Wednesday, August 31, 2011

STL DPB Hits The Bottle: Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Chateauneuf-du-Pape 3

No time to chat. We have to get up early today to get the TGV to Paris. We took a short trip yesterday to the little wine town of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, literally, the pope's new castle. (The Holy See really knew how to live back then.) An interesting stop was the Brotte winery and museum of wine-growing. We picked up a few bottles, which may or may not make it out of our Paris apartment onto the plane.

The bottom photo shows the ruins of the old chateau.

Big meetup with Paris photobloggers tomorrow.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape 5

Chateauneuf-du-Pape 4

Chateauneuf-du-Pape 6

Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

STL DPB On The Road: Avignon Vision

Avignon 2011-08-29 1 5 - Restaurant New ground 1

Some people go on vacation to relax and then return to work refreshed. We go on vacation to exhaust every drop of energy while seeing the world. Wow, am I pooped.

We had a delightful lunch with Nathalie of Avignon In Photos, winner of the coveted Blog Of Note award, and then walked around the old city with her as our guide. Then we did the Papal Palace (not everyone knows that the papacy decamped from Rome and made Avignon its HQ for almost a century), then the Pont Saint-Benezet, the famous structure that goes half-way across the Rhone and then just stops. There's a story about that but I'm too tired to to look up a link.

Above, an alley in the old city.


The Avignon Vision tourist tram.

Two views of the guitarist we saw yesterday, one taken from high up on the parapets of the palace.

Lovers beside the Rhone.

The Pont Saint-Benezet, the palace and Notre dame des Domes cathedral.

Day trip to Chateau Neuf du Pape and wherever else today.

2011-08-29 Avignon 2 (Avignon Vision)

2011-08-29 Avignon 3

2011-08-29 Avignon 5

2011-08-29 Avignon 7

2011-08-29 Avignon 6

2011-08-29 Avignon 8

Monday, August 29, 2011

STL DPB On The Road: Arrival In Avignon

Avignon 2011-08-28 4 crop
Got into Avignon yesterday afternoon, went for a walk, had some trouble finding a restaurant open Sunday night, hit the jackpot. And now, once again, it's getting really late.

Above, a wonderful guitarist in the plaza in front of the papal palace.

Below, pix of the carousel in the Place de l'Horloge.

Bottom, Restaurant New Ground. Superb Provencal cuisine, moderate prices and our charming waiter, Jean-Philippe. If you find yourself in Avignon you must eat here.

We hope to see our friend and colleague, Nathalie, today.

Avignon 2011-08-28 2

Avignon 2011-08-28 1

Avignon 2011-08-28 5 - Restaurant New ground 1

Avignon 2011-08-28 5 - Restaurant New Ground 1

Sunday, August 28, 2011

STL DPD On The Road: It Could Be The Last View of Menton But It Isn't

Old Menton, Night

OMG it's 1 in the morning. A peaceful morning in the Old Town of Menton; then the impenetrable mountain roads, tourist throngs and merciless sun of Monaco; then a delightful, long dinner with the supremely gracious Jilly Bennett, followed by night shooting. This is all I had time to edit. Much more will end up on Flickr when I have time.

Above, the waterfront and basilica of the old town of Menton. Below, the view from our hotel balcony in late afternoon.

To Avignon this afternoon.

Late Afternoon, Menton

Saturday, August 27, 2011

STL DPB On The Road: A Day Trip To Italy

Father and Daughter, Il Brigantino Restaurant, Ventimiglia

A hot, exhausting, fabulous, image-filled day.

Menton lies on the Italian border. A few kilometers beyond is the large town of Ventimiglia, which has a crazy weekly market on Fridays. Jilly took us for a day trip there, and then on to a couple of ancient hillside towns. It's late Friday as I write this, so just brief descriptions.

Above, father and daughter who work in the restaurant Il Brigantino in Ventimiglia, where we had lunch.


A waiter at the Bar Manhattan in Ventimiglia, where we stopped for a cold drink. This little thing had a flash. We never found out if it was real or a toy.

A young lady impressed by brand names in the weekly market.

Sardines in the Ventimiglia fish market.

A cheesemonger in the public food market.

A B&B in an alleyway in the old village of Dolceagua (Sweetwater in English - how charming).

