World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things

Issam and Gigi were not the only interesting new friends I made last weekend. On Sunday, I drove out to the Illinois suburbs to shoot the Collinsville World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival. (Check the link. This is too bizarre to explain briefly.) Collinsville claims to have the world's largest catsup (not ketchup) bottle, but actually it's a big fake, a model, over the Brooks Catsup plant. I plan to have it in a post in the next few days. Turns out there was also a great classic car and custom hot rod show, more about which tomorrow.

It was there I met Erika Nelson, a self-styled "outsider artist" who runs The World's Largest Collection of The World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things, a stationary/mobile museum in/from Lucas, Kansas. Lucas is WAY out there on the remote prarie. I mean, my wife's family is from way (no caps) out on the prarie in north-central Kansas but Lucas is three hours further drive. She travels the country in her way-out mini pickup named Scout, attending odd arts events, for example, those involving giant catsup bottles. I'll try to have more pix of Scout on my Flickr site by the end of the weekend.

And if you're ever in
the neighborhood of Lucas, Kansas, do drop by!

Scout's Left Rear Quarter Panel

WEEKEND PLANS: Wandering around the city-wide St. Louis artists studio open house and asking artists if I can take their portraits.
TOMORROW: Hot Rod Lincoln

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

Some photographers avoid lens flare at all costs. I like it, if it doesn't get in the way. It makes me think of energy shot down from the heavens, like an evanescent version of the monolith in 2001. Here, the Arch is the antenna.

My Monty Python "I'm Not Dead Yet" tee shirt


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gigi and Issam

I was driving to my office last weekend, turning off the boulevard in front of the Arch, when I saw a man crossing the street with a cat on his shoulders. Skrreeeecchh, over to the curb and who cares if it's a no parking zone, it's Saturday and I can't pass this up. Out of the car, introduce myself, hi, I'm not professional, don't sell pictures, I have this blog about St. Louis, etc., etc., and would it be okay if I took a picture of you and your cat? (I will never stop thanking the superb Bobbi Lane for teaching me how to approach people like this.)

The man told me that his name is Issam Haidar but he is sometimes called Osam. He is Iraqi and fled Saddam Hussein's regime years ago, ending up in Lebanon. He spent years there, living in refugee camps and eventually in a cave outside of Beirut. He has many criticisms of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, from which he got the name of his web site, Read his story in his own words there. He refers to himself as Osam Altaee on the site. I didn't get to talk to him long enough to learn about the different names or, particularly, what brought him to St. Louis. I've emailed him offering to send him his picture and asking if I can meet him again.

Gigi is the cat he adopted in a refugee camp in Lebanon. When I got out my camera bag I asked Issam if the flash would bother her. He said, "No, she is blind." Then I noticed her face. I'm puzzled about how Gigi got into the United States with Issam - that's one of the things I'd like to talk to him about.

After our brief conversation I welcomed Issam and Gigi to our community. If I hear back from Issam there may be more in this blog.

STL DAILY PHOTO BLOG IN THE NEWS: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch interviewed me about my views on Anheuser-Busch's sale to InBev. We are losing the corporate headquarters of our iconic beer, Budweiser. The reporter found my February 1 theme post, "When People Think of St. Louis, They Think of...", featuring an icy can of Bud under the Arch. The article appears in today's newspaper. Scroll down to the end. And by the way, there's a good article in today"s New York Times about the sale and the City of St. Louis' regeneration

WHAT I'M READING: Carpe Diem: Put a Little Latin In Your Life by Harry Mount
TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series (and actually on Thursday this time)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Scenes From an Execution

Royalty and mob mix on the street in St. Louis' Soulard neighborhood in a playful re-enactment on the beheadings of King Louis and Queen Marie Antoinette. Think about that sentence for a moment.

SEEN ON THE STREET IN ST. LOUIS: A bumper sticker reading I MISS PLUTO.
TOMORROW: A blind cat named Gigi and her companion, Issam

Monday, July 14, 2008

Le jour de gloire


Happy Bastille Day to all of our French friends. For my money, France has the best, totally kick-ass national anthem with the most brilliant music in the entire world. Have any of you English speakers ever read a translation of the lyrics? It's blood in the streets, gore, violence and triumph! I just love it!

Aux armes citoyens
Formez vos bataillons

Marchons, marchons
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!

To arms citizens,
Form your battalions

March, march
Let impure blood
Water our furrows!

In these pictures, Le Roi Louis et La Reine Marie Antoinette parade through the streets of St. Louis' Soulard neighborhood, hounded by the mob, only to meet their inevitable fate. Then, naturellement, everybody went out for a few more drinks. Vive la Republique! I really love France.

