Friday, September 30, 2022


STL has a couple of annual events that come in twos, a big, official one involving a mass parade downtown and a smaller celebration that's more fun in one of the neighborhoods. St. Patrick's Day is one. The other is Pride Fest. There is a huge thing in the city center (I was out of town for this year's) and a smaller, more informal affair in Tower Grove Park. Everybody is friendly, the crowds aren't onerous, and people are happy to talk and be photographed.

I learned that this macaw was cared for at a wild bird shelter. Its handler said that it doesn't talk but will bite if provoked (note taken). She also said that it was found during a bust at a drug house. How it got there is anyone's guess.               

Thursday, September 29, 2022


This is the musician who was playing the pipes in yesterday's post, now seen under his left elbow. I'm puzzled about the instrument he is playing here, with ten strings and a tiny body. A mandolin usually has eight strings and a somewhat bigger body. A ukulele has a small guitar-shaped body and four strings. So what's this? The performer got some power with it along with his voice. I'd be happy to update this if any astute reader can fill us in.             

Wednesday, September 28, 2022


There are lots of kinds of Latin American music, much of it associated with dance forms. I'm most familiar with tango after being sucked in on our trips to Argentina and study after we returned. Still, there is a lot I don't know much about. The lead singer announced that the band was playing a cumbia, not something I could identify. We here in North America think of pipes like these as being from the Andes. Obviously, more to learn.           

Tuesday, September 27, 2022


More merch on sale at the Hispanic Festival. It's a little puzzling. The colors remind me of bees but the expression isn't particularly threatening. The shape and number resemble a postage stamp but they haven't cost 33 cents in the U.S. in a long time. No idea about Mexico or other Latin countries. I didn't see any buyers but someone might want to make a statement.

My astute colleague Steffe in Sweden points out that this is a form of Mexican lottery card.

Monday, September 26, 2022


Finally getting back out on the street in The Lou. There some public events at this time of year as the furnace gets dialed down. The Hispanic festival is an annual event, now fully back post-pandemic. We don't have the size of Latin population that most American cities do but what we have is vibrant, as vibrant as these necklaces on sale by one of the vendors.         

Sunday, September 25, 2022


1. Hey, mister, take our picture! (I consider that a question as well as a request.)

Answer: Sure! Lets get some good light on you.

2. Get any good pictures today?

Answer: I'll know when I download them to my computer.

So there are some events going on here this weekend.  I had to get out on the street. After a nap following Ellie's dawn patrol dance recital I got out to our annual Hispanic Festival. St. Louis has a smaller Latin population than many American cities but the event is enthusiastic and colorful. These guys were just hanging out near where I parked my car and asked Question No. 1. Made some new friends.           

Saturday, September 24, 2022


There is nothing in this photo that suggests its location. Its nature is also ambiguous. I think it could be some creature on the sea floor. It is, in fact, a dahlia from Endless Summer Flower Farm in Maine. I haven't had time to shoot a thing locally since I got back and I really need to get out on the street.

Late post, too. We were out last night taking my granddaughter to a screening of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2, at the symphony hall with the orchestra playing the score. The kid loved it. Mrs. C and I hated it. It seemed, by turns, incoherent, obvious and tedious. Even the special effects weren't that great. Sort of a popular, contemporary Götterdämmerung that cops out with a happy ending. Then we had to get up at 6 to take Ellie to a dance recital. Okay, I'm an old grouch.


Friday, September 23, 2022


Last weekend was the opening of the 2022-2023 season of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Mrs. C and I have been subscribers into the 40-something of years. Our beloved music director, Stéphane Denève, offers a toast from the grand staircase off the lobby during intermission. Times have changed. No more tyrannical, aloof conductors. Denève engages the audience personally. We occasionally see him in a restaurant and he loves to chat.

Apologies for the mediocre phone cam shot. Denève has made a commitment to our city. He has bought a house and made STL his home. That's his wife and daughter to his right. Well, he is also music director of the Brussels Philharmonic but we get lots of his attention.  

Thursday, September 22, 2022


Found outside Elmer's Barn that I mentioned on Tuesday. It's an ancient Chrysler Imperial that once reached for the stars but now exemplifies the law of entropy. I'd love to hear what kind of sound the occupants made. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022


My class at the Maine Media Workshops was wandering around the small harbor in Rockport looking for images. Our teacher, Harold Davis, and I ran into a pleasant couple, I'd guess in their 30s, who owned this big, tricked-out Harley. They were from Florida, where the man had sold a business (don't know what). They had an ocean-going yacht on which they were cruising up and down the Atlantic seaboard carrying the Harley for land excursions. (Don't have any idea how they got it on and off the boat.) La dolce vita, if you can find it.       

