Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pic Today 5/26/11


Daily blog temporarily on hold
while on assignment in Bogotá.

Returning June 4.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pic Today 5/25/11


I'm taking a "blog break",
traveling to Bogotá, Colombia, to cover the

What's a barista, you ask?
(If you love coffee, chances are you know the answer.)

A barista makes your coffee drink,
be it an espresso, a cappuccino, a latté or something special.
But most importantly,
a barista makes your coffee perfectly, with great care.

There are competitions world wide to judge the best baristas . . .
in cities, then regions, and finally in each country.
Each country sends their best barista then to the
World Barista Championship!

. . . which is about to be held in Bogotá,
in a world class coffee country -- Colombia.

Where ever you live, whatever the country,
your very best barista will be traveling to Bogotá this week
to compete for this prestigious honor.
And I'll be covering this event which determines
the World Champion Barista.

No laptop, no daily blog, no daily photos.
But lots when I return (June 4).


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pic Today 5/24/11


Destructive storms continue to tear through Missouri,
including one single tornado that has killed 116 people,
injured over 500 and leveled the center of Joplin, Mo.

The massive tornado that struck Joplin
was nearly one mile wide, and took a path 6 miles long
through this southwestern Missouri city . . .
with winds of 200 miles per hour.
It is the single most destructive tornado on record
in the United States since 1947.

Homes and property were completely leveled,
including St. John's Hospital, with property and records
reportedly found 60 miles from Joplin.
Severe weather has continued to plague the state,
with tornado warnings issued for tomorrow,
in the same devastated areas of Missouri.

The southern half of our state reports massive storms today,
including high winds, large hail and loss of trees & property.
This Spring season has over 1,000 tornados
recorded throughout Missouri.
(That sets an unfortunate record!)

Our hearts and prayers go out to families who
have lost their homes and loved ones.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pic Today 5/23/11


It's the un-planned, spontaneous moments
that make wedding photography fun.

Some fun moments from this past weekend's
wedding celebration and festivities . . .
featuring the groom and his colorful groomsmen . . .

(This should be a fun wedding album to assemble.)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pic Today 5/22/11


What a pleasure to take photos
of the wedding party yesterday . . .
a dress maker/fabric designer marrying
a mathematician and musician
from Buenos Aries, Argentina.

She made all the dresses, designed the jewelry,
and planned every detail.
He brought the music and friends and celebration.

What a wonderful expression of passion,
creativity and love.
These are the weddings and people I love to photograph.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pic Today 5/21/11


Not since 1998
have we heard from our friends,
the cicadas.

Having spent the last 13 years in the ground,
Missouri's periodic cicadas are emerging this weekend
throughout the state (and most of the Midwest U.S.)

As the brood emerges, as many as 1-million noisy male cicadas
can gather in trees over a single acre (that's a lot!)
and join in an ear-splitting chorus of mating calls.
Their combined voices create an unforgettable noise,
drowning out lawn mowers and
making normal conversations impossible.

They last only 2 weeks, giving them enough time
to mate, get eggs laid and buried for the next 13 year brood,
and then die. Except for the racket,
cicadas are harmless, and don't bite or eat vegetation.

(And for those of you who've survived today's
predicted apocalypse, have a nice weekend!)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pic Today 5/20/11


There was a time
when kids took turns
playing cowboys & indians . . .
with spurs and war paint,
bows with rubber arrows,
and holsters with cap guns
that shot straight and true.

We took turns being good guys and bad guys,
such innocent fun . . .
and what a thrill if we had boots and a hat,
or a holster with bullets
that said Buffalo Bill.

Those toys and relics, like these,
remind us when our backyards became
the wild west and "injuns" were behind every rock.

These keepsakes remind us of the 40s and 50s
when Buffalo Bill was in every hometown,
keeping law and order.

"Draw pardner."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pic Today 5/19/11

PSSSST . . .

During Prohibition in America (1920-1933),
speakeasies were underground clubs and bars where you could
find entertainment and purchase alcoholic beverages.
During Prohibition, it was illegal to manufacture,
sell, transport or buy beer, liquor or wine.

These clubs had secret, unmarked entrances
and were usually in back alleys and required
a password to be whispered (or spoken easy) at the door.

Now there's a speakeasy in downtown St. Louis,
in the renovated Thaxton Building, 1009 Olive Street,
formerly the Eastman Kodak building and camera store . . .
although you'll have to go around back,
to the alley entrance (seriously!),
and whisper the weekend password to the doorman.
The password changes each week (on their website)
and it gets you in, and a reduced cover charge.

Once inside, you'll be treated to this incredibly restored
3-story club in all its Art Deco splendor.
The only difference (from its 1928 origins) is
drinks and cocktails are now legal.

The Thaxton Speakeasy is open only on weekends,
9:00pm - 1:30am. Entrance in the alley.
This weekend's password = WHOOPEE.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pic Today 5/18/11


The little known Shrine of St. Joseph church,
built in 1844 at the corner of 11th Street & Biddle,
was founded by Austrian Jesuits in north St. Louis
for the rapidly expanding German immigrant community.

This beautiful old church is site of the only
Vatican authenticated miracle in the Midwest (1864)
and still home to the Altar of Answered Prayers
when "not one parishioner" died during
a cholera epidemic in the surrounding neighborhood
which averaged 20 burials a day (1866-67).

A dying parishioner, Peter Claver, came to the church
in his final hours in March of 1864,
and was allowed to kiss a sacred relic . . .
when he immediately experienced a resurgence of strength.
Within days, he was able to return to work
and was restored to full health months later.
This miracle was formally declared authentic
by Cardinal Bianchi, in Rome in 1887.

Visitors from around the world
come visit this beautiful church and altar
to ask for their prayers to be answered.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pic Today 5/17/11


Nothing heralds the arrival of Spring
quite as deliciously as fresh garden asparagus.
And now is the time to buy and enjoy
these succulent homegrown sprouts.

Asparagus is best prepared and served quickly when picked,
as this vegetable deteriorates quickly and loses its peak flavor,
and its stalks toughen up after 48 hours of harvest.
Fresh asparagus is rich in potassium, folate and anti-oxidants,
important nutrients for pregnant women.

Germany has bestowed the title "royal vegetable" on asparagus,
and it is often grown "white" there for additional sweetness,
as it is cultivated covered in the soil, to prevent greening.
Asparagus was also a revered vegetable in ancient Rome.

Try grilling asparagus spears on the "barby" -- rub with
olive oil, turn and char lightly -- then cover with parmesan cheese.
A yummy way to celebrate Spring!

(And we don't even care if it makes our pee smelly!)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pic Today 5/16/11


In the digital age of iPods, CDs and MP3 players,
there's a media from yesteryear that's brings back
the sounds and memories from earlier decades . . .
but you'll need a record player!

In most cities, there's a resurgence of vintage vinyl stores
(like St. Louis' own Vintage Vinyl shop)
where collectors can sell, trade and buy
record albums from the past 60 years.
Some are very collectible and rare (expensive),
but most are very affordable and less expensive than CDs.
The quality and condition are surprisingly high.

The biggest advantage of record albums (LPs)
is the artwork, photography and information
included on the front and backs of the cover.

Vintage vinyl is seriously worth a "second listen."
(Vintage music stores are also a great source
of local concert and band information, too.)