Monday, May 31, 2021


Today is Memorial Day in the United States. I went out cruising yesterday afternoon looking for a suitable location with plenty of flags to mark the occasion. Nothing. Not the Veterans Memorial, not Art Hill, not the central downtown plaza and not even the Arch grounds.

Which does not mean that all was lost. I had the IR converted camera with me and wondered what it would do with the  big wicket and the surrounding trees and sky. Well, this.              

Sunday, May 30, 2021


Yesterday was gray and freakishly cool in The Lou so I didn't get out to shoot new stuff. That led me to dip back into the first experimental batch of infrared pictures. They can make for  interesting monochrome. This is part of the Grand Basin in Forest Park, looking at Art Hill and the art museum. The hill looks like it is covered with  snow, and, indeed, it is our town's premier sledding venue. To the naked eye it is rich green at this time of year but, again, we are seeing the intense IR reflectivity of anything containing chlorophyll.                                         

Saturday, May 29, 2021


I've squeezed all I can out of the pictures from the City Museum and need to go out trolling for new material this holiday weekend. Monday is Memorial Day. Ellie, my 7 year old granddaughter, asked her mother to explain what it was about. After hearing her response Ellie said "oh, it's like veterinarian's day."

So anyway, new toy. I had one of my old camera bodies converted to an infrared sensor. It now sees colors that our eyes cannot. Exposure and focus are a little different. Anything that contains chlorophyll reflects IR like crazy so many plants look white. Then there are tricks you can play with the visible results in Photoshop. This is a first effort. The company that does the conversion, Lifepixel, offers 30 minutes of instruction, which I will do on Friday.                                 

Friday, May 28, 2021



I know I'm kind of beating this series from the City Museum to death but it's one of the more interesting things around town. And it's going to have to do until I get some new material.

The area outside the building, for some reason called Monstro City, is covered with with tubes to climb through, catwalks, parapets and the shells of a couple of old corporate jets. This one looks like it needs some agile maneuvers to avoid the surrounding buildings. They are all old industrial spaces, now converted to loft apartments.


Thursday, May 27, 2021


I've mentioned that the building housing the City Museum used to be a shoe factory and warehouse. To complete the product line, it also made shoelaces. I have never in my life stopped to consider how shoelaces are made. No doubt the technology has changed a lot but if you want some old school ties this is the place to come.       

Wednesday, May 26, 2021


The City Museum has a number of works by the sculptor Tom Otterness and there are some others around town. On the surface, the art is simple, even childlike, but just below the effect may be very disturbing. This appears to be the end-game of a whale hunt, in which the smiling prey has turned the tables on the hunter. Give it more than a glance and it is horrifying. I doubt the children passing by pay any attention.               

Tuesday, May 25, 2021


I have a bit more to show from the City Museum before moving on. This isn't as dramatic as the dark back shaft but it illustrates how much fun you can have at this place. There are lots of slides. My Michigan grandchildren, ages 5 and 2, will be here in a month and they are going to have a blast here.           

Monday, May 24, 2021


Looking down from the second floor to the ground level over the main stairway at the City Museum. It's a riot of curves, lines and colors that somehow reminds me of Frank Stella's later work. Much of the balustrade is made of industrial rollers covered in a myriad of colors and patterns. The structure in the lower left that looks like a slinky is for children to crawl through, which Ellie does with enthusiasm. No hallucinogens needed in this place.                   

Sunday, May 23, 2021


I can't pull myself out of the back shaft at the City Museum. The colors, the lights and darks and the shapes are just so weird, which I guess is part of the point. Depending on the size of your screen, you may be able to see the twisted ramp with bars across it near bottom center. it's one of the multi-story slides. You sometimes see kids whizzing and squealing through. I have not heard of bigger people getting stuck but it must happen. It would be foolish for someone as tall as me to try.          

Saturday, May 22, 2021


Near the view in yesterday's post but looking farther up. You can see all the circular ramps used to move merchandise in a shoe factory and the skylight over the 10th story. The depths of the shaft are hidden in shadow.  The background looks like it glows with heat.        

Friday, May 21, 2021


It looks like this could be one of the sets but it's another part of our strange City Museum. The building is better described on its Wikipedia page,, than its own website. It was originally the enormous factory and warehouse of the International Shoe Company. STL was once to shoes what Detroit was to automobiles. Locals of a certain age, particularly baseball and beer fans, know the saying that we were first in shoes, first in brews and last in the American League.

This cavernous 10-story-tall shaft contains a series of spiral ramps, right, that were used to move shoes and their parts from floor to floor. There are five and ten level slides (I wouldn't dare). And then this organ, salvaged from a theater in New York. It looks like it works but I've never heard of a performance. I'd go if there were one.    

Thursday, May 20, 2021


More weirdness at the City Museum. Something interesting catches the eye of a concrete serpent but a window blocks the way.             

Wednesday, May 19, 2021


Or at least that's what they claim. We already have the world's largest croquet wicket. This is back in the City Museum,, where Ellie will go on a moment's notice. We spent a longer time there last Saturday and the weather was decent so I got a good haul of pictures. Lots more to come.                

Tuesday, May 18, 2021


Maybe one last picture for now from the new dinosaur thing at the zoo. Ellie wants to go back this weekend so there will probably be more later.

I didn't make a note of the name of these nasty-looking little creatures. The display gives the impression that they hunt in packs or just like to go out for a frolic with their pals. I don't think they could climb trees with those limbs but then neither can I. Good thing they are made of resin.          

Monday, May 17, 2021


At least I think so. You can tell by the teeth, can't you? No sharp incisors here. Still, I wouldn't wear my floppy green hat if I were creeping in for a close-up.

