Thursday, June 17, 2021

THURSDAY ARCH SERIES

 
One last image extracted from the series I shot recently from the top a garage with a direct view of downtown. The tall building with a dome is the federal courthouse, much-criticized because it exactly blocks the view of the Arch from the main east-west highway leading downtown. Note also the trompe-l'oeil design on the lower building beneath and to the right, looking like there was a big bas relief sculpture. The structure, once a warehouse, is now a hotel and expensive condos.           

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

NIGHT LIFE ON THE STREET

A typical summer night in The Lou, hanging out in the parking lot at Ted Drewes' (if you can find a space). Families, teens and a few odd photographers hanging around. I don't know why the blue car left its lights on but it makes for a better picture.                

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

LOCAL INSTITUTION

Everybody in this town knows Ted Drewes frozen custard stand, https://teddrewes.com/. It has been serving taste heaven for 80 years (and selling Christmas trees in December for 50 years). The signature treat is called a concrete because if you turn the cup upside down the custard won't fall out (subject to melting on a hot day). It's available in a boggling variety of flavors. I like peach.

This picture was taken late on a weeknight so it's not too crowded. But for the virus crowd control fencing, at mid-evening in the heat of summer the crowd can be spilling out onto Chippewa Street despite the cars speeding by.             

Monday, June 14, 2021

NO NEED TO FIX THIS SKY

Pretty much the same view as yesterday but now at blue hour with a few bright city colors. The Wheel is covered with LEDs that constantly change. Still some sunset orange reflected in well-aimed windows.           

Sunday, June 13, 2021

THAT WHEEL, ETC.


One of our City Daily Photo colleagues commented yesterday that it seems mandatory for cities to have a Ferris wheel these days, and it's nice to have one here. It is built on the side of Union Station, now a hotel and entertainment complex. There is an aquarium, a mirror maze, mini golf and more. Expensive but fun. But two things to note about this scene:

Something in this image is totally fake and it would take a Photoshop nerd to spot it. The newest version of the program has a tool called Replace Sky. It precisely finds the edges of everything in front of the sky and drops in a new background of your choice. These clouds weren't there. The actual sky was empty (see yesterday's post).

The tall building just right of center is vacant and has no immediate prospect of reuse. After the breakup of the old AT&T into the regional "Baby Bells," STL was the home of Southwestern Bell. It bought up some of the other regional carriers and then acquired the rights to the AT&T name. This building was, for a time, AT&T's world headquarters. Then they decided that St. Louis was Podunk and moved the operation to Dallas. I read that it is hard to repurpose a large building built for a single tenant so it just sits there.                  

Saturday, June 12, 2021

IT MAY NOT BE MUCH BUT IT'S OURS

I recently had an opportunity to join a group of photographers who had access to the rooftop of a multi-level garage. It had an unobstructed view of downtown, perhaps two or three miles away. We met before sunset. I brought my full frame DSLR, my longest telephoto and fired away.

We are a middle size city in the middle of the country, not much of a destination outside the region. We have our jewels. (And our horrors, but what city doesn't.) I have worked downtown for almost 47 years, although those days may be numbered. It has changed a lot, in some ways better, in some ways worse. The Ferris wheel in the lower left is a nice touch.

There are more infrared images I'll get back to some time.                   

Friday, June 11, 2021

INTO THE BACKGROUND

The Arch was right out in front in yesterday's picture. Today it slides into the background behind downtown buildings, notably the architecturally wacky Civil Courts Building, described in an early post on this blog. For the locals, the view is east on Chestnut from about 14th Street. I got a little subtle color out of this infrared shot. So much more to learn.             

Thursday, June 10, 2021

RETURN OF THE THURSDAY ARCH SERIES

Haven't had the big wicket up in a while. My experiments with infrared photography brought about this somber rendering with an enigmatic sign. Quo vadis

When I first started trying this I was getting some interesting color effects and it didnt work with the last batch of shots. I think you have to set a custom white balance for every scene. Not that hard to do on a Fujifilm camera but something else to remember.         

