Saturday, October 31, 2009

Terrace View

I go right by Citygarden at the beginning of my drive home from work. Last night, I swerved into a parking place when I saw a nearly full moon hanging in haze straight over the Arch. More about that later. I took a few pix with my good point-n-shoot and then got attracted by the lights in Citygarden. The Terrace View is the bar and cafe overlooking the art and gardens. Someplace slick to stop for a drink on early Friday evening.

Friday, October 30, 2009

At A Halloween Party

If the Time Bandits don't get me, I hope to shoot the crazy street theater of Halloween in the Central West End tomorrow night and the Dia de los Muertes festivities in our Latino neighborhood along Cherokee Street on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Victor said he liked this one in a comment on Flickr. He has impeccable taste so it must be good enough for the blog. Broad green, a red stripe and a spot of yellow on Art Hill, with three little bitty people at the bottom.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series. It's seasonal.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Autumn For A King

So that's the big dude himself, St. Looie, a/k/a Louis IX, Roi de France. He's been here several times before, his monumental statue standing in front of the St. Louis Art Museum (motto: dedicated to art and free to all. How ya gonna top that?), looking down the broad slope of Art Hill. No doubt the trees in the background were planted, at least in part, for their spectacular fall color. They look regal.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Autumn In St. Louis Continues

What was on the grass in front of my house this weekend. Fall foliage may be brilliant in sunshine but it can be subtle and complex in the shade.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Color and Light

I used to go to a lot of Broadway shows when I was in high school in New York City. After I ended up in St. Louis, my wife and I went occasionally when we were back visiting my family. They became less and less interesting to me over time - they turned into shallow, mass-appeal extravaganzas. No more Mama Mia for me.

However, one of my all-time favorites is Stephen Sondheim and James Lepine's Sunday In The Park with George. It is based on the obsessions of painter Georges Seurat's while creating the masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (click on the thumbnail for a bigger version). It has both beauty and substance. Early in the show, Seurat sings to a young woman while painting on the island:

Color and light.
There's only color and light.
Yellow and white.
Just blue and yellow and white.
Look at the air, miss-
See what I mean?
No, look over there, miss-
That's done with green...
Conjoined with orange...

I thought of this song while editing the photo for this post, taken in Forest Park yesterday.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Just About Color

Taken Thursday downtown. We don't always get good color in the fall. If it's been dry from late summer until now - and it often is - the leaves just turn brown and drop. We're lucky this season.

Oops, what's that in the background? What day of the week is it?

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Hunt For Red October

OW, what a bad joke, but appropriate to the picture. I had seen from my office window that the trees around the Arch were starting to burst with autumn color. Being bored/tired at work, I took a quick walk over there yesterday with my point-n-shoot. She sky was dull and a light rain was falling but some of the trees were beginning to glow. The weather should be better by the weekend and I plan to shoot my favorite monument amidst seasonal color.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

The Arch lives in a city. These rush hour drivers heading east on Chestnut Street probably don't notice it, just the traffic light and the bumper of the car ahead of them.

I see brilliant autumn colors in the park around the Arch from my office window. I hope I can find the time to go shoot it. Not so far this week.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Archives Dumpster Diving

I am so out of material. Too much time out of town, too much work in town. So I'm scrounging around in the archives and found this. I don't think I've posted it before. It's the state courthouse downtown. Some of this could be the setting for a new header for this blog - I got an idea - but I need help to set it up. Any locals interested?

Better go find an Arch picture for tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flip Side

Desperate for material as usual (exploring new dimensions in overwork this week), this is the flip side of yesterday's photo, taken from the outside.

I haven't shot this work so close before. There is a gentle slope covered with water in front of it. This time I decided what the heck, stand in the water. It's only a couple of centimeters deep. I had not noticed the crosshatch texture of the surface or the hole over the left eye. The blankness of the eyes jumps out but is that a hint of a smile? This is a mysterious work of art.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Inside Looking Out, And Vice Versa


Back last night from San Francisco and looking through the archives for something to post. We've had a couple of normal outside shots of Eros Bendato, one of my favorite sculptures in Citygarden. The head is open on the neck end and I've seen kids crawling around inside it many times. I decided to give it a try myself a couple of weekends ago when U "R" Us was in town. This is the result.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

STL DPB On The Road: In The Redwood Forest

A volunteer dresses as a giant banana slug (for reasons best known to herself) in Henry Cowell State Redwood Park near Felton, California. We spent the weekend visiting my wife's cousin and her husband in Los Gatos, CA, on the edge of Silicon Valley south of San Francisco. They are retired and volunteer as docents in the park. Oh, and why the faux slug is holding a small stuffed penguin was never explained to me. Who would win a fight between a penguin and a banana slug?

