Monday, November 30, 2009

Big Throwed Muzic

Some times the photography gods are cruel and sometimes they shower us with gifts. I spent some time at the office yesterday and then decided to see what there was to shoot on a dreary late afternoon. I had no ideas. When that happens I sometimes just drive around the riverfront around the Arch. What luck yesterday.

There were a bunch of people hanging out in front of the graffiti-permitted part of the floodwall with video equipment and lights. Skreeech over to the curb, grab camera from trunk and walk over to say howdy. Turns out it's the local hip hop group Big Throwed Muzic, led by Big Cheezy of Mo Chedda Records. They were out shooting a video with producer Da Fly Lady. These guys had it down. Big Cheezy, in the white tee shirt, is an imposing presence. More about him soon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Contra Los Nazis En San Luis

Seen on Cherokee Street, in our modest Hispanic district.

The new banner for the blog was shot and edited yesterday. It's about time for a new one: the incumbent has been there for hundreds posts. The new one will debut on STL DPB's 1,000th post in two weeks.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Got Nothing New So How About A Stuffed Toy Flamingo?

. Mmmm, the hungry mouth of the blog still hangs open. Haven't been out on the street in some time and I have nothing fresh to post. I'm hoping that a toy flamingo in Citygarden from the archives will fill the gap. They have three or four of these around the park. You can pose them however you want.

Actually, I'm hoping U "R" Us and I will be out shooting later today. I need his help for my goofy idea for a new blog banner in honor of my 1,000th post, which comes around in two weeks.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Aftermath

It was a good holiday. Mrs. C. and I had Thanksgiving dinner at our daughter and son-in-law's house. He's a high-end professional chef but we gave him a day off. U "R" Us was down from Chicago. He donned the chef's jacket while doing prep work.

I'm still in the online class about off-camera lighting technique. This week's assignment is to use a snoot on the main light. (What's a snoot? This is the model I used. I have no experience in this whatever.) The image has a 40's film noir look. Sam Spade might be coming to eat at his restaurant.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

Chew on this for Thanksgiving Day in the US, an occasion on which most of us eat too much and some of us spend much of the day watching football in a turkey-induced torpor. Not me. I'll probably edit pictures in a turkey-induced torpor. Who knows, I might even take some.

The sign is in front of the McDonald's on South Broadway in Soulard. I wonder what D B S stands for. Damn burger slop? Don't buy spinach? Leave a comment if you have other creative suggestions.

The trip to Kansas got canceled. A local family member needed urgent medical attention. So far, so good, and I may be able to say more about it later. However, as a big fan of St. Louis native William S. Burroughs, I was blown away when I found out that the surgeon was named Dr. Benway! boggleboggleboggle... Burroughs wrote: Dr. Benway is operating in an auditorium filled with students: "Now, boys, you won't see this operation performed very often and there's a reason for that.... You see it has absolutely no medical value. No one knows what the purpose of it originally was or if it had a purpose at all. Personally I think it was a pure artistic creation from the beginning.

I hope the art was working yesterday.
I really, really do.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An Afternoon Shower

Taken from my office window yesterday afternoon. The building is the federal court house. I keep clear of it.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series, with something to chew on.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bad Taste in America (Protect Our Children)

Do you have Hooters in your country? No? Count yourself lucky. Really, really bad taste, and it tastes bad, too. If you're American, you know. The only time I ever ate there was when this downtown branch was about to open. A lawyer friend and I, both working on Saturday (again) were going to lunch when a lackey out on the street offered us free eats on their "shakedown" day. Free lunch? Why not? Well - grease deep fried in grease, burgers-fries-shrimp dripping a form of Penzoil licensed for human consumption. It was disgusting, We couldn't finish it. All served up by buxom young ladies in spray-on tee shirts (hence the name) and shorts, just too sad for words. BUT the company is concerned about what happens to our children in the dead of night. The kiddies can't go in at the witching hour to have their minds and arteries poisoned without adult supervision.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Outta Here

Had enough? Vote with your feet. Julian Opie's This Is Bruce and Sarah Walking in Citygarden might suggest a way to either leave our frayed urban core or explore its details.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

For Your Sunday Morning

I am so out of ideas. After another Saturday session at the office, the lazy St. Louis photoblogger's solution is to walk a block to Citygarden and shoot something or other. The garden is lucky to have two representations of Pinocchio. The puppet in Jim Dine's White Gloves faces the direction of the rising sun, arms outstretched as if in praise and supplication. Or is it triumph? Except he has no eyes - he literally acts blindly - and Pinocchio's growing nose tells us that he's been lying.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Eros Nasale

More lunchtime wandering with my point-n-shoot: CDPB lite. Another shot of this one.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sino - St. Louis Relations

Like the fine print says: there is a portrait of Mao Zedong on the wall of my office, a sarcastic Andy Warhol image (it's not meant as adulation). There is also a 10 yuan note on my desk, just in case, under a crystal ball designed by one of my favorite artists, Jenny Holzer. The crystal ball predicts the world to come: the inscription inside reads the future is stupid.
HEY, SPEAKING OF ANDY WARHOL, THIS IS WAY MORE THAN FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME: Studio Altius is a St. Louis photography venue that rents professional studio space and lighting equipment to shooters who don't have their own, holds photography workshops and hosts exhibits of local artists' work. At the end of every year, they have a competition and show "for the best photography created in that year from St. Louis area photographers," or at least those who get around to entering something. SEEN 2009 opens soon and I was notified today that seven of my images were accepted (I'll post links to them as soon as I get a chance). This means one of two things: there were very few entries this year or the judges have exquisite taste. Take your pick.

