Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday Arch Series

Arch 2012-05-27 4

Hey, it's back! Still don't have a lot of ideas for new approaches to the subject. However, I thought it might be interesting to re-visit some old ideas from when I got my first DSLR and started pointing my lens at the monument. What might years more experience and advanced hardware bring to the images? Compare this one from September, 2005, and decide for yourself.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Bluesweek 23

A blues singer belts it out at last weekend's festival. You might wonder if his hands were cold but that wasn't possible. I think we've had 11 days with record high temperature so far in 2012, including Sunday when these were taken.

So what is with his hands? He is playing a small harmonica. usually known as a blues harp in this context. The players bend and twist the notes like hot oil. Here's a great example, played by Paul Butterfield. The crowd loved it but evidently the fashion police had not arrived by the time I took these.

Hey, there's actually going to be an Arch picture tomorrow.

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Bluesweek 24

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Listening To The Oldies

Bluesweek 7 

The blues is an old art form by American standards. It was appropriate, then, that many of the performers I shot at Bluesweek were, um, mature musicians. One or two might even have been my contemporary. But it's spring (even if it feels like summer) and a young man's fancy may turn to thoughts other than melodies and chords. Unless, perhaps, he finds a way to use them to advance other interests.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

St. Louis Blues


Bluesweek 1

One of the things going on during this Memorial Day weekend is the Bluesweek festival downtown. It's so refreshing - no hassles about "professional" cameras. It was hot out on the streets with music to match. Some of it was so intense that it could, as they say, blow you away.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Youngest & Dopest

Annie Malone Parade 2012-05-20 3 (Youngest & Dopest DJ)

A last picture from the Annie Malone Parade. Tomorrow we turn to Memorial Day weekend events, starting with the Bluesweek festival.

This young man was riding in the back of a pickup truck. The speakers were blasting an electronic rhythm track. He chanted "three - one - four - THREE - ONE - FOUR" over and over again.  This may have puzzled out-of-towners and numerologists but it's just the local telephone area code.

I thought I understood the meaning of "dopest" in this context but to be sure I checked The Online Slang Dictionary. Just the latest kid variation on very good or cool. "Da Lou" is a nickname for the city for those under thirty. "The Lou" is the usage for the rest of us geezers.

Apologies for no comments yesterday. We were out late at Opera Theatre of St. Louis' production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeny Todd. I get picky about such things but this was absolutely flawless. Locals should snatch up a ticket while any remain.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Level Of Intrest

Annie Malone Parade 2012-05-20 4 (Spectators)

Parade viewers last weekend on the granite front of a 1930s courthouse. I like the formal composition, the lack of engagement by all but one of the people, the out-of-place look of the (I'm guessing here) Vietnamese man at the top.

Got to find a way to do some survivable shooting this weekend. It's supposed to be beastly hot and it's not even the end of May.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Family Outing

Annie Malone Parade 2012-05-20 10

When I walk around at public events with a couple of DSLRs hanging off me, it's not unusual for someone to call out, "Hey, take my picture!" It happened a couple of times at the Annie Malone parade. This family was simply charming. The vivacious woman at the left said that she worked at the big Renaissance hotel downtown, I think in a marketing or management position, and I should come over and have breakfast some time. Sadly, everyone was rushing around and I didn't get their names.

Maybe one of them will see this and contact me. I'd love to send them a copy of the picture. They may have had the two cutest kids west of the Mississippi.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Annie Malone Parade 2012-05-20 7 (Dialectic)

Spectators at the Annie Malone Parade. Thesis and antithesis, but what's the synthesis?

Some readers may have noticed that the Thursday Arch series has been gone for a bit. I got sort of burned out on it. No fresh ideas. We have a three day weekend coming up in the US so there be some extra time. I'll take another crack at it.

Just confirmed everything for a return to my beloved Maine Media Workshops this summer. I'll be doing an intensive workshop in street photography, which is most of what I do anyway. This place is heaven on earth for photographers, both pro and serious amateur. Hope to visit with Birdman in Portland on my way up and Ming The Merciless in Bangor on my way back.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Annie Malone Parade

Annie Malone Parade 2012-05-20 2

Each may the Annie Malone Parade comes to downtown St. Louis. The foundation she established in 1888 is a leading provider of social services for children, families and the elderly in our African-American community. Their annual celebration is a two and a half hour spectacular. We will have a look over the next few days.

The Soldan High School marching band is full of color, the blare of brass and pounding drums. They did a complicated criss-cross drill in the middle of Market Street that left me confused. The drum major knew how to strut his stuff.

Annie Malone Parade 2012-05-20 6

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Go Dog Go

Bark In The Park 2

There was a very popular children's book we read to our kids called Go Dog Go. Simple, amusing stuff for the small ones. At Bark In The Park I found that someone had updated the theme: unconditional affirmation for pooches. It could go to their heads. The picture below made me wonder which couple was more beautiful.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Bark In The Park

Bark In The Park 3

I have to begin by saying that I am not a dog person, not a pet person in general. When I was a child my family of six lived in a two bedroom apartment in Queens. Having a dog would have tipped us into madness. My father once brought home a baby alligator from a business trip to Florida. We put it in an aquarium and it lasted about two weeks. My sisters, brother and I tried to feed it tiny bits of meat on the end of a toothpick but it wasn't having any. Its name was Pete. The kids were afraid to flush its corpse down the toilet on the chance that it wasn't really dead and it might in time drag some unsuspecting citizen down into the sewers of New York. Sort of put me off the whole pet thing after that.

