Saturday, December 31, 2022


Would that life were so simple, but after another typically miserable year in the annals of humanity any comfort is welcome. On a damp, chilly day yesterday, I took Ellie to Union Station for the afternoon. It was once one of America's major railway junctions. Now it's an overpriced mini amusement park. We had lunch at a place that offers awful burgers and fries, a cornucopia of bulk candy and elaborate ice cream dishes, some of which are laced with alcohol. So, not all bad, but is there a way we can send a shipment of our nations's best ice cream to Putin?

Remember theme day tomorrow - photo of the year.        

Friday, December 30, 2022


These images are getting a little old but I have to get out on the street and find something new to see. This is one of the several fountains in the Grand Basin in Forest Park, the formal body of water below the art museum. I don't think they stay on all year long but it was pretty cold when this was taken. At what point do the outlets freeze over?             

Thursday, December 29, 2022


Still in Forest Park. Unlike some other major urban parks, there is lots of vehicle access, but it is quite irregular yet doesn't seem to intrude on the green space and facilities. I've been going there for 55 years since I showed up at St Louis University and I know the place like the proverbial back of my hand. Still, in the low light of winter, every hill and curve has intrigue.              

Wednesday, December 28, 2022


Mid-continent weirdness. This was taken on December 24. The temperatures will be spring-like by the end of this week. For several years now, we've seen all sorts of buds much earlier than what we considered normal not long ago.          

Tuesday, December 27, 2022


It doesn't get cold for that long here - normally - and the surface of this little lake in Forest Park is unusual. Heaven knows what the ducks find to eat. Last Thursday night the temperature got to -7 F / -22 C. By this Thursday the forecast is for 60 F / 15.5 C. That's what we get for being somewhere between the Canadian tundra and the Gulf of Mexico.          

Monday, December 26, 2022


Whether you need refreshment or relief, the City Museum can  provide a solution. Some of us may need one, the other or both this week.                

Sunday, December 25, 2022


Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it. I thought this picture of Ellie imitating her grandfather (albeit with a complete rejection of guidance) would be something good for the digital tree. Quiet in our house. Neither Mrs. C or I are from here so there's no other family in the area. Awfully fortunate we were not traveling this week. Just us, Emily and Ellie around the tree and at the table today.         

Saturday, December 24, 2022


Our Internet service seems to be steady again after much in and out. There is a very handy website,, that can give you information and outage maps for most power and online services and has a mobile version. AT&T is still having lots of problems but not so much here.

The City Museum has lots of seasonal spirit. What better way to celebrate  than with a blow-up t rex in a Santa hat and antique pinball machines.               

Friday, December 23, 2022


Late post. We lost Internet and phone service yesterday afternoon and it just came back up. We didn't get a lot of snow but there were high winds and an overnight low of -6 F / -21 C. Much of the country had it worse.

The outside of the City Museum is covered with a complex system of passages, tunnels and slides called Monstro City. Note the shell of an old corporate jet at top center. Kids love to climb on and through it but it won't be open today.                 

Thursday, December 22, 2022


Parts of the City Museum feel like a labyrinth, which I'm sure is on purpose. Since I was trying to keep Ellie in my imperfect tracking system, I did not check out what was on the other side of this wall of bicycle wheels. And the boxing glove? Probably just for surrealist effect.

Most of the U.S. is going into a deep winter storm today. We won't get the worst of it but there will be some snow, a temperature of 34 F / 1 C this morning, -6 F / -21 C overnight, and howling winds into tomorrow. That's why it took me so long to find a parking place at the supermarket yesterday.             

Wednesday, December 21, 2022


Decoration from a building facade, well over a century old. The plaque on the left describes the origin but I didn't make a note of it. It's a shame that we have not preserved more buildings like the one this came from. At least the City Museum has restored some details like these dozing angels for us to enjoy.           

Tuesday, December 20, 2022


The City Museum is full of architectural artifacts from the time when we were a more important city. The building that houses the museum was, for its time, a huge shoe factory and warehouse, an industry which we once dominated. There used to be a slogan that St. Louis was first in shoes, first in brews and last in the American League - before shoe manufacturing went offshore, Anheuser-Busch was taken over by a Belgian-Brazilian conglomerate and the Browns baseball team moved to Baltimore.

This week, old columns and building ornaments glow in the spare light of LED icicles and snowflakes. It feels eerie.                   

