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Monday, March 29, 2010

Cá d’Zan

(literal translation “The House of John”)
The House that John and Mabel Built – Information can be found by searching
Cá d’Zan so I wont go into any official detail – how about just a little of my own impressions. Those of you from the north, not even experiencing your first spring days, won’t believe this but in March the wind blows cold off the Gulf – take a sweater just in case.

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From the Museum there are several circuitous walkways over to the Mansion. A walk that takes you through a garden of banyan trees, and wetland grasses and into Mabel’s rose garden. Of course these are no longer her roses but I wasn’t complaining and neither was my mother – pure bliss to browse the very early spring blooms.



When you leave the rose garden a view of the mansion opens up in front of you. AS you get up close the detailing is amazing. the external detail is made with Terra Cotta not with stone or brick – apparently cheaper to use and has help up better in the summer sun and the wet winds that blow off the Gulf.


that is all for now….. if you are visiting the south put this on your list of must sees.

When you least expect it.

DSC_2150I may have to divide this story into two parts. I know it will be hard to decide on what photos to show but I will see how it goes. When getting off the plane in Sarasota Sunday evening, I saw an ad for the Norman Rockwell exhibition at the Ringling Museum of fine art. On Monday when we leaving the BayFront park there was a sculpture out by the street that caught my eye DSC_2152and made me remember to ask my sister about the museum.   “unconditional surrender” Isn’t the detail wonderful? Her stockings even had a seam up the back. Do you remember wearing nylons with seams? In all my brochures about Sarasota there was nothing about this sculpture – but doing a Google search found it to be a 26 foot tall cause for argument between Sarasota residents. My comment – “some people have no sense of humor”.

Second day Sarasota - The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

I would never have expected to find a museum of this quality in a small town like Sarasota. The grounds include the museum building that John Ringling built in 1925 to house his personal collection; John and Mable’s dream house completed in 1926 and styled after buildings of Venice; her rose garden, a couple of restaurants, a warehouse of circus memorabilia and several other educational buildings and gift shops. The admission was a bit pricy but in the end the 5 or 6 hours we spent there made it seem well worth the cost.

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Both the house and the museum have been meticulously restored to their original glory. The Museum is definitely a building that speaks of Venice right down to its gentle pink color, u-shaped, rounded arches, individually carved stone balustrades, a small replica of Michelangelo's David, water fountains, and the elegant walkways through the garden. John Ringling spared no expense making his Mable happy.

Tomorrow more second day – the Ringling home and gardens.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

a visit to Sarasota Fl.

DSC_2066This past week I spent several days in Sarasota visiting with my mother and a sister. I had been in this area once long ago but had no real memory of the place. For 3 days my sister and her husband chauffeured me about, making sure I saw a few of the hot spots and several views of the new Ringling bridge just in case I needed a few shots for this week’s FSO. The area feels very much like Houston, same types of vegetation including huge old live oaks dropping their spring load of fine green pollen that really messes up my sinuses. Hope you enjoy the visit (sans the allergy attach).

First day: Sarasota BayFront Park & Marina. Families strolling, people of all ages sitting facing the sea, lying in the grass and gazing at the sky, artists painting, sketching, capturing the view of the bay, the sailboats and the bridge. Sculptures and grand old trees setting the scene as a place to enjoy the mild temperatures and bright sunlight of their short spring.


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Yachts large and small coming and going, being bought, being sold, covered and cold, bright and shiny, all I am sure, with stories to tell.

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Sarasota, wintering spot of snow birds, spring break play ground, second homes for the rich and famous. Nice place to visit.

Friday, March 26, 2010

MT FSO Bridges in Black and White

You all know by now that full, bright color is my thing. I think I see more through color than shape or size or lines – when I said this to my mother this week she ask ‘why’. I don’t have an answer and maybe this has no basis in fact – bottom line though is I like color. So to do digital photos in color then turn them to black and white and decide if any are good enough to put in this post was a difficult task for me.
Add to that that I am back in Houston with no archives of the Rio-Niterói Bridge or the train trestle in Nova Friburgo and that in Houston I didn’t find one, not one neat looking bridge. There has to be some, this is the bayou city after all; laced thickly with waterways running a little downhill to the gulf. What is here and available for photos was freeways, high arched overpasses of one freeway over another. Over on the east side of town the exit of the beltway 8 off I-10 headed south the exit (not ramp but bridge) is a terrifying arched, two lane MONSTROSITY – sorry no photo just a memory of finding myself soaring high above the birds as I headed home last summer. I considered briefly making the 50 mile drive (100 two ways) just for you then decided that a $40 fill up with no guarantee that I could stop and get a photo, was too much sacrifice to make for the FSO.
I did manage though to take photos of the 59 as it passes beside the George R Brown in downtown Houston. See how the color adds so much more to the photo? Of course I just got lucky with the red truck coming through at the right time, blending with the red supports. Maybe the problem is when you take in color then digitally convert to B&W – if photos are taken with B&W 35mm film are they better? And manual settings – would that improve the clarity of shadow to sun? I don’t have these answers.
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In downtown Houston theater district there are several parking lots that lend themselves to interesting – bridge – tunnel effects. And Memorial Park now has an interesting walking path that crosses over Memorial drive right along side the old railway trestle. (Humm?) DSC_1722
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FINALLY A photo that seems to be more interesting in Black and White. BRIDGING power lines.

opinions and advice are welcome.
I also have a few photos from Sarasota that I took while visiting this week, but i decided to show them when I show you that city – don’t be kidded this separation of subject was to limit my confusion.