Tuesday, October 19, 2021

ANY AUDIENCE WE CAN GET

The Artica festival site is close to the Mississippi but almost all of it is behind a flood wall. However, there is a long bike trail that runs along the river for a miles north of downtown. People ride on either side of the wall and it;s common for them to stop by the festival. Bike clothing has become elaborate and brightly colored.

Been a long time since I rode a bicycle, although I did it a lot when I was younger. The last time I tried my knee got so inflamed I needed a steroid shot. (Thanks to you, Steve, if you see this.) It's scared me off since.       

Monday, October 18, 2021

ANTHEM

On the Artica main stage, the musician who calls herself Celia entertains the crowd. The festival has a pretty good logo, a graphic representation of Our Lady of Artica, the giant effigy that goes up in flames at the end of the last night.              

Sunday, October 17, 2021

DR. PEPPER

Jalapeños and poblanos make an effective shield to ward off evil. The headpiece helps scare everything away. This guy shows up for Artica every year but, you know, he's hard to talk to.        

                

Saturday, October 16, 2021

KEEP OUT THE MISSISSIPPI

                Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
                That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
                And spills the upper boulders in the sun;

                                                     Robert Frost, Mending Wall

Artica head guy Lohr Barkley leads the annual parade by the Mississippi River flood wall.       

Friday, October 15, 2021

COULD ANYTHING BE SIMPLER?

Artica has no censorship. You can  say or show whatever you want, and then the interpretation is up to the viewer. The rainbow border on this piece gives us a hint that there is more to it than X = X.          

Thursday, October 14, 2021

ARCS OF FIRE


More entertainment at Artica before the bonfire. Some good luck at 1/6 second with the image stabilization. If I was whirling that thing I'd want one of the fire suits like the guys on the right are wearing.           

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

PUBLIC HUMILIATION

St. Louis leading comedian-provocateurs are at it again. Audrey Crabtree and Lynn Berg placed themselves in stocks of a sort, stood on a platform and invited the public to mock and jeer at them for any reason, or no reason. Hurling water balloons was explicitly permitted although I don't thiink it happened. What sins they might have committed to deserve this were left to the imagination, sort of a Rorschach test for persecutors. Maybe it was cathartic for the audience. Maybe it just built bad karma.                  

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

WARM UP

Okay, terrible pun. I couldn't help myself. Before the immolation of Our Lady of Artica, there is always entertainment from fire dancers. Hard to shoot because there is not much light but the torches themselves so shutter speed is a problem.. Sometimes you get lucky. This was shot at 1/60 sec. using a lens and body that both had image stabilization.                  

Monday, October 11, 2021

ARMAGEDDON, ST. LOUIS STYLE

Artica always ends on Sunday night with the burning of the wooden effigy of Our Lady of Artica. Although I have hundreds of pictures from this weekend I have to cut to the big finale for the sheer drama of it. The structure is perhaps 10 meters high. It was a perfectly clear night and we wondered what the passengers in the planes flying overhead thought when they looked out the window.

Lots more of this to come. Ya know, there's a lot going on in this town if you know where to look.                 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

KEEP ST. LOUIS FREAKY

Seen in the Audience at Artica yesterday afternoon. Who says this is boring Midwestern fly-over country?

The big burn is tonight. Lots more to come.                

Saturday, October 9, 2021

ARTICA'S BACK!

Artica 2021, Brave New Harmony, starts today and continues through tomorrow night. https://articastl.com/artica-2021-brave-new-harmony It's STL's premier alternative arts festival. Performance, constructions, interactive whimsy and fun for kids begins at mid-day today. The traditional everyone's-invited parade is at 1:11 PM and the spectacular end comes after dark tomorrow when Our Lady of Artica, seen above, is put to the torch. It's tucked into a corner of the North Riverfront. Set your nav app for the William A. Kerr Foundation and you'll get there.                   

