Thursday, August 5, 2021

BECAUSE IT'S ALL I GOT

We spent last night in Kansas City, about a four hour drive from St. Louis. Went out to dinner with a couple of Mrs. C's sibs, no new photos. So I got this one left from the botanical garden. The little thing didn't move. When I pointed it out to some children they said it had been in the same place when they had come in the other direction.

I could propose two theme songs for today, https://youtu.be/z_-Lz0q861s and  https://youtu.be/cet97WIq4Aw.         

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

THE MANY FACETS OF CHLOROPHYLL

A bit abstract. I like how the bands of algae on the pond in the Japanese garden look like geological layers, how its green blends into a reflection of the blue sky, and how the reflection of the tree adds another physical dimension.  

We will be in Kansas City by this afternoon.              

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

INVISIBLE WAVELENGTHS

My best teacher for anything ever, the incomparable photographer Bobbi Lane, https://www.instagram.com/bobbilanephoto/?hl=en, got me hooked on infrared photography. You can have an old digital camera converted to an IR sensor, although the results vary greatly depending on what part of that spectrum your sensor captures (there are lots of choices.) Contact me if you want to find out how it's done. People often use this for striking grayscale images since greens come out white, or close to it. This is in the Japanese section of our botanical garden.               

Monday, August 2, 2021

A WALK IN THE GARDEN

When I'm totally out of material and don't have an idea in my head there are a couple of go-to places I can count on. One of them is the large and complex Missouri Botanical Garden, often seen in these posts. Saturday was damp and unseasonably cool, bringing out saturated colors. I'm not usually a flower guy but I'm always ready to take the easy way out. No idea what this is and even my PlantSnap app couldn't identify it. Suggestions welcome.             

Sunday, August 1, 2021

CITY DAILY PHOTO AUGUST THEME DAY - STICKY

This was a tough one and I have no one to blame but myself since it was my idea. My first thought was to buy a big heart shaped lollypop, stick it in the grass in front of the Arch, pour water on it and shoot it with a fish eye lens. Um, no lollypops in the local supermarket. Then I thought of putting a bunch of multi-colored M and Ms in a skillet and slowly turning up the heat  until I realized that I'd have to clean up the mess. So I ended up with an ice pop on our patio. Rain and bacteria can deal with the residue. 

Take a look at but don't touch other sticky substances from City Daily Photo members around the world at https://citydailyphoto.org/category/theme-days/.           

Saturday, July 31, 2021

HELIOTROPE BOUQUET

I gotta get out on the street and shoot something new. For now, one more close-up of the business end of a sunflower. The post might be better described by something besides my words:     



 

 


Friday, July 30, 2021

ACROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI

All of the recent sunflower pictures were taken in the Columbia Bottom State Conservation Area. Bottom here means river bottom land and sometimes flood plain, so there has to be a river nearby. This is the Missouri, just above its confluence with the Mississippi. That's around the bend to the right. It's interesting to stand on the point of land right at the junction and watch the waters mix. The Mississippi is very muddy and the Missouri much less so. You can see the two streams go a long way before they mix completely.   

I gotta go find something sticky for theme day but what? Ice cream on the pavement?              

Thursday, July 29, 2021

SPECTATOR SPORT

Everybody who goes to see the sunflowers in the state conservation area wants some snaps. I'm no exception, of course. Phone cam pictures can be fine if you use it well. One advantage of the flowers heliotropic behavior is that they can all be facing you at the same time. The disadvantage is that means they are all backlit. Improvise, improvise.              

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

BEFORE THE SUN RISES

I suppose it's accurate to say that I am someone more of the unnatural / man made world than the natural. No Alexander von Humboldt I. There are only a few places more unnatural than New York City, my place of origin.

There are many lessons to be learned off the pavement. I said something in yesterday's post about the complexity of the sunflower. This is what it looks like in its early development. You can just see the elements of what it will become after a genetic explosion.                

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

BZZZZ

It is no wonder that bees are symbols of industry. Countless numbers of them were working the field I've been showing recently. I was puzzled by their activity, though, since I could not distinguish the pistils and stamens I remember from high school biology class.

It turns out that I don't know much about sunflowers other than their association with Mrs. C's home state of Kansas. They are complex. The points of those whorls (arranged in a Fibonacci pattern) are individual mini-flowers that will eventually become heavy with the seeds some people love to munch. They are heliotropes. In their early and middle stages the heads move from east to west in unison to follow the sun. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helianthus_annuus . Some of the many things that city kids don't learn.                   

