Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tears Of Joy, Slurp Of Soda

At least that's how I interpret it. Form your own opinion.

May of may not do theme day tomorrow - I'll have to pull something from the archives. There's lots more of this material and we're on the road Friday for the holiday weekend. Off to the north woods and a part of this big country I've never seen before. Report maybe on Saturday, Sunday for sure.              

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


All the way, and without any reluctance. Good for them. Love the way the colors coat the street in the first photo if I do say so myself. I've got a few days' worth from the Pridefest parade.

I don't think the chap in the second one needs to advertise.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Pridefest Parade 2016-06-26 Video - National Anthem

Sunday brought us the Pridefest Parade, one of the best photo opportunities of the year whether you are straight, gay or just rather undulating. Not the best shooting day for me. Got there too late to have enough time in the staging area. The weather was oppressively hot and humid. With the amount of gear I strap on myself - two camera bodies and a bag full of stuff - on a long walk, at my age I might have been near some medical trouble. It gets a little harder every year.      

Monday, June 27, 2016

While At The Arcade Building . . .

I ran across an acquaintance, De'Joneiero Jones, at the Fringe event. He now lives and has studio space in the Arcade Building. He is a painter and deals in art objects. We bought this beautiful Tara, a Buddhist deity, from him a few years ago. Jones wanted me to see what he has on offer these days so we went by his apartment. Some nice stuff but my house is pretty full.              

Sunday, June 26, 2016

I Dare You

You have to be young, strong and very supple. If I tried it would result in grievous bodily injury.
Today is one of the best photo ops of the year in The Lou, the Pridefest Parade. But there are thunderstorms in the forecast. Hope it works out.            

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Dancin' Fool

So titled because the whole thing reminds me of this

A composite of the tap dancer. I sat and watched a long time. He didn't slow down. He never broke rhythm (and they were complex).  His eyes were  often closed, as if he had tapped himself into a trance. What's going on is a little clearer if you click to a larger version of the picture although his act is wilder if has more than a square meter to dance on. Someone, at least, can tap his way to bliss.            

Friday, June 24, 2016

Pick Your Art

Okay, mix and match. The woman in the center was doing some kind of free form posing or dancing or whatever you want to call it on a tarpaulin covered with fresh paint. Her body became part of the canvas. Didn't do much for me. The one on the right is daubing super-bright color on a canvas, something of an abstract expressionist style. I don't feel capable of judging this kind of art but I know when I like it (and I like Helen Frankenthaler, Mark Rothko and Franz Kline).

The man on the left is something else. We saw him at the 2015 fringe and I wish I had a note of his name. He is a tap dancer but more than just that. He is something extraordinary and seemed to be in a trance. I'd like to do a whole post about him and I got a lot of pix. All I need is a chance to edit. So little time, so much to do.          

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Across the room from yesterday's pictures this mezzo was letting it fly. She was what some opera reviewers call a force of nature. (You get the point.) I'm sorry that I didn't get her name.

It doesn't come naturally for Westerners to sing over didgeridoo improvisations. The two artists mostly went their own ways but it somehow worked together.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Roll With It

One of the rooms at the Artist Salon had two men doing something between freestyle and break dancing, a big-voiced singer performing a range from opera to jazz standards, and Michael Hagmeier, a didgeridoo virtuoso who blew me away at last year's Fringe

The three artistic units were, um, loosely coordinated, with Hagmeier providing the foundation for all. The dancers were all fluid, hard to capture in the dim light and simply beautiful.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Welcome To The Salon

So-called fringe festivals now exist around the world. We once had the privilege of attending the granddaddy of them all, the Edinburgh Fringe. We now have our own, going into its fifth year this summer. Mrs. C and I  love it - wacky and challenging.

They have been running some warm-up events. Sunday night they held an Artist Salon in the gorgeous and newly-renovated Arcade Building downtown, now a mix of apartments, artists studio space and commercial space. The idea was to take a large, empty room, throw in two or three sets of of artists who had never met before and tell them to do something. More about which soon.

When I entered the building I was greeted by this exotic creature who guided me through the preliminaries. Then we were whisked up the elevator in groups to a studio area. What happened next will be the subject of the following posts.

By the way, I've started an album on Flickr here for all the pix from this event, more than will appear on the blog.              

Monday, June 20, 2016

Madeleine Monday

Born to be wild, in some sense or other. This is a reason being a grandparent is worthwhile.        

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Dinner At The Art Museum

From time to time Panorama, the excellent restaurant at the Saint Louis Art Museum, offers a prix fixe tasting menu with beverage pairings (not necessarily wine). Last night the theme was bubbles - prosecco, sparkling rose, champagne and fizzy moscato. Mrs. C and I were in attendance. Executive chef Ivy Magruder and wine consultant Mike Ward explained the offerings to the crowd, at least those who looked up from their phones. Yum.               

