I really loved these images!
I love Florida! I love the weather. I love the beaches. I love canoeing down the Hillsborough River and I love Hibiscus flowers.
I enjoy the diversity of people here, and especially the Cuban-Spanish flavor of the state. I cherish hearing and reading my native Spanish language in mom-n-pop restaurants and shops, and listening to Caribbean music. I’m excited by the local art, the colors, the feel of the gulf breezes, and the warmth of the sun. I especially adore the Food!!
I adore the trees!
I often interact with people who have moved here from the north and I tire of hearing them complain about how uncultured we are in Florida, or how undesirable our communities are because of the multicultural dynamics and poor-quality of education we have here. I can’t help wondering why these people stay here. Go back home people! We don’t want you to be unhappy here. Please return to Boston, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, New York, Michigan or wherever else you came from and leaves us the hell alone here! Every state has it’s own unique beauty. I know what my state has and why I live here. Those northerners who do like it here, and appreciate our diversity, WELCOME! We love having you!
I remember a different Florida than the condominium sculpted, cookie-cutter-subdivision-dotted version I live in now. It’s still beautiful, but in a different way.
I often long for the Old Florida I remember and I enjoy exploring out-of-the way country roads that wind through scenic rural counties. It is off these roads where you can still catch glimpses of the Florida I grew-up in. It was wild, free, sprawling and open. The air was filled with the scent of orange-blossoms, night blooming-jasmine, freshly baked Cuban bread, fresh roasted Cuban coffee, and my grandfather’s Cuban cigars. Mango, avocado, guava, orange, and lime trees grew everywhere. There were no privacy fences then to separate neighbors from each-other. It was common to share pot-luck dinners at backyard picnic tables and all the neighbors would bring a dish. As kids we would catch fire-flies in empty jelly jars and watch them light up, or chase the city truck that would come around in the evenings to spray for mosquitos. After dinner we would all move to the front porches to listen to the old stories and current gossip, or political debates. Dominoes were played every week and music was always playing. The doors were never locked, and every child new someone’s mother or grandmother was watching them. It was normal to have your grandparents living with you or next door to you. And you could walk to the local store, bakery, butcher, or soda pop shop. Doctors paid home visits then. Does anyone remember that world? That was the world I grew-up in. It was a different world then.
I visited the Hillsborough River State Park this weekend. I hadn’t been there in many years. Once I got there I couldn’t help but ask myself why it had been so long since I’d been there. It was just mesmerizing. I was swept back in time to the Florida I grew-up in. I saw myself playing in the wild over-growth of undeveloped lots in my neighborhood, and plucking hibiscus flowers to suck their sweet sap before the bees could.
Yes! The Honey was worth all the bee stings:-)
I know that time will never again return, but I can’t walk past a pink hibiscus without becoming nostalgic and longing for a time when life was simpler.
There are still small out of the way towns in Florida that have kept that Old-Florida feel. Mount Dora is one, Melbourne is another. Auburndale, Howie-in-the-Hills, Lakeland, and Polk City are other areas that also have that Old-Florida-Style feel about them. These places have open pasture-lands, small quaint town-centers, and are sparsely populated. They remind me of the Florida I remember.
Government doesn’t do a lot right but the State of Florida has done an awesome job of preserving little pieces of Florida. The Hillsborough River Park is a true reflection of the beauty that was, and still is Florida.
********************************************************************* A memorable moment from my visit occurred when I took this little shot of my readers on the bridge. The last time I saw my glasses they were at the bottom of the river looking at me. It was worth it–Like the honey. Losing my glasses to the river was just a small sting to bear for the honey I took from the river with my camera.
Other cool shots I took this weekend:
With the exception of the pictures of me, and the one of the palomilla-steak dinner, all the photographs contained in this post were shot by me using my Panasonic DMC-G2 DSLR camera. I used a Tamaron 28-300mm/3.5 lens in manual mode to shoot the Prayer of the Woods, and the black and white canopy. All other shots were taken using the same camera but in aperture priority mode with my Leica 2.8/14-50 mm lens. The shots of me were taken by my friend, and photographic mentor,Tom Feazel, retired architect and aerial photographer. Tom used his Panasonic G-1 DSLR camera, and shot in auto mode / with his Leica lens.
