Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Birds of December

While our friends to the north are getting clobbered with the season's first blizzard, we feel but a bit of a chill in the north Florida air. With a day to rest, I was able to enjoy these visitors to the backyard feeders today...

A Chipping Sparrow

Cardinal (male)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Florida Thanksgiving and Photoshop

Still working on that consolidation thing (see previous post)... but as I have a day off of work, and a tiny bit of time on my hands I thought I'd go ahead and post a little of what I've been playing with using Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac.

We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home after spending the previous weekend in the Orlando area with visiting family from Ohio... So Mrs. Muse and I headed out to one of our favorite hiking trails at the Julington-Durbin Preserve at the southern end of Duval County.

It was late afternoon, so the sun was heading down in the western sky, casting beams at sharp angles on the golden fall foliage on the sand hill ecology at the trail head, and piercing through the dense, damp sub-tropical flora of the wetlands section that begins about a half-mile in.

The water in the swamp was high because of the previous days rain -- on this trail, moving from sand hill uplands to cypress swamp wetlands you can literally feel, see, and smell the abrupt change of eco-systems.

At one point over a swampy pool of black water, a shaft of late day light turned the fan leaves of a scrub palmetto into a glowing holiday decoration of neon green. I took several shots at a variety of exposure settings, settling ultimately in the half-frond original shot up at the top left of the page. Working in PSE, I lightened the green and yellows to the second version, and used a gaussian blur filter on much of the background, which added to the contrast of dark and light.

Next, (immediately left) I used the water color artistic filter to add a painterly effect, and a bit of additional mystery to the image. The, last, I used the black and white conversion "infra-red" option to take the color out, but maintain an extreme level of contrast.

Fun and games, but good practice, and a good way to learn to find your way around the more than adequate capabilities of PSE (the limited -- and WAY less expensive version of Photoshop)...

So happy holiday season to all - hope you survived Black Friday (we stayed away from the stores as two of my least favorite things in the world are shopping and crowds. Off to some leftovers for dinner...........

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Yellow leaves on the North Delaware Greenway

So, this business of managing a 50 hour+ per week job, performing both solo and with the Ashley Gang, photo shoots, juggling a blog and two photography sites and two music sites... a home life... holy smoke, Batman! At my age something's gotta give! I'll be doing some consolidation of my cyber-life over the next few weeks (between performing in Barberville, Florida this weekend, business in Nashville next week, performing in Ormond Beach the next weekend, and in Jacksonville and Orlando the last weekend of the month)... YIKES! Will be making it easier on myself, and hopefully easier on you all to stay in touch with the music, photography and philosophical ramblings... news soon.

The photos above are from our trip to the Brandywine Valley last week. The weather was damp and dank, but we did get so see some fall color and some new work by Jamie Wyeth, Andrew's in-your-face artist son (great stuff at the Brandywine River Museum). From the tropical Saint Johns to the mid-Atlantic Brandywine and Delaware rivers in a week. Not bad for a tired old guy....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saint Johns Riverkeeper Eco-Heritage Cruise

Sunrise at Astor, Florida

Mrs. Muse and I spent the last two days on our river... 115+ miles from Palatka, up river to Astor (day one), and Astor to Sanford (day two). We were impressed by both the natural beauty of our most important natural resource, and the fragility of it. It ain't what it used to be, and she faces threats from development and misguided water-use plans that could easily ruin her (and so much that we take for granted) very quickly... Here are a few starter photos. More coming.

Entrance to Lake George, From the north.

A Florida Alligator, sunning on the river bank

A manatee in the spring run at Blue Spring

Reflections of the coast in Murphy's Creek

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lake County Folk Festival.. briefly

Standing: Bob, Michelle, Me, Al
Seated: Kay (Mrs. Muse), norm

Yes -- I know I have been remiss in my blog posting. A few things have gotten in the way recently... performing (with the Ashley Gang, above), recording, writing, photo shoots, and that little "making a living" thing. So here's a start on the fantastic Lake County Folk Festival in Eustis, Florida, held this past weekend. A small selection of photos ( about 60, I think) from the event (unprocessed, strait out of the box) are available here on my photography site.

There are a few tales to tell when I can find the time... including a personal saga of nearly being run down by a speeding cop in an unmarked car while I was crossing the street in a pedestrian cross walk (complete with a "yield to pedestrians" sign in the middle of the intersection). The encounter that I had with this goober after flagging him down will be the subject of song in the near future... In the mean time, check out the photos, (including a bunch of me with The Ashley Gang, shot by Al's wife, Cindy), and check out the music (links on the right side of this blog page)...

