Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Camera Camp Day 1

Lincolnville Lobster Shack 3

Oh dear. it's after 11 PM / 23.00 Eastern time and I have to report for morning shoot at 6:30. So, just some of the day's catch from Belfast and Lincolnville, Maine. The picture of me was taaken by Pierre, a photographer from Montreal I met on the Belfast waterfront. That's him in the fourth shot. The top pic is classmate Collin. The man in the third picture lives in Maine but is actually from St. Louis.

Lincolnville Lobster Shack 2

Belfast 1

Pierre 1

Lincolnville Lobster Shack

Bob In Belfast By Pierre

Lincolnville Lobster Shack 4

Monday, July 30, 2012

Birdman And Portland


On Sunday morning our colleague Birdman picked me up at my hotel. He likes to keep his identity private, hence the editing in the top photo. I'll just say that he makes his living with words. That hint, while literally true, is utterly unhelpful. You'll just have to come meet him yourself.

We went to breakfast at the popular Blintiff's American Cafe (I wasn't expecting French). The woman at the next table was engrossed in writing her first novel. I said something about her shirt and she allowed me to take her picture. I wonder if there will be anything in the next draft about this tall older guy with a Cardinals cap wandering across Maine with a big camera.

I took a long walk around the waterfront before getting on the road to camera camp. Mainers have  always impressed me as warm, friendly people (except in the winter, when they are frozen warm friendly people). The last two pix made me realize they can have an edge to them.

My Novel

Blintiff's American Cafe

The Porthole

No Hope - Maine

Republicans For Voldemort

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Passing Through Portland: J's Oyster

J's Oyster 1

I spent last night in Portland, Maine, on my way up to camera camp. It felt so strange here - cool, cloudy and with some rain. I haven't driven in rain, even turned on the windshield wipers, in maybe three months at home.

Birdman and the desk clerk at the hotel recommended I have dinner at J's Oyster on the waterfront. It's something between a shack and a small modular building on a pier. run down and a bit seedy. The place was packed so I ate at the bar. The young man above was shucking oysters at an amazing speed - two or three twirls of the knife, throw out the empty half shell and put the business end on a bed of ice. 

Breakfast with Birdman at 9 today, then slowly work my way up the coast to Rockport.

J's Oyster 2

J's Oyster 3

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Heat

The  Heat

It was 105 F / 40.5 C Wednesday afternoon when I took this picture in Citygarden. I've heard that this has been the hottest single month in St. Louis since records have been kept. People often emphasize orange and red when depicting heat in a photograph. I went with black and white to reflect how literally burned out we feel.

Sure, there are much hotter cities in the U.S. - Phoenix, Las Vegas and more - but this is freakish for us here in the heartland, especially so with months of no rain. And while we go through this, much of Europe is cold and very wet. There are more extremes.

So I will flee the Midwest. There probably won't be any comments today as I frantically try to clean my desk and pack for a week. Probably no post tomorrow unless I find something fascinating at O'Hare during my layover. Maybe something Sunday from Portland, Maine - could be my breakfast with the one and only Birdman. ETA at camera camp is Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday Arch Series

Mississippi Low Water 2012-07-21 2.psd

Taken from the center of the walkway on Eads Bridge looking south. If the river were at a normal level most of the tan levee on the right would be covered. In a commonplace flood it would all be underwater. It's hard to tell in a wide angle shot but the distance from one waterline to another is a lot shorter than usual.

This has been going on for months. No relief in sight. The only solution I can think of is to go to Maine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Enough Room

The Tom Sawyer Under Eads Bridge

With the Mississippi this low there is plenty of room for the excursion boat Tom Sawyer to pass beneath Eads Bridge. When the river is in flood the tow boats of the big barge flotillas can barely get through. When the water level is at its highest commercial traffic on the Mississippi stops.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lewis and Clark Dry Off

Lewis and Clark, Low Water

Just how low is the Mississippi? Let's get a measuring gauge. This is the iconic statue of Lewis and Clark landing at St. Louis after their voyage of discovery to Oregon and back in 1804 - 1806. The first two pictures were taken on Sunday. Then going, going, gone. Those shots are from the floods of 2010 and 2008. That's a lot of muddy water.

Apologies in advance: this may be a light week on comments. Heavy week at work and have to organize my gear and pack for my week at the Maine Media Workshops, heaven on earth for photographers. I'll document it as I go along.

Lewis and Clark Dry Out


Meriwether Lewis Gets Wet

Merriweather Lewis goes down

Meriwether Lewis' Air Supply, 2010-03-27

Monday, July 23, 2012

Low Water

St. Louis Levee - Low Water

The center of the U.S. is drier than Jame Bond's martini. Later this summer the water level in the Mississippi might be the lowest since records have been kept. It's not a problem downtown, where these photos were taken, but there are now sand bars in the river north and south of here that interfere with barge navigation.

It's not unusual to have room for three or four cars across to park on the stone levee. Now the water is past the level where the levee starts to disintegrate because it's so seldom exposed. When the river rises, everything you can see in the top picture is covered, and then some. 

Note the shadow of the Arch in the top photo. Oh, and pray for rain.

Mississipp River Low Water 2012-07-21

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Weather In St. Louis

2012-06-09 Pagan Picnic 12 (The Weather In St. Louis)

That's what it feels like around here, day after day after day. We were offered tickets to the Cardinals game this afternoon against the arch-rival (no pun intended) Chicago Cubs, but who wants to sit in a stupor watching players in a stupor when the temperature is 101F/38C? There have been a few very small, isolated thunderstorms but we haven't had any significant rain in three months. By contrast, the high temperature today will be 77F/25C in the town in Maine I'm heading for. Can't wait.

This mask was for sale at the Pagan Picnic. I don't know why you'd wear it unless you got a part in The Rite of Spring or were playing The Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request really loud. Actually, if you played either one really loud you would tick off one set of neighbors or the other.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Je T'aime

Je T'aime

Another section of the Mississippi River floodwall where graffiti is permitted. It gets painted and repainted over the years, leaving as many layers as the ruins of Troy.

Need to go find some new material but it was a very busy week and the next one will be worse. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though: I leave next Saturday for a week at my beloved camera camp in Maine. Doing an intensive workshop on street photography. Lobster! Cool temps! Breakfast with Birdman in Portland on my way up from Boston!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Final Walk Through

2012-07-14 Slut Walk 11

We're finishing up with the SlutWalk today. As I mentioned the other day, nobody (at least nobody you would like to be in the same room with) questions the cause. I'm just not sure the means were well-chosen. There were not a lot of people. It was in a funky neighborhood off STL's main stream. The newspaper and TV stations didn't cover it. The men who needed to hear this point never heard about the event. Great movements that change society can grow from tiny seeds - think of civil rights in this country - but this one needs both nurturing and luck. It's good, though, that people with deep concerns got to take to the streets and shout about it..

2012-07-14 Slut Walk 21

2012-07-14 Slut Walk 10

2012-07-14 Slut Walk 18

2012-07-14 Slut Walk 9

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday Arch Series

Arch 2012-07-15 1

George Lucas calls his special effects company Industrial Light and Magic. We can do some of the same ourselves with a good DSLR and software. This was shot at mid-day in cloudless summer brilliance.  I love how the curvature of the Arch stretches the sun's reflection over the whole south leg.

We probably have some  more to cover from the SlutWalk.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Real Men

2012-07-14 Slut Walk 3

Scenes from the SlutWalk:  Real men don't wear real hair, apparently, but should they make some effort to color-coordinate their socks with their wig and thong? 

The top picture was taken inside The Atomic Cowboy bar and restaurant, the staging point for the march. Might have a bit more of that scene.

Hey, I actually got an Arch picture for tomorrow. Better than average.

2012-07-14 Slut Walk 2

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Slut Walk

2012-07-14 Slut Walk 6

That's exactly what it's called. A rally and march in The Grove neighborhood based on a movement began in Toronto just 15 months ago. According to the Wikipedia article:
The SlutWalk protest marches began on April 3, 2011, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and became a movement of rallies across the world. Participants protest against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman's appearance. The rallies began when Constable Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto Police officer, suggested that to remain safe, "women should avoid dressing like sluts." The protest takes the form of a march, mainly by young women, where some dress provocatively, like sluts. There are also speaker meetings and workshops. Some objectors have remarked that this approach is an example of women defining their sexuality in male terms.
Not all commentators see this in a positive light:
There have been a number of responses to the SlutWalk phenomenon, not all of them positive. For example, Australian commentator Andrew Bolt observed that guidance on how to dress in any given context is simply risk management, and such advice need not exclude opposition to victim-blaming. Rod Liddle agrees, saying "...I have a perfect right to leave my windows open when I nip to the shops for some fags, without being burgled. It doesn’t lessen the guilt of the burglar that I’ve left my window open, or even remotely suggest that I was deserving of being burgled. Just that it was more likely to happen." Mike Strobel even suggests that the approach SlutWalk is advocating is dangerous, and he would not advise a daughter to dress "provocatively in iffy circumstances." But Jessica Valenti says: "The idea that women’s clothing has some bearing on whether they will be raped is a dangerous myth feminists have tried to debunk for decades."
St. Louis had its first march in June 2011. Its second was last Saturday. The intention is something everyone supports but its method is full of issues.

