Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Skinny

One of Niki de Saint Phalle's series of sculptures at the Missouri Botanical Garden is called the skinnies. They are almost two-dimensional, but not quite. This work is full of her characteristic wit. I like the dinosaurs facing off against one another, the small human figure riding a giraffe and the baby hanging in space. What details in this appeal to you?

TOMORROW: CDPB Monthly Theme Day - Numbers. (Or is it?)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Third Or More Eye

Third eye, four eyes, eye candy. Hard to tell just how many eyes this radiant Buddha by Niki de Saint Phalle has to observe this world and all others. It seems right that it has been placed outside the Temperate House at the Missouri Botanical Garden: all in moderation, nothing to extremes. Except, maybe, the design.

If you have an excuse to cruise by St. Louis this summer, you really should stop and see the exhibition. It's on through October 31.

EVENING UPDATE: by pure coincidence, team member and Chicago daily photo blogger U "R" Us, who was down here for the weekend, posted a picture of the same statue today with a different perspective. Check it out here.

TOMORROW: The Skinny.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Niki's Skull

A new sculpture installation opened yesterday at the gorgeous Missouri Botanical Garden, featuring the work of French-American sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle. It's huge, it's whimsical and it has found a perfect setting. This work is called La Cabeza, the head. It looks more like a skull. Children are invited to climb on and through it. A Lensbaby pumps up its weirdness. More of Niki in the garden to come.

TOMORROW: Buddha's all-seeing, all-knowing eye.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Punk Fan

At the Cardinals baseball game yesterday afternoon: punk fandom shows its red colors. Those who attend games here are usually Midwestern nice-family types but we accept anyone with the price of a ticket. If he had been wearing an Astros jersey, his reception might have been different. The Cardinals won 4-3 with a rally in the bottom of the ninth.

TOMORROW: Niki's skull.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cowboy Chris

Cowboy Chris isn't from Texas or Oklahoma. He lives on the edge of the St. Louis metropolitan area. We don't have actual cowboys here, not day-to-day working ones. Although, come to think of it, when I was about to leave my high school in New York City for college in distant St. Louis, a couple of my friends actually thought there was some risk of Indian attack way out here. Chris must have got his certification elsewhere. He does have an official lariat. Now he makes and sells gourmet barbecue sauce. I met him at his booth at the Earth Day festivities last week.

TOMORROW: Punk fan

Friday, April 25, 2008

Self-Portrait With Black Sedan and Convex Mirror

Just driving aimlessly around town, looking for something to shoot. (For the locals, I was just east of the Washington University medical center, southbound on Boyle, barely north of the Metrolink track. More about that soon.)

TOMORROW: Cowboy Chris

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

If you stare up at this thing long enough you will get dizzy.

TOMORROW: Self-portrait with black sedan and convex mirror.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Your Civic Duty

Most of us live in societies where we get to vote for our government. Some countries have a Green Party, whose principal goal is environmental protection. It's negligible in the U.S. Americans don't know how to react to a party named after the tint of chloroplasts. There are a limited number of green things to chew at McDonald's.

On Earth Day, local environmentalists erected this sign asking us to vote for green candidates . They didn't tell us how to do it. I have strong personal opinions about this (my blog banner does advertise the occasional rant). The easiest answer is not
to vote for Republicans. I, myself, and all my close relations would just as soon vote for a Republican as to eat a Peruvian deep-fried whole gopher. The attitude is like the Chinese government's: if there is a choice between getting rich now and leaving our grandchildren an overheated dump, the way to go is big bucks, yuan or currency of your choice. I will not recite the long list of offenses of the Bush administration in this area. It is absolutely ******* insane that my country promotes putting ethanol made from corn into gasoline while riots are breaking out across the world over sharp increases in food prices. One of the chief crazy people in American politics is Senator James Inhofe (R. Oklahoma), who has declared on the Senate floor that global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people. Not to paint every member of the party with the same brush, but the problem does seem to run in the family.

