Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
NOTE: My son gave me a Nikon D80 camera body for Christmas. (He's a generous young fellow!!) I took a couple of days to try, try to gain some familiarity with its digital operation and features. I am excited that the Nikkor lenses that I have had for 30-40 years DO work with this new body. (I have not shot film through the F2 or other misc. Nikons in close to ten years.) It's great they fit and they feel like old friends as I mounted them to the D80 to go out shooting today. BUT, they are not auto in any way so this first effort is not to my crisp standards. I'm learning and will get better.
[This particular shot was taken with the Nikon D80 and Nikkor 105mm, at f22.]
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
This monumental-sized mural was the creation of Vitale Art & Design Studio (visit their website HERE), located across Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg. My compliments to the artists who made this building look spectacular and to the company that recognizes how important art is to their employees, customers, neighborhood and our city. If you live near or travel on 50th, look to your right just as you drive north from Adamo Drive/Highway 60 - Careful as this is a very busy commercial highway.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Yes, even as your kids have families of their own, grandparents can still have all the fun of assembling toys for little ones at Christmas. Usually this involves - OK, it always involves buying something you would have died for as a kid...if such a toy had even been invented, imagined or dreamed of. (My best present at the tender age of 3 or 4 was a Buck Rogers spaceship made out of sturdy cardboard. I'll never forget it!!) This year I had to buy a Fisher Price Power Wheels Craftsman F-150 riding truck for a fine grandson. A Monster Truck. I did want to buy it last year but was convinced he was too young. Yea, right. So I waited. A whole year.
This truck has "Monster Traction™" and can navigate sidewalks, lawns, neighbors' bushes with precision, even concrete lawn statues. It can easily take out moms, grandmothers and small barking, snarling Pekingese who think it's a giant vacuum cleaner. Without a scratch. Believe it or not, it has a real FM radio, truck bed with a drop-down tailgate, Velcro seat belts, folding side mirrors, cup holders (CUP HOLDERS!!), a battery charge indicator light and two speeds...drive and hit things or drive even faster and hit things with more force. (It is currently governed to slow.) It also goes in reverse. CAUTION: This toy can NOT be driven in a home. Got it? Assembly only took forever and requires assistance (HINT: Ask a big strong son with an engineer's brain and an architect's degree to be your apprentice elf and to help lift it in and out of a reasonable size SUV for transport to a safe, open park area or sibling's home to show off your, I mean the grandson's new "toy.")
You should have seen the little guy's expression. Pure joy. Truly, PRICELESS. And he had his seat-belt on and was operating the FM radio before even starting the motor. FM radio??!!
Friday, December 25, 2009
The gift from God the Father was his only begotten son. Our Savior Jesus Christ, who was born this day, promises us Eternal and Everlasting Life. A gift beyond comprehension or imagining. A gift we can loudly proclaim to people everywhere.
Praise be to God.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Each year in February, Tampa is invaded by Jose Gaspar and his band of pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. Along with several other equally as colorful and fun-filled Krewe's of party-goers and parade participants, the city surrenders to the loud, bead-throwing invaders after a spectacular waterborne invasion of ships, cannons and rowdy swashbucklers.
This Christmas tree ornament represents a Santa with a slight Gaspar pirate-theme...not your traditional Santa Claus but a uniquely Tampa-themed, jolly old St. Nicholas. (He's really a friendly guy under the outlandish garb and equally as generous.)
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Snow removal was not necessary for this shot...you really can sit outside. It is perfect winter weather.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
This is a wonderful holiday display at the nearby Williams-Sonoma store, a perennial favorite of mine for kitchen and cooking gifts for the most-deserving Mrs. Tampa DP. I was strolling and window shopping when this gigantic cookie appeared; it must be about 6-feet across, which we all know is silly and impossible. (But it sure did catch my eye.!) If I could find Oreos this size I'd stock up and retire to a secluded island and live out my life feasting on overstuffed sandwich cookies filled with delicious white mush. (Oreo cookies are a personal weakness.)
If you look closely you can make out the reflections of streetlights and windows of the retailer Restoration Hardware in the lower portion of the cookie.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Take note that there are dozens of things in this Tommy Bahama window that would make lots of big boys and girls happy this Christmas. The oversize cigar ashtray is just one attractive looking item that caught my eye. Just thought I'd mention it (in case Santa reads my blog!)
Thursday, December 17, 2009
This huge Santa is proudly welcoming kids to the Learning Express store in
I wonder how many kids have either thought this Saint Nicholas at the door is real, or asked mom, dad or grandparents to buy him for them to play with? Come to think of it, it'd look good next to our life-size toy soldier. What do you mean he's not for sale??!! I'll put him on my list that's going to the elves at the North Pole.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
CinéBistro opened on Swann Avenue in Hyde Park Village a few months ago and is an interesting and attractive entertainment concept. ADULTS ONLY. ID required proving you're 21 years of age or older. This is not the place to bring the grandkids to or send teenagers for a Saturday afternoon matinee.
