Sunday, August 31, 2008

STL CDPB On The Road: Not the Rainforest, Not Seattle - Tacoma!

On our way back to Seattle from the Olympic Peninsula. we stopped in Tacoma, Washington to visit the Museum of Glass, a very cool place to see and learn about art glass. The Seattle - Tacoma region, perhaps because of the fame of Tacoma native Dale Chihuly. The building's architectural signature is the tilted cone that contains the Hot Shop, an amphitheater surrounding a set of glass ovens and work space.

WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY: meeting an old friend for brunch at Lowell's, a local institution overlooking Elliott Bay, and then going to the Seattle Art Museum.

TOMORROW: CDPB monthly theme day - sister cities

SPECIAL THANKS to Corinne of Forks, Washington CDPB and her husband for their hospitality when we visited their delightful forest town a couple of days ago. You can see what I actually look like here.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

STL CDPB On The Road: Rainforest

Mrs. S.T. and I are enjoying a few days on the western side of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, one of the few temperate rainforests in the world. It's wet and there's a jungle out there. No gorillas in this jungle but there are elk. I got some pix of a couple of baby elk feeding in the forest yesterday. Some of them will go on Flickr if I ever get this truckload of pix edited. Remember John Cleese's line when playing Mr. Gumby in Monte Python, "I would put a tax on holiday snaps"? It would bankrupt me.

Anyway, everybody's favorite little beast in this area is the ubiquitous banana slug, something like a snail without a shell that can grow to several inches long. They live live in the slow lane, peeking around with those eye stalks you can see above. They won't hurt you (or you them) if you pick them up but they will slime your hand. The park ranger in the lower picture knows how to deal with it.

WHAT I'M LOOKING AT WHILE I WRITE THIS: Lake Quinault, Washington.

TOMORROW: I'll be getting to Seattle on Saturday. Could be something from there, could be another from the rainforest. Come back and see.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Portrait of an Irish Dancer

All of the Irish dancers at the Festival of Nations wore these wacky super-curly wigs. The announcer said it had to do with some tradition but I couldn’t understand all the details. If anyone knows the reason, please leave a comment. Anyway, the women looked really strange close up. I decided to add an extra layer of strangeness.

WHAT’S WET: us. Our stuff. It is a rainforest, you know.

TOMORROW: maybe I’ll have Internet service and post something from out here. Maybe silence. (ShadowyOne…?) Don’t know yet.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Irish Dancer

One of the groups of ethnic dancers at the Festival of nations was Irish. This is the kind of kick-your-legs ramrod-spine dancing popularized by that show Lord of the Dance or Lord of the Rings or Lord of the Flies or whatever it was. In this style, the legs flail every which way while the rest of the body from the hips up remains as motionless as possible and the face is drained of expression. It’s like making love in a straightjacket, like aerobics for people with completely fused spines. I don’t get it, even though I am of Irish heritage. In fact, I don’t believe that real traditional dancers in Ireland do this stuff. I think a constipated choreographer looking for a big stage hit made it up.

WHAT’S MAKING ME GO AAHHH… : the Pacific Ocean is on one side of us and the temperate rainforest on the other. I think it’s heaven, but then I’m Strangetastes.

TOMORROW: one of the friends of today’s dancer, with some Photoshopical interpretation.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

St. Louis International Festival - More African Dancers

A final picture of the West African dance and drum performers at the Festival of Nations. It captures some of the energy and joy of their act.

WHAT'S ON THE WEDNESDAY MORNING AGENDA: driving from here to here by this route. At last.

TOMORROW: The Festival of Nations entertainment turns to Ireland. The Thursday Arch Series is on vacation with me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Master African Drummers

The dancers in yesterday's post were backed up by these drummers and their colleagues. The man above was the leader. He said that he studied and worked for many years with with the great dancer, choreographer and anthropologist Katherine Dunham, who lived for many years in East St. Louis, Illinois. He left to study dance, music and culture in tropical West Africa, then returned to East St. Louis and formed his troupe. I did not learn his name. The MC referred to him as Sun or Son. He played with ferocious intensity. That concentration and dedication has been passed on to his student, below.