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

GOOD OR BAD

More fun with infrared: a defunct night club on the edge of downtown. There is still so much to learn about this.           

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

TUMBLE

Our town has a wonderful organization called Circus Harmony, https://circusharmony.org/, which takes young people from every part of the community and trains them in circus acrobatic arts. Part of it is for physical development and education, but an important part is to mix kids from every part of St. Louis in cooperative, harmonious efforts. They have traveled and performed internationally.   

The public can watch them work out and attend smaller performances at their headquarters in the City Museum. The group is always part of Circus Flora. They moved so fast I was lucky to get a clear shot.        

Monday, June 7, 2021

THE LADY IN RED

Circus Flora's performance this weekend was a scaled-down, late pandemic affair. There were no full trapeze acts like I saw the last time I took my granddaughter. A swing had to suffice but I could not have  imagined how beautifully someone could dance on a bar in the air.             

Sunday, June 6, 2021

THEY FLOAT THROUGH THE AIR WITH THE GREATEST OF EASE

Our scaled down circus performance  this weekend had all local performers. Shooting this was quite a photographic challenge, with movement and extreme dynamic range. For the techies out there, this was shot at ISO 6400, 1/240, f 2.0, on a Fujifilm XS-10 with in-body image stabilization and a 35 mm prime lens with a 1.5 crop factor. Go ahead and use that for an icebreaker at a cocktail party. Fine with me.     

Note that the man is supporting the woman with one bare foot under her neck and another under her thigh. I can't imagine rehearsing this. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

UNDER THE BIG TOP

One of the nice things about this town is that we have a permanent circus company, Circus Flora, https://circusflora.org/, with a permanent big top tent for a home. It has been dark for a long time but it returned this weekend with a limited production. There was a reduced, well spaced audience and the sides of the tent were open for ventilation. The traditional ring was replaced by two smaller stages.

If you look carefully, you can see that this performer is hanging by her hair, or seems to be. Ellie couldn't believe it and I, too, find it hard to understand.             

Friday, June 4, 2021

SOMEONE WOULD HAVE TO CALL AN AMBULANCE

The U.S. Navy's engineering unit known as the Seabees has a slogan: The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer.  There are some things, however, that are beyond the realm of the wildest imagination. If I seriously tried to do this, emergency medical intervention would be required.

So, another entertainer at members night at the botanical garden. We are taking Ellie to the circus tonight and I'll be looking for new images.      

Thursday, June 3, 2021

EITHER A UNICORN OR A NARWHAL

 
More of the entertainment from members night at the Botanical Garden. Ellie, of course, was fascinated by this. She was wearing a unicorn shirt (fascinated by that, too) and made the comparison to the performer. He told her it was a narwhal but I think it was just to tweak her a little.                

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

MEMBERS NIGHT AT THE GARDEN

One of the jewels of our town is the Missouri Botanical Garden, often seen in these pages. Yesterday they had a members night with food, entertainment and lots of children's activities. Ellie had a great time, which I hope we'll get to.

I regret that I didn't make a note of the names of these musicians but they may email me, in which case I will update this. As you rounded a turn in the path entering the Japanese garden they were concealed behind a small grove, with only their sound to draw you in. It was like perfume in the air, pulling the visitor around to their music. They were playing a piece by Carl Stamitz, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Stamitz, a rough contemporary of Mozart and Haydn. To me, it was the highlight of a beautiful evening.        

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

CITY DAILY PHOTO JUNE THEME DAY - WHEN I CAN TRAVEL AGAIN

The Crowe family will not be wasting any time breaking out of the confinement doldrums. This is Playa Tamarindo, on the northwest coast of Costa Rica. Our trip planned for January was canceled, of course, but we will be heading back in early July. Then a road trip to Kansas in August and a few places in central Europe in September, if they let us in. Travel is the best education, teaching us that our habits at home are not the only way to live.