January 31, 2011


Behind these doors, on the edge of downtown, is the hottest new restaurant in Sarasota.  It's called the Pomona Bistro and Wine Bar  and there's about a week wait to get in.   Right now, they're only serving dinner and their menu looks delicious (not to mention the ambiance).  A friendly staffer, who engaged me to find out why I was taking a photo of their door, informed me the chef is happy to handle special orders for those with food allergies (c'est moi!) with advance notice.  Looks and sounds delightful!  Now, the question is....when to go???

January 30, 2011

Extended Holiday

This festive wreath was spotted near downtown Sarasota just a couple of days ago.  How long is too long to have Christmas decorations up?  Discuss.

January 29, 2011

Photography 101: Places

I'm taking a photography class at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (I just call it F-Mop) in Tampa.  So far, I'm enjoying it, particularly the assignments and subsequent critique by the class.  Our assignment this week was 'places':  just take a photo of a place.  I captured this shot at the bus transfer station in downtown Sarasota during a thunderstorm (which I showed you here).  The conditions weren't especially conducive for shooting, but nevertheless, I was pleased with what I walked away with (especially that hazard light flare).  

January 28, 2011


Some days you just need to unwind by the time the clock strikes five.  This did the trick last night!  Mother Nature put on quite a show for me at Turtle Beach on Siesta Key....the sky was filled with a dazzling array of hues backlighting a patchwork of wispy clouds.  Right when I thought it couldn't get much better, a chunk of driftwood washed ashore.  It was kind of like a dream....which is what I tried to capture in this image.  (Enlarge it and you'll feel like the water is about to wash over those spidering cracks in the sand, right onto your toes.)  The shooting was so good, I'll probably post a couple more from this series over the next week or so.  In the meantime, I'm disappointed to report I hit a snafu with the SDP poll.  'Taking Photos Outside of Sarasota' was in the lead by two to one, when the poll inexplicably reset itself and indicated no one had voted.  ((sigh))  Thanks to everyone who participated yesterday.  For what it's worth, I'll keep the poll up for a few days if you're interested in voting again.

January 27, 2011

Winter Deluge

Not only did we have a deluge during evening rush hour earlier this week, there were tornado watches in 11 counties in the region simultaneously.  That hasn't happened here in at least 20+ years, at least according to a local TV meteorologist.  No tornadoes in Sarasota....just a lot of rain and high winds.  It's soggy nights like this that I'm happy I have an attached garage (where I actually park).  Definitely not Chamber of Commerce weather for the Sunshine State.  That being said, we always need rain here.

In other news... Since launching SDP last May, the entire staff has adhered to a strict rule of publishing only photos taken in Sarasota.  Period.  Recently, though, there has been discussion here at the office about the possibility of broadening the field of photographic opportunities.   So, what do you think?  We have a reader poll going for the next week.  Cast your vote on the right side of the blog! 

January 26, 2011

Watching From a Distance

The past several posts have been about the public art campaign kickoff party that took place recently  in  Five Points Park in downtown Sarasota.  I was waiting for the event to start when I noticed this homeless man sitting with his belongings watching from a distance and listening to the sounds of jazz emanating through the park.  Then, the guy on the left, walking down the sidewalk, did something rather unexpected...
Without saying a word, he pulled out his wallet and gave the guy money.  I learned the homeless man's name is David and he's been on the streets for four years.   He said the stranger had been quite generous and he would use the gift to pay for some nights at the Salvation Army.  To me, this scene encapsulates a lot of Sarasota. 

January 25, 2011

Ice Sculpture?

This is another sculpture in the 'Intersections' public art campaign.  Dennis Kowal, a popular artist here in Sarasota created it and calls it 'Fractured Migration', although many people just refer to it as the "Ice Sculpture' because, well, it looks like one, particularly when lit at night.  This was taken at Selby Five Points Park shortly before the 'Intersections' kickoff party got underway with a jazz trio, hors'dourves and public art discussion.  I couldn't help but notice the guy in the background sitting on the park bench, enjoying the music and watching the event unfold.  He's homeless.  More on him tomorrow.

