St. Louis - Day 1

Friday, October 30, 2009
My friend Patrick wanted to go to St. Louis to catch Bruce Springsteen in concert. I had never been to St. Louis, so I agreed to tag along.

After a quick two hour flight, we landed on a slightly rainy Friday afternoon. We started off by wandering an older part of town known as "The Loop".

After a quick dinner of some incredible Syrian cuisine (including the best falafel I've ever had) at Ranoush, we wandered over to Powell Hall to catch a St. Louis Symphony performance. The concert included Ives' The Unanswered Question and Barber's Adagio for Strings, which were oddly played without pause between the two. I guess that's how he answered Ives' question.

After the Ives was a world premiere of a piece called Freedom's Plow by composer Rollo Dilworth. It was written for large orchestra, chorus and gospel choir, and was quite enjoyable. Probably the most memorable premiere I've ever heard. Sadly I think it would be lost on most Utah audiences - most people here think of the Mo-Tab when they hear "gospel choir".

The concert ended with Sir Michael Tippet's A Child of Our Time which is an interesting work for large orchestra and chorus. It's about the events that instigated The Night of Broken Glass during World War II. It's not performed very often (this was only the second time the SLSO had played it - the previous performance almost 40 years earlier), and I don't believe it's ever been performed in Utah. While it's a bit long and drags in a few places, I still find it a very rewarding listen and was glad to have caught it.

Powell Hall is a nice concert hall - much more old-fashioned feeling than Abravanel Hall.

The inside of the hall was neat too. Unfortunately I only got one shot before some lady notified me that I couldn't take any photography while there were people on stage (even the people removing the chairs), and that I'd be booted out as soon as the stage was clear anyway. She seemed pretty smug with herself and her "authority" - the type of person who would love to be Hall Monitor back in junior high school.

Despite it being cold and windy, we wandered around a bit more in the theater district to see what was going on. There were some neat churches which I really needed a tripod and a wider lens to photograph. I would go through and fix the barrel distortion but I don't really care right now.

Finally we made our way down to the famous Gateway Arch. I REALLY needed a tripod and a wider lens here - I really underestimated the size of this arch. I was expecting it to be fairly boring, but I was really overwhelmed with the whole thing. It's much larger than you would expect, and the reflective material on the outside really gives it some interesting colors.

Here I tried to shoot a 1/3 sec exposure by hand. The number one rule of photography is to never try to shoot a 1/3 second exposure by hand.

This is the bridge that links St. Louis in Missouri with East St. Louis in Illinois. I actually liked my underexposed shot more than my properly exposed one, so you get this.

The rest of the photos from this day can be found here.