Monday, February 25, 2019

Where Have I Been?

Someone asked if I'm ok since I haven't posted in a while. I started feeling weaker and weaker in CR. Turns out I had mild pneumonia for the second time this year. Even mild pneumonia is a bite. Just tired, foggy-brained, sleepy. I have more pix to edit. Ill get them up as soon as I can. My primary physician and I wonder if this is what happens after 20 years of immunosuppressant therapy for RA. I've got the right meds now and expect an upswing.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

STL DPB On The Road - Street Photographs

Posts and picture have been low because I still have significant mobility problems. I can walk some but uneven surfaces (plenty of them here) are a problem. Plus I have a pretty bad cold (and yes, those of you who watch out for me, I went to la pharmacia and la doctora prescribed an expectorant-decongestant, being very careful to tell me how much and how often). Not sure how much good it's doing. Some.

So I utilized a time-honored street photographer's technique. We went to find a place to sit at  an Argentine place called Patagonia. We were early so we had our pick of tables. Many Tico restaurants are open sided so we went to corner seats, I flipped down the LED screen so I was not conspicuous and fired away.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

STL DPB On The Road - If 6 Was 9

Now if 6 turned out to be 9
I don't mind, I don't mind . . .
Dig, 'cos I got my own world to live through
And I ain't gonna copy you.

Jimi Hendrix, 1967

A memory of being young on my sixty-ninth birthday. The first two lines are profound if you think about it a bit. I've had a privileged life that lately has seen some, uh, physical wear and tear. Walking on sand with a cane is not advised. (Maybe there are snowshoe-like canes?)

Went into town to look for a place for a drink with sunset views. Bingo. Way better compared to the condo, which has nothing interesting in the foreground. Still, I had to throw in a Playa Langosta picture with Mrs. C. doing the beachcomber thing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

STL DPB On The Road - Tough Day In Paradise

Shot almost nothing yesterday. I feel too much like I did in France last year - weak, sleeping way too much. Many pharmacies here have a physician attached to them so if I don't get better soon I'll check one out.

Got down to the pool before sunset and tried to take some handheld shots. They were awful. This one is tolerable. Lots of people go down to the beach for the show. We will try to get down there today, where there is always something to shoot.     

Monday, February 18, 2019

Endless Summer

It feels like that when you are a repeat visitor from the north but it is not really so. There are two seasons here, hot and dry and hot and wet. Nobody comes to Costa Rica to get soaked.

Very little shooting yesterday. Since I'm moving slowly, it took a while for us to repack and get out of the hotel in Samara. Then a couple of hours drive to Tamarindo, condo not ready so go look for lunch (click over to Facebook for the most famous part of the menu). It took twice as long as it would in the US but we're on Tico time. Go with it. It's good for your blood pressure. Then the usual supermarket run. Later, down to poolside to meet new people and say hello to old friends. 

The only shots I got were from the beachside edge of Eat At Joes. The group under the tree is a surfing class. All young, muscular and beautiful.             

Sunday, February 17, 2019

STL DPB On The Road - Catch of the Day

Given my walking limits we thought a boat ride would be nice. The hotel signed us up for a 3.5 hour trip out of Playa Carillo east of town. It is a sweeping crescent of powder and nearly empty. Our guide, Esteban, told us there were always plenty of dolphins and if we were lucky we might see some whales.

It was the other way around. A female and two juveniles stayed around the boat while we tried to keep a respectful distance. Esteban said this was unusual since these humpback whales only have one calf at a time. His guess was that something happened to one of the mothers and the other was allowing both of the young ones to nurse.

This was a very lucky shot. I could not stand for more than a couple of seconds when the boat was out on the water so I sat on a bench and tried to twist around. The photo gods bless the patient. 

And not a dolphin to be found. Over to Tamarindo today.           

Saturday, February 16, 2019

STL DPB On The Road - They Told Me To Take It Easy

And what choice do I have? I get around but standing and walking are limited. Sitting and lying are not so off we go.

We're not crazy about Samara. It's okay and has what you need but access to the main beach is isn't easy. It is beyond the shoreline development and parking is tough. Tamarindo has lots more options. On the advice of the hotel, we took a look at Playa Camaronal west of town, which was pretty empty. I don't sit on a beach since I'm as white as they make 'em but it was pretty and peaceful. The caretaker, though, has an attitude about you and your best friend.

