Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers and followers. Without you taking the time to comment and encourage me throughout the year, I would probably lose interest in blogging and forget how much I enjoy it. So, this image is for you.

A Monarch butterfly sipping the nectar of Butterfly Weed at the Veterans' Memorial Garden at the Safety Harbor Marina in Safety Harbor, Florida.

The Monarch is probably the best known butterfly. They are migratory, but it is interesting to note that no one butterfly makes the entire trip from coast to coast. In the Spring, the adult butterflies head back North, breeding along the way. Their offspring finish the trip.

The above information is one of the reasons I have the passion to continue photographing nature. Everytime I capture an image, I research a little tidbit of information to pass along to my readers. It's amazing how much one can learn in small chunks without trying. Photography teaches all of us so much about the world we live in.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dawn Sunshine Skyway Bridge

I'm always trying to find a different perspective when I'm photographing a familiar site. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Ft Desoto, Tierra Verde, Florida is one of my favorite scenes to photo. Not only because it's the Skyway, but because I love to photograph bridges. I'm always on the lookout for a new one to photograph.

It's strange, I've photographed this bridge, especially at dawn and sunrise, hundreds of times and most of them from the same location on East Beach, and never thought to turn the camera on its side. I was pleasantly pleased with this shot.

Whenever I'm out with my photography students, I tell them to not be a "walk-up-shooter". Spend some time exploring the view; look up, look down, walk all the way around the subject if possible, take shots from near, from far, well you get the idea. I tell them this because it's one of my faults that I'm trying hard to overcome. I'll have to practice what I preach more often.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron

This immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron was taking advantage of the low tide to hunt for his evening meal in Tampa Bay in Safety Harbor, Florida.

As their name implies, they normally hunt at night, but this guy must've been really hungry or wanted to nest early.

Unlike the Black-crowned Night Heron, the Yellow-crowned Night Heron feeds mainly on crabs and crayfish. They can be seen foraging around near dusk when other Herons are well on their way to roost.

Night Herons differ from other Herons because they do not roost in colonies. They prefer to find their own private corner.

Because they're nocturnal, these birds are more skittish than most; but I find that when they're looking around for food they don't really care about anyone. They only concentrate on one thing, and that's finding their next meal. It is during that time that I find I can get pretty close to them, if I stay low and move slowly.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Study in Lines

I don't know why, but whenever I come across a scene like this I have to photograph it. Maybe it's because as a child my favorite toy was a Kaleidoscope. Whatever the reason, I love converging lines.

I like the pattern, the square at the end, the depth, the shadows, and the way the lens captures it.

This walkway is at HCC (Hillsborough Community College) in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida. The shadows is what first attracted me to it. Then I looked at the detail in the bricks the arches and the lines in the ceiling tiles. They all converge to form a perfect rectangle at the end. It looks to me like a long tunnel for whatever reason.

On this day, the lighting was perfect. I was out with a group of friends when I spotted this and stopped to make this shot. Everyone also shot it with their own unique vision and our photos were so different, it was hard to believe we were all at the same place at the same time.

It has been said that if 100 photographers and/or artists were told to make a picture of what they saw, no two pictures would be the same. At least 6 of us photographed this scene and no one's were even similar. Some of them didn't look like the same place.

I guess it would be safe to say that this was made with my eyes and my vision.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Endangered and Nearly Extinct

Isn't it amazing how far we've come with technology in the last 10-15 years? Pay phones could be found in front of every convenience store, and on nearly every corner in any city in the United States no matter how far you travel. Now, the only place they can be found is on the highways at rest stops.

Only the very well off could afford cell phones or car phones 15 years ago. Now, everyone has a cell phone; even children.

What is the need to be in touch every place we go? No matter where we are, what we're doing, we have these things growing out of our ears. We can't even have a day off. Because we have our cell phones, anyone from our offices or jobs can reach us anytime, and no one thinks any thing wrong with butting in on our own time.

We take them everywhere. It doesn't matter if we're on vacation, shopping, visiting with friends, we have this need to have our cells glued to our ears.

Now cell phones aren't just phones. They're portable computers. First came our planners; remember the Franklin Planner? I remember when my company paid us to take courses to learn how to use our planners to plan out our day. It was a requirement. Next, they gave us Palm Pilots, then portable PCs and finally laptops. Do we need to be always available every minute of our day for our jobs? Is it really a convenience or a pain in the butt? You decide.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunrise Over the Skyway

I have been doing this shoot every year since my friend, Linda Weekley, told me about it in 2006.

Once a year, the sun rises between the spans of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tierra Verde. I get this shot from East Beach in Ft Desoto. It happens only for 2 days a year, and it's never the same time.

