Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Early Spring, Japanese Garden

Seiwa-en, the Japanese garden, is my favorite part of the Missouri Botanical Garden. The name means the garden of pure, clear harmony and peace. It's not Kyoto but it's pretty damn good. This bridge or pathway runs just along the shore of a little lake. It has no direction. It doesn't go anywhere. Perhaps that is its lesson.

WHAT'S FINALLY HITTING ME OVER THE HEAD: OMG, it's just eight days until le voyage de notre trente-cinquième anniversaire de la mariage. Better study my vocabulary, vite!

CDPB monthly theme day - yellow.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Snow

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
So said poet and St. Louis native T. S. Elliott in the opening sentence of The Wasteland. It may not quite be April but close enough. This was the scene Sunday morning in the Missouri Botanical Garden after a wet spring snow fell overnight. The sun was out by noon and it all melted away.

My theme day picture. I hope you are amused.

TOMORROW: zig zag.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Forest Park, Spring Rain

The first flowering trees of spring have popped open in St. Louis over the last week. Saturday was chilly and damp but I thought it would make for subtle colors in Forest Park. A lot of the central US was supposed to get some snow last night. If we have any and I can get my butt out of bed early enough, I'll see what I can make of it in the Missouri Botanical Garden.

WHAT SATURDAY NIGHT'S FORECAST MADE ME THINK OF: Spring Snow, the exquisite novel by Yukio Mishima.


There's a bunch more New Orleans photos on Flickr here, with scenes of high life and low life on Bourbon Street.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hook, Ladder and Flag

As I've shown before, the St. Louis Fire Department goes to public events with two gigantic hook and ladder trucks and suspends an enormous flag from their cranes. This shot is from the St. Patrick's Day parade. I like it because almost all that shows of the flag is the swooping red and white stripes.

1. Ahhhhh. I was exploring new dimensions in overwork this past week. It's over and next week isn't so bad. Might actually get some shooting in today. 2. Woo hoo! Three of my pictures were accepted for the next group show at the Soulard Art Market gallery. Never had my stuff in a gallery for sale before. They've all been on the blog: this one (top photo), this one and this one (top photo). 3. Oh oh! Mrs. C.'s mew hip replacement popped out of the socket last night. I'm actually writing this in a hospital ER (with free WiFi - how considerate). They just popped it back in and we'll be home in a while.

Saturday Morning Note:
our patient is fine. The doctors waited until the short-lasting anesthesia wore off and then sent us home. Thank heavens we're among the Americans who have health insurance.

to be determined but, as I said, I hope to shoot some new stuff today.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Old Technology

This is another view of the old power plant along the Mississippi that was in my post of March 8. It's interesting to see how it appears to have been built in different sections over time with differing colors and forms. Today, it all makes an interlocking whole.

I'm a lawyer, as most readers know, and I specialize in helping people get Social Security disability benefits. I was invited to speak to rheumatology grand rounds at the Washington University School of Medicine about Social Security disability's impact on physicians and their patients. After all, we serve the same people. The docs said they found it very informative.

I'm still dumpster diving for St. Louis pictures. Fortunately, the work pressure has eased up some and I hope to shoot some new material this weekend.

, I've added a bunch more New Orleans photos to the set on Flickr. Click here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

Stupid Arch tricks. I'm out of fresh ideas and keep making these HDR pictures that look like cover illustrations for science fiction novels. I need to clean out my head and eyes. I need more time to go out shooting. I need a sabbatical from work. Well, maybe I need more realistic goals.

Compare the Arch photo posted today on GATEWAY. It was shot three and a half years ago, at the time this obsession began. it's simpler, more elegant. It's better work in my view. But then i stop an think - does this photo have something legitimate to say on its own? See what you think.

On another note, thanks to my friend
Juergen Kuehn of Marburg, Germany, Daily Photo for nominating me for a Kreative Blogger award. I am honored that this is the second time one of our CDPB colleagues has done so. The blog is a labor of love or clinical disorder but I'm not sure which.

TOMORROW: I'll find something about St. Louis. Just don't know what yet.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

STL DPB On The Road - Neighborhoods of New Orleans

We got off the tourist circuit in New Orleans over the weekend. One stop was a monthly outdoor art market at the corner of Piety and Royal Streets in the Bywater neighborhood. I have no idea what this nearby building once was but it obviously called attention to itself.

