Monday, June 30, 2008

Pridefest Parade

The last weekend of June brings the annual St. Louis Pridefest and parade. The parade itself is a candy store for photographers. Everybody's friendly, everybody loves to have their picture taken and everybody's out there. Now, I'm as straight as the shortest distance between two points. I'm walking around bristling with photo equipment and wearing a wedding ring. No problem - it's all warm and fun. If I walk up to someone and say, "Wow, that looks great! Okay if I take your picture?" the subject strikes a pose, then asks for my card. I got enough blog material yesterday to keep me going until we all get sick of it.

The person in this photo is, well, some kind of nun. The red name tag reads "Novice Sister Kristi Kreams, Abbess, Gateway Sisters of Indulgence, St. Louis MO." Looks like the good sisters have their convent ranks confused. (Notice how I deftly avoided the use of gender-specific pronouns in this paragraph?)

Photography tip: if you want to shoot a parade, go early wnd walk around the staging area. Plenty of room to compose your shots, everybody is standing still, you get to chat people up and then they all want to be converted into pixels.

TOMORROW: My most obscure Theme Day post so far.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Water World

The Mississippi is dropping very slowly. This was shot yesterday from Eads Bridge at mid-river. Bank to bank, the water is probably at least a mile, maybe 2 km wide. There was still barge traffic until a few days ago. None now. The current is wicked.

TOMORROW: Pride commeth...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dr. Mandelbrot, I Presume?

This is a bit of fun with the huge video sign outside of Lumiere Place casino. It doesn't look like this to your eye. What you see on the street resembles a television screen. But have you ever tried to photograph a TV screen? I did not not get a response to my request for technical comments yesterday about what causes this effect but my guess is that it's the fast scrolling video refresh of the image. (Expert advice still solicited.)

So what we get in camera is a crazy sci-fi effect, a molten color skin that resembles (or may actually consist of) fractals, as defined by Benoît Mandelbrot. Alien meets The Matrix meets 2001 meets "there's a sucker born every minute." The casinos are glad of the last part.

TOMORROW: Still a lot of water.

Friday, June 27, 2008


I've mentioned that our town has a bunch of casino-hotels. The newest and most opulent is Lumiere Place. It's got a Four Seasons hotel in it. It's got a couple of preposterously expensive restaurants and some downscale ones for the masses. We ate at their pan-Asian restaurant for our annual Stupid Bowl dinner out his year. (creatively named Asia) Won't be returning. Oh, and the architecture is ugly. There will be a photo of that some time.

Their newest feature is a giant video advertising sign, the kind you see at American sports stadiums or along the Las Vegas Strip. It's smack on the main highway that runs from downtown to the airport and on to Kansay City, really in your face. This picture has stirred some controversy: an attractive young lady in a hotel bedroom, holding up a slinky negligee. The shopping bag on the bed is from L'ove [sic], the casino's, um, kinky boutique. (But as Tina Turner says, what's love for to do with it? BTW, Tina spent her adolescence here in STL.). See picture below. The display is said to be causing traffic problems on the highway.

I love the weird color effect of photos of the sign. The image is clear to the human eye but the colors are crazy and distorted in the click of a camera shutter. If anyone knows the technical reason for this, please tell us.

TOMORROW: special effects

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

Shot at mid-day in cloudless summer sun. I metered for the metal skin, making the clear sky a dark shade of blue. It brings out interesting patterns in the surface. The Arch looks smooth at a distance but there are many subtle irregularities.

TOMORROW: Danger on the highway. danger in your wallet.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bull's Eye

The Second Ammendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." We have been vehemently arguing about what that means for more than two centuries. Some Americans feel that gun ownership is a most fundamental right. The late actor Charlton Heston, for many years the president of the National Rifle Association, once said that "I'll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands." Other Americans, including the members of this household, are horrified by our country's gun culture.

The place in these photos is very plain. It makes its presence and purpose clear but there are no windows to reveal what happens inside. What's your view on who should have guns and under what circumstances?

