Sarasota Sam’s in Style


About 10 years ago I was at an art opening in my neighbor’s studio. My friend Bob Ballou was showing some work in this studio and his wife Bronwen and stepson Nicolas were with him. I was taking some snap shots with a digital camera and Nicolas (who was not quite 5 at the time) came over to me and asked what I was doing. I told him I was taking photos of the people and asked if he wanted to see what I was doing. He ended up making a few photos himself. After awhile he looked at me and said “I want to be like you”. I asked him if it was because I had a cool camera. He said no, then said “because you’ve got style”. As you can imagine I was a bit startled by his comment, coming from a not yet 5 year old. I asked him to repeat what he said and he said it again, “because you’ve got style”.

Well Nicolas it has taken about 10 years, but now I can say I am in Style Magazine.

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In Debbie’s Backyard

I go out to Debbie’s backyard to have a smoke and late in the day play my xaphoon. Here is a list of all the animals I have seen in Debbie’s backyard since being here for three months: squirrels, rabbits, soft shell turtles, always lizards, bats, vultures flying overhead, osprey, all kinds of herons, egrets, red-shouldered hawk, sandhill cranes, and yesterday (July 9) a Bobcat sitting in a tree. No alligators yet, but I am still looking.

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Three Moons

In response to my friend Bob Ballou’s comment of asking me to provide more information on my process of discovery, here goes: Mari and I have been in Sarasota for 3 moons now. We left Waltham Massachusetts during the full moon and last night (July 7th), we were atop the canopy walkway at Myakka State Park (with Mari’s sister Debbie) to watch the sunset and the moon rise. On the canopy we met a very interesting man, Michael, who was there for the same reasons as us, to view the full moon and too charge his magical stones.

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Summer Solstice 2009 and I attended a Summer Solstice celebration at the Unity Church of Sarasota. It was held outside in the Unity Labyrinth. We have been told that Sarasota is one of 22 Crystal Cities of Light in the world. Here is a link to Jo Mooy article Prism of Light and Crystal City of Light.
The sound file you are hearing (if you have your sound on) was played and sung during the Solstice celebration and also sung around the world on the Solstice: The One Song Project. The chant is “OMA, KA, OM” pronounced “OM-AH, KA,OM”. Continue reading

Birds on the Beach

Terns, Gulls, Egrets, Herons, Pelicans, Pipers, Osprey, etc..etc..etc. And I can see why from all the schools of small fish in the water. One time the water was so dense with small fish that I thought there was a deep impression in the bottom creating a shadow. It was hundreds of thousands of small fish.

The Egrets are very bold, walking right by me intent of catching it’s next bit. That’s all these little fish could be, and so the birds keep hunting after swallowing their last catch.

When I am swimming, the Pelicans will dive right next to me and then take off right over my head. Usually I am at the beach early or late in the day and the light on their feathers as they pass over me is stunning.

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Why Sarasota Sam?

Let’s say, I meet someone on the beach and take their photo. If they would like me to email them the photo I realized that telling them to email me at was very forgettable.


Before Mari and I moved down here I registered, because every time I mentioned Sarasota Sam to a friend or acquaintance they would smile or laugh, so I knew I had something memorable.



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On the Beach

Siesta Key Beach is a beautiful very white sand beach on the Gulf. It is just 15 minutes from Debbie’s house, so it is a place I go often after my normal work day. Mari, after looking at my photos, said that most people are looking for beautiful vistas to capture, while I am looking down at details on the beach. I am fascinated by the changes that each wave brings to compositions on the beach. I can stay in one spot and the continual motion of the waves brings new surprises and delights. Continue reading

On to Color

After becoming more familiar with the Canon G10 and making a few Black & White photos, it was time to switch to color. The G10 is capable of 15 megabyte files and also has the capability to photograph in the RAW mode. The beauty of the RAW mode is that there is much more control in playing with the file than if it was photographed in JPG. For me it is almost like going back to the darkroom. For anyone serious about trying to get the best photograph possible and having more control in after image processing, RAW is the way to go.

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Starting in Black & White

Not having made a photograph with intent for many years, I don’t know what I will be photographing. Everything is open to me now and I can explore what Gary Winogrand once said when asked why he made photographs. “I photograph to see what things look like photographed”.

I had been reading about the Canon G10 and thought it would be a good starter camera for me. With a price of around $400 and 15 million pixel resolution, along with the ability to record in the Raw format, it made the whole process more like doing my old Darkroom work.


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Why Sarasota?

Why am I (and Mari) in Sarasota Florida? There is a long story and a short one. I will give the short one here. It is all about money. Both Mari and I are deep in debt and can no longer afford to live in our studio in Waltham. The crashing economy has drastically affected my SmilePix business. It is also time for a change. I have lived in my studio for over 30 years and have stagnated the last five years or so. Nothing creative going on for me except playing my Xaphoon (a bamboo saxophone).

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