How many times have you been out and about, sans camera, and unexpectedly spotted a photo worthy subject? This time I was lucky because, although I did not have my camera in hand, I was preparing to go to the park and had my camera packed in my car nearby when I spotted a moorhen in a neighborhood retention pond (my trusty Birds of Florida refers to the species as a 'common' moorhen…but, really, what's common about a little duck with an orange face and bright yellow beak?). So, I dashed back to my car and put on my long lens to get some shots of the aforementioned moorhen having a bath. And, that's when I realized she wasn't alone. She had a brood of three tucked in close to her while she splashed around. She must have sensed me nearby because she swam to the other side of the pond, and dispatched her little ones into the tall grass. Can you see them? Look directly above the mama moorhen's head…then to the right. 1…2…3! I love the orange splotches on their heads.
And, here's the other decorated bicycle that is on public display and is randomly moved from one location to another in downtown. The backstory with this one is interesting. The artist, who refers to himself as Dr. Nik Gapeto, said he begrudgingly was shopping at Walmart and saw a display of fake doves. He realized they were intended for shooting target practice. Being vehemently opposed to guns, he bought all 60 or so doves (calling them 'killing mechanisms') … and eventually came up with the idea for the peace Dove Bike. Surprisingly, I've never seen Dr. Nik in person -- just his creative bicycles. This shot was taken at Bayfront Park where it was locked up and on display. One of these days, when I spot him, I'll do my best to get a portrait. In the meantime, here's a video interview he did recently with one of our many local media outlets:
When I posted this portrait recently, I mentioned that I was photographing a flamingo bicycle and promised to share it. Tah dah! It's difficult not to notice something this bright, creative and unusual. (Although, from a photography standpoint it was a challenge to capture.) A local artist, who goes by the name Dr. Nik Gapeto and works at the Florida Studio Theatre in downtown, is the man behind it. (Oh, how I would love a photo of him riding this bicycle! Perhaps a directive needs to go out to the entire SDP staff to keep their eyes peeled and cameras ready.) I've heard Dr. Nik likes the idea of the Flamingo Bicycle getting people's creative juices flowing. It certainly is an unexpected sight. You never know where it will pop up in downtown. The first time I spotted it, it was chained outside Whole Foods. This time, it was two blocks away at Five Points. And, this isn't Dr. Nik's only art bike. We have another one on tap for tomorrow. Hope you have a terrific Saturday!
When I downloaded this photo, I wondered why I shot the dolphins from this angle, jumping away from me. Then, I remembered! I liked the clouds, the Ringling Bridge in the background (lower left hand corner) as well as the buildings on Golden Gate Point. It sure was a beautiful day at Bayfront Park last Saturday. The last time I photographed this fountain, I shot it from a different direction and submitted it for the CDP Theme Day --- back in February 2011. I can't believe it was three years ago! Check it out here. Which do you prefer?
I mentioned recently that we're seeing an uptick in construction projects in the area. And, this is the granddaddy of 'em all: a $315 million upscale mall, called University Town Center, which is getting a lot of attention. (Construction was supposed to start during the recession, but was postponed for years…then, the plans were modified to accommodate different anchor stores.) Last week, I noticed the Macy's sign was installed and lit up -- and the mall isn't scheduled to open for another five months (on my birthday, to be exact!). Today, Crate & Barrel announced it will be a tenant. Another big name -- Apple -- also is moving in, which will be nice for me because my drive time to an Apple store will be cut by one hour. Many people are concerned about the increased traffic the mall will generate. I live nearby and I'm not overly concerned. Yet. (You can't tell from this photo, but the mall is going to be quite large.) Others fear the new mall might prompt shoppers to abandon the retail stores in downtown Sarasota and St. Armands Circle. But, isn't a mall experience much different than being out and about in a bustling downtown? By the way, for those keeping track, this reportedly will be the only new mall to open in the U.S. in 2014.
I checked in on the sandhill crane family recently, and Baby had grown quite a bit within just two weeks. (You can see my first post here.) While I was there, Baby was testing its ginormous feet, walking around the nest and swimming to shore then back to the nest. Both parents were there, including this one who was taking housekeeping to a whole new level. I couldn't help but think this was the female, as I watched her diligently move branches, grass and piles of mud onto their island nest. She was very intent on maintaining that soggy home as best she could. It seems a mother's work is never done, whatever the species. The apparent father was standing guard nearby, most likely watching for predators. Check out the short video I shot to see what I mean.