Friday, September 30, 2011

When The Music's Over

Dancing In The Street 10

People of my age may recognize today's title as the name of a song by The Doors, but that's not the point. I think we will wrap up the Dancing In The Streets pictures today. There are more to edit, which may show up on my Flickr pages (link at right) one of these days.

The top picture is my personal favorite of the set. I was standing on the ground at the edge of the stage while Quixotic Fusion, seen earlier this week, did its night set. Moral of the story: use fill flash. The bottom two are of a couple performing some hot Latin American numbers.

Lots to shoot this weekend. A new sculpture is being installed in Citygarden for the first time since it opened two years ago. The Scottish Games and Cultural Festival is tonight and tomorrow (actual cabre tossing!). The annual blessing of the animals is at the Episcopal cathedral Sunday (alpacas this year!). And I haven't even posted anything from the Hispanic Festival a couple of weeks ago. And, as noted yesterday, an edict has been issued that I shall go shoot at the Arch this weekend.

If idle hands are the devil's workshop then I must be a saint.

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Dancing In The Street 30

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Street Portraits, Grand Boulevard

Dancing In The Street 24 BW

Some street shots of performers and visitors to Dancing In The Street. There was a huge supply of subjects. I seem to have a taste for close crops, don't I?

The Thursday Arch Series is resting again. I haven't had time to go shoot there in many weeks. Maybe the subject is getting worn out but I must get down there and give it a try this weekend. (Note to self: go shoot some &%#$%! Arch pictures Saturday and Sunday.)

Dancing In The Street 22 BW

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Dancing In The Street 27

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hip Hop In The Street

Dancing In The Street 17

It's late so just a quick note. I've been up watching the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game in Houston. Today is the last day of the regular baseball season. The Cards are now tied with the Atlanta Braves for the last playoff spot. If the Cardinals win tonight and the Braves lose, our home town heroes make the playoffs. If the Braves win and we loose (but they are playing Philadelphia, the best team in the league), Atlanta is in. If both teams win or lose today there is a one game playoff here on Thursday. If it happens I may get to go.

Anyway, one of the most popular performances at Dancing In The Streets were these people showing off their hip hop moves. I got the impression that they were not part of the program, that they just showed up. What athleticism.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quixotic Fusion

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The dance group in this post (and also Sunday's) is Quixotic Fusion from Kansas City. (Anyone who thinks KC is a cow town needs re-education. It's a very cool place.) The company's work includes modern dance, gymnastics, acrobatics and experimental theater, sometimes all at once. They were the big hit of this year's Dancing In The Street .

These photos were taken during their night performance, just before we went into the symphony hall. The top one reflects the feel of the whole performance. In the second, one of the dancers descends on a cable from the bell tower of a former church that now houses the St. Louis Black Repertory Theater.

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Monday, September 26, 2011


Dancing In The Street 7

I got so much material at Dancing In The Street I'm good for days. There were several stages with rotating performers (interpret rotating as you will). Something for everyone.

One stage was reserved for tap dance. There were a great variety of performers, young and old. Fresh faces looked forward to their time to show their stuff. The seniors tap group displayed plenty of limber joints. However, the tap-dancing doctors in surgical scrubs at the bottom were creepy. They danced to a heartbeat rhythm, which, at the end of the number, just . . . stopped. I don't want any of them doing the shim sham shimmy during my cardiac cath.

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Dancing In The Street 12

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dancing In The Street

Dancing In The Street 1

The annual Dancing In The Street festival took place yesterday in the Grand Center arts district. This is just a quick sample. Yesterday was work > shoot festival > go home, download, and get Mrs. > go back to Grand Center for dinner > shoot a little more > attend performance of St. Louis Symphony > go back home > do some editing and write this post > go to bed late. Sorry no comments yesterday. No spare time at all, literally.

