Monday, November 30, 2015

The Force Awakens

The Family Farm 2015-11-27 5

Mel keeps his giant harvester in a shed, looking ready to burst into action. It seems menacing to me, like some evil machine in a Star Wars movie. There was a post a year ago showing it in action on a sunny day.            

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rehab Job

The Family Farm 2015-11-27 2

The old barn needs lots of work but that doesn't mean that the family farm is down and out. There is another wooden barn in good repair (but not so photogenic) and new metal buildings for the machinery, as in the second picture. Mel and Pat still have cattle and grow hay and corn. They still need side jobs, though.                             

Very few photos this weekend. Freezing rain continued off and on through Saturday, limiting movement. The sky was leaden. The annual Santa parade, held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was postponed due to Marshall County's icy roads. It should get progressively warmer as we drive east on our way home today.

The Family Farm 2015-11-27 4

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Winter In Kansas

The Family Farm 2015-11-27 1

We drove from Kansas City to Marysville, Kansas, Thursday morning in a cold rain. Nothing dangerous. We awoke Friday to find about a third of an inch / 8 mm of ice on the car. The main roads were fine but the rural gravel roads were glazed over. Slow, cautious driving.

Mrs. C's brother Mel and his wife Pat still live on the old family farm. They throw a big potluck dinner for the family on the day after Thanksgiving. The barn out back is in bad shape. It may be that Mel intends to restore it but there was such a crowd I didn't get to ask him.                 

Friday, November 27, 2015


Garden Glow at MoBot 2015-11-20 20

A statue of Juno stands in a back corner of the botanical garden behind Henry Shaw's house. She always seems to be hitchhiking, even on a brilliant summer day, as in this old post. Perhaps due to the stories of scary people thumbing rides these days, she hasn't made much progress.

We made it to Marysville, Kansas, yesterday, driving from Kansas City in a cold rain. Wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with Mrs. C's mother, who will be 97 on Saturday, and her youngest sister. There is steady freezing rain and dropping temperatures as I write this Thursday evening, which might interfere with the big annual party out on the family farm today. Hoping for rural pix on Saturday.                  

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Henry Shaw's House

Garden Glow at MoBot 2015-11-20 19

Henry Shaw was born in Sheffield, England, in 1800. He made a bunch of money in the hardware and steel products trade in St. Louis, enough to retire at the age of 40. He was an avid botanist and his estate became the Missouri Botanical Garden, one of the finest in the country. His home is open on special occasions. This was the first time we had actually been in it. 

The photo below is of the next building over. Not Shaw's house but a nice 19th Century structure.              

Garden Glow at MoBot 2015-11-20 18

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fly Over Country

Flyover 2 BW

If you don't know the term in the caption, click here

This was what was outside my office windows yesterday afternoon. iPhone shots, via Photoshop. 

I'll get back to the Garden Glow photos soon. Too much to do at work, too many evening obligations got in the way of editing. However, we are driving to Kansas City today, a very pleasant place, on our way to see Mrs. C's family around Marysville, Kansas, for Thanksgiving. Her mother turns 97 this weekend and is doing pretty well, thank you. There will be some quiet time to work while out on the prairie.             

Flyover 1 BW

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Climatron

Garden Glow at MoBot 2015-11-20 14

The Climatron is a big geodesic dome in the botanical garden. It is a greenhouse of sorts with an ingenious climate control system, dividing the space into cooler and warmer, wetter and dryer zones. It's spectacularly lit during the Garden Glow with the light display that continues into a reflecting pool. It's been around for 55 yrars and is considered one of the most architecturally significant buildings in America.              

Garden Glow at MoBot 2015-11-20 12

Garden Glow at MoBot 2015-11-20 13

Monday, November 23, 2015


Garden Glow at MoBot 2015-11-20 7
The statue of Persephone has long stood beside the home of Henry Shaw, founder of the Missouri Botanical Garden. She was a goddess with a complex role in Greek mythology, most importantly for the growth of grain and vegetables. (She doubled as queen of Hades.) The sculpture is lit for maximum drama at night.
Garden Glow at MoBot 2015-11-20 8

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Abstract Trees

Garden Glow at MoBot 2015-11-20 3

This is what meets your eye when you step into the garden from the entry building. I assume they are meant to resemble abstract Christmas trees using the nightlight theme. The second image makes me think of a very spare Buddhist altar. The general shapes and symmetries are right but it could use some gold.                     