WHAT GOOD STUFF IS ON FOR TONIGHT: leaving for Seattle this evening.

TOMORROW: not the last dancers but the last of these for now.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Festival of Nations - African Dancers

.St. Louis has an annual end-of-summer Festival of Nations in Tower Grove Park, sponsored by our International Institute. St. Louisans from around the world show off their crafts, cuisine and performing arts. This group is the Community Performance Ensemble, West African dancers and drummers based in East St. Louis, Illinois. They were hot.

WHAT I'M ASKING MYSELF: when am I going to stop fooling around with pictures and start to pack for the trip?

TOMORROW: master drummers.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Under the Viaduct in HDR

There are old commercial areas north and south of the park the Arch sits in. Few people are around on weekends but I'm often there. It's quiet and uncrowded and there are interesting things to see. This is the empty street under I 55 just before it runs up onto the bridge to Illinois (the one in Friday's post). It's dim and shadowy. The features are not distinct. HDR turns it into an glowing arcade.

WHAT SATISFIED MY OPERA LUST LAST NIGHT: our smaller local company, Union Avenue Opera, is doing Carmen. She's so baaad, she's fabulous. And that Don Jose - what a sap! Si je t'aime, prend garde a toi!

TOMORROW: who said this town is a provincial backwater?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Keep On Truckin' In HDR

Most HDR pictures I've seen feature views of spectacular natural beauty, overstated to get to get the viewer's attention. I'm interested in what else you can do with it - urban and industrial images, interiors with great variety of light intensity, even macros. The top of this truck trailer has translucent plastic panels on top to let working light inside. HDR makes it glow.

WHAT WE CELEBRATED ON FRIDAY: ShadowyOne's birthday, as I mentioned yesterday, and U "R" Us' job offer as director of web development at a hot developer of complex web sites.

TOMORROW: HDR in the shadows under the highway.

Friday, August 22, 2008

HDR in Perspective (Poplar Street Bridge)

This picture was taken from the Missouri side of the Mississippi River looking east southeast toward Illinois. It is under the bridge that carries Interstates 55, 64 and 70 across the Big Muddy. It has an official name but nobody remembers what it is. Everybody calls it the Poplar Street Bridge.

I like this HDR better than some of the others because the light is strange and attractive. It looks like there is a low sun right over the far side of the bridge that somehow also illuminates the underside of the deck. If you look at the angles of light and shadow on the right you can tell that the sun was actually to my right and a bit behind me. I don't know enough about HDR yet to explain why this happened but it's kind of cool. Also like the ghostly car in the lower left.

WHAT'S A BIG RELIEF: no more legal hearings for two weeks (yippie!) and a week in the beautiful Pacific Northwest coming soon.

TOMORROW: keep on truckin' in HDR.

AND ONE MORE THING: happy birthday to team member ShadowyOne, our big kid. The family is going out to some new fusion restaurant tonight she's interested in. Hope it's not cold fusion.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

St. Louis' Gateway Arch in an HDR image. It doesn't exactly look like what my eyes and brain usually register as a photograph. You might think it was a painting. If I came upon this with no knowledge of the context, just looking at an image, I would be unsure whether it was interesting or trite junk. What do you think?

WHAT'S NICE ABOUT WHERE I AM RIGHT NOW: it's quiet. I'm in my home office, my son's old bedroom. There's just the ostinato of air in the ducts and my fingers on the keyboard. No other demands on my attention. It's quiet.

