We're enjoying holiday leftovers here at SDP! I showed you two portions of this display before Christmas: sailboats and blue and green scullers. For our encore presentation, the SDP staff presents red scullers and a sailboat heading to shore. The entire display includes three sculling boats (all of which are animated -- very cool!) and two sailboats. Hands down, this is the best non-residential display I spotted this season. By the way, I agree with Jack at Hartford Daily Photo: the Christmas season continues for several more days!
December 25, 2011
December 24, 2011
The low lighting on yesterday's Santa photo may have been what prompted several people to comment that he looked a bit creepy. This one, on the other hand, looks like a member of the paparazzi caught the Big Guy having a jolly 'ol time on someone's balcony, waving to revelers below. I sure hope Santa is well rested for tonight!
December 23, 2011
December 22, 2011
Well, this isn't a very festive photo (although there's plenty of red and a hint of green), but I'm committed to posting a picture every month showing prices at the same gas station in Sarasota. During the past month, we nudged downward a smidge more -- 4 cents -- to $3.27. Santa, I'd like $2.49/gallon gas. (Please?!) To see gas price trends over the past ten months, click here.
December 21, 2011
December 20, 2011
If you're on the west coast of Florida this time of year, a must-stop is Captiva island. It's located less than one hour from Ft. Myers with not a lot to do but relax -- and enjoy the Christmas decorations. They usually go up by Thanksgiving and I'm always excited to see Santa scaling this palm tree next to Tween Waters resort. I'm never quite sure what Santa is up to: picking fresh coconuts for a tropical drink...conducting reconnaisance in search of chimneys...or scanning the Gulf of Mexico for frolicking dolphins. Whatever he's up to, I love this jolly 'ol elf!
December 19, 2011
I spotted this message at some tennis courts in Punta Gorda, just south of Sarasota, and had to return with my camera to snap a pic. When I saw it, I immediately thought of a few less than friendly drivers I had recently encountered on the roads. Sheesh! 6 days 'til Christmas...enjoy!
December 15, 2011
Back to Christmas decorations! These palms and presents are situated in the middle of a roundabout at a retail development near me. Actually, it's the same development that has the really cool Christmas rowers and sailboats, but this display is across the road. Anyway, all the decorations are new this year. Traffic was heavy going in and out of the mall when I was out shooting this picture last night. Maybe all the festive lights are putting people in the shopping mood.
December 14, 2011
Sarasotans like independently owned businesses. Off the top of my head, I can think of five independently owned bookstores. And, then there's this business: Sarasota Hardware. Located on Main Street in the heart of downtown, it's been part of Sarasota since 1934 -- that's 77 years! Quite impressive for any business! With regard to this photo, I like the reflection of the parked car. It just seems to add to the small town feel of the scene.
December 13, 2011
Row, row, row...and, ho ho ho! This Christmas display of scullers rowing presents to their destination, while very cool by itself, probably is better understood and appreciated with a little backstory. It's located at a retail area created by Benderson Development. (On the same retention pond where I showed you this sailboat with gifts.) Across the road is a relatively new park called Nathan Benderson Park, which has been hosting popular rowing events. Sarasota County recently agreed to invest $19.5 million in tourism funds to help transform the park into a world class rowing venue for tournaments. Row, row, row!
December 12, 2011
Without question, this is one of my favorite Christmas displays in Florida: a team of five alligators pulling a sleigh between palm trees. (Gosh, I wish the fronds were lit!) It's so clever...only a Florida Gator would think of it! Truth be told, this display is down the road in Ft. Myers. Nevertheless, I look forward to seeing it every year. Dash away...dash away...dash away Gators!
December 11, 2011
What do you think of this mural? It has become a bit of a controversy in Sarasota. As part of the Chalk Festival, an international artist, simply known as MTO, agreed to do some work elsewhere, including on this building where the Tube Dude company is based. It happens to be located in a transitional part of town and many people immediately were incensed with the message 'Fast Life' and the hands displaying what appear to be a gang symbol. To make it more palatable, a local artist connected with the festival added the words "It's A ..... Let Love Express It'. Well, that seemed to attract even more attention (and controversy). So, the building owner announced that in the spirit of not offending the community, he would paint over the mural within 72 hours. And....that's when the other side came forward and pleaded for it to stay. According to news reports, the owner now says it will remain for the next month as he tries to figure out how to make it acceptable for all. I'll keep you posted.
December 9, 2011
December 8, 2011
A shopping development down the road from me really kicked it up a few notches this year with Christmas decorations, like this sailboat in a retention pond. It faces a major highway, so it attracts a lot of attention with passersby. It sure grabbed my attention! And, I wasn't the only one to stop for a photo opp. Who doesn't like to see Christmas presents loaded up on a festive, glowing sailboat?!
December 7, 2011
(Click here to see 'Fractured Migration' in the daytime during the kick-off event.) It will remain right where it is....in Selby Five Points Park (where all the cool colorful lights are).