Friday, October 8, 2021

OLD LOCATION, NEW TOY

A week or so ago, the wonderful people I work with had a retirement luncheon for me. The core of us have been together for more than 30 years. One of the nice things they gave me was a substantial Amazon gift certificate. I told them that before the day was done it would be used to benefit a certain Japanese manufacturer of optical and electronic goods.

And so, a few days later, a Fujifilm 90mm f 2.8 prime lens arrived. It's something I coveted but wouldn't spend the money on myself. I had to take it out for a test drive, of course, so I went to the usual places in Forest Park. I'm very happy with the focus and clarity.              

Thursday, October 7, 2021

YOU COULD BE AN OCARINA PLAYER GOING FROM DOOR TO DOOR

Okay, I may be going off the deep end here. While I edit this picture and write this post I've been watching a lecture, if you can call it that, on Zoom by my artistic hero, Laurie Anderson ( https://laurieanderson.com/). I won't try to describe the program. It's impossible. The photo is another from the performance of songbirdsongs with members of the St. Louis Symphony playing ocarinas to imitate owls. It made me think of Anderson's song Monkey's Paw, which contains the a line with the words in the caption. You can listen to it at https://youtu.be/4S8rtxPmHTA.                  

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

JUST GETTING BY

With trash? Probably a lot, one way or the other. Another enigmatic sign from the exhibit in Park-Like.               

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

I BELIEVE


Besides the performance of songbirdsongs, there is another art installation in Park-Like. It is described as a group of sculptures by Chloë Bass, "inspired by public wayfinding signage posing question[s] that explore human emotions ranging from compassion and desire to anxiety and loss." It's sometimes visually arresting but the concept isn't new. I prefer the pioneering work in this genre by Jenny Holzer, https://projects.jennyholzer.com/, and Barbara Kruger, http://www.artnet.com/artists/barbara-kruger/.                 

Monday, October 4, 2021

MADELEINE MONDAY

Haven't had the kid on for a while, although I wish it were under better circumstances. Except for baseball, I have little interest in sports. It was a childhood pleasure. We rarely go to games because it's so damn expensive but I took the family Saturday night for the next-to-last game of the season. A major drawback for all of us is the sound technology. The owners whip up the crowd with ear-splitting, thumping pop music we often don't recognize. (I prefer unpopular music.) It's past the point of painful and about drove Ellie mad.

When I was a boy I could get a general admission ticket at Yankee Stadium for what was in a kid's pocket. Hard to believe now, but there were once cheap tickets at Yankee Stadium. The only sounds were cheering and an organ. Seems blissful by today's standards.        

Sunday, October 3, 2021

SURE, A PICCOLO CAN SOUND LIKE A BIRD

Another scene from the performance of John Luther Adams' songbirdsongs at Park-Like, across from the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. A piccolo is a likely candidate to imitate small birds. Part of the effect, though was the musicians were scattered around the garden, moving from place to place. It resembled the changing soundscape of a forest.                  

Saturday, October 2, 2021

MARIMBA IN THE WEEDS

Back home again, although I'll be posting more pictures from the Northwest on Flickr (link to come).  STL has some little gems like the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, https://pulitzerarts.org/, named for the late art collector and publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Across the street is a relatively new garden landscaped to resemble wild prairie called Park-Like (draw your own inferences). On a recent night members of the St. Louis Symphony performed John Luther Adams' songbirdsongs, which has a bit of a back story. https://www.allmusic.com/album/john-luther-adams-songbirdsongs-mw0002304061 Not a typical urban experience.             

Friday, October 1, 2021

CITY DAILY PHOTO OCTOBER THEME DAY - WINNERS

It's the first of the month and time for City Daily Photo's monthly theme day. This time the topic is Winners. Since I've been away for a while I went back into the archives and found this picture from St. Louis' Busch Stadium. Our local heroes, the baseball Cardinals, have a tradition of winning and have captured more championships than any team except the New York Yankees. They have also won 20 of their last 22 games as they head into the playoffs.            