TOMORROW: HDR in perspective.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

HDR - Across the Mississippi

I'm learning how to make high dynamic range or HDR digital photographs. The idea is that you shoot a scene that has a lot of variation between light and dark, take 3, 5 or 7 images with bracketed exposures from very dark to very light and use software to blend them into one hyper-real image that preserves the whole range. Photoshop can do it. However, a program called Photomatix gives you much greater control of the picture merge. Then you can twiddle the details in Photoshop. My thanks to Greg of View From the Tundra, a Minneapolis daily photo blog, for giving me some guidance in this and telling me about Photomatix. Greg posts a lot of great HDR pix and he's an excellent photographer. So, this is an early attempt, showing a railroad bridge over the Mississippi not far south of the Arch. It reminds me of the kind of color and tonal range in old Technicolor movies.

Here's a good, simple tutorial for making HDRs. There's even a discount code to get a break if you buy Photomatix online.

some down time. Work hours have been just plain stupid lately. Again, I apologize for so few comments on others' blogs. I get seven days relief starting a week from now.

Thursday Arch Series in HDR

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The City Museum - A Few Last Critters

Getting tired of all these pictures of the City Museum? Our little friend on top seems to be and looks like he or she is headed off for a lizard nap. It's keeping its ears open, though, in case of trouble such as intrusive photographers. The other pictures below are of this and that around the museum's World Aquarium, including - can that be right? - an apparently submerged U "R" Us. That's it from the City Museum for now.

WHAT DOESN'T TASTE GOOD: eew, this Spanish red wine I started to sip tastes like it has almond extract mixed into it. Down the drain.

it's dynamic.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The City Museum - Path to Inner Peace


Odds and ends from the City Museum. Near the temple of corn dogs featured a few days ago is a refreshments stand, selling popcorn and soft drinks for a dollar. Don't they have to buy gasoline? The sign above promotes a philosophy of life rejected by Buddha and Jesus, to name but two prophets, yet joyfully embraced by many of my fellow Americans. It doesn't work in the end. The picture on the left shows an artifact hanging around (nyuk nyuk nyuk) at the World Aquarium area for no obvious reason. Ladies, was there anyone like this at your high school?

WHAT I'M VISUALIZING: nine nights from now I'll be gazing at the Pacific Ocean and sea stacks on the western shore of Washington's Olympic Penninsula.

TOMORROW: a few final critters from the City Museum, then maybe on to a different topic. I've got something up my sleeve.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The City Museum - Snakes!

I don't know much about herpetology but I know a good looking snake when I see one. Despite the fact that many members of this family are high and dry, there are a number of examples in the World Aquarium at the City Museum.

The official theme song of today's post is one of my all-time favorite ditties, Frank Zappa's Baby Snakes:

the dollar is up! The euro is down! The pound is down! Maybe I can afford to visit Europe next year.

TOMORROW: guidance for achieving inner peace from the City Museum. And, if I feel like it, maybe a lagniappe, like a werewolf in a high school letter jacket.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The City Museum - Strange Swimmy Things

The City Museum has a large area it calls the World Aquarium. The name is a bit overblown. It's a big space filled with a haphazard, slightly tacky assortment of wet displays, some of which are quite interesting. Look closely at this. It's a tiny bug-eyed fish, maybe 75 mm long, that seems to keep its gaze half over and half under the water. The better to see you with, my dear.

SCIENCE UPDATE: thanks to commenter jm from Portugal for identifying this fish as a member of the genus anableps and to my wife for her research revealing that these critters have four eyes, two for under the water, two for above. See here for info.

WHAT BROUGHT A SMILE TO ME TODAY: I got an unexpected call from my old, dear friend Jessie, wanting to confirm that my wife and I will be in Seattle over Labor Day weekend (and we will). She gave me a few ideas about restaurants that I think she'd like us to take her to. We'd be delighted.

TOMORROW: Snakes! In a museum!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The City Museum - Chutes, Slides and a Pipe Organ

The building that houses the City Museum used to be a shoe warehouse. That was one of the biggest industries here but now it's all overseas. Referring to that business, Anheuser-Busch and the long-gone St. Louis Browns baseball team, there was once a saying that St. Louis was "first in shoes, first in booze and last in the American League."

There is an air shaft in the center of the old building. The directors of the museum have filled the tall, narrow space with a pipe organ and a labyrinth of spiral chutes and slides. You can get the general idea from the top picture. The bottom photos show people hanging around and sliding down them.

WHAT REALLY NICE THING HAPPENED TODAY: I was invited to photograph the annual blessing of the animals at the local Episcopal cathedral. Somebody saw my offer on the blog to contact me about shooting community events and sent me an email. That's going to be fun. Not until October 4, though.

TOMORROW: more from the City Museum (this could go on forever). This time it's their World Aquarium.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

The south leg on a summer day. I like the way it seems to erupt out of the ground at an angle. That's U "R" Us and a certain special someone entwined on the bench in the lower right while Mrs. Strangetastes, in the green shirt, plays the liberal chaperon.

WHAT I'M READING: The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, by Leonard Mlodinow, a physics professor at Caltech. In a review of the book, Stephen Hawking says that "Mlodinow provides readers with a wonderfully readable guide to how the mathematical laws of randomness affect our lives. With insight he shows how the hallmarks of chance are apparent in the course of events all around us. The understanding of randomness has brought about profound changes in the way we view our surroundings, and our universe." I love this kind of stuff.

TOMORROW: I have reviewed the order of the days of the week. Today is Thursday, hence the Arch. Tomorrow is Friday, so anything goes. It's the chutes, ladders and grand pipe organ at the core of the City Museum.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The City Museum - Homage to the Corn Dog


The corn dog is an American culinary artifact, not found on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food pyramid for healthy eating. It consists of a hot dog covered in cornmeal batter, deep fried and served on a stick. You are most likely to find it at a fair or carnival.

For some reason, the City Museum has a little shrine to corn dogs is a quiet part of the top floor. St. Louis Cardinal great Stan Musial swings a corn dog instead of a baseball bat. There is a large occult sign of the Ancient and Mysterious Order of the Corn Dog. It is displayed over a warning that "corndog mysticism has been definitively proven to contain or advocate trickery, treachery, mummery, pageantry, tomfoolery, buffoonery, sophistry, wizardry, lechery, debauchery, laissez faire capitalism, socialism and Bohemianism." I'll take some of those! The bottom photo shows a series of three Andy Warhol pictures with former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle and his wife Marilyn in front of a corn dog stand. And there's more, but this is enough for a blog post.

It's so strange.

WHAT HAPPENED AT WORK YESTERDAY: I met a new client who is from Bangalore, India. Not a common event.

TOMORROW: I was going to post something else from the City Museum but VJ reminds me that tomorrow is Thursday, Arch day. Oh oh! Losing track of the day of the week again. Was I supposed to work this hard when I got this old? The Arch it is.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The City Museum - Ball Pen


Under the bridges, turrets, tunnels and derelict Sabre jets featured in yesterday's post about Monstro City are a couple of pens or cages or I don't know what, full of light plastic balls. Kids love it. They tumble around on the spheres, bury themselves beneath the balls and then suddenly pop up, barraging their friends. Adults were sitting on the edges, just watching. Why didn't any of them dive in? I probably would.

WHAT MADE ME FEEL GOOD TODAY: I was leaving a legal hearing in the suburbs to drive back to my office downtown. I turned on the Vox channel on XM Satellite Radio and they were playing Philip Glass' Satyagraha, about the life of the young Gandhi in South Africa. It's my favorite opera of the 20th Century. This is a minority opinion but I think it's fabulous.

TOMORROW: the City Museum's homage to the corn dog.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The City Museum - Monstro City

Every kid's favorite part of the City Museum is Monstro City. The museum's web site asks the question, "What happens when you mix two Saber 40 aircraft fuselages, a fire engine, a castle turret, a 25' tall cupola and several 4' wide wrought-iron slinkies, and the creativity of CITY MUSEUM Creative Director Bob Cassilly and his crew? The result is MonstroCity, the most monumental, monolithic, monstrous montage of monkey bars in the world." I'm a bit old and creaky for this but that"s U "R" Us in the picture just below on the right.