New Orleans has the best street names of any city in the US, such as the just-mentioned Piety; several of the Muses, including Erato, Thalia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Polymnea and Euterpe; Religious; Felicity; Elysian Fields; Treasure; Abundance and, of course, Desire. Oh, and St. Louis Street. This supposed to be a St. Louis blog.

I added several more pictures to my New Orleans set on Flickr yesterday.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch series.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

STL DPB On The Road - Among the Dead Of New Orleans

New Orleans is famous for its above-ground cemeteries, created many years ago because wooden caskets, full of air, would easily float up to the surface. We visited two last weekend and I took an absurd number of pictures.. This design was necessary many years ago because, with the city's high water table and soggy soil, wooden caskets filled with air would float to the surface. I might post one more day of NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) since it's another slam-bang week at work. This photo may not be of St. Louis but at least it's St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.

There is a growing set of my New Orleans photos on Flickr here.

By the way, I regret that I've had to start word verification on Comments. I've had a long spam comment in Chinese every day since late last week. I'll turn this off in a couple of weeks and see if the bad guys have gone away.

Monday, March 23, 2009

STL DPB On The Road - More From New Orleans

A quick note from NOLA, since I do have business here this morning. New Orleans is famous for its cemeteries with above-ground tombs. There are many personal memorials, ranging from touching to bizarre.

Home this afternoon.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Our Second Anniversary

Two years and 736 posts ago, St. Louis Daily Photo Blog was hatched. It's gotten me out to explore my own city, meet interesting people, shoot the world from Shanghai to London and learn a lot about photography. So here I am again, out in the street (Bourbon Street in New Orleans this time), doing what I like best, taking street portraits. It's an awful lot of work but it's worth it.

Thanks to all the many visitors and commentators. Look back from time to time. Who knows what image lurks around the next corner?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

STL DPP On The Road: New Orleans

I have some law biz here in the Big Easy Monday. Since Mrs. C. is approaching one month from her hip replacement, I thought it would be nice to give her a treat and spend the weekend here. Pure altruism, right? After dinner at the restaurant Iris in the French Quarter (which is fabulous, by the way) we walked around for a bit. Chef Madden was on the street behind his restaurant having a smoke break. The light on him was fabulous. I told him so and asked if I could take his picture. Once again, I am so grateful to Bobbi Lane, the best teacher I've ever had in my life, for teaching me how to approach people like this.

More from NOLA as I wander around this weekend.

WHAT'S TOMORROW? The second anniversary of this blog. Have to do something about that.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Love A Parade

From the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Some day in my spare time (ha!) I'd like to learn about the anthropology of parades. Almost all peoples do it, but why? What's the personal and social payoff? My guess is that its roots are in religious processions and the triumphal struts of military victors. If our readers know anything about this, please tell us in a comment.

5:00 - UP! 6:00 - this blog post is uploaded. Leave home for a hearing out in the boonies. 7:30 - meet client. 8:00 - appear at hearing in boonies. 9:00 - zoom back to office in St. Louis. 10:30 - frantically try to clear desk. 13:00 - fail to clean desk. Zoom home. 13:30 - frantically finish packing. 15:30 - arrive at airport. 17:00 - AA flight 5350 departs STL. 18:50. - AA 5350 arrives MSY. 20:00 - arrive at swanky hotel with low low recession prices. 20:30 - dinner in the Vieux Carre. 22:30 - Plop. Blink. Zzzzz.

I honestly don't know. Maybe something from the parade. Maybe something from tonight's destination. Maybe I won't have time to get something posted.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

Another HDR image of the Arch in black and white. This isn't the way the HDR manuals tell you to do it. They tell you to always use a tripod. I do most of mine handheld. I really like the ghosting effect of something moving through the picture (my best example, I think, is this one). They must be out there somewhere, but I haven't seen any other HDRs in B&W. You can have all sorts of fun manipulating the tones in Photoshop. This almost looks like an infrared image.

1. AIG. 2. Bernard Madoff. 3. My 401(k) rate of return.

I love a parade.

There is a new Arch photo today on GATEWAY.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Portraits of St. Louis Artists - Scott Beatty

We come to the end of the series of portraits of artists and their work I shot recently at Soulard Art Market. This might be the best photograph of the set, considerations of the artists and art work aside. I was making a comical effort to light most of these portraits with off-camera remote-controlled flashes, something I'm just learning. This one, however, worked well.

