I really enjoyed attending the Tampa Twilight Criterium in downtown Tampa on Saturday afternoon. I took my son with me in a backpack, and while I took photos, he provided commentary – “Whoooooooah!” – I think he was impressed that they were just a little faster than his Red Ryder.
Having done a few of these myself, I can relate to the challenges of working with a city to orchestrate an event like this. But the organizers, police, and City of Tampa were all accommodating and everything seemed to go smoothly.
My camera doesn’t really have the chops for this kind of combined light and speed, but I made the best of it and am happy with how a few came out. I just feel lucky I didn’t get my block knocked off. Hopefully the guys didn’t mind!
I am proud to say that I have been a member of American Whitewater (AW) for almost 15 years. Even when I was in college, waiting tables and taking student loans, I found a way to mail my membership check. I don’t share this to convey that I am special. In fact, I am ashamed to say that I haven’t done more for AW.
Money and time are two things we all wish we had more of, right? But how often do you spend the two just trying to get closer to a wild, free flowing river? The point is you can afford to be a member. You can afford to support the only organization working exclusively to conserve and restore whitewater rivers. The world certainly isn’t making any more of them.
AW leverages your modest membership dues in combination with the collective sum to:
Improve Public Access
Increase Safety Awareness
And Celebrate Life on Moving Water
Just look at what they have accomplished in California.
Of course, I love AW’s choice of photos for California! It was actually quite a surprise when I picked up the mail today and looked through their 2009 Summer Appeal.
Meanwhile, AW has made many more strides in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Rockies Pacific Northwest, and the Midwest. None of these efforts are ever easy and often mired in bureaucracy, lobbying, and special interests, yet they keep going, deriving renewed motivation from sometimes small but significant steps forward for the benefit of us all.
So, please don’t let the river gods trounce you in giant nasty hole. Join Now!
If you look carefully at this mural (click to enlarge) that is painted on the side of a building in downtown Tampa, you can see that it embodies much of the personality of the city. I hope the artist does not mind that I took a picture of it and posted it here.
Within the lettering you will see the Sulphur Springs Tower, Gasparilla Festival, Henry B. Plant Museum, Ybor City, and representation of the natural environment and countless springs, rivers, and bays that surround the City. Since I moved to Tampa, I have done my best to try and encapsulate the diversity of the area with the Sea Kayaking Tampa, Florida post bringing in a surprising amount of traffic to my website. Of course, there is much more.
My assumption is that very few people outside of Florida think not only about the agricultural production in the State, but also the ranching and equestrianism that goes along with it. Starting with the Spanish, horses have played an integral role in the development of Florida. Not far from where I live, Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders camped for several days in preparation for the Spanish American War. The City of Tampa has not forgotten, for you will find horses featured at the Tampa Bay History Center. Likewise, this statue is just down the street from me on Bayshore.
Horses are iconic symbols that have played a role in my professional life, and in the past two states I have lived in – Nevada and Florida. In my work with Twelve Horses, I have been fortunate to learn more about the history of horses in America, and the challenges they face. It is a fascinating story that is still being written.
I enjoy exploring different forms of images I’ve captured with a camera. In this case I took an original picture and made it look like a dark watercolor that conveys a feeling of alienation and uncertainty about what lies ahead.
There are certain people who are absolutely fanatical when it comes to their fascinations with dolphins. I call these special treats, Porpoise People. And trust me, these unique individuals are by no means exclusive to beach communities. I can’t tell you how many times I have been driving through some little poedunk mountain town, East or West, and marveled at some maniac’s yard centered around a giant porpoise fountain. Inevitably, they also have a mailbox fashioned into a life size replica of a dolphin, and guaranteed, if you enter their house you’ll find china dolphins prominently placed, collector dolphin plates affixed to the wall, and quite possibly some ridiculously large and expensive statue made out of metal or crystal that the dog is completely afraid of.
What is up with this obsession?
Just the other day I was out paddling my sea kayak off the coast of Honeymoon Island, and a number of them surrounded me while hunting for food. The way they wrangle fish is so dramatic and fun to watch that one can’t help but feel a little jealous. It would be like getting up from the dinner table and doing a triple back flip followed by a few smacks of your ass on the table just for good measure.
I have to admit there is something captivating about these creatures. Dolphin’s actions wreak of intelligence, their physical abilities are astounding, and they seem so damn happy and carefree one would think they had the option to be human but decided, ‘Nah, I’m cool here, thanks.”
So, maybe I am a little understanding of Porpoise People. At least they don’t surround themselves with idols they eat like those crazy Pig People…
Of course, there are a gazillion different things you can do with Flickr to get the most out of your photos. But one simple and easy-to-use service is Mosaic Maker by BigHugeLabs. You can quickly turn around something like the below poster I made from photos I took at this year’s O’Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro contest. No need for Photoshop, just plug the photo urls from Flickr in and hit Create. You’ll see there are a few different customization features to take advantage of, and best of all – it is free.