Saturday, September 30, 2017

Have A Seat

Found in Kiener Plaza on a recent evening. It looked like an event was being set up. If someone set out a sign that this was an exhibit on loan from the St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum, lots of people would believe it.      

Friday, September 29, 2017

How Big Is Your Camera?

Some of us walk the streets slumped under a big DSLR and more lenses than we are likely to use. It gets expensive, too, but nothing compared to this. We were seated near a TV cameraman at the baseball game Wednesday night. That's a piece of heavy electronics. 

He just stood there, no stool, no breaks that I noticed, wearing a headset and listening to a director. Swing left or right, zoom in and out. He didn't seem engaged with the game at all. Looked like a tiring, boring job to me.    

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Last Game Of The Year

It's the last week of the baseball season. The Cardinals have had a mediocre year and will not make the playoffs. However, a company my firm does business with gave me a couple of tickets to last night's game, the opponent was our arch-rival, the Chicago Cubs, so why not.

The evening wasn't very enjoyable and makes me think I'll stop going to these events. The noise level is almost unbearably loud, with speakers (inevitably right over your head) blasting music and inane announcements. It's like being in the front rows of a heavy metal rock concert with a band you don't like. The gouge-the-public pricing is as disturbing as it is unaffordable. A cheeseburger and fries was $15. Beer cost about five times the outside price. Worst of all are the ticket prices. Our seats were some of the best but the face price was $159 each. Season ticket holders get a discount but it's still outrageous for a three hour game full of long pauses for TV commercials..

Oh, and the Cardinals lost 5-1 as the Cubs clinched the division title. We are not anxious to go back next year.       

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

From The "Better You Than Me" Department

One of those artificial rock climbing walls on the grounds of the Hispanic Festival. The people who try this are well-secured and I'm sure it's  perfectly safe. Still, I look at this fit young woman and think of my damaged shoulders and creaky knees and conclude that I was much better off where I was.      

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Puerto Rico Necesita Nuestra Ayuda

We don't have much Latino population compared to most American cities but what's around is active. There is a modest annual Hispanic festival that took place last weekend.

These men were raising money for relief of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Texas and Florida need our help, too, but Puerto Rico is as American as either of them and in far worse shape. There's nowhere to go inland. The whole island lost electric power and, except for the few places with generators, it may be months before it is completely restored. One end to another is running out of food and water. All of the Isla del Encanto, the enchanted island, is devastated.

I chatted with these men briefly about our one trip there. Mrs. C and I went for our anniversary some years ago. We remember the charms of Old San Juan, the point on the spine of the island where you can see both the Atlantic and Caribbean and the fascinating Arecibo radio telescope. (I'm a long-time participant in SETI At Home, in which people donate their unused computer capacity to analyze Arecibo data for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.) It took heavy damage. Lots of people in the U.S., Caribbean and Mexico have suffered greatly in this season of disasters.          

Monday, September 25, 2017

Madeleine Monday

Haven't had the moppet on since we were in Michigan almost two months ago to see the other family division.  As mentioned, we took her downtown Saturday for a run through the splash fountains. This is in the recently rebuilt Kiener Plaza (I give it a C- but that's for another post). The jets go off in patterns that fascinate her. If she puts her foot over one can she suppress it? The playground wasn't too bad, either.

Later in the day she wanted to watch the several videos of her I have on my phone. I was editing pictures and she was slouched next to me on the broad arm of an easy chair.. After some time, I looked over and asked her, "Who's your favorite person?" She thought for just a moment, pointed to her chest and said "myself." No self-esteem problems here.   

Sunday, September 24, 2017


Back in the jurisdiction, as Jack might say. We took Madeleine downtown yesterday, where there are two children's splash fountains, one in Citygarden, one in the remodeled Kiener Plaza. The latter has a really nice playground. While standing there I saw this couple, obviously visiting town, taking a picture of a well known local monument from the wrong side. I'll explain that in a couple of days. The sort-of kanji shadow at my feet in the playground may or may have provided information.      

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Model By Chance

It's legal in the US to photograph anyone in public spaces with the usual restrictions on commercial use. It's not like that everywhere. (Don't photograph other people's kids in the UK without permission!) So when I was presented with someone else's model overlooking the Canyonlands bottom I took what was offered. 

Gotta get out on the streets of STL again this weekend. There are a couple of things going on.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Would You Drive This Road?

That dirt road is the Schafer Trail. It zig-zags down from the mesa on top known as the Island In The Sky to the floor in Canyonlands National Park, a drop of nearly a mile with sheer drop-offs throughout. We did it as passengers in a heavy four wheel drive vehicle. That was scary enough.             

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Black and white shots of the American west can be dramatic. Think Ansel Adams. He and I share a birthday but, um, the comparison ends there. And there is no point in considering a pattern since Kurt Cobain was born on the same date.

So, some attempts at B&W from Arches National Park. The improbable structure above is called Balancing Rock. No idea how it formed but it certainly suggests impermanence.

Do your own Rorschach test on the second pic. Some people thought of a lion, others of a Mesopotamian ruler. I think it looks like an English barrister with full wig who is about to unleash a mighty sneeze. And the third one? Maybe a microscopic illustration from a pathology textbook.     

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fiery Furnace, Or, Better You Than Me


There is a section of Arches National Park known as the Fiery Furnace, not because of its heat but due to the intense red color of the sandstone near sunset. As the signs indicate, you can go wander around the complex arrangement of stone fins and canyons but only with permission of the park rangers. You have to go along with them or prove you know what you are doing so they don't have to drag your sorry (and possibly deceased) butt out of there. 

The bottom picture gives some idea of what you are getting into but the link above makes the point much more clearly. I wouldn't go in there if the Seven Cities of Gold were inside offering to give me their debit cards and Trump promised to resign.   

Monday, September 18, 2017

Desert Critters

I'll be doing back-fill from the trip for a while but there's lots to show. 

We normally think of the desert being dry as James Bond's martini, but it it weren't for water all the fantastical shaping of rock would be impossible. We happened upon a little spring-fed stream that created its own ecosystem. This frog was as tiny as it was beautiful. A short distance onward brought us a more expected lizard. The two critters were near each other but a world apart, unlikely ever to meet.  

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Light, Shadow And Space

Back home. Very late plane but home safe.

These are two more images from The Phoenix Museum of Art. I mentioned the openness yesterday. The B&W on top shows three levels, exhibits and people moving through them. The second photo was taken in a work placed inside a dark room. It is called You Who Are Getting Obliterates In The Dancing Swarm Of Fireflies by Yayoi Kusama. The title might be a bad translation from the Japanese but the space is disorienting. Dark but for this star field effect, glass walls and mirrors. You have no idea where to walk without bumping into something. There is a feeling of both spaciousness and confinement. Fortunately, a staff member was there to assist.  

Phoenix itself was disconcerting. It is just - so - bright. The intensity, the unrelieved searing sky, the endless high-volume tans and ochers, was really getting to me. It's cloudy today in St. Louis with a good chance of rain. What a relief. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Phoenix Art Museum

We visited the Phoenix Art Museum yesterday. Although we have been to the area several times, we have never visited. We were impressed.

The building is spacious and the walls uncrowded. It has an open, airy feeling although it allows only secluded peaks at the desert sun. There was a show on about the work of celebrated fashion designer James Galanos (they had a copy of his famous portrait by Richard Avedon). The clothing was beautiful but, as I am not a big fashion fan, I found the mannequins almost as interesting.

Home tonight.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Rancho Pinot

Dinner last night at a wonderful and different restaurant, Rancho Pinot, recommended by our local friends. Owner-chef Chrysa Robertson has spent twenty five years serving cuisine at a high standard in a comfortable yet quirky atmosphere. The themes are western-rodeo-cowboy and girl with surprising touches here and there. (It's worth wandering around for a look if you go.) Above, refrigerator magnets on a back counter. Below, just part of Robertson's wacky and wonderful curio cabinet. Last, part of a poster which the old rocker in me recognized as the source for the cover of The Byrds' 1968 album, Sweetheart Of The Rodeo. I pointed this out to the staff, who didn't know about it.      

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Dinner last night with City Daily Photo friends at their beautiful home on the north side of Camelback Mountain in the town of Paradise Valley. They have a cactus gardener, a profession I never considered before. Good times, good wine and then had to speak at my conference at 8 AM this morning. It worked out.

So going to school today. May do some Phoenix area tourism tomorrow.  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

That's Better

Much better air and light yesterday. The Grand Canyon is too much to absorb but we are glad we made it back after 25 years. Mrs. C thought we needed documentation that I actually did it, as shown below. There are still an awful lot of pictures to edit, though.

Down to Scottsdale today for some more-or-less work. I'll be attending a conference of lawyers in my specialty and speaking Thursday morning. I'm one of the most senior members of the organization and, frankly, I get a limited amount out of these. Maybe I'll do some of that editing to pass the time. But first, dinner tonight with CDP friends Sharon, Dave and Julie.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Not Quite As Grand As We Hoped

We arrived at the Grand Canyon yesterday and, I'm sorry to say, are a bit disappointed. Sure, it's one of the great sights of the world, but it is crowded (I can't imagine what it's like during school vacations). We are staying at the moderately priced hotel inside the park. The room is worn and the food is mediocre. No wifi in the rooms and very weak in the hotel lobby. You aren't getting away to commune with nature in this place anyway so why not? 

In particular, the air is very hazy. We don't know if it is from pollution, dust or wildfires. The top photo was the only usable one I could get at sunset last night and it is heavily Photoshopped. Hoping for better conditions today.         

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hopi Lands

We leave the lands of the Hopi Nation this morning after having spent a long day going through the Hopi mesas and villages, followed by hours in the far back country with Micah Loma'omvaya. He is a brilliant, gentle and generous man, a tribal official, historian and a member of the dwindling traditional Hopi priesthood. It was a magical day, viewing beauties outsiders rarely see.

In the second picture Micah explains some of the many petroglyphs. (I have so many photos of petroglyphs from around Moab, Monument Valley and here that I could do a few posts on that alone.) The details are too complex to explain here but he helped us understand why the Hopi consider their land to be the center of the earth.

If you are ever in this area you must seek him out. His web site is  Scroll to the bottom of the page and note the little sign that says "Hopi Tours, Est. 1540." That's when the Spanish showed up.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Canyon de Chelly

There are many more photos to edit from Monument Valley but I am trying to keep up with a bit from each day's sightseeing as we go along. We took a detour on our way from Monument Valley to the Hopi Reservation, visiting Canyon de Chelly National Monument

It's a remarkable place but few people were there. In a sense, the canyon is hidden, falling down from a flat plateau, invisible until you get to the edge. A number of Navajo families raise crops and animals on the valley floor during part of the year. The geology is as surprising as the Grand Ganyon, which we will visit shortly, but on a much smaller scale.

There are ruins of many rock face dwellings of native people who lived here about 800 - 1200 CE. Got lots of good pix but that will have to wait for the next editing session.