Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thursday Arch Series

Haven't had one of these in a long time. After nearly eleven years of this project it's hard to find a new perspective but something new may get your eye just walking down the street. Taken on Chestnut just east of Broadway, next to a bank building.

No, nothing to do with McDonald's. They aren't golden.      

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Downtown buildings: shape, color, wiggly mirrors, sunset.

Sitting here Tuesday evening watching the Alabama senate results come in.  I can't hold my breath long enough.       

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

In Honorem S. Ludovici

You don't need to have been a poor student of Latin like me to translate this: in honor of St. Louis. This town, not just le roi saint, could use a few honors. We have something of an image problem.

This is part of the facade of the Old Cathedral, under the Arch on the edge of downtown.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Broadway Line Up

Same light, different view. Looking north on Broadway, the Old Courthouse, 100 and 200 N. B'way. My office building is three more blocks behind.    

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Nice Light

Out of the office late yesterday afternoon . . . must - shoot - something. Felt like Frankenstein staggering around downtown in the cold, looking for something, anything. Turns out the sunset colors were gorgeous, the light as good as it could get. It hit the north wing of the Old Courthouse with perfect framing and the new lamps in Kiener Plaza added a nice touch.          

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Triangle, Sphere

Back at Laumeier for a bit. I really need to shoot some new material but I really need to go to work today. (It occurs to me that I am the oldest of four siblings and the only one who hasn't retired.)

This is a bit of clever geometry -  Mark di Suvero's Bonibus, which feels like a Calder made of steel beams rather than floating, amorphous planes. And then there is the all-seeing eye. Can you hide from it in the woods behind?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Yeah, Lots

Can we save American democracy?

Will the rich devour the poor? Will it lead to attempted revolution?

What is the president's appropriate diagnosis?

What are the odds that in 50 years a big percentage of current jobs will be automated and a chunk of Florida will be under water?

Will the Cardinals win the pennant next year?

Is this the best time in history to be old? And many more...

This golf cart was on the grounds of Laumeier Sculpture Park, I suppose to get the staff across its large expanse. The sign must be directed at visitors. It could, as the saying goes, open up a can of worms.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Beer Rocket

Schlafly Beer promotes itself as the second biggest brewery in St. Louis. It follows, of course, the one that makes Budweiser and related brands, which is larger by some orders of magnitude. Schlafly has two restaurant-pubs. This is the one on the edge of downtown. I'm sure this is some kind of brewing tank but it looks like a rocket about to launch a sudsy attack on the Illinois suburbs.

BTW, I like Schlafly's products way more than those of the local behemoth. I'm particularly fond of their K├Âlsch, beer made in the style of Cologne, Germany.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Giacometti At The Planetarium, Maybe

Other than Sunday night's moonrise I haven't been out shooting much.  So, I need to pick through recent inventory.  That's our planetarium (a pretty cool place). When I was driving around Forest Park looking for material, I found this sculpture, perhaps three times life size, outside the entrance. I didn't see any identifying information around it or on the web site but it sure looks like the work of Alberto Giacometti, right down to the oversized feet. Like the mission of the planetarium, the figure looks to the heavens and even seems to be stretching toward them. Appropriate, although it looks uncomfortable.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Supermoon Over Webster Groves

Mrs. C sent me a text as I was driving home Sunday that the moon had risen over the clouds. I got off the highway in Webster Groves, the suburb where we live, and pulled into a parking lot with an unobstructed view. Not crystal clear but better than when I was on the riverfront. A dark telephone pole gives a little accent.     

Monday, December 4, 2017

What I Could Get Of The Supermoon

I set up my tripod under the Arch beside the Mississippi, letting whatever emanates from the giant steel wicket penetrate my brain and camera. 5:11 PM, 66 degrees, the tables said. The day had turned from clear to hazy and, as the sky darkened, I could not tell how much cloud touched the eastern horizon.

Time passed and I was impatient. Finally, a dirty yellow light rose over Eads Bridge. The full moon was indistinct, wrapped in haze. This was the best I could do. A few minutes later it was completely covered in cloud.

Before I left I turned my lens across the river. Lots of gambling going on in and around this town.