WHAT I'M GLAD FOR All the family social obligations of the last week and a half are over. I love to see them but I'm happy the quiet is back, too.

TOMORROW A ball game, of sorts, at the City Museum.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The City Museum - Entrance Halls


The City Museum is the wackiest place in St. Louis. I'm sorry I haven't had it on the blog before - it's been a few years since I've been inside. It is hard to describe, not a museum in the conventional sense. The Wikipedia article gives an overview. You can take a photo tour here. The Museum is full of strange urban artifacts arranged in a joyous, haphazard manner and emphasizes things to crawl through, climb on and slide down. Look carefully are these pictures just inside the entrance and find them.

WHAT I DID TOO MUCH OF YESTERDAY: 1) eat - lunch with the family at Duff's, a local institution, followed by an enormous (and very late) dinner at home with our children and their significant others. 2) take pictures, 452 of them, all RAW, at the City Museum. That's how I work. It costs nothing to press the shutter of a digital camera. Sorting, cutting and editing is another matter.

TOMORROW: more from the City Museum - Monstro City.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Holy Corners, Part 1


Kingshighway is the main north-south boulevard through the center of the City of St. Louis proper. It passes through both grand and simple neighborhoods and forms the eastern boundary of Forest Park, the U.S.'s largest urban park. Every local college student taking introduction to art history is sent to a two-block section that holds a summary of Greco-Roman architecture: a line of four lovely buildings with Doric, Ionian and Corinthian columns. Along with neighboring historic structures, the intersection of Kingshighway and Washington Avenue is known as Holy Corners.

The southern end contains Tuscan Masonic Temple, built in 1907-1908, and the First
Church of Christ, Scientist, from 1903. The Doric Order of Greek architecture featured fluted columns with 20 concave vertical grooves and a plain, unadorned base and capital. The Tuscan Temple takes a pure, simple approach while the Christian Science Church surrounds the Doric columns with a more ornate Italian style.

WHAT'S ON TODAY: U "R" Us is in town with his special friend. We're going to the City Museum, America's wackiest, hardest to describe sort of a museum with lots of large, strange things to climb on.

TOMORROW: The Ionian Order. No, change of topic. This is boring, the lighting of these pictures is harsh and the composition is unimaginative. Let's go right to the City Museum.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Two Last Pictures from Kansas

Top: my mother in law's car. Its golden end pokes out of a dark garage on a brilliant Kansas day. The Pontiac has about 160,000 miles / 265,000 km on it and runs like a top. Never been in a drag race, I guarantee.

Bottom: sunset over my brother in law's farm. Cherokee Road, pictured Wednesday, runs between the soybeans in the foreground and the corn in the background. The picture has been wildly pumped up in Photoshop for that postcard look. This is not the kind of photography I like but, hey, people's tastes vary.

WHAT I TENTATIVELY DECIDED NOT TO DO TODAY: participate in the September 1 theme day. It just doesn't grab me. The only way I'd change my mind is if my law partner and her sister (and paralegal) agree to pose in this city. We've all worked together for twenty-something years. They are on vacation (together) this week so I can't ask them right now.

TOMORROW: the first of a three-part architecture series - Greek columns on Kingshighway.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

I usually avoid postcard shots but I'm low on inventory and short on time so here's one anyway. Besides, I usually show just parts of the Arch, not the whole thing, and I've rarely included the reflecting pools.

going to the Cardinals baseball game with my daughter, son in law and his parents who are up from Houston. I don't have time to go but I'm going anyway.

TOMORROW: two last pictures from Kansas. 1) a Pontiac; 2) a cheap shot, picture-postcard, Photoshop-steroid-enhanced image of a Kansas sunset. Oooh. Aaah.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Immanuel Lutheran School, Hermansberg, Kansas

Immanuel Lutheran School, out all alone among the farms, is where my wife and her siblings received their elementary education. All the children of her brother who took over the farm went there, too. It operated for 127 years until the rural population became too small to support it. Hermansberg isn't really a town. It may have been once but now it's just an area in the countryside. Tiny Bremen (see yesterday's post) is the nearest cluster of homes. The school is preserved as a museum by the still-active church where the family reunion was held Sunday. I'd never been in it before. About these images (click to enlarge):

Top: the California Test of Mental Maturity (whatever that means - and do they
have mental maturity in California?) my wife took on October 23, 1953 when she was nine. I don't know about her mental maturity. She married me.