Home tonight.

If you were to dress up as a slimy forest floor creature, what would it be?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

STL DPB On The Road: San Francisco - Transamerica Building In Fog


Yesterday morning, a lawyer-photographer friend and I took a pass on the conference and went walking with our cameras. Heavy fog was beginning to lift. This is the Transamerica Building, SF's pyramid, backlit through the fog by the morning sun. Why does a shadow of the pinnacle appear to be hanging on the cloud behind the building? If there are any meteorologists of optics experts out there, please help us out.

Lots of San Francisco pix are going up on Flickr here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

STL DPB On The Road: San Francisco

Mrs. C. and I are in SF for a legal conference in my specialty. Actually, I played hooky most of the day. This is the view of the Embarcadero ferry terminal at the foot of Market Street, shot from the end of the hall of our hotel.

The focus of the day was the Richard Avedon show at the SF Museum of Contemporary Art. It overwhelmed me. At times the brilliance of the work literally brought tears to my eyes. It felt a little silly to call myself a photographer after viewing 200 of Avedon's images, almost all portraits. The work was intense and beautiful, and had so much to teach. When to keep the image sharp (Ronald Reagan). When soft focus works better and when a complete blur is the best expression (Charlie Chaplin). How a very shallow depth of field can create the most intense visual image, softening into a blur by the time we see the ears. When a long depth of field grabs and holds a complex whole (a young Truman Capote or Marianne Moore, perhaps the most beautiful picture in the show). When to center the subject of a portrait in the frame (Marilyn Monroe), when to go off center (Marian Anderson) and when to go way off center (appropriately enough, St. Louis' own William S. Burroughs). And over and over again, the genius of using a plain white paper background for a portrait, stripping away everything external, leaving just a single, isolated human.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

A peek-a-boo shot of the Arch, looking between the old commercial buildings and supports of the railroad bridge to the south.

Late plane into San Francisco today, then a boring meeting, then a good dinner. So no SFO pix yet.

BTW, there have been quite a lot of new Tibet pictures added to the set on Flickr. Click here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thar Be Monsters

Whazzat? It could be a monster from some Star Wars episode but actually it's Mimmo Paladino's Zenit (zenith in Italian) in Citygarden. More Lensbaby play.

My plate is a bit too full these days. Flying to San Francisco this morning for a conference in my legal specialty and home Sunday night. Followed by more hearings in a single week than I've ever had in my career. I guess I signed up for it. (There are a number of old legal maxims they teach you in US law schools, one of which is that the law is a jealous mistress.) Fortunately, there are bound to be some SFO shots coming.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bunny For A (Lens)Baby

Our friend Virginia was on me a few days ago about a bunny picture. It got posted eventually. Well, I thought I'd throw in another one. This is Untitled (Two Rabbits) by Tom Claasen in Citygarden. It sounds like a contradiction to have an untitled work with a title. And there are in fact two rabbits in the garden but just one of them here. I was out trolling for shots in the garden with my Lensbaby. This one turned out okay.

Monday, October 12, 2009

He Did It!

Our son Andy (known as Chicago blogger U "R" Us to the CDP community) finished the Chicago Marathon Sunday in great time. It was his first one. He trained hard and it showed. He still has a strong pump here a few meters from the finish line. I gotta tell ya, mom and dad are proud of this young man.

An approving hug from a certain special someone followed the event.

You can see more photos from the marathon here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

At The Pulitzer: Inside Joe

Inside the curve of Richard Serra's Joe at the Pulitzer Foundation, enhanced by visual steroids of HDR. I have one more decent picture from the Pulitzer (of something different). However, if luck and light are with me, our Monday post will feature family hero U "R" Us belting it out in the Chicago Marathon today.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More From The Pulitzer

Cieldequimper of Versailles Daily Photo asked to see a broader view of Joe, Richard Serra's sculpture at the Pulitzer Foundation in memory of Joseph Pulitzer, Jr. Her wish is our command. The work is 3 or 4 meters tall so you can't see the internal design. However, you can get a top view if you click here to go to the Foundation's web site, then click on Richard Serra.