Beatty is an interesting guy. He spent twenty years in the navy as a submarine crewman, mostly in reconnaissance. He told me just briefly (security, you know) about picking up Navy Seals in the open ocean, with no knowledge of where they came from or the nature of their mission. His artistic project is called Vision For Vets (web site in production). This particular work is called Voyage of Faith. The craftsmanship is amazing, as you can see in the lower picture. Each of those tiny screw eyes had to be set in precisely made pilot holes made with a micro-drill. The local supplier ran out of the part and Beatty had to make the rest himself from brass wire.

I had a disability hearing for a man with a complex combination of insulin-dependent diabetes with diabetic neuropathy and kidney disease, circulatory disorder in his legs, heart disease and sleep apnea. Yet he continued to work as a systems analyst until a layoff. The number of doctors he has seen is enormous. We pulled it all together and worked it out with the judge on the spot. He really needs the help. Job well done.
WHAT I FORGOT YESTERDAY: on St. Patrick's Day 36 years ago, I met a young woman in a raucous bar. She remembered it when we woke up this morning.

Thursday Arch Series, plus a new Arch photo on Gateway.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Irish Wisdom

Happy St. Patrick's Day. Many countries may find this a curious holiday but it's a big deal in this part of the Irish diaspora (which includes me). At least in the US, it has a strong association with alcohol consumption. Well, on my visits to Ireland I haven't met many who would turn away a wee nip. (By the way, when in Dublin, stop by Crowe's Pub in Ballsbridge and say hi to the owner, David Crowe, for me.) Now, where's the Guiness?

This is one of a zillion pictures I took around St. Louis' parade. More in coming days.


TOMORROW: the current portraits of St. Louis artists series ends with Scott Beatty, submariner and sculptor.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Portraits of St. Louis Artists - Christy Jones

A tree woman holding, oh, I don't know: birds? flowers? bath scrubs with blue ribbons? I was so busy fiddling with lighting a subject in a large, bright window (a part of photography in which I have very modest skills) that I forgot to ask about it, forgot, even, to ask the name of the work. (Dope slap.) Jones just told me that the title is Empty Nest. It's an awfully creative idea. You can't fool mother nature but you can fool me.

0. I spent most of the day catching up on day-job work and editing recent photos. HOW MANY PICTURES I TOOK SATURDAY AT THE ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE: 1,178. I swear, my right index finger is gonna fall off.

we interrupt this series of portraits for St. Patrick's Day with some Irish words of wisdom.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Portraits of St. Louis Artists - Thomas Shepherd

Thomas Shepherd, a photographer, has the unique position of having been featured on this blog twice. I first met him last summer, during St. Louis' annual artists open studio weekend. He has his own space at Soulard Art Market and that's where I photographed him both times. Click here for the post about him on July 27, 2008.

Shepherd always seems to have a puckish quality when I meet him and his work is full of appropriate wonder. Check out a selection of his work
here. Doesn't he look cool in the tuxedo?

Now. Soulard Art Market did a little feature about me and this series on the gallery blog.
Click here.

St. Louis artists' portraits continues as Christy Jones mixes her media.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Portraits of St. Louis Artists - Michael Matthes

Michael Matthes won the Juror's Choice Award in the recent show at Soulard Art Market for the painting on the wall behind him. I like it a lot: Mondrian shapes, Frankenthaler colors and Dizzy Gillespie rhythm. Matthes is slowly and carefully developing the display of his art. He is working on a web site but it's not ready yet. I'll add a link here later on when I learn it's online. He will be the featured artist at an upcoming show at SAM. I'll note that when available, too. He's intense and has a lot to say, but says it quietly.

HAT WAS FUN AND DIFFERENT LAST NIGHT: We went to a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance at the Touhill Center. It contains one of the wittiest songs ever written for the English-speaking musical theater (or should i say theatre?). Anyway, click here.

TOMORROW: Thomas Shepherd, photographer

Friday, March 13, 2009

Portraits of St. Louis Artists - Barbara Merlotti

I met Barbara Merlotti when she came by Soulard Art Market to pick up the two works on the wall behind her. Merlotti's personal history and artistic style are complex. Rather than having me try to summarize it, I recommend that you read her artistic statement and biography. The work is small-scale, often postcard size, which produces considerable intimacy. The examples in the gallery on her web site strike me as charged, mysterious self-portraits, each with a different emotional tone. The pictures on the wall here are different, drawn with chalk pastel, speaking of lushness, rhythm and fertility.