Saturday, June 18, 2016


If only people had some kind of camera in the late Middle Ages, painting would have come a lot farther a lot faster in the Renaissance. Taken on the East St. Louis Riverfront.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Soundtrack here.

And while I'm taking pictures out my office windows - these people make me flip out when they go by. We're not in the biggest building but 15 stories straight down is a long way. He is in some kind of harness but I can't vouch for its security. The men who do this tend to look a bit rough and they may really need a job. It takes some extra motivation.      

Thursday, June 16, 2016

You Don't Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows

One of everyone's favorite and most enduring Bob Dylan lyrics. (Note who is in the lower left of this YouTube clip.)

Okay, the last of the geyser pix. This one, taken from my office window, is a broader view but the base is concealed by a grain elevator. Looks like a strong wind out of the south. The water is blowing farther horizontally than vertically. We can figure out the direction for ourselves.         

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Midwest Weather

No, we're not in Kansas anymore. That was a couple of weeks ago. We're in Missouri, the next one over.

Taken with my phone going southwest on I 44 driving home from downtown. It kinda looks like a tornado but it's not. Just a strange little shower falling out of a cloud with a bit of, um, image enhancement.

I've seen an actual tornado only once. This photo was taken from our old office that was on a higher floor than our current one and had an unobstructed view to the south. This was a verified touchdown, crossing the Mississippi from about the Anheuser-Busch brewery over to Illinois.                

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Orlando and St. Louis

This was taken a week ago Sunday at that Pagan Picnic thing. I didn't think I was going to use it on the blog. A bit of photojournalism to put on Flickr but entirely grotesque.   

And then Sunday in Orlando. 

THE OCCASIONAL RANT: there are some things about country that disturb me greatly. Guns and violent homophobia are examples, along with people like this who say someplace is safe only when law abiding citizens are packing heat. Idiots. Evildoers.

Which leads to the question of Mr. Trump and what he had to say on Monday. I cannot find the words to respond. I believe in pluralism. Within some loose boundaries, we should gladly tolerate people we disagree with. But Trump is far beyond what is marginally acceptable. That man is so dishonest, so narcissistic, so sick, I...I... 

Almost universally, I welcome people who piss me off. Not this one. How can we respect anyone who supports him?   

Monday, June 13, 2016

Landscape or Portrait?

I'm a bit hard up for material so I'm sort of rotating yesterday's post. There's a similar shot in color if anyone wants to see it.  The horizontal pulls in more of the clouds.

There is a fourth small jet off-frame to the right. You can see just a bit of its spray here. Wikipedia says "the four minor fountains represent the four rivers which converge at St. Louis and East St. Louis." So, um, there's the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Illinois just to the north, and the - what? There's a piddly local river at the southern edge of the city coming in from the west called the Meramec but it's nothing to brag about. Someone took poetic license.    

Tech tip: you get this dramatic effect of a dark blue sky by using a polarizing filter and rotating it to its darkest position. If you want to go to the trouble, you can also use a CTO (color temperature orange) filter on your lens or do the equivalent in Photoshop or Lightroom.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Thar She Blows

Every once in a while I get across the river to shoot the Gateway Geyser. It is in Malcolm Martin Memorial Park in East St. Louis, Illinois. I see it from my office window but I'm not often free to visit at the right time.

It's quite a lot bigger than the Jet d'Eau in Geneva, which impressed me when I saw it, but ours goes off just three times a day, noon, 3 and 6, in the warmer months. It can blow as high as the Arch is tall, 630 feet / 192 meters, but only when the wind is soft. Otherwise it would rain all over the surrounding neighborhoods and can be a hazard for planes using a nearby private airport. I don't think it was at its maximum height yesterday.        

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Stuff Of Legends

A 90 degree turn to the left from yesterday's photo. When I first glanced at this I thought the second line read "leg end." Then I had my duh moment. No idea who Horbin is.              

Friday, June 10, 2016

Supersize It

Make it UGE, as the Donald says. (And my view of that?) I just like the light, shape and space in this one. 

The view here is a 180 turn from Tuesday's picture. There are a number of old abandoned industrial buildings clustered around the big Vess soda bottle. Some dreamers have talked about turning them into a residential/restaurant/entertainment area to be known as the Bottle District. Nothing shaking.                 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Back To The High Contrast Stuff

The June 1 theme day was shadow and highlight. I mentioned in my post that I had edited other similar pictures and planned to run a few.

This was taken a few paces away from the June 1 photo but turned around to the north. The structure in the upper midground is part of a conveyor system that moves grain from barges on the Mississippi to grain elevators off to the right. The bright structure in the background is the Stan Musial Bridge.             