That means that starting in October, I have to check where the sun rises so I can estimate when it'll be right there between the spans. I go probably 2 or 3 times in October, then once a week, down to every couple days to catch it just right. I got lucky this year; my friend, Jim, was there yesterday and let me know today would be the day. Jim is a member of my photography group, and they're all involved with this as well. As a matter of fact, it's become a tradition with the group. We all go out there for sunrise, then go to work from there if it's on a weekday.

I just made it on time today. I usually go at dawn, but today was the day the time changed (from Daylight Savings Time) and I got confused. I got there just before it rose. These are the photos I got from when I got there until it was just right.

If you go back in my blogs, you can compare this year's with each previous year. It's pretty cool.

It's still as exciting to see it today and it was back in 2006 when I caught it for the first time.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn

This shot was made during a walking tour off the beaten path in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida.

The Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn was built in 1895 by the founder of Ybor City, Vicente Martinez-Ybor, as his office for a land development company.

At the turn of the century, it became a clinic treating Ybor City residents. After the clinic closed, it sat empty for 18 years suffering vandalism, fire, neglect and vagrants.

In 1998, Jack Shiver, saw the potential for the old building and began refurbishing it painstakingly restoring it to its original splendor. Two years and two million dollars later the doors were reopened as the Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn. It is located at 1915 Republic de Cuba (Corner of 9th St and 14th Ave) in Tampa, FL. USA.

Friday, October 29, 2010


It's been a long time since I've posted to my blog. I really need to get better about this.

I had a shoot on Monday for this girl. She just wanted some photos for her Facebook. She brought tons of clothes and her stylist with her. Earlier in the day she had her hair and makeup done. She was really serious about this shoot.

For someone who's not a model, she did a fantastic job. She loves the camera and it loves her. I had a hard time choosing only a few for my site use. I like the lighting in this one.

Most of the photos were taken in Phillippe Park in Safety Harbor, FL. It's a beautiful park and offers many different locations for a shoot. We were all over the park, changing clothes before changing sites. Because of the humidity, her hair didn't last as long as she did, but her stylist made the best of it. In every shot, she had to fix her hair. Her stylist (also her sister) did a great job as well.

I'd love to have the chance to work with her some more. I tried to talk her into posing for my club; but she didn't really seem interested in posing for that many photographers. Maybe at a later date.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Butterfly Weed

Butterfly Weed grows wild in pinelands, sandhills and dry roadsides in Florida and is often planted in gardens to attract butterflies--especially Monarchs. They love any flower in the Milkweed family.

A little known fact about Butterfly Weed is that it used to be called the "Pleurisy Plant" by Native Americans who used to chew it's root to treat Pleurisy and other Pulmonary ailments. Most plants that we rarely consider is that at one time or another they were or are still used in medicine.

When we look at plants and wildflowers all we think about is the smell and beauty of the flowers, never about its contribution to us as medicine. Some of our prettiest flowers are medicine.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kennebunport Inn

Since I've been getting behind in my editing, I'm posting this one from my vacation to Maine with my son and daughter-in-law last June.

This is the famous Kennebunkport Inn. It has been a landmark since 1899. It was once a tea merchant's mansion and has the distinction of being listed as one of the Travel Channel's "Maine's Best Escapes".

The Kennebunkport Inn is located in Dock Square, Kennebunkport's shopping district and the only hotel/inn there and well worth checking out if you're going to be in the area.

Sun Rays and the American Flag

Just as I was leaving the Safety Harbor Marina last Monday, I spotted this as I was getting into my car.

Sun rays have always fascinated me. This one is no exception. Right after shooting this scene, it started to pour.

Florida's rains are really strange. It was pouring at the Marina, which is only 11 blocks from the Safety Harbor Grille where my friends and I go for dinner every Monday after our Meetup. It wasn't raining a drop at the restaurant, but people were calling to let me know it was pouring rain on the Bayside Bridge which is the opposite direction from the Safety Harbor Marina.

Sometimes it'll be raining across the street while it's not raining a drop on the other side and the sun is shining. Last week, I was driving home near 38th Ave in St Petersburg. The traffic in the opposite direction were slowed down to 15mph because the rain made it impossible to see, while on my side of the street, the sun was shining and it was dry as a bone. It's crazy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron

After some searching on the internet to find out the difference between an immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron and an immature Black-crowned Night Heron, I've decided that this must be an immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron.

It seems they look very similar in the wild, and if the two species are not together, then it's very hard to tell them apart. They both have white speckled bodies and faces, their eye color is the same, and their bill and leg colors are the same. So, how did I tell the difference when only one species is present? I guess knowing little details would make it an educated guess. According to all the sources I'd seen on the net and in my books, the only way to tell the difference is by looking at the color of their plumage and the length of their legs and stoutness of their bills.