 

Monday, July 26, 2021

SENTINEL

Why does one sunflower tower over the others? It looks so alert, as if keeping watch over a ragtag group of nodding heads.                        

Sunday, July 25, 2021

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR, AND THY CUSTOMER

More sunflowers pushed back another day. I was too drained after another open-air opera matinee in STL summer heat to do editing, although the performance of The Barber of Seville was fabulous. Before the show we had lunch at a place called Olio. https://www.oliostl.com/. It's been around a few years but we had never tried it.

Locals who are interested can see my rave review at https://www.yelp.com/biz/olio-saint-louis?q=public%20health. The sign in the photo seemed to reflect the attitude of the owners and staff.                                    

Saturday, July 24, 2021

OPERA IN THE HEAT

One of the nice things about this town is that we have a permanent big top tent. Its main purpose is the home of our resident circus company but other events take place there. Our summer opera company is putting on a burst of performance there this weekend. Difficult circumstances but better than sitting idle for another year. 

We went to a matinee performance of The Tales of Hoffman yesterday. The tent is open-sided but not air conditioned and has no interior fans. It was 90 F / 32 C. The two male leads were, um, portly and portlier, wearing three piece suits. (The reed-thin soprano, who was fabulous, calls herself Brooklyn Snow, which I don't believe for a minute.) The whole company did a heroic job. (I started swooning in the third act.) However, we have tickets this afternoon for a performance of The Barber of Seville and the forecast is for 97 F / 36 C. We wonder if it will be canceled. If it's not, we wonder whether we will make it past intermission. We wonder if Almaviva will suffer heat stroke on stage.

Back to sunflowers tomorrow.                  

Friday, July 23, 2021

AH! SUN-FLOWER


By William Blake
 
Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done. 

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow: 
Arise from their graves and aspire, 
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.
 
 
I couldn't get that out of my head while I was shooting in the flower field. I know the poem not because of some course in romantic poetry but because of a musical arrangement my weird friends and I listened to in the late 60s, https://youtu.be/Mp1zE1oicdg.                        

Thursday, July 22, 2021

NOT KANSAS

The Sunflower State, although we'll be there in a couple of weeks. Mrs. C and I went on an excursion yesterday to an out-of-the-way corner of the suburbs, tucked behind the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. In one of the few good works of our benighted state government, the Missouri Department of Conservation maintains the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places/columbia-bottom-conservation-area, bottoms in the sense of river bottomland. It has planted 14 fields of sunflowers, staggered to bloom in sequence through the summer. Quite a sight.

The only issue with these pictures is the haze from the Oregon fires a half-continent away. This picture has been heavily edited in Photoshop and still lacks something, in my opinion.                

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

I SUPPOSE I SHOULD MAKE IT CLEAR THAT I'M HOME

I keep playing with the infrared, though. Louis never dreamed of a world like this.                 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD AND IN THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM

There are more infrared pix I'd like to play with but, to make things easy, I thought I'd come back to some Pacific pastoral. This is part of the main beach at Tamarindo, taken from the edge of a restaurant. Outside of bigger towns and cities, it's hard to find a restaurant in Costa Rica that isn't open-sided.                    

Monday, July 19, 2021

STL DPB BACK FROM THE ROAD BUT HARD UP FOR MATERIAL

We've been home four or five days but I haven't been out to shoot anything new in The Lou. I got so used to being indolent in Costa Rica that I need a smack to break me out of my doldrums. So it's back to infrared pictures from Playa Langosta. It's fun to play with the spectral highlights you get in IR pictures. If I understand correctly, the inside of most lenses have coatings to prevent visible light from bouncing around much but nothing for these longer wavelengths.               

Sunday, July 18, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - APOCALYPSE, UH, LAST WEEK

From the beach fire dance shown here a few days ago. The finale looks like the end of days or the judgement of the locals, known as Ticos. Except for all the tourists taking photo or videos with their phones.

This has turned into the not-exactly-post-pandemic summer of wandering. Two and a half weeks until we leave for Kansas City and my Mrs. C's area of Kansas. Four weeks after we get back from there it's off to some interesting places in central Europe. It's probably good to get away from Missouri, which is experiencing a sharp increase in infections and deaths, almost all of which are among the unvaccinated. Anyone who wants a shot can get it for free so draw your own conclusions.              

