fantasy images, Florida landmarks, fun, history, learning, photography, special effects, technology

The ‘atmospheric’ style…

When the Tampa Theatre was built in 1926, the movie studios controlled the production, distribution, and venues where their movies were played.  John Eberson was the most sought after movie house designer of the times, and he pioneered the ‘atmospheric’ style, of which it was said that the Tampa Theatre was his favorite design.  Movie goers were to be transported, for several hours at least, to exotic courtyards, under moonlight skies complete with stars.  The theater survived the  Great Depression and WW2, but by the 70s it took a monumental effort to rescue this theater from becoming a parking lot.  Today the Tampa Theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places, and hosts more than 600 events each year.  Tours are held several times a month and the one I attended today was quite informative and entertaining.  And I learned that a silent film is scheduled to be shown on June 2nd, complete with a live orchestra.  There aren’t many people with the skills to play the Wurlitzer Theatre Organ, and we were treated to a few tunes played for us today.

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Even with the new camera the size of the spaces in the theater were a challenge to photograph.  Even in the theater itself it’s hard to get far enough away to see it all in your viewer with the balconies overhead.  The starry, starry sky effect is quite lovely, and the photos don’t do it justice.  This was a fun way to spend a rainy day.  Thanks to the photographer friend who suggested this as a photo op.  I looked it up this morning and found I had just enough time to get myself there for the tour.  Must have been meant to be!

P. S. Love the new camera!

adventure, Florida landmarks, go with the flow, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, sunset, weather

Talking photography…

There are days, like my big Friday photo safari, where you find yourself taking photos all day long.  Then there are days, like today, when you wind up doing a lot more talking about taking photos, and editing photos, than you do taking new photos.  But if you are lucky, like me, you were out for the sunset at Fred Howard Park on Wednesday night.  Followed by a quick trip to the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs for a few night photos.  But it was odd to not be surrounded by lots of tourists on the street, and lots of the shops weren’t lit up as late as I was there, so I headed for home and waited to work on the photos until today.  After all the rain we have had lately it was so nice to be outside in the sunshine, and then a pretty sunset to boot. This weather cycle is going to be with us a bit longer, and there is more thunder and lightning out there even as I type.  I’m thinking an Ark might be in order…5-23Rustybellies5-23beachHDR

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Florida landmarks, learning, live and learn, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

Sacred Heart Catholic Church…

When I saw that there was going to be a photo opportunity at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Tampa I signed on right away.  At that moment I didn’t know that it was one of the oldest churches in the city of Tampa, built in 1905, and I certainly couldn’t have known how incredibly beautiful it would be inside.  There were about 30 photographers in the church, and I’ve already seen some truly wonderful images that they have posted after the shoot today.  One person chose to shoot close up details of the simplest things, things I never noticed at all.  Someone else posted wonderful photos of the windows and structure of the church itself, similar to these but better composition.  But this is how you learn, seeing things from another person’s perspective opens your eyes.  Just keep shooting they say…

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Florida landmarks, friends, fun, history, old dogs new tricks, photography, technology, Ybor City

Historic Ybor City…

Ybor City was founded by immigrants in the 1880s by Vincento Martinez-Ybor and other cigar manufacturers, and for the next 60 years thousands of immigrants from Cuba, Spain, and Italy made a living rolling fine cigars there.  The city was unique in that it was founded and populated by immigrants, who prospered and helped grow Tampa into a bustling city in only 20 years.  But the Great Depression reduced the demand for fine cigars, and by the 1970s parts of the area were completely abandoned.  The area has since been deemed an historic district and 7th Avenue has become an entertainment and night club hub, and in 2008 7th Avenue in Ybor City was designated as one of the 10 best streets in America.  We visited on Wednesday night for some night photo ops, and a stop at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company to fortify ourselves for the drive home.  We were only a few of the people who were enjoying ourselves in Ybor City last night.

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adventure, birds, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, Nature's beautiful creatures, photography, The Narrows

The Narrows…

My friend Larry was already a ‘bird brain’ when he attended a talk given by the director of the Education Center at The Narrows.  When he heard that the director thought that the birds should be among the people, and the people should be among the birds he was impressed.  But when he heard that these birds provide rehabilitation for people who are suffering from trauma from many sources, as well as receiving rehabilitation themselves, and/or a permanent home if they aren’t deemed able to survive on their own, he was hooked and became a volunteer.  A chance encounter with someone with a lot of knowledge of birds, and who was willing to share that knowledge, was what had sparked his interest in birds, and he is doing a great job of sharing the knowledge he has gained.  The volunteers take care of the birds, clean the cages, and hand feed when needed, but also walk along the paths in the park, lovely shaded paths, with birds on their arm, and stop to talk with visitors about the animals.  I wish I had known about this facility when I had visitors recently so that I could have recommended a visit to them.  So I am recommending a visit to you if you are ever in the Tampa Bay area.  You can check them out at Largonature.com.

Hand feeding…4-18handfeeding

This is Slayer. He, along with Slasher, are American Kestrals.  They imprinted with people and that’s what prevents them from living in the wild.4-18slasherorslayer1

Shay is a Red-tailed hawk who lost part of his wing and now is a resident at The Narrows.4-18Shay

When I say that this little Screech Owl is little I’m not kidding.  Take the mental image you just got and divide by two.  Larry had taken pictures of one once, he couldn’t see the bird but took the pictures based on what the people around him were saying, and was amazed when he looked at the pictures in the computer later.  That’s when he saw the owl.  I took this picture when he held this little guy up to demonstrate to me this ability to blend in, and then he did the same for some young girls who were walking along the path.  But the tree he used then didn’t have the heavily textured bark that this tree had and I didn’t expect the same result.  I was wrong, it blended just as well, and the girls were quite amazed.

4-18screechowl14-18screech2If there was an aspect of photography that I would have said that I wasn’t interested in it would have been portraits.  But when you are so close to these birds you almost don’t have a choice, but that’s not a complaint.  When do you get to see them in such detail?

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This Great Blue Heron is just a visitor, but since he posed so nicely I also took his picture.

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adventure, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, nature, photography

Gatorland…

It seems silly now, but in anticipation of the photo shoot at Gatorland I was thinking primarily of shooting photos of birds.  Because it was presented as Gatorland & Bird Rookery.  I remember thinking that I hoped I’d get a good close up of an alligator eye.  Turns out there was no problem there.  I did not expect a lake chock full of alligators.  I had never seen alligators arch their backs and bring their heads up out of the water, and I had never heard them bellowing, but I did on Sunday.  Truth be told, alligators are not something I want to see, ever, but especially when they aren’t in a controlled environment as they were at Gatorland.  There was a sign explaining that it might seem odd that the birds nest in relatively low branches of the trees lining the shore, but that the alligators keep the other predators away.  But it did say that leaping alligators sometimes disprove that theory.  I was amazed to see the wading birds walking among the alligators in shallow waters, maybe they have declared a truce…4-1gator24-1gator34-1gator44-1gatorfeature4-1iphonegators4-1ziplineI thought that it would be a great idea if our fearless leader rode the zipline and provided a very exciting photo op, what with the alligators leaping up to nip at him.  But they weren’t running the zipline that day.  Maybe next time…