Monday, December 19, 2022


My dear granddaughter in one of her imperious moods, looking like she were the queen of a sci fi monarchy. Except for the chocolate ice cream and lambie sticking out of her sweater. At the City Museum again.            

Sunday, December 18, 2022



Back at the City Museum yesterday with Ellie and the wonderful new toy, the Fujifilm X-T5 camera body. 40mp sensor versus the older 24 or 26, which makes cropping easy. The resolution approaches some medium format cameras. Remarkable clarity in low light, fast and accurate auto focus. I started out using the 24 and 35 mm prime lenses but Ellie had the attention span of a butterfly, so taking time to frame a shot was out of the question. I went to my workhorse, the FF 16-80mm f4 mid-range zoom, and started getting images like this.             

Saturday, December 17, 2022


Apologies to Robert Frost. The St. Louis Parks department keeps a good amount of Forest Park's land mostly undeveloped, or maybe better to say, lightly tended. There are maintained trails but, other than that, a walk along them might as well be through old Missouri woodlands. It's always quiet, a good place for mind cleaning.              

Friday, December 16, 2022


Just to the right of the view in yesterday's photo is an odd circular pool. The map of Forest Park calls this a bandstand. However, there is no land access or bridge to it. You would have to somehow float your horns to it and climb over thick ornamental plantings. Looks nice, though.            

Thursday, December 15, 2022


A bit further down one of the waterways in Forest Park. There is a roughly circular island in this little pond to the right of the frame that we'll see tomorrow. The air was so still that up and down became a bit ambiguous over the water, making two sets of curves and needles.                                 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022


The trees lean so far over the water they seem desperate to fall in, yet something holds them back. The little man-made stream flows through Forest Park without a breath of air across it. I think it plays the role of Narcissus' pool, freezing the trees in self-contemplation.        

Tuesday, December 13, 2022


Forest Park is the largest urban park in the U.S., bigger than Central Park in New York and Golden Gate in San Francisco. On a warm summer day it can be impossibly crowded. On a bleak winter Monday a photographer can have it to himself. It's nice that the parks department leaves the evergreen needles where they fall to create a rich carpet.            

Monday, December 12, 2022


Seen here in different guises many times before, the statue known as The Apotheosis of Saint Louis. It stands in front of the art museum and at the top of the long slope of Art Hill. Obviously, it is illuminated at night. We are fortunate to the point of embarrassment that we can afford to do that until sunrise, while most of Europe is squeezing back every kilowatt hour it can.            

Sunday, December 11, 2022


But maybe I was better off leaving  it damp. More Forest Park in chill mist.               

Saturday, December 10, 2022


The back of the Saint Louis Art Museum on a chilly, misty day. Forest Park was nearly empty.          

Friday, December 9, 2022



Yesterday was chilly here, about 44 F / 7 C, with misty drizzle all day. Forest Park was nearly empty. The soft colors and shapes were lovely, at least to me.              

Thursday, December 8, 2022


I suppose that most educated people understand that neurology, psychology and philosophy have pretty much nailed down this idea. There are entertainments based on the premise, which will only get more sophisticated and disconcerting with time. This is another VR amusement at our Science Center. There are two rows of seats. Ellie and Mrs. C are in the front and I'm in the back flailing around with my camera. Ellie chose a simulation of a roller coaster-ish mine train careening through an arid landscape in the American west. 

It's been a difficult week, for reasons too complex to discuss here. I've been listening to the Mahler 6th really loud as I write this. It feels right. Maybe I'll have time to get out onto the street today.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2022


Night on one of The Lou's main arterial roads. Interstate 64 runs east-west and bisects St. Louis City and County. This was taken from a bridge over the highway connecting the Planetarium on the north and the main building of the Science Center to the south.  There was a ledge where I could set down my camera for stability. What particularly interests me is the different colors of headlights with the various technologies of recent years.         

Monday, December 5, 2022


Back at the Science Center again. There are a couple of high tech amusements like this. You wear a VR headset while the machine shakes you around in sync with the video. The rider gets to pick one of four simulations. After these young men left Ellie got to ride by herself. To my surprise, she chose a jet fighter simulation and said it was just great.

I'm running thin on material. Various family medical issues are limiting my time on the street. May need to recycle some images.            

Sunday, December 4, 2022


It happens to all of us who walk around with a big camera. It gets people's attention and starts a conversation, leading to a request for a photo. I met this group when I took Ellie back to the ice rink at Winterfest yesterday. Three of them were wearing variations of the jersey of the local hockey team, the St. Louis Blues (hence the "blue note" logo).

However, the man in the back was wearing a jacket with the emblems of the English Premier League football team, Arsenal. The woman in yellow is from Manchester, England. She told me she is a strong supporter of the Manchester City team and that Manchester United "stinks."             

Saturday, December 3, 2022


The St. Louis Science Center is open for the evening on the first Friday of the month. Last night had a Harry Potter theme and a certain small person I hang around with insisted on going. The place has a wonderful planetarium with one of those special projectors. They showed what turned out to be a somewhat tedious one hour documentary about Harry, the author J. K. Rowling and the history of magic. Even Ellie got a little bored with watching Ms. Rowling cooing over artifacts.             

Friday, December 2, 2022


Nutcracker-style decoration at Winterfest in Kiener Plaza. The reddish structure on the right, the Wainwright Building, doesn't look like much here but is quite architecturally significant.       

Thursday, December 1, 2022


It's something that's common to many but not all people: a desire for expensive stuff that makes them feel special, better than others because of exclusivity. I can have this, you can't, and therefore I am a superior person. But as they say, money can't buy happiness.

However, are there perhaps little satisfying luxuries, more of a small special comfort than a show of ostentation? It could be good for someone's mental health and otherwise harmless.

Hard questions. Find  out how other City Daily Photo members from around the world see them at                

Wednesday, November 30, 2022


In Kiener Plaza, what passes for our central downtown square. Winterfest is mostly a small skating rink, open from Thanksgiving to New Year's, with a few other doo dads. Nice that it's there. Our granddaughter loves the skating. Just the right size.            

Tuesday, November 29, 2022


I've not previously run photos of my granddaughter, Ellie, two days in a row, but this one speaks to me. The hard sidelong look. Fingers of the right hand loosely on the rail, left hand in a fist. The long, unkempt hair, the dirty jacket that causes her no concern, the rosebud lips and the little girl's Lambie thrust defiantly into her throat.

She is nine but this gives me a vision of how she might appear at twice this age. Her mother and I started college at 17, as will she if that's what she chooses. How will her image compare? I hope this photograph is preserved.                

Monday, November 28, 2022


I have more pix from Garden Glow that are worth posting but I thought we needed a change. The Lou has had a dinky Winterfest in a plaza downtown for some years. There is a small ice rink set up through New Year's Day, a one-day Christmas market, a run somewhere in there, and three heated and insulated "igloos" for the you've-got-to-be kidding price of $250 for 90 minutes / 7 people, drinks and snacks extra. (Empty the whole time we were there.)

Still, the little rink was perfect for a nine year old with growing ice skills. Mrs. C and I were delighted by the look of joy on her face when she realized that she could get around on single-bladed skates and without the little training sled for the first time. Such confidence! Neither of us can skate and she did it all on her own.

One of our dear friends in Alabama might notice what is poking out of her coat.           

Sunday, November 27, 2022


This display is at Garden Glow every year. Rectangles tilted this way and that, which could be disorienting on a winter's night. The changing colors on good flat pavement guided this slightly gimpy photographer. You can see Henry Shaw's house at left center.        

Saturday, November 26, 2022


I mentioned Henry Shaw in yesterday's post, the founder of our botanical garden and the adjacent Tower Grove city park.  During Garden Glow, visitors are invited inside to see the 19th Century architecture and decoration in Christmas themes. Light projections on the outside change every year and I still don't know how it's done. Trippy, as we used to say.           

Friday, November 25, 2022


Our botanical garden has an interesting history. It was established by an immigrant from Sheffield, England, Henry Shaw, whose family was in the metalwork and cutlery business the city is known for. He set up shop here and did quite well, retiring at 40. Shaw established an estate on land that was then in the countryside. In time, he bequeathed it for what became the garden and adjacent Tower Grove Park. The land was flat to gently rolling. Shaw could climb to the deck on this little building and view all of his estate.           

Thursday, November 24, 2022


The Garden Glow at our botanical garden leads people through a specific route. Walking north along the east wall, visitors come across a brick walkway whose clay material favors light's longer wavelengths.  Nothing similar nearby in yellow. This isn't Kansas.               

Wednesday, November 23, 2022


Well, maybe. When you  come out the other end you are still in St. Louis. More from Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden.             

Tuesday, November 22, 2022


The entry building to our botanical garden, with its visitors center, shop, restaurant, meeting rooms and display space, along with the plaza opening behind it, are all new for this year. As you pass through the sliding glass doors into the garden proper you are confronted by this totem. Perhaps a statement of the obvious, but it prepares your mind and eyes for what lies ahead.            

Monday, November 21, 2022


Holiday lights in a sweet gum tree, Garden Glow, Missouri Botanical Garden. Doesn't seem very festive to me.                        

Sunday, November 20, 2022


The geodesic dome of the Climatron in red and green colors with suggestions of giant Christmas trees. I bet someone has researched why certain colors and shapes are associated with particular holidays but I just take pictures of them.              

Saturday, November 19, 2022


As the year winds down it's time for Garden Glow at our (if I do say so myself) spectacular botanical garden. After completion of the new visitors center and entry plaza this year, they really upped their game on the technical wizardry of the displays. We didn't get very far into it, though, because a certain small person was being a bit of a pain in the grandparent, complaining she was so cold she couldn't feel her toes (28 F, -2 C. Sheesh.) We may try again later in the week when it should be warmer.             

Friday, November 18, 2022


Photographically speaking, that is. As so often happens I didn't have any great ideas for blog material so I went to Forest Park and shot some HDRs and panos as an exercise. This is a 7 exposure HDR, -3 EV to + 3 EV. It's officially called a bandstand but it's really an ornament, completely surrounded by a small body of water called Pagoda Lake in the center of the park. I made several versions. This one keeps out the water and focuses on design.             

Thursday, November 17, 2022


I used to post a photo of the Gateway Arch on most Thursdays. However, after 20-something years of digital photography (early adopter) and many thousands of shots of this thing, it's hard to come up with something new. This caught my eye, though, when I was walking around on the levee. I have no idea what the reference is. As far as I know, nothing special happened here in 1950. The planning, design competition, engineering and construction of the Arch spanned decades. It was opened to the public only a couple of months before I showed up here for college in 1967. 

In a sense, 1950 was my gateway to here, being the year that the universe dropped me off by another big river, the Hudson, with no hint that I would spend most of my life just west of the Mississippi.               

Wednesday, November 16, 2022


No imports here. Nothing but the finest American locally made St. Louis, Missouri, swill. Although in this case it's probably just for storm water runoff (not that there's been much lately). Noticed on the street above the levee and below the Arch.           

Tuesday, November 15, 2022


We rarely get early snow. In fact, my impression is that our annual snowfall has declined with a warming planet since I showed up here for college in the 60s. We aren't very far north, about the same parallel as Washington D.C., Rome and Athens. So it was a surprise when we woke up this morning to find the streets and plants covered in white. This tree is just outside our home. The temperature now is a little above freezing so it won't last.                 

Monday, November 14, 2022


This is a water level gauge used to measure flooding on the Mississippi. The bottom of this column is about even with the top of the levee. It is measured in feet. You may be able to see that the first number is 24. The zero point may be arbitrary. Obviously, the river can rise much higher than the street at the mid level of the gauge. 

I've long thought that the Mississippi breathes over long time scales, in and out, up and down. It's doing a deep exhale at the moment.                  

Sunday, November 13, 2022


We have seen some images recently of the cobblestone levee descending to the Mississippi River. There is a street above that, then another slope up to the feet of the Arch. The north end of the street has a long, barren stairway to the park proper.             

Saturday, November 12, 2022


A view from the Mississippi River levee, where we've been the last couple of days. In the foreground is Eads Bridge, the first span across the central and lower part of the river, opened in 1874 and still in use. The higher steel structure behind it is the Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge, in service since 1951. The cables seen through Eads' arches are part of the awkwardly named Stan Musial - Veterans Memorial Bridge, opened in 2013 as an alternate route relieving traffic on the Interstate highways on the Missouri and Illinois  sides of the river.             

Friday, November 11, 2022


There was a time when I would upload a picture of the Gateway Arch almost every week. To paraphrase Shakespeare, age cannot wither her nor time spoil her infinite variety. However, after taking thousands of shots over 30+ years of digital photography it's pretty hard to find something new. But since I was down shooting on the riverfront anyway I thought it was time to say hello again.

It's quite a marvel. It is a catenary arch, the inverse of the shape you get if you hold a chain up by its ends. 630 feet / 192 meters tall, with a slightly scary funicular that can take you to the top through either leg. It's now 57 years old. I think of it as our local deity.