Saturday, July 17, 2021

TRICKS WITH LIGHT

I have to mine this vein of visual ore from Costa Rica until I can come up with some new local material. Once again, this is Playa Langosta in an image made with some tricks of the trade. For the technically minded, the picture was taken with a Fujifilm X-T2 converted to an infrared sensor, using Fujifilm's Acros black and white film simulation. That's a mouthful but it looks cool.                     

Friday, July 16, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - PROBLEMS FIXED, TAKING IT SLOW

Now in possession of a spanking new laptop, a thing of beauty and a joy until a better one comes around. Toward the end of our trip I went down to the beach on Playa Langosta with a tripod and some neutral density filters. This is a 10 second exposure of the surf and volcanic rock.

I'll probably post more pix from the trip until I have a chance to shoot new local material.                   

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - A BIRTHDAY - TRAVEL'S END - TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES

Tuesday was our last night in Tamarindo. Flying home today via Miami. Everyone had a great time. Ellie just wrote something in the guestbook about the nightly gecko party on the patio,

Yesterday was also Mrs. C's birthday. She chose to have dinner at one of our local favorites, Dragonfly, https://www.dragonflybarandgrill.com , where the sesame crusted tuna is as good  as ever. Since I gave them a little hint, the staff brought something special at the end.

I do not know how this picture will look on your end. The video display on my laptop is on the edge of failure so I'm using a minimally edited phone cam pic. Might be offline until I can get this fixed.     

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - THE EVENING'S ENTERTAINMENT

Something we see on most of our visits to Tamarindo: most nights there are bands of fire dancers who go from one beachfront restaurant to another, performing for tips. It can be spectacular and I think they do pretty well. Appropriate, given the risk of losing their hair, ears, etc. There are a bunch of these images and I may post more.

Disclaimer: the video display on my laptop seems to be failing and I can't guarantee the accuracy of the color on this and further images until I fix or replace the machine.         

Monday, July 12, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - REGAL BEARING

One of the things we frequently do when we visit Tamarindo is take a boat ride on the wide estuary that separates the town from Playa Grande. A local guide takes you out for a couple of hours, teaching about the local vegetation and wildlife. The place is crawling with iguanas. Some of them seem to have a sense of nobility.           

Sunday, July 11, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - IN THE MARKET

There is a good size Saturday market in Tamarindo, known in the Hispanic world as a feria. You can find local fruits and vegetables. A couple from Buenos Aires were selling Argentine empanadas  (we got some for lunch - yum). Surprisingly, someone was selling Polish sausage and pierogies. There was local ice cream, honey, crafts, art and jewelry. This young man was selling potted flowers, delightful if you had a home to bring them to. Since we are staying in a rented condo we could not patronize him.           

Saturday, July 10, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - DON'T GO THERE

If I understand correctly. a red flag at a beach means dangerous conditions, strong surf or currents.  It looks to me like the risk is terminal boredom at the resort at the end of Playa Langosta. I don't know if that is technically a river or estuary in the mid-ground but, with the tide going out, the flow at its mouth was swift. As best I can tell the place is popular with Central and South Americans, particularly Brazilians. Nobody seems excited by their visit.                 

Friday, July 9, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

Only the deep of the Pacific lies beyond. Playa  Langosta, Costa Rica, again. That's as far as I would go.                       

Thursday, July 8, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - YOU CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE

A Tico hidden gem, Cataractas Llanas de Cortes. It's not far off the Pan American Highway (gee whiz fact -   Mrs. C and I are the only people we know who have been to both ends of the Pan American Highway) south of the provincial capital of Liberia but the turnoff is poorly marked and we drove past it. When Google Maps re-oriented us there were two or three kilometers of bumpy gravel road to the parking lot. We visited with a guide some years ago and the path down was very rough. There are new concrete stairs and a rope to hold, making it possible for my knees to make the climb.

When you get to the pool at the  bottom you feel like you are well apart from the world. The escape doesn't last long enough.     

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - SKY OF BLUE AND SEA OF GREEN

Now all we need is a yellow submarine and the scene will be complete. For all I know the Costa Rican coast guard has a cheery little vessel floating under the waves. This is part of the view from our condo's balcony.        

