Saturday, October 31, 2009

Great White Egret hauling rowboat

This egret appears to be using all his strength and determination to haul this rowboat out of the tall grasses and into the water. He started out 5 lbs heavier and is working up quite a feathery sweat; it's this un-autumn-like heat and humidity. Good luck Mr. Great White! Enjoy a good, long cooling splash in the water.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Season 4 Episode 16

Columbia Drive, on Davis Islands, has a front row seat to all the comings and goings along the channels. From commercial shipping, naval vessels and tugs, to pleasure craft, sailboats and powered, of every size and description, it's always busy and entertaining. This is the water route that the pirate ship Jose Gaspar follows on its invasion of the city...and the hundred of smaller craft that follow.

Even the sky provides a glorious and never ending show from this spot.

Visit Skywatch Friday to see the beauty and wonders of the world's most magnificent skies.

It's always an amazing show brought to you by Skywatchers from all over the planet.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Naughty Rockin'

Sure, it appears these two boats are simply tied bow to bow at adjacent docks. But look closer. It doesn't happen often, but prams and other small watercraft have been known to result from this kind of naughty, nautical behavior. And then, with that kind of fast start in the world, the wee little rowboat grows up to be a 130mph Outerlimits powerboat. Yikes!! (And you thought this was just another pretty picture of Tampa's waterfront.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WATERY Wednesday #59

Tucked in on the Tampa side of the Howard Franklin Bridge over Old Tampa Bay, south of the bridge and interstate, is an area that for many years was the Tampa Bay Marina. Many folks have fond (OK, not all fond) memories of coming in and out of the docks there at all hours of the day and night. The marina itself is long gone and was replaced by streets, office complexes, homes and parking lots and garages. But in between and behind some of the buildings, and still surrounding the homes going out on the finger called Mariner Drive are canals (and even a nice size bayou.) One canal has rows of sailboats and a few powerboats at dock and up on davits behind homes. It can't get more "watery" then this scene.
Click HERE to see other wet and Watery Wednesday images from around the world.

I am so pleased to welcome
a new follower to Tampa Daily Photo. Floral-Friday is a weekly explosion of flowers, a blog "devoted entirely to Mother Nature’s beauty." If you like the unending variety of color and designs only found in flowers, you must check it out and participate HERE. I think you will like her blog

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No one can talk to a horse of course

This scene is not from Florida's premier horse country up near Ocala (where Jacob of Ocala Daily Photo calls home) or out in Central Florida on one of our many working cattle ranches. Nor is it a scene from Lori's wonderful Skoog Farm Journal up in western New York State. This is a good 'ole working saddle horse in a very typical wooden corral that is quite common in Florida - we do have more than half a million horses in the state. The industry, according to Florida Horse.Com, has a total economic impact on the state in the range of $7 billion each year. That's a lot of revenue we owe to this fine animals. Almost 250,000 Floridians are involved in the horse industry and there are 900 horse farms in Florida with over 72,000 employees.

I owned a big gelding years ago, named Gigolo. He was a great riding horse, English or Western, and it seemed he could eat his weight in sweet feed and hay every day. Good disposition and work ethic...he thought he was supposed to be cutting cattle, why I don't know. He might have had an early career on a ranch with his previous owner and he liked to be put through his paces on occasion. He was spoken to very often and pretty much told me where I could go.

This friendly American Paint was trying to find some shade under a wide canopy of oak trees and might have been hoping someone would saddle him up for a few minutes on the nearby hundreds of acres. So typical is the loose sand that he spends his days in and the extreme heat, humidity, moss, flies and mosquitoes he has to put up with. But, all-in-all, life is good and you can talk to a horse. OF COURSE you can. I did and asked him to pose. Can't you see the twinkle in his eye...yes, I did have a sugar cube and a carrot ready for him. He clearly spoke to me and said that's what he prefers.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Playhouse or Fort? How do you see it?