Garden Glow at MoBot 2015-11-20 2

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Garden Glow Again

Garden Glow at MoBot 2015-11-20 1

It's time for the Missouri Botanical Garden's holiday Garden Glow event. Last night was a special preview for garden members only. It was blessedly uncrowded.

They had both new features and old favorites. This light tunnel is one of the latter. Note that the woman on the left is taking a picture on her phone.

Lots more of this to come.                 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Abandon All Hope You Who Enter Here

Casino Entrance

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'entrate, the inscription on the gates of hell in Dante's Inferno. Perhaps it should be added to this entrance to our downtown casino. The building itself is in a pedestrian-unfriendly location a bit off from downtown and behind a major highway. They built a tunnel that comes up on Broadway across from the football stadium. Don't go down there thinking you're lucky.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

That's Entertainment

Lumiere Place Signboard 3

This is the big video advertising board at the Lumiere Place Casino. It stands beside I 70, distracting drivers and me, too, since it's easy to see from my office window. So come to the show room in St. Louis. You can catch Winonna Judd or the ladies' beefcake show. If you prefer, contact me if you would like something more edifying.             
Lumiere Place Signboard 4

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


The Band At Heartbreaker's 2
Or howl at the moon, whatever you'd like to call it. There is a bar here called that. These musicians, probably hired by the local business association, were playing on the sidewalk in Laclede's Landing outside of the defunct Heartbreaker's Rock and Roll Saloon. A number of bars and restaurants in the district have been shuttered because the fine folks renovating the Arch grounds blocked the most convenient access with construction. And no compensation offered.                        

The Band At Heartbreaker's 1

On the other hand, the owners of the Four Seasons Hotel and Lumiere Place Casino did a better job with the French flag last night. No cedar of Lebanon sighted, though.

Lumiere With French Flag 2015-11-16 2

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fat Chance

Lumiere Place

As I've mentioned in the past, STL has an awful lot of casinos for a city our size. They help fill the government's coffers and empty people's pockets. This is the grandest one. Lumiere Place stands on the edge of a run-down industrial area not far north of the Arch. It contains an opulent Four Seasons Hotel in that cyan box.

The architecture leaves something to be desired, IMHO. A blue-green box with an odd coxcomb growing out if it. That reddish part must be inlaid with LEDs. It glows in all sorts of low resolution themes, as determined by the management. The crummy picture at the bottom was taken from my office window last night with my iPhone. It doesn't seem sincere. The display, I mean, not my iPhone.
The next to last picture is a big video signboard by I 70 next to the casino. You can't time it on purpose but the camera can get some good video wipes. And if you can squint, read the bottom line. It says Gambling Problems? Call 1.888.BETSOFF. You can get yourself barred from the casino.                      

Four Seasons - Lumier Place

Lumiere Place Signboard 1

Lumiere Place With French Flag 2015-11-16

Monday, November 16, 2015

Shorter Days

Gravois Looking Southwest

Looking southwest on Gravois Avenue on my way from downtown to my daughter's home. The spire belongs to St. Francis de Sales Oratory, a conservative Catholic church (Latin mass and all that). I had a post about it some time ago.             

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen

Mahler Ballroom

This blog gets me into corners of St. Louis I've never visited before. I found this on a bit of Washington Avenue between Euclid and Kingshighway that's closed to through traffic. Never seen it before.

Now I love Gustav Mahler. On our first date, I took Mrs. C to the St. Louis Symphony to hear Walter Susskind conduct the First Symphony. (I wonder what she thought she was getting into.) I'd like to imagine that I could conduct Das Lied von der Erde from memory. (Sure, I'd like to think that, but it's complete fantasy.) However, this post has nothing to do with Gustav Mahler whatever. 

Albert Mahler established a dance academy for the young in downtown St. Louis in 1860. In 1907 he built this sumptuous home for his family, complete with a 4,000 square foot / 372 square meter ballroom in the center. In 2004, new owners restored the Mahler Ballroom to opulent splendor. Now it's a space for upscale weddings and events. 

(The reference in the title, by the way, is to one of G. Mahler's song cycles, Songs Of A Wayfarer. Which, in an overblown sense, it what I was about when I found this.)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Band

A Guitar Player

We CDP regulars find this work satisfying but sometimes difficult. At least one photo a day, every single day. The blog is a hungry beast that demands constant feeding. Sometimes we're out of new material and are forced to look back in the archives. I'm always surprised at the shiny nuggets to be found there. This is an example, images that didn't grab my attention the first time through. Turned out okay.

