Tuesday, March 31, 2015

With Open Mouths

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Koi at the Japanese section of the botanical garden. There is a vending machine on a bridge over this pond where people can buy food pellets. Now koi are not as dumb as they look. They have learned to congregate under the dispenser with open mouths rising from the water, probably getting some direct hits over the years.                              

Monday, March 30, 2015

Wonders Of The Plant Kingdom

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Something else I found at the Climatron Saturday. I didn't check the name card but it looked like some kind of lily, maybe.  Mrs. C is the botanist around this house. I hardly know a lily from a liverwort.

My black and white flower photography is always inspired by Robert Mapplethorpe, one of my photography heroes. (Selection of his floral work here.) I could never dream of approaching that level unless I got a 4 X 5 view camera (mmm, one of those Mamiyas that cost as much as a small car, with some Zeiss lenses thrown in), an actual studio (no place to put one in my small house) and stuck my finger in an electric socket to re-arrange my neurons.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Post 'em If You Got 'em

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Out of material. Just nothing new to post and it's not far enough into spring for public events to start. Shall I go dumpster diving in the archives? (Reminds me of this sad old song.) 

It was possible the cherry blossoms were starting at the Missouri Botanical Garden so I headed over. They weren't (another week, maybe two). Not much blooming yet outdoors so I went to the Climatron and straight into this. The sign called it torch ginger.                             

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Brad's Back

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I first met Brad Lee and published a post about him in early December, 2010. He styles himself Brad, Servant of The Lord. You can see that post here and it's worth reading the comments. 

It's been a while since I've seen him. The demolition of the stage along the river under the Arch took away his original pulpit. Then most of the stairs were fenced off and the road beneath them closed. He had nowhere to go.

Now there is a corridor through the chain link from the bottom of the stairs to the two excursion boats that take tourists for a ride on the Mississippi. (Like Laclede's Landing, their business must be suffering badly because it's now so hard to get to them.) The setup has given Brad a new post.

He still has the little white rug if you want to kneel and pray with him. He still does not talk to passers-by unless they engage him first. The father in the first picture is doing just that. His son looks like he wants to shrink down so small he could hide underneath his hat.                               

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Turn Around. Bring Back The Color.

Four Seasons And Laclede's Landing

Yesterday's pictures were grim and monochrome. I had only to turn around to see the International-Style-gone-goofy Four Seasons Hotel atop the Lumiere Place Casino. That cock's comb some architect stuck at an angle is, well, a bad idea. (S.C., your view?) It has an LED matrix woven onto the surface, showing very low resolution displays appropriate to the season (like this). But in the foreground we have some century-old buildings in Laclede's Landing, including a cast-iron facade structure, so common in lower Manhattan. 

A short way back toward the river, a main railroad track disappears into a tunnel that runs under the Grand Staircase that leads from the Arch to the river. No idea what happens to it during the renovations but, unlike the garage, it has to stay in some form.

Thought I was going to get caught up on comments tonight but my daughter and granddaughter came over.                                    

Train Tunnel Below The Arch

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Demolition Derby

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Do people outside of North America know what the title refers to?

A broad view and details of the Arch garage demolition. The giant machines flair against it all day. I can see it from my office window. It's a bit scary.

The top picture was taken wide angle so the Arch is closer than it appears. You can see the edge of downtown proper to the right, where visitors will have to park from now on. Ain't gonna work when there is a Cardinals or Rams game.

The second picture shows how close the garage pedestrian exit was to the shaded path to the monument. The fourth could be a project by Anselm Kiefer.                           

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thar Be Monsters

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Quick note. Mrs. C and I were out late last night (by our standards) hearing historian David McCullough at the St. Louis Speakers Series.

I've mentioned somewhere that the dumbest part of the Arch grounds renovation is the removal of its only parking garage. The design wizards think it is okay that the only other parking is across the highway in downtown proper. It's all a longer walk and more expensive than the one on the grounds. Now people with handicaps will have to cross city streets, which they didn't before. There will be no more path to the Arch entrance that is shaded on our blistering summer days.

This brute from Jurassic Park and its friends are doing the dirty work. More rant soon.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sun Salute

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I didn't know Pinocchio was a yoga practitioner. Looks like he greets the orb with the Sun Salute from his platform in Citygarden every morning, rain  or shine. It's not like he moves much.

Yoga and I are not a good combination. Yeah yeah yeah it has all kinds of benefits but I am one of the least physically flexible and coordinated people you are likely to meet. A few years ago a friend dragged me to a yoga class. The only pose I was able to successfully perform was the Corpse. It's one that comes naturally to everyone.                                       

Monday, March 23, 2015

Madeleine Monday, Or, The Return Of Gratuitous Cuteness

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A puppy and a toddler and bunnies! Wham, wham, wham, a winner!

Spring has definitely arrived here. The family took Madeleine down to Citygarden on Saturday to run around and climb on the sculpture. Someone came by walking this nine-week old puppy. First time on a leash, the owner said. It was love at first sight.                                                  
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Eighth Anniversary

8th and Chestnut

Today is the eighth anniversary of this quixotic project. 2,911 posts, every day I had internet access. The only things that stopped me were obstacles like many time-zone plane rides, being upwind of a Himalaya and such. It is an obsession, a sickness. It has probably been good for me. Everybody needs an outlet, especially lawyers.