This is a well-designed and well-constructed miniature house. It's as solid as the real thing and at a distance, could pass for full-size. But, if you were to come upon it as a child of say 8-10 years old, would you call it a dollhouse, playhouse or a fort? As a kid I had treehouses in some pretty cool places - which I called forts: in a really good tree in some swampy bit of land in South Carolina (I can't believe we actually nailed boards to the tree to use as a ladder but it worked; behind an abandoned one-room schoolhouse with two cloakrooms - boys and girls couldn't take off their coats in the same room I guess - in the wind-swept open plains of Nebraska (fell out of that one in my Sunday clothes...not pretty); and my proudest achievement, a fort behind the house in Virginia. (Military brats tend to move around some; it improves and hones our fort-building skills.) My fort in Virginia had windows with screens, a front door and back doors, shingles and was sturdy enough to stand on (to fend off attackers.) It was my favorite and the one I put the most thought into. (It was warm and fun even in the snow and could hold a good size army of friends.) The last was the one my folks put the most money into supplying me with "building materials."

Never did I call it a playhouse...certainly not a dollhouse. I admit it did not look as perfect as this example with its fancy porch railings, shutters and a mailbox. The question is, is it the difference between how boys and girls are raised? Would any young girl spot this and think, "Wow, close the shutters, I must defend my fort from marauding hoards of neighborhood kids." Would a boy think, "I hope there's room for my car models and train in my playhouse."

Names aside, this was a superbly built little even had a ladder inside leading to a loft. Can you imagine? A loft. (Now, my forts never had lofts.)

WELCOME Joy Brasington of Joy in the Burbs , a new follower. Joy was born and raised in Tampa and moved away to The Woodlands, Texas, north of Houston. She found Tampa DP and my post on Sacred Heart Catholic Church and commented on how beautiful it is...and it is!. Do visit her blog; her post on simply raising her hand and volunteering is funny, real-life and so familiar to many of us.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

MONOCHROME Weekly: REFLECTIONS of nature abound

My thanks for challenging me each week to capture a small piece of my colorful world in black, white and shades of gray. (I'm always surprised when one of my black and whites images is showcased along with more outstanding photos by my fellow Monochrome Maniacs from around the world.)

This delightful Florida lake, though small and not exactly hidden in the boonies, is very attractive and provided me with lots of opportunities to see different parts and pieces of the natural world combined with the assorted things humans had introduced to make the lake more accommodating. Fishermen, boaters, swimmers and those who might just enjoy putting their feet up and snoozing for a while can all feel right at home here, fast. The small cabin, the dock and the trailer loaded with canoes fit well with the towering trees and water. It all seemed to fit together.

If you love your world in black and white, be sure and visit some of the world's most interesting places and experience the incredible photographic artistry of Monochrome Maniacs!

Check out other great WEEKEND REFLECTIONS HERE (that James is making possible through his blog, Newtown Daily Photo.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Magical Flaming Book Burning

A twinkling-eyed and bewhiskered magician in top hat and full regalia, Marty Capitano, entertained families and tons of kids today and I was captivated by his book which ignited upon opening and caught fire. Just opening his well-worn and ancient looking book revealed very real fire. Huge, HOT licking flames. It's magic but, oh so entertaining. Kind of hard to get the hot dancing flames to cooperate for the camera, but the trick in person is very realistic and captivating. How do magicians do that?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Season 4 Episode 15

The sky and Hillsborough Bay were very inviting and relaxing today. The arc in the water just a few feet from the shore are a series of Reef Balls®, or Oyster Domes, part of C.O.R.E. (Community Oyster Reef Enhancement) program that I posted about earlier in the summer. It's a project of Tampa Bay Watch. The oyster domes, which are placed in this position, help replace and replenish oysters in some of our struggling waterways. Thousands have been placed along Bayshore Boulevard, Ballast Point and around MacDill Air Force Base. Before they are placed in the water and begin to work, they look like some strange, odd-shaped alien devices with holes in them. They have changed quite a bit since July and become even more encrusted with oyster shells. They begin to look natural and part of the ecosystem. (If you want to see what they look like at the start, before they become part of the life in the bay, click HERE.)

