February 28, 2011

Play at the Plate

Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles in their newly renovated stadium is tomorrow!  When I drove by Ed Smith Stadium Friday night, it was a very busy site with oodles of construction workers scurrying around.  You could tell they all knew their assignments, and the sense of urgency to complete the job was palpable.  This is a peek through the new front gate, which now leads fans directly to home plate.  I'll be in attendance at a game in a couple of weeks and can't wait to check out everything.  To see photos of the construction project I've posted over the past several months click here.

February 27, 2011

Ski-A-Rees Thriller

When these young water skiers soared over the Ski-A-Rees ramp at about 40 mph....

And looked as though they were attempting to ride phantom bucking broncos over Sarasota Bay, I kind of had a feeling it might end like this...
Ouch.   One (whose helmet you can see) actually popped up on one ski and cruised away, helmet askew.  Fortunately, the other skier was fine also.  But, being ski-less, he had to be retrieved by the boat.  And as soon as he was cleared away, the next stunt got underway.  Fun times!

February 26, 2011

Lady Ski-A-Rees'ers

Not only are these three ladies synchronized, but they're water skiing backwards -- and all smiles about it.  They're part of Ski-A-Rees, a local water ski group which I introduced you to yesterday.  They were graceful and looked like they were having fun while entertaining the crowd.  Every once in awhile, though, a stunt doesn't go exactly as planned.  Stay tuned to see what I'm talking about...

February 25, 2011

Flippin' Good Time

Yowza!  These guys were somersaulting over Sarasota Bay during a recent Ski-A-Rees performance.  (Yes, they landed A-Okay.)  Ski-A-Rees is a local group which helps youth and adults learn how to water ski.  They're based on City Island, just down the road from St. Armands Circle, and have free shows every Sunday during tourist season (read:  now!).  I was excited to finally make it to my first show last weekend.  Not only was the performance entertaining, it was a great place to work on my sports action shots.  Anyone want to see a few more?

February 24, 2011

Antiques Roadshow

If you recognize this gentleman, you probably watch 'Antiques Roadshow' on PBS.  That's Lark Mason, who travels around the country appraising vases, clocks, statues -- you name it -- which people bring to him hoping against hope he'll declare the item actually is a priceless treasure.  Over the weekend, he was at Antiques & Appraisals, an event hosted by the Historical Society of Sarasota County.  Although Lark was sans television crew, it was still fascinating to watch him in action.  Once he opened the back of this clock it took him approximately 2.4 seconds to provide the following information:  it's a Seth-Thomas clock; manufactured in the 1920's; and Seth-Thomas mass produced this type of clock which significantly reduces its value.  At that point, I couldn't hear very well, but I believe he estimated the value at $50...or so. (Insert game show losing sound here.)

February 23, 2011

Watery Wednesday: Beasts in Boats #1

This guy was on Sarasota Bay, puttering inland, with his best furry friend tagging along.  Not sure, but maybe it was a little Jack Russell.  Whatever it was, the hound sure looked like he was having a good time, sitting up high with the wind in his face, staring straight ahead with his favorite human at his side.  (Enlarge to see what I'm talking about.)  For a few weeks, I've been contemplating starting a series about pampered pooches in boats.  Then, over the weekend, I saw so many canines cruising Sarasota Bay, I've decided it's a done deal.  Consider this photo the first in an ongoing series entitled "Beasts in Boats".  (I feel better about the generic word 'beast'....you never know...I could encounter a confused cat, bird, pot bellied pig or other furry, friendly beast.)  Click here to see other Watery Wednesday photos from around the world. 

February 22, 2011

Road Work Ahead

Anyone who is a runner will really appreciate this pic.   I snapped it in rural Sarasota County where there wasn't much of anything around.  Just a lot of road work ahead for those two guys to make it to their destination.  

February 21, 2011

Presidents' Day

It's Presidents' Day here in the U.S., and for most people, that means the banks are closed, the post office is closed and government offices are also closed in observance of all American presidents who have ever held office.  When it comes to this holiday, I still think of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, whose individual birthdays were commemorated throughout the nation when I was in grade school.  But, I thought I'd show a different president today:  Thomas Jefferson.  He served as the third American president after being the first Secretary of State and the primary drafter of the Declaration of Independence.  This bust is located in the Gallery of Patriots within Gillespie Park, which was donated by the Sarasota Hispanic-American Civic Association in the late 1970's.   You'll find busts of Washington and Lincoln there as well.

February 20, 2011

Sunset Dinner Cruise

Sushi was on the menu for this osprey which I spotted perched on a channel marker in Sarasota Bay at sunset.  It picked and picked at its dinner for quite some time.  Being elevated, maybe it was showing off its prize to other birds passing by.  I like all the activity in this scene:  the osprey eating, another bird cruising by to the left, someone standing nearby taking in the sunset, people walking the Ringling Bridge, and the big boat in the bay --  all in the sun's golden aura.  

February 19, 2011

Ernie Not Bert

One of the neat aspects of this blog is meeting people --- all of you in the CDP blogosphere, those that I've accosted for random street portraist and....my neighbor, Ernie (not Bert).  Shortly after I moved into the neighorhood nearly six years ago, I met my neighbor Ernie.  He literally lives next door and yet I could probably count on one hand the number of times we've actually seen each other.  Then, this past Christmas I was in my driveway, camera in hand, when Ernie pulled up.  He spotted my camera like a heat seeking missile.  Turns out he's quite the photographer with an impressive blog of his own:  ErnieNotBert.  Not only does he shoot incredible wildlife photos, but he's an avid collector of Christmas music.  The guy hunts down old vinyl, rips it and shares it on his blog during the holidays.  It's amazing.  If you like Christmas music, check out his blog between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Now, getting to this photo...about a month ago we hit the downtown farmers market for a quick photo shoot.  I'd never been out shooting with someone before and it was fun.  Hope this shot doesn't reveal too much of you, Ernie!

February 18, 2011

Sarasota Winter

69 degrees at 7 o'clock last night.  Lovely.
I was driving by Pop's Golf Center and snapped this shot before someone there starting driving.

February 17, 2011

Lighting Up the Park

A brilliant new addition to downtown Sarasota is a colorful array of decorative lights strung through the trees in Selby Five Points Park.  The lights change colors...from purple to red to turquoise to green to red, white and blue and more.  They fade up and down and sometimes pulsate.  They even can be programmed for special occasions.  For example, they could glow pink in October for breast cancer awareness month.  Pretty cool!  Enlarge the pic to see lots more detail.

February 16, 2011

Watery Wednesday: Comin' About

Although it may look like these young sailors are being tossed off their little vessel, actually they were practicing their sailing skills, like coming about, on Sarasota Bay last night.  I don't know for sure, but most likely they're part of the Sarasota Sailing Squadron which is located nearby and offers affordable sailing classes, lessons etc. to those who are interested.  To see other Watery Wednesday photos from around the world click here.

February 15, 2011

Cadets on the Run

These cadets from Sarasota Military Academy were taking a post-school run last week in the cold rain.  And, not one of them looked miserable.  They just looked determined to accomplish their task.  (The kids leading the pack were flying.)  SMA is an excellent choice not just for young students interested in pursuing a military career, but for those who may need a more regimented routine and discipline than what you find in a traditional public classroom.  Every SMA cadet I've ever met has been very polite and represented their school well.   Onward!

February 14, 2011

Manatee Monday

A popular day trip from Sarasota this time of year is to travel to the Tampa area or Ft. Myers to see the manatees.   Once the water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico drops below 68 degrees, the manatees move inland searching for warm water.  Either they head to the springs, which are a continuous 72 degrees year-round, or they maneuver their way to the channels near the electric company plants where warm water is discharged.  I was in Ft. Myers yesterday near the Florida Power and Light plant and saw....
dozens and dozens (and dozens!) of manatees.  Sea cows, as they're affectionately, known are so gosh darn cute -- and huge.  It's common for them to weigh about 1,000 pounds and eat 8-11% of their weight every day in vegetation.  That's about 100 pounds of sea grass!

February 13, 2011

Sign of the Times

A work crew spent a couple of days this week erecting the new sign for the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium.  It looks like it's a digital display message board, which should be easy to read as you drive by.  Renovations of the stadium are coming along quite nicely, but there's no time for anyone to take their foot off the accelerator.  Spring training starts in just a couple of weeks!  Every day/night I drive by the stadium it's bustling with activity.  It's going to be an exciting race to the finish.  

February 12, 2011

Art of being a Student

I met Susan briefly at Bird Key Park near downtown.  I say 'briefly' because it was too chilly to chat comfortably and she was occupied -- not only painting but trying to keep her fingers warm enough to maintain enough flexibility for her brushstrokes.  Susan, as most people in Sarasota would guess, is a student at the Ringling School of Art & Design.  She's a sophomore studying computer animation, which is what Ringling is really well known for.  (Think of any Pixar movie and Ringling grads helped create it.)  With an impeccable American accent she told me she's from Hong Kong (studied at an international school) and attended a seminar there, where (tho and behold) a Ringling recruiter gave a presentation detailing what the school has to offer.  Apparently, she liked what she heard!  By the way, she was painting Sarasota Bay for a landscape painting class.  (I wouldn't even know where to begin with an assignment like that.)  

February 11, 2011

Big Top

What do you do in Sarasota on a cold, rainy night?  Head under a big top!  Circus Sarasota has temporarily set up three big tops with nightly performances.  In the winter, they offer family entertainment to the public.  The rest of the year, Circus Sarasota is a professional school for those interested in learning the ropes (so to speak) of the circus biz.  I was driving by last night when the bright lights and big tops lured me over for a shot, even though it was chilly, drizzly and muddy.   I could hear the ringmaster all the way in the parking lot and it sounded like the crowd was warm, dry and having fun.  

February 10, 2011

Photography 101: Portrait

For my final photography class, my assignment this week was to shoot a portrait.  Most people, I suppose, interpret portrait as a full frame face shot.  But, my take on it leans more toward photojournalism and showing someone in their element.  When I saw this guy, Harry Brown, riding his bicycle down Orange Avenue, I was driving to an appointment and didn't have much time to spare.  So, I kept going.  But, gosh, he was so captivating with his old bike, basket, flashlight, spectacles, toothpick and cowboy hat.  I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw he was still heading in my direction.  So, I pulled over and hopped out, camera in hand, just as he cruised up.  He was happy to spend a few minutes posing for me.   I learned he lives in North Sarasota, served in the Army during Vietnam and has a passion to start his own church.    God bless you, Harry.

February 9, 2011

Watery Wednesday: Drama Queen

Mother Nature can be such a drama queen!  This was one of the most dramatic sunsets I've seen in a long time.  A couple of weeks ago, I showed you this shot from the same sunset taken about ten minutes earlier on Turtle Beach on Siesta Key.  It was one of those cloudy skies where I thought  there was no chance of a pretty sunset and then seemingly out of nowhere Mother Nature put on quite the impressive show. She whipped out her pallet and suddenly pinks and melons were streaking through the clouds....followed by lavenders and greys tentacling across the sky...and then...the piece de resistance....flaming oranges and reds backlighting the scene and reflecting off the Gulf of Mexico.  Wow.  By the way, this is straight out of the camera.   To see other Watery Wednesday photos from around the world click here.

February 8, 2011


I'm always amazed by people who can read anywhere.  I mean really read.  I noticed this woman perched on a windowsill at LaZare Gallery, a new antique store in downtown Sarasota.  She was so engrossed in what she was reading, she never noticed me just a few feet away snapping photos of her.  Of course, I just had to know what was so interesting, so I introduced myself (and Sarasota Daily Photo).  Turns out her name is Debbie and she was visiting from Chicago. Any guesses as to what she was reading? Anyone? Anyone??  Drum roll please! It was a book detailing.....the history of the United States.  ((ta-dah!))    Thanks, Debbie, for letting SDP interrupt you for a moment.

February 7, 2011

Ceramic Pooch

This adorable dog sculpture was on display at the Sarasota Masters Art Festival held in downtown over the weekend.  The gentleman in the background, Scott Causey, is the artist and he was explaining to a passerby how he makes his colorful ceramic pieces.  They're very eye catching and he seems to favor all kinds of animals:  dogs, cats, monkeys, frogs, you name it.  Best of all he's a local Sarasota artist.  Check out his website:  www.scott.causey.com

February 6, 2011

Citrus Square

Citrus Square is a fairly new development near downtown with condos upstairs and stores downstairs including a cafe, chocolatier and dry cleaners.  It's also where Pomona Bistro is located, which I introduced you to recently.  I really like the design and colors of the building, as well as the attention to detail.  Nothing cookie cutter about this!

February 5, 2011

Where Are We?

There seems to be a teensy bit (just a smidge) of angst in the blogosphere regarding the outcome of the recent SDP poll and the concept that the entire SDP staff will now consider photo opps outside of Sarasota (but within the Sunshine State).  To give you an idea of what we're talking about, I present to you today's photo.  These are two ospreys which I spotted recently on Boca Grande, a beautiful island about 70 miles south of Sarasota.  This photo very well could have been taken in Sarasota, since there are lots of ospreys here.  But, under the original strict guidelines of only posting photos from Sarasota, this photo never would have made it into the blogosphere.  Who could pass up a post like this?  And yet, these types of posts will be few and far between.  After all, this is Sarasota Daily Photo.

February 4, 2011

Photography 101: Marketing a Product

I mentioned recently that I'm trundling up to Tampa for a weekly photography class.  This week's assignment was marketing a product, and this was my submission.  Despite someone off-screen relentlessly trying to nip at the prop, all in all, it went well.  Many thanks to the Leggy Blonde for the location, props and unparalleled acting.  I'm sold on this product!  Care to join me in a glass? (after 5 p.m., of course)

In other news....voting officially ended last night for the SDP poll which posed the question, "Would you like to see photos from places other than Sarasota?"  I'm pleased to report there will be no recount here in Sarasota, Florida.  The overwhelming response was 'yes' with 80% of the vote.  Management has instructed the entire staff here at SDP to keep Sarasota as the main focus, with the occasional post from elsewhere, preferably within Florida.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote!

February 3, 2011

Squirrels? What Squirrels?!

Despite hoping and hoping that a squirrel would (safely) scamper across the street while I was taking this photo, it just didn't happen.  Perhaps I was too focused on the sign to notice anything else.  

February 2, 2011

Watery Wednesday: Sarasota Bay Sunset

After I snapped yesterday's post, I spun my camera and tripod around approximately 180 degrees and waited.....for this.  We've been having some beautiful sunsets recently.  That's the Ringling Bridge spanning Sarasota Bay.  From base to base, it's exactly one mile and a popular place to run or walk.  To see other Watery Wednesday captures click here.

February 1, 2011

Theme Day: Fountains

Today is theme day in the City Daily Photo community.  And, this time the theme is.....fountains!   This is the dolphin fountain at Bayfront Park right on Sarasota Bay near downtown.  It's definitely a must-see when strolling the bayfront.   I snapped this shot last night and there were so many people enjoying the beautiful evening, I'm surprised I was able to take a photo without any walkers, runners or tourists making their way into the frame.  Click here to view thumbnails from all theme day participants from around the world.