More of this in coming days.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Forest Park, Early Autumn Rain

Forest Park, Rain, 2011-09-18, 1

A quiet, cool afternoon with little traffic in the park. Soft rain falling around the pavilion on a small island in the network of waterways. Take a deep breath. The air smells good.

Lots to shoot today but tomorrow's post will probably go up late. We have the annual Dancing In The Street festival in and around the Grand Center arts district (example from a previous year here), an event that's always full of photo fodder. However, Mrs. C and I going to the symphony tonight so home kind of late. In the spring of 1973 a poor law student took a charming nurse to hear the SLSO perform Mahler's Symphony No. 1 on their first date. That's what's on this weekend. I wonder if she knew what she was getting into.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Keep St. Louis Strange And Wonderful

In C 6

A bit more from the performance of Terry Riley's In C Tuesday evening in the Old Post Office Plaza. Keeping St. Louis strange and wonderful is an essential but difficult task.

The video at the end was taken with my iPhone. The sound quality leaves a lot to be desired, mashing everything together so that you can't hear the subtle individual parts. It's here just to give a general sense of the performance. If you like this stuff, you may enjoy another favorite Riley piece, A Rainbow In Curved Air.

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In C 7

If the video does not start, double-click it to go the original on Flickr.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday Arch Series

2011-09-18 Arch-Old Court House 1

The TAS returns. I sometimes think I've exhausted the possibilities but there are always variations on old themes. I have shot views like this from Kiener Plaza many times. This one is a three-shot HDR (from a tripod for a change) processed in Photoshop's HDR Pro, which is much more natural than the results from Photomatix. Then it was run through PhotoTools to get a sort of Holga-like effect. ISO 100 for clarity, f 7.1.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In C

In C 3

If you have looked at my Blogger profile you may have noticed that one of my interests is "music that most people I know think is weird." We had a big, wonderful serving of it downtown last night in the Old Post Office Plaza..

Terry Riley's In C is the seminal work of minimalism. According to the program notes:

What makes In C especially unique is that the entire score features just one scale - C major - broken out into 53 separate musical sections of varying patterns, with no set duration, and can be played for any number of musicians on any given instrumentation. Individual performers are given loose guidelines on moving from section to section, but much is left to their "in the moment" interpretation, making each performance wholly unique.
You can hear some of the original recording here.

Last night's performance was by the HEARding Cats Collective, led by Richard O'Donnell, the retired principal percussionist of the St. Louis Symphony. There were not only musicians but also interpretive dancers, professional and spontaneous.

More of this on Friday after I edit some video. The Thursday Arch Series returns tomorrow.

In C 2

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In C 4

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Who Loves A Bunny?

Bunny Fan

The Energizer battery company has its headquarters here. Everyone in North America, at least, has seen their ads with the Energizer battery that keeps going and going and going (on the eponymous batteries, of course). One of their publicity gimmicks is an enormous hot air balloon.

The company is the major sponsor of the Forest Park balloon race. They always give away these pink foam bunny ears. You see lots of children wearing them and some adults. I wonder if the woman wore this sweatshirt in anticipation of getting the accessory.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Good Luck

Balloon Liftoff 2

The main event of The Great Forest Park Balloon Race was held on Saturday afternoon. Well, it's not exactly a race. Everyone has the same wind. The idea is to land as close as possible to the lead balloon but the participants are at the mercy of the breeze.

It was not the kind  of day for classic hot air balloon shots with radiant colors in late afternoon sun. In fact, the sky could not have been more dull. So, work with the materials at hand. Some more of these tomorrow.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Color Temperature

Balloon Glow 8

That's what makes the top picture from the balloon glow dramatic, IMHO. The leaden skies were at the other end of the range from the intense fires that brought the balloons to life. Still, I think the shots I converted to black and white have some drama, beyond just being exercises in light and shape. The people in the foreground of the bottom picture are lit with fill flash.