January 24, 2011

Intersections Beat

A young jazz trio -- students at Pineview High School in Sarasota -- provided entertainment in Selby Five Points Park in downtown before the start of the 'Intersections' public art project kickoff party.  They  sounded great!  It's nice to see kids this age enjoying jazz.

January 23, 2011

Buffalo Sighting

This fun sculpture is also part of the 'Intersections' public art project.  The concept is for people to take self guided tours of all 12 pieces, and that's exactly what these folks were doing after the kickoff party.  This piece is known to people in downtown as 'The Buffalo'  -- you're looking at his face and pointy ears and his snout is pointed leftward -- but it's officially called 'Point Defiance' and was created by a young artist named Beth Nybeck.  I love how these people were huddled around the buffalo touching it and reading their brochure to learn about it.  I also was quite tickled this shot came out as well as it did, since I was about 30 yards away using my 200 mm lens sans tripod at dusk.

January 22, 2011

It's That Way

This is one of my favorite new pieces of public art in downtown Sarasota.  It's called Freedom-Sky and  was created by someone named Ofra Friedman.  (Yes, it's a person bending backward pointing their leg, from this view, toward the Opera House.) No matter what time of day or night, or the direction you view it, it's just an incredibly captivating sculpture.  It's one of twelve new pieces in downtown which are part of a new project called "Intersections".  The idea was to install sculptures near prominent intersections to help attract people downtown.  Next fall, one will be purchased by the city and put on permanent display.  I attended the kickoff event and I plan on posting a few pictures.  Usually, I shy away from series of photos from the same event, but this, I think, will be worthwhile.  Stay tuned!

January 21, 2011

(insert foghorn sound here)

It's been quite foggy here every morning this week, which is rather unusual.  Can you see the Gulf of Mexico peeking out under the curtain of fog?  I hope that lifeguard brought a book to read or had something to do in his shack because I doubt he had many lives to guard on Lido Beach that morning.

January 20, 2011


Fresh urban eggs anyone?   If you live in a residential neighborhood within the Sarasota city limits, you'll soon be allowed to raise up to four hens in your backyard.  The idea was proposed by a group called CLUCK --- Citizens Lobbying for Urban Chicken Keeping.  They say the hens' eggs will be a healthy inexpensive food source and will enhance sustainability in the city.  These organic eggs were purchased at a good 'ol fashioned grocery store.  And, yes, I have all my eggs (a dozen) in one basket.  I'd continue with the puns, but after following the chicken-egg controversy for months, I've realized they're not all they're cracked up to be.

January 19, 2011

Reflecting on Towles

At first, I thought this shot of one of the many art galleries in the Towles Court neighborhood was just ho-hum.  Then, upon closer inspection, I noticed the oak tree reflecting in the window.  The SDP staff huddled up...voted... and determined it was blog-worthy.  

January 18, 2011

Tube Dude - Part Deux

Since I first introduced you to the Tube Dude several months ago, the concept has really taken off.  Tube Dudes are now showing up all over Sarasota.  I spotted this one, sporting a life jacket and canister of pool chemicals, waving to traffic outside a swimming pool supply store.  I just love 'em.  Check out the official Tube Dude website and learn how the recession led to the creation of the Tube Dude.  And, while you're there, look for Sarasota Daily Photo.  The SDP staff just discovered we're featured on the Tube Dude homepage.  Excellent!

January 17, 2011

Jimi Gee

Okay.  Before I answer the question which you most likely are pondering right now, let me introduce Jimi Gee.  While strolling through the downtown farmers market recently, I heard the melodic sounds of a guitar.  It was Jimi Gee playing, as I recall, a Beatles tune -- and sounding quite nice.  Turns out, Jimi Gee has played for 43 years and toured with Cher, the Temptations and many other popular bands before settling down in Sarasota.  Jimi Gee noted happily he now cross dresses and gets paid for it.  Not a big deal here. This is the city that a few years ago, short listed a cross dresser for consideration to become city manager.  Whether in slingbacks or wingtips, you sound great, Jimi Gee! 

