Friday, June 24, 2022


We made it out of Boston yesterday and drove to Cape Cod, a summer mecca in the northeastern U.S. My niece is getting married today on the beach at Chatham, right at the elbow of the Cape. We drove around yesterday, stopping at a small fishing harbor surrounded by sand  bars. Dozens of seals hang out there, happy to make lunch from the fishermen's scraps.             

Thursday, June 23, 2022


Like other big, prosperous American cities, Boston seems to have tall, shiny buildings going up all over the place. We've seen it in New York, Seattle and parts of LA. When they cluster together they can create patterns that look almost cubist. (Note: you do not see this happening in St. Louis.)          

Tuesday, June 21, 2022


Well, our friendly airline canceled the morning flight from St. Louis to Boston yesterday. Fortunately, there was space on another flight some hours later. We got to the hotel in time for a late dinner (which was very good). So this is where our trip didn't go so far.        


The complex play of curves and lines reminds me of early 20th Century semi-abstract art. There is a lot of energy in the action of the trapeze artists at Circus Flora.

St. Louis is back in the oven today while we are off to cooler climes.             

Monday, June 20, 2022


People across the ring from us at Circus Flora. They were watching a high wire act in which a man walked out on the cable carrying his balance pole in one hand and a chair in the other. It had a square wooden base. The artist proceeded to balance the chair on the wire, sit down on it and then raise his feet in the air. Amazing.

Tuesday is a travel day. I may run a bit more of the circus images but we will have a change of scene soon.            

Sunday, June 19, 2022


These young performers at Circus Flora had what you might call a dance-acrobatics routine. They were terrific. I can only wonder about how many hours of practice and exercise it would take to learn to do this.             

Saturday, June 18, 2022


One of the nice things about St. Louis is that we have our own resident circus company, Circus Flora. Flora was a beloved elephant when the group started but, of course, circuses in this country don't do the elephant-lion-tiger thing any more.
But they sure do horses. We were seated in the front row and I stretched my camera's limits with fast burst mode and tracking auto-focus. I can't imagine how someone could do this on a racing steed.               

Friday, June 17, 2022


Does your city have a Fringe Festival? When one of the most prestigious arts festivals in Europe re-started after World War II, they would not admit the odd, the experimental and the out-there. So those artists said bleep you, we'll have our own. And thus was the Edinburgh Fringe Festival born.

And now there are offshoots all over the world. The St. Louis Fringe Festival takes place in mid-August. I'm the house photographer and a member of the board of directors. It's the highlight of my image making year. We just had a taste last weekend. Our executive director, Matthew Kerns (MFA, mind you), starred in a production of An Act of God, assisted by actor-comedian-pediatrician Ken Haller. It's a provocative comedy by longtime Saturday Night Live writer David Javerbaum. Matt, as God, has had about enough of us and visits to announce a new set of rules relevant to what we have become. It made you laugh and think.                      

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Seen at the March For Our Lives last Saturday.               

Sunday, June 12, 2022


There were demonstrations across the U.S. yesterday demanding greatly increased regulation of firearms. They were organized by March For Our Lives, founded by a survivor of the Parkland school shooting in Florida. The anger keeps rising and rising with every massacre, people like these take to the streets, and yet nothing ever happens. The culture of much of this country and big money political influence make lots of lawmakers rigid, as I see it, valuing firearms over lives. And since voting districts can be so manipulated in this country and one party leans toward throwing out election results it doesn't like, I fear for the future.            

Saturday, June 11, 2022


Ellie wanted to play the mini golf course at Union Station. I have no talent for golf or any other athletic endeavor but is was easy to play along with her. What I really liked, though, was looking down on the players from on high while we were on the wheel. Could I cause someone's ball to tilt a tiny bit into a trap?          

Friday, June 10, 2022


Another photo from the top of the St. Louis Wheel. What was the train shed of Union Station is in the foreground. The building with the pitched roof and tower was the head house of the station, now a fancy hotel. If you look closely you can see our second, antique Ferris wheel, just to the left of a radio/TV broadcast tower. It's mounted on the roof of the City Museum.               

Thursday, June 9, 2022


I've posted pictures of the right/south side of this building before (e.g., but not so much the west side. This photo, taken from the top of our Ferris wheel, shows a building that started out as a shoe warehouse (we used to make more shoes than anybody) and later became vacant. It was rehabbed into a combination of a hotel and condos. The trompe l'oeil facade was part of the rehab project and has held up well.            

Wednesday, June 8, 2022


It seems like just about every city has a Ferris wheel these days. We actually have two and you can see one from the other, but the second is an antique and much smaller, I've seen some very long lines here but it was remarkably uncrowded on the day I took Ellie to Union Station. Got some good shots from up high, which I'll come to.               