Of course, sometimes I wonder why. Blog addiction keeps me from doing lots of other things. Yet there will be another post tomorrow morning, the 2,912th, a picture of Madeleine and a puppy. What could be wrong with that?                          

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bye, Kids!

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The end of the St. Patrick's Day Parade pictures for now. I got hundreds more. Might have to trot some of them out if I'm desperate for material.

Tomorrow is the eighth anniversary of this project.                             

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Keep St. Louis Freaky

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We are not the most beautiful or prosperous or exciting city. Our seemingly endless, tedious suburbs appear to go on forever. But something I cherish is that St. Louis has a strong and durable core of weirdness. There are many cities that don't. Vive la différence

These are some examples I found last Saturday. It is wonderful that Yogi Bear is surrounded by small children, superheros and has a police escort. In some sense, St. Louis is the perfect size. We are big enough to have this strange community and small enough that normal people can afford to live here. Even though I started life as a snobby New Yorker, I'm glad chance set me down here.                    

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sort Of Thursday Arch Series

Some readers have undoubtedly noticed the lack of Arch pictures lately. The reason is that the huge renovation of the surrounding area is going full blast. The Arch grounds and vicinity are a complete wreck. It limits photo opportunities.

These are a couple of shots from behind the parade, looking east down Market Street. My stainless steel friend is still out there.                                  

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Anglo-French Truce

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As usual, the people from the St. Louis Renaissance Faire were in the St. Patrick's Day parade. I've shot the event several times. Usually the conceit is fake French, mimicking the style of Lyon in the 15th or 16th Century. (It's a little vague.) This year they invited the English - maybe there was a trade of armagnac for whiskey. 

The monarchs were happy to pose together, despite their usual hatred. Their majesties introduced themselves as Hank and Frank, so I assume they were supposed to be Henry VIII and Francois I. Peace at last.

Some of their retinue were hanging around, although few of them appeared to be battle-ready. The gentleman in the kilt is out of order, guarding a couple of cases of bottled water. Anyone else in the parade would have been guarding beer.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

When Irish Eyes Aren't Smiling

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You remember the old song. However, not everyone found the parade to be a barrel o'laughs. Some people just have a serious air about them.

Top: uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Bottom, a U.S. Marine Corps band. I don't know why they wore fatigues and combat boots rather than dress uniforms. You may have heard that St. Louis has some mean streets.                                             

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Twist And Shout - And A French Blog Fan!

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There was a 5 km run before the St. Paddy's parade. At the end, the crowd got together in Kiener Plaza, had a few mid-morning brewskis and milled around. There was a band. Some in attendance decided to show their stuff. I think one of them had actually participated in the race.

Later, I was elbowing my way down Market Street toward the staging area. A woman with a charming French accent stopped me. (All French accents are charming. And Irish, too. But not German. Definitely not.) "Eeks-kyuze me," she said. "Are you Bob Crowe?" Mais oui! It turns out Simone is now living in St. Louis with her husband Jay and their daughter, Lynne. (I hope I got the names right.) She reads STL DPB and enjoyed my photos from France last year. Je ai été enchanté.                        

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Irishmen Behaving Badly

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Well, except for the last chap, but you get the idea. We have a big St. Patrick's Day parade on the Saturday before (six years out of seven), two hours long this time. As I have noted before, St. Louis loves an excuse to drink in public and this is a prime example. And boys will be boys, or some of them will. Which came first, the blessed saint or Guinness?

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fog On The Mississippi

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Taken from my office window on a recent morning. It's been a lot warmer here but the water in the Mississippi, flowing from the north, is still cold.                                

Friday, March 13, 2015

Musée des Fleurs

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If you are from this part of the world, anything sounds better if you say it in French.

A couple of final shots from Art In Bloom at our art museum. That's a Rodin bust in the top photo but I can't identify it on SLAM's web site.

Some urban landscape tomorrow for a transition, then the high flyin' leprechauns at our St. Patrick's day parade. 

Oh, and happy Friday the Thirteenth.                        

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Three Of A Kind

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Do three orchid pictures beat, say, two pairs of roses? I didn't note the names of the varieties - they don't mean anything to me and I wouldn't remember them anyway. Just chasing images. These came out pretty good.                         

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Attention Span

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Mine isn't all that great, having grown up with 30 minute television shows and 3 minute pop songs. Now, as an adult, I've got the MacBookiPadiPhone set of distractions, delivering the world to me in tidbit size servings. The only thing I can concentrate on indefinitely is editing a photo. It must involve a different part of my brain.

Not so the woman above, who is completely engaged with this floral piece. Below, some very warm flowers compete with a cool Dan Flavin neon tube. I like Flavin's stuff. It's as much about the space around the tube and what you can do to it as the neon bulb itself.                          
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

At The Orchid Show

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I'm going to bounce back and forth between the floral event at the art museum and the orchid show at the botanical garden. I get around to shoot that more years than not, even though it is not much different over time. It's sort of a technical exercise.

In the past, I've mostly shot the orchids with my 16-35 mm or 24-105 mm lenses, using extension tubes to get the macro effect. If there was need for it, I used my flash gun with a diffuser. This year I took a different approach, using only a 100 mm macro lens and a ring flash (not a fancy one like this but the cheaper kind that slips over the front of your flash gun and then has a series of reflectors that encircle the lens). It's supposed to create smooth, even light. I didn't much care for what it did to flowers - the effect was more flat than smooth. See what you think.

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