Sunday, April 30, 2023


Change of scene. There is a Facebook-based group here (with similar ones in other cities) called Photo Flood St. Louis. It is led by two excellent local photographers who will pick a neighborhood, gather all interested camera buffs and flood the area with shutter clicks.

I don't get out with them much but I did yesterday. The flood was in what we call the Bevo area on the city's south side. The center is what locals call the Bevo Mill, now marketed as Das Bevo. It was founded in 1917 by Augustus Busch, Sr., the old man of Anheuser-Busch, as a way station between his country estate and the huge brewery closer to the city center. In recent years it became a German restaurant, was closed for a time and then extensively restored as an event space and biergarten. 

More around the neighborhood in coming days.

Saturday, April 29, 2023


This area is what our botanical garden calls its central axis. The whole place has irregular, meandering areas but this is, so to speak, the backbone. There are two reflecting pools of equal length, the second not visible here due to foreshortening. They hold works by the Swedish sculptor Carl Milles, who also has a large group of figures in a major fountain downtown. At the rear is the Climatron, designed by Buckminster Fuller. It contains four distinct climate zones, separated by a complex system of barriers and air controls.                      

Friday, April 28, 2023


We have a lot of brick construction in this area because of extensive clay deposits. This wall surrounds an area in our botanical garden called the boxwood garden. It looks like low hedgerows, trimmed to reveal spiraling paths and flower beds. The peek-a-boo effect makes you want to go inside to see it all.             

Thursday, April 27, 2023


There has been a bird nest wedged for some years between a downspout and the eaves of our porch. It has survived winter after winter and each spring a pair of birds freshen it up and reuse it. They are often different species and this year I think it's robins (but what do I know). The mother (I assume) sat on the eggs with breaks to get food. Now there are three hatchlings, growing with amazing speed, poking themselves out while waiting for dinner.

I took this through a less-than-clean window with bad lighting. Still, we enjoy seeing their progress day to day. The nest is somewhat hidden, protecting the chicks from the neighborhood hawks.             

Monday, April 24, 2023


I love the Japanese section of our botanical garden. Here and there we find areas of geometrically raked white pebbles, reminiscent of zen gardens, particularly in Kyoto. I have had the privilege of visiting that city during cherry blossom season. Although those blossoms were all gone by the time of this visit, the memories were strong.         

Sunday, April 23, 2023


Our botanical garden has a number of events throughout the year to generate interest and revenue. This weekend they have Chinese cultural days, which, unfortunately, I won't get to because of schedule conflicts. But in a couple of weeks a show of the glass works of Dale Chihuly will open. Installation work was beginning during my recent visit. His art is enormously popular. On the other hand, when I once asked an artist I admire about Chihuly's work, his response was "too easy." I get it.                 

Saturday, April 22, 2023


Our botanical garden was founded in 1859 by a native Englishman, Henry Shaw, a very successful businessman and amateur horticulturalist who made St. Louis his home. Locals still often refer to the place as Shaw's Garden. His home and adjacent private garden have been preserved and restored. I do not know why he chose to place a statue of Juno in the middle of it, but she can do the Windsor Wave with the best of the royals.            

Friday, April 21, 2023


Back to my walkabout in the botanical garden. My knowledge of trees when I was a kid was that the logo of the New York City Parks Department is a maple leaf, so I didn't know if the pink trees on the right were the last of the cherry blossoms, dogwoods or what. The Japanese section of the garden is exquisite.           

Thursday, April 20, 2023


Half an Arch is better than none. After a score of years photographing this wicket it's hard to come up with something new.

Mrs. C has an annual conference she enjoys about the work she does. This year it was at STL's largest hotel right in front of the Arch, which has as many windows as possible facing the monument. She stayed there for the meeting rather than commute in every day. I spent Sunday night there with her, if for no other reason than to see what there was to shoot. The circular plaza at the bottom is the new underground entrance to the museum and funiculars that can take you to the top. Barges slide through the Mississippi and the sky looks like weather blowing in.                  

Wednesday, April 19, 2023


We have had some wonderful spring weather lately. (But this is St. Louis. It won't last.) I needed a little me time so my camera and I went for a long walk in our exceptional botanical garden. This is a semi-shaded walkway through the home gardening section.            

Tuesday, April 18, 2023


I'm a city kid who grew up amidst the blaring noise of New York. I like the urban action but, as  I get older, it is delightful to find the peace of this little corner of Forest Park. Savor it now - it may not be as tranquil on a weekend in the summer.          

Monday, April 17, 2023


The waterways of Forest Park are not just for viewing. Their 22 acres / 9 hectares can be explored by kayak or paddle boat. We have taken our granddaughter on a paddle boat and it's harder work than you think. It can be beastly hot in the summer but on a beautiful spring day kayaking is an easy pleasure.          

Sunday, April 16, 2023


The designers of Forest Park, when laying out the waterways, created an idyllic island, now known as Picnic Island. It is a little walk from the nearest parking and the entry bridge isn't evident from the street, so it is never crowded. In fact, it is quite peaceful. There are only a few actual picnic tables. It's more of a spread a blanket out on the grass type of place, one of our town's hidden gems.          

Saturday, April 15, 2023


Shift of local attractions to Forest Park, which, as I ceaselessly point out, is the largest urban park in the U.S., bigger than Central in New York or Golden Gate in San Francisco. The middle and northwestern areas of the park are full of waterways. Some of them are grandiose, some quiet streams. Much of this is left over from the 1904 World's Fair that took place here. The fresh green trees, red bud trees and cloudless skies mean it's spring in The Lou.             

Friday, April 14, 2023


Tower Grove Park has ten of what they call pavilions, really ornate, old-fashioned picnic shelters. The dictionary built into my Mac defines pavilion as, among other things, a summerhouse or other decorative building used as a shelter in a park or large garden. You have to reserve and rent these but they are great places to gather. This one is called the Old Playground Pavilion because, uh, maybe, there used to be a playground around here somewhere.             

Thursday, April 13, 2023


This statue in Tower Grove Park is of Alexander von Humboldt, who used to be a Really Big Deal. He was described in the mid to late 19th Century as the last person who knew everything about everything. There are statues of him in many U.S. cities with German populations. His fame, however, has dimmed with the great strides of the sciences.

Here he is surrounded by spring tulips, the quintessentially Dutch flower. I don't think he minds.           

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Tuesday, April 11, 2023


West entrance, Tower Grove Park in The Lou. We don't get any nicer days than this.                    

Monday, April 10, 2023


Well, the kid wasn't very cooperative about posing since she was impatiently searching for the Easter eggs I had sprinkled in front of our house. Oh, well, a girl and her chocolate. The whole system has changed since I was young. There have been no actual eggs for a long time. Now it's plastic eggs that split apart to be filled with candy. No egg salad leftovers any more. Just sugar highs and whatever that leads to.     

Sunday, April 9, 2023


To those who celebrate it. When I first saw this I did a double-take - a Christmas tree at this time of year? A closer examination showed it to be covered with Easter eggs, carrots and little bunnies, with a cloth saying Happy Easter spread on the floor beneath it. It is in a lounge at a hospital where a family member has been admitted with serious issues for some time. That is the reason I have been offline for a while. Things are gradually improving, though.        

Saturday, April 1, 2023


My tool, my partner, my art set, my outlet. The Fujifilm X-T5 is the best camera I've ever had. It is hard to tell from the photo but it is surprisingly small and light. Most Fujifilm cameras go full retro on the control dials and they can be hard to get used to if you are coming from, say, Canon, like I did. I love this thing as much as you can love an object.