52 weeks with Carolyn

A Theme Based Photo Blog


Week 40 #12 Diamonds

My husband and I enjoyed a Sunday afternoon several weeks ago touring the grounds of the Ringling Estate and Museum in Sarasota.  One of America’s wealthiest couples, John and Mable Ringling started building Ca’d’Zan in 1924 on a waterfront site 1,000 feet long and 3,000 feet deep along Sarasota Bay.  The 36,000 square foot house is five stories tall, has a full basement and was completed in 1926 for the tidy sum of $1.5 million.  The majority of the furnishings are original to the house and were collected from all over the world.  Mable died within 3 years after its completion and John died in 1936.  When he died he was virtually penniless after loosing the majority of his wealth in the Wall Street Crash of 1929.  He bequeathed his estate to the people of Florida and it took years of legal battles with his creditors before the state possessed full ownership.  For 10 years it was closed and reopened in 1946.  Funds were difficult to come by to keep up the renovations and by the late 1990’s the house was used as the location for Miss Havisham’s decrepit mansion in the Hollywood remake of Charles Dickens’ classic Great Expectations, starring Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Bancroft and Robert De Niro.  Following the filming of the movie the house was closed for major renovations at the cost of $15 million and reopened in 2002.

Through out the first floor the majority of ceiling murals were painted by Willy Pogany, the set decorator of the Ziegfeld Follies.  While walking from the Great Hall to the entrance of the Breakfast Room I happened to look up and noticed the large lavender and tan “diamonds” painted as a backdrop to the intricate bird and leaf vine design.  I cropped and straightened the shot and despite by best efforts, it just goes to show with age everything  sags and settles a little!





Week 39 #26 Mealtime

This past week I had the opportunity to join friends and a bird photograph expert on his boat and travelled to a local rookery.  Armed with my camera and a rented Canon EF 100-400mm lens, I had the time of my life.  He organizes trips several months in the Spring and this day we were able to see many varieties of birds in flight, bringing in nesting materials and feeding their babies.  This shot of a Great Blue Heron baby is really enjoying its mealtime!  BTW, I can’t wait until next year and hopefully be using my own 100-400mm long distance lens!






Week 38 #46 Tell A Story

This morning a few members from Lakewood Ranch Digital Photography Club Macro Group met at Red Bug Slough Preserve in Sarasota for a tour.  The 72 acre wooded nature preserve  was purchased in the early 2000’s through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program.  The preserve offers trails, a small lake with a fishing dock, picnic area, small playground and is nestled in the heart of Sarasota.   A small portion of the preserve can be seen from Beneva Road.  I have driven by the preserve several times not knowing what a treasure lay beyond a small parking area and entrance.

We were met by an Environmental Specialist for Sarasota County who manages the preserve along with several other parks and preserves in Sarasota County.  He was extremely knowlegable as we took a two hour walk through a small section of the preserve. Most of the trees, palms, shrubs and flowers are native to this part of Florida.  Occasionally he pointed out those that weren’t and explained how many sprout up from seeds dropped by birds.

One flower we never expected to see was an amaryllis in bloom. Too large for a bird to drop so it was left by someone over the past year.  Its orange blossoms glowed through the underbrush surrounded by a carpet of lush green ferns.




Week 37 #34 OMG!

The minute I saw this statue in Cologne, Germany I knew it would be my choice for this weeks theme OMG!  Our guide pointed it out to us and we all had a good laugh.  I did a little more research just recently to see exactly what the statue was all about and who made it. The name of the statue is “Kallendresser”, which is an expression for someone who carries out his call to nature in the gutter.  It can be found on building number 24 in Alter Market across the street from City Hall.  Designed by German Ewald Mataré in 1954, the origin is unclear and there are potentialy several theories.  Our guide informed us it was often done as a political statement in the square to drop your trousers and turn your back toward City Hall.  She didn’t say if that still occurs today!!  Whatever the true meaning, it provided me a great OMG! moment.