The clouds pulled back as I got home to Webster Groves, more about which tomorrow.   

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Way

The other object that everyone remembers after a visit to Laumeier Sculpture Park is Alexander Lieberman's The Way. These photos lack scale since no one is walking by. The diameter of the tube flat on the ground is greater than my height, and I'm rather tall.

The pieces are made from disused oil tanks that are painted cadmium red. I sometimes imagine legions of people whose jobs were lost to automation marching through.

Remember, supermoon tonight.                 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Big Brother Is Watching You

So I had to go to a hardware store last weekend a bit further out in the suburbs. As usual, I needed blog material and had no ideas. The store was very near Laumeier Sculpture Park, a 76 acre haven of art and nature amidst our suburban sprawl. Hadn't been there for a while so let's go see what's up. 

Many visitors' strongest impression of the park is Tony Tasset's Eye. The description in this link strikes me as art babble but there is no question of its power. Think of it as a metaphor of what every web site you ever visited has done to you.    

Friday, December 1, 2017

City Daily Photo December Theme Day - Gift

Ellie's two best friends in a not-so-great phone cam shot. In her right hand, Old Lambie, given to her soon after her debut by our good friend Virginia. Not long ago she became greatly concerned about O.L.'s increasingly decrepit condition, and so New Lambie arrived courtesy of her grandparents. She treasures both of them equally.

BTW, she sometimes insists on wearing her coat in the house just because she is four and wants to be assertive. She does it in conversation, too. For example, Mrs. C was talking to her about the day's activities at dinner last night. Ellie had helped change the furnace filter. My wife asked her where they had put the old one after they were done. The kid cheerfully replied, "applesauce!"   

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Ars Gratia Artis

There is a storefront at 8th and Pine that has been vacant for 20 or 30 years. Its former use was unusual. The phone company filled it with physical phone books from all around the country. In pre-internet times, you could go there to look up a phone number in Chicago or Dallas. I did occasionally.

It's obvious what happened to that idea. This season Art St. Louis filled the dark interior with glowing, onion-shaped constructions, pulsing and changing colors. Maybe it was supposed to be Christmas-y. I thought it was spooky.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you patio furniture, make sculpture.

Found at 6th and Chestnut, walking back to my car from Kiener Plaza. This is the outdoor seating area of a T. G. I. Friday's restaurant. (One of my law firm's slogans: Thank God it's Friday. Only two more work days until Monday.) Getting pretty chilly for dining al frecso so maybe this furniture was just stacked up for the winter. It made for pretty interesting geometry.       

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


The Arch is sort of downtown's eye of Buddha. It peeks at you from unexpected places and always seems to be watching you. Better behave yourself and brush up on catenary geometry.       

Monday, November 27, 2017

Back To What Passes For Normal

Time to get back home. Too much to do, no ideas, the usual. So go walk around with a camera.

Someone funded an outdoor ice rink in Kiener Plaza downtown, open from Thanksgiving to New Year's. As you can see from some people's dress it's not terribly cold. We have had only a couple of nights below freezing and as high as 74 F / 23 C in the last week. It ain't right.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

B&W Challenge Day 7 - Big Piece Of Rock

The biggest one around. Glad I got to see it. This is the end of the seven day run but I've taken some more pictures recently that I'd like to edit in B&W. They get done that way when the image is right.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Friday, November 24, 2017

B&W Challenge Day 5 - 120 Wall Street

The last building on Wall Street in New York, where it meets the East River. My father worked here much of his adult life. I loved to go there with him on Saturdays, play with the office machines and watch the boats in the river.

Taken from the walkway on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

B&W Challenge, Day 4 - ICP

An iconic institution for people who share my passion, the new quarters of the International Center Of Photography on The Bowery, just south of Houston Street in lower Manhattan. (I think the school is still at the old place on Sixth Avenue in Midtown.) This street used to be New York's skid row, but, like much of the island, it is becoming thoroughly gentrified.

It you look closely, you can barely see the white lettering in the pavement featured in the post of November 12. Of course almost no one notices it.