Today, the old town of Menton and Monaco. Tomorrow, on to Avignon.

Minicam In Ventimiglia


Sardines, Ventimiglia Fish Market

Cheesemonger In Ventimiglia

La Casetta di Vale

Friday, August 26, 2011

STL DPB On The Road: Gorbio, France

Manon et Quentin

Oh, what a day! Our colleague Jilly Bennett of Menton Daily Photo and Monte Carlo Daily Photo served us breakfast on her terrace. Then we drove to the nearby mountain village of Gorbio (this is where the Alps meet the sea) for an exquisite, leisurely lunch and a good walk around the town. Lots of good pictures but these are all I've had time to edit. Must get to bed - she is picking us up at nine for a trip to the weekly market in Ventimiglia, Italy, which is really just down the road.

Above, Manon and her brother Quentin, whose parents own Le Restaurant Beausejour where we had our lunch. Aren't they just beautiful?

Putto In Gorbio

Putti In Gorbio

Thursday, August 25, 2011

First View of Menton

Menton 2011-08-24 1

We made it. It's wondrous that we can get from St. Louis to the Cote d'Azure in less than a day.

This was taken a bit after sunset from the balcony of our hotel room. Notice that there are still people on the beach. We had a light dinner and now to bed. Massive jet lag.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

O'Hare To Heathrow

O'Hare  2011-08-23

One more flight to go. We're sitting in a lounge at Heathrow waiting for our flight to Nice. So far, so good.

These are fuzzy iPhone pictures of the last two airports. Above, American Airlines main concourse at O'Hare. Below, a shot from the shuttle bus riding from Heathrow's Terminal 3, which American uses, to BA's enormous Terminal 5.

Menton tonight.

Heathrow 2011-08-24

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy Days

Aix-en-Provence June, 2000 1

We begin our journey to France tonight. Happy days! There are few countries on this ball of rock I enjoy more.

While searching for our spare euros over the weekend I came across a CD of photos taken in 1999 and 2000 with my first digital camera. It was a good one for the time, a Sony. This was the period when I got hooked on digital photography. These particular shots were taken in Aix-en-Provence in June 2000. Although we won't go through Aix on this trip we will be in Provence (Avignon), which is in a running battle with Tuscany for heaven on earth.

The bottom picture was taken on the Cours Mirabeau in Aix. It has been slightly modified to reflect my attitude toward eating American food when in France. The sign designer doesn't know how to use the apostrophe in English, but then neither do most Americans or Brits.

Aix-en-Provence June, 2000 2

Monday, August 22, 2011

Goodbye To All That, Then

Arch and Zeppelin 2011-08-21

Getting to be time to leave the Lou, by zeppelin if necessary. No, too slow for the distance we have to travel. There was actually a zeppelin cruising around downtown yesterday. Apparently there is a technical difference between a zeppelin and a blimp but I didn't care enough to look it up. You could go for a ride if you had nothing better to do with $325 (I do, but it would be way cool). The insurance company that owns it is called Farmers but their headquarters is on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Go figure.

Departure is tomorrow afternoon. I've got some photos of old memories of France to post Tuesday. May or may not have a post Wednesday - it depends on whether I can snag something at O'Hare or Heathrow during layovers. Pix from Menton by Thursday for sure.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Food Truck Friday (On Sunday)

Food Truck Friday 4

Lovely light, lovely subject, but I'll pass on the sliced jalapeños she is adding to the nachos with cheese. Why do people put things in their mouths that hurt? By Wednesday night we'll be in a place where almost anything meant to be put in your mouth is divine.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Food Truck Friday (On Saturday)

Food Truck Friday 2
The food truck phenomenon is sweeping the US. I've heard it started in LA with an upscale taco stand on wheels. They are all over that city and New York these days. Sooner or later, all these trends find their way down here to fly-over country.

There are quite a few in St. Louis now. Food Truck Fridays started this summer in Tower Grove Park. I don't understand the schedule. Word of the date seems to spread by Twitter, which I want nothing to do with. My daughter tells me. She took me and my wife there for the first time last night. There were 12 or 15 of them lined up along the curb. Some yummy stuff but you have to get there early or the lines are impossible. When I first went to the beer queue at about 5:45 there were 3 people in front of me. When I checked back an hour later, there were perhaps 75 people. So don't drink more beer, take photos.