The opening reception is Saturday, December 5 from 6 to11 PM. St. Louisans, be there or be square. You will have the opportunity to buy Bob's stuff. Studio Altius is located at 3518 Greenwood in Maplewood. The show continues until January 16, 2010.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This Post Is So Short It Hardly Counts

Geppetto sweats, too. (See yesterday's post.)

I think I have a picture in the hole I can use for the Thursday Arch Series tomorrow.

Afternoon Note: I have reluctantly turned on word verification for comments because I've been getting a lot of spam lately.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hi, My Name Is Bob And I'm A Photographer, Or, Pinocchio Sweats Bullets

I can't stop. I was going to take a blog break, clean up other stuff, do something else meaningful in my precious free time. Right? So yesterday I was looking out my office window at the rain and gloom and thought maybe I should go buy a sandwich for lunch and you know it looks kind of cool out there in the rain so why don't I put my point-n-shoot in my pocket while I'm walking around in the rain like an idiot? It's here in my briefcase. Just a couple of shots won't hurt. I can stop anytime. So Citygarden is just a block away and hey Pinocchio and Geppetto are soaking wet. Pinocchio looks like he's really nervous and he should be from what the wood carver is about to do to him in this wacky sculpture. So just a couple of shots but what's the light like from this angle but that's all and then go buy a sandwich and back to the office and pretend I'm Sisyphus climbing that mountain of work over and over. Unless I have to edit a picture right this minute.

But I can stop anytime. But I can't. Help.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What To Do On Blog Holiday

I hadn't taken a picture for two days until last night. It felt liberating. All this time has opened up for other things. It made me realize that while the blog has been good for my photography, it's been bad for me personally. My work week has been long. Most of my free time was going to shooting, editing, posting and commenting. Normal household chores got pushed aside because of the demands of the blog. Still haven't finished sorting and editing the Nepal and Tibet pictures two months on. I'll probably get back to the daily blog in a bit. Now, if it weren't for this &$@!* job...

One of the things to do is study photography. I'm taking an online course in off-camera flash techniques from the Perfect Picture School of Photography. The name is a bit pretentious but I've done a couple of other classes with them and the quality is very high. So, this week's lesson and assignment concerns bounce flash techniques. This photo is not about St. Louis but it's in St. Louis, viz., my basement. I was shooting alstromeria and decided to break some rules. This is bounce backlighting, straight off the wall behind the flowers, taken with an 85 mm prime lens at f 1.8, 1/60 sec., ISO 100. Something different.

Be back soon.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Young And Cool On Cherokee Street

I saw him in a small flea market on Cherokee Street sponsored by Binge & Purge. Very cool, very self assured and happy to pose. I didn't notice her at first but she wanted in the scene quickly. I'm glad. They're beautiful.

I hoped it wouldn't come to this but, well, it did. In my long career in this dismal profession, I've never had such a high work load for such a sustained period as the last two months. Sheesh, in a week and a half I have a hearing on a case in which the evidence file is over 3,000 pages long. The juggler can't keep all the balls in the air. I'll be posting just occasionally through our Thanksgiving holiday in a couple of weeks. Then I get a couple of days off for a trip to Kansas, always fertile ground for photography.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

I'd never noticed this view before. A couple of weekends ago I was wandering around the Arch taking pix with autumn colors, like October 29's post. It was about time to leave when I looked up one more time and wham, here this was, presented to me on a platter. There was more good fortune because because the wide angle lens and flash were on the camera. Fill flash on the street lamp and that featureless sky make the picture, IMHO.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lingering Images Of Autumn

The tree canopy is turning brown now. This picture was taken in Forest Park a couple of weeks ago but Virginia said I should post it. Yes, ma'am. Colors and textures that may stick with me through the winter.

I AM A DOPE DEPARTMENT: thanks to all of you who left comments here, on Facebook or on Flickr about my entry for the 2009 St. Louis Post-Dispatch travel photo contest. Someone even suggested I submit yesterday's post or the last Arch post. Well, I appreciate the thought but the rules say it has to be somewhere outside of the STL metropolitan area and you spent a night away from home. So no Arch.