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Balloon Glow

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The first part of The Great Forest Park Balloon Race, the balloon glow, took place last night. All the airships set up on a large athletic field and inflate while tethered to the ground. When an official sounds an air horn, they are all supposed to blast their burners, lighting up the night sky.

Photography conditions weren't so great. It was very crowded. When the horn sounded the balloons only lit up for 5 to 10 seconds, much more briefly than last year.. There was hardly time to compose, meter and focus shots. A few came out okay. Personally, I prefer the black and white one.

Sorry no comments yesterday. I was out late shooting. When I got home I downloaded, edited, wrote this and went to bed. Gotta get to work this morning.

Balloon Glow 2 BW

Balloon Glow 5

Friday, September 16, 2011


Firefighters Parade 3

Okay, back to normal local stuff. There was a parade last weekend in honor of the firefighters of the region related to the 9/11 observances. They brought heavy hardware. You don't want to be standing in the street whistling when Engine E 26 comes through (that is one serious bumper).

Lots going on to shoot this weekend. We have The Great Forest Park Balloon Race Tonight is the Balloon Glow, when the airships inflate after dark but do not take off. It's spectacular - see an example of last year's here. The "race" itself is Saturday afternoon. It's not really a race, more of a hare and hounds event. The hare (a balloon that looks like the Energizer Bunny, har har) takes off first. Fifteen minutes later the others go aloft one by one. The winner is the one that lands closest to the bunny.

We also have the Hispanic Festival downtown, which I'll have to work in somewhere. I've gotten some pretty good shots there.

Fire Truck E-26

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Dawn's Wedding 16

The Thursday Arch Series is on break because I don't have a bit if new material. Gotta find time to get down there. Besides, I want to run a few more wedding shots. New career?

Our friend Lynne Placek presided at the wedding. After 30 years of teaching, she became a reiki master. Her new interest is being a "celebrant," presiding over weddings and such. She performed a beautiful ceremony. At the end, I made the bride and groom repeat the traditional smooch a couple of times so I could get a good shot. I love the little wrinkly thing with their noses

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Flower Girl

Dawn's Wedding 2

Both Dawn and Mark have children and they took an active part in the wedding ceremony. Dawn's three daughters were her attendants. Above, Brinna, one of her twins, strikes the perfect pose. Below, older sister Hannah runs with excitement later in the evening.

A few comments to yesterday's post observed that it was unusual for a group of co-workers  to produce a wedding for one of their colleagues, but that's just what happened. The core of us have been together for ages. We genuinely like one another and treat each other like family. Julie and I started the firm 26 years ago. Cindy, my paralegal, has worked with me for 29 years (since late childhood, I believe). The third lawyer, Don, has been with us for - what? - 23 or 24 years. A couple of years after he showed up he married Cindy (Hey, Bob, he's pretty cute. Get him to take me out to dinner.)  but she will only work with me, a difficult but probably wise decision. Joan, Julie's sister, has been her paralegal for 25 years. Dawn has been Don's paralegal for close to 20 years. It's a wonderful experience to work with people like this.  

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My First Wedding

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No, not as a participant, as a photographer. I went through one of these myself 37 years ago and it seems to have worked out okay. Dawn, our superb paralegal, got married last Saturday. It was a second marriage for her and her husband, Matt, so it wasn't too formal. The ceremony was held outdoors on the small farm that my law partner, Julie Shanahan, owns. Everybody from the office pitched in to put it together.

My contribution was the photography. I told the bride to expect to get what she paid for. Never done this before! I actually got some pretty good stuff, as well as a lot of complete garbage. I think Dawn will like the results well enough.

More of this over the next few days.

Dawn's Wedding 7

Monday, September 12, 2011

Two Thousand Nine Hundred And Ninty Six Flags

Flags On Art Hill 1

A group of people planted 2,996 flags Saturday on Art Hill, the great bowl in Forest Park. It was build in memory of those who died on 9/11. The sight was overwhelming.

I've heard it will be up through the coming weekend. Locals, this is a must see.

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