Top row of composite: left and right, school books from years past. Note the books in German. The population were mostly immigrants from the north of Germany (hence Bremen and Hanover) and my wife's grandparents spoke German at home. My father-in-law was pretty impressed that I could recite the Lord's Prayer in German, even though I learned it in a Catholic high school. Center, a brief note from my nephew Tom (the one who more or less saved my life last Friday night - see Saturday's post) about his opinion on the local education system.

Bottom row of composite: left, the sign outside the school. Right, one of the two schoolrooms.

how few comments I have left on your blogs lately, particularly those of you who have been so kind as to leave comments on mine. I've been exploring new dimensions in overwork in my day job and getting these posts together with duct tape and twine.

back to the Thursday Arch Series, postcard version, not artsy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cherokee Road, Bremen, Kansas

I mentioned on Saturday that my mother-in-law lives in the small town of Hanover, Kansas. The family farm, now owned by my wife's youngest brother and his wife, is several miles outside the hamlet of Bremen. A Kansas state web site says that the population is 347 but that must include the outlying farms. My wife always said the town proper had 45 - 50 people. Yet, there is a post office, a bar and and a farmers insurance company.

There aren't paved roads back here. The county roads are gravel, on a grid one mile apart and are graded periodically. When the weather is dry, passing cars kick up a big cloud of dust. Cherokee Road runs east - west past the family farm. Here, a car driving into the sunset stirs up the baking Kansas soil.

WHAT I LISTENED TO IN THE CAR DRIVING BACK FROM KANSAS CITY YESTERDAY MORNING: Pimsleur's Japanese, Level 1, Lessons 18 and 19. Hajimemashite, dozo yoroshiku.

TOMORROW: Kansas school days.

Monday, August 4, 2008

America's Breadbasket

Part of he Farmers Co-op grain elevator in Hanover, Kansas. It looks both sculptural and industrial. One of the nice things about driving around Hanover taking pictures is that whenever a car or pickup goes by in the other direction the drivers always wave hi, despite the fact that they have no idea who I am.

WHAT I DID LAST NIGHT: Stopped in Kansas City for the night on my way back to St. Louis and went to dinner in the new Power and Light District. Wasn't that impressed. A little two corporate, a little too plastic and they won't allow big cameras in the central enclosed plaza. They're no fun.
TOMORROW: Probably a little more prairie grass.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Family Pictures, Hanover, Kansas

My mother-in-law and late father-in-law sold the family farm years ago to my wife's youngest brother and his wife. They moved to a small, neatly kept house in nearby Hanover, Kansas, population 653. I posted several shots of Hanover when I was last there in November, 2007. Scan the archives for that month just search for Hanover.

My wife is the oldest of six. Their portraits hang over my mother-in-law's bed. My wife's picture is the one at the top. I think it's a gorgeous portrait, beautifully lit and posed. The subject's not so bad, either. It's an American story: girl from a farm in Kansas, boy from a cramped apartment in New York City, met in a bar in St. Louis on St. Patrick's day and now together 34 years.

WHAT MADE ME THINK THE WORLD IS SMALL: Driving across the open Kansas prairie, listing to Tristan und Isolde on satellite radio. Oh, and the owner of the motel where we always stay is Mr. Patel.
TOMORROW: More from Kansas.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

STL CDPB On the Road: Kansas City (Portrait of Cameron)

The nomenclature gets confusing. This young man is my wife's brother's grandson. How do you define his relationship to me? Grand nephew-in-law? Anyway, Cameron here is nine weeks old and the hit of the show. Most of my wife's family in the KC area got together Friday night at Cafe Trio. Cate, you were right. It was terrific.