More to come. What's your reaction?

2012-07-14 Slut Walk 4

2012-07-14 Slut Walk 5

Monday, July 16, 2012


2012-07-14 Slut Walk 1

Too much to do yesterday - chores, work, travel planning, and I actually took some new Arch pix - and it's near deadline as I write this. This picture is from an event I shot on Saturday in The Grove neighborhood. The image colorful and eye-catching. What followed, though, was serious and very provocative. More tomorrow.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Higher Education

2012-06-09 Pagan Picnic 7

There is an awful lot of advertising in this country pushing for-profit schools who claim that they will train you for a prosperous career. Many of the programs are bogus. I can't tell you how many people come through my office after attending one of them, who have tens of thousands of dollars in federally guaranteed student loans and can't find a job in their chosen field. It's become a scandal.

Better you should learn something practical, a field that requires technical skill and is always in demand. You could sign up at the Pagan Picnic.

2012-06-09 Pagan Picnic 8

Saturday, July 14, 2012


2012-06-09 Pagan Picnic 1

Getting into some of the strange things for sale at the Pagan Picnic. Don't just dress Goth, wear this chain-mail head and shoulder covering to your favorite club. The second one is, um, a bit out there but if it is in public view in the City of St. Louis, the times must have changed to accommodate it. Not surprisingly, these were for sale by the same merchant.

2012-06-09 Pagan Picnic 2 

Bonne Fête Nationale à tous nos amis en France! Il ya un petit festival à Saint-Louis, mais il n'est pas jusqu'à demain. (Pourquoi?) Je serai là.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Christians And Pagans

2012-06-09 Pagan Picnic 3

Lots of Americans think of St. Louis as a rather dull, mid-size, Midwestern city that has a better-than-average baseball team but otherwise is on a downward slope. Not so. There's weirdness all around, if you keep your eyes open.

I saw something in the weekly events section of the paper about the 10th annual Pagan Picnic in Tower Grove Park. What? I've been running this blog for almost five and a half years and it's gotten under my radar. It wasn't very big but it was reasonably strange. There was a lonely anti-pagan walking up and down, getting no attention from anyone (there are some other similar people around town). They apparently do a quilt for each year's event. What would happen if you curled up in this on a cold winter night?

You cant see it clearly in this picture but the man in the back of the top picture is carrying a book titled "Natural Witchery." I might consider the Kindle edition.

2012-06-09 Pagan Picnic 4

Thursday, July 12, 2012

6th And Washington, Night

6th and Washington, Night

OMG, I'm almost out of new material. There have been so many big events that I've neglected ordinary city life. Better get back out on the street. I've got a few good bits to use until then. 

This is the intersection of 6th Street and Washington Avenue downtown, shot at night after leaving the opening of an art show (where nobody bought my stuff, again). The office building is full of law firms. I assume that the man is homeless, waiting for something to happen. The sign on the far left adds some irony.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

St. Louis Fringe

2012-06-24 St. Louis Fringe 1

There have been so many big events to shoot lately that I'm just getting around to STL's first Fringe Festival, held the last weekend of June. It needs more time and publicity to build an audience but what we saw was a lot of fun. From top to bottom:

Cecily and Gwendolyn's Fantastical Missourian Anthropological Inquisitorial Probe. These ladies played the part of time-traveling Victorian anthropologists, coming into the future to find out just what was it (or is it, or will be it) about 21st Century St. Louis. Lots of audience participation. It ended up with a very strange game of ring toss.

Howie Hirshfield, storyteller and improv comedian. Very funny man. He did a skit with audience members based on Gilligan's Island. He was the Skipper and I played Gilligan.  The scene fell apart in chaos.

The West End Players, a small local theater company, who did three brief plays that packed a lot of emotion into 10 minutes.

2012-06-24 St. Louis Fringe 3

2012-06-24 St. Louis Fringe 2