December 2, 2011
Shrimp...it's what's for dinner! Upon further review (thanks to my neighbor and fellow blogger Ernie), I have determined this fisherman (shown plunging yesterday) is
a little blue heron sporting its breeding colors. an unknown bird. But it is a bird! Honestly, there are so many different herons and egrets here...I give up trying to identify this one. On a different note, for those of you who like Christmas music, I encourage you to visit Ernie's blog ErnieNotBert. He collects old vinyl Christmas records throughout the year, then rips them, scans the covers and shares them on his blog. It's a great way to find little known renditions of holiday classics. One of my favorite shares from last year is an album of Christmas songs from an Irish pub. Good stuff!
December 1, 2011
I believe this is a tri-colored heron on a fishing expedition in Sarasota Bay next to Ken Thompson Park. I had just bumped up the shutter speed in hopes of capturing the bird popping up with a flailing fish. Turns out, I really like the water drops frozen in mid-air, which depict the quick force of the bird shoving its beak into the water. It also shows action...and, that's today's theme in the City Daily Photo community. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants. And...check in tomorrow to see what the heron caught for dinner!
November 30, 2011
This doorway along an alley near Central Ave. caught my attention because of the name: "Carefree Design Center". It sounded so inviting...just a carefree place to create whatever you want to create. Well, as it turns out, behind this door beautiful walk-in closets (and other storage spaces) are designed and manufactured. Check out their website. Very interesting! I never know what I'll find when I'm out wandering around.
November 28, 2011
When I posted this photo of Selby Five Points Park last week, a few SDP followers were kind enough to request a nighttime view with the tree lights aglow. Alors...voila! The lights alternate colors every few minutes and last night I caught them midstream between red and orange. Pretty cool! By the way, this isn't just for Christmas. The trees are lit year round.
November 25, 2011
November 24, 2011
It's officially Thanksgiving when Pilgrim Manatee arrives on DeSoto Road! I hope you're enjoying a relaxing day and pause a moment to reflect upon all your blessings. I've already logged a 5K walk this morning --- gosh, I'm so thankful just to be able to do that! There's so much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving. May your day be filled with family, friends, food (preferably turkey...NOT manatee), football, parades --- and a nap. Happy Thanksgiving!
November 21, 2011
Not an image you expect to see on the road, is it? This biker (and his fuzzy friends) was part of the 14th annual Teddy Bear Run yesterday morning. Hundreds of motorcyclists roared down the road, complete with a police escort, as they delivered stuffed animals for a charity event benefiting children with cancer. There's something about a burly biker with a cuddly Pooh bear that makes me smile. And, knowing it's all to help sick kids...makes it even better. What a special delivery. To see more of my pics from the event click here.
November 20, 2011
Recently, I was shooting a construction site near downtown when I heard really loud chirping emanating from a tree in a busy parking lot. So many house sparrows were tucked inside, hiding on the branches, the tree was actually shaking! It took awhile, but I managed to get this shot (above)...of what I believe to be a female house sparrow. And also this photo...
...which I believe is a male house sparrow. (Apparently, he was going out on a limb to see what I was doing.) I was staring at that tree for probably 20-25 minutes in a fast food parking lot, and believe it or not, not a single person inquired what I was looking at. They all just walked and drove by, oblivious to nature's abundance in that tree.
November 19, 2011
5 o'clock....and Five Points Park in downtown, that is. It's almost been a year since the park was renovated and colorful decorative lights strung through the trees. It looks great year-round and is especially inviting this time of year --- even before the sun goes down.
November 18, 2011
I did a double-take when I saw this reserved parking sign at Sarasota Architectural Salvage. That's a faux police mugshot identifying the employee of the month. It seems the store owner has a good sense of humor as he goes about acknowledging a job well done. Very amusing! For the record the "mugshot" indicates Pennenga G. is the employee of the month. Congrats!
November 16, 2011
I'm back! I enjoyed a getaway to Mt. Dora, a quaint little town northwest of Orlando. Besides oodles of charming B & B's, and a good old fashioned downtown (filled with American flags for Veterans' Day), Mt. Dora hits the spot for me because it's just far enough north for the mercury to drop in the fall. Yes...it was sweater weather! (A very exciting change for those of us who live with 70-degrees plus most days.) While I was relaxing on a balcony overlooking downtown, this wedding party trotted into my viewfinder. Could this be any more quaint?!
November 10, 2011
As promised, I'm posting more photos from the Sarasota Chalk Festival. This is Pineapple Avenue, where most of the artists were performing their magic on the pavement. Including...
...this very cool 3-D piece of a boy poking up from a tall bookshelf, which probably was my favorite. I believe it was created by a team from Brazil. It really popped off the pavement. And, then, there were pieces with incredible detail...
...animal as well as...
November 9, 2011
I've mentioned before that I see a lot of amazing winged creatures along Fruitville Road, a busy 2-lane road. As I was cruising along in heavy traffic last week, a splash of red caught my eye. Actually, two splashes of red --- on a utility pole. After turning around, parking and stalking, I saw this eyeball peering at me. And, then, the creature cautiously poked its cute little red head out to see what was going on.