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Me, My Brother, The Governor of Missouri and A French Big Shot

 Big bro and lil bro

Readers in North America may know of CertainTeed, a very large manufacturer of building products. They just opened an enormous factory and distribution center for roofing shingles in Jonesburg, Missouri, about an hour west of St. Louis. My brother, John Crowe, is the CEO and he invited us out for the grand opening.

CertainTeed is owned by the 350 year old French company Saint-Gobain. Their first claim to fame was doing the mirrors in the Great Hall of Versailles. John is their director of North American operations. The CEO of Saint-Gobain itself, Pierre-André de Chalendar, came over from Paris for the occasion. Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri was in attendance. (Love those jobs!)

The tour was fascinating. The plant and distribution center cover 225,000 square feet / 20,900 square meters. It is so highly automated that when running two shifts it requires only 89 employees. The plant engineer said that a third shift would require only 12 more. Now, at two-thirds capacity, it produces 800 loading pallets of shingles a day, and those pallets are about 6 feet, or a bit less than 2 meters, on a side and way taller than me (and my brother and I are pretty tall). It was a very interesting and different day.
Brother John at the podium.

Pierre-André de Chalendar, CEO of Saint-Gobain

Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri

And who makes the giant ceremonial scissors for ribbon cuttings?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Best Bet

Vess is an old local soft drink maker. The iconic bottle has been on the north edge of downtown for decades. It is about to be restored in honor of the company's 100th anniversary.

The sign board is for Lumiere Place casino, just off frame to the left. I think St. Louis' best bet is to stay far away from there.

We expect to meet a big shot from France today, as well as see the governor of Missouri (I've met him before) and my brother (him too). All at the same time. Hope I get close enough for a good shot. Details to follow.             

Monday, June 6, 2016

Madeleine Monday

I went to a competitive all-boys high school. (Strange I should mention it two days in a row.) When the gym teacher, a gruff old coot, was trying to light a fire under us 60s-era nerds, he would shout, "What do you think you are, members of boy geniuses of America? Get moving!"

The memory stuck with me and so, of course, I have decided that Madeleine is a member of girl geniuses of America, as demonstrated by her perusal of the news at 33 months of age. Well, she could spell out most off the letters in the headline.          

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Surreal Kansas

A last photo from Kansas. There is a brand of gasoline, Sinclair, whose logo is a bright green brontosaurus. Appropriate for a fossil fuel. Still, it's a little disconcerting to drive off the prairie into town and be confronted by a prehistoric monster.

It reminds me of my first encounter with the mind blowing. I was on the debate team in high school. We once took a late bus from New York to Boston for a tournament. It was misty and foggy. I fitfully tried to sleep but was awakened by friend's a transistor radio, which for some unknowable reason was playing a Spanish-language cover of the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction. As I looked out the window into the darkness, a flatbed truck with a Sinclair dinosaur five times the size of this one rolled by. Boinkboinkboink...    

Two years later I was at Woodstock and this kind of thing seemed normal.       

Saturday, June 4, 2016

On The Prairie

Hay bales near Beattie, Kansas, several miles east of Marysville. The town styles itself the milo capital of the world. Don't know milo? I sure didn't when I first visited these parts. Click here.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Where The Cattle Get Their Cash

The land is more sparsely populated as you go west from Marysville. The average rainfall is less and less, the towns farther apart, the services more infrequent. Big sky, long views. But all those cattle need a place to get a quick fifty bucks sometimes.             

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Highlight and shadow In Kansas. Older American motels, those not part of a chain, traditionally have a prominent sign that says either Vacancy or No Vacancy: we have available rooms or not. This is a variation. When we drove by Mrs. C and I wondered if the management was apologizing for something, like America's history of racism or Kansas' lunatic governor, Sam Brownback.

The bit on the letterboard about H   OOKUPS has nothing to do with one-night stands. The motel welcomes campers and motor homes. (I think they are called caravans in Europe.) Hookups means that water and electric lines are available to attach to the vehicle.

Taken on the western edge of Marysville.                

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Shadow and Highlight

I've been cruising around looking for high contrast images. (Well, Photoshop helps, too.) This one is my favorite. Taken from the riverfront in East St. Louis, Illinois, looking back at the Arch. The concrete structure in the bottom foreground is a floodwall, holding back the highest levels of the Mississippi. Note the angled support posts. I bet there is steel inside.

The dark structure is the Eads Bridge, often seen in these pages before. (For example, here.)

Have a look at the submissions from CDP members around the world here.

There are a number of other high contrast B and W shots I took around the same time. More pix from Kansas first but then I think I'll roll with this set for a few days.