Running Away to the Circus

John Ringling evidently was a man of such few words that when I googled him I came up with only these words associated with him

” John Ringling, Master of the Big Top!”

Follow your Destiny

Follow your Destiny
Clowns
Clowns

Running away to the Circus deserves a long dissertation, but really, this is one of those experiences where words just fail to accurately describe feelings. How can I convey the colors, the smell, or the weirdness the Circus embodied for me.

It was never my favorite place.

Other than the food, and a few cool rides, I really always felt it was dirty, dingy and filled with weird anomalies that never appealed to me. Animals in cages, and the such, just seemed unnatural, it still does.

Nonetheless, a visit to the Ringling Museum and Ca’ D’Zan proves plenty of people differ from me in their feelings about the Circus. Especially the Circus Vehicles . .

Tom and I recently escaped South and along our travels we stopped in on Ca’ D’Zan and the other Circus museums.

Run from comfort
Run from comfort

I love Ca’ D’Zan for the photographic opportunities it offers, and if you’ve never been there it is worth the admission to check out this collection of Circus memorabilia. The Ringling Mansion with it’s ornate furnishings and art collection, great views, rose gardens, and the breathtaking terrace at the back of the house that looks out onto the open sea, is sure to leave a lasting impression.

The Rose Gardens

Here are some of the images I captured on my visit.

A few more worth posting

HARBOR VISTAS

Just a beautiful day in paradise and all the locals came out to play . . .

The music was loud and wild,

Cool boats, walks, bridges, buildings, and walkways . . .

Love was in the air

Leaving H.I.

Self Portrait Reflections
Self Portrait Reflections
The End
The End

A walk in the woods

Thick with trees . . .
Thick with trees . . .

There are times when I long to retreat into nature.  I particularly enjoy immersing myself in the woods. The trees tell me a story of survival. Their scars  speak to the assaults they have survived.  

Beyond loving the adventure of finding an almost undisturbed patch of woods in the city area, I particularly enjoy the colors, the textures, the unique forms and lines of the vegetation. In their higher mystery of being, if you listen and look carefully, the trees will reveal letters and numbers.

 

This particular place is close to where I live and is thick with trees, it’s a rarity that I know will not be available very long.  I try to visit it often, always hopeful that it will still be there.

 It’s a perfect setting for afternoon teddy bear tea photography settings. . . .

Inner City Woods
Inner City Woods

With just a wee bit of imagination you can visualize tree fairies, wood nymphs,

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but beware, there maybe a minotaur lurking nearby. . .

Flower games . . .

He loves me . . . he loves me not . . .
He loves me . . . he loves me not . . .

Shooting Mansions and Castles

Photograph by Thomas Feazel, Edited and Colorized by Marylia (Mo) Garcia / Pixlexia.com
Photograph by Thomas Feazel, Edited and Colorized by Marylia (Mo) Garcia / Pixlexia.com

Tom and I took some much-needed R&R time for ourselves after Saturday’s super secret shoot and drove South. I haven’t even begun to process the images I took but I have a new location in mind for my next shoot. This place is perfect for a wedding photo session.  We had a great time, the trip was fun, and we spent hours roaming and exploring, until a strong thunderstorm ran us off. We changed out of our wet clothes in a public bathroom, and stopped for a scrumptuous dinner at Leroy Selmon’s before heading back home.  I was really proud of Tom’s pictures this trip. He captured some really dramatic shots.  He snapped a few shots of me just before the skies broke open with rain. This series was blown out, but I asked him to let me work some magic on them and voila’ it’s a masterpiece.   Can you guess where we were shooting?

Daiana’s Pictures of Melissa and Tom’s Wedding

I’ve now posted Daiana’s pictures on her own blog. You can view her images at http://daianaadams.wordpress.com.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep the high number of images posted here for an unlimited time because I am close to running out of storage space for my own photographs. I have two big shoots this weekend in Lakeland, and would have to buy more space to post those images. Virtual space isn’t cheap! Beside’s, Daiana’s work should be viewable on her own site.  Let me say, that Daiana is the only photographer I would shoot with.

MOT_2545 Image by Marylia (Mo) Garcia, Pixlexia Photography. Taken at Melissa and Tom’s Wedding on Captiva 2/16/2013

I met with Diana to review with her how to upload and manage her images on her blog, which  I had created for her about a year ago.  The photo of Daiana I used for her header is one I took of her at picnic island a few years ago. and one of my favorites. Daiana is one of my favorite subjects to shoot, because I always capture terrific images of her.

Other than the mentoring Tom gave to me, no one has helped Daiana or me, as we moved along in our photography. When I started taking pictures, it was just for fun and all I wanted to do was take pictures. I was fascinated with uploading and viewing the images on my computer screen.  I really was not interested in printing. I had no idea that there was a difference in printing qualities, or the importance of color management. I assumed everyone would be satisfied with taking the images I gave them on a disc to Walgreens or CVS to have printed.  As I began to explore applying effects, and doing other alterations to my original images, I realized that controlling the quality of the final printed image is imperative. At least for the type of work I strive for. I like to shoot files that can be blown up to 30X40 sizes and these can’t be handled at a Walgreens. I just don’t want my work associated with a Walgreens type of product.

I also refuse to hand a client discs containing 1000s of images. This just overwhelms the client, and truly is not professional. I find it a better experience for the client to give them a pre-selected collection of 200 – 300 images, and perhaps an already laid out photo album or book.

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Image by Marylia (Mo) Garcia, Pixlexia.com
MOT_2012
 Image by Marylia (Mo) Garcia, Pixlexia.com
As much as I didn’t want to mess with printing, my clients wanted prints. They demanded prints, I had to provide a way for my clients to obtain prints that would be of the caliber and quality I want my work associated with. I spent a lot of time and money, working on this and found a few excellent sources for prints. I shared one of my sources with Daiana, but she is sworn to secrecy and if she is smart, she will remember that no one helped us and won’t divulge the sources. If she does, I won’t share anything else with her 🙂 And I have other sources 🙂

MOT_2547 IMAGE by Marylia (Mo) Garcia, Pixlexia.com

Daiana is a very good photographer and should do very well with her work. She has a spontaneous and artistic eye, and her images are well composed. Daiana and I both are passionate about our work, and really became focused after taking a digital photography class at the museum of photography in downtown Tampa.

Of course, my mentor Tom Feazel has taught me so very much about photography, and through his influence I have developed a special interest in architectural photography, which influences the compositions of my portraiture work as well as other shoots. Although I want to work with other photographers, I understand the importance of maintaining a particular style that I am trying to achieve. Shooting with others sometimes waters down a photographers style, and that is something to be cautious of. I don’t want to be influenced by someone else’s ideas of how I should capture or where I should position my subjects, and likewise I don’t want to push my views on anyone else. All in all, this was a great experience.

Paparrazzi
Paparrazzi – Image by Marylia (Mo) Garcia / Pixlexia.com

When Sara approached me to shoot Melissa’s wedding I immediately thought of inviting Daiana Adams to come along as the second shooter. I’ve shot with Daiana before and it’s always an enjoyable experience, with us both coming away with contrasting images. To be honest, I was a bit uncomfortable taking on this out-of-town-wedding-shoot by myself. I mean, what if I missed important shots, and setting up a second or third camera on a tripod would be very hard to manage alone. I’d be distracted worrying about my equipment, etc. I felt that bringing Daiana along, would ensure we didn’t miss anything. And I was very happy when she immediately came on board. Between the two of us, we managed to cover all the angles. It was a great shoot. We have quite different photographic eyes. I took a photo-journalistic approach documenting the wedding as it unfolded from preparation to end, and capturing the architectural features and flavors of the day. Daiana’s shots captured special moments between the couple, great group shots, and spontaneous shots with the kids and guest.

IMG_0895 image by Daiana Adams Photography

IMG_0902 image by Daiana Adams Photography

IMG_0814 image by Daiana Adams Photography

I am grateful to both, Sara Primeau for giving me the opportunity to do this, and to Melissa and Tom for trusting their special event to my hands. I hope I did not let them down.