Back soon!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

In Concert...

First (almost) solo performance in many years... A few nerves at the outset, especially after having awakened on Thursday morning with laryngitis -- my speaking voice fading in and out for the next two days. Minor sore throat. Lot's of vitamin C and TLC. Took the time to plan instead of practice. Time well spent.

The European Street Cafe on Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville, Florida is a great little room. We had an almost full house of friendly, familiar faces mixed with folks we'd never seen before -- and a few surprises.
"Hi, are you Paul?"
"Sure am."
"I'm Jane. We went to elementary and high school together. Remember?"
"Holy crap!"
I hadn't seen Jane in 38 years... and here she is, living in Jacksonville, and come to hear me sing... how cool is that?!

So with bassist / vocalist / Ashley Gang band-mate Michelle Lowe on my right and flautist / percussionist / band-mate and life-mate Kay on my left we made our way through the show -- and had a total blast doing the old favorites and a few of the new songs I've recently written for the new recording.

The nerves vanished as the energy from the audience -- always palpable -- pulled us into the music and the stories and the (occasionally political) commentary. It all ended with a standing ovation after the first ever public performance of the song "1,000 Doors"

After my set, I wandered the room, visiting with the audience -- people who talked about being touched by one song or another -- about how they cried through "Empty House" (about the foreclosure crisis), or lived in the rapidly vanishing rural south in a small town that reminded them of "Crackertown" (a real Florida community), or laughed through "Duval Nights" as the lyrics made fun of our city and Florida politics.

A nice way to make a local solo performance "comeback". Can't express how much I appreciate the effort of all of those who came to hear -- especially during a University of Florida football game!

So next Saturday, Michelle, Kay and I will be performing at a tribute for the amazing and heroic Gamble Rogers, at Gamble Rogers State Park in Flagler Beach -- if you're close by, stop in for a little Florida music... The the following weekend we're at the Lake County Folk Festival in Eustis, Florida with the full Ashley Gang. More schedule information and some sound bites here.

Michelle, me, Kay

Sunday, September 20, 2009

1,000 Doors Project - Session 2

Brief note.... Returned to Gatorbone Studio this past week to work through the second session of the new recording. No playing or singing at all for me this time around as I was strictly in Producer mode working on arrangements and getting some violin / fiddle and flute tracks put down.

We dragged Doug Richard out of his rural Florida home to dust off his old fiddle, crack his knuckles and record tracks for 3 of the 4 songs that I have recorded so far ("1,000 Doors", "House on the Hill", and "Empty House") . My lovely and talented wife Kay put down a flute track for "Home For The Healing". Lon Williamson, my recording engineer (and musician extraordinaire -- the Driftwoods, the Gatorbone Band), has laid down bass track (stand-up acoustic bass) on "1,000 Doors" and "House on the Hill", and will be doing a bowed bass track on "Home for the Healing".

It was also a day for decision making for future sessions. Ashley Gang (my band) members Al Scortino and Michelle Lowe will be coming in to help out with Hawaiian Slide Guitar, electric bass, and vocals. Lis Williamson of the Driftwoods and Gatorbone Band will be doing some of her angelic harmony vocals for me. Many, many hours of work ahead. Not to mention writing new songs and selecting previously unrecorded tunes to fill out the album. More updates to come as the project moves forward....

On a side note, I'll be playing my first solo performance in a very long time this coming Saturday (September 26th) at European Street Cafe (Beach Boulevard location), Jacksonville. Showtime is 8:00. I'll be splitting the bill with Bill Sheffield, a great blues / roots player from Atlanta -- if you're near by.... Lots of other gigs coming up in the next couple of months in both solo and Ashley Gang configuration. More info here: Myspace Music

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Green Lesson From The Apple Store...

A couple of weeks ago I trucked over the Apple Store at the Saint Johns Towne Center in Jacksonville to pick up a Blue "Snowball" USB microphone. I can use it for near-professional level audio and video recording on my iMac. One of the best parts of shopping at the Apple store is the check-out process. I love getting that question from person checking me out on the little handheld device: "Okay if we send you your receipt by email?" Always, always always!

