52 weeks with Carolyn

A Theme Based Photo Blog


Week 43 #43 Tools Of The Trade

My photography club several weeks ago took a field trip to Tarpon Springs, FL.  Tarpon Springs became famous in the late 1800’s as the hub for harvesting Sponges from the gulf waters off the coast.  Many Greek citizens immigrated to the area to work on the ships. Tarpon Springs is now home to one of the largest Greek communities in the United States.  We didn’t realize the day we chose to visit,  happened to coincide with their once monthly Greek Festival.  We had hoped to have a beautiful sunset along the pier waters that evening but, alas Mother Nature wasn’t at her finest.  Instead we concentrated on the multiple festive scenes around us.  Greek musicians provided us with continual background music while we wandered the streets.  I captured this man with his “Tool Of The Trade”, a beautiful Bouzouki.




Week 42 #45 Underneath

My father had a Hoya plant that originally came from my maternal grandmother.  She passed away in 1963 and my maternal grandfather in 1967.  At one point during that time period we acquired the original plant.  My sister told me she had it at one point but, admits she doesn’t have a green thumb so gave it back to my parents.  For years it sat on a fern stand in the dining room near a window that received southern exposure sun.  Several times I took cuttings from it and they would survive for a little while but, I never could keep them growing.  Shortly after my father passed away in 2012 while home to go through the arduous process of sorting through a lifetime of living, the Hoya plant was still there, not as healthy as it had been in its hey day, but surviving.  I decided to take several cuttings and hoped perhaps this time I would have some success.  We moved to Florida in 2014 and placed it outside.  I knew the plant produced beautiful white star shaped flowers because it has had a few blossoms since we moved here.  This spring I began to notice multiple buds forming on the end of each long tendril of leaves.  It has never produced so many flowers and I am thrilled to finally have this beautiful plant at its peak to remind me of my grandmother and my father.

Since the theme for this week is underneath, the only way you really can enjoy the beauty of the flower is to look at its underside.  I don’t have it hanging but, setting on a table.  Took some gymnastic moves on my part to get the photo.



Week 41 #40 The Good Old Days

We have a gardenia bush just outside the lanai.  Right now it is blooming and I am enjoying the sweet aromas of its white flowers.  I remember when I was growing up and wore corsages for various events, my mother telling me in “The Good Old Days”, gardenias were the most popular flower for corsages.  They became popular in 1937 when Rod McLellan invented the gardenia corsage.  Not only are they extremely fragrant they also don’t wilt very quickly.  Gardenias are synonymous with love and romance.

I did a little research on Google to check out the history of the gardenia and am quoting what information I discovered.  Gardenias originated in Eastern Asia.   In 1752 a Scottish physician and naturalist Alexander Garden moved to Charleston, South Carolina.  Somehow he became a “pen pal” with an English merchant John Ellis, who also was a good friend of Carolus Linnaeus, a famous Swedish botanist.   Linnaeus had developed the genus-and-species system for scientifically naming and classifying plants.  In 1758, Ellis visited a garden outside London to inspect an evergreen shrub thought to be a jasmine that had fragrant white double blossom flowers.  He and Linnaeus determined it was not jasmine.  Ellis convinced Linnaeus to name the newly discoverd shrub, gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) after his friend Alexander Garden.  In 1762, the first gardenia in America was planted in Dr. Garden’s garden.

Gardenias are still a popular flower for corsages and weddings, especially in the South.  Plants are found in Asia, Africa, Australia, England, Pacific Islands and the Southern U.S.  They also are popular houseplants.  My bush only is in bloom for less than a month, so I am always thrilled to see the first blossom open.




Week 40 #29 Shot At 9:00 A.M.

First off, I have to admit this photo was not shot exactly at 9:00 A.M. so I guess I’m breaking the rules, but it was shot sometime before 10:00 A.M.!  I intended to get out early one morning and photograph my orchids on the lanai.  My bed was way too cozy that morning so I woke late.  After cleaning up and eating breakfast I was doomed, the clock showed 9:05 A.M.  So I thought, well I could put it off for another day or just go for it, so I did.  I had the morning shoot and then went back out in the afternoon when the light changed.  All and all a productive day and I did like the morning shot of the small orchid resting against the bunny.




Week 39 #22 Ordinary Objects

I have always been a big proponent of recycling.  Years ago before cities began curb side service I would collect our recycling and make a weekly trip to a drop off location.  Living in Iowa since I was a little girl we had a bottle tax law.  When you purchased pop, beer or other liquor, 5 cent per item was added to your bill.  I remember as a child walking around the neighborhood collecting bottles (cans weren’t as prevalent then) and taking them to redeem at the store to buy candy.  For years when I took my daily walks I would take plastic grocery bags along with me to pick up trash, cans and bottles.  I was always amazed that every day I could fill up sometimes 2 bags.  My neighbors knew me as the “trash lady”.  It became a regular joke with my husband how much money I made on my daily walks.

While traveling recently I read an article about a company in Seattle who has started a clothing line made entirely of recycled plastic bottles.  Their first hot item were women’s black leggings, selling for $25.  By the time the company gets in full swing with other products they estimate they will have diverted almost 7 million water bottles from land fills.  That number is staggering to me and that is just one town one company.

Another fact I was unaware of is how long it takes a plastic bottle to biodegrade.  The experts estimate it could take 450 years.  Yikes!  We Americans drink about 50 billion bottles of water every year but recycle only 23 % of that.  I haven’t gotten in the habit of using a reusable bottle for my drinking water and do purchase bottled water for use when I am away from home running errands etc.  I never leave home without one.  I do however, continue to be diligent in collecting the empties and adding them to the recycle bin for our weekly pickups.

I chose a few varieties and sizes of water bottles to highlight this weeks them “Ordinary Objects”.




Week 38 #17 Misplaced/Lost/Missing Pieces

This week I went to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota with a couple of friends to check out the the Marc Chagall special exhibit “Flowers, and the French Riviera: The Color of Dreams”. The exhibit in the Conservatory was amazing with an abundance of flowers, 4 transparent stained glass partitions and several constructed walls of houses complete with doors, windows and window boxes overflowing with fresh flowers.  I’m trying to decide what remaining themes I have that could be used to showcase the exhibit.

I did however spot an unusual door mat of all things when coming out of the Payne Mansion after viewing a display of the history of Marc Chagall.  The mat has many missing pieces that reveals the likeness of a dog.  You never know when you will spot something that will fulfill a weekly theme!



Week 37 #1 A Fairy Tale

I recently visited the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary a non-profit sanctuary for big cats, bears and other animals in need.  My photography group arranged a special behind the scenes shoot after the park closed.  25 of us lined up behind a chain link fence and watched with fascination as a handler worked with 3 different big cats.  Its a challenge to shoot through chain link fence but, I was rewarded with this image of a male lion in all his glory.  Looking over the list of remaining weekly challenge themes,  the first one “A Fairy Tale” reminded me of one of Aesop’s Fables “The Lion and The Mouse”.  When I was growing up we had several volumes of Aesop’s Fables and I can remember reading many of the fables on rainy stay inside days.   All fables have a moral and many of them involve animals.  If your not familiar with “The Lion and The Mouse” look it up it has a great moral, “Little friends may become great friends”.