Thursday, September 30, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - DOWN THE SPECTRUM

 

Some of you know that I occasionally shoot infrared and I brought my IR camera along to the Northwest. You can convert a digital sensor for a reasonable cost and choose from different parts of the IR range. I got the default. Bright green plants go almost white and blue skies get very dark. This is a view across Lake Quinault, the place we stayed when we visited the Olympics.                 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - NOT MY ARCH

Anyone who looks at my work knows about the giant stainless steel arch on the St. Louis riverfront. There are plenty of other interesting arches, and I'm not talking McDonald's. This view is along a path in the upper Hoh valley rain forest. I do not know if the tree grew and collapsed this way naturally or whether the park rangers did something to it in laying out the trail.                

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - WHY THE ROCK CAIRNS WON'T CONFUSE ANYBODY

Still on Ruby Beach. This is why putting non-functional rock cairns on drift logs does no harm here. It's just an open expanse of rough beach where you can see on and on. If you walk up into the forest, though,  you're on your own.            

Monday, September 27, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - COMMUNICATION WITH ALIENS

Strange signs on Ruby Beach. These little piles are usually referred to as rock cairns. They are designed to mark trails in our national parks, often with very specific meanings. However, I've seen them in other places I love and love to photograph, particularly the side canyons in Death Valley, where they are obviously just for fun. 

If you do a little Googling on the subject, the outdoorsy sites tell you not to do this. The purpose is to prevent people from getting lost. But there is no getting lost straight across the beach. These cairns on a huge drift log look to me like a system of antennas. Whom they communicate with is left to your imagination.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - THE FOREST PRIMEVAL

Home again but it will take me awhile to collect local material and there is still lots from the trip. There are only a few places in the world where you can find a cool rain forest. The western side of the Olympic mountains is one of them. Several rivers begin in the high glaciers and  flow to the Pacific, with heavy rain going in the other direction. This is a trail called the Hall of Mosses in the upper Hoh River valley. It varies a lot by season but the area receives up to 12 feet / 3 2/3 meters of rain a year.               

Saturday, September 25, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - WHY WE COME HERE

Greetings from beautiful Dallas - Fort Worth International Airport, where American Airlines customers spend part of their lives. This is another shot of Ruby Beach on the Pacific coast of Washington's Olympic Peninsula. I think it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, with different approaches to photography in every kind of weather and every hour of the day. (It would be something special with a tripod on a clear, moonlit night.)

Home in a few hours but I'll be running trip pictures for a while.               

Friday, September 24, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - FRONT ROW SEATS

It's late Thursday night here in Seattle and we have to get up early on Friday for our flight home. I'll edit on the plane but for now another Pacific beach picture. Whoever sits in these chairs might be waiting for the apocalypse to arise out of the mist on the ocean horizon.       

Thursday, September 23, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - RUBY BEACH

Ruby Beach on Washington's Olympic Peninsula is one of my favorite places in the world to photograph. We've been here a couple of other times over the years but every visit is different. We got there yesterday not long before sunset and the light was stunning. I've got more of these I'll publish somewhere.           

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

We took a roundabout route from Seattle to the place we are staying in the Olympic National Park, Lake Quinault Lodge. Our plan took us to the ocean for some distance before cutting back inland to the rain forest. The Pacific coast up here is wild and desolate, with a few pullouts from the coastal road. This beach was wide and flat, damp and packed enough you could drive well out in a 4WD vehicle. The sky was clear above but a constant mist rolled in. That's the kind of optics I like in this part of the country.                 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - KEEP FREMONT FREAKY

Yesterday's picture of a statue of Lenin was set in Fremont, perhaps Seattle's oddest neighborhood. It goes further. Under the Aurora Avenue viaduct lurks the Fremont Troll, certainly one of America's strangest pieces of public art. This design actually won a competition for what do do with a place that had become habituated with drug dealers. Again, there is a fascinating backstory you can check out at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fremont_Troll.              