So this morning we headed out for a little bit of Labor Day sale shopping for a few things that we both had on our minds. Kay was after an ergonomic pillow, I was intent on Richard Russo's newest novel, and we needed a few things at the grocery. First to Bed, Bath and Beyond for the pillow -- Kay had her 20% discount paper coupon -- in we went, got the pillow, checked out, scanned and trashed the coupon, received our paper receipt. Next door then to Borders for the book -- stopped at the coffee bar first -- slid the debit card through the machine and in return received two cups of coffee, a receipt for those, plus an eight inch paper receipt for the store survey (URL and instructions, etc.). Then found the book -- went to the front checkout where I once again swiped my card after handing over my 40% discount paper coupon for scanning, received my paper receipt for the purchase and another eight inch long paper survey invitation. All of the paper gathered up so far stuffed into my pockets...

Next it was a quick stop at Winn-Dixie for the bits and pieces of grocery that we had neglected to pick up yesterday -- maybe 6 items. Back to the check out, scan the card, get another paper receipt and several feet of paper receipt-size discount coupons. Into the pocket they all go. By the time we got back to the car I couldn't locate the car keys in my pocket beneath the multiple feet of receipts, survey invitations, and coupons.

Now multiply this by several million orders of magnitude for a single day, time 365 days per year, and think about the paper waste -- pure trash -- pure unnecessary trash that American (and no doubt Canadian and European) merchants are pumping into the environment every business day. From Apple -- zip! I get home and the electronic receipt is in my inbox -- if I should ever require it for a return or repair. Honestly, I can't be the first person to recognize this opportunity to save paper, and reduce pollution... The world could learn a lesson from Apple (and the few other merchants who, I am sure, do the same thing) -- granted some folks will require paper (no access to email) but there are so few that fit that category here in the States anymore. Time to start a paper receipt-free shopping movement? Every opportunity that you have to turn down paper and replace it with electronic equivalents - please take it! Monthly bills, software purchases (no boxes or paper instruction manuals), warranties, registrations... on and on... think about it. Simple!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Siesta on Siesta

We decided to take a break from the work-a-day world this week, and headed cross-state to Siesta Key on Florida's west coast. A nice break it was -- time with family, time on the beach, time by the pool, time at the Selby Botanical Gardens, time at the auto dealer's service department when my battery went bad... More than anything else I had expected to spend time with my photo gear on the beach shooting a Gulf of Mexico sunset or two. Unfortunately Mother Nature had other ideas and every evening was either drowned in torrential tropical rains or simply clouded over. These shots are as close as I could get -- finding a bit of artistic drama in the late day storms, backlit by a setting sun that never showed us her true colors. A minor disappointment in the end...

I read a great deal ( finished Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search For Meaning", Dennis LaHane's "The Given Day", Richard Russo's collection of short stories "The Whore's Child", got a start on Jana French's "In The Woods" and revisited parts of Harriet Beecher Stowe's
"Palmetto Leaves"), and Kay and I are working on jointly composing a little waltz -- something we've not tried before. We kept mostly to the back roads and off of the dreaded Florida Interstate highways, passing through miles of undeveloped interior land that few folks even know exists (ever hear of Dallas, Florida?). What a treasure this state is! Time now to recover from our Siesta...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Learning To Relax...

Those few folks who have been regular readers of mine know that I have shifted gears several times since the start of this. I have refocused from reflective rumination to story telling to lifestyle simplification to photography technique to music to environmentalism and back again. I have veered from a free-form out of the blue approach to a pre-planned "here's what's coming next" format I've posted as many as three time per week to once every three weeks. The blog gurus would tell me I'm a complete idiot and an example of precisely what not to do. Inconsistent, untimely and unfocused blogging is not the way to attract mobs of readers and ad dollars. Well... psssst.... my little secret is that I'm not trying to attract a following. Not that I'm not thrilled to have regular readers -- I am! Maybe we can all learn something from each other along the way. The reason I do this is because I want to -- sweet and simple. It's therapeutic.

I'm learning with greater and greater clarity lately that listening to what my conscience tells me to do (or perhaps just suggests) is a really good thing. I've always been a deeply philosophical person, and for just as long have straddled the border between conformity and true independence. What I am learning now, more than half way through my sixth decade (yikes!) on this planet is that my happiness lies in being what / who I know intuitively I am, as opposed to what / who the world at large thinks I ought to be. Being able to hear that inner voice requires that one drop their expectations of what should be, and relax sufficiently enough to calm the noise and learn. Quiet, peaceful meditation gets me to that place. Be still and know. Let go and let God. Follow the Tao. Whatever you call it, however you name it -- it's all the same.