I selected the entry today and uploaded to the paper's web site. It wasn't one in the set I put together on Flickr - I just overlooked it. This is my entry. I was such a dope for not seeing it earlier. It has what the editors want - a strong image, a bit of exoticism and a compelling sense of place that's definitely not here. Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tower Grove At Sunset

I was going to continue the series of dead composers on sticks that I've done for the last two days. However, the images I got of Mozart, the next one, were really awful. Maybe I'll go shoot it again next weekend. For now, here's some lurid color I shot elsewhere in Tower Grove Park last weekend. It seems like it should have more meaning than just another HDR shot, like something from an Ingmar Bergman movie.

Monday, November 9, 2009


In a comment to yesterday's post, our friend Cieldequimper asked who were the other composers in the circle around the gazebo. Well, they all wrote operas (although Beethoven, whom we just saw, wrote the fewest of the lot, producing just one), three spoke German, two spoke Italian, one spoke French and all reflected highbrow Midwestern taste in the late 19th Century.

So, knowing a straight line when I hear one, I think we'll move through the collection. Richard Wagner, a disagreeable genius, is well-placed in this HDR-pumped sky. I was once in Los Angeles on business and went to hear Tristan und Isolde by myself at the L.A. Opera. I walked back to the parking lot next to one of the members of the orchestra, who asked me if I actually liked it. I told him I was ecstatic. And then there was the time I heard Jon Vickers sing Parsifal in Chicago. I could go on.

And speaking of Wagner, do you like the smell of napalm in the morning?

YOUR ASSISTANCE PLEASE: It's almost time for the 2009 travel photo competition sponsored by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I've won a couple of honorable mentions but never one of the top three prizes. This is a selection favorite photos from around the country and the world this year. Please leave me a comment and let me know which one you would submit. Remember, this is a general-interest daily newspaper so nothing too weird. Click here for the set.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!

This weekend feels like spring in St. Louis, with temperatures of 20 - 21 C / low 70s F, but the colors are still those of autumn. At sunset in Tower Grove Park, Ludwig van Beethoven glowers in front of one of the candy apple gazebos. Let's cram a chorus and orchestra in there playing An Die Freude and make the scene even weirder.

YOUR ASSISTANCE PLEASE: It's almost time for the 2009 travel photo competition sponsored by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I've won a couple of honorable mentions but never one of the top three prizes. This is a selection favorite photos from around the country and the world this year. Please leave me a comment and let me know which one you would submit. Remember, this is a general-interest daily newspaper so nothing too weird. Click here for the set.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Post For Saturday


Or perhaps for Saturday night. Geez, I haven't thought about this form of entertainment since I was an undergraduate. Party on, dude.

In fact, Binge & Purge is a vintage clothing and oddball kitsch shop on Cherokee Street. An announcement about its opening last March said that "Binge & Purge will have an always alternating inventory of vintage clothing, antique medical devices, military surplus, Japanese candy, human skulls, taxidermied critters, torture devices, outsider art, vintage electronics, malicious machinery, infernal devices, & other aesthetic delights."

How interesting. I didn't actually go in the store but antique medical devices could be worth investigating. I think I'll contact them and see if I can do a feature on the place.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Altar To Frieda

I mentioned that there wasn't much activity in our Latino neighborhood for El Dia de Los Muertos. Still, when I walked the strip there were all sorts of little details. Part of Mexican tradition for the day is the construction of small altars honoring the dead. This one, in a store window, celebrates the painter Frieda Kahlo. I love the intensity and intimacy of her work. A few years ago we got to visit her museum in Mexico City, in the home she shared with her husband, the muralist Diego Rivera. She died at age 47. They remember her on Cherokee Street.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Odd Couple

She was a spot-on double (notice I didn't say dead ringer) for the late Farrah Fawcett, dressed to imitate the actress' most famous photo, leaving a trail of pheromones behind her. He was in this bizarre wolf man get-up, bare-chested on a chilly night, showing off a body builder physique and a deep tan, emanating testosterone radiation. Together, they wandered around Maryland Plaza with the other spooks. Wonder what happened to them later Halloween night.

Thursday Arch Series.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

El Dia de los Muertos

November 1 is All Saints Day in the Christian calendar. It is also El Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of The Dead, in Mexico and other western Hispanic countries. St. Louis has a small Latin American community compared to many US cities but there was an observance along Cherokee Street. This little memorial reminds us of 1,060 women in Ciudad Juarez murdered "to date." I don't know what the timeline is. The sign says "hasta la feha." Feha is not a Spanish word I could find in any dictionary. It may be a mispelling of fecha, date, but the reference is surely to the bloodshed in Mexico's narco wars.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Devil With A Blue Dress On

How many of our readers are old enough to remember that song? Those who are are not expected to answer. This young woman covered the concept well at Halloween in the Central West End.

There is a growing set of pix of Halloween in the Central West End here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween In St. Louis (Friends Forever)

Halloween in our town's Central West End Neighborhood is an adults-only free-for-all. Meet old friends, make new ones and drink in the cold streets until curfew. Put old conflicts aside and just have fun.

Actually I thought today's theme day was contrast, but I see I'm a month behind. Well, I hereby declare this post retroactive.