TOMORROW: Scenes from an execution.
WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: La Marseilles, as orchestrated and arranged by Hector Berlioz, one of my favorite mad geniuses. That's what you hear above.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


What on earth is going on here? It's the rabble in St. Louis' Soulard neighborhood and trouble's afoot. Sorry, but you will have to come back tomorrow to find out what. Students of Romance languages, please pardon the sign painter, but no one else.

Le jour de gloire est arrivé!

What I'm Listening To: Be In, Ethel

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Why the hyphen? I don't think this dealer is talking about Ode to Joy-type brotherhood, not that alle Menschen werden Brüder wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt * stuff. I think they are talking about selling cars to brothers in the hood, ya know what I mean? Warranty optional. What's your interpretation?

* All men will become brothers under thy gentle wing, referring to Joy. Ya know, Schiller can come across as pompous BS in the 21st Century.

TOMORROW: teaser

Friday, July 11, 2008

Disoriented Some-Day-Or-Other Arch Series

I read an awful lot of medical records in my job. Part of a standard quickie psychiatric screening is whether an individual is "oriented X 3," that is, to person, place and time. 1 - Who am I? Who are you? 2 - Where are you? 3 - What time/date/year is this? How long have you been in this room? When I put together yesterday's post on Wednesday night, I flunked Number 3. I lost track of the day of the week. We could attribute the problem to a run of days in which I was exploring new dimensions in overwork or to creeping dementia. You pick.

As a result, the Thursday Arch Series appears on Friday. Everyone's entitled to an occasional mistake, right? This view of my favorite monument is from an alley in Laclede's Landing. It is an area of old warehouses north of the Arch from the days when the Mississippi was our chief means of transportation. It's been redeveloped into restaurants, bars, nightclubs and, lately, our most enormous casino-hotel complex. Pierre Laclede and August Chouteau were the French fur traders and explorers who founded St. Louis is 1764. The alley plays peek-a-boo with the the side of the Arch.

TOMORROW: Brother-Hood

Thursday, July 10, 2008

News of the Flood

The Mississippi River is falling but there is still an awful lot of water. Here, a television cameraman records the scene. The graceful arches of Eads Bridge, the first bridge over the central Mississippi, are in the background. The Casino Queen, one of our half-dozen gambling dens, is behind it. The Queen claims the loosest slot slot machines in the whole country.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series but, um, on Friday. Chinamom2005 has pointed out that I have my days of the week mixed up. I better slow down my pace.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Words of Wisdom

The inscription over the back entrance to the Saint Louis Art Museum reads "Art still has truth. Take refuge there." Do you buy it?

Here's my take: art has no direct connection to truth and everything to do with the individual experience. It is the indispensable way to share the subjective. For the hard stuff, the testable, approximately reliable, we need science. Our National Public Radio network has a weekly essay feature called "This I Believe." If I ever wrote one, I'd call it Arts & Sciences.

What's your view?

TOMORROW: Eyewitness News

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Another snap from the staging area of the PrideFest parade a week ago. This 1959 Chevrolet convertible was the car that Mayor Francis Slay, pictured below, rode in.

TOMORROW: words of wisdom

Monday, July 7, 2008

Another Side of New York

One last picture from New York City. As we walked up Lafayette Street through SoHo, we passed this person tucked beneath the scaffolding of a building being rehabbed. Note the small placard on the cart that says Smart Way. The paper handbills in the upper right advertise Mama's Food Shop.

Back to St. Louis tomorrow: Fifty-9

Sunday, July 6, 2008

On the Island Where I Was Born

A long day in Manhattan, that unique island where I arrived into the world, with my wife, my nephew Michael and the incomparable Ming the Merciless of NYC City Daily Photoblog. We started the day at South Street Seaport for a half-hour boat tour of the New York City Waterfalls Project, more about which later.

Then a hike past City Hall and the NYC Municipal Building into Chinatown for dim sum brunch at the huge, crazy and delicious Jing Fong Restaurant. More walking up Mulberry Street into through Little Italy, NoLiTa, SoHo and into the East Village.
We walked through the Union Square Greenmarket where we met Joseph Ades, pictured above, who sits at the northwest corner of the square selling stainless steel, Swiss-made vegetable peelers. This English gentlemen slices and dices with more aplomb than Ron Popeil could ever manage. He's a New York institution.

From there we took the subway uptown to Central Park after visiting the Apple Cube at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue. The striking entrance leads to a cavernous underground store. The young man in the second photo, standing outside the entrance, may be examining his new iPhone. The group trekked through the park to Bethesda Fountain and on to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where we nearly collapsed with exhaustion. It was a wonderful day plunging back into the places I loved as a boy and adolescent. Ming could not have been more generous with his time.