WHAT WAS, UH, A BIT EXCITING: I don't eat much red meat but, heck, I was in Kansas City so I ordered a Kansas City strip steak. Talking too much, eating too fast, and - oops - I got an inadequately chewed chunk of steak stuck at the junction of my trachea and esophagus. Oh oh!. My nephew Tom did the Heimlich on me and up it came. Cameron's mother, a doctor, looked horrified. I had another swig of wine, no worse for the crisis.
TOMORROW: Likely something from Marshall or Washington County, Kansas, but I haven't shot it yet.

Friday, August 1, 2008

CDPB Monthly Theme Day: Metal

Um, what's big and steel and St. Louis all over? Why, the world's greatest monumental sculpture and my Thursday obsession, of course. Add a short meditation on metallurgy and, ladies and gentlemen, meine damen und herren, mesdames et messieurs, we have Metal Theme Day.

WHAT'S ON FOR THE WEEKEND: Kansas City tonight and way out onto the Kansas prairie on Saturday for my wife's family's annual get together. Really nice people and beautiful area - I love to shoot it. The forecast for the party on Sunday is blazing skies, wilting corn stalks and 102 F. / 39 C.
TOMORROW: Beats me. Might be something from tonight in Kansas City. Might be something from the archives.

183 varieties of metallic oxides are slowly decomposing on City Daily Photo Blogs today. Have a look.
Albuquerque (NM), USA by Helen, Aliso Viejo (CA), USA by Rodney, American Fork (UT), USA by Annie, Anderson (SC), USA by Lessie, Ararat, Australia by freefalling, Arradon, France by Alice, Aspen (CO), USA by IamMBB, Athens, Greece by Debbie, Auckland, New Zealand by Baruch, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Bandung, Indonesia by Harry Makertia, Bandung, Indonesia by Eki Akhwan, Bandung, Indonesia by Bunyamin, Barrow-in-Furness, UK by Enitharmon, Barton (VT), USA by Andree, 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, Bucharest, Romania by Malpraxis, Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt, Budapest, Hungary by agrajag, Budapest, Hungary by Isadora, Buenos Aires, Argentina by Karine, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff, Château-Gontier, France by Laurent, Chateaubriant, France by Bergson, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chennai, India by Ram N, Chesapeake (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Cincinnati, USA by Erik Laursen, City of the Blue Mountains, Australia by Richard, Corsicana (TX), USA by Lake Lady, East Gwillimbury, Canada by Your EG Tour Guide, Edinburgh, UK by Dido, Edmonton (AL), Canada by , Evry, France by Olivier, Folkestone, UK by Piskie, Forks (WA), USA by Corinne, Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA by Gigi, Gabriola, Canada by Snapper, Geneva (IL), USA by Kelly, Greenville (SC), USA by Denton, Grenoble, France by Bleeding Orange, Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Hamilton, New Zealand by Sakiwi, Hampton (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Haninge, Sweden by Steffe, Hanoi, Vietnam by Jérôme, Helsinki, Finland by Kaa, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Hyde, UK by Old Hyde, Hyde, UK by Gerald, Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Jerusalem, Israel by Esther, Kansas City (MO), USA by Cate B, 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, Leipzig, Germany by weltbeschreiber, Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl, Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João, London, UK by Ham, London, UK by Mo, Lynchburg (VA), USA by June, Mainz, Germany by JB, Manila, Philippines by Heyokity, Mashhad, Iran by Meead, Melbourne, Australia by John, Melbourne, Australia by Mblamo, Menton, France by Jilly, Mesa (AZ), USA by Mesa Daily Photo, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Middletown (MD), USA by Bernie, Milwaukee (WI), USA by karl, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Scott, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg, Misawa, Japan by misawa mama, Molfetta, Italy by saretta, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Monterrey, Mexico by rafa, Mumbai, India by MumbaiiteAnu, Mumbai, India by Magiceye, Nancy, France by yoshi, 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 Ming 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