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - ON THE ROCKS

 

Near sunset, Playa Langosta, Costa Rica. This part of the coast is strewn with black volcanic rock, indicative of violent geological origins.               

Monday, July 5, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - THE SAME OLD PLACE

Back for another tour in Costa Rica, the same place we always go. It's striking how much earlier the sunset is here than at home, about an hour and 20 minutes. Costa Rica is at 10 degrees north latitude and St. Louis is at 38.

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - MADELEINE MONDAY

Well, here we are, a long way from home. This trip is about Ellie as much as anything. The restaurant across from our condo makes a cute kid's pizza and she just loves kitties. She's wearing her moose shirt from a national park in Maine, which is a really long way from here. I told her there are no moose in Costa Rica. 'Not even little ones?" she asked?       

Sunday, July 4, 2021

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - THE FOURTH OF JULY

An American Airlines pilot checks her schedule at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. We are not trying to make a statement but we are leaving the country today for the first time in a long while. I'm ready.       

Saturday, July 3, 2021

BACK IN THE AIR

It's been a long time but we are flying again today. I've been fascinated by flight since my first time at maybe 11 or 12. It was just New York to Washington but I'll never forget it. I never tire of its near-miraculous qualities, especially when we cross large bodies of water. Just land today but sea tomorrow. It's about time.                     

Friday, July 2, 2021

BUS PLUNGE

There is, or was, a vein of dark humor (started by the New York Times, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2006/11/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-bus-plunge-story.html) about bus plunge accidents. The City Museum tries to give visitors a bit of the thrill with none of the danger. This looks scarier from down below than up top. How did that bus get on the roof and is it really about to fly into the street?

Hope to get something posted tomorrow but we are traveling Saturday for the first time in a long while. Illustrated adventures to come.              

Thursday, July 1, 2021

CITY DAILY PHOTO JULY THEME DAY - TOOLS

 
There are new tools and there are old tools. I thought I would combine an image of each to make sort of a meta tool. Sure, I have a hammer that's handy to have around even though it does not bring me joy, Marie Kondo not withstanding. (Maybe there's a little joy in just whamming something.) However, the tool I clearly use the most is my iPhone. It communicates with family and friends, gets me every kind of information, wakes me up and plans my day. If there is a tool I'm dependent on, this is it.
 
See what else drives the nails of City Daily Photo members around the world at https://citydailyphoto.org/category/theme-days/ .                       

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

IDOLATRY


The very peak of the old building that houses the City Museum, perhaps 15 stories over the street. I suppose that's a praying mantis on top, perhaps beseeching the gods to find the Cardinals some pitchers who can throw strikes. You can reach the top of this dome by one of the museum's innumerable climbing tubes but there is also a ramp that comes up from the back.That's son Andy standing  in the center, holding grandson Atlas. Daughter-in-law Claire is to Andy's left. No idea who that guy is waving at the world.                            

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

DOWN ON THE FARM

 
For no apparent reason, the City Museum has added a small tractor to one of its open spaces since my last visit. Children like to sit on it and work the wheels and levers. Ellie seems to be taking this seriously. After all, one of her grandmothers grew up on a farm. While Audrey shares the same heritage, she would rather climb on all the protrusions for the fun of it.             
                

Monday, June 28, 2021

BETWEEN THE STORMS

Thunderstorms passed through the area off and on all weekend while the Michigan division of our family was here to visit. One evening Mrs. C and I watched the kids while our son and his wife went to dinner with an old friend. Another line of storms blew across, leaving this view from their Air BnB apartment when the sun returned.         

Sunday, June 27, 2021

IDENTICAL COUSINS

Television viewers of a certain age (well, candidly, old Americans) may remember The Patty Duke show from the 60s. The premise was that the daughters of identical twin brothers were, well, identical cousins. https://youtu.be/qQTqKcojrVY  MICrowe Audrey and MOCrowe Ellie aren't quite identical, although Audrey's mother bought them matching dresses. They are almost exactly two years apart in age but Ellie is only a little taller and they are the best of friends. They favor the same hairstyle. Here they are patiently waiting to board the  Ferris wheel on the roof of the City Museum.                


 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN

My son and his family live in central Michigan, a 10 hour drive from here with gas and kid breaks. We don't get to see them enough but they made the long trip down here this weekend. The postal abbreviation for Michigan is MI. It's MO for Missouri. Clever Andy refers to his division as MICrowes and ours as MOCrowes.