January 16, 2011

Sail Away Soon

Soon, Mother Nature will shine on Sarasota Bay again, the temperatures will rise, a light breeze will blow...and the sailboats will temporarily leave their moorings for an adventure.  

January 15, 2011

Mr. Strudel

Doesn't Bill resemble the guy on the sign behind him?!  I spotted him selling strudel at the downtown Farmers Market.  He was as pleasant to chat with as his convivial appearance suggests.  He used to own seven strudel stores in Rhode Island, then sold his business to Cathy's Kitchen in Sarasota.  Unfortunately, for dietary reasons (darn it), I couldn't try any of the samples he was offering.  But they looked yummy and I overhead more than one 'Mmmmm' from those who did.  Although he's got the look, he insists he's not German.   

January 14, 2011

Bundled Up

I heard a report yesterday that every state in the U.S. has snow except Florida.  We don't have snow, but we have frigid temperatures again.   And these guys look ready!  It was 5:30 p.m. last night when I spotted them in rural Sarasota County and already they were bundled up.  Two things I noticed:  all the horses at the ranch were sporting blankets except for a couple; and all the blankets were green except for this bright red and blue one.  Beats me what it all means.  I just hope the horses are as warm as toast.  I'll be digging out the extra blankets tonight too.  It's supposed to dip down to 35.  At least we're not expecting frost like I showed you a few weeks ago.

January 13, 2011

Bottom of the 9th

Spring training is just about one month away and this is what the Grapefruit League home of the Baltimore Orioles looks like.  The number of workers at the Ed Smith Stadium construction site has increased dramatically over the past couple of weeks and you can see why.  They still have a lot of work to do!  But, the stadium is looking fantastic.  Really top notch.  A few years ago, this seemed unlikely -- having a newly renovated stadium and a new baseball team.  A referendum to build a stadium was rejected by voters.  The Cincinnati Reds left Sarasota.  Sarasota wooed the Red Sox, only to be snubbed for Ft. Myers.  Then, along came the Baltimore Orioles and a deal was struck to reconstruct the current stadium using a tourist tax.  Lawsuits ensued including an appeal to the Florida State Supreme Court.  Just last month, bald eagles nested in right field...and were moved.  And now the pressure is on to finish before game time.  Whew!  Can't wait to post a game photo.  Click here to see more about  Ed Smith Stadium.

January 12, 2011


What is so gosh darn cute about a squirrel squatting on the edge of a tree trunk nibbling on a nut?    Although someone had scattered nuts and bird seed around this area in Ken Thompson Park, and there was plenty for everyone, this little fellow scampered to this perch with his prize as soon as he spotted me.

January 11, 2011

Sniff Test

I must admit, I was completely captivated watching this woman at the downtown Farmers Market.  Methodically, she selected a melon, pressed the rind to  her nose and sniffed deeply a couple of times before she returned it the stack only to repeat the process with a different melon.  She did this about a half dozen times and was so focused on her task, she didn't even notice yours truly a few feet away frantically adjusting camera settings and ducking down to include those lovely shades of yellow and green in the foreground.  Turns out her name is Linda and she determines the freshness and sweetness of a cantaloupe by smelling it.  And, here I thought the only way to pick a ripe melon was to push the end with your thumb!  Thanks for the tip, Linda.  I'll look forward to incorporating it into my fruit selection process.  I just hope my schnoz is up for the challenge.     

January 10, 2011


Free WiFi???  At the New Pass Bait Shop?!  Unbelievable.  Who would imagine?!  About a week ago, I posted a photo of the bait shop's welcome sign for boaters and a few folks expressed surprise/shock/concern/trepidation that a "bait shop" served food.  I can attest that not only do they serve food, but good food.  (And cold beer too.) Seriously.  It's an SRQ treasure, unexplored by most tourists who prefer to wander down the road to St. Armands Circle.  Now, about this free WiFi thing...I'll have to check that out next time I'm there.  Sarasota is on the cutting edge -- even at the bait shop.