Tomorrow: Thursday Arch Series

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bicycle Race

Unlike our lucky CDPB colleagues in places like Paris and New York, I have to get out on the streets every weekend looking for material to feed this monster. So I went out cruising Sunday, taking local roads through Webster Groves, the suburb where I live, into the city proper and ran across this. Eeeerkk, into a parking lot and whip out camera bag. I have no experience in sports photography. This is what I came up with - could have been sharper. Keep that shutter speed fast.

TOMORROW: Bull's eye.

Monday, June 23, 2008

How Natural Disaster Can Help Keep Your Family Out Of Debt

I've mentioned in the past that St. Louis has become Little Las Vegas on Mississippi, with six major casinos in the area. I think it's horrifying, the stupidest, laziest, most regressive way the states can raise money. New casinos result in a notable rise in bankruptcies. My bipolar clients just can't handle them. Here, however, we have an effective method of silencing the giant sucking sound on the region's wallets. Even a flood can do some good. This is just the entrance, though. The casino itself floats behind on a old riverboat no longer fit to cruise.

The waters are now dropping. A final flood picture of one side of the casino appears below. Later this week we will show a particularly objectionable feature of the newest and most lavish of them all, Lumiere Place.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Flood Crest

Actually, I missed the highest level of the flood on Friday, in part because of reasons described in yesterday's post. So I went down to the Mississippi Saturday morning. The crest was lower than first predicted because several levees broke upstream, draining the river away mostly over farmland. Unfortunately, a few small riverside towns were inundated. The river didn't get nearly as high as the great flood of 1993. I will always remember taking off from the St. Louis airport on the exact day of the crest that year. The area around the confluence of the Missouri, Mississippi and Illinois Rivers looked like a sixth Great Lake, mile after mile of water.

TOMORROW: How natural disaster can help keep your family out of debt.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Date Night (And Day)

My wife is brilliant. There was something she wanted to go to yesterday that she thought I might enjoy. She asked me if I had anything on my calendar. Well, no, just the usual work stuff. Would I like to skip the office and join her? Yes.

And so we went off on an afternoon and evening together, on a weekday. That itself felt a little decadent. We had lunch at sophisticated restaurant near our home. Yum. Then down the street to Webster University, home of Opera Theater of St. Louis. We've been subscribers for 30 years. They have a Young Artists program, giving outstanding young singers a hand up to the pros. Yesterday there was a master class conducted by Christine Brewer, an international A List soprano who got her start at OTSL. Five of the young artists sang arias and received personal coaching from Brewer (who could have a second career as a stand-up comic if her voice fails). It taught us how to listen as much as it taught the students to sing.

Then off to the St. Louis Art Museum to see a special exhibition, Bare Witness: The Photographs of Gordon Parks. I knew just a little about Parks' work. He was the first black staff photographer for Life magazine and had many freelance projects. Some people remember him as a movie director, particularly of Shaft. His work blew us away. I highly recommend the book containing the photos in this show.

The art museum is open late on Friday and we went to dinner in its restaurant, which overlooks a sculpture garden. Thus the picture above. Nice that we like to do things like this together after 34 years. We're pretty good friends.

TOMORROW: The flood crest.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I (Almost) Never Shoot Flowers

Really, I keep thinking that pictures of flowers are just more of the same, unless you're Robert Mapelthorpe (which, fortunately for you, you're not). I'm desperate for new material but my 5D is in the shop (damn thing just died!) and my day-job workload has been as high as the river. So I pulled out an image I took earlier this year at the gorgeous Missouri Botanical Garden. It'll do for today.

TOMORROW: Date night (and day)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

Taken from my office windows on the same morning as last Saturday's post. We get big air movement here in the middle of the continent.

TOMORROW: I never shoot flowers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Above the Flood Waters

Not everyone on the grounds of the Arch is fascinated by the flood. Tourists take pictures of one another, there are paths to walk through vaulted canopies of trees or you might simply want to ride your bike safely above all that water. The flags in the bottom picture are those on the "island" of
Monday's post.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

No Exit

An exit from a garage north of the Arch and Eads Bridge. If you drive out by this route you will not come again soon, unless you visit your friendly car dealer or are a very strong swimmer (the current is powerful). But maybe it's time St. Louis had an amphibious parking facility.