This is a male pileated woodpecker. The males, I've learned from my trusty Birds of Florida field guide, have an extra red stripe along their jawline. While he was peering out, his mate swooped in from seemingly nowhere...
...and poked her head in to see how things were going at the homestead. Clinging to the side of the pole...
...she seemed to ponder her options. (Or perhaps she was shocked at what she had seen inside: 'He could at least tidy up while I'm away hunting for ants.') I think Mr. Woody Woodpecker warned the Mrs. about the creature outside with the really long beak (aka: photographer) and shooed her away, because she suddenly left and he ducked inside. ('No more photos, please. Thank you...and, good day!') Now, whenever I see a gaping hole in a utility pole I can't help but wonder what's going on in there. (My cartoon brain seems to shift into overdrive seeing pileated woodpeckers.) What a fun encounter! By the way, tomorrow we'll return to the Chalk Festival, as promised.
November 8, 2011
November 7, 2011
The 4th annual Chalk Festival was held in Burns Square this weekend. I went yesterday afternoon and all I can say is 'WOW!' The word is out that this is a terrific event. The number of visitors skyrocketed from last year, which is more or less what the organizer said when I bumped into her and she said the Chalk Festival has gone viral. Renowned chalk artists from around the world were here for the event, and many locals participated too....including this guy who I believe is from Sarasota. He happened to be "applying lipstick" on Pineapple Ave. when I saw him. Between that and the amazing faces he created, how could I not select this to be my first post from Chalk Festival '11? When I have time later this week, I'll post more. Very cool!
November 5, 2011
Look! Up in the air! It's Bikin' Tube Dude! I showed you photos of Tube Dudes when they first started popping up around Sarasota. Well, the concept has really taken off. (Click here to read about the founder who went from building yachts to creating Tube Dudes.) I spotted these colorful ones high over the Sarasota BMX course recently. In September, the company received a $100,000 economic incentive grant from Sarasota County with the stipulation it has to create 44 new jobs (although, I don't know over what period of time). Who knows...you might see Tube Dudes in your area some day.
November 4, 2011
I attempted to be discreet while documenting this scene with my phone in the grocery store: eggnog already stocked on the shelves the day before Halloween! I love, love, love (read: LOVE) eggnog and Christmas, but...before Halloween? Perhaps we should dispense with the dates and seasons and just celebrate year round. Green eggnog for St. Patrick's Day anyone?
November 3, 2011
This is what the parking meters look like in downtown. Although this is my third post on meters, this is the first time I've shown you what they look like. I posted this photo just before the meters were unveiled last May. And, then, I showed you this shot when the meters were temporarily bagged after being operational for six weeks. Well, now they're back. Based on community feedback, the program was overhauled, including moving meters to different streets, modifying the cost (cheaper during off-peak months) and providing more signage for users. Now, the meters seem a bit more palatable to business owners and customers. In fact, today marks one month since the take 2 do-over and it seems business as usual downtown.
November 2, 2011
Meet City Kitty. She lives under a building in downtown Sarasota and has been cared for by an employee for years. Usually, City Kitty is shy and it's a rarity to see her. But, recently, I've spotted her several times. Word on the street is that an opossum moved in to her dry, warm space under the building and now she's forced into the elements (sun, rain, wind) when the pointy-faced marsupial decides he wants to be there. I was surprised to hear an opossum lives downtown, so I did some research and learned the following: (1) opossums are short lived -- just 2-4 years; and (2) their predators include cats. Either City Kitty needs to get a bit more aggressive or wait it out. (Too bad there isn't an opossum relocation program.)
November 1, 2011
this shot last week. Not only was a cattle fence in my way, but also a prickly looking barbed wire fence. It's theme day in the City Daily Community and we're all fenced in...or out! Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.
October 31, 2011
Gotta love the Headless Horseman on Halloween! Isn't this a terrific yard display? Can you imagine being a kid and approaching this house trick-or-tricking?! Have a safe and fun Halloween, and remember: Halloween is nothing to lose your head over. ((Boo-ooh-aaaah-aaaah))
October 30, 2011
October 29, 2011
Someone on Flickr speculated it's a 1928 or '29 Model A. Very cool.
October 28, 2011
...a bald eagle! Two nights ago, I was stunned to see two eagles sitting side by side atop a cell tower next to Fruitville Road, a bustling roadway. I was thrilled when I returned last night and found them again --- albeit very far away. As I was contemplating hopping a cattle fence to get a closer view, a rancher pulled up in a truck and gave me what can only be described as a grim stink eye. Even when I pointed to my camera and excitedly declared 'Shooting the bald eagle!' he gave me one last look before leaving without a word. I got the hint...and stayed put. Anyway, I'm very, very excited about the two eagles living so close to an urban area. And, I can't wait to watch them and capture even better pics.