TOMORROW: One last picture from New York - the other side

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Fourth of July in Ridgewood, New Jersey

According to my esteemed brother-in-law, Melvin Mark, Ph.D., Chairman, Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, the caption for this picture should be:

When you're serving Corona to friends, don't be shellfish.

He suggested that I offer the photo to Corona for one million dollars, plus another million for the slogan. Seems reasonable to me. I get a commission on his part 'cause I put it on the Web.

My (other) sister and brother-in-law have a family tradition of extravagant Independence Day parties. The photo is but a sample.

TOMORROW: What happened to Ming the Merciless and Strangetastes when they took on NYC with cameras for weapons?
All images and text © Saintlouismodailyphoto and Melvin Mark, Ph.D. All use or reproduction prohibited without the express permission of the aforesaid. And I mean it. I'm a lawyer.

Friday, July 4, 2008

How To Increase Your Photoblog Traffic

Dogs or babies. Does it every time. Add a big fake plastic tongue and you just can't miss. I want to tell you. it will draw more visitors than the best architectural photo you ever made in your life. Princess here was featured in the PrideFest parade. I once saw a South Park episode about a gay dog. No idea whether our proud parade pooch caught that one.


I'm visiting family in Ridgewood, New Jersey, in the suburbs of New York City. The town has the big regional parade. These marchers are from the local American Legion post and proud of their military service. We thank them and their colleagues for all they have done for us.

I took a lot of pictures at the parade. There will be a set of them on my Flickr site when I can get some edited. Big fireworks tonight. If it doesn't rain, pix here in the morning.

TOMORROW: The Fourth of July in Ridgewood, New Jersey

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

I like this Arch photo because of of its sense of monumentality. It makes me think of a gigantic steel hammer thrust into the ground from the sky. Note the tiny people at the lower left. I just wish &#%@$! Blogger didn't compress the life out of the pictures we upload. Mitch from Minneapolis taught me to oversaturate the colors before posting an image. This still has much less richness of color than I want, particularly the tans and greens at the bottom. Any other suggestions?

Flying to Newark today to spend the holiday weekend with my family in the New Jersey suburbs of NYC. Big plans for Saturday: New York blogger extraordinaire Ming the Merciless and I are meeting to see the New York City Waterfalls project by boat and shoot them until they dry up, followed by an aimless photo trek around Manhattan. There is an amazing connection between me and Ming. In a city of eight million people, he lives on the very same block in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Queens where I grew up. Like Humphrey Bogart said to Claude Rains at the end of Casablanca, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

TOMORROW: How to increase your photoblog traffic.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


This my absolute favorite group from the PrideFest parade. They represented a florist, appropriately enough. The bee in the back of the car and in the picture below is the Queen. And all so happy. Must have lots of honey around.

Photography tip: two things helped make this a better picture. First, fill flash, and I mean a full strobe unit, not a weensy on-camera flash. The picture world be dull without it. Second, a willingness to sit or lie in the street.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

CDPB Monthly Theme Day: "No..."

Friends of this blog know that I am incapable of following the company line on theme days. BOOORRIIINNG. I've been wracking my brains for something out of the ordinary for today and couldn't come up with anything. No good "No..." signs around here that I could find. Then I thought of the wacky perturbations of my language in Japan, like the "No Smorking" sign. Did I see that myself or come across it on (Which, by the way, is a laff riot for English speakers.)

Well, by happy coincidence, I'm studying Japanese. My wife and I will visit for the third time in October. We are just fascinated by the country, even though it involves consuming large amounts of raw fish. And sometimes for breakfast. (That'll wake up an American better than a venti triple latte chased with a can of Red Bull.) Before our last trip, we took several months of conversational Japanese tutoring. Now I'm trying to brush up my miserable skills. Nihongo wa sukoshi wakarimasu demo josu jarimasu sen.* Big time.

Now, to get to the point, the character above is "no." Kind of elegant, isn't it? "No" indicates the possessive (Mr. Tanaka's dog - Tanaka-san no inu) or the English word "of." It is a hiragana, a Japanese word or sound for which there is no pictogram character (kanji). Something you need to know when you're over there. And that, gentle reader, is the most roundabout way to get to the monthly theme you may never find.

* "I speak a little Japanese but I am not skilled." Japanese speakers, please correct me if I messed this up.

Just Say No with 172 City Daily Photo Blogs today. To check the waves of prohibition as they rise around the world, click here to view thumbnails for all .

