Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Picture Perfect Weekend

After what felt like days of rain, it was nice to get some dry time in St. Louis this weekend. I played a couple hours of pickleball on Friday, and spent Saturday going through family photos for a relative who recently lost her mom. I scanned all of the photos I had of this lovely woman, and emailed them to her daughter. My photographs are the one area of my life in which I was uber-organized. Through the years I have taken all of our photos and neatly labeled and placed them in albums. And then what happened? The experts came out with the recommendation that all photos be removed from their albums and placed in acid-free storage boxes. Seriously? All the procrastinators who tossed their photos in boxes were ahead of me on this one. I have slowly begun to do this, starting with the oldest (and most problematic) albums first. Some of the photos are extremely stuck to the albums. I have purchased a small (and I mean small) stainless steel spatula to try and safely remove the pictures from the pages. The dental floss trick did not work, so this approach has been suggested by photographers. We shall see.

Sunday was so pretty in the morning that I high tailed it to the Missouri Botanical Garden, my happy place. In addition to all the beautiful flowers, the garden is in full swing with its second Chinese Lantern Festival. I learned from the last one in 2012 that it is a good idea to photograph all the lanterns during the day so that you can see what they are made of. When they are lit at night, it is really hard to tell. Afterwards I put the day and nighttime photos of each lantern side by side in a book, and I really like how it turned out. My husband and I are signed up to attend the photographers event at the festival on July 20th. From 7:30-10:30 that night, the attendance will be much more limited than on any other night. Plus we can bring our tripods in, which is not allowed at other times due to them being a tripping hazard in the dark. It should be great, and a number of my Women in Focus photography friends are coming that night as well.

Phoenix Reborn

Porcelain Elephants

Crane Paradise

Dandelions and Pandas

Lantern Way

At 5:30 on Sunday night the opening reception of "Stillness and Light", the second show of the Women in Focus photography group, was held at the art gallery located within the Webster Groves Christian Church. There was a pretty nice turnout, and once again I am in awe of the work that is produced by the women in this group. It is fun to see the diversity of photos that are taken, and to listen to the public's reaction to the shots. Radio63119 attended the event, and I was one of the people interviewed for an upcoming show. I am hoping at some point to be a guest on the station to discuss how to research the history of a home.

my three photos
inside the gallery

Friday, June 19, 2015

Buckeye Blues

buckeye tree
This morning we had a sense of deja vu. A little before 6:00 a.m. a crashing noise woke us up, eerily similar to Good Friday of this year. St. Louis has been inundated with rain for over a week, and we are in the backlash of Tropical Storm Bill right now. Today's victim was our old buckeye tree (aka horse chestnut). This tree was designated a Webster Groves Tree of Distinction several years ago as it is somewhat unique to this area, and because of its beautiful shape.

The buckeye tree is the one we were most concerned about when our neighbor began construction last year to cut in a new circular drive very near it. These old trees cannot handle the stress of having their roots cut. Additionally, he built a new porch this year, which brought heavy equipment onto the site. Both trees that have fallen this year were near the construction zone. Unfortunately, just like last time, the tree landed on a neighbor's car. Normally they don't park their car in that spot on the street, but as luck would have it, it was in the wrong place at the wrong time this morning.

Because of the size of the buckeye, the bed under it was all planted with shade-loving perennials. I am not sure how many were destroyed, but the remaining ones will need to be relocated quickly. If the rain ever stops.

The silver lining in all this, I guess, is that the police responded quickly to close the street. They also called the public works department, and the men removed what is blocking the street. Since that is most of the tree, that will be a huge cost savings for us. No power lines were pulled down, but a couple of neighbors are without their phone/Internet service right now.

It is never easy to lose a big, shade-providing tree in your yard. But this one was especially painful to see tumble.

buckeye blooming in May, 2015

"The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more."
   - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, June 15, 2015

Circus Flora - Under the Big Top

Circus Flora
Based in St. Louis since 1987, Circus Flora is a one-ring circus styled on the old Eastern European circuses. Set to live music, there are acrobatics, animal shows, jugglers, tumblers, magicians and clowns. The performances in St. Louis generally run from late May through the month of June. On Saturday, June 13th the circus opened its morning rehearsals to "Artists Under the Big Top". For the small fee of $10, visual artists could watch rehearsals and walk around the back lot of the circus. It was part fund-raiser for the circus, and an opportunity to spread the word about Circus Flora. I believe attendance was limited to 50 people, and I saw perhaps ten or twelve people who were drawing and/or painting. The rest of the group were photographers. Seven of us (plus one spouse) from the Women in Focus St. Louis (WIF) group took part in the event, and there was a large contingency from the St. Louis Camera Club as well. They were easy to detect with their tripods, huge lenses and multiple cameras. The tent was filled with the sounds of motor drives as the jugglers and tumblers rehearsed!

It was quite an experience, I must say. First of all, it was just interesting to be inside the big top with so few people around. It was fun to see a few of the acts rehearse, but to be able to step behind the big red tent was fascinating. I don't think many of us can understand what it is like to eat, sleep, breathe and live our jobs. But many of the performers do just that, setting up in small campers on the circus parking lot. It is like a small community there. And finally, I just enjoy being around other photographers. We all look at things differently, and I can learn so much from them. The WIF group went out to lunch afterwards, and it was nice to get to know the ladies a little better. Good times - both inside and outside - the big top!

standard horse

living quarters


miniature pony

Circus Flora clown

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Webster Groves Art & Air

Art & Air
Last weekend was the 12th anniversary of Art & Air, a Webster Groves Art Festival. Held on the open green space of Eden Theological Seminary, the festival features over 100 booths of juried artists from around the United States, live musical performances, and many hands-on activities for kids. And of course plenty to eat and drink. Jim and I usually walk up every year if we are in town. This year Women in Focus, the photography group that I belong to, was asked to take photographs documenting the event. My friend and I decided to go around 10:00 Saturday morning to beat the heat. It was nice to be able to photograph the booths without people in our way in the beginning, but then to be able to capture the musicians and children participating in the crafts once things got underway.

Speaking of my Women in Photography group, our President has set up a location for our second show. It will be at Webster Groves Christian Church from June 28th through August 2nd, with an opening reception on June 28th from 5:30-8:00. The theme is Stillness & Light, and I have not settled on my three pictures yet. This weekend several of us are photographing behind the scenes of Circus Flora. Perhaps something will come to me there.