So we all went to the Magic House, STL's children's museum yesterday morning. OMG was it crowded. At some point part of the family made it to their Van der Graff generator. MICrowe Audrey, almost 6, had no fear. https://youtu.be/PIb6AZdTr-A Great phone cam shot by daughter Emily.

The first time we saw a Van der Graff generator was at the Deutches Muzeum in Munich, at least 30 years ago. We expect to be there in September but, with the passage of time, I don't have enough hair to be worth a try.           

Friday, June 25, 2021

SLOW PROGRESS

This patio is a few steps away from Nature Playscape we've seen lately. It's at the back of a hilltop pavillion that's been preserved from the 1904 World's Fair. (We also had the Olympics that year. We used to be somebody.) The turtle hasn't made any progress that I've noticed. It was designed by Bob Cassilly, the late mad genius who founded our wacky City Museum. We are taking the grandkids there Saturday and there should be plenty of images.                  

Thursday, June 24, 2021

MORE EASILY VISIBLE, SORT OF

 

The infrared pictures I've been posting look strange, but I suppose that's the point. I decided to drop back into the visible spectrum in the same venue. I wouldn't stick my nose this close to a bee, even though this one is tiny, but I'm not so worried using my lens.

We will be back to more typical material soon. Our Michigan grandchildren, whom we see all too seldom, will be in town for a few days, and we're doing the grand tour of St. Lou kid stuff.                             

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

LOOKS LIKE WINTER

Another infrared image from the Nature Playscape in Forest Park. Someone on a Facebook group I belong to said this looks like a winter late afternoon after snow has cleared. Well, that's dumb luck. I usually don't go for pretty but this has its charms.          

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

BUG'S EYE VIEW

 

There is a new, or at least repurposed, area in Forest park called Nature Playscape, https://www.forestparkforever.org/playscape. Its web page says that it is an

experiential play space with natural landscapes . . . featuring distinct activity areas,  include[ing] sand play areas, willow tunnels, stump steppers, boulders and rocks, hand water pumps and much more. The goal: Encourage visitors — especially kids — to connect with nature as they engage their senses as they explore, discover and learn.  

I took Ellie there a couple of weeks ago and she was bored. We think it's not so great as a children's play area but a beautiful place for adults to wander in a carefully curated recreation of Midwestern meadows and woods. Parts of it deserve close visual attention. 

Another infrared shot obviously.          

 

 

Monday, June 21, 2021

ALIEN RETINA

A little exercise you sometimes see in books about the nature of consciousness poses the question "what is it like to be a bat?" Your vision is weak and you navigate through space with a version of sonar, using systems alien to humans. There are lots of animals that see and hear wavelengths we cannot. Infrared photography offers a peek behind the curtain and teaches us about the limits of our perception.           

Sunday, June 20, 2021

THE SEEN AND THE UNSEEN

The only time I've ever been to Greece we visited an Orthodox church. If I remember correctly, there was a screen or wall across the area that Catholics call the sanctuary. There were things present and things that happened both in front and behind, a religious metaphor for the spiritual seen and unseen. I thought it was very poetic.

Infrared photography is kind of like that. The shapes, sizes and perspective are what we know in everyday life.  However, the light itself is something we literally can't see but is absolutely there. I don't know how the camera records it as something our eyes can perceive but it's real. Makes me feel a little like an Orthodox priest.                       

Saturday, June 19, 2021

IT'S NOT EVEN SUMMER YET

Summer doesn't officially start until tomorrow, June 20, but much of the U.S. is under a dome of high-pressure, hot air that has us cooking. This photo was taken downtown yesterday afternoon. 100 F is about 38 C. I think it was 119 F / 48 C in Phoenix on Thursday. Most - but not all - of us have air conditioning, but then think of our substantial homeless population. There are cooling shelters here but it's not unusual to hear of low income elderly people dying in their roasting apartments. 

I'm sure we will revisit this in a month. Maybe less.       

Friday, June 18, 2021

WORTH THE WAIT

On a normal summer evening the crowd in front of Ted Drewes' frozen custard stand can be so thick that you might have to walk out in the street to get past. In pandemic times, there is a system of railings behind the far side of the building to keep the crowd orderly and spaced. People are sent up to the service window individually or in family groups. St. Louisans know any wait is worth it.