Monday, September 20, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF FREMONT

Seattle has its curiosities. Prominent among them is a 16 foot tall bronze statue of Vladimir Lenin in the quirky Fremont neighborhood. Why and how if got there is a complicated story, set out in detail on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Lenin_(Seattle). It is obviously controversial, often vandalized, often decorated for special occasions and usually with red paint on the hands symbolizing Lenin's bloody career. 

Some people have strenuously objected to it but it is privately owned and on private land. The city can do nothing about it. I can only imagine  what would happen if something like this appeared in St. Louis, even in our funkiest neighborhoods. The howls would be deafening.               

Sunday, September 19, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - GNARLY

The roots of an upturned tree seen on the lower slopes of Mt. Rainier. As the trunk decays it becomes the source and nourishment of lichens, moss, fungi, bacteria and, in time, young sapling trees. At that stage it is known as a nurse log.              

Saturday, September 18, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - EVERYBODY LIKES IT

I usually shy away from posting pictures of other people's art but some things are so representative of a particular location it's worth doing. Dale Chihuly, originally from Tacoma, Washington, in the Puget Sound region, has become one of the world's leading glass artists. https://www.chihuly.com/work Seattle has a museum and outdoor garden dedicated to his work. It's a big crowd pleaser and a must-visit stop on the local tourist circuit. https://www.chihulygardenandglass.com/

The weather here is turning terrible over the weekend so opportunities for new material will be limited. However, I've got lots of stuff from the usual places and they are worth revisiting.               

Friday, September 17, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - WHEN ON TOUR, TAKE SOME TOURIST PICTURES


 
At least a few. Mt. Rainier, Thursday afternoon. It's supposed to pour the rest of the weekend and we're trying to figure out what to do with ourselves.            

Thursday, September 16, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES

The State of Washington has a complex inland water system with Puget Sound and its many branches. There is an extensive state-run ferry system to get people and cars where they need to go. This picture of a departure from downtown Seattle was taken last night while we had dinner on the waterfront.             

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

CHANGE OF SCENE

This is a travel day for us. Our original plan would have put us in Vienna right about now but Covid travel restrictions in Europe made that impractical. So, change of plans. We're off to Seattle today where we have friends, there is lots to see and do and photograph, and it's cool and moist (which St. Louis is not). This picture was taken a few years ago looking up at the Space Needle from the Dale Chihuly glass museum and garden.          

Monday, September 13, 2021

GAZE

Sometimes words cannot encompass an experience that appears before you. It is only possible to open the eyes and become part of what is happening.

We are traveling tomorrow. Mrs. C and I will be away for 10 days with a significant change of scene. I think we'll have a preview.            

Sunday, September 12, 2021

STARS AND STRIPES

From certain angles the flags we saw yesterday seem go on and on. It is fitting to honor those who gave their lives for all of us, although we may disagree with their commanders' intentions. What saddens and frightens me is how many of our countrymen are willing to violate what I thought the flag stood for and create a de facto dictatorship of the minority.            

Saturday, September 11, 2021

9/11

There is an event on Art Hill this week called Flags of Valor, https://flagsofvalorstl.com/. More than 7,000 American flags have been planted in orderly military rows, one for each  member of the armed forces who died in the line of duty since September 11, 2001. It is overwhelming and this shows only a small part. A lot of people were there on a sunny Friday afternoon. 

No American who was old enough at the time can forget where they were when they heard the news. I don't.          

Friday, September 10, 2021

CROWNS

A wide view of some of the flood wall at Paint Louis. The Mississippi lies a short distance behind. This is freshly painted - you can see one of the artists in the left background - but I have no idea what it means. Not the first time that has happened to me with a painting. I just like the color and scope of the scene.          

Thursday, September 9, 2021

PESSIMISM OR REALISM

A large section of the Paint Louis mural wall. The times we live in may be the inspiration for the work. 

The artist dangling from the ladder at the far right makes me queasy. It was interesting to see how ladder design has changes for improved safety.             

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

THE WALL LIGHTS UP

Back to Paint Louis. I may need to use pictures from there until we arrive in Seattle next week. (We were going to arrive in Prague today but that went down the drain.) Lots of colorful things to look at so no problem.

The wall faces roughly west so on a sunny day it becomes brilliant in late afternoon light. Of course, dramatic shadows, too.               

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

TEMBLOR

Back at the Japanese Festival. The show these sumo wrestlers put on is always a big hit. Perhaps it is in part due to their inhuman scale but their speed, flexibility and strength is awesome. One of them demonstrated doing sitting splits with the legs almost straight out to the sides. It's an entry level requirement. And the whole thing is over in a matter of seconds - all you have to do is throw your opponent to the ground or push him out of the ring.

It's interesting that neither of these champions is Japanese (although the one in the background is). The one in front is Egyptian and the other is American.          

Monday, September 6, 2021

IS THIS JAPANESE?

I went back to the Japanese Festival at the botanical garden yesterday. The weather was better but it was impossibly crowded; I lasted two hours before I had enough. At one point I sat on a bench, picked up the camera with the telephoto and tried to take sniper shots. This one worked. Is her costume based on an anime character? That's beyond my experience even though I've been to Japan a few times and have plans to return.           

Sunday, September 5, 2021

WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON AROUND TOWN

There is a big Japanese festival at our big botanical garden over Labor Day weekend. It rained until mid-afternoon, when I went over for a while. A lot of the activities were canceled due to the weather or soggy grounds. The ever-popular sumo demonstration was in an amphitheater with a covered stage. Got some pretty good shots.

Sunday's forecast is good. I plan to go back to the garden in the morning and then return to Paint Louis in the afternoon.                 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

PAINT LOUIS IS BACK

Paint Louis, which takes place here over Labor Day weekend, is a big international gathering of graffiti artists, taggers, DJs and hip-hoppers. It's arguably the largest single graffiti event in the world, covering a 2 mile / 3.2 km stretch of the Mississippi River floodwall south of the Arch, all sanctioned by the city. The result is considered the longest mural in existence by the Guinness Book of World Records. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paint_Louis 

I went for a look late yesterday afternoon and things were just getting started. It's supposed to rain most of today and I don't know how it will affect the schedule. https://www.facebook.com/PaintLouis/ I'll be back when the weather permits.                

Friday, September 3, 2021

ENGINEERING

Part of the mechanism that moves the wheels on the Big Boy locomotive. I have no idea how it actually works. There is a big water tank and boiler, formerly powered by coal and now by diesel fuel. That creates steam which makes something or other turn, which in turn is connected to a series of levers and wheels. That's as far as I go with the concept.                 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

CITY DAILY PHOTO SEPTEMBER THEME - RIGHT UNDER YOUR NOSE

I confess that I didn't work very hard on this theme so I dipped into some old archives. The common meaning of this phrase refers to something that is obvious but unnoticed but I took it literally. I wonder if the horse thinks she smells good,          

ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?

The Big Boy locomotive didn't travel alone. Several other cars trailed behind, including a modern engine for some extra push. The companion cars didn't seem to have a purpose other than to show off the primary colors of the Union Pacific railroad. Why or how would you experience the UP? Private rail companies don't carry passengers in this country.              

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

I HEAR THAT TRAIN A-COMMIN' IT'S COMMIN' ROUND THE BEND

As the massive Big Boy locomotive left St. Louis it made a stop Monday morning in the suburb of Kirkwood, a town big enough to have an Amtrak station. There was quite a crowd but I squeezed my way to the front, looking for a clear shot. The backlighting was terrible but this will do. 

As the train pulled to a stop right in front of me it let go a mighty blast of its whistle. Ow! The sound meter on my phone said it was 113 db but I bet the reading would have been higher if the phone hadn't been tucked into a holster. Half a minute of that can cause ear damage according to some web page I found (so it must be true). I haven't experienced the like since maybe the last Led Zeppelin concert I attended.