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Flower? Horn?

Lots of classes from the Maine Media Workshops visit Elmer's Barn, a three level antique/junk/collectibles theme park close to Augusta, the state capital. There is a good video at that gives some of the flavor. It's the sort of place you cannot absorb on a single visit. I found this piece that looks like it could be an alien flower. Of course, it is a gramophone bell but I do not know why it is colored like this.        

Monday, September 19, 2022


After the War of 1812, the United States created a string of waterside forts in the northeast because of ongoing tension with the British. Ft. Knox was established on the Penobscot River, which flows from central Maine and, in its time, carried a lot of lumber. My class went there cruising for images and I found this study in rectangles.

Sunday, September 18, 2022


It will take some time to build up new local pictures but there is still an inventory of interesting stuff from Maine. One place the class visited was a cramped, cluttered building called Firefly Restoration. A small group of people restore very old fire engines for organizations all over the country. There are parts in progress everywhere. I have no idea what this is but it looks cool. There is an interesting article about the company at                

Friday, September 16, 2022


The quintessential coastal Maine lunch, a lobster roll. (In most of New England, "er" at the end of a word is what the rest of us hear as "ah," so it's lobstah.) A big wad of sweet and succulent lobster meat stuffed into something like a scaled down hot dog bun. Nowhere else on earth. It costs a wee bit more than a Big Mac but then it comes from another universe.

We worked hard this week and I'm tired. I can't say enough about our brilliant teacher, Harold Davis. His photography is on an astral plane I will never approach. And such wonderful fellow students in our small class. I'm ready to go home.        

Thursday, September 15, 2022


Acadia is the name used for a swath of the State of Maine from the Kenebec River and the town of Bath and then northeast from where I'm staying up into what are now the Canadian maritime provinces. The area was intensely disputed between the English and French in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The population is thin when you get much back from the coast. The region is marked by water, wood, rock and fishing. It is gorgeous at this time of year but the winters are hard. This is a little waterfall that flows into the harbor at Camden, just up the road from camera camp.

Today is our last day. There is a traditional Friday night lobster dinner and a spectacular AV show of the students' work from the week.      

Wednesday, September 14, 2022


Belfast, Maine, is twenty minutes up the coast from camera camp. It is surprisingly big for this area and it's hard to guess what supports it. There is a fishing port but it's not like the big trawlers are coming in and out. There is no university, no significant factories. Maybe a little lumber - Maine has more trees than anybody in their right mind would need. Our little class stopped there on our way to points farther north.
We worked pretty hard. My Apple Watch, if you can trust it, says that I had more than double my daily quota of exercise. I'm pooped but there are two more days to go.           

Tuesday, September 13, 2022


The classes here at the Maine Media Workshops have a pattern. We review the students' work from the previous afternoon, go through a presentation and discussion with the teacher and, after lunch, go out driving around the small towns and forests of Maine looking for interesting places to make images. I found this doll at Elmer's Antiques close to Augusta, the state capital. We can be overwhalmed by the visual details but this cousin of Chucky  got my attention.

Monday, September 12, 2022


So here I am in photographers heaven, The Maine Media Workshops. From late spring to early fall they run week-long work-your-rear-off programs in every aspect of photography, video and cinema. I've been here five times and it's where I learned a lot of what craft I have. However, my last visit was 10 years ago.

This time I'm taking a course just in photographic composition with a renowned photographer, Harold Davis. Our first day's assignment was about circles and lines. We went to the remarkable Endless Summer Flower Farm, which had dahlias as far as the eye (or your lens) can see. I'm really out of my element - this isn't the kind of work I usually do. However, I think that pushing my limits will make me a better photographer.

Sunday, September 11, 2022


Free day yesterday. I decided to take a two hour excursion on the schooner Appledore 2. (No relation to Dumbledore, I presume.) It left Camden harbor with its crew of three for a tour around the neighboring islands and the edge of the open ocean. This picture was taken while motor powered as we were heading out and not yet under sail. By the way, the crew was just terrific.

My course this week is about composition in photography. Our teacher asked us to read his book on the subject and I tried to incorporate some of his principles. Now down to work.       

Saturday, September 10, 2022


One of the many reasons I come here. Free day today. Wonder what I'll do.              


Something easier to read from the newly repainted section of the flood wall. The stylized STL on the top of the box is part of the logo for the baseball team, the Cardinals. The bowl and spoon are full of little cardinal heads, the winged blue note of the hockey team, little arches and, um, bullets. That's a very serious issue around here. The gun violence in parts of the area is appalling.

Gods of the air willing, I'll see the Atlantic Ocean by this afternoon.         