Tuesday, June 7, 2022


There is a jellyfish tank at the St. Louis Aquarium. Nothing else in it besides the creatures and dark walls. They often shine colored lights on them for an oh wow effect--the original of this picture was in blues--but to me nothing captures their fine structure and other-worldliness better than simple black and white.             

Monday, June 6, 2022


Not the usual pose for a beginning of the week pic of the kid. The aquarium has a pool at child height containing what are sometimes called doctor fish, or, more properly, garra rufa, found in parts of the Middle East and Southeast Asia. They have no teeth and will nibble dead skin from humans, leading to their use  for pedicures in some places. This may not be such a good idea and the practice is illegal in some countries and several U.S. states (but not this one).     

It feels like tickling to most people. Ellie thought it was a hoot and could hardly pull herself away.      

Sunday, June 5, 2022


Our aquarium is not up there in the rankings for size and scope. There is one main tank with lots of species, along with several smaller containers. Ellie and I spotted these divers who had what looked like a vacuum and scrub brushes. She wanted to know what they were doing. A staff member told us they were cleaning food debris and fish poop. It's a tough job but someone has to do it.                  

Saturday, June 4, 2022


BFF is an acronym that my granddaughter and children her age use for Best Friends Forever. It may be aspirational but it's a sweet sentiment. Now that school is out for the summer, when her mom has to work and she is at our house it sometimes falls to me to keep her occupied. On Thursday, she and I went to St. Louis Union Station, once one of the great railway junctions of America. That went kaput, of course, but it has been redeveloped into a fancy hotel and a large, overpriced, entertainment center catering to families.  

The first thing she wanted to do was the aquarium. Not huge but fun for kids of her age. She was fascinated by these very friendly turtles who perhaps intended to be BFFs.              

Friday, June 3, 2022


The Chinese cultural festival show, like all shows, must come to an end. Are we all, as Ed Sullivan used to say, a really big show? I'll leave that question to another day. It's time to move on to something new.

 OOPS - a commenter thought I was ending the blog. No, I'm just changing to another topic.           

Thursday, June 2, 2022


I don't know if you would describe this woman as a juggler, acrobat or something else, but she was a big hit at the Chinese Cultural Festival. This is her thing, keeping umbrellas spinning using all four extremities. The announcer said she holds the world record for keeping ten of them going at the same time. Being a bit on the clumsy side, I just can't imagine it.             

Wednesday, June 1, 2022


It's quo vadis day at City Daily Photo. This is the interchange in downtown St. Louis between a couple of major highways and a bridge from Missouri to Illinois. It was taken from a nearby office building overlooking the scene.      

Tuesday, May 31, 2022


After the dragons cleared the stage at the Chinese Cultural Festival. The next bit was what was described as a display of fashion popular among (obviously rich) women in Shanghai in the 1920s. My only visit to that city was 80-something years later and there weren't nobody looking like this. The discs or fans were gauzy and the women were doing a peek-a-boo thing with them. Strange.              

Monday, May 30, 2022


So the dragon we saw yesterday was headed under the canopy of the botanical garden's amphitheater. I never dreamed that dragons were so loose-jointed. But as far as fierceness goes, they are more flash than substance.        

Sunday, May 29, 2022


I suppose most of us have witnessed, or at least seen pictures of, a Chinese dragon on parade. Many people hold segments on poles, creating a perfect undulating movement, peaks and valleys of slither.                

Saturday, May 28, 2022


I didn't set up this shot on purpose. The action was much too fast for my moderate skills. But when I saw this picture on the computer screen I was struck by the strong geometry, something I've been taught to notice by hundreds of explanatory cards next to images in museums. It may or may not do anything for you.                 

Friday, May 27, 2022


It wasn't too hard to find on the Web. The instrument is called a ruan, characterized by four strings and big tuning pegs with a circular body. They come in different sizes ranging from soprano to bass. I guess you would call this one a tenor.               

Thursday, May 26, 2022


This couple represented the empress and emperor of China, as best I could tell. They look relatively benevolent but that beaded headgear on him is something else. It reminds me a bit of the gauzy veils with small beads that women like my mother used to wear with their hats for fancy occasions in the 50s.              

Wednesday, May 25, 2022



Well, that's what we were told it was. I've been to lots of Western operas and a couple by Japanese composers (including one based on a Noh play, which was a tough sit) but nothing that gave me a grip on this music.It was performed with passion, though.           

Tuesday, May 24, 2022


Who's got some mouthwash?

Many-segmented dragons are common at Chinese events. There were three at the festival at the botanical garden last weekend, this one, another a bit smaller and a "baby dragon" carried by small children. You have to wonder whether the idea came purely from people's imaginations or whether it was, at some point, chemically enhanced.            