MO

Yellow Party

The bride and her cousins
The bride and her cousins
The Dholki line, led by the brides young cousins prepares to  bring the bride out to her public. The Dholki is carried by her brother, and his best friend.
The Dholki line, led by the brides young cousins prepares to bring the bride out to her public. The Dholki is carried by her brother, and his best friend.
The Brides young cousins lead the Dholki procession
The Brides young cousins lead the Dholki procession
Here comes the bride . . .
Here comes the bride . . .

Last week I was asked to photograph a Dolki Ceremony for a Pakistani Friend. I had no idea what that was except that it was connected to her daughter’s wedding. I knew this was part of Hina’s Moslem traditions and I was a little concerned with making sure I was appropriately behaved: -)  I’ve worked with Hina for many years and I know she is a sweet and gentle lady, so I was perfectly comfortable with her friends and family.

Hina told me that I would really enjoy taking pictures at this property. She said it was a “large pretty house” that belonged to friends of hers. She was right! I loved the property . . . well see for yourself.

The Entrance Gates
The Entrance Gates
Drive to the Front  of the house from the entry gate.
Drive to the Front of the house from the entry gate.

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View from drive as you approach the front  of the house.
View from drive as you approach the front of the house.
As the sunset and early evening set in . . .
As the sun sets and dusk sets in . . .
Stunning Statues throughout . . . This is one is located in one of the islands along the drive up to the house.
Stunning Statues throughout . . . This one is located in the island at the end of the drive leading to the house.
One of several gorgeous fountains
One of several gorgeous fountains
Another view of the fountain at front of house
Another view of the fountain at front of house
Blue lights in the bell towers
Blue lights in the bell towers
Fabulous architectural features that work is lights to cast shadows in dramatic ways.
Fabulous architectural features that work with lights to cast shadows in dramatic ways.
Greek or Roman Gods and Goddesses . . . dramatic.
Greek or Roman Gods and Goddesses . . . did I mention drama!
The front garden lit up at night
The front garden lit up at night
View of house at night from front cedar garden
View of house at night from front cedar garden

Wait, there’s more. That was just the front of the house.


In the Pakaistani custom, there are several traditional ceremonies that take place leading up to and finalizing the wedding process. Dolki or Dholki is one of those. Dolki is a popular ceremony of singing traditional wedding & popular songs accompanied by two or three percussion instruments Dolki being the main. The girl is officially treated as a bride (dulhan). She wears the traditional Pakistani yellow outfit. Her brothers, sisters, and cousins bring her (bride) in the dholki party. You can read more here:  http://www.hilalplaza.com/pakistani-wedding-customs/

Dolki Decorations

Pre-party preparations

I was in Albuquerque when Hina’s daughter’s engagement party was held, so Daiana photographed that event. As always, Daiana’s pictures were lovely. The engagement party was held at the Columbia restaurant and the guest were entertained by Flamenco Dancers. I was invited by Hina to photograph the Dholki party and to attend the Mehendi Henna Party the next day at Ruth Eckerd Hall.  I had a great time photographing this event by myself. I usually ask Daiana to accompany me as a second shooter for large events. But I must say that doing an event like this alone was a great experience.

This party was so well-organized, and such a happy event. The host and hostess were so sweet and very accommodating. They let me have access to almost every corner of their home for photos. All the guest were welcoming and cooperative, the location was gorgeous, the food was wonderful, the music was lively and made me want to dance. The Dholki decorations were colorful, stylish, and festively set a happy mood for the day. It was sweet to watch the different groupings of family and friends interact with each other. Children running and playing, men conversing, and the woman walking around in their elegant dresses. They greeted each other with hugs and kisses and everyone looked striking in their beautiful traditional outfits. The women’s outfits were especially rich in color and a fine contrast to the western influenced accessories worn.

Beautiful bride
Beautiful bride

All the women looked beautiful, I want to know who does their eyebrows, because they all had perfectly coiffed eyebrows, stunningly accentuated eyes, and fabulously perfect smiles. I became ill the next day and had to miss the henna party. I so regret not being there to experience that.