TOMORROW: Above the flood water

Monday, June 16, 2008

Big Muddy

The Mississippi is slowly rising. This was shot standing under the Arch at mid-day Sunday, looking towards Illinois. There is a grand staircase leading down to the river. The couple sits on a landing two-thirds of the way down. There is a street along the river at the bottom, usually many feet over the water. The stage with the flags is a few steps over the street. Now it's an island. In fact, it will be submerged by the time you see this post.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

If the River Don't Rise

In some parts of the US, people say that something will take place "if the river don't rise." It's like saying "God willing" in other cultures. Well, the Mighty Mississippi is rising. Big time.

The top picture is the street that runs along the river below the Arch, taken yesterday morning. The crest isn't predicted until next Saturday. In the second picture, city crews begin to install the removable section of floodwall that crosses this street. The permanent walls are on the left and right. You can see the water creeping up in the lower right.

The flooding has been much worse in the states north of here. Downtown St. Louis sits on a bluff - we'd never notice the river unless we took the trouble to walk or drive by. Lots more water is heading for us and I'll photograph it as the week goes on.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ominous Morning

Yesterday morning, shot from my office window looking to the south. Turbulent weather in the Midwest. The Mississippi is flooding again and is expected to keep rising for another week. Your Inquiring Photographer will keep watch.

TOMORROW: Preparing for flood.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rorschach Test

A column supporting an old railroad trestle. It is at a curve and incline of a street and so has been painted with warning stripes. The stencils, like ink blots, are for you to interpret. The images were repeated on other surfaces around the bridge. I had some concern about whether the columns were reliable enough if a heavy locomotive rolled over my head. For local readers, this on the north (or is it west?) side of Southwest Avenue, just to the right off the westbound exit from I 44.

TOMORROW: Watch the skies.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

A picture to root the Arch in its setting: a curved line of trees, a few visitors and a traffic light in silhouette standing guard.

TOMORROW: Stencils as street art

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Still scraping the archives. We have a dinky light rail system, Metrolink. run by the local public transport authority, Metro St. Louis. The shape of the lines is roughly an elongated Y. Service is not widespread and the trains are only two cars long, but it's well used by the public - and colorful, too. There's a stop right on the corner by my office building that goes to the airport, which can be convenient.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Downtown Boxes

Since I was out of town for five days and very busy a work before that, I don't have anything new to post. Scrounging through the archives, I found hid picture of two office buildings on Seventh Street. The first one, called Gateway One (as in the Gateway Arch) is architecturally undistinguished but parts of it look cool whan you arrange the angles and mirror glass. The second one is the Laclede Gas Building, where I work (wave hi!). It was built in 1969 in the International Style. Straight lines all around.

Monday, June 9, 2008

STL CDPB On The Road: The Most Somber Place In Miami Beach

Miami Beach is known for a libertine way of life. It is not all so. The city has a large Jewish population. At one time, Greater Miami had the largest population of Holocaust survivors of any city. Miami Beach’s memorial to the dead is little visited and profoundly moving.

That's all from Florida. Back to St. Louis tomorrow.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

STL CDPB On The Road: Party On In Miami Beach

There are many old buildings undergoing restoration as hotels and condos in the South Beach district of Miami Beach. One of them, with the un-Florida name The Clevelander, is right up on Ocean Avenue and marketing itself with traditional Miami techniques. Party on, dude.

TOMORROW: The most somber place in Miami Beach.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

STL CDPB On The Road: The Penguin

If someone were to say to me, "The penguin!", I would immediately think of:

A. Monty Python: "There's a penguin on the television!"

B. The Blues Brothers: the Penguin was the nun who ran the orphanage where Jake and Elwood were raised; or

C. Some Batman movie.

This version is a Miami Beach hotel on Ocean Avenue. I guess penguins do fly south for the winter. There were damn well none out on the street on this June day.

Friday, June 6, 2008

STL CDPB On The Road: Miami Beach

I'm attending a professional conference in Miami Beach, a very distracting place. It's very hot in the bright tropical summer sun but I just have to get out and shoot it. The South Beach district is renown for its Art Deco buildings in pastel colors, international clientèle, fabulous beaches and, shall we say, liberated lifestyle. This is a commercial building on Collins venue, the main street. There is a set of Florida pictures on Flickr that I will add to in coming days.

TOMORROW: The Penguin

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

Shot with a telephoto lens from some distance away, just for a sense of scale.

Got some good pix in Miami Beach today. Probably some of this tomorrow.

TOMORROW: South Beach

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


A quickie, recycling bits of Sunday's theme day and Monday's picture of the White Palace restaurant. The full sign says Sandwich Shop. Off to Florida this morning for a professional conference. Tropical pix likely to follow.

By the way, a much higher than normal number of visitors yesterday and only one comment (thanks, iB). Wonder why.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Taste of Clayton

Clayton is sort of a second downtown, smaller but more wealthy than the city center proper. It is the seat of St. Louis County. The City of St. Louis is also a county but not part of St. Louis County. This causes all sorts of confusion for out of town lawyers.

Last Sunday was the annual Taste of Clayton. A large number of restaurants set up tents and tables, selling small portions of their cuisine. There was a big crowd. It turned out to be a fun exercise with a telephoto lens for me. Getting pictures of Asian women eating frozen treats was just a coincidence.

TOMORROW: Recycling

Monday, June 2, 2008

May The Angels In This Storm Guide President Bush

A lunch counter at the corner of 18th and Olive on the edge of downtown. Surprisingly, the management has a fundamental grasp of contemporary British politics, not to mention a World War II sense of allegiance and a wacky talent for prose style. Click the picture to see the details. The left window pane says MAY GOD SAVE THE QUEEN AND CONTINUE TO BLESS AMERICA AND ITS ALLIES. The right says MAY THE ANGELS IN THIS STORM GUIDE PRESIDENT BUSH AND PRIME MINISTER BROWN IN HISTORY'S FINEST HOUR REMEMBERED.

Say what? I hope Ton
y Blair and David Cameron don't stop by for a bite and begin asking questions.

BONUS FACTOID: devoted movie fans may remember the film White Palace, in which a young
Jewish advertising copywriter from St. Louis falls is love with a middle-aged, red-neck White Castle waitress played by Susan Sarandon. They couldn't use the actual name White Castle so they called it White Palace. They couldn't shoot it in an actual White Castle restaurant (Sarandon's character was supposed to work at the White Castle at Grand and Gravois, as blue collar as it got at that time) so the producers took this beat-up old diner and transformed it into the movie set. The movie was based on the wonderful novel by the late Glenn Savan. I was Savan's lawyer at one time, and a more intelligent, literate and tragically ill client I may never see again.

TOMORROW: Asian women eating frozen desserts.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

CDPB Monthly Theme Day: Corner/Neighborhood Store

What does a neighborhood market mean to you? Perhaps a place that knows what you like, has a great selection, competitive prices and calls you by name. That, my friends, adds up to one special shop for me, I want it, they probably got it, and at a good discount, too. Salman Rushdie's new novel was published last week? It was in my office 48 hours later, shipping gratis (because they like me so much). Looking for that obscure recording by Annie Gosfield or Amy X. Neuburg? Just enter it in the search field. It's so comforting that when I log in it says, Hello, Bob. We have recommendations for you, unfailingly leading to something of interest.

Readers of this blog who would like to support its work are invited to visit my wish list, above, and send me something nice. Just to encourage future efforts, you know? Click on the picture to enlarge it and see the details.

173 Daily City Photo Bloggers are out supporting the consumer economy today. See their photos as they come up around the world here. Or, if you prefer, shop them one by one:

Adelaide, Australia by Gordon, Afyonkarahisar, Turkey by afyonblog, 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, Aspen (CO), USA by IamMBB, Athens, Greece by Debbie, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Avignon, France by Nathalie, Barrow-in-Furness, UK by Enitharmon, Barton (VT), USA by Andree, Belgrade, Serbia by Bibi, Belgrade, Serbia by BgdPic, Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA, Bicheno, Australia by Greg, Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah, Boston (MA), USA by Sarah, Whit, & Leyre, Brookville (OH), USA by Abraham, Bucharest, Romania by Malpraxis, Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt, Budapest, Hungary by agrajag, Buenos Aires, Argentina by Karine, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Cape Town, South Africa by Kerry-Anne, Cavite, Philippines by Steven Que, Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff, Château-Gontier, France by Laurent, Chateaubriant, France by Bergson, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chennai, India by Shantaram, Chennai, India by Ram N, Chicago (IL), USA by U R us, Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish, Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic, Corsicana (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow, Edinburgh, UK by Dido, Evry, France by Olivier, Folkestone, UK by Clare Unsworth, Forks (WA), USA by Corinne, Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA by Gigi, Gainesville (FL), USA by Leah, Geneva (IL), USA by Kelly, Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie, Greenville (SC), USA by Denton, Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Hamilton, New Zealand by Sakiwi, Hangzhou, China by Chanin, Haninge, Sweden by Steffe, Helsinki, Finland by Kaa, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Hyde, UK by Gerald, Hyde, UK by Old Hyde, Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Jogjakarta, Indonesia by Jogja Portrait, Katonah (NY), USA by Inkster1, Knoxville (TN), USA by Knoxville Girl, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin, Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine, Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale, Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo, Le Guilvinec, France by ds2944, Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João, Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl, Lodz, Poland by ritalounge, London, UK by Ham, London, UK by Mo, Los Angeles (CA), USA by Martha Perez, Mainz, Germany by JB, Manila, Philippines by Heyokity, Melbourne, Australia by John, Memphis (TN), USA by SouthernHeart, Menton, France by Jilly, Mexico City, Mexico by Poly, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Misawa, Japan by misawa mama, Monroe (GA), USA by Tanya, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Montego Bay, Jamaica by Ann, Monterrey, Mexico by rafa, Moscow, Russia by Irina, Mumbai, India by MumbaiiteAnu, Mumbai, India by Magiceye, Nancy, France by yoshi, Nashville (TN), USA by Chris, Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben, New Delhi, India by Delhi Photo Diary, New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser, New York City (NY), USA by • Eliane •, New York City (NY), USA by Ming the Merciless, Norwich, UK by Goddess888, Oklahoma City (OK), USA by ananda.tashie, Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla, Oslo, Norway by Lothiane, Owasso (OK), USA by Jennifer, Paderborn, Germany by Soemchen, Paris, France by Eric, Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben, Pasadena (CA), USA by Petrea, Perth, Australia by Elevation7, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia by Murphy_jay, Petoskey (MI), USA by Christie, Pilisvörösvár, Hungary by Elise, Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar, Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Sam, Port Townsend (WA), USA by raf, Portland (ME), USA by Corey, Posadas, Argentina by Lega, Prague, Czech Republic by Honza03, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea by Jules, Ramsey, Isle of Man by babooshka, Reykjavik, Iceland by Vírgíll, Riga, Latvia by , Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke, Rouen, France by Bbsato, Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter, Saigon, Vietnam by Simon, Saint Louis (MO), USA by Strangetastes, Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric, San Antonio (TX), USA by Kramer, San Diego (CA), USA by Zentmrs, San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson, San Francisco (CA), USA by Louis la Vache, Seattle (WA), USA by Kim, Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck, Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound, Seoul, South Korea by Phil, Sequim (WA), USA by Norma, Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia, Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa, Singapore, Singapore by Keropok, Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia, Springfield (IL), USA by Aubrey, Stavanger, Norway by Tanty, Stayton (OR), USA by Celine, Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo, Stouffville, Canada by Ken, Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC, Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge, Sydney, Australia by Julie, Sydney, Australia by Sally, Sydney, Australia by Ann, Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo, Tacloban City, Philippines by agnesdv, Tel-Aviv, Israel by Olga, Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K, Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas, The Hague, Netherlands by Lezard, Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine, Torino, Italy by Fabrizio, Torun, Poland by Torun Observer, Torun, Poland by Glenn, Toulouse, France by Julia, Turin, Italy by Livio, Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger, Victoria, Canada by Benjamin Madison, Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2, Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin, 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, Willits (CA), USA by Elaine, Yardley (PA), USA by Mrlynn,

TOMORROW: Anglo-American Wacko Cheeseburgers