I think I'll finish this series with three of my favorite B&Ws from the archives.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

B&W Challenge, Day 3 - Off Season

No people, no words. Busch Stadium, taken through the center field gate, late afternoon on a chilly November day.        

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

B&W Challenge, Day 2

Once again, the plan is seven days of B&W photos, no people, no words. Need to go back in the archives to do this series. That's okay. I have a black and white album on Flickr and it made me go back and see what worked and what didn't.

I think this worked. Taken from the Illinois side of the Mississippi. Eads Bridge in the middle layer. The bottom layer is a floodwall with heavy concrete and steel supports to hold back the river.       

Monday, November 20, 2017

B&W Challenge, Day One

So there's this meme going around where somebody challenges somebody else to post black and white pictures for seven days, no people, no words. Nobody challenged me (sniff) but I don't have any better ideas so I'm just gonna do it. 

We start in Citygarden with Tom Claasen's Two Rabbits. They look passive enough but those of us of a certain age cannot forget another apparently innocent bunny

I may have to hit the archives to finish this exercise but I'm interested in shooting some dead empty shopping malls on Thursday, Thanksgiving in the United States. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

It Would Be An improvement

We took Ellie to STL's wonderful children's museum, The Magic House. (Yes, she is officially Madeleine but we all call her Ellie and I'm changing my usage.) I had not been there since our kids were young. It's been greatly expanded and improved. Ellie had a ball. 
There was an area devoted to American government. To my surprise, there was a mock-up of the Oval Office. The children could pretend to sit at the president's desk and Ellie took her turn. I think she was taking a call from Putin.

The Constitution requires that the president be at least 35 years of age. A video system lets the kids find out how long they have to wait. I hope it won't be nearly that long (months preferred to years) for a major improvement on the incumbent. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Times Square 2

The hordes. I don't think I've ever been there when it wasn't busy. And if you are a New Yorker, the sign in the first picture will resonate. 

Note Olivier in the right of the third picture.         

Friday, November 17, 2017

Times Square 1

Everyone has seen pictures of Times Square and many of us have walked through it. It used to be rather tawdry but the city cleaned it up, after a fashion. Now it's all megawatt advertising glitz and family friendly if your eyes aren't too sensitive. During my recent visit, many of the blinding signs were advertising movies. Incongruously, the display on Walgreens pharmacy was rotating beautiful black and white photos of African people. It was packed during a damp, chilly autumn evening.

Tomorrow, some of the people in the swirling scene.       

Thursday, November 16, 2017

9/11 Museum

Beneath the plaza of the World Trade Center is a museum about the devastating events of September 11, 2001, and the thousands of people who died that day. I've been there once before and I still find it a very difficult place. The horror and suffering it depicts are overwhelming, almost too much to bear for the living sixteen years later.

Olivier and I visited it on the last afternoon of our meet-up in New York. I took a lot of pictures on my first visit. but could not make more than a few this time. It was just too hard. As you descend the escalator into the cavernous space you are met with the sign in the first picture and wonder if it will literally be true. Just beyond is the mangled fire truck. The blue escalator in the last picture is the exit back upstairs. Stairway to heaven? The color could not have been accidental.     

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


One dictionary defines oculus as a circular or oval window or a circular opening at the top of a dome.  I do not know how this new building at the World Trade Center got its name.  It has ribs that flare in like a cathedral ceiling and then back out like wings. The general shape, seen from above, is something like a football; maybe sort of oval. The eye reference may be that it contains a major transit hub, completely reformed after the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Then throw in an upscale shopping mall (there are Apple, Kate Spade and Hugo Boss stores). The name doesn't exactly work, other than it is memorable.

But it is such an eyeful! Every angle, every view has something uniquely interesting. Sometimes, like in the second picture, you get the tower of One World Trade Center in the frame.   

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Legos In Rockefeller Center

If you've been to New York, you can imagine how expensive ground-level retail space is in Rockefeller Center. Some companies will pay up, though, to show off their stuff in a spectacular, high-traffic location.

There is a big Lego store on the concourse leading west from Fifth Avenue to the central plaza and skating rink. The picture above is a model of just that, all made from Legos.  The second photo looks like a giant Lego insect buzzing the entrance to Radio City Music Hall.