So right now, my intuition is telling me to follow a strategy of taking what life sends my way, and trusting myself to do the right thing with it -- at play and at work. And I am finding extraordinary consistency in the practice. When I trust my instincts -- the inner voice -- the correct thing happens at the correct time and place. Thus the 1,000 Doors Project... the recent return to songwriting and recording -- to a greater emphasis on my music as a way to communicate the importance of diversity -- in the environment, in our beliefs, in our solutions to our seemingly insurmountable problems... can't only be just one, must be a thousand doors... So relax, like my brother-in-law in the photo above (shot at Six Mile Creek, near Orangedale, Florida). Go with the flow. Hang out and listen for the muse to show up. She might surprise you.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Next?


Too many of my musician friends have been using ReverbNation for me to ignore it any longer. Something else to occupy (hijack?) my time at the computer... Has a decent built-in player, where I've posted some different songs than those already posted at MySpace. So your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to click on the banner above, check it out, and let me know what you think... simple!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Royal Palm Folk and Acoustic Music Festival - NOT

A quick note to let you know that I'll NOT be playing with The Ashley Gang at....

We will NOT take the stage as the featured act at 8:00 Saturday evening -- hope to see some familiar faces NOT at Veteran's Park Amphitheater - Royal Palm Beach, Florida. Heck, they brought Rick Nelson back for this.. you should NOT come! --- The city of Royal Palm pulled the plug on this event at the last minute after the organizers apparently did their job of organizing TOO well. Originally expecting less than 1,000 to show up, advance ticket sales, reservations, and other clues indicated a crowd into the multiple thousands -- somewhat beyond the communities ability to manage safely. So we understand the event is to be rescheduled at a more appropriate venue. We'll see....

Saturday, August 1, 2009

1,000 Doors Project

So this old man found himself back in a recording studio putting down tracks of his own songs for the first time in a number of years. I almost need something else to consume my time these days, but I just can't help it. My manic episodes tend to last for up to years at a time, so buckle up your seat belts kids, here we go...

I am totally unsure of where this is going... a solo project, an Ashley Gang project, something in between? Who knows? For now I'm planning on using 4 or 5 songs as a "sampler" CD for promotional purposes mostly.

The most important thing to me is that I document this sudden resurgence of lyrical and musical energy. Even if nothing at all becomes of it. Funny how that happens... after literally years (at least three) without a new tune popping out of my head, the muse decides to land on my shoulder. An when the muse arrive, she is impossible to ignore. Ideas flow, words appear, chord progressions park in your driveway and melodies poke you in the ribs.

So here we go -- off to the remote sand hills of Florida and a little studio by a dried up lake. I'll work on getting a home-grown video clip or two up here for you to see and hear over the next few months and do my best to bring you along on this little indie recording venture. Welcome to the world of Florida Folk Music.

Next stop is the Royal Palm Folk and Acoustic Music Festival in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, next Saturday (August 8th) with the Ashley Gang. We're on stage at 8:00 p.m. Veteran's Park.

Thanks to Gar for snapping these pictures --

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Worldwide Photo Walk - 2009

Scott Kelby is a photographer, artist, teacher and trainer who developed an idea last year. Let's get people together in cities and towns around the world for a few hours on the same day with their cameras and see what happens. This year, Saturday, July 18th was the second annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk and 36,800 of us participated! In Jacksonville, 50 of us were guided around downtown by Jim Brady. We were challenged to look at familiar (to many of us) sights in unfamiliar ways. What a blast. Below is a small sampling of the 100 or so images that came out of my camera in the two hours before it rained...

Above: Jacksonville's Main Street Bridge, spanning the Saint Johns River - looking south from the north bank near the Jacksonville Landing.

Above: The principle photographer for the Jacksonville Times-Union, our daily newspaper, shooting the shooters....

Above: Couldn't resist the colors in the Siouxie and the Banshees sticker -- haven't seen one of these in years!

Above: The Bank of America Tower -- the predominant building in the downtown Jacksonville skyline.

These and more of my photos from the day can be viewed on my website here. Until next time...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's About Time...