I am just sickened by last night's events in Paris, a place I love. It illustrates the deep streak of brutality, stupidity and cruelty woven into our species. Not everyone, not everywhere, but never-ending and not going away.                    

Sax And Bass

Friday, November 13, 2015

Pig Says Hi

Pig Says Hi 2

When you are totally hard up for material, I recommend finding someone in a pig suit hustling a crowd. It's not that hard on Cherokee Street.                    

Pig Says Hi 1

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Street Chess

Chess Matches

Factoid: St. Louis is a hotbed of high level chess activity. I'm miserable at it so I just report what I see and hear. The U.S. championship has been held at the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center for the last few years. The World Chess Hall of Fame is in the same building. 

How did the two queens get next to one another on the nearer board?  If white made the last move, black is going to lose its queen within two moves (I think).  Then white takes that pawn  in the farthest file to the last row and turns it into a queen. Game over.           

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Coffee Pastries

Coffee Pastries

That's all I got this year at the artists studios open house. Too late a start and too much time talking instead of shooting. So it's back to the archives until I can shoot some new material. This is the door of a coffee shop and bakery on Cherokee Street. Someone went to some trouble to design and install the faux etching on the glass. I didn't have the time to investigate how it was made.

Gotta get back out on the street but it will be hard to do before the weekend. There is a new photo toy to try out.  I discovered that someone makes a Holga-esque lens for Canon and Nikon cameras for the grand sum of $24 (check Amazon). Sounds like fun.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Portraits of St. Louis Artists: Sheldon Johnson

Sheldon Johnson

Sheldon Johnson's studio was across the hall from Marlene Lewis'. Like me, he has a day job but a separate passion. Some of his work hints at the figurative. However, his recent stuff that I saw is abstract, coarsely geometric and muscular. He struck me as having a certain power, individually and as an artist.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Portraits of St. Louis Artists: Marlene Lewis

Marlene Lewis 1

Marlene Lewis is a painter whose work ranges from barely figurative to abstract. She uses loose, vibrant color with a palette that reminds me of Helen Frankenthaler. Her studio is full of light shining on white walls, in contrast to the spaces of the men in the last two day's posts. The brightness suits her personality and her art.

The last photo was taken as an exposure test and didn't get my attention, Marlene noticed the reflection when looking at my camera's screen and immediately saw the possibilities. She was right.
Marlene Lewis 2

Marlene Lewis 3

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Portraits of St. Louis Artists: Eric Ridge

Eric Ridge

Down the hall from  Henryk Ptasiewicz's studio at Koken Art Factory I met another painter, Eric Ridge. His style is both more and less realistic than Henryck's. You can see great photography, Hieronymus Bosch and Salvadore Dali in his work. The viewer suspects that you might find him in a corner of one of his own images.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Portraits of St. Louis Artists: Henryk Ptasiewicz

Henryk Ptasiewicz 1

Finally getting around to editing pictures from the annual St. Louis artists studio open house weekend. It took place over a month ago. I go from place to place, learn about the artists and their work, then ask if I can take some candid portraits in their workspace.

This is my friend Henryk Ptasiewicz, who has appeared in these pages before. I first met him when he was painting en plein air in Citygarden while I was shooting downtown. His style is at once fresh, original and accessible, using loose brushstrokes to create a rhythm of vivid and darker colors.

More of these to come.      

Henryk Ptasiewicz 2

Friday, November 6, 2015

Cette eau est non potable

Denver 2015-10-29 7

Found in the plaza next to the Denver Art Museum. Mrs. C said there was one in French but I couldn't find it.                        

Denver 2015-10-29 8

Denver 2015-10-29 9

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Modern Art and Architecture

Denver 2015-10-29 5

I gotta get back to local photos but I've been getting home from work too late this week. No time to edit so I need to use a bit more of the Denver images. This is a room within the wild architecture of the Denver Art Museum, which is well worth a visit. It's stark. I like it.             

Denver 2015-10-29 6

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Monsters Of Denver

Denver 2015-10-31 1

Contemporary sculpture can be a challenge.  Above, the Big Blue Bear, a 40 foot / 12 meter sculpture standing on the sidewalk, peering into the convention center. A Denver web site describes the work as injecting "a welcome sense of fun and playfulness" into a serious building. I don't think so. If I were inside and saw that nose and these paws pressed on the window I'd run for it.

Below, a piece in the Denver Art Museum literally called Made In China by Siu Jianguo. A whole lot of stuff we buy in this country is made in China, including the Macbook I'm writing this on. Are we inviting Godzilla into our homes?

Denver 2015-10-29 4