WHAT I'M CONSIDERING: taking a little sabbatical from
the blog. In your first year of law school in the US, you usually learn a bunch of old English legal maxims, since that's the source of our system. One of them says that "the law is a jealous mistress,"
that is, we can be entrapped by our responsibilities. You could say the same of a daily photo blog. Nobody needs the headache of two mistresses. The second anniversary of this adventure is coming soon - of course I'll stay daily for that.

TOMORROW: portraits of St. Louis artists continues with Michael Matthes, painter.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

The Thursday Arch Series is back from a week off. This picture is looking not quite straight up from underneath. It's a little overblown but that's to make a point.

winter. Think spring.

TOMORROW: back to portraits of St. Louis artists with Barbara Merlotti, who does mixed media, photo collage, painting and drawing.

There is a new Arch photo
today on GATEWAY.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Portraits of St. Louis Artists - Garrett Roberts

As promised, we are stating a little series of portarits of the artists I met at the Soulard Art Market gallery last Sunday. Garrett Roberts is a photographer who has permanent space there (so you can go check it out any time). His mix of images done in infrared, hand-colored or shot with a Holga is fascinating. I just love his photo in the bottom picture, a cartoonish bowler passing in front of the Arch in a parade, shot with a Holga. Garrett, hold that one for me. I'd like to buy it the next time I'm at SAM.

Do yourself a favor and browse through Roberts' web site

A former lawyer who is picking away on a Ph.D. thesis in constitutional history. Don't get a lot of that. Awful serious medical problems, though.

the Thursday Arch Series is back from break, along with a new Arch photo on Gateway.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Yes, still in the same part of town. The old sign underneath, St, Louis Refrigeration and Cold Storage, is beautifully designed and works well with the old German castle-style industrial architecture that is common around here. There's not enough of the new sign slapped on top to decipher: ... iants... ing Co. Maybe it helped to preserve the original underneath. How to interpret the graffiti on top? Very broadly, I should think.

HOW FAR I HAD TO DRIVE YESTERDAY: 290 miles / 467 km round trip for one lousy hearing. At least I had time in the car to make progress on my French instruction CDs.

TOMORROW:portraits of St. Louis artists - photographer Garrett Roberts.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Two Windows (Kidnap K.F.A.)

Same part of town as the last few days. You can't see it in this resolution, but the second and third louvers of the vent in the bottom window have the phrase KIDNAP K.F.A. written on them with a marker. How urban can you get?

WHAT WENT REALLY WELL: I spent Sunday afternoon at a good local gallery, Soulard Art Market. The current show was in teardown. As the artists came by to get their exhibits. I asked them if i could photograph them with their work. Everybody said yes. Got some good stuff, which will appear here in coming days.

TOMORROW: Forgiveness.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Power For Industry

An old power plant in the area north of the Arch. The architecture is beautiful: take away the smokestacks and it could be a museum. Still, it looks as if it is holding off an encroaching prairie. The place still pumps steam through a large downtown loop, used to heat many buildings.

I LEARNED AT JIM RICHARDSON'S SEMINAR YESTERDAY: I am making much too little use of my wide angle lens. You can do much more at night with new DSLRs than I imagined. You can get really good candid street shots of people by using pre-set manual focus and exposure, taking the camera away from your face and putting it on your lap aimed at the area of interest, using motor drive on the shutter, then just firing away when something interesting passes. You should take two external hard drives for backup when you travel, leave one in the hotel and keep one with you when you are out.

TOMORROW: two windows - and a kidnapping?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Polaroid Kidd

Still in the same eerie territory north of the Arch. This is a stairway to the back door of an abandoned industrial building. I'll never know, but I'd like to think these three words were written by a fierce photographer who won't let go of her or his chosen medium. The Polaroid Corporation no longer makes instant cameras. Fujifilm is the only company that still does.

WHAT'S THE OVERLOAD FACTOR: today is the annual full-day seminar sponsored by the St. Louis Camera Club, this year featuring Jim Richardson. Tomorrow, I've been asked to come by the Soulard Art Market gallery during teardown of their current show to photograph the artists and their work. There's a lot of day-job work to do. And I haven't done any local shooting in a few weeks. Better not sleep in.

TOMORROW: Industrial Revolution.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I need to get out and shoot some new stuff (in my spare time). For a few days, we will go back to the strange, sometimes desolate area north of the Arch. This is the same weird plaza, still under construction, as in my posts of February 18 and February 10. The latter was shot looking through the hole of one of those red metal donuts. Your children might not want to use that area in the lower left as a wading pool.