... or lack of that precious commodity these days. Little time to create blog posts, what with everything going on in this ready-to-slow-down life. Writing... yeah, lot's of lyrics suddenly dropping into my head. Not to mention melodies to go with them. Landing like a dragonfly on a wounded porterweed stalk...

It clearly takes more time to memorize a song these days than it used to. A real agitation sometimes -- but worth the effort. I've turned the process into a kind of meditation and it does bring a bit of peace... Then we have a weekend-long practice with the band to get ready for our appearance as the featured act at the Royal Palm Beach Folk and Acoustic Music Festival. Getting my guitar chops back into shape. Float like a....

...and in between I'll be heading into the studio to record some of the new stuff. Hopefully the energy will hold out. Have obligations to photography clients too, not to mention work (the activity that makes the rest of this all possible). We're into budget preparation season, and in this economy it makes a tough process that much more of a challenge. But when you do the right things for the right reasons, it's worth the aches and pains. Though right now my eyes pretty much look like this...
All of the images are from our backyard butterfly gardens, that are finally starting to become active. Dragonfly up top, gulf fritillary in the middle, and a fiery skipper third. All shot hand-held with a Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro lens. Up close and personal. So we'll let you know how it goes.......... simple.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Local Focus July 1: Gators and Birds...

The Saint Augustine Alligator Farm might strike you at first as being one of those trite, old, U.S. Highway 1 roadside Florida attractions from the 1960s, designed to trap unwary tourists and separate them from their vanishing financial resources.

Not so!

In addition to being quite the cool little, well run, professionally staffed zoological park (yes, inhabited by hundreds of Florida Alligators -- among many other rare and exotic creatures), Nature's perfect processes have conspired to create an absolutely amazing, unplanned (by the park) environmental phenomenon. A large section of the park's wetland areas are inhabited by (hungry) free-ranging gators. A wooden causeway built into the heart of the area allows visitors to view the reptiles in their native habitat, and, yes, put a quarter into the little machine and toss a handful of treats into the snapping jaws below. The primitive area is dotted with a wide variety of north Florida regional flora, including majestic live oak, and tall palms. The combination of trees and gators created a perfect rookery habitat for the Florida native birds...

Every spring, hundreds and hundreds of great white egrets, snowy egrets (like the one above), cattle egrets, little blue herons, great blue herons, tricolor herons (like the one below with eggs), and wood storks fly in to build their nests, lay, incubate and hatch their eggs and raise their young above the watchful protection of the alligators that keep the bird's natural predators away.

In return, the gators get the occasional egg and feather breakfast (survival of the fittest in action), and hundreds of photographers flock in to observe and photograph every bit of it. The birds a so unintimidated by the stream of humanity gawking at their courtship rituals that some nests are built with a few yards of the causeway.

We made two visits this year, the most recent was last Saturday -- and it produced the photos posted here. Nature in action.... simple!

More photos from the 2009 rookery season can be found on my website here: RiverRoadPhoto

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Strangers in A Familiar Land

We blew out of the heat of Jacksonville last Friday to the even more extreme heat of Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is easily our favorite weekend getaway destination -- a great walking town full of incredible early to mid 19th century architecture, interesting and often friendly locals, great restaurants and pubs, and our favorite bed and breakfast, the McMillan Inn. Joe and Cindy are wonderful hosts, and the multi-course breakfasts are second to none.

With the temperature above 100 every day, we did not get much walking in during the daylight hours -- though upon our arrival for lunch at the Six Pense Pub, we strolled through Oglethorpe Square and followed the sound of a flute to this gentleman's bench...

We stopped for a few photos and a bit of conversation. He said he would be down at River Street after 7:00 to sing the blues with his guitar playing partner (and he was)...

Oglethorpe Square, at the intersection of Oglethorpe and Bull Streets is but one of more than 20 town squares -- small parks, really, that make the Savannah historic district so accessible by foot. The shade of the old live oaks -- some once used for hangings, they say -- make it almost tolerable on a summer day. Each has it's own character. Remember the movie Forrest Gump, when Forrest was sitting on the bench, waiting for the bus and telling his story? That was the next square east on Bull Street...