My most trusted source is the Field Guide to Birds (Eastern Region) by the National Audubon Society. According to their book, young Yellow-crowned Night Herons are grayer, with stouter bills and longer legs than the young Black-crowned Night Herons. Since colors can be deceiving depending on the light cast, and I couldn't compare the legs, all I had to go on was the stoutness of the beak. Lucky for me, the Field Guide to Birds also has photos of both species. I matched up the beak, and made a definitive identification. This is a Yellow-crowned Night Heron!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Moon Jellyfish

This Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) washed ashore at Cocoa Beach. I found it in the early morning light the day after I photographed a wedding in Cocoa Beach. There were many on the beach, but this was the best specimen I could find.

Moon Jellyfish feed by collecting planton, mollusks and medusae with its tentacles, while drifting with the current. Jellyfish don't actually swim. They drift with the current.

Moon Jellyfish do not have lungs, trachea or gills. They breathe through the absorption of oxygen through a membrane. They also do not have circulatory or excretory systems.

Jellyfish have many predators including Ocean Sunfish and Leather Back Turtles. Sea birds also eat jellyfish. Their lifespan in the wild is less than 6 months, but can live in controlled environments such as aquariums for 2 years.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Apple Snail Eggs

These fluffy looking pink worm-like creatures are Apple Snail eggs. I researched and researched and couldn't find a thing about them until finally, a friend told me what they are.

The Apple Snails lay their eggs above water to protect them from fish and underwater creatures eating them.

Apple Snails have both gills and lungs, so they are Amphibians. Their mantle cavity is divided to support both respiratory systems. They also have separate genders unlike some snails, which have both genders. They spend most of their time underwater.

Apple Snails are the primary food of Snail Kites and Limpkins. I once saw a Limpkin nest. Alongside the nest was maybe 25 Apple Snail shells piled up ready for the chicks.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Giant Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtails (Papilio cresphontes), are the one of the 2 largest butterflies in the United States. This one has a wing span of about 5 inches and some have wings spans of 6 inches.

This one was at rest just before dark on one of my bushes so he was an easy shot to make. I checked several times and I was surprised to see that he spent the night right there out in the open.

Their larvae/caterpillars are known in the citrus industry as "orange dogs" and are considered a pest because they feed off the leaves of citrus trees.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cocoa Beach Sunrise

I've been so busy editing photos from a wedding I did in Cocoa Beach, that I have neglected my blog. For this, I do apologize. Hopefully, things will return to normal again.

This sunrise was made the morning after the wedding. I particularly like the way the sun reflects on the water and the color.

I've never been to Cocoa Beach before and for me, I wasn't all that impressed. It's more suited for the younger crowd.

Even the hotel lounge was too loud. Before bed, my assistant, Suzanne, and I decided to have a drink and wind down from the hectic day of photographing the wedding. She was looking forward to a nice, quiet glass of wine, while I was looking forward to a Bloody Mary. It was so loud in the bar and everyone was smoking. Luckily, Florida liquor laws allow drinks to be taken outside of the bar. We went outside and sat by the pool where we were able to have our drinks, conversation and wind down. We then headed to bed and got a good night's sleep before traveling back home.

I only took a few photos on the beach since once the sun came up, it was hot, hot, hot; even that early in the morning. The drive wasn't too bad; but I was glad to get back to St Petersburg.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Southeastern Lubber Grasshopper

This time of year, one can find these giant Grasshoppers most anywhere in Florida.

The Southeastern Lubber Grasshopper (Romalea mycroptera) is a flightless, slow moving grasshopper with a voracious appetite. They can quickly destroy the largest leaves. They cause wide-spread damage where ever they're found. When disturbed, they emit a foul-smelling secretion.

I've seen them walking around on the sidewalks, on my patio chairs, table and in the grass, along roadsides, field edges and salt marshes. They can be found in the southeastern and south central parts of the US.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Safety Harbor Marina Sunset

This shot is for my friend, Margo. I know she misses her second home, so I'm posting this one for her.

Every Monday night, my friends and I go to the Safety Harbor Marina for our regular Meetup. With it being so hot in Florida this time of year, we've changed our regular times so we meet at the Marina, then leave for the Safety Harbor Grille a few blocks away, then go back to the Marina or walk around downtown for our regular shoot.

This photo was made 2 weeks ago tonight when we decided to change our regular times. We're rarely at the Marina for photographs around sunset except in the Winter (if you can call it a Winter in Florida) months.

