Monday, March 31, 2014

The Light

Milles Fountain 2014-03-30 2

I didn't intend to run this today. There was some color and a Monday Madeleine planned but what the family was doing last night took soooo long that I didn't have time to edit the pictures (or get many comments written). This is the beginning of a series I planned to start on Tuesday.

So anyway . . .

More black and white - it's calling to me. I was wandering around the somewhat barren Aloe Plaza (obviously a good place to go if you have a sunburn) taking snaps of the Milles Fountain, seen here many times before. The title is The Meeting of The Waters, an artistic monument to the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers just north of here.  The light didn't look great until I noticed the wonderful highlights and shadows from the back-lit side of the pieces. It looks like arising from the depths into the sun.

More of this later in the week.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Where I Want To Live

Back to color, if only because I'm out of B&W stuff. It looks like this would be the perfect place for a shooter to hang out. Actually, it's a very small commercial street not far from my home, marked by the pointer on my car's nav system. No idea how it got the name - it doesn't have any photographic businesses.                                

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bob's Colorless Life

I'm stuck on this black and white stuff. This tow boat, pushing a huge barge upriver, is bright white with brilliant red lettering. It's fun, though to craft images with only shape, line and tonality, giving up all the cues that color provides. For most of the history of photography this was all we had. I think too many shooters have forgotten it.                                   

Friday, March 28, 2014

Contrails And Tank Cars

Still down in the same semi-derelict industrial area north of the Arch. This warehouse has also had a couple of owners from what we can see on the signage. Now the windows are boarded up.

The tank cars bear the logo of Archer Daniels Midland, a Midwestern agribusiness giant.  It's headquarters are in Decatur, Illinois, a city of 76,000 on the prairie northeast of here.  I had a good friend in college and grad school who was from there. Visited a few times. It was very clean and wholesome. It styles itself the Soybean Capital Of The World.

The photo shows why some people call this part of America flyover country. Below, where the train goes next.

Railroad Near The River

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday Arch Series

Arch 2014-03-22 2

Arches for everyone, as long as you like monochrome.

Looking south on Lenore Sullivan Boulevard. The Mississippi is just off to the left and the Laclede's Landing nightlife area to the right. Eads Bridge with its many arches runs across the center. The arch-like supports on the right carry a train trestle. You can just see a black square area where the train track goes into a tunnel in front of the big Arch.                           

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Warehouse No. 3

Warehouse No 3

More B&W. Not BMW. I drive a Honda. If I blow money I'll do it on cameras and lenses.

This is an abandoned warehouse a couple of blocks from yesterday's power plant. The overpainting across the top suggests it's had more than one occupant. I can't make it out - guesses are invited. No idea what DE was. Don't think it stands for Deutschland. 

TOMORROW: a B&W Thursday Arch photo. And some other stuff. Lots of arches.                                

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Power & Light

Power & Light 1

Black and white week continues:

A little north of the Arch by the Mississippi sits the old Union Power & Light plant, St. Louis' original electrical generating station. The classical architecture contrasts sharply with the industrial equipment jutting out of it and the new bridge to the right.

The generators within powered the lights at The Palace of Electricity at the 1904 World's Fair here. As best I can tell from research it still produces something, although I see very few workers' cars when I walk around it.                       

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate


I'm going to run a few days of B&Ws. You can make wonderful ones in Photoshop from color originals. It's something I've been working on lately.

This is the entrance to a tunnel that runs under a highway to the Lumiere Place casino. It is located across the street from the football stadium. Today's caption is the famous inscription on the gates of Hell in Dante's Inferno: abandon all hope ye who enter here. No secret that I don't like casinos.

Madeleine Monday


Looks like mom put her up to this. I hope it represents either her adult attitude toward authority or aptitute for playing the trumpet.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Coming Attractions

Casino SIgn

Year Eight, Day One:

Video screens play tricks on digital cameras. This is the color signboard in front of the Lumiere Place Casino and Four Seasons Hotel. My guess is that it works like an analog TV with horizontal lines of color and light re-scanned so many times a second. Digital computer monitors don't photograph this weirdly. 

This woman is performing at the casino's theater soon. I have no idea who she is. I might go if she wore make-up like this.                                     

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Seventh Anniversary


Today is STL DPB's seventh anniversary. This is the 2,550th post. What did I get myself into?

I've made some wonderful friends, received exceptional hospitality and seen corners of the world I would never have otherwise known. I almost never read a book anymore, frequently falling asleep over my laptop. My photography and Photoshop skills are better. I've met so many interesting St. Louisans and become far more intimate with my adopted city. It has taken thousands of hours I could have spent doing something else.

Worth it? Hard question. It's addictive to find something you're reasonably good at that gets you praise.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Look Forward


A tourist, probably, standing at the top of the steps from the Arch to the river. She was having her picture taken by family. 

