31 October 2011

Monday Mystery..

Where in St. Louis am I?



This should be obvious to any native St. Louisan this week.  But, I'm more asking "what street am I on, and what event is happening?"  The sun poked out and lit the Arch perfectly for a brief moment....just long enough for me to switch lenses and snatch it.  Please forgive the lousy crop and lack of post-editing.  Future photos, for awhile, look better.  Happy Halloween, by the way!!

Oh, and the last Monday Mystery photo was taken out in Chesterfield, by the airport, at Rombach Farms...a neat local pumpkin patch.

30 October 2011

Mums, Mums, Everywhere...


These huge mums were for sale outside the Kirkwood Farmer's Market.

Today, we will be going down to the parade celebrating the Cardinals championship.  We cancelled our leaf-peeping tour...again...because some things are just more important.  Our rationale:  Leaves turn colors every year.  The home team isn't in the World Series every year.  Once again.....Go Cards!!

28 October 2011

Well Well Well..

I live in baseball heaven, so if you'll indulge me this once, I am posting something that has nothing to do with St. Louis......except the tv backdrop of our Cardinals winning the World Series tonight. 


We dragged the kids upstairs to watch the 9th inning so they could remember seeing a World Series winner and where they were.  I don't know about you, but I wish my dad had taken a picture of me in 1982 when I was about this age.  Of course, he had no idea I'd grow up to be a Cardinal fan.

Future Jack-o-Lanterns?


Pile of pumpkins ready for carving at the Kirkwood Farmer's Market.

27 October 2011

Farmer's Market..


Kirkwood Farmer's Market has lots of goodies for sale most days during the growing season.  Here we have apples bagged...perfect for autumn themes.  Halloween is this week.  Expect to see a lot images fitting into this genre coming up....

26 October 2011

Near Peak in the STL..

The leaves are turning now.  To me, this is really, really close to what I call "peak" color change.  I like vibrant colors, but there are two sides.  One is when most of the unchanged leaves are still green.  The other is when the unchanged leaves are on the ground.  I don't like bare trees at all.  So, I try and time the peak color change more towards what you see here....the leaves that haven't changed are still on the trees.


This view, surprisingly, is looking north along Hwy 141.  The overpass in the distance is Hwy 30 (Gravois).  I had just passed Gravois Bluffs shopping center and this ridge of trees caught my eye at a red light.  I shot this through the windshield.  Sometimes it's good to be the first one in line.

25 October 2011

Temperate Courtyard

I definitely need to get out and shoot again soon.  Been swamped with work as leaves begin to fall.


The Temperate House is located just behind The Climatron.  I had never been inside before, but it's definitely worth a look.  This newer house replaced the old 1913 built Mediterranean House, which gives away the purpose of the indoor facility.  Pictured is the central courtyard.  Another dominating feature inside is the old portico of St. Leo's churh/school in St. Louis.  The portico was designed by George I. Barnett, a local 19th century architect.  Barnett also designed several other buildings for Henry Shaw's gardens. 

This area of Missouri Botanical Gardens is climate controlled to mimic the environments of the Mediterranean, Southern California, Central Chile, etc, around the world.  Cool, moist winters and warm, dry summers are the main weather features of these areas of the world.  Temperatures rarely drop below 40 degrees, and rarely rise above 90 degrees.  Heck, I ought to move in and set up camp.  Can't go wrong with that kind of weather, huh?

24 October 2011

The Monday Mystery..

Where in St. Louis am I?


Yes, last Monday was the Jewel Box in Forest Park.  It's a rather obvious landmark in St. Louis, but I figured I'd go easy on people since some of these next ones may get tough.  Anywhoo, the pic above shows my favorite photo of a "full moon."  Happy Halloween on Sunday, all!

23 October 2011

Water Lily..


The more I learn to shoot flowers, the more I love water lillies.  They are so simple.  And, I'm finding I am more of a "minimalist" photographer.  Sure, I love sports and action shots, but ultra-simple photography really appeals to me for some reason.

