Elvis and The Clash

In 1979, The Clash were still relatively new on the music scene. London Calling was their third studio album. The cover photo was shot by Brit photographer Pennie Smith. She caught Clash guitarist Paul Simonon  bending over smashing his guitar. Smith did not want to use the photo because it was a bit on the blurry side. However, the album’s Graphic Designer Ray Lowery liked the idea and convinced Pennie it caught the mood and fury of the band. It was Lowery’s decision to closely duplicate the style, lettering and colors of Elvis Presley’s debut LP symbolically linking the rock legend to the new guard.

The Elvis cover was photographed by Tampa’s  William V. “Red” Robertson during the second of two shows at Tampa’s Fort Homer Hesterly Armory. The date was July 31, 1955. The show’s headliner was Andy Griffith. Elvis was billed 6th. Below is the original uncropped photo.

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Clearwater Beach Sugar Sand Festival

Just the other day my wife and I went to The Clearwater Beach Sugar Sand Festival at Pier 60. I believe this was the third year we attended this event. Every year there is a different theme. Last year was a Celebration of Musicians which you can see here. This year’s theme is  Celebrating America. The eleven sculptors come from all over the world. The artists do not use molds. It’s all done using brushes, utilities tools and other instruments.

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Mount Rushmore

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Salty Fishermen

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Wall Street

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Edgar Allan Poe

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Abraham Lincoln

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Louis Armstrong and Charley Patton

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Holiday Road

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Lighthouse

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Route 66

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Monroe and Chaplin

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Casey at the Bat

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America’s National Parks

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Recent Read: The Deep Blue Good-by

The DeepThe master of Florida noir, John D. MacDonald was admired by writers like Stephen King, Lee Child and Dean Koontz among many others. MacDonald’s most famous character was Florida’s dark-knight Travis McGee.  In his first adventure, there were 21 books in the series, McGee willingly helps out, he called himself a “salvage consultant,” a young woman recover illegal funds her father stole and smuggled back home during the war.  His fee is fifty percent of what he recovers.

Travis’ methods of getting information are not always, I guess you can say legal. In this book, he strips one drunk guy, ties him up in a shower, hits him with cold water to sober him up, and then with hot scorching water to get him to talk. That said, McGee can be introspective, philosophical, sometimes cynical, and does have his moments of charm with women. Florida isn’t all fun in the sun.

 

Pelicans at Sanibel’s J.N. “Ding” Darling NWR

Earlier this week my wife and I took a short trip to the Naples area  of Southwest Florida. Included was a short day trip to the Ding Darling WLR on Sanibel Island where we were greeted by a small pod of Pelicans. Here are a few of my photographs.

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The Wrath of Hurricane Irma Comes to Florida

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 It’s been a stressful week for everyone in Florida lately and it has been getting worst with each passing day. This morning, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys as a category 4 with wind gusts up to 130mph. Last week, it was on course, according to hurricane trackers to head up the east coast. However, as the week went on, it has continuously moved in a more westerly direction and is now creeping up the gulf coast side of the state. My wife and I, and our cats, live just north of Tampa and are now almost in the storms projected path. At best, we are hoping that Irma weakens as it travels on land and gets down to a Cat. 3, even better a Cat. 2. We can only hope.

All week we have been making plans: buying non-perishable foods (healthy, and not so healthy stress relief stuff, stocking up on water, batteries, etc., and putting up shutters, thanks to some amazing help from my neighbor Larry.  

Rollo Hunkering downWith the outdoor furniture in the house, Rollo has hunkered down and taken shelter from the storm.

Currently, it about 1:30 PM and the rain bands have picked up. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning. Irma is the first Category 4 hurricane to hit Florida since Charley back in 2004. It’s also the first time that two category 4 hurricanes (Irma and Harvey) have hit the U.S. back to back. Dubious distinctions to say the least.

Fortunately, we are far enough away from the coastal waters that we do not have to worry about storm surge which is expected right now to be 5 to 9 feet. Many folks like to live right by the water. I understand that, it’s beautiful and serene, but there are risks. It doesn’t take a category 4 or 5 for storm surge to come rolling into your neighborhood and home. We are not that far away from the ocean but just enough to be out of any flood evacuation zone.   

For us here, the weather folks are predicting the worst part of the storm will arrive later today and continue overnight before things begin to improve on Monday. Hopefully, without much or any damage.  The entire state is under Irma’s siege. It’s a massive storm leaving nowhere in Florida safe from its wrath. 

One final note. Today (September 10th) is generally considered the “peak” of the hurricane season. Hopefully, it quickly goes downhill from here, but it last until November. Floridians stay safe.

    

Feeding the Kids

I had to crop these photos quite a bit because this family of Anhingas were well back from our path and the trees and brush did not give me a clear shot. I used a 300mm lens but I really needed more like a 500mm or 600mm. Photographed at the Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg.

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Photographer Jerry Uelsmann at FMOPA

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I became an admirer of Jerry Uelsmann’s work sometime in the 1970’s. I am  vague on how he first came to my attention. Like many photographers I discovered back then, It was either through an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York or an Aperture monograph of his work that I discovered in the Museum’s bookshop. Either way, I became an admirer of the artist’s work and have been ever since.  Uelsmann is a master of surrealistic images created in the darkroom. Using multiple negative images, many photographed specifically to be used as just one element of the final print,  he experiments, studying the possibilities until he arrive at the moment his imagination has been searching for.

Today with digital photography, photoshop and lightroom many photographers can create similar images in much less time rarely, if ever, as good. Despite the digital revolution, Uelsmann, now in his 80’s, continues to use the darkroom as his paintbrush.

I bring all this up because, currently on view at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, Florida, an exhibit called Jerry Uelsmann: Undiscovered Self is on view. My wife and I went to see it yesterday afternoon and it reminded of how much and why I admire Uelsmann’s original and interpretive work.

The exhibit runs through December.