On Sunday morning a beautiful Dragon Fly landed on Tom’s Allante and sat there for several minutes. I thought it was dead and decided to snap a picture of it’s perfectly stretched out wings. The minute I snapped my shutter, the fly came to life and flew at me resulting in a terribly out of focus picture.
Here is the equipment I used at Lake Agnes to shoot the birds: Panasonic DMC G-2, Lumix 200 mm lens, Nikon 300mm Telephoto lens, 300mm Tamaron lens.
Another little indulgence of mine is treasure hunting in local thrift shops. I found this great little deal today! A coffee table, and side table with wood tops and solid wrought iron bases, both for $15.00. I thought I’d get a few practice shots of furniture to add to my work. Here are my new tables. Yep, that’s what I’m talking about! I used a Panasonic DMC G-2 with nikon 1.4 / 28-80mm lens for these shot with a flash.
This is going to work great in my apartment.
The Hysterical Arch Ink by Salvador Dali
On my way home with my treasures I stopped to explore a wooden walkway that led into the mangroves on the side of the road.
I couldn’t resist snapping my shutter a few times. . .
you never know what you’ll find here. . .
For the Mangrove Walk shots I used a Panasonic DMC G-2 with nikon 1.4 / 28-80mm lens for these, which I shot in natural light / Sun.
Enjoy and Soar!
This weekend I visited Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida. If you don’t know what the Bok Tower Gardens are, or who Edward Bok was, then visit these links: http://boktowergardens.org/about/the-singing-tower/ http://boktowergardens.org/about/edward-bok/ . I used a Panasonic G2 DSLR, 14-50mm, 45-200mm, and I shot in Program and manual mode, natural light / full sun.
It is well worth the trip to experience this lovely piece of architecture, and soak in the peaceful energy that permeates the grounds. Here are a few of the pictures I snapped. . . Enjoy and Soar!
This is just such a peaceful place. The picture above shows a wonderful picnic spot with a view from this highpoint to the valley below . . . rare in Florida! There are benches scattered throughout the grounds and plenty of shade. It’s fabulous to just sit in the shade and take in the beauty of this place…imagine that once all of Florida was this serene, natural and wild…ahhhaa…
To quote my friend and photographic mentor, Thomas A. Feazel, The next two pictures were “shamelessly stolen” from the Bok Tower Gardens facebook page and are included here for pure effect. . . and the message they deliver!
Have a happy day…and don’t forget to stop and enjoy the flowers along the way.
This weekend I spent a lazy afternoon clicking away downtown. I enjoy seeing the world from unusual view points. When I shoot buildings I like to emphasize certain perspectives. Like standing close to a building and shooting up, or shooting from any angle that makes the building dramatic and more interesting to look at. I like to draw attention to architectural features that may go unnoticed when viewed from a normal perspective. I’m not normal…I don’t want my photography to be normal. I want it to be a raw memory of what inspired me. Normal can never inspire me.
Enjoy and Soar!
I used a Panasonic Lumix G2 DSLR and 45-200mm lens. I shot these on Sunday, May 8, 2011 between 1:44 – 3:00 p.m. in full sun, in manual mode. The picture of “Beer Can Building” I shot with my Sony 14.1 mega pixel point and shoot, in program mode. All but one of these images are the original versions as I shot them. The one of the pigeon I cropped and used a fill light and adjusted the shadows to draw out the pigeon in flight from the grey background. Unfortunately, my lens protector had a scratch which shows up in each of these pictures as a small gray spot. It looks like a flying saucer LOL!
I love this shot. It makes such a dramatic statement! The layered rectangular segments resemble stairs and contrast nicely against the rounded features. The lines of the edges repeat uniformly, as do the windows of the building, and combine into a rhythmic pattern.
The colors and angles create an interesting view from the bottom up…
On February 19, 2011 I visited the Butterfly Exhibit at Gainnesville and photographed the afternoon release of male butterflies. These are amazing creatures that mesmerize with their beauty and their magical transformation from lowly caterpillars, into spectacular butterflies.
This black and white beauty is my favorite. He was magnificent against the pink and white flowers.
PixLexia Artified Photos, a set on Flickr.