January 9, 2011

Lady Liberty of Light

Who has a Statue of Liberty lamppost in their front yard?!  That's what I thought when I spotted this on a quiet road in north Sarasota County.  I instantly loved it and had to return.  When I did, the owner, Barry, was puttering around in his golf cart and stopped for a chat.  He informed me the local newspaper published a photo of his Lady Liberty years ago.  (Darn....scooped...by the print media!)  He explained he needed a light in the front yard and found this one in Gibsonton (outside Tampa).  If you guessed he's a military veteran...you're right!  Both a WW II and Korean War vet, he launched a business in Sarasota back in 1968 called Barry's Trailers.  43 years later, his three children run his successful business.  He was nothing but smiles and reported he's in good health well into his eighth decade.  That's who has a Statue of Liberty lamppost in their front yard.

January 8, 2011

That's a Wrap!

When the fun and festivities of the holidays are all but a memory, there's still that pesky matter of taking down the Christmas lights (hopefully)....untangling them...and wrapping them up for storage until next Thanksgiving.    That's my neighbor, Doug, who was efficiently straightening multiple strings of lights yesterday which had adorned the trees and shrubs in the neighborhood.  I love Christmas lights and I'm so appreciative of those who take the time to put them up -- and take them down.  Despite being neighbors, this was the first time we met.  SDP is a great way to meet people!  Thanks for the nice decorations, Doug, and being part of SDP.

January 7, 2011


The other night I was at Ken Thompson Park on Sarasota Bay when I heard a loud flapping sound behind me.  It was this great blue heron landing right next to me.  Since it was almost sunset, I figured it was there to hunt for a nice meal.  And, camera in hand, I was ready to tag along on the hunt!  Slowly, it wandered along the shore.  But, it really didn't appear to be looking for anything.  Then, it snapped up this twig and within seconds it was airborne.  I'm sure she's building a very nice nest.

January 6, 2011

Parking Lot Exercise

Driving through Sarasota earlier this week, I was a bit surprised to see a group of people lined up in a parking lot with their arms outstretched.  It was enough for me to turn around and investigate.  Turns out it was a tai chi class for the East-West College of Natural Medicine, which I didn't know existed in Sarasota.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to talk with the instructor.  But, I love how the eyes of two students (woman in pink and the woman in maroon skirt) are locked on the instructor who is out of frame.

January 5, 2011

Local Matters

I had the opportunity to be in the WSLR studio last night during the talk show "Local Matters".  WSLR is a community supported radio station with an almost entirely volunteer staff which focuses on original local programming about the arts, justice, peace, government and music (to name just a few topics).  It's located at 96.5 FM on the dial, or you can listen live online.    In the foreground, looking pensive before going on air, is "Local Matters" host Joe Hendricks and that's Steve Norris, his co-host, in the back.  Thanks Joe and Steve -- it was lots of fun!

January 4, 2011

Ringling After Hours

During the last month, I've had fun shooting Christmas decorations at night.  So, when I drove by the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art last night and saw it all lit up I had to stop.  My plan was to photograph a statue outside the front gate.  But, when I looked through the wrought iron fence toward the main entrance of the museum, I knew exactly today's post was going to be.  Voila!  It really is a beautiful entrance.  To see previous Ringling posts including a smidge of the inside and the rose garden click here

January 3, 2011

Battle of the Beaks

That's a wood stork in the back with the long sharp beak, and a roseate spoonbill in the front the long curved beak.  I spotted them fishing at the celery fields in Sarasota County.  I wonder which beak is more conducive for catching dinner.

January 2, 2011


This is my kind of welcome!  This is New Pass in Sarasota, which leads to the Gulf of Mexico.  The welcoming committee include a heron (real) and an owl (not so real).

January 1, 2011

Theme Day: Photo of the Year

This photo was originally posted August 20, 2010.  I selected it as my photo of the year because it turned out exactly how I envisioned it at the time, which is extremely unusual for me.  Those in the City Daily Photo community around the world are posting their Photo of the Year.  Happy New Year everyone!  I'm looking forward to 2011 being filled with new adventures and great photo opportunities.   Click here to view thumbnails from all participants.