Visit Skywatch Friday to see the beauty and wonders of the world's most magnificent skies. It's always an amazing show brought to you by Skywatchers from all over the planet.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Scared Heart stands tall and proud after almost 150 years

Catholicism came to the shores of Tampa Bay in 1528, with the first Spanish explorers. But a permanent settlement took many years as Native-Americans and other hearty pioneers continued to live along the shores of Hillsborough Bay. Although Tampa was the site of a U.S. Army post, Fort Brooke, from the early 19th century, the city wasn’t officially incorporated until 1855 (an earlier attempt at organization failed after it was incorporated as the “Village of Tampa” in 1849. Florida had become the 27th state in 1845.) Tampa's first census count in 1850 listed Tampa /Fort Brooke as having 974 residents, including the military personnel at the army post. Although there weren't many residents in the early 1850s, Hillsborough County commissioners gave property at Ashley Drive and Twiggs Street for a Catholic church. The property later was exchanged for this present site at Florida Avenue and Twiggs Street. In 1859, a frame church was erected on the site of the present Sacred Heart Church. It was named St. Louis Parish in honor of King Louis IX of France. (I posted a monochromatic shot taken in the St. Louis Catholic Cemetery HERE.)

really began to grow with the arrival of Henry Plant’s railroad in 1884, and then the opening of his Tampa Bay Hotel in 1891. Having outgrown the original church building, ground was broken for the present Scared Heart Catholic Church on February 16, 1898, and it was dedicated on January 15, 1905. It was on that date that the parish changed from St. Louis to Sacred Heart. It cost the Jesuits who had it built $300,000. The Romanesque-style architecture is graced with a combination of granite and white marble and the spectacular round window over the entrance. The church, which looks just as it did over a century ago, boasts 70 stained glass windows which were all made for the new building by Franz Mayer Co. of Munich, Germany (which has been in business of since 1848, and making stained glass since about 1860.) The transition from Jesuits to Franciscans took place on July 15, 2005 and now, plans are underway to celebrate their 150th anniversary in February. Scared Heart has a long and proud heritage in Tampa’s downtown and throughout its parish.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Watery Wednesday #58: Welcome

The Great Blue Heron (Ardea Herodias) is the most common and largest of the North American herons. They wade along the shallows as this one is on the shore of Hillsborough Bay. According to National Geographic, “They are expert fishers. Herons snare their aquatic prey by walking slowly, or standing still for long periods of time and waiting for fish to come within range of their long necks and blade-like bills. The deathblow is delivered with a quick thrust of the sharp bill, and the prey is swallowed whole. Great blue herons have been known to choke to death by attempting to swallow fish too large for their long, S-shaped necks. Though they are best known as fishers, mice constitute a large part of their diet, and they also eat insects and other small creatures." They stand quite tall, 3.2 to 4.5 feet (1 to 1.4 meters) - this one was about 4 feet - and have a wingspan of 5.5 to 6.6 feet (1.7 to 2 meters.) They can fly along at 20 to 30 miles per hour.

Click HERE to see other wet and Watery Wednesday images from around the world.

I am so pleased to welcome

three new followers to

Tampa Daily Photo.

Be sure and visit all four of their sites.

Rebecca Sexton Larson of Tampa is a very fine and accomplished studio artist and photographer. She is represented in several major private collections and museums throughout the United States. Visit her@
Lynda from Scotland @ and and Sulo Heinola from Finland @

Blow your own horn: Is it Gabriel?

Is this the fabled angel Gabriel blowing his horn? Or, is my imagination running away with me. I think that's a wing, but I'm not sure about Gabriel having all those blond curls.

Any angel experts out there with experience with yard art?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Balancing Act: The Equilibrist by Marc DeWaele

The Equilibrist is a fascinating interactive sculpture. Located at in front of the Franklin Exchange Fountain at Franklin Street and Zack Street in Tampa’s downtown, it was the Grand prize Winner in the artLOUD! 2009 competition with its purpose to bring art to the city’s downtown. In that regard it has been very successful. The sculptor Marc De Waele created Equilibrist in all metal. It stands 84-inches tall, is 50-inches deep and 48-inches wide. This larger photo is a close-up of the balancing figure so do click on the smaller insert to get an idea of the overall size and complete design of this awesome kinetic creation. It won for being the Most Interactive and Creative Sculpture in the City of Tampa / artLOUD Competition sponsored by the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW). It features eleven yearlong installations of artwork and even has another of De Waele’s pieces that I featured in a post at Tampa Bay Daily Photo back on June 17th (Click HERE.) That sculpture, entitled Our Harp Fountain, is on display on Franklin near Twiggs. De Waele specializes in canvas works, metal sculptures, copper fountains, trompe l’oeil and wall murals. Born in Belgium in 1962, De Waele worked throughout Europe. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Eeklo, Belgium, took courses in Paris and exhibited widely in Europe. Since coming to the United States in 1999, he has accepted commissions to create trompe l’oeil orders, restorations and wall murals - and furniture restoration - for private clients throughout the Tampa Bay area. (To learn more about De Waele's work, click HERE.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The French got it right: Raise your glass to the Citroën 2CV

This was the scene this weekend at the Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival in Lakeland where almost 30,000 attendees enjoyed seeing hundreds of examples of the world's automotive manufacturers past and present. Some of the best known makes and models were proudly displayed alongside the rare and obscure. From the antique to the brand new, there was a car or two to fit everyone's needs and tastes for age, design, raw speed, luxury or utilitarian use. The world's grandest marques were side-by-side with car badges unknown and long lost to consumer history. They were all here from the just plain interested out enjoying the perfect fall weather and the show's lake setting to the serious collector. In some cases, such as the incredible collection of Chrysler Maseratis, clubs and their prize vehicles were extremely well represented. This picnic setting, complete with authentic French tablecloth, basket, wines, meats and cheese, was the perfect compliment to the colorful little car the owners had brought for our enjoyment. Their 1985 Citroën 2CV Dolly, a special edition of the extremely popular car, was glowing as it sat basking in the reflections off the water of the lake. During a production run of 42 years, between 1948 and 1990, 3,872,583 of these cars were produced in France and later, in Portugal. Your trip to France is not complete until a 2CV whisks past you on the street. It screams you are in France!

I want to WELCOME Lucy Corrander, a new follower
of Tampa DP. She has a very interesting and must-see photoblog at Pictures just Pictures, and hails from Dorset in the UK. Dorset is one of the most rural counties of England. It is situated on the south coast between Devon and Hampshire.
Do visit Lucy. I think you will be very pleasantly surprised and become a big fan of her images.
It is a fascinating part of our world.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

1939 Cadillac 2-Door 7567 Convertible: Absolutely stunning at Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival - Weekend Reflections

Yes, today's weather was perfect, PERFECT, and I beg all my fellow Floridians to hurry home from parts north to enjoy our autumn, as short-lived as it might be. To you folks who live a good distance from Florida's Gulf Coast, you can now be officially jealous. Today was about 75-degrees and blues skies. NO humidity (for us anyway.) The sun was warm and bright and right now it's about 60. Ah-h-h. I warned you in yesterday's post that I was going to a classic car show. There are several really nice shows in the US and this one is spectacular. The Mirror Lake Classic Auto Festival is held on the streets of Lakeland and all around the town's beautiful Mirror Lake. (The swans preened for my camera as classic wooden speed boats cruised around the lake for their admirers.) It's not Pebble Beach or Amelia Island but ranks right up there as a lead-up to Florida's-own Amelia Island held in March. Today's festival featured cars of every vintage, from Brass Era antiques to newer Roush Mustangs. The rare and unusual to the extremes in design and technology such as the cute Amphicars (built in Berlin from 1962-1967) that go from your driveway right into the water. Several put on demonstrations during the day. There was a Mercedes-Benz 600 and a 1942 Czech Tatra T87 from the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum collection from across Tampa Bay in Pinellas Park.
The car pictured is a very special vehicle with an interesting history. The 1939 Cadillac 2-Door 7567 Convertible is a magnificent restoration and winner of the 2008 Senior National First Prize awarded by the Antique Automobile Club of America. Owned by Mr. Richard Nunis of Windemere, Florida, it was a special order in '39 reputedly by a Mafia "family" member and even acquired bullet holes in its rear fender. The Walt Disney Company bought it along with a number of other cars built in '39 to be used in a "Voyage to 1939" themed promotion in 1990, with the majestic ship, RMS Queen Mary, which is docked in Long Beach, California. (Disney owned the ship and operated the attraction then.) The present owner, and his very nice wife, bought the car in 1992, and have lovingly restored it to its immaculate and award-winning condition. Great car and very nice owners!