Since I can't hike we are taking a boat ride to look for dolphins this morning. Might do me some good to get into the water.

Today's traveling with a handicap note: Ticos, as the locals call themselves, have been ever-gracious about my limitations. It's the Americans that can cause problems. This is a new issue to me. We were entering a restaurant last night that had a single person wide step from the street into the entrance. One of my countrymen stood there and stood there while I was bent over my cane, blocking my way until I barked at him, "Excuse me, sir. I need the step." A fair number of Americans don't see me or just look through me. The Ticos never do that.

Friday, February 15, 2019

STL DPB On The Road - Pura Vida Una Vez Más

Greeting from our more-or less home from home, the northwest coast of Costa Rica. If you have ever visited, you know that the national slogan, pura vida, means much more than pure life in English. It's a pervasive attitude, a way of life.

Yesterday was a tough travel day. Those of you who know me personally know that my spine and joint problems have been up and down over the last year and at the moment they are really UP. We usually spend a week near the busy town of Tamarindo but we started this trip with three nights down the coast at the much smaller town of Sámara. This is out in the sticks and impossible to navigate in the dark. The hotel clerk recommended a few restaurants, none of which we could find (we got pretty lost on the dirt roads). We chanced by what looked like a Mexican restaurant and tequila bar. Ho hum, but we were tired and hungry. And so we went into La Catrina, which was a blast. Wonderful people, wonderful food. In our opinion, best margarita and daquiri we've  ever had.

Maybe I could say more later, but for now let me note that they have a miniature pet pig named Simone, who loves to squeal loudly. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Because It's All I Got

Hanging from the ceiling in our DFW hotel's restaurant, which was surprisingly good. And the art in the room is unusual, early 20th Century American style. One looks like a Depression-era WPA painting that might show people gathering or looking for food.

The model above is a fantasy. No engine, bizarre tail, strange gun top center,

We like the hotel. The staff has been very nice in letting me practice my Spanish with them.

Central America this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Through A Glass Darkly

I think this was shot through Jeanjoel's bottle of honey flavored whisky. Might be good for a sore throat. Might be a good way to end this series.

Today and tomorrow are travel days. We'll see what happens when. Veré mas tarde.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Compulsory Group Shots

If you shoot an event you gotta take group shots. It's mandatory. The quality varied because I had no control of the light except to move people a bit. Again, I regret that I did not write down names.

We are getting to the end of this series. I've got something a little strange for tomorrow. Then maybe a small break until we get to a rich coast.

The thing I really like about the second picture is the painting on the left. It turns the couple into a trio and makes the shot a little more interesting (although it's distracting). When I was studying photography teachers said that the photographer was always responsible for what's in the frame. True, but sometimes you have little choice.              

Monday, February 11, 2019


Every organization needs a visual hook to identify itself. Our tiny law firm has one. It's even more important for small arts organizations to gain recognition. Artica's logo celebrates the immolation of the iconic Our Lady of Artica, which I get because I went to Catholic schools. Fortunately, the Jesuits were stimulating enough to get me to think my own way out of it.

But I digress. When I go to the February pot luck I have to bring a little notebook just to record names. I'm bad at that. I'm going for images.

Running thin on material. I may have enough from this event to last me until Thursday, when we get to someplace very unlike St. Louis.            

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

There was an unopened violin case sitting around during the Creatives Pot Luck. As I was getting ready to leave I heard the unmistakable sound across the room and headed back over. I took five years of violin lessons when I was young. Good ear, poor coordination, general failure.

Heather Bell, who we have already met, was playing beautifully. (Some mystic connection to Joshua Bell?) You can't see it in this picture, which I chose for the best overall pose, but her left hand position is perfect, arched fingers hammering straight down on the strings. She's had some serious training.

Her companion,whose name I did not note, also played. His was more of a free-form, improvisatory style. I'm glad I got to hear them both.            

Saturday, February 9, 2019

International Relations

Still circulating. This was an interesting couple sitting in a corner. She is a bit exotic. Turns out she is Hungarian. (Which makes me unable to get this out of my mind.) Note the small flag pin on her hat. Simply charming. 

