Monday, May 31, 2010

Florida Folk Festival 2010 -- Part 1

Every year on Memorial Day weekend since 1953, Florida Folk artists have gathered on the banks of the Suwanee River in the old town of White Springs. At 58 years, it is the oldest State-sponsored folk festival in the U.S. I have been participating as a performer, either solo or with The Ashley Gang band since 1997.. so this first post on FFF 2010 features photos of the Ashley Gang. Thanks to Cindy Scortino for handling the camera while my hands were full of guitar...

Above: The Ashley Gang on the Old Marble Stage (l-r: Bob on guitar, Michelle on bass and vocal, me, Al on guitar and vocals, Kay on flute, and norm seated on percussion). The Marble Stage was the only stage used for the first few years of the festival and is sacred ground for we Florida songsters. It is the first place I ever performed at FFF 13 years ago as a solo act. We had a full to over-flow audience that sent us amazing waves of energy and appreciation -- and I think we sent that back. One of our best sets ever as a band...

Above and below: 4 of the 6 Ashleys (Kay and norm are there but off camera) at the Ann Thomas Memorial River Gazebo. This is a fully acoustic setting at an old boat landing right on the banks of the Suwanee River, and a place for only Florida music by Florida songwriters. We performed some of mine and some of Al's original tunes for another full house... The concerts at the Gazebo are hosted every year by Florida folk music legend, Frank Thomas (seated behind the band in the photo above). Frank has written hundreds of Florida songs (and has never written a single one down). The Gazebo is now named after late wife and musical partner, Ann.

In addition to our little band of Floridians, there were dozens of others -- old favorites and new up-and-comers over three full days on multiple stages at the Stephen Foster State Park. I'll follow up in a few days with photos and notes of some of my favorites.... For those of you here in the States, Happy Memorial Day -- and please take a moment to remember what this day is all about.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nature Where You Find It

Temperatures up to the high 80s and low 90s now, and one day of hard rain... that's all it takes to kick start the blossoms in our back yard. So yesterday's photo outing did not require the expenditure of much energy -- just a walk out the back door with my D700 and the 150mm macro lens (still my favorite all-around glass)...
This is a beautiful, new magnolia blossom (magnolia grandiflora) in the woodsy northwest section of the yard. These fragrant blossom last of one day, then turn brown and drop off. This 60 foot tree is popping about twenty new blooms every day right now.

An orange and yellow Canna Lily -- the first to bloom this year in one of our south-east section beds. I transplanted about 50 of these from our center garden about 5 years ago to various beds around the yard. They multiply quickly and add a great touch of color wherever they grow...

And this interesting blossom is an African Lily -- one of the few non-natives that we have left in our Florida yard. They add nice filer foliage and beautiful intricate flowers. I shot this in full sun and processed the image in photoshop elements by de-selecting the blossom and using the "average" filter in the background (exposed at - 3EV in bright, direct sunlight in order to darken the background, leaving the result above after processing).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Promise Kept....

As promised in the previous post -- the following is a photo of yours truly after today's St. Baldrick's Foundation event to raise funds for children's cancer research... EGAD!

Not exactly the album cover shot I was looking for -- for it was worth every shorn hair on my head. My donors contributed around $500! Thanks to those who contributed! The total contributed for today's event is not in yet-- but certainly in excess of $20,000. There are many newly bald heads to go with those dollars.

In these hard times, when so many worthy causes are competing for your charity, I am humbled by your gifts. If you are interested in contributing to this chrome dome's cause, It's not too late... just click here.