WHAT"S ON TODAY'S CALENDAR: another Rituxan infusion. I [heart symbol] big pharma.

The Polaroid Kidd

Thursday, March 5, 2009

STL DPB On The Road: Who I Met Yesterday, or, The Halls Of Power

A remarkable thing about the United States is that ordinary people can have personal access to their congresspeople and senators. Our little group of Missourians from the Arthritis Foundation had appointments yesterday to see one of our senators, Christopher Bond, a Republican, above left, and the U.S. representative for the district where I live, Russ Carnahan, a Democrat. Neither had much time to spare (Carnahan had to run off for a vote on the floor) but both were congenial and welcoming. The House and Senate office buildings are open to the public. Anyone can walk in to petition their government.

Bond has been in the senate for 22 years. Today is his 70th birthday. He announced recently that he will not run for a fifth term when his present one expires in two years. Carnahan has been a member of the House of Representatives for four years. His father was governor of Missouri. Mel Carnahan ran for the U.S. Senate but was killed in a small plane crash during the campaign. His name remained on the ballot and he won. For the strange story of what happened after that,
click here.

I'm giving the Thursday Arch Series a week off. There will be something or other from back in The Lou tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

STL DPB On The Road: At The Lincoln Memorial In Washington DC

After my plane got in Monday afternoon, I went to the Lincoln Memorial. I don't think I've been there in 20 years. Even cynical old me found it quite moving. It is, without doubt, a temple, devoted to one enormous god, the man who was instrumental in keeping our nation from cracking in half. Abraham sits in his great stone chair year after year, gazing down the Mall at the Washington Monument and the Capitol. How do you read his expression - quiet, intense observation? Or is there just a touch of anger in those eyes?

Thursday Arch Series or a real live United States Senator? Tell me your preference.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

STL DPB On The Road: Blogger Meeting in Washington, D.C.

I'm in Washington for the Arthritis Foundation meeting. Last night, Janet of D.C. Confidential, the Washington daily photo blog, met for dinner at a Spanish restaurant. Another friend of mine, a local photographer, joined us and took this picture of the meet-up. We always have flamenco dancers and roses growing out of out heads.

There was a good deal of snow here Sunday night and Monday morning. I spent some time out in the cold yesterday afternoon, shooting on the National Mall. More soon.

TOMORROW: Lincoln Memorial

Monday, March 2, 2009

Portraits From Bedlam / At the Mardi Gras Parade - Humbug

.Mardi Gras is supposed to be a joyful (and often licentious) celebration. However, as the saying goes, some march to a different drummer. Think dirge time here. Is she wearing a pirate hat? The float looks like a ship. Yo ho ho and a bottle of Pepto Bismol.

WHAT'S TODAY'S DESTINATION AND CHALLENGE: I mentioned that STL DPB is on the road again. The destination is an Arthritis Foundation advocacy meeting in Washington, D.C. We wander the House and Senate office buildings, begging our elected officials to support arthritis research. Monday afternoon and evening are free. Janet of D.C. Confidential graciously offered to be my tour guide for a photo blitz. Unfortunately, there's a lot of snow predicted overnight and into the morning. I'd love to shoot the white marble Washington Monument on a white-covered Natonal Mall but it may not work out. To see if it does, check both of our blogs later in the week.

Well, either A) something from the District of Columbia or B) another Mardi Gras pic or something from the St. Louis archives. Old Man Winter will make the decision with some help from air traffic control.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

CDPB Monthly Theme Day: Glass

This was put together a bit hastily but you wouldn't expect me to post a picture of a literal piece of glass, would you? If the idea is too obscure, click here.

Peep through panes all over the world with City Daily Photo Blog members. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

WHAT I'M DOING THESE DAYS THAT I DON'T USUALLY DO: cook. We can't have our recovering patient standing over the stove. I've gone slack on this over the years. My wife and both our children are excellent cooks. My son in law is a professional chef. I leave it to them and go edit pictures. It's not likely I'll poison us, though.

TOMORROW: one more Mardi Gras street portrait for now and then STL DPB is on the road again. Virginia, can you make this page sing Willie Nelson's On the Road Again? This is more-or-less a business trip with some fun attached. With luck, you will find out what on Tuesday.

AND BY THE WAY, sincere but puzzled thanks to PJ of Pensacola Daily Photo for her post that went up Saturday evening U.S. time titled (get this) Bob Crowe Sunday. Hooda thunk.

There is a new Arch photo
today on Gateway.