I would like my grandchildren (should my children ever get around to producing any) to live in a world no worse than mine. It may or may not be possible. Vote Green.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day Dancers

Two pictures from the Earth Day celebrations in Forest Park. My husband and I were there earlier in the day than Strangetastes, when there was a little more going on, but (I thought) these dancers were by far the coolest thing to see. There's a split opinion between Strangetastes and me; he prefers the fire-breather, while I prefer the leaning dancer... so I posted both.

TOMORROW: Your civic duty

Monday, April 21, 2008

Earth Day Takes Off

Sunday was the annual Earth Day festival in Forest Park. A fabulous variety of images was all around. A very non-Middle Eastern group of belly dancers helped things take off.

The sponsors on the banner are interesting: two avatars of the electric company, the major local microbrew, a company that sells office supplies made from recycled materials and the local public radio station.

More of these to come. Tomorrow, team member ShadowyOne takes over with a celebration flame-out.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jurassic Park

The blog demands new material week after week. Because my workdays are long, I have to get out on the weekend to shoot. Sometimes I don't have any ideas for topics. When that happens, I usually go to tthe riverfront or Forest Park.

The park has a quiet corner where few people go. I was walking around with my camera and, in the distance shrough some trees, I saw T. Rex. Here? Never heard about this. When I approached, I found a menacing stegosaurus at its feet.

In this picture, Rexie looks like it's about rip into and destroy Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the core of Washington University Medical Center. It's one of the best in the country and they have patched me up a time or two. I hope the bad dinosaur leaves it alone.

There really is always something new to shoot.


Saturday, April 19, 2008


This young woman was sitting in a downtown plaza, writing in a notebook, on a pleasant spring afternoon. It was a quick snap. When I was editing the picture in Photoshop, I zoomed in to fix some details and found that she was writing in Spanish. A surprise - we don't have a big Hispanic population here, unlike many American cities. Perhaps she is a student or a visitor. I can make out some of it (my Spanish is weak but more than nothing) in the high-resolution original. You can't in this version and that's partly on purpose.

Some photographers talk about the ethics of what is called "sniping," taking photos in public without the subject's knowledge or permission. Does this picture violate her privacy? I found some personal information, her journal, but did not realize it until post-production. On the other hand, one of my photographer idols, Diane Arbus, said that "One of the risks of appearing in public is the likelihood of being photographed."

What's your view of photographing people in public without their permission?

TOMORROW: Jurassic Park

Friday, April 18, 2008


We here in the Midwest are under the crossroads of the American skies. I saw this in my neighborhood as I returned from work Wednesday night. An asterisk often leads to a footnote or comment. Sometimes is is a substitute for indelicate letters, as in f*** or its cousins.

What does the asterisk in the sky mean to you?

TOMORROW: Journalista

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

Self-portrait with a segment of a 192 m tall stainless steel catenary curve.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

El Yunque Forest

The cloud forest in El Yunque National Forest, near the eastern end of Puerto Rico. Got home Tuesday night. Back to the routine.

There are many more pictures of Puerto Rico on my Flickr site. Click here.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Beach at Bosque Piñones

The beach at Bosque Piñones Pine Woods) Park, a forest preserve east of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on a drizzly day. I like the layers of color. Below, the plams behind the beach glower on a dark day.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Dia de Juegos

Dia del Juegos - Youth Day. A group of school children on a field trip in Old San Juan. As they marched down the sidewalk, a teacher called out a Latin dance beat: cha-cha cha-cha cha, and then, on the last beat, the children shouted CHA! and jumped in the air.