This lily was sitting in front of The Climatron in the reflecting pools.  There are also water lillies in Tower Grove Park, Compton Hill Resevoir (click link for former blog link with location and map), Forest Park, and other places around the city.  (Image shot at f/7.1 @ 1/1000th)

22 October 2011

Ottoman Flower..


I was fascinated by the water droplets still on the petals here.  I have tried to capture this type of thing before without much luck.  These flowers were very pretty even though they were only about 6-8 inches high.  I probably looked like an idiot lying down in the dirt to get the angle, but I didn't much care about what others thought.  I wish I could have avoided the greenery on the left cutting into the flower, but this was by far the prettiest flower in the bunch.  Oh well.  (Image shot at f/5.6 @ 1/640th)

21 October 2011

The Ottomans Represented..

Back to Missouri Botanical Gardens for a bit.  This Ottoman Garden was pretty neat.  Central water feature, throne area in the back under the pergola/arbor, and lots of great plantings surrounding the walkways.


This is an interestingly simple garden for St. Louis to pull off because our latitude is almost the same with Turkey (40 degrees north).  The garden is modeled after 16th to 19th century Turkish gardens.  This Ottoman Garden is the first of it's kind anywhere in the United States.

20 October 2011

Is This How You Wear a Hat?

Autism Walk street performer entertaining the kids while the kids waited in line for rides.  This guy juggled, did that new-fangled yo-yo thing, and balanced things on his chin and nose.  He was pretty good as far as walk-up street performers go.

19 October 2011

World Series baseball..

Yup, here we are.  Against all odds.  No one predicted this, not even the hometown crazies that act like Chicago Cubs' fans.  But, here we sit on the morning of Game 1.  Good luck, Cardinals.  Let's get loosened up...


Seriously, I couldn't put my knee on my nose if this guy helped me.  And, if he tried, I'd likely lift my other leg rather sharply to teach him a lesson.

18 October 2011

We Walk for Autism..


My middle son has autism, and each year we walk at the Forest Park fundraising event for Autism Speaks.  This crowd grows every year.  Just look at all the people...and we were in the middle, not the back.


This is our group.  It, also, grows by the year.  We combined with another family this year.  The two boys on the spectrum are in the front and on the right.  My boy is the second from the right.  We had a great time this year.  The weather was perfect and the kids had fun.

17 October 2011

Monday Mystery..

Where in St. Louis am I?


Yes, last week's mystery photo was from Grant's Farm.  Crossing the covered bridge into the park, you will find a creepy monster greeting you as you wait for the trams.  The Halloween decorations and fun get better at Grant's Farm every fall.  Acrobat shows, haunted cabins, and dancing with a DJ in the courtyard are some of the side-events happening this year.  Take the kids...and dress them up, too....for a great family time!

16 October 2011

Sunday is GameDay!!

Well, not football.......baseball.  Win one tonight and the Cardinals send themselves to the World Series.  Fingers crossed!


Albert Pujols will need to be a big factor tonight if the Cardinals plan to win their game.  Sure, he's great defensively, but we need a large game from his bat......he's due for another by the way.  Let's hope some guys get on base ahead of him tonight.

15 October 2011

My Little Buddy..

Walking around the Missouri Botanical Gardens and this little wren popped out of the weeds to greet me.  I couldn't resist taking some pictures of him as he flitted about looking for insects in the pond.





She looks like a Marsh Wren to me, a bird I've never seen in real life.  However, when posted on a photo forum I frequent, some of the experienced birders told me she was another kind of wren I'd never heard of before.  I can't remember the name, but they said it was a pretty rare species.

14 October 2011

Back to Missouri Botanical..


If you remember back to the View from the Observatory post, you remember there were some Victorian Gardens near Henry Shaw's Tower Grove House.  This is a sample of what you will find.  Although, this curved design was at the base of the observatory, it's very similar to what you will find in the Victorian Gardens nearer the house.  The lighting was pretty poor over that way since the sun was shining directly on some bright flowers...making proper exposure difficult at best.  Enjoy this well-manicured design.  In the Missouri Botancial Gardens, perfect gardens like this are all around you.  What a place to visit!

