July 19, 2012

Waiting for Lightning

Chinese Lantern Festival
While visiting, St. Louis I went to the Missouri Botanical Gardens to see the Chinese Lantern Festival. The skies were a bit threatening but the rain was holding off as the sun was setting. Unfortunately, the cloudy skies ruined my plan to photograph the lantern displays at the perfect time where the lights are visible and there is still color in the sky. The alternative was to wait for the lightning to illuminate the sky. It's tricky and takes a lot of patience and a quick finger on the tricker.  This one is the best I managed. Not bad.

July 18, 2012

Shawn Harris - Free Range

Shawn is an artist and photographer from San Francisco who stayed with me while he exhibited at MMoCA's Art Fair on the Square, the annual event that circles the Wisconsin Capital Square for two days in July.

We connected through Couchsurfing which is a website for travelers to find a free bed while on the road.   Many people find it a bit odd that I will open my place to strangers like this, but I've had some great experiences and have made some good friends along the way.

Shawn is one of those visitors where we connected right away and had plenty to discuss being fellow photographers and all, plus he lives in one of my favorite cities in the country.  After the Art Fair on the Square was finished, Shawn and I took a drive out in the country to do some collaboration together.  Shawn was just starting to experiment making self-portraits with rubber masks.  On our drive back to Madison, I noticed the sky was getting that magic post sunset cobalt blue with some linger clouds from an afternoon shower.   I suggested we pull over to do some quick portraits of him.   I quickly put on speedlight and fired some test shots before the light disappeared completely.   Shawn threw on the rooster mask and struck a pose in the middle of the highway.   I was able to get a few shots in between dodging oncoming vehicles and the sounds of rifle shots behind the row of shrubs across the road.   Being from the Mission District in San Francisco, Shawn was getting a bit nervous at the sound of gunshots.  He's got bullet holes in the hood of his van to justify it.

At any rate we managed to pull off a cool image of an amazingly talented artist.   You can check Shawn's work on his website Shawn Ray Harris Art.

July 12, 2012

Musical Mondays in Tower Grove Park - St. Louis

The heat in St. Louis finally broke this past Monday.  As my friend Ann and I were making our way back to her place after dinner, we drove through one of the many parks in St. Louis and saw the sign for Music Mondays.   I just happened to have a couple of lawn chairs with me, so we stopped and enjoyed the beautiful evening and performance by the Compton Heights Concert Band.   Just after the sun sets and the sky turns cobalt blue is  my favorite time to make images.

July 9, 2012

St. Louis City Museum

The St. Louis City Museum is a crazy place housed in an old shoe factory and warehouse in the former garment district of St. Louis.   The vision of Bob Cassilly who purchase the building in '86 and and began working on a place for kids and adults to play and explore together. It's bills itself as an "eclectic mixture of children's playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel. With it's many floors that house tunnels, cage tunnels, memorabilia and architectural artifacts of now gone historic buildings of St. Louis. The highlight is the rooftop playground with a bus as if it's teetering over the edge, and big slide and ferris wheel. It's great fun and everywhere you turn there's a something to discover.

July 6, 2012

St. Louis is Beer and Baseball

St. Louis is one of those cities that people either love or hate.  To me it's a great city with plenty to offer even with its rough edges.   What city doesn't? Every year around the 4th of July, we try to make it down for a Cardinal's game on the way to visiting the parents in the Ozarks.

Having grown up in Missouri, I'm still a Cardinal's fan at heart. The new Busch Stadium is a beautiful baseball park. The open design allows for good sight lines, good air flow and a beautiful view of the St. Louis Arch if you sit on 3rd base side. It goes without saying a beer is almost required to beat the summer heat in St. Louis. It seems only appropriate to have a Bud. 

Unfortunately Anheiser Busch is no longer a locally owned brewery in St. Louis, but the beer is still brewed just a few miles away down I-55.  It's how things go in this age of globalization and corporate consolidation. Either way, Budweiser Beer is still a big part of St. Louis so I'll drink to that! Cheers!