Part of the character and style of downtown Savannah is shaped by the presence of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Were I 35 years younger, it's the kind of school I'd want to attend. The youthful creativity of the students really dresses up the old 1950's era cross streets, adds a Bohemian flair, and the perfect contrasting ambience to the Civil War era historic district. A great place to be with a camera and the love of your life...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Local Focus - 6-18-2009: Alpine Groves

Took off of work on this steamy Florida overcast, rumbly day to relax and test a new lens out before engaging in some serious photography this weekend. Ten miles south on State Route 13, along the banks of the Saint Johns River in Switzerland Florida (originally settled by Swiss farmers, if you don't count the Timacua -- imagine that), sits Alpine Groves Park.

Alpine groves is the historical remnants of a formerly working north Florida citrus farm, where oranges and lemons were raised. The old farm -- the remaining structures, including a beautifully restored grove house, were constructed in the first decade of the twentieth century -- sits on a high bluff above the river. At low tide the pilings of the old wharf are visible above the brown water of the north-flowing Saint Johns. You can easily imagine horse drawn carts at the wharf and crates of orange and yellow citrus being loaded onto boats for the trip up to Mayport, and from there to the great ports of the east coast...

The upper window in this hundred year old barn was made of panes of blue, green and red stained glass. Only in the last six months have the local knuckleheads shattered the last of them. Part of the yin and yang of turning a piece of history into a publicly accessible space. I've never understood the lure of vandalism -- some psychologist once told me it provides a false sense of control to the transgressor. Power to the idiots of the world...

Rising from the bluff, and eventually toppling from the bluff as it is worn down by the slow but steady effort of the river, live oak and cypress trees provide perches for egrets and osprey. It's a great spot to watch them, and the occasional anhinga search for food below. We've often seen manatee gather and play within a few hundred feet of the shore here. A favorite spot of our to walk, shoot, meditate and relax...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

OId City Strangers...

Being stuck in the office all week has made it difficult, to say the least, to get out and and do any street photography... so I am reaching back to our February trip down to Saint Augustine (see my "St. Augustine in 50 mm of Black and White" post) to fulfill my first iteration of the "strangers" posts.

We had stopped at the Tiny Martini Bar on the front porch of the Casa Blanca B&B (great place that Kay and I have stayed at) -- and ended up sitting next to a growing family gathering of folks vacationing from the northeast. I jumped off the porch midway through my glass of California Zin (no, not a sweet white zinfandel, but a real, pure red robust zin!), turned and focused with my camera while encouraging the gang to smile...
Little sister on the porch, obviously in a playful mood put up the ubiquitous horns behind her husband's head... you can invent stories for each of them -- all good sports. By the third time we ran into them in different parts of town, they were certain we were stalking them.

After shooting the above frame, I turned toward the rumble on Avenida Menendez behind me in time to capture this group of bikers...
I stepped off the curb, hollered "smile" (most of the did), and pressed the shutter. Another opportunity to imagine their stories....

I'm not very comfortable with this style of shooting -- taking a chance at photographing complete strangers on the street. Half of it is the fear of being perceived as one of those dorks with a camera (yeah, I know..), and the other half is fear of getting my butt kicked by offending someone in a federal witness protection program. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be a good thing, too. I watched a video blog this morning by a guy (Tim Ferriss) at a Google conference who talked about Stoic productivity principles... his point was that it's more important to define your fears than your goals. At my age, new approaches are more difficult -- but I'm willing to challenge myself -- and (hopefully) show up here with new shots of new friends each weeks, and no bruises for the effort.... simple?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Local Focus - June 5, 2009

In an effort to bring some amount (however small) of discipline to my writing here, I thought that I would try to venture down a path of recurring themes, wrapped around my photography. Two or three areas of "focus" (pun totally intended), that might produce two or three posts per week. So here's what I came up with: 1) Local Focus -- a look at the northeast Florida region (not what most people dream about when they dream about tropical Florida...), 2) Strangers -- photos and stories of people I have never met, and 3) Free For All -- whatever happens to come to mind through the lens of my camera.

So tonight we start this little effort locally...

...County Dock Road in Mandarin dead-ends at the Saint Johns River. An old boat ramp adjacent to the dock that extends a thousand feet or so into the brackish water. Here we found a fisherman casting for bait, in silhouette near sundown on a cloudy day. The river was calm - it had rained heavily earlier in the afternoon. A good evening to fish...

Fifty feet out on the dock a couple fished and smoked. There were at least ten people, men and women, fishing on the dock. They all smoked. I wonder if North Carolina Tobacco attracts Florida fish to the end of those lines. His white tee shirt and red shorts made an interesting reflection on the slick surface. We didn't stay long, what with the smoke and all.....