Behind her is the old Millennium Hotel. It's gone by different names over the years. Many of the rooms had spectacular views, by our standards. Forty years ago some friends of a poor young couple passed the hat, so to speak, and Mrs. C and I spent our wedding night there. It closed down this year. Never remodeled to contemporary standards and no one interested in putting up the money. Sic transit gloria mundi

Local Note: the month of March brings the US college basketball championship tournament, known as March Madness. 64 teams start the single-elimination playoffs and my St. Louis University Billikens (America's weirdest college mascot - see here and here - with the possible exception of the University of California-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs) made it in. They were terrific through most of the season and then had a complete collapse at the end. They played their first round game against North Carolina State University last night. The Bills were down by 16 in the second half, tied the game, then won by 3 in overtime. One of the greatest comebacks in the history of the tournament. Everyone will be wearing their blue and white today.

Tomorrow is STL DPB's seventh anniversary.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursday Arch Series

Gateway Arch 2014-03-11 3 BW

One's perception of the Arch's size and intensity works like light. Remember what you were taught when you learned to use flash: the brightness declines with the square of the of the distance from the strobe to the object.

It's like that with the Arch. If you can see it from some distance away it looks like a little ornament on the horizon. If you see it from a plane landing at STL it seems to be a tiny toy. But when you get right under it the monument surpasses human scale. It's awesome, in the old-fashioned sense of the word.                                                   

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Did Gulliver Go To Ireland? Or St. Louis?

Leprechaun Levitation

Lilliput, I am told, is far from the intersection of Tucker and Market in St. Louis. Still, this scene might remind one of Swift's fictional Englishman in the land of the tiny.

Just re-arrange the costume a little. Maybe the tiny green figures in the street aren't Lilliputians but leprechauns.  


Once Gulliver leaves the Lilliputians, leprechauns or whatever you want to call them, he might choose to skip Brobdingnag and seek the mysterious island of Budweiser.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Republican Float?

2014 St. Patrick's Parade 2

Our international readers may not know that the popular symbol of the Republican Party is the elephant. (The Democrats' is the donkey. Neither is complimentary.) I found this parade participant far back in the set-up area. You can barely read the URL on the red side panel but the sponsor is an auto body shop. Its logo is an elephant. Whether that has something to do with the owner's politics I don't know.                        

Monday, March 17, 2014

Here Comes The Sun

2014 St. Patrick's Parade 3

Some floats in the St. Patrick's Day parade had huge loudspeakers blaring very non-Irish pop music. This was the only one I saw that made its own. Sunny expressions all over.

Madeleine Monday

Madeleine Out To Dinner

This kid goes everywhere and is pretty good company. The family went out to dinner Saturday night at Central Table in the Central West End. She was eating pureed pears or something equally yummy. I had sushi and steak. Everyone was happy.                                                           

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Green, White and Orange

2014 St. Patrick's Parade 1

I don't know why they do it, either. It's not like gobs of people put on yellow and red and pretend to be Spanish on Columbus Day, knocking back mucha cervesa en la calle. (And how did Columbus Day become a national holiday, anyway?) No doubt some scholars have figured out how an annual tribal celebration in Boston and New York turned into this.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade was absolutely packed on a glorious spring day yesterday. (We're expecting snow this afternoon.) It made it hard to shoot and this year's pickings weren't so good. Still, there were some keepers we'll roll out over the next few days.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

At The Core

Core of Discovery

Banners like these are found all around the Arch. These are on the top deck of the garage on the north end of the park grounds.

I wonder how much slogans like this mean to people. What's core got to do with discovery? No other centers of interesting stuff around town? My guess is that almost all of these marketing slogans go in one ear and out the other. There are a few exceptions. Remember IBM's from the 50's and 60's? Think.

Note the lower left of the second picture - silhouettes of people on the Metrolink platform in Eads Bridge waiting for the train.

Our St. Patrick's Day parade is today and it's a big one. I'll be there firing away. More St. Louisans losing their inhibitions. Pix starting tomorrow.                                         

Core of Discovery 2

Friday, March 14, 2014


Advertising Club

The door of an abandoned building a couple of blocks from my office. We are typical of mid-size, Midwestern towns: city centers much removed from their glory years; some historic buildings beautifully restored, some empty and derelict. This small building on Broadway falls in the latter category.

Lots of private clubs have sunk under the financial waves in this country. The local bar association used to have a very nice lawyers club, now long gone for lack of patronage. The advertising club may have left the downtown scene but, heaven help us, the ads live on in ever more intrusive and annoying ways. I blacklist and unsubscribe from the tsunami of marketing email but it's a futile effort. We are outraged that our cable TV provider, ATT U-Verse, now has a huge number of 24/7 advertising channels that we pay for. We are seriously thinking of going back to rabbit ears and over-the-air broadcasts. Three-quarters of the postal mail we get is advertising and goes straight in the trash without being opened.

What a waste. The marketing industry has worn out its welcome. We don't pay attention to a bit of it.                                       

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thursday Arch Series

Gateway Arch 2014-03-11 2 BW

The office building we moved to this year is closer to the Arch than the old one. While I no longer have a direct view from my window, it's easy to take a mid-day walk there when the weather is nice.