The car to the left is another of the hundreds of cars that sat and smiled today for thousands of admiring show-goers. It is a 1932 BSA 3-Wheeler built by the British Small Arms company and is a motorcycle-like car proudly showing off it leather-covered wooden frame construction.

Go to Tampa Florida Photo HERE to see more spectacular cars at today's great auto festival.

All-in-all, the day could not have been better. (It's time to pack for your Florida vacation. Now! Hurry.)

Check out the great WEEKEND REFLECTIONS HERE that James is making possible through his blog, Newtown Daily Photo.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Season 4 Episode 14

A cold front is moving very rapidly across the the Tampa Bay area from the northwest bringing heavy clouds, rain and - for Tampa - colder temperatures. This shot was made at 12:30 pm when the temp was 83-degrees. It's 81 now and our Saturday morning low is expected to be 55-degrees with a forecast high of 75. That is almost twenty degrees colder then it was a week ago...I think fall has officially arrived. Even the water was choppy and winds were picking up. NOT a good day to be out on the bay. (I took my shot for Tampa Florida Photo at 2:30 and the skies were already clearing as the cold front began to move past and south of us.)

Visit Skywatch Friday to see the beauty and wonders of the world's most magnificent skies. It's always an amazing show brought to you by Skywatchers from all over the planet.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Abandoned and forgotten

These are just two of the large and elaborate brick arches on the side of a once-proud church. Located on East Palm Avenue, the building is boarded up and abandoned. It's clear to me that when it was built it was well-designed and carefully constructed. Look closely at the fine details used even at the foundation and at the roofline. This is a big building and was an expensive project. I imagine there were many years of collections to help pay off the new sanctuary debt. When did it first open its doors to a congregation? When did it host its last church service? I don't know. Although overall church attendance may be dropping off in some parts of the U.S., and many Protestant denominations have seen a decline in membership, it still hurts to see a building that was a once a big part of people's lives and the heart of a community sadly close and be forgotten. Looking at the architectural elements used throughout and the type of construction materials, it's a certainty that unless it is deliberately demolished, this mighty old house of worship will be standing for a very long time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Watery Wednesday #57

It is not raining here but as you can see from looking across the Hillsborough Bay at our city's skyline, it's hot, humid and hazy off in the distance. But, in our favor, we can enjoy the beauty of the magnificent bodies of water that surround us and the gorgeous skies that look down on us every day. A slight pinch of autumn may be in store for us this weekend (temperatures forecast to plummet into the mid 70s for a high) but we should be grateful for the near-perfect weather we can boast of to everyone already wearing winter parkas and out shoveling snow from the driveway. Sorry friends.

Click HERE to see other wet and Watery Wednesday images from around the world.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tampa's weather is fantastic...Day after day after day after.....

I have a number of blogs I love to visit. Many of them I spend time with reading the commentary and examining the photographs. (I love to be able to enlarge many of them to see the fine details and subtleties - you guys are very good with the camera.) One of the things I am really enjoying right now, believe it or not, is your weather. Although none of you are posting weather reports per se (although many of you do have weather widgets) I can easily see how your skies are changing, it's getting dark earlier, your leaves are changing colors and dropping, heavier clothing is evident, you are stacking firewood and are lighting fires in your fireplaces. Can you hear me sighing with envy and turning bright shades of Florida green with extreme jealousy? (YES, the grass is still green and growing here and needs mowing!!)

Here's my Tampa weather report for today...and yesterday...and tomorrow:
Partly Cloudy Skies
NOW (as I type this) 91-Degrees
55% Humidity (it is very low for Tampa)
South at 5 mph (there isn't even a breath of air moving)
Low Temperature:
75 degrees (when it hit that low today is anyone's was in the 80s when I walked the dog this morning!)

I am NOT complaining about Tampa's weather, not really. Thankfully, none of us in the Tampa Bay area or Florida have experienced a hurricane this year or last. Whew! Lucky. We are blessed with beautiful blue skies, billowing mountains of white clouds, calm and very warm Gulf water temperatures of 85 degrees. Just days and days filled with unending, blinding sunshine. It sounds like the perfect place on earth to vacation and hit the beaches for a tan. Right? What's to complain about? Nothing except I cannot wait much longer for one, ONE, crisp fall-like day. The words A hint of autumn in the air is enough to make me crank the air conditioning in the house down to 60 degrees and grab a sweater and a good book. Hey, I could get the fireplace going with an oak log and make some hot chocolate and really pretend. Please, oh please, will the weather never change around here??!!



I am so glad you found me again.

Sunny has the most wonderful blog, Barnyards and Barnacles, that I recommend you visit often. (Sunny had been following me at Tampa Bay Daily Photo so when I stopped posting there in August to concentrate on Tampa Daily Photo and Tampa Florida Photo, she thought she'd lost me.) Born in Cornwall, England, Sunny has made Massachusetts her home and through her blog she takes us on a journey through her America. From luscious, colorful scenes of covered bridges in Vermont to barnyard animals, to the rolling, rock-walled fields and rolling hills of Massachusetts, you will enjoy her view of New England and other stops on her personal journey. I especially like her old barns and covered bridges. Go meet Sunny.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Christopher Columbus: Does everyone celebrate 1492?

Does everyone celebrate Columbus Day? No, everyone does not celebrate the explorer and his "discovery of the New World" in 1492. It's a fact that there are national and local observances of the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus, but not everyone thinks it was such a marvelous occasion in world history or cause for a party or celebration.

Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1934, but, people were celebrating as far back as the American colonial period. In 1792, New York City and other U.S. cities celebrated the 300th anniversary and in 1892, President Benjamin Harrison rallied the nation to celebrate Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of the event. It was quite patriotic and was seen in a positive and popular light. But even though many Native Americans may not have seen reason or have any cause to join in the celebration -
I wonder how the big day went in schools on Indian reservations - the idea of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day didn't come about until 1977. It was first proclaimed by representatives of Native nations and participants gathered in Geneva, Switzerland at the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas. In that year the planning began for the 500th anniversary of Columbus Day in 1992. It was decided in 1990 to transform Columbus Day, 1992, "into an occasion to strengthen our process of continental unity and struggle towards our liberation." (Wikipedia has details regarding Columbus Day and the Native American's reaction to it HERE.)

The International Columbian Quincentenary Alliance and Spain '92 planned a Tour of the Discovery Ships. The official schedule of the recreated
Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria included their departure from Spain and, by February 1992, they were sailing along our East Coast; they visited 13 cities in 11 states. Festivities were planned at the parks and harbor fronts at Miami, Houston, Tampa, Norfolk, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. The ships also docked at New Orleans, St. Augustine, Charleston, Newport, RI, and Wilmington. The final celebration of the voyage of the Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria was with the tall ships in New York's harbor on July 4th.

The ships were in Tampa, tied up at the docks alongside the Tampa Convention Center for ten days, from April 3-12. I went to see the ships in 1992, and sat down on the grass to hear the Native Americans who came from all over the United States to celebrate Indigenous People's Day. Russell Means, an Oglala Soiux, and one of the best known activists for the rights and freedoms of American Indians, led their celebration. As a backdrop to their words that day, the
Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria looked pretty small and one had to wonder how they ever sailed across the Atlantic to begin the exploration of the European's "New World."

The statue of Columbus in Tampa was sculpted by the artist Albert Sabas. It stands at the western end of the Platt Street Bridge and was dedicated on this day in 1953.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Monochrome: Tampa Police and their narrow getaway

This narrow yet very attractive and inviting respite is like a vertical park between the Tampa Police headquarters in downtown Tampa and the parking garage located just to its south. I would never have imagined that this place existed.

Thanks for this challenge each week of seeing our world in black, white and shades of gray.

If you love your world in black and white, be sure and visit some of the world's most interesting places and experience the incredible photographic artistry of Monochrome Maniacs!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chillounge Party Scene transforms Tampa

The Cointreau Chillounge Night was held in downtown Tampa tonight. As I type this it has about an hour and a half to go. We thought it would be the perfect afternoon outing for our Pekingese…ride in air conditioned comfort over the bridge to the Franklin Street event area, be carried a block or so, walk a block and repeat for the return trip home. It was HOT, right at a steamy 90 degrees as we crashed the preparations for the street party. 4-blocks were closed around the intersection of Zack and Franklin. The historic Tampa Theatre looked almost ready for its big showbiz entrance as they set up the daybeds in front. The pillows were wild and extremely colorful. Dozens of covered seating lounges of every description were arranged on sidewalks and streets. The entire area was beginning to look like the best outdoor party one could imagine. It took six trucks to haul all of the Miami/South Beach style furniture to accommodate the paying guests at several levels. VIP seating was calling me. (Click on the insert to see if you don't agree it looked pretty good.) Plenty of thought went into making the in-crowd and party crowd mighty comfortable and inviting for the eating, drinking and I guess dancing into the night. They have even scheduled a fashion show and Brazilian Samba parade. The Peke, Dr. Porter, navigated his way past staging, food buffets, comfy overstuffed chairs and gauzy awnings – daybeds were aplenty for really kicking back but he was persuaded to keep moving. (This breed of dog does love to be pampered and this was his kind of palace treatment.) The luxurious bars were immense and bottles of champagne were conspicuous. Plus, it is Tampa so expect a full cigar bar. This should be one unforgettable event. (The sweet little dog was almost surprisingly well behaved. He didn’t snap or growl at anyone and was respectful of the furniture, bars and food areas…he had a ball.) I may step outside now and listen for the sounds of Brazil.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Season 4 Episode 13

Visit Skywatch Friday to see the beauty and wonders of the world's most magnificent skies. It's always an amazing show.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Sulphur Springs Tower grandly lords over all.

My post yesterday was about the Sulphur Springs Tourist Club. The neighborhood of Sulphur Springs began around the natural “healing” waters of the spring and was an independent resort community popular with residents and tourists that got its start in the latter part of the 19th century. It was incorporated into the city in 1923. Its owner and developer, Joshiah Richardson, built a hotel for guests and then a large shopping arcade, an early mall, was added in 1925. It was located on the west side of Nebraska Avenue, across the street from and immediately north of the Tourist Club. He had grandiose plans for his natural springs and in 1920 he opened amusement park which included the pool (which is still there), bathhouses, an alligator farm, the Tourist Club dance pavilion, and a shed for the Tampa streetcars which made the round trip bringing city residents and tourists to enjoy the cool spring waters. The arcade and rapid development of the area required a water supply so Richardson mortgaged all of his assets, including the 100 acres of Sulphur Springs and the Arcade, and built the tower that you see above at a cost of $180,000.

The Sulphur Springs Tower stands on 13 acres of land on the north bank of the Hillsborough River between Nebraska Avenue and Florida Avenue. The growth of the community and the thriving resort and tourist business which developed would not have been possible without the water tower. The 225-foot-tall tower was designed to look like Gothic medieval, with slit windows and castle-like walls and openings crowning the actual holding tank at the top. (Click on closeup at left for detail.) The walls are 8-inches thick and the entire structure’s foundation is anchored in solid rock. It was constructed of poured-in-place concrete and was originally planned to include an elevator to carry people up to the observation balcony where they could see the river below and far beyond in every direction. It must be quite a sight even today. Other plans for the interior, besides holding fresh water, never materialized. When it was operational it held as much as 200,000 gallons of water pumped up from the nearby springs. The water tank occupies the upper quarter of the tower while seven floors, one room per floor, make up the lower 3/4s. After many attempts of the years to actually do something with the empty tower (besides given a name to a once-popular drive-in movie theater which is long gone), the City of Tampa Department of Parks and Recreation has taken over maintenance and future development of the entire area which includes the tower and park, and the Sulphur Springs pool complex. A boardwalk along the river is in the plans. (Sadly, some years ago, before historic preservationists could act, the arcade and hotel were demolished.)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Tourist Club lives on in Sulphur Springs