Monday, May 23, 2022


The rain moved away and left us with a cool, cloudy and dry Sunday. A big crowd turned out for the resumption of the Chinese cultural festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. There was one spectacular performance after another. Still, I wonder how many people across our sprawling suburbs and exurbs are unaware of the riches we have on offer.         

Sunday, May 22, 2022


We had thunderstorms on and off all day Saturday so we didn't attempt the Chinese cultural festival at the botanical garden. Today should be glorious and we will give it another try. For now, another earlier shot from the garden, a bush packed with rhododendron blossoms. Ironic that something so beautiful is poisonous.        

Saturday, May 21, 2022


Our Missouri Botanical Garden must have thousands of species of plants. Being a child of the concrete jungle, I usually have no idea what's what. We use a phone app called PlantSnap, which can identify most of them from taking a photo and comparing it to an image database. This is the bud of a Greek peony, which the app says is endangered. It's well cared for here.

We have the return of a big annual event at the garden this weekend, the Chinese cultural festival. It's a photo feast but the forecast is for on and off thunderstorms all day. If we can go, you will see it here.             

Friday, May 20, 2022


Staying with our spring walk through the botanical garden for now. Weather can get in the way of cruising with a camera in the Midwest at this time of year. We had some severe thunderstorms last evening and a couple of small tornadoes in the area. Then there can be fine days when you can find an image like this.               

Thursday, May 19, 2022


I thought I was running out of material but I forgot that Mrs. C and I recently did a long springtime walk through our wonderful botanical garden. Lots of opportunities to get in close.                   

Wednesday, May 18, 2022


Time to move on from the People's Joy Parade. I'm pretty low on new inventory so I better go find something. However, I have this one from last weekend that will do for today.

St. Louis has a wonderful children's museum, The Magic House, that Ellie loves to visit. The new exhibit is based on the Molly of Denali TV show about a Native Alaskan girl. Although that's indoors, a sculptor was in the yard building this fanciful impression of the mountain. It couldn't be made of sand or it would melt away with first rain. The sculptor was busy and I didn't get to ask him about the material.           

Tuesday, May 17, 2022


Stephen Sondheim, were he still with us, might not approve, although one of our local opera companies (we got three) is doing A Little Night Music later this summer. These two are examples of why some children are afraid of clowns. They wouldn't harm a fly, but they might threaten one.                

Monday, May 16, 2022


The forecast for viewing the lunar eclipse last night was looking bad around here through Sunday afternoon. I stepped out onto my porch around moon rise and saw the brilliant full orb peeking through clouds. I got a tripod and set up in a neighboring school yard with an unobstructed view. The clouds blew away completely and patience was rewarded.           

Sunday, May 15, 2022


Our Artica friend Heather Bell at the People's Joy Parade, about to ride with the Banana Bike Brigade. She could also be doing a rolling promotion for the Pittsburgh professional sports teams.               

Saturday, May 14, 2022


The People's Joy Parade takes place on and around Cherokee Street, certainly one of our more unusual districts. The sign gives some idea of the variety of businesses it contains. It's also the commercial center of our Hispanic community, smaller than in most U.S. cities but still active and colorful.                 

Friday, May 13, 2022


I didn't get to see many other parts of the parade because I had an eight year old to supervise. These clowns, seen earlier, were in front of our Artica group. From time to time they would stop at an intersection, work up the crowd, and fire off a confetti canon.             


Thursday, May 12, 2022


Hard not to notice this fellow at the parade. He had a flute so I asked him if he was dressed as Krishna. He looked a bit puzzled so I said, you know, blue skin, flute . . . ? He said with a chuckle that he used to belong to the Hare Krishnas but now he was a satanist. Whatever. I'm just the photographer.           

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


Ellie and I marched with the Artica crew down the route of the People's Joy Parade. I didn't get out to visit the other groups because she isn't old enough to go on her own but the two of us still had a good time. Artica's entry was a giant dragonfly mounted on the back of a pickup truck. The wings moved and two of the marchers guided them with ropes so they didn't get torn off in the trees. This took a lot of work.                       

Tuesday, May 10, 2022


The floats and marching groups in the People's Joy Parade emphasize creativity and whimsy, not high end production values. Always present is the Banana Bicycle Brigade, led by a bike covered, as you could guess, with plastic bananas. The other designs are up to individual members. I'm not sure if you would call the one on the left a shrimp or a crawfish. Good thing the giraffe has a high seat and handle bars or it would probably topple over..             

Monday, May 9, 2022


My friend here marched along with me and the Artica crew in the People's Joy Parade. As is usually the case, face painting was available for the kids. Ellie is crazy about unicorns and got just what she wanted.                  

Sunday, May 8, 2022


The People's Joy Parade went off on schedule yesterday with glorious weather. It was wonderful to have it back after a three year break. This group of clowns, ranging from macabre to just plain weird, always shows up, although there were more of them than I remember from other years. Ellie won't go near the two on the left.