Friday, September 9, 2022


I don't know if this person is one of the people who painted the panel or just sitting on a rail looking at the image. I also wonder if the blue parts of these figures are some super-stylized letters - this old codger wouldn't know. The numbers 314 are written under the bill of the hat near the left. That's the local telephone area code, which is a symbol of local pride in some parts of the U.S. Not many people realize we just got a second, overlapping code to handle the explosion of mobile phones.

Tomorrow is a travel day, which may or may not affect posting. I'm going to one of my favorite places on earth, some place I have not visited in 10 years. Unfortunately, the weather looks bad at the city where I change planes.            

Thursday, September 8, 2022


The center of a panel farther down the wall at Paint Louis. The history of our species suggests that what seem like limits are made to be broken and that, in itself, is inspiring. Or something. The astrophysicists say that, at least in our current understanding, the universe is finite but unbounded. Work on that for awhile: Ad astra per aspera. (Hey, it's the state motto of Kansas.)  

Or maybe I misunderstand the whole point of this.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022


Most of the work was done when I swung by the Paint Louis wall Monday afternoon. A few finishing touches were being applied while visitors like me cruised for photos. This woman was posing in front of one section while another took pictures. They said they were friends of the artist. I asked if I could join in and they were happy to oblige. Since she was standing in a circle, it occurred to me to have her raise her arms like clock hands.         

Tuesday, September 6, 2022


I've been posting photos from the St. Lou Fringe for a couple of weeks. There are a few more shows for me to edit for the festival archives but it's time for a change.

There are a few miles of 20 foot / 6 meter floodwall along the Mississippi south of the Arch. Every Labor Day weekend muralists and taggers can redecorate the whole thing, and thus Paint Louis. This character - I don't know what you would call it - greets artists and visitors from a pillar under a railroad trestle as you enter the area. I don't know who does these. It's someone local and you see the figures here and there around town. It's freestanding but note that it's chained to the pillar.          

Monday, September 5, 2022


I've mentioned before that I don't much get dance. I'm not putting it down, I'm just physically graceless. I could barely shuffle my feet across the floor at my and my daughter's weddings. So when I shoot a performance like this for the Fringe I'm thinking about images and F stops. Others decide on the meaning.

This performance was called Hey! We're Working Here. The ticketing website has this description: "How do a lifetime of memories, thoughts, and associations influence the choices we make each day? Watch dancers and musicians explore each other's choices as they work to create a piece in real time based on audience input." Okay, if you say so. Unfortunately, I have no information about the dance company.

I've been wanting to mix in some other material with these performances but have been thwarted. There is a major Japanese festival at our botanical garden over Labor Day weekend. We went over yesterday morning and found that the third most distant overflow parking lot was full. There was rain in the forecast for the afternoon so we bailed and went to brunch. Turned out we guessed right. A lot of people got very wet.             

Sunday, September 4, 2022


A provocative title. The comedy/cabaret/confessional is best described in the words of the performer, Brooke McCarthy: Blake (the character) has a problem - she is wrestling with a desire for a loving monogamous relationship...and so much more. Will Blake's latest and more mature love interest Guy be the answer for her orgiastic fantasies of love and sexual gratification? Or is it impossible to be an Ethical Slut? This original one-woman cabaret show is a bold, sexy and vulnerable story that is sure to leave you laughing about sex and wondering about love. (Hint - lots of it is funny but it's not all happy.)      

Saturday, September 3, 2022


It has been six years since Miki Byrne, Khnemu Menu-Ra and Terrie Carolan last performed their cabaret act at the St. Louis Fringe. I photographed parts of two of their performances this year. The show has evolved and this version was based on the poetry of William Shakespeare, blended with songs from Lady Gaga, Prince and Stephen Sondheim, among others. The trio has been working together a long time and blend perfectly.          

Friday, September 2, 2022


The name of the show is meaningless. It's just catchy, something that's hard to forget. Variations have been around for years. I saw a version of it in Chicago perhaps 15 years ago. The deal is that there are 24 scenarios for two minute improvs that have to be completer in 48 minutes. If the cast doesn't make it, the audience gets a treat. Here it was candy. In Chicago it was pizza. Way better.

The four actors were theater students from Indiana University. They were terrific, totally out full bore. The premises included "Masterpieces of the Lyric Form: Exploring Neitzschian Images of Superman in 'Crank Dat' By Soulja Boy" and "Three Year Old Interview: Pringles and an interview by a three year old, what could be better?" And each explained in two minutes.

I'm only half way through the Fringe shows I photographed. There is a lot going on in The Lou this weekend. I'll be featuring some of that with Fringe images mixed in. Who knows, I might have more than one post a day.            

Thursday, September 1, 2022


I can get people to act like complete idiots for me and be proud of it. Find out which City Daily Photo members are faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive at