June 30, 2010

Watery Wednesday: No Oil

This 11-year-old boy was visiting S. Lido Park beach with his family from Bradenton, just north of Sarasota.  He was absolutely captivated with this seashell.   As it turns out, a large crab was living inside it.  His mother told me he loves seashells and spends most of the time at the beach searching for them.  Once he discovered this shell was someone's home, he gently placed it back in the bay, which is still oil free.  To see more Watery Wednesday captures from around the world click here.

June 29, 2010

Smiles Everyone!

Someone has been having fun drawing faces in the condensation on this particular window every morning for the past week.  Each drawing was a variation of a happy, smiley face -- until this one.   Perhaps the artist was feeling a bit drowsy knowing the rest of the work week was ahead.  By the way, the reflection which the stick figure appears to be gazing at, is City Hall.

June 28, 2010

Birder's Paradise

I had to run an errand on the other side of town and encountered this wonderful amalgamation of feathered creatures -- roseate spoonbills, mallard ducks and cattle egrets -- all hanging out together at a retention pond.  I just love those spoonbills!   What a great sight -- and one of the many reasons why I live in SRQ.

June 27, 2010

Mind the Signage

Slow speed.  Or no speed.  It's all good on a Sunday on Sarasota Bay.

June 26, 2010

Ringling Art

This is a piece of unnamed art on display in a vacant lot adjacent to the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota.  An abandoned gas station used to be on the lot.   The school purchased the property, razed the structure and now allows art installations by students.  There are about a half a dozen interesting displays on the lot, which sits along a major roadway, so they have a large audience.  Ringling is a prestigious art school and many graduates from the animation program end up working for Pixar on cool films like "Toy Story".  

June 25, 2010

Cat Tale

Sometimes the story behind the photo is as interesting as the picture itself -- or more so.  Driving home from work last night, I stopped at Rosemary Court to snap a few shots.  (After posting this photo recently, a few kind souls requested more pics of the area.)  The sunlight was conducive so I set out, Canon in hand, clickety-clacking along the worn brick pathway. Trying to capture the sunshine glimmering on some nearby azaleas, I crouched low then shimmied near a concrete wall.  That's when I heard the rustling of a thick black snake slithering over dried leaves and grass about three inches from me.   Since I was almost at eye level with it, I got a really good (albeit quick) look.  And,  being the non-reptile loving person that I am, I nearly tumbled out of my Etienne Aigner sling backs leaping to my feet.  Spinning around, I found myself face to face with a yellow-eyed black cat which had materialized from the shadows of a palm tree and desperately wanted to make friends in the 90 degree heat.  What could I do...but memorialize the moment (especially when the feline flopped down and posed for me).  Turns out this one (unnamed) is the friendliest of the three black cats which have called Rosemary Court home for quite some time.  The groundskeeper says the snakes (yes, plural!) appeared recently.  Duly noted for my next photo shoot there.

June 24, 2010

Squeeze Play

Despite a pending lawsuit by a concerned citizens group, a $32 million renovation project is underway at Ed Smith Stadium, the new spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles Major League Baseball team.  The same group requested an injunction last week to stop the project.  While a Sarasota County judge was considering the injunction, a contractor simultaneously was erecting a construction fence -- just in case the ruling was favorable for the construction to go on as planned.  As soon as the injunction was denied, crews started the demolition.  But, wait!  That's not the end of the baseball stadium saga which now is in its fifth year.  A trial gets underway next week in which the same concerned citizens group accuses local elected officials of making deals with the Orioles in the shadows.  Will the renovation be allowed to continue?  Stay tuned!  

June 23, 2010

Watery Wednesday: Stop! Thief!

I didn't actually see this seagull swipe the slice of apple protruding from its beak.  But, the way it's standing so proudly displaying its prize I can't help but wonder if the bird waited for those swimmers to wade into the Gulf of Mexico, then made its move --- snatched their apple and strutted down the beach mocking them.  Whatever happened, it occurred in an oil free zone.  As you can see, Siesta Key beach is still oil free -- as are all the beaches in Sarasota.  To see more Watery Wednesday photos from participants around the world click here.

June 22, 2010

Speed Racer

This young man zoomed right by me in a blur at the BMX track in Sarasota.  So, I was thrilled to discover that, as luck would have it, I captured him --- in frame and in focus.  He and lots of other boys (and one or two girls) were zipping around the practice course in the heat of the early evening.  I'm never sure when they're going to be on the course, so when I'm driving in the vicinity I just look for bicycles flying through the air.  I can't wait to make it out there for an actual race.

June 21, 2010

Ringling Run

When the temperature dips into the high 80's, there's cloud cover and a breeze, expect to see plenty of folks on the Ringling Bridge enjoying a run, walk, bike ride or even roller blading.  The bridge is one mile long and spans Sarasota Bay.  It's a beautiful view --- and a great workout.

June 20, 2010

Save Our Seabirds

If you love wildlife, particularly birds, you should know about a non-profit organization in Sarasota called Save Our Seabirds.   They have a rehabilitation center and hospital where trained volunteers do amazing work.  The facility is open to the public, and that's where I saw this Sandhill Crane yesterday.   Its leg was injured, and the rescue team worked with a prosthesis designer to fit it with an artificial limb.   He looked like he was getting around quite well with it.  There are a couple other Sandhill Cranes at the rehab center with prostheses.  You can read all about the Sandhill Crane prosthesis project in this interesting article.  It's so heartwarming to know there are people doing such incredible volunteer work. 

June 19, 2010

Glowing Moss

This is another photo from my neighborhood.  While taking a walk, I was a bit disappointed that nothing was really striking my interest to photograph.  Then, I rounded a corner and saw this. Golden light like this should spike any photographer's heart rate! It was gone in less than a minute.  But, that golden moment was something else.   

June 18, 2010

Kiss Goodbye -- For Now

It's not everyday you see a group of truck drivers milling around a flat bed with a statue of a sailor on his side smooching a nurse! Yesterday was a big day in Sarasota.  "Unconditional Surrender", a 25 foot statue along the bayfront, was taken down temporarily to undergo maintenance.  One of my first posts was about the statue, which was modeled after Alfred Jorgensen's V-J Day photo of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square.  A local man bought it for $500,000 and wanted to donate it to the city with the stipulation that it must remain in public view on the bayfront ---- and that's when the controversy erupted in this arts community.  Is "Unconditional Surrender" art?  Everyone (it seems) weighed in, including the City Commission which was split 3-2 to accept the gift (with certain conditions attached).   It so happens the statue was disassembled right around the time when the community was waiting to hear if the legal requirements had been met and whether the statue would remain.  So, a few people were shocked and despondent when they saw a crane removing it.   Fear not!  It's taking a 1,100 mile road trip up to New Jersey where it will be refurbished and then returned to its permanent home on the bayfront in Sarasota.  Imagine the looks the driver is going to get truckin' around with that load!

June 17, 2010

No Fishing...In Dirt?

Typically, this dry cracked dirt is a retention pond in my neighborhood teeming with all kinds of nature's creatures, like turtles, birds and fish.  (Thus, the No Fishing sign.)  The lack of rain coupled with the extreme heat has dried it up over the past several months.  Florida, actually, has been in a drought for years.  The rainy season should start within the next couple of weeks.  So, here's to plenty of rainfall -- without flooding or severe storms!

June 16, 2010

Watery Wednesday: No Oil

This little boy was so cute staring at the water lapping ashore on Siesta Key Beach and trying to decide if he should dip his purple bucket in the Gulf of Mexico.  Sarasota beaches are still oil free, thankfully.  The Parks Department is reporting that more people are enjoying the beaches here this year than last.  The bump could be the result of stay-cationers (Floridians staying in Florida for vacation) or it could be people who planned trips to Louisiana, Alabama and the Panhandle who are now coming here.  Check out more Watery Wednesday images here.

June 15, 2010

Porthole to Supplies

Driving home through downtown last night, I encountered this sight.  It wasn't just the porthole on the second floor of an office/retail building that caught my attention.  As I sat at the stop sign looking up, I couldn't help but conduct a quick office supply inventory: mailing envelopes (check), binders (check), copy paper (check) --- even paper plates (enough for a staff luncheon).  It seems like an unusual way to use this unique space, especially because the window overlooks a pretty tree lined street.  

June 14, 2010

Take Five

When skateboarding in the 90 degree heat and humidity it's important to take the occasional five minute break to rehydrate and check out what everyone else is doing at the Skate Park.

June 13, 2010

Gator Club

The Gator Club underwent an extensive renovation a few years ago to restore the building to its historic appearance.  The owner did a great job focusing on authenticity.  Originally called the Worth Block building, it's been in the heart of downtown since 1913.  Imagine if those old red brick walls could talk!  Now, not only is it a popular gathering place with live music, it's listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

June 12, 2010


While talking a walk in the neighborhood, I came across this bicycle tossed down on the sidewalk with no one around.  There weren't kids in the vicinity, or adults for that matter.  The closest house is about a five minute walk.  It's a Schwinn beachcomber in pretty good condition.  (The golden sunlight on the oak tree in the background makes it look even nicer.)  On my return trip, it was still there --- just abandoned.  I'm curious as to the story here.

June 11, 2010


I've seen these guys playing soccer on the tennis courts near me at night for months.  I just don't understand.  It seems so hard on the knees.  So, when I drove by the other night, and happened to have my camera, I stopped.  It was an interesting experience!  A spectator from Peru informed me they play on hard courts because that's what they play on where they're from and also the courts are much smaller than soccer fields and thus requires less exertion.  As long as they're willing to leave when tennis players arrive and want to use the tennis courts to play tennis, I suppose I don't mind.  But, in reality, how many people would have the gumption to stand on the courts in their tennis togs and confront a dozen strangers and ask them to leave?

June 10, 2010

Rosemary Court

I used to pick up organic veggies here.  And, every time I stepped foot on those red bricks and walked through that rusty wrought iron fence I thought, "I need to bring my camera here."  Well, at last I did! This is Rosemary Court within the Rosemary District in Sarasota.  It's a somewhat up and coming area with an eclectic mix of boutiques, shops and houses.  This area is also where Overtown, the first all-black residential area in Sarasota, was developed in 1886.

June 9, 2010

Watery Wednesday: No Oil

Despite some blobs of oil making landfall in northern Florida earlier this week, it's still beautiful and pristine here in Sarasota.  Hotel cancellations have leveled off, so the tourists seem to be getting  accurate information -- and that's good news since this area is so dependent on tourism.  It almost looks like this Great Blue Heron is a watchman keeping a close eye on its environs on Sarasota Bay.  This shot was taken on City Island looking east toward downtown.  One of the primary wildlife responders to the oil spill, Save Our Seabirds, is located right down the street.  Check out others participating in Watery Wednesday.

June 8, 2010

BMX Phone Home

Why do I think of E.T. when I look at this photo?!  This was taken at the BMX track in Sarasota.  The rider just jumped a large hill and was soaring through the air.  It almost looks like he's cloud jumping.  That was the first time I'd ever been to the track.  What a fun place to shoot -- I'll definitely return and post more pics.

June 7, 2010

Diggin' In

I guess this is the wildlife version of dumpster diving!  This squirrel was so absorbed in what it was doing, it really didn't care what I was doing.  This photo was taken at Ken Thompson Park on City Island in Sarasota.  It's popular with animals and humans alike.

June 6, 2010

Trying to Reason

One of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs is "Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season".  Yep, it's that time of year again.  Hurricane season started June 1st and runs through November.  When a storm is approaching one of the most highly sought after items is....drinking water.  Grocery store shelves are stocked now, but when a storm is bearing down, who knows?!  I have my hurricane kit ready and it includes enough water to last 5-7 days.  Let's pray for a quiet season, especially with the oil in the Gulf.

June 5, 2010

Baby Shark

This baby lemon shark was caught by a fisherman who was wading in about 3-feet of water in Sarasota Bay near downtown.  To avoid predators, like ospreys and hawks, baby lemon sharks hide in mangroves.    So, I wasn't too surprised when this one was hooked, since there are mangroves nearby.  It was about 8-inches long and if you look closely you can see razor sharp teeth already protruding.  After a few photo opps. the shark was safely released back into the bay.  Swim Sharky swim!

June 4, 2010


This guy was fun to watch last night at the Skate Park in downtown Sarasota.   His name is Jared (and would you believe he's 30!).  I wish I would've asked him what this trick is called  ---  as you can see, he could get some pretty good air.   Even though it was 90 degrees at 6:00 p.m. the park was busy, which I love to see.

June 3, 2010

Tarballs? What Tarballs!

It was prognosticated that tarballs from the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico would be washing ashore by now here in SRQ.  Fortunately, still not a drop of oil has appeared on any beaches in the State of Florida.  I pray it remains that way and that the leak can be stopped sooner than later.  In the meantime, this is one of my favorite places in Sarasota.  It's the Ringling Causeway Park overlooking Sarasota Bay toward the city.  It's just minutes from downtown but feels like a little getaway.  

June 2, 2010

Why SRQ?

SRQ is the airport code for the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.  Typically, most codes represent the letters of the city, for example, TPA is Tampa.   But, what's up with the 'Q' in SRQ?  SRA was already taken, so Q was selected as placeholder.  That's the case with other airports including Los Angeles --- LAX.  SRQ caught on in Sarasota and many people here just refer to the area as SRQ.  There's even a popular magazine here called SRQ.

June 1, 2010

Side by Side

These two anglers on the Saprito Fishing Pier near downtown amused me -- the way they were standing next to each other gazing into the distance willing fish to appear.  Is it me or do they seem to have the same look on their faces?