You might be able to see Dia del Juegos written on the red shirts.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Puerto Rico and the Ocean

The city wall of old San Juan, looking north and, beyond, the Atlantic Ocean. Do you like it better in color or black and white? Each has its merits.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Old San Juan

San Juan, Puerto Rico, does not have a city center, a downtown. A collection of neighborhoods and villages blended into one another as the area grew. However, what is now called Old San Juan is the city founded by Spain in the early 16th Century, a finger of land surrounded by water on three sides. Americans will understand what I mean when I say that in a way it reminds me of the French Quarter in New Orleans (without drunks weaving down the street) or Boston's North End (without the Red Sox caps), but very tropical and very Hispanic. Some touristy, some quiet, beautiful and lined with old homes of local people. Little groups of cats run in and out of vacant buildings, feral and thin. They belong to the neighborhood.

Aerial photo of picture location in Old San Juan.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Yet Another Good Reason to Visit St. Louis

My wife and I got into San Juan, Puerto Rico, very late last night, thanks to the mess American Airlines is in. I'll be out with my camera shortly, but for now, you can set 'em up and knock 'em down in our city center. A very modern design for an old passtime.

TOMORROW: ¡Ola de San Juan!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

After a year of posting weekly photos of the Arch, I sometimes feel I have nothing else to say about it. Then I go by on a Sunday afternoon and there is something a little different. In this picture, shot with a 17 mm lens, a woman takes a picture of her husband and son. The Arch is so much much taller than it looks in this shot.

TOMORROW: I have no idea but let me tell you a little story:

When I was low to middle two digits of age in New York City, the most popular kids' program on local television was the Soupy Sales Show. He at was as least as popular with high school and college students as he was with tykes.
The show was on at noon on weekdays and all of us who could get to a TV tuned in for his surrealist, absurd sketches. The characters were way over the top (click here and scroll down a little). Almost every bit ended with Soupy getting a cream pie in the face. It was all done live and there are very few archives.

On January 1, 1965, Soupy was upset about about having to work the holiday. He started a crazy improv. This is how I, 14 years old atthe time, remember it:

Soupy looks into the camera and says something like, "Hey, kids, I'm starting a collection of presidential portraits! I need to get a whole set. Now, your mommy and daddy got in real late last night and I bet they're still asleep. Tiptoe into their bedroom, find daddy's wallet, look for some of those portraits of Washington and Lincoln and Jackson and Grant in it and send them to me. And if you do that, you know what I'll do for you? I'll send you a postcard from Puerto Rico!"

The station suspended Soupy for a week for that one. I remember TV news showing hundreds of college students picketing the station demanding his return.

So, here's the bottom line: I'm going to Puerto Rico today. Would you like a postcard?

My wife and I are going down for a few days for our anniversary (34th, thank you). Photos sure to follow by Saturday. Stay tuned and keep your picket signs clean.

Aerial photo of picture location, looking straight down on the top of the Arch.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hot Foot

Well, not exactly. A meeting place in downtown STL is the statue The Runner in Kiener Plaza. People often dump colors in the fountain around it. It's common to have red for the Cardinals baseball team or the namesake shade of the St. Louis Blues hockey franchise. I have no idea what this orange is about and it's been there nearly a month, which means that someone is refreshing the dye. The runner's right foot looks like it is pushing through a wall of fire but the lower picture shows that theory is all wet.

Aerial photo of picture location in Kiener Plaza, downtown STL

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Have a Nice Day (if you support the right team)

Found on the antenna of a car parked near the baseball stadium during a game. Do any other countries besides us and maybe Canada have antenna balls?

Areal view of photo location, 7th and Pine Streets, downtown STL.

-- -- --

In a comment earlier today, U "R" Us asked me to add an historic family photo to this post, my first antenna ball picture. This is from the time I was just getting interested in photography. It is a one-eyed Jack, so to speak, from the US restaurant chain, Jack In The Box. The antenna was on a beat up pick-up truck near a trail head in Death Valley National Park, one of the most desolate, remote and beautiful places in America.

Aerial view of photo location at the head of Golden Canyon trail.

TOMORROW: Hot foot

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fredbird In Mourning

A zoom on the video display of the Busch Stadium scoreboard, looking like a cheap analog television. The stadium announcer declared a moment of silence in memory of a long-time Cardinals executive who died during during the off-season. Fredbird, the Cardinals' mascot, stands in shallow center field in a mocking imitation of mourning.

