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.            

Saturday, May 7, 2022


Today marks the return of one of St. Louis' happiest, wackiest events, the People's Joy Parade, after a two year Covid absence. This is a picture from the archives showing local artist Sarah Paulsen, who founded the event and directed it for a number of years. It's now in new hands as it prepares to roll again.

It has few rules and a "hey, kids, let's put on a show!" feel. My daughter and granddaughter will be marching with our friends from Artica while I run up and down snapping. Lots of images to come.     

Friday, May 6, 2022


Another wildflower from Forest Park in infrared. It's what I got, but you can create dramatic effects with a little work in Photoshop.         

Thursday, May 5, 2022


Still walking around Forest Park with my infrared-modified camera. I brought a macro or close-up lens. This flower was tiny, no more than two or three centimeters across, but the lens produced fine details. The color, light-dark tonality and contrast involved significant Photoshop tricks too complicated to describe here.             

Wednesday, May 4, 2022


The blog needs feeding and my cupboard was bare. Yesterday was gray and blustery and I didn't have an idea in my head so I took my infrared camera to Forest Park to see what there was to see. I don't have all the technical aspects of this down by any means but I do like the alien look.                        

Tuesday, May 3, 2022


Springtime dogwood in front of my house, shot in infrared. It's a fun exercise if you have a camera that has had its sensor modified. I need to get back out on the street with the regular camera but it looks like a wet week.            

Monday, May 2, 2022


After a two year Covid suspension, this Saturday brings the return of a unique and wonderful St. Louis event, the People's Joy Parade (excessive number of pictures from past years here). Every kind of St. Louisan gathers in one of our odder neighborhoods and struts down the street in every kind of costume for the pure fun of it - no other reason.

My friends at Artica always always have something interesting. This year it's a giant abstract dragonfly mounted to the top of an old car. Those of us marching along will have oversized pinwheels to pass out to the crowd. There have been weekend sessions to get things ready. Ellie and I went on Saturday and she was given the job of painting the pinwheel sticks. As you can see, she took it very seriously. If you ask her, she will tell you that she is going to be an artist when  she grows up.        

Sunday, May 1, 2022


There is no more iconic shadow in my city. This was taken from the observation deck on top of the Arch, 630 feet / 192 meters above the ground, and therefore even farther from the Mississippi River. The horizontal bands in the center foreground are a series of large staircases leading from the Arch grounds to the street below, and it's usually farther still to the water (although the river level looks high to me in this one). 

And remember, the June theme is the road.