There was some brief time to talk to her companion, below, but I didn't quite get what was going on. The double glasses get your attention and I have a guess about the reason. Eyeglasses are expensive in the US. Mine, complex trifocals, are horrifying. Only a limited number of people in this country have vision insurance. Almost all the many brands of optical shops are owned by the Italian parent company, Luxotica, which can charge what it wants. My theory is that the gentleman has monovision glasses, needs bifocals, and they just cost too much. If I'm right, it's another statement about healthcare in America.       

Friday, February 8, 2019

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I miss Ren and Stimpy and their Happy Happy Joy Joy dance. You can have fun without a cartoon show, of course, and Artica leader D. Lohr Barkley sure is. I don't know the woman on the left but she's with the program, too. So is the slogan on her hoodie. I hope it says something about Artica.       

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Caravaggio-ish? Maybe?

I'm an art lover. Of course - I hang out with Artica. One of my favorite masters is Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, the brilliant and mentally ill Italian who worked in the late 16th and early 17th Centuries. His career lasted only ten years. He murdered someone in a dispute over a tennis match and died young in unknown circumstances. 

His dramatic style is known for brightly illuminated faces and dark backgrounds. Since I do candid rather than studio photography I take the subjects and light as I find them. This photo may have found a bit of that style. Or perhaps I am being vain.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


I'm not particularly a photographer of babies and children, although I've had lots of practice with Ellie over the last five and a half years and a bit on her younger cousin Audrey in Michigan. My first grandson is due any day up north. We will go to Michigan in late March to meet him. The plan is to wear out my shutter button.

There were a few little ones at the Creatives Pot Luck event. I enjoy photographing them but the damn kids won't stay still and I prefer alert pictures to sleepy ones. This turned out pretty well. Might be some more tykes as I run through the shots.       

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Better Than Average Portrait IMHO

Shooting an event or crowd is like a treasure hunt. A photographer circulates, eyes open for interesting nuggets. Lighting is catch as catch can and the visual nuggets keep moving.

Sometimes you get lucky. This was back by the food table at the Creatives Pot Luck with some electric lights to camera left. The result was what my superb portrait photography teacher, Bobbi Lane, calls Rembrandt lighting. One side of the face is fully illuminated. The other is mostly dark but turned just enough into the light to catch a highlight on the cheek. The Dutch master used it a lot.          

Monday, February 4, 2019

Your Preference?

I enjoy doing candid portraits using little posing or direction. The Creatives Pot Luck certainly had plenty of opportunities. Not sure whether I prefer the color or monochrome here. Each has its merits. Which do you prefer?           

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Creatives Pot Luck Dinner - The Conversation And Art Begin

People began to drift in. More food set out. Eddies of people and conversation forming and reforming. I got a kick out of drifting from one to another, landing each time in a new mini society. I'm terrible at remembering names. The woman in green, center top, was Heather, I think. She came with the man on frame left whose name I didn't get. Same for the woman with the expressive face on the right.

Some people came with art materials. Heather and her friend brought a violin, more about which later.       

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Creatives' Pot Luck - Before The Crowd

My friend Lohr Barclay, director of Artica, organized a pot luck dinner and social event at his home Thursday for Artica participants, friends and hangers on. Since I am now the official Visual Archivist, I fell into the latter category.

I don't know all the details but there is a long traditional bar downstairs, which says something about its former use. Lohr and his SO Carrie live upstairs. I got there at opening time to deliver food and bev before the crowd arrived. This man introduced himself as John but, if I understood correctly, his name is Jean. Americans just can't pronounce it correctly. He is from the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe. Heaven knows how he ended up here. I tried out some of my weak French on him. He was very kind about my efforts.

Lots of pix from this event. I'll be working through them more or less chronologically.                 

Friday, February 1, 2019

City Daily Photo February Theme Day - White

I had to dip back into the archives for this one. Views of the dirty ice that surrounds us would be boring and even I wouldn't stoop to shooting a carton of eggs. This is from my nephew's graduation from West Point last May. These are the underclass men and women in the stands with a junior officer screaming at them. I asked my nephew why he was doing that. He said that in his opinion junior officers think it's fun.