Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a week since my last post…my, how times flies!
Occasionally I browse my collection of unexamined/unprocessed photos and see something that I’ve missed. These are rarely my favorite shots of that day. Often they are shots that I couldn’t get quite right – they were too dark, were a bit blurry, didn’t show enough detail, or I just didn’t find them interesting at that moment.
If I’m lucky, I see something later on and start playing around with the image. Maybe I capture more detail by shifting the brightness or contrast. Or perhaps I play with the colors and capture something I enjoy.
That’s what happened with this photo.
It was taken along Washington Avenue in late March. I went downtown because it was the night between the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight. For some reason, I expected to find a lot of people gallivanting around downtown, hitting the bars and nightclubs along Washington Avenue and watching basketball. I figured it was a prime people-watching opportunity.
Instead, I found somewhat empty streets and patios and instead turned my attention upward, looking at the Washington Avenue cityscape. Pretty soon, I found a steam vent and started shooting around it. A quick look down the street – and away from the steam – brought me this shot.
Sometimes you get fun shots when you least expect them!
While I was walking between my car and my setup for shots of the Pevely Building, I noticed a decent view of some of the warehouses between Chouteau and the railroad tracks that dissect St. Louis. One building in this area – the Steelcote Building – has always caught my eye when driving by. I suspect my intrigue with this structure is due to the various paintings that cover the brick. This intrigue not only includes the obvious graffiti on the building, but also lies in the weathered corporate logo and sign for Steelcote Manufacturing still perched on the highest reaches of the structure.
A quick shot followed by some Photoshop manipulation…and voila!
One of my favorite hallmarks of city life is the array of neon signs that dot the built environment. Well done signs can serve not only as advertisements for a business, but become neighborhood icons.
There are a number of signs that have become hallmarks to the places I’ve lived and loved. For me, nothing evokes a part of Chicago like the Double Door sign that hangs over Milwaukee Avenue. Likewise, few items capture the whimsy of State Street in Madison, WI like the Badger Liquors sign that guards the intersection of State and Gorham.
St. Louis is blessed to have its share of neon. You may have already seen my ode to The Royale and their beautiful, purple sign that brightens an otherwise dark stretch of Kingshighway. However, there are a number of other great neon signs found throughout the city.
One that I always enjoy seeing is the sign from the Gelateria del Leone on South Grand. It’s not big and certainly doesn’t stand out like others signs throughout town. However, it has an understated beauty, a glow that welcomes you to the many shops, restaurants and bars of this area. Here’s a couple of shots of that sign from a recent Sunday night stroll through the neighborhood.
Sometimes you just have to take a moment, catch your breath, and enjoy the world around you.
That sentiment captures the purpose of this site. It’s a place to celebrate the everyday beauty we have around us in the places we live, the drives we take, and the sites we have the privilege to visit.
Over the past week, I’ve taken a few of those moments to live. As the extreme heatwave of late June/early July finally broke and we reached a more manageable set of highs in the mid-90s, I took the time to enjoy Tower Grove Park. Nightly walks through the park with my wife allowed us to get some fresh air. This morning we were able to take our time as we strolled through the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market, enjoying the watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, beans, and other fresh, seasonal produce that has popped up over the past several weeks. And though it was short, we had a few moments to stop by Food Truck Friday and sample some cupcakes.
I believe that Tower Grove Park is one of the underrated treasures of St. Louis. Growing up outside of St. Louis, I knew of and visited Forest Park. We checked out all the big-ticket amenities such as the Zoo, Art Museum, and Science Center. We even visited the Missouri Botanical Garden. Yet we never made it into the heart of Tower Grove Park, which is unfortunate.
For me, the beauty of Tower Grove Park is found in way that people use the park. It feels like a big neighborhood front yard, a place where you can stroll along the gently curving roads, admire the beauty of the pavilions throughout the park, and can have fun people watching as they play kickball, softball, corkball, picnic, or sit and watch the ducks.
As you’re getting out and enjoying the weather, enjoy this photo of the Tower Grove Park bandstand, framed by a June moon.
Spent a bit of time during the most recent full moon (which was on July 3rd) at the top of the Compton Hill Water Tower in South St. Louis. Here’s one of the images I captured that night as the sun was setting over the city.
Have you spent a Saturday morning at Tower Grove Farmer’s Market? If so, then you’ve likely seen the intriguing cart that the nearby Gelateria del Leone (which doubles as one of my favorite coffee shops in St. Louis) is bringing to the market this year. Here’s a view of their cart from a recent Saturday morning during a quiet moment between customers.
Where should we go tonight? In my younger days when carousing was the norm, this was perhaps the most important question one could ask. My friends and I would rotate amongst a fairly standard set of small watering holes in Iowa City, often camping out at The Mill, The Foxhead, and George’s for the evening.
I haven’t developed a standard rotation of watering holes now that I’ve moved to St. Louis, mainly because I’ve moved beyond my carousing days. However, if I was to develop a list of regular haunts, The Royale would have to be near the top of that list. It’s a great neighborhood pub in the heart of South City, a place with unexpectedly good food that also has a worthwhile beer list.
One of my favorite aspects to this bar, however, is it’s wonderful neon sign. Facing Kingshighway, the sign is a welcoming beacon on an otherwise desolate stretch of the road populated by big box stores and parking lots. It’s one of those place-making landmarks, a feature that adds intrigue to the neighborhood.
On a long summer evening, I stopped by during a photographic tour of the area around Tower Grove Park. Here’s a couple of photos showcasing this great bar & their amazing neon sign.