Food Truck Friday 5

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bikers Are Your Friends


People are scared of bikers. Not that I'd approach one who has a beer in one hand and is swinging a steel chain in the other but the ones I've met have always been interesting and friendly. Treat then with respect and you get the same. And who's going to feel aggressive towards a balding 61 year old guy with glasses and arthritic hands? (See illustration from a press photographer who got me from behind at the Chuck Berry statue dedication here.)

There is a detail in the top photo I really like. I was shooting in a very tight space and had to use a short focal length. That makes his hand and cigar disproportionately big and powerful. I wish the white foam cup was out of the frame, though.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday Arch Series

Yet Another Arch Picture

Sorry this is late. I'm really hard up for Arch pictures. Haven't had time to go shoot there in a couple of months (I'm working stupid hours). This pic is very simple. Sort of reminds me of the old Led Zeppelin song Stairway To Heaven.

My wife and I will be away on the next two Thursdays. I think I'll give the Thursday Arch Series a rest. Maybe I'll have le jeudi Arc Série instead.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Splat

Tomatofest 3

Sorry. I can't resist.

A couple of commentators have asked if Tomatofest provided support for a good cause and indeed it did. The event was for the benefit of Lift For Life Academy, what we in the US call a charter school. These are usually (but not always) run by not-for-profits in places where the public schools have failed, with a mix of private and government money. The idea and its execution remain controversial - some charters here do better on standardized testing than the public schools and some do worse. Lift For Life seems to be an inspirational place. Its students' test scores exceed those of the state schools in St. Louis and Kansas City.

I thought this event was a lot of fun when I was out being a photographer. Later, with my lawyer mindset creeping back, I had some concerns about it. They were not using old, soft tomatoes. The fruit was fresh and hard. In the photo above, the young woman looks like she was hit close to the kidney. She was fine, but still. Then I realized that the players did not wear eye protection. Look at the children below and think about it.

Tomatofest 2

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One BLT, Large, To Go

World's Largest BLT 2

I said it stretched to the horizon and I wasn't kidding. There were 250-plus sections, each cut into twenty servings. All-in-all, they used 600 pounds of bacon, 440 pounds of bread, 550 pounds of tomatoes, 220 heads of iceberg lettuce, 110 pounds of butter, and 60 gallons of mayonnaise. Um, uh, what to think of that? Maybe they could have invited Somalia.

Didn't have a piece myself. You can't eat one of these, juggle two camera bodies, keep the lenses clean and take any shots at the same time.

World's Largest BLT 3

Tomato Bin

Monday, August 15, 2011


Tomatofest 7

Iron Barley is a bar and restaurant in a blue collar neighborhood way down on the south side. Its tone is somewhere between funky and biker. I've had lunch there and enjoyed it and I've never met a biker who wasn't happy to have me take his picture (more about which later in the week).

Its big annual event is Tomatofest. Every year as the crowds grow they make a bigger and bigger BLT sandwich - I mean from here to the horizon. However, this year's big attraction was what was euphemistically called tomato dodge ball. There was a playing field marked out in the street, an actual referee, backstops to limit the spray onto the crowd but, to my great surprise, no sponsorship deal with a laundry detergent. More red stains tomorrow.

Tomatofest 6

Tomatofest 4

Sunday, August 14, 2011

When You Live In St. Louis And Have Nothing To Post...

Statue of St. Louis 2011-08-13 1

... you can always post a picture of St. Louis. And, of course, he was King of France and, according to plan, in ten days we'll be in France. Yippie!.

Hope to do better today. There is a restaurant and bar on the far south side called Iron Barley that has its annual Tomato Fest today. They will attempt to create the world's largest BLT. At 1 o'clock there's tomato dodgeball. Your inquiring photographer plans to watch it all go splat.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

More Detail From Open Studio Weekend

Paper Boats

I'm sorry I missed Amy Thompson when I stopped by Paper Boat Studios on Cherokee Street during the tour. She was one of the first artists I photographed when I started this project in 2008. Her credentials as a printmaker and custom bookbinder are impressive, as noted here. So, since she was out running an errand, what was there to photograph? Paper boats, of course.