On Saturday, the Humane Society of Missouri and Purina, the big animal food company based here put on an event called Bark In The Park. It was an excuse for thousands of people to bring their dogs to Forest Park, where corporations could market things to the owners and the critters could sniff each other. So what to do when confronted by beasts like these (such as Petunia, above) with a camera in my hands? A little interpretive work with Photoshop will do.      

Bark In The Park 1

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Skateboarders 5 crop

A sequence of shots from the new skateboard mini-park in The Grove. I've said that the photographer is more important than the camera but in this case the equipment was indispensable. My Canon has very good low light sensitivity, reasonably good fast shooting and a feature that changes the focus as you track a moving subject. That made these possible.

Busy day yesterday. Got some pooch pix at the annual Bark In The Park event, a loosely-organized dog party in Forest Park, pushed some paper at the office and attended opening night at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, a big deal around here. Unfortunately, the production of Carmen was disappointing in many ways. I'm waiting for Cosi Fan Tutte, one of my favorites.

Oh, and I found another Toynbee Tile downtown, the original kind. It's badly deteriorated so I won't show it here but it will be on Flickr later today. 

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Balance Bar

Skateboarders 1

When I was walking around The Grove neighborhood last weekend, I discovered that a vacant lot on Manchester Avenue had been paved. Someone, maybe the city, had fenced it off and brought in some ramps and platforms, creating a skateboard park. This athletic young man jumped onto and slid across a steel bar. It made me remember seeing boarders sliding down bannister railings.

During high school, my friends and I sometimes went skateboarding in Central Park. (Yes, there were skateboards in the 60s!) We loved going early on a Saturday morning, looking for an empty first or last car on the Number 7 train from Queens to Manhattan. The idea was to slalom among the vertical hand poles while the train was moving. Utter folly. I'm not sure how I survived.

Skateboarders 2

Skateboarders 3

Friday, May 18, 2012

Laid Back

Tour de Grove 19

One of the races at the Tour de Grove was for recumbent cycles, three-wheeled, hand cranked machines. They are often used by people with injuries or diseases that affect the legs.. These competitors take their racing as seriously as the bicycle riders.

I'm rather amazed at the riders who are almost fully reclined. Notice that they have no support for the head and neck. How do they take that for an half hour or more?

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dexter Silvers

Dexter Silvers 1

While I was walking around the back streets of the Tour de Grove I ran into a family who had a racing party going on the sidewalk. Friendly as can be - they gave me a big wave and hello, said something about my big lens and asked if I would take their picture. Of course. When I walked over I noticed that a man was working on a painting at an easel.

That's how I met Dexter Silvers, an extraordinary artist. He has lived in The Grove neighborhood for decades, making paintings of the St. Louis scene and images just from his imagination. That's what he was working on in the second photo. He has a studio and gallery in the building beside him, where I saw many of his works. This man has impressive talent. Locals, it's worth your while to go say hello and see his stuff. You can contact him through the link above.

Below, his charming wife, Gwen, and another member of the family, Frances. (I forgot to write down her relationship!)    

Dexter Silvers 2



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On The Sidelines

Tour de Grove 13

Some quick pix of life at the side of the race course. Above, a competitor meets that special someone. First below, a team sponsored by a local health insurance company. They were all speaking German. Bottom, the line outside Sweetie Pie's next to the race course in late afternoon. The place is said to have the best soul food in St. Louis. I've eaten there a couple of times and it sure is yummy. Since they got their own reality show on the Oprah network it takes forever to get a table. By 5:45, the queue on the sidewalk was easily 50 people.

Sorry (again) about the lack of comments. I've been getting home from work about two hours before bedtime. Say hello to the Mrs., have dinner, help clean up, put up a post and then zzzzz. Repeat cycle in the morning.

Tour de Grove 14

Sweetie Pie's

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

And Now Some Y Chromosomes

Tour de Grove 5

A few scenes from the pro-level men's race at the Tour de Grove. Above, the leaders jockey back and forth for top position. First below, the pack whizzes by me while I sit on the curb with a wide angle lens. I took yesterday's portraits moments before.

Ridiculously long work day on Monday. I'll come visit everyone as soon as I can.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Women Can Fly

Tour de Grove 4

At the Tour de Grove on Saturday, I watched races for men, women and handicapped competitors on three-wheel recumbent cycles. Everyone was impressive. The last time I tried to ride a bike I needed a cortisone shot in my knee. Really. The action I photographed was far beyond me.

Toward the end I was sitting on the curb, shooting the men with a wide angle lens as they zoomed by. The woman above, who was among the leaders throughout the race (as in the next picture) stopped beside me to chat with a race official. She looked like a Valkyrie on wheels. Check out those muscles. I'd stay out of the way.    

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