Or, pick your negation one by one from the participants:

American Fork (UT), USA by Annie, Anderson (SC), USA by Lessie, Ararat, Australia by freefalling, Arradon, France by Alice, Ashton under Lyne, UK by Pennine, Aspen (CO), USA by IamMBB, Athens, Greece by Debbie, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Avignon, France by Nathalie, Bandung, Indonesia by Harry Makertia, Barrow-in-Furness, UK by Enitharmon, Barton (VT), USA by Andree, Belgrade, Serbia by Bibi, Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA, Bicheno, Australia by Greg, Birmingham (AL), USA by VJ, Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah, Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Brantford (ON), Canada by Nancy, Brighton, UK by Harvey, Brookville (OH), USA by Abraham, Bucaramanga, Colombia by Fernando, Bucharest, Romania by Malpraxis, Budapest, Hungary by agrajag, Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Cavite, Philippines by Steven Que, Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff, Château-Gontier, France by Laurent, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chennai, India by Shantaram, Chennai, India by Ram N, Chesapeake (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Christchurch, New Zealand by Michelle, Cincinnati, USA by Erik Laursen, Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish, Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic, Corsicana (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Delta (CO), USA by Bill, Duluth (MN), USA by Sun Dog Press, Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow, East Gwillimbury, Canada by Your EG Tour Guide, Edinburgh, UK by Dido, Folkestone, UK by Piskie, Forks (WA), USA by Corinne, Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA by Gigi, Gaia, Portugal by m+p, Geneva (IL), USA by Kelly, Grenoble, France by Bleeding Orange, Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Hampton (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Haninge, Sweden by Steffe, Hanoi, Vietnam by Jérôme, Helsinki, Finland by Kaa, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Hyde, UK by Gerald, Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Jerusalem, Israel by Esther, Katonah (NY), USA by Inkster1, Knoxville (TN), USA by Knoxville Girl, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin, Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine, Lakewood (OH), USA by mouse, Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale, Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo, Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João, London, UK by Mo, London, UK by Ham, Lynchburg (VA), USA by Timothy, Mainz, Germany by JB, Melbourne, Australia by John, Menton, France by Jilly, Mexico City, Mexico by Poly, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg, Misawa, Japan by misawa mama, Monroe (GA), USA by Tanya, Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Monterrey, Mexico by rafa, Mumbai, India by MumbaiiteAnu, Munich, Germany by Troy, Nashville (TN), USA by Chris, Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben, New Delhi, India by Delhi Photo Diary, New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser, New York City (NY), USA by • Eliane •, Newcastle, Australia by Julia, Newport News (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Norfolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Norwich, UK by Goddess888, Ocean Township (NJ), USA by Josy, Oklahoma City (OK), USA by ananda.tashie, Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla, Palos Verdes (CA), USA by tash, Paris, France by Eric, Pasadena (CA), USA by Petrea, Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia by Murphy_jay, Petoskey (MI), USA by Christie, Phoenix (AZ), USA by Cheryl, Poplar Bluff (MO), USA by Tricia, Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar, Portland (ME), USA by Corey, Portsmouth (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Posadas, Argentina by Lega, Pretoria, South Africa by Sam Ruth, Quincy (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Ramsey, Isle of Man by babooshka, Reykjavik, Iceland by Vírgíll, Riga, Latvia by Riga Photos, Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke, Rouen, France by Bbsato, Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter, Saigon, Vietnam by Simon, Saint Louis (MO), USA by Strangetastes, Salem (OR), USA by jill, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by atc, San Antonio (TX), USA by Kramer, San Diego (CA), USA by Felicia, San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson, Santa Fe (NM), USA by Randem, Seattle (WA), USA by Kim, Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck, Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound, Sequim (WA), USA by Norma, Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia, Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa, Sharon (CT), USA by Jenny, Silver Spring (MD), USA by John, Singapore, Singapore by Keropok, Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia, Springfield (IL), USA by Aubrey, Stanwood (WA), USA by MaryBeth, Stavanger, Norway by Tanty, Stayton (OR), USA by Celine, Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo, Stouffville, Canada by Ken, Stratford, Canada by Barb, Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC, Suffolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge, Sydney, Australia by Julie, Sydney, Australia by Ann, Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo, Tamarindo, Costa Rica by David, Tel-Aviv, Israel by Olga, Tempe (AZ), USA by angie, Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K, Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas, The Hague, Netherlands by Lezard, Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine, Torun, Poland by Glenn, Toulouse, France by Julia, Trujillo, Peru by Giulianna, Turin, Italy by Livio, Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger, Victoria, Canada by Benjamin Madison, Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2, Virginia Beach (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin, Washington (DC), USA by D.C. Confidential, Wellington, New Zealand by Jeremyb, West Paris (ME), USA by crittoria, West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara, Weston (FL), USA by WestonDailyPhoto, Williamsburg (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Willits (CA), USA by Elaine,