13 October 2011

Playoff Baseball!


Saved a couple photos for Cardinal Baseball since our boys are back in town entertaining the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS (winner going to World Series).  Here is a view from the greatest seats I've sat in.  10 rows back and just off home plate down the 1st base side....very near the Cardinals' dugout.  Go Cardinals!!

12 October 2011

St. Louis Fall Color


Brilliant fall color is starting to show up around St. Louis, Missouri this week.  Pictured here, the Kirkwood Baptist Church near the corner of Woodlawn and Adams Ave. (also Lockwood Blvd in Webster Groves).  Although this site was not acquired by the congregation until 1947, the Kirkwood Baptist Church can trace it's roots all the way back to a meeting between two reverends in July of 1870 in Kirkwood, MO.

11 October 2011

Local pumpkin patch..


At the intersection of Berry Rd. and Lockwood Ave. you will find a local Webster Groves pumpkin patch.  If you haven't grabbed your pumpkins for the season, now's the time.

10 October 2011

The Monday Mystery..

The Monday Mystery.  Where in St. Louis am I?


Last week's shot was in Lafayette Park in the center of the Lafayette Square neighborhood.  This is literally the only statue of George Washington in St. Louis.  It is also one of only 5 copies of the Houdon original scattered around the country.

09 October 2011

Autumn is on it's way..


Fall is coming quickly!  This hickory tree is usually the first to change color on my street.  It literally went to peak form in 2 days this week.  We woke up, and BOOM.....fall is here.  Over the next few weeks I plan to focus on leaves changing colors within a day's drive of St. Louis, MO.

08 October 2011

City Garden downtown..


The St. Louis City Garden is a relatively new patch of greenery in the center of downtown.  Accompanied by 24 sculptures, the garden is full of flora and fauna, a true oasis in the concrete jungle that is urban St. Louis. 

The City Garden charges no admission.  Bring sandals or swimsuits in the summertime because there is a large fountain in the middle of the park that kids love to play in.

07 October 2011

Providence Fest, or Ocktoberfest this year, is a parish-wide festival in Crestwood, MO.  We are in south St. Louis County about 20 minutes away from downtown (see map location at bottom of this post).  This is a brief recap of last year's events.  Come and see us Saturday!


Good music.

Good rides and kids' games.


And, good eats!!



Picking pumpkins just across the river in Millstadt, Illinois.  Eckert's is a local supplier of apples, peaches, pumpkins, and other miscellaneous produce.  The farm allows people to come and pick the fruits and vegetables when they are in season.  The three people on the right are my kids and wife, minus a boy not pictured.  The two on the left are neighbors (literally, just up the street) we coincidentally ran into at the farm....a half hour's drive from our houses.  And, you can see the St. Louis skyline in the background on a gorgeous fall day.

06 October 2011

Linnean House at Missouri Botanical Gardens

The Linnean House in St. Louis, Missouri is the oldest continuously operating greenhouse west of the Mississippi River.  It is also the only remaining greenhouse in the Missouri Botanical Garden property built during Henry Shaw's lifetime.  The Linnean House was built in 1882; Shaw, the garden's founder, died in 1890.

The greenhouse was originally built to overwinter citrus trees and bushes, but today houses many subtropical cacti and camellias.  Camellias steal the show in late winter with their blooms, and several of these plants in the Linnean House date back to the 1930s and 1940s.

The greenhouse was named in honor of Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern nomenclature or "the father of taxonomy."  The Linnean House has been through several renovations before arriving full-circle at it's original design and purpose.  The house has also endured a major hailstorm in 1927, which spurred one of the renovations.



This photo is done with an almost HDR processing "look" to overcome the horrible skies with which I had to deal last week.  I like how it turned out.  Please comment with your opinion, too, as I may dabble a bit more with this technique in the future.

05 October 2011

Shaw's Roses

A couple of pictures from Missouri Botanical Gardens.  A walk from Tower Grove House to the Climatron will yield a stroll for rose lovers.  Stop and smell them.  It is said roses can calm anxiety like lavendar and echinacea.




04 October 2011

Let's Take a Walk..

Let's meander around the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, MO, shall we?  I ran out there last week.  I try and get out there once per season to see all the beautiful plants evolve through the seasons.

For today, let me give you the view from atop the observatory near Tower Grove House..


Henry Shaw lived in this "country home" on the left as he built his gardens.  The building on the right is the research library.  You can also see the Victorian Garden between the house and library.  The garden was opened to the public in 1859 at no charge.  Several years later, Shaw had this observatory built for the public to offer a better view of the land.  Apparetly, Shaw grew tired of the patrons' requests to climb the tower in HIS house to view the gardens from several stories up.  Can't say I blame him, either.

03 October 2011

02 October 2011

Detailed Architecture in Compton Heights

This will likely wrap up our brief dip into Compton Heights Neighborhood for awhile.  But, since you've seen some of the pretty houses, I wanted you to also notice the attention to detail 100 years ago...so different from the pre-fabbed homes we live in today.  It bothers me that so many neighborhoods are so sterile and void of any personality; neighborhoods in which the only difference is the color of paint the owner slaps on the siding.  Compton Heights is very much the opposite of today's boring homes.


This Hawthorne house was likely built only a couple of years past the turn of the 20th century.  The window and eave details blew my mind.


Here is a closer view of the detailed architecture.  Below is a house designed by William H. Gruen in 1908.



Look at the balusters around the front entryway and the plaquards above the front door.  Even the concrete trim surrounding the windows and edges of the house aren't done these days.

This last house was designed in 1903 by Ernst Janssen at 3263 Hawthorne.  You may notice the German in the architects' names.  Most of the architects, contractors, and original residents were first or second-generation German-Americans.  Janssen, himself, designed over fourteen homes in The Heights neighborhood.



Thanks for sharing this tour of Compton Heights with me.  It was fun to discover. 

Tomorrow, we dive into another "Mystery Monday."  Where will I be?

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01 October 2011

Compton Heights continued..

As posted before, the Compton Heights Neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri is one of the oldest, planned residential areas in the city dating back to 1889.  However, this neighborhood was not a smashing success overnight.  It had plenty of adversity to fight through before it became a popular area in which to live.



Investors like Adolphus Busch, James B. Eads (namesake of the Eads Bridge crossing the Mississippi River downtown), Governor Thomas C. Fletcher, and a famous surveyor Julius Pitzman (who was responsible for laying out most of the city's private streets) worried about the slower than planned development of the subdivision.  The lots were expensive, plenty of property was available nearby in Tyler Place, complaints about summer water pressure, and aggressive competition from new private streets in the suddenly fashionable Central West End, all coupled with an economic depression in 1893.  This caused several of the investors to buy back their lots.  By 1894, confidence had been restored only to have a devastating tornado rip through Compton Heights in May of 1896.  This tornado was famous for also destroying Lafayette Square and Soulard causing a downward shift in popularity at Lafayette Park, then the city's favorite and most glamorous.



The Great Depression hurt the neighborhood yet again when a small number of houses on Hawthorne and Longfellow were abandoned.  Despite the abandonments, very few homes in The Heights were demolished.  Other neighboring streets suffered more severe fates at the hands of bulldozers.  This instability in the immediate area served to only erode the neighborhood further.



The low point of the area was in the early 1970s when $25,000 would buy about any house pictured.  However, thanks to a resurgence in city living, by 2002 these same homes were selling for well over 10 times the 1970s prices.  A success story indeed.



Compton Heights is an entire neighborhood I never knew existed before a couple of weeks ago.  There are so many hidden pieces of history around this city.

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