If you haven't heard of CineBistro, or other theaters like it, it's a specially-designed movie palace which shows new releases such as Invictus, The Blind Side and New Moon, which are playing in multiplexes all over the city and nation. And all three are rated PG-13, so this isn't "adult entertainment" in the tawdry sense of the term. Nope, it's the experience, food, beverage and seating which keeps out the the younger folk. (Very thoughtful.) It's the fact that it's reserved for the older, adult audience that makes this place special and quite alluring. Even romantic.
Here is how Cobb Theatre, which brought CineBistro to Tampa, describes it: "CinéBistro, Cobb Theatres’ extraordinary premium movie theatre and dining experience captured in one unique entertainment venue, is changing the way people watch movies, create romantic moments, eat and socialize." As they say, "Prepared to be pampered " as you leisurely savor delicious foods and drinks from a full bar. You can hang at the bar and socialize for a while if you wish and then take your reserved seats in the theater where you can order from the menu until right before your show starts. Relax in luxurious high-back leather rocking chairs and dine on a fine meal - appetizers, entrees and desserts - with your favorite cocktails and wine as you enjoy the presentation. Try the Pan Seared Scottish Salmon with a bottle of Cakebread Chardonnay. Very adult, right?
To learn more about CineBistro in Hyde Park Village click HERE.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The beach was so warm and relaxing this afternoon and there were several birds along the shore. Our Pekingese likes the sand as long as he doesn't get too dirty...he is NOT a waterdog that leaps into the waves or a rough and tumble farm-yard dog who might chase the cows or horses. Nope. He kind of prefers the lazy approach to life and his energy level and snippy disposition seems about right. Even though he is a Florida native, he's not fond of the sand (or grass for that matter) but will sniff around for something new and interesting. A bird? A big white bird? Just sitting there? (Not to worry. They are almost the same size and Porter doesn't have a beak or claws. It wouldn't even be a fair fight because Porter doesn't fly very well.)
No, Porter did not have fresh white bird meat in his bowl of kibbles. There isn't even the slightest chance he could catch this fine bird. But, the thought still crossed his mind. Look at his huge eyes, steely gaze and determined set to his jaw. He is on the hunt!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
My photo above is of copyrighted work (c) 2009 Matt Larson
Tonight we went to a really fun holiday open house party hosted by good friends who are both extremely talented artists. Matt is the hard-working photographer and career marketing guru while his wife, Rebecca Sexton Larson - Becky - is the accomplished studio artist and museum professional. I wrote about our terrific time tonight at Tampa Daily Photo HERE where I featured Becky's work and bio. The party was a lot of fun. Good food, delicious bourbon egg-nog and terribly interesting people. Nothing is more fun than to be invited to a party. Our hosts threw open their home, every nook and cranny, to show off their work and invite guests to make a purchase...and that is not hard to do. Look at my shot of just the beautifully framed photos spread out under their tree. Every room and surface was displaying their framed and oversized, unframed pieces. Just begging to go home with you. It's very tempting and impossible to resist if you love and collect photography. Matt has enjoyed a long career working with "grown-up" Nikons and other heavy and expensive pro equipment. While he still uses the mega-bodies and bags of lens in his work, he plays a lot with every kind of toy camera made in the world - with fascinating and astonishing results. The shot above is taken with his Apple I-Phone; one of these brand new images was sold this evening.
Here is an excerpt from Matt's online bio: "A professional newspaper marketing photographer working with toy cameras of all types (Holga, Diana, Polaroid, iPhone, Argus Bean, etc.). Why you ask? Why not. Matt was given a professional Nikon camera and darkroom outfit before he reached age 10. Both his father and bother were avid photographers. He attended the University of South Florida and obtained a B.A. degree in photojournalism. Many years later, he completed his MBA degree at Saint Leo University. Larson admits that his discovery of plastic toy cameras reignited his love for photography and has brought him back to those early years of just having fun playing around in the darkroom and making art."
Visit Matt's blog, ToyCameraPlay, HERE.
Thanks Larsons for a fun and memorable evening. We will be back next year!
Friday, December 11, 2009
Sorry about the palm trees sticking up from this Disney billboard. The scene does look like many of your posts showing the real wintry scenes. And real cold temperatures. Stay warm everyone. (Even if you do have to come south to the Sunshine State for some relieve from winter.)
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I can't help but smile every time I have caught even a glimpse of the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. Who ever came up with the original idea was a genius. Pure genius. Whether it's being driven down the highway or sitting parked on display, it stops adults and kids dead in their tracks. The Wienermobile is a marketing and promotional extravaganza on wheels. (Now, if I could just drive it for a few minutes...and eat a dog or two. Do you think they serve a cold frothy Guinness Stout?)
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
It is pouring rain here in
I found the history of Poinsettias so interesting. They are native to
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
This was supposed to have ALL been removed and replaced almost 20 years ago, so finding this hiding today during a major restoration/repair project was a huge and most unwelcome surprise. And yes, I made a phone call immediately and it will be replaced ASAP. (They promise.)
Can you provide the correct name? (HINT: It was an early standardized method in buildings and houses, in common use in North America from about 1880 to the 1930s.)