Quick trip up to Chicago this afternoon to cheer on City Daily Photoblogger U "R" Us, one of the heirs to the St. Louis Daily Photo fortune. He's running the Chicago Marathon tomorrow morning. It's his first time but he's been training hard and he will do well. Send him your best wishes.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Pulitzer Foundation

The Pulitzer Foundation For the Arts is a small jewel, little known outside St. Louis. It opened in 2001 with support from the estate of the late Joseph Pulitzer and the continuing gifts of his wife, Emily. Pulitzer was the publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 34 years and, yes, that's the family that established the Pulitzer Prize.

The building is small for a museum but breathtaking, designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando. The Pulitzers had one of the greatest collections of modern art of the 20th Century, which has become the backbone of the Foundation. It is more focused on scholarship than display and is open to the public only two days a week. If you are an art lover and visit St. Louis, it's a don't-miss.

The Pulitzers were close friends of the contemporary sculptor Richard Serra. He created the sculpture Joe as a memorial. It sits in the Foundation's courtyard. The work is a tall, tilted spiral, winding inward and inward. The photo above shows only the entrance.

On another topic, Virginia has been pleading with me to post the photo of the bunny from the blessing of the animals, mentioned in Tuesday's post. So here it is.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

October is breast cancer awareness month in the US. The Arch is floodlit every night but on October 1 a department store sponsored pink lighting on the monument.

With our suburban sprawl, I don't think many people saw this. Nevertheless, it was a poignant - and massive - reminder. One of my co-workers is a breast cancer survivor. We've seen what the disease does to a woman. It's good that this symbol was writ large.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Late Warm Day

Autumn is sliding into St. Louis but there are still a few warm days. One of the locals enjoys some rays in Citygarden. His burly dog stands guard over him while he snoozes. Do the blue sneakers work with the orange shirt?

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series, for a good cause.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More Blessed Animals (And Gratuitous Cuteness)

I haven't had this much cute stuff on the blog since I don't know when. Next thing you know the clergy will be blessing bunnies. Well, actually, they did. One elderly and infirm rabbit (according to the owner) was brought to the cathedral's priests for a benediction. Maybe we'll have that tomorrow. In the meantime, this is pretty darn cute, too.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Blessing Of the Animals

Sunday brought the annual blessing of the animals at Christ Church Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. For the second year, I was invited to come shoot the event, sharing the pictures with the church. It was a beautiful day and there was a big turnout. Lots and lots of dogs, but also an owl, a rabbit, a guinea pig and a chicken.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Citygarden At Night

I've been wondering how Citygarden feels after sunset. Shorter days gave me an opportunity to hang around some after work and find out. The Civil Courts building lights up the background.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I Wish I Lived At This Intersection

Our Grand Center arts and entertainment district includes Powell Hall, home of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra; the Fox Theater, where the big Broadway shows play; the Sheldon Concert Hall, an acoustic gem; the Black Rep theater; the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts; our Contemporary Art Museum; the local public radio and television stations, and more. It's where Dancing In The Street was held last weekend. There's a lot going on.

However, here and there on Grand Boulevard are these sad concrete planters holding scraggly trees, emblazoned with the district's motto, THE INTERSECTION OF ART AND LIFE. I'd love to live at the intersection of art and life - it would be a joy. However, these planters make me think of unfulfilled ambitions or sights set too low. Please, Grand Center, give us something more uplifting, more appropriate to your cause.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Dancing In The Street: Military Tap

I wasn't nuts about this picture (it's backlit, the sky is blown out and so on) but it got a surprising response on Flickr so I thought I'd try it on the blog.

At last weekend's Dancing In The Street festival, one of the stages was reserved for tap dancers. This bunch was full of enthusiasm (look at the face of the woman under the orange flag) but, in a way, it was a little too silly. You know, like the troops lost their trousers. They were dancing to the World War II tune The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B. Few men would dance dressed like that. You may feel differently.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

At long last, the Thursday Arch Series returns. In this shot, the monument looms above the Mississippi River floodwall that flanks it on either side. It's an HDR, converted to black and white.