The Sulphur Springs Tourist Club, known as the Harbor Club since 1985, is located at 915 East Grant Street. The view above is facing northwest from just across the Hillsborough River. (The Nebraska Avenue Bridge is to the far left just out of the frame.) It was built on the north bank of the river, just east of Nebraska Avenue in Tampa's Sulphur Springs. The social center of the community from the 1920s through the 1940s, it was the place for dining and dancing. The facility included a popular restaurant and bar and a second floor ballroom. In later years the riverfront building on 3 acres also contained a barbershop, television repair and retail shops. A postcard view form the 1940s shows the front of the club in it heyday. (Click to enlarge.) Notice on the left side are shuffleboards courts, always popular with tourists who flocked to Florida - young and old alike. The courts would be on the far right side of the photo above.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Halloween Costumes

If you're a regular follower of my blog then you know how much I enjoy finding these artfully "costumed" mannequins on the highways and byways of Tampa. Regretfully, there isn't a list of their locations - like the Map to the Stars in Hollywood and LA - so I have to drive endless miles for hours on end to find even one of these lovelies. Most often they are awaiting me and are flagging me down as I cruise along, never expecting him or her (or a romantic couple sometimes) to be patiently standing on the curb, waving a sign or simply beckoning me to stop. Daring me to produce a flattering portrait (I guess they want to prove to mom and dad mannequin that they are earning an honest living.) Yes, she is dressed appropriately for the camera: strangely flared black stretch pants - tight; oddly cut and cropped t-shirt; appropriate necklace; and a very attractive head of hair. The one accessory that could only mean she's navigated wild partying Bourbon Street in New Orleans is the sensuous boa, draped loosely and casually over her arms and around her size 18-inch waist. It is the pièce de résistance. (Why does that boa look familiar? I guess that's another story for another time, right Mrs. TDP?) My little mannequin girl obviously caught the lens at a weak moment and SNAP. Here she is. On her wheeled cart ready to sell you a Halloween costume. Right off her back if you insist. Oh no. I just noticed she's missing a finger. What else don't we know about her?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sea Oats at the Seaplane Basin

The sign states that the Seaplane Basin at the tip of Davis islands participates in the Healthy Beaches Program of the Florida Department of Health. The natural sea oats growing all around the basin along the beach sure look healthy enough. That's a good sign that it's well cared for. Many folks of every age come out at sunset to stroll, walk their dogs and enjoy the view of the many sailboats at anchor. People like this close-in beach and take good care of it.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

What's a Hummer good for?

If you're going to drive one of the most reviled, gas-hogging vehicle brands to ever grace the American highways and tony upscale driveways of MacMansions, you might as well call attention to yourself, too. This rolling billboard advertises an "adventure" for Women Only. I guess the guy who drives it needs the pseudo-macho appearance of a military-themed SUV to get his point across and drum up business. I wonder if he wears the GI drill instructor's hat and carries a swagger stick while yelling at the 20-ish hard-body moms who can afford his camp? Just wondering.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Season 4 Episode 12

The small tidal ponds beside Westshore Boulevard near Bay-to-Bay Boulevard afford the homes a calm and peaceful view from the porch and yard.

Visit Skywatch Friday to see the beauty and wonders of the world's most magnificent skies. It's always an amazing show.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Today is the City Daily Photo Theme Day, an event held on the first day of each month to encourage you to visit some of our sister City Daily Photo blogs. This month's City Daily Photo THEME is CONTRAST. I am showing the huge contrast between a full size Mercedes 560SEC coupe, which is almost 17 feet in length and its miniature, Mini-Me version in 1/43 scale, or roughly 3-4 inches long. Together they provide a startling contrast. (Click on the image to see the incredible detail of the tiny model car.)

Be sure and visit other CDP blogs to see images from throughout the world's. They are astounding. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.