The bony processes that look like fins on a stegosaurus' spine are spectacular. I assume they are for cooling with a function like the coils in a car radiator but I'm too lazy to look it up.                  

Sunday, May 16, 2021


Aren't you glad you live many millions of years after the last really big meteor hit the earth? Another one from the Dinoraurus exhibit at the St. Louis Zoo.                

Saturday, May 15, 2021


Some people don't have any sense. I wouldn't let my dog, if I had a dog, which I don't, this close to the chompers of a T. Rex. But of course it's all fake, unless the scientists at nearby Washington University have made a remarkable breakthrough. It's been a couple of weeks now but we took Ellie to this new thing at the zoo they call Dinoraurus. There are a number of these creatures that can shake around a bit and make fearsome noises. Kids love it.                     

Friday, May 14, 2021


I gotta get out on the street and shoot some new material but for today one last work from the Origami In The Garden show will suffice. This is the last one you pass as you are about to leave. I interpret is as a crane on a crane on a crane on a base.             

Thursday, May 13, 2021


The eastern half of the United States is about to be infested by the 17 year locust explosion. Home town boy William S. Burroughs,, has other bugs to worry about, possibly from all those things he self-injected. At least he is protected from substances in the air.

His bust is in the Central West End, across the street from that of a much better behaved but no less revolutionary native writer. T. S. Elliott.               

Wednesday, May 12, 2021


It's not unusual in this country to see a drainage grate that says No Dumping - Drains to Stream/River/Lake/Ocean or what have you. This is a storm sewer cover in my neighborhood. I assume that storm sewer runoff has nothing like the treatment of sanitary sewers and that water that comes through here will find its way into the Mississippi. No one is going to pull this open to dump used crankcase oil but the authorities placed the cone just in case.                                

Tuesday, May 11, 2021


The railroad tracks I showed three days ago cut across Webster Groves but aren't much of a barrier (unless you are trying to drive across them when a train comes by, but that's not often). Interstate 44 is another matter. It forms a shallow artificial canyon with far fewer places to cross than the railroad. Much of it is depressed below the surrounding ground level so it's not visually in your face but is something of a scar and a barrier between neighborhoods. 

As long as America remains so car dependent I suppose we need it. These roads are much uglier and cause worse social divisions in some other cities.           

Monday, May 10, 2021


Although I've been in the St. Louis area since I came to college here in 1967, I do not live in the city proper. It has a small and declining share of the metropolitan population. We have sprawling suburbs. This one is now considered inner ring, older by local standards. According to Wikipedia

Webster Groves' location on the Pacific Railroad line led to its development as a suburb. In the late 19th century, overcrowding, congestion, and unhealthy conditions in St. Louis prompted urban residents to leave the city for quieter, safer surroundings. In 1892 the developers of Webster Park, an early housing subdivision, promoted the new community as the "Queen of the Suburbs", offering residents superb housing options in a country-like atmosphere, as well as a swift commute to downtown St. Louis jobs.  

That may have been just real estate promotion but it's still a nice place to live, although passenger trains haven't come here in decades. Now the old station houses a model railroad club.


Sunday, May 9, 2021


Or that's what it made me think of when I edited the photo, a fiery floating orb with nasty stuff sticking out. Of course, it's just an old fire hydrant that has been painted and repainted many times. I like the patterns in the worn paint.             

Saturday, May 8, 2021


                Typical view in this territory. The location is a short walk from my home.                 

Friday, May 7, 2021


I've got some nice springtime shots in the botanical I haven't posted but I could use some new material. This wall painting faces a parking lot in the Grand Centre (they use the British spelling) arts district. The figure is a squeezable container in which honey is commonly sold here. Why pick that? I get the reference to the visual arts and the symphony hall is nearby. However, the arena where the beloved hockey team plays is two or three miles away and I don't get the top hat at all. It's not like we have a lot of white tie events and such plutocrats as we got are much more discrete.          

Thursday, May 6, 2021


Seen in the parking lot of the botanical garden. I saw another car out on the street yesterday with a similar sign in the back window. Could this happen in any other modern industrialized country? I really don't know. We're the only one without national or provincial health insurance. Maybe the issue is as serious everywhere else. Comments?           

Wednesday, May 5, 2021


A few days ago we saw one of these metal sculptures in the garden that was a clever representation of the rock paper scissors game. How are we to interpret, though, horse scissors crane? Maybe it's just a visual representation of the complicated and simple things you can do with pieces of paper and something to cut them.               

Tuesday, May 4, 2021


This installation at the metal as origami show seemed strange to me. The figures appear to be running or prancing horses but the flat metal construction makes them look so stiff. Kind of like me some days. In any event, they aren't getting away.                 

Monday, May 3, 2021


I suppose you  could make smaller versions of these figures out of paper if you had good instructions and enough dexterity (which I don't). The metal acorn lies across a footpath from the squirrel, right under its nose, so to speak. The rodent's metal joints must be too stiff to reach it.             

Sunday, May 2, 2021


Back for a little more of the metal origami in our botanical garden. The paper boat or paper hat - it amounts to the same thing - is a simple, basic example of the paper folding art. Here, two of them float without ever moving in the lake of the tranquil Japanese garden. The scene looks static but the burgeoning spring is not.                     

Saturday, May 1, 2021



We defined the May 1st theme as earth, the earth or just dirt. I didn't have anything local in the archives that got my attention so, as one of our colleagues says. I went out of the jurisdiction. This is on my brother and sister-in-law's farm in Marshall County, Kansas.