Fredbird is an idiot. All American colleges and high schools, as well as most professional sports teams, have some kind of mascot. Inevitably, there is a large, cartoonish suit for someone to play the role. My alma mater, St. Louis University, has one of the most bizarre of all. (See my post about the Billiken last year.) Fredbird is really annoying. The idea may have been cute for the first couple of years but, season after season, the character keeps running abound the stadium with his (its?) posse of young ladies, getting in your field of view, beaking people on the head and generally acting like a has-been slapstick comedian in a seven foot body. And now, back to the game.

I noticed that Curly of South Shields, England, DBP has been doing something new. Never having been shy about adopting someone else's good idea, I will start providing an aerial view of the location of the photo when possible.

TOMORROW: More cheerful

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Scoreboard (Black and White Television)

Newer baseball stadiums--certainly including ours--are saturated with color, jiggling electronic movement and noise. I think it's annoying but you can screen out most of it if you are interested in the game. It might be interesting to pick out details and convert them to quiet black and white.

The picture below is the original unedited (and poorly composed) photo from which the main post was taken. All my shots start as high resolution RAW files, which gives me the opportunity to pull out details and keep them reasonably sharp.

TOMORROW: Fredbird In Mourning

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fans, beer, cell phones

The pre-game scene on the patio of a popular restaurant and bar facing the baseball stadium.

TOMORROW: ballpark minimalism

Friday, April 4, 2008

Rain Delay

On a concourse at Busch Stadium, while heavy rain delayed a Cardinals baseball game.

TOMORROW: Fans, beer, cell phones

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

This looks to me like it could have been a magazine photo from the 60s, before color pictures were common. Mid-sized city, mid-sized buildings, big famous monument. There is a little figure-ground trick going on here, with the light on the triangular legs of the Arch and one foot in the trees. If you look at the bottom two-thirds, the Arch could be parallel or perpendicular to the river. If your eye drifts to the top the ambiguity goes away, but that itself is confusing. I like ambiguity a whole lot. It's a sensible way of thinking.

TOMORROW: Rain delay

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Closed Captioned (Cardinals Home Opener)

The pre-game ceremonies before an attempt at opening day of the baseball season in St. Louis. With the Cardinals leading the Colorado Rockies 5-1 in the bottom of the third, the heavens opened their collective spigots and the game was rained out. Here, the introduction of the Cardinals' great star, Albert Pujols, is reported on the scoreboard. Let those who have eyes, see. Let those who have ears, hear.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

CDPB Monthly Theme Day: Water


(A photo from the recent floods in suburban St. Louis, with minor embellishments. You can't imagine what-all makes its way upstream from the Mississippi.)

Come view these participating City Daily Photo Blogs before they dry up:

TOMORROW: Closed Captioned
theme day id=13

Adelaide, Australia by Gordon, Albuquerque (NM), USA by Helen, American Fork (UT), USA by Annie, Anderson (SC), USA by Lessie, Ararat, Australia by Digger, Arradon, France by Alice, Ashton under Lyne, UK by Pennine, Athens, Greece by Debbie, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Bandung, Indonesia by Guntur Purwanto, Barton (VT), USA by Andree, Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro by Paja, Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro by Bibi, Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA, Bicheno, Australia by Greg, Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah, Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Boston (MA), USA by Sarah, Whit, & Leyre, Boston (MA), USA by Fenix - Bostonscapes, Brighton, UK by Harvey, Brookville (OH), USA by Abraham, Budapest, Hungary by Isadora, Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Cape Town, South Africa by Kerry-Anne, Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff, Chateaubriant, France by Bergson, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chicago (IL), USA by b.c., Christchurch, New Zealand by Michelle, Clearwater (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Clearwater Beach (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish, Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic, Cypress (TX), USA by Riniroo, Dallas/Fort Worth (TX), USA by A Wandering Soul, Dunedin (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow, East Gwillimbury, Canada by Your EG Tour Guide, Evry, France by Olivier, Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie, Greenville (SC), USA by Denton, Grenoble, France by Bleeding Orange, Guelph, Canada by Pat, Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Hamilton, New Zealand by Sakiwi, Hampton (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Haninge, Sweden by Steffe, Helsinki, Finland by Kaa, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Hyde, UK by Old Hyde, Inverness (IL), USA by Neva, Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon, Jakarta, Indonesia by Santy, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Jogjakarta, Indonesia by Jogja Portrait, Joplin (MO), USA by Victoria, Juneau (AK), USA by Gwyn, Katonah (NY), USA by Inkster1, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin, Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine, Lake Forest Park (WA), USA by Azure, Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale, Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo, Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl, Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João, Lodz, Poland by ritalounge, London, UK by Mo, London, UK by Ham, Mainz, Germany by JB, Maple Ridge, Canada by Susan, Marseille, France by Alex, Mazatlan, Mexico by Kate, Melbourne, Australia by John, Melbourne, Australia by Mblamo, Memphis (TN), USA by SouthernHeart, Menton, France by Jilly, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Mexico City, Mexico by Poly, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Minsk, Belarus by Olga, Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Montego Bay, Jamaica by Ann, Monterrey, Mexico by rafa, Moscow, Russia by Irina, Mumbai, India by Magiceye, Mumbai, India by MumbaiiteAnu, Mumbai, India by Kunalbhatia, Nancy, France by yoshi, Naples (FL), USA by Isabella, Nashville (TN), USA by Chris, Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben, New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser, New York City (NY), USA by Ming the Merciless, Niamey, Niger by Dinabee, Norfolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Norman (OK), USA by Chad & LaCresha, Norwich, UK by Goddess888, Nottingham, UK by Gail's Man, Odense, Denmark by ania odense, Omsk, Russia by Nataly, Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla, Oslo, Norway by Lothiane, Paderborn, Germany by Soemchen, Paris, France by Gordio, Paris, France by Eric, Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia by Murphy_jay, Pilisvörösvár, Hungary by Elise, Pont-à-Mousson, France by Tintin-j, Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar, Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Sam, Port Townsend (WA), USA by raf, Port Vila, Vanuatu by Mblamo, Portland (OR), USA by NWgal, Portland (ME), USA by Corey, Portsmouth (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Prague, Czech Republic by Honza03, Quincy (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Riga, Latvia by Prokur, Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke, Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter, Saigon, Vietnam by Simon, Saint Louis (MO), USA by Strangetastes, Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate, Salem (OR), USA by jill, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by atc, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric, San Diego (CA), USA by Felicia, San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson, Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck, Seattle (WA), USA by Kim, Seguin (TX), USA by Thien, Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound, Sequim (WA), USA by Eponabri, Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia, Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa, Shanghai, China by Jing, Sharon (CT), USA by Jenny, Singapore, Singapore by Keropok, Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia, St Francis, South Africa by Sam, Stavanger, Norway by Tanty, Stayton (OR), USA by Celine, Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo, Stouffville, Canada by Ken, Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC, Suffolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge, Sydney, Australia by Sally, Sydney, Australia by Nathalie, Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo, Tacloban City, Philippines by agnesdv, Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K, Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas, The Hague, Netherlands by Lezard, Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine, Toruń, Poland by Torun Observer, Toulouse, France by Julia, Turin, Italy by Livio, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Jazzy, Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger, Victoria, Canada by Benjamin Madison, Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2, Virginia Beach (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin, Washington (DC), USA by Rachel, Wassenaar, Netherlands by Rich, Wellington, New Zealand by Jeremyb, West Paris (ME), USA by crittoria, West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara, Weston (FL), USA by WestonDailyPhoto, Williamsburg (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Willits (CA), USA by Elaine, Yardley (PA), USA by Mrlynn,