That's what I did on Tuesday. Even though the sun was high you can still find drama. Think of the Arch as one of the world's largest sundials.  No idea, though, what caused the odd cloud pattern in the upper center.                              

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Last Bloom

2014 Orchid Show 16

Some last pictures from the orchid show. Readers of this blog know that I'm more drawn to the ironic than the pretty, but this stuff is irresistible. Besides, I just want to see if I can pull it off as a photographer.

Time to get back out on the streets. I actually got a new Arch picture for tomorrow.                      

2014 Orchid Show 1

2014 Orchid Show 14

2014 Orchid Show 15

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Royal Color

2014 Orchid Show 5

To the purple born. Perhaps the sovereigns of the orchid show.

I thought I'd have a free evening to visit my friends' blog and write some notes. However, our daughter and son in law invited us over to dinner and I won't pass up an opportunity to visit Madeleine.                            

2014 Orchid Show 2

Madeleine 2014-03-10

iPhone shot. Searching expression. Bad hair day.

Monday, March 10, 2014

At The Orchid Show

2014 Orchid Show 3

February and March brings the orchid show to the Missouri Botanical Garden. I usually go with my camera. As the years pass it feels like I'm going to shoot the same thing at the same place, yet every year there are discoveries. I'll run with this for a few days.                                

2014 Orchid Show 10

Madeleine Monday

Madeleine and Lobster 1

My son-in-law, Brian, is a professional chef (and a very good one). Looks like there was an extra lobster in the kitchen on a recent night, so home it went to the family. Does Madeleine think it's a new toy? Does Gizmo the cat share that idea or wonder it is its dinner? iPhone shots by daughter Emily, buffed up in Photoshop by me.                       

Madeleine and Lobster 2

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Law And Order

2014 Mardi Gras Parade 41

Mardi Gras is not about order. It represents complete surrender to the Second Law of Thermodynamics and, in fact, tends to lubricate the slide.

Someone has to try to maintain order and protect society from tipsy revelers. The St. Louis Police Department is ever vigilant. Do these guys know how to smile? It may be just their game face.

Linguistic note: in this country it seems like you need two words in a city's name to make a cool, tough acronym for the police department. Everyone can identify the NYPD or LAPD. Nobody outside of Cook County would recognize CPD as the Chicago Police Department. Cops in The Lou hang out with the big time.                      

2014 Mardi Gras Parade 40

Saturday, March 8, 2014


2014 Mardi Gras Parade 37

There is still much gold ore to mine from Mardi Gras weekend. I'm digging into it deeper until I can shoot some new material.

It looks like we have Icarus in a fright wig in the top photo. And what woman in her right mind would be attracted to the dapper chap below?                                       

2014 Mardi Gras Parade 39

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Arch On Friday

Gateway Arch 2014-03-06 1

I haven't had a lot of Arch pictures lately. The winter has been miserable and a photographer is pretty exposed around its base. Plus, there's the problem that I keep whining about of finding something new .

Well, it's finally getting warmer. My new office is a block from the foot of Eads Bridge so I decided to go for a walk to it at lunch time. There was the Arch, framed by some bare gum trees. I liked how this turned out so here it is, even though it is the wrong day of the week. 

The bottom picture was taken from the bridge looking back at my office building. It's the rectilinear one under the US Bank sign. My window looks straight at the bridge and river.

Downtown STL 2014-03-06

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Bit Forlorn

Mardi Gras Parade 2014-03-04 4 BW

It's hard to say why the organizers of our Mardi Gras events keep up the Tuesday night parade. I'm pretty sure it's run by a for-profit business (the website is so there has to be a commercial reason. There's nobody out on the street downtown on a winter week night. The attendance was so small that the occasion had a certain pathos.

On the other hand, Washington Avenue has gotten so many bars, restaurants and entertainment venues in the last 10 or 20 years that it has created a destination.  A lot of young people are attracted to it but in the warm months the spillover into the street can get, um, let's say, intimidating. That's city life.                             

Mardi Gras Parade 2014-03-04 5 BW

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Little Parade

Mardi Gras Parade 2014-03-04 1

The people who organize the local Mardi Gras stuff have to do something on the main night. There is a tepid parade on Washington Avenue, apparently for the benefit of the many bars and restaurants up and down the street. It lasted 15 minutes, tops. You can see the size of the crowd. Still, somebody was out there trying.                       

Mardi Gras Parade 2014-03-04 2

Mardi Gras Parade 2014-03-04 3

Lumiere Place On Mardi Gras

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Boys, Too

We had some women at the Mardi Gras parade yesterday. Some young men today. Granted, I go out looking for the strangest, most arresting things to shoot, but most of these guys look like they live on the margins. Well, not the last group. Probably just college boys out for some fun. Black and white seemed appropriate to their jagged, hard edge.

Sorry I'm getting few comments written. Long days at work (a whine often heard here) and there is a lot of extra stuff to do at home during Mrs. C's convalescence. She's getting stronger day by day, though.                                                                           

And by the way, since it is that Tuesday: 

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouller