September 29, 2011

LED Retrofit

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All 98 street lights lining the Ringling Bridge were retrofitted this week with light emitting diode (LED) technology.  The new lights are 55 watts, as opposed to the old ones which were 205 watts, and are supposed to generate the same amount of light for drivers and pedestrians. When I took this photo it was one of the nicest evenings we've had in months: cool, with a breeze blowing off the bay. So, the bridge was bustling with walkers, runners, bicyclists, rollerbladers -- you name it. Rather than showing a packed bridge, though, I preferred this lone figure walking at dusk just as the street lights turned on.  By the way, if you're wondering how a city can afford such a project during these tough economic times, it was funded with a federal energy grant.

September 27, 2011

You Don't See Us!

At the end of Bee Ridge Road, you'll find Rothenbach Park, which used to be a landfill. I checked it for the first time last week and encountered lots of signs notifying visitors that deer are common here. It was dusk and I was vigilant looking for deer as I walked and walked. Naturally, at the very end of my journey, when the sunlight was less than optimal, I noticed these three cute faces staring at me as if they were thinking, 'You don't see us!' I had to really bump up the ISO for this shot --- but, I got 'em. So, the signs are accurate -- there are deer in Rothenbach Park!

September 25, 2011


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Bicyclists cruisin' on U.S. 41 in downtown Sarasota. Even though they were traveling in a pack, I thought they were a bit daring occupying the left turn lane during evening rush hour. I prefer my bike rides out in the country -- away from the car exhaust.

September 23, 2011


Most of us Floridians like to think that if we make to October, we're pretty much out of hurricane season. Of course, there are Tropical Storm Wilma which popped up around Halloween a few years ago and ripped across the state from Naples to Ft. Lauderdale. I know people who were without electricity for three weeks from that storm. Anyway, let's keep this tropical weather discussion to a murmur lest we disturb Mother Nature. As for this photo, I stopped to take a picture of some cool storm clouds hanging over Sarasota Bay, but before I could snap a shot, the sky opened up. So, instead, I give you a photo of big, fat raindrops plopping on my windshield.

September 22, 2011

Still Over $3

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I almost missed this month documenting my local gas station and its prices! As you can see, we're still way above $3/gallon, but (amazingly) this price is the lowest we've seen since I started my monthly documentation 7 months ago. To take a ride on the gas price roller coaster click here.

September 21, 2011

Watery Wednesday: Reflecting Anglers

These two guys left their cans of beer on land and waded into Sarasota Bay to do a little fishing.  The water was so still close to shore it really looked like a mirror. By the way, autumn might be arriving early this year! It was 90 degrees in the early evening when I took this picture, but with a light breeze and low humidity it felt like a delightful 80.  To see other Watery Wednesday photos from around the world click here.

September 18, 2011

Colorful Sunday


Between the bright red door and the colorful impatiens, I had to stop and snap this shot of Church of the Redeemer in downtown Sarasota. I've featured the inside of the church several times (click here to check out the SDP archives)  --- so, here's the entrance! Whenever I'm nearby with my camera, it's just too irresistible not to photograph. Hope your Sunday is bright and peaceful.

September 17, 2011

A.M. After Dark

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A.M., in this case, is Anna Maria.  This is the back side of the Anna Maria City Pier, which is situated over Tampa Bay.  (I showed you a daytime angle from the front in this photo.)  To the left is a little restaurant and outdoor bar overlooking the water.  I like to wander around, close to the edge, and see if the fish are biting.  (Not much action last night...just a few mackerel.)  This photo was taken shortly after dark with a 13 second exposure.  Of course, during that time, the fishermen in the shot moved, creating the wispy, apparition-like effect.  I kind of like it because it gives the illusion of people coming and going.

September 15, 2011

Crab Dinner


This shorebird was enjoying more than a crab leg dinner in Sarasota Bay. After watching it dunk and shake the crustacean numerous times, I glanced away for the briefest of moments to adjust my shutter speed and  **poof** the crab was gone. I can only presume it went down the hatch --- legs and all.  I'm not exactly sure, but I believe this seafood loving bird is a dunlin or a willet.  

September 14, 2011

Diver Down?

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Here's something you don't see every day in Sarasota Bay: a scuba flag accompanied by two snorklers near all the sailboats moored off Ken Thompson Park. They seemed like they were having a good time splashing around, doing some sort of flipper ballet. I was hoping they were going to tell me there was something intriguing underwater, but no such luck. When I used to scuba dive regularly (not in Sarasota), I always enjoyed pondering what I might encounter at depth, especially turtles -- and even sharks!

September 13, 2011

WTC Memorial

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This is a steel girder from the World Trade Center which was unveiled over the weekend. (I showed it covered here.) It's now on permanent display outside the new Sarasota Police Headquarters, positioned to give the illusion that it's falling. Many other communities across the country acquired similar artifacts from the WTC to create local memorials. Located outside the front door of the Sarasota police building, it's a fitting tribute to the first responders who died on September 11th. This is my fourth consecutive post about September 11th, and I anticipate it will be my last...for approximately one year.

September 12, 2011

Remembering 9-11

September 11 Memorial
I was out of town over the weekend and ended up attending a September 11th memorial in Bonita Springs, about 1.5 hours south of Sarasota. It was a really nice event with hundreds from the community converging in a park to remember. (I knew I was in the right place when I spotted dozens and dozens of oversized American flags lining the park.) During the ceremony, there was a 'presenting of cover' three separate times; that is, a lone helmet was presented and placed on a table, with each one symbolizing firefighters, law enforcement and emergency services personnel who lost their lives on September 11th. It was quite poignant. This photo shows the firefighter helmet being presented.  To see more of my pics from the event click here.

September 11, 2011

Always Remember 9-11-01

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Sarasota always will be closely connected to September 11th, since President Bush was visiting an elementary school here when he was informed about the terrorist attacks. I wrote a long entry for this post several days ago and inadvertently deleted it. I really don't have the energy to re-compose my thoughts and feelings about that horrible day, and where I was and what I was doing. So, instead, I will post a question: How are you remembering September 11, 2001? I'm heading to a memorial event this morning, American flags and tissue in hand. God bless America.

About this photo: I actually snapped this picture last January when the American flag was at half-staff in Sarasota to honor a fire chief from a neighboring city who passed away. When I saw the jet soaring through the crisp blue sky, which was so reminiscent of the sky on September 11th, I knew exactly what my post would be for the 10 year anniversary.

September 10, 2011

Preparing to Commemorate

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Without any context, this is a bit of an odd, I'll explain. The red, white and blue tarp is covering something which will be unveiled in Sarasota on September 11th. What's underneath is no secret, so I'll share: it's a steel beam from the World Trade Center. It weighs approximately 2,500 pounds and stands nearly 25 feet. Unfortunately, that's all the New York Port Authority, which gave it to the city, knows about it.  Positioned outside the Sarasota Police Headquarters, it will be a great tribute to the first responders who died on September 11th. Interesting tidbit:  Someone involved with the project told me he called a local fumigation company to borrow an oversized tarp for a couple of weeks to cover the piece prior to Sept. 11th. When the owner of Key Fumigation heard what it was for, he insisted on manufacturing a huge custom made red, white and blue tarp --- at no cost.  Apparently, some of his materials were stored in Miami (a 3.5-hour drive from Sarasota), so he drove down there, fetched what he needed and returned and made the tarp overnight.  Wow.  The tarp will be pulled just before the first jet would have hit the World Trade Center. It should be quite an event. (And, yes, the owner of Key Fumigation will be recognized for his contribution.)

September 8, 2011

Golden Landing

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I thought I'd lost the bird I was pursuing in rural Sarasota County, so I paused to shoot this incredible sunset. To my pleasant surprise, the bird in question landed right in frame. A golden moment with a red-shouldered hawk!

September 6, 2011

Nation's Smallest

Ochopee Post Office
Here's a fun tip for anyone traveling down to South Florida: Rather than taking the fastest route, I-75, cruise the Tamiami Trail. Besides seeing lots of swampland near the Everglades, you'll also encounter this itty bitty post office. Yep, this tiny shack is a real, working U.S. post office for Ochopee, Florida in Collier County! Unfortunately, it was closed when I was there, so I couldn't take the full tour. But, an historical marker notes it's considered to be the smallest post office in the United States. What a slice of Americana!

Update:  I'm pleased to report this cute little post office is not scheduled for closure by the USPS.  After seeing a couple of comments from folks wondering about its status, I did a little research and found the complete list of post offices on the chopping block --- and Ochopee is not on it.  Whew!   To see the full state-by-state list, click here

September 3, 2011

Live...From Sarasota!

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I happened to have the opportunity earlier this week to attend a sneak peek media event for a new community recreational center in Sarasota. A couple of my followers in PA and TX may recognize the gentleman with the microphone: Charley Belcher from WTVT Fox 13 in Tampa. He was doing live shots for the morning news highlighting the new Robert L. Taylor Community Complex. From workout areas, to a high tech teen courts...recording studio...and the aquatic center (in the background of this shot), there's a lot to see and do. It definitely has a wow factor. In this pic, Charley is interviewing a couple of 19-year-olds who will have a mentoring program at the center. It was fun to see Charley in well as Jason and Duane (the guys behind the scenes who make the TV magic happen). Thanks for coming down!

September 1, 2011

Theme Day: Perspective

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When I spotted this car, I couldn't help but notice the owner's political perspective. Here's someone from Arizona driving around Sarasota, Florida in a rolling billboard supporting Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a Republican (some would say Libertarian, I think) running for U.S. president in 2012 --- more than a year away. Perhaps my favorite part was a bumper sticker (sadly, too low to photograph well) which declared, 'You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas. - Davy Crockett'. Bundle it all up and you've got one heck of a perspective! By the way, this is part of theme day in the City Daily Photo world. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants As an aside, the SDP staff has been counseled about posting back-to-back photos which were taken from the driver's seat....and that sometimes, to gain a better perspective, one must actually leave the car.