I'm really enjoying the new times. Tonight, everyone chose to walk around Safety Harbor downtown for some street shots. I begged off because I'm just 2 weeks out of my Cam Boot and cast on my foot and since I have a wedding to shoot on Saturday, I don't want to chance walking around unnecessarily. A new foot injury is not what I need right now. Although, when I injured my foot, I shot a wedding on a Golf Course. It hurt like the dickens, but I made a commitment and I had to show up; broken foot or not.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Marina on the Kennebunk River

Yep! More photos from my vacation in Maine. It seems like I'll never get through all those photos. It's a good thing I didn't go for a month!

This view is of the Kennebunk River. It runs alongside the downtown area of Kennebunkport. Most of the shops and homes are built on its banks. In this view, you can see where the Whale Watch boats and Charter Boats are just waiting for their busy season to start.

If you click on the photo, you'll see a larger image which will allow you to see more detail on the docks.

I was lucky to have wonderful weather with just enough clouds in the sky to make it interesting on this vacation.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


My Amaryllis, Belladonna cultivar from my backyard.

I started these plants a couple years ago with 21 bulbs. At the time, the directions said to plant them 12" apart. To me, they looked too sparse like that because I know zip about gardening. So, I planted them a bit closer. Now I have probably 40 plants all crowded in together. I've read that they can be propagated through division, but I have no idea what that means, let alone how to do it.

I love these flowers. They're the only flowers in my yard that my roommate doesn't destroy because he likes them, too. All the others are whacked to the ground every time he mows. It breaks my heart every time he does that. It's his house and I'm a renter, so I have no choice in the matter. I just won't buy any more plants.

These flower twice a year and they're just about done now. I think there's only 2 or 3 clusters left. The flowering period lasts about a month and they're just so beautiful. According to my plant books, there's supposed to be only about 4-6 flowers per stalk. These have 6-9!

I'm sad to see them go and can't wait for the next flowering period. I'll miss them.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Nott House

Once we got to Kennebunkport, we parked the car and explored the downtown area, namely Maine Street. Yes, Maine Street is spelled correctly with an e.

This Greek Revival architectural beauty known as The Nott House, was built in 1853 and former home of the Perkins family is now a Kennebunkport Historical Society show place.

It has all the original furnishings inside; paintings, furniture, books, etc. The Nott House is located on 8 Maine St in Kennebunkport. This house accurately reflects the varying and evolving tastes of four generations of the Perkins and Nott families spanning the late 1700s through to the middle 1900s. The Nott House may be the only house in America to have this distinction. Guided tours are available from July through October.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Wedding Cake House

The Wedding Cake house located in Kennebunk, Maine is by far the most photographed house in all of Maine.

It was built for his wife, Jane, by George W Bourne, a ship builder, using only hand tools in 1852. The work was completed shortly before his death.

According to legend, the carving was done during the lonely hours aboard ship by a recently married sea captain who had had to leave his bride before he even had time to eat his wedding cake.

At one time, the barn, connected to the house by a shed, caught on fire. The barn and shed were torn down by fire fighters in order to save the house. The barn and shed were reconstructed by Bourne, who had been to Europe and admired the Cathedral of Milan. The barn and shed were built in that fashion. The Federal styled house was soon to be Gothic style. He then added unifying designs to the house to marry the both styles together.

Unfortunately, over time, the trees have grown to obscure the house. To see more detail, click on the photos.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blue Hour Safety Harbor

Monday night as usual, I went to my Monday Night Meetup with my friends. Since it's been so hot lately, we've been going to the restaurant and eating first, then going back down to the Marina to shoot.

We waited through the sunset for the blue hour. That's when I got this shot. I processed it 3 ways; the first way was using my normal post processing, then I tried the Orton Effect, which is a technique I used to use a couple of years ago. I didn't like that effect at all. I liked my normal processing, except the shadows were blocked under the docks and I wanted to bring them out.

So, I turned to HDR, which stands for High Dynamic Range processing. Our eyes can see an infinite amount of levels of light, while cameras can only see about 5 levels. What that means is that there's always a give and take situation. Either you expose for the highlights, which results in shadows that are pitch black with no detail, or you expose for the shadows and the highlights are pure white with no detail. It's up to the photographer to decide what's more important in his/her shot. With HDR, a photographer can have it all.

After viewing all three processes, I chose the HDR version to be the best. Anyway, at least that's my opinion. With art, it's all in what the viewer likes. It's subjective to interpretation based on one's personal preferences. There is no right or wrong.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Flowers and Gardens

While in Maine, one of the things that attracted me to a lot of the places we visiting were the gardens and flowers that were in bloom. Some were unusual and I've never seen them before.

These are called Swamp Candles. I originally thought they were some type of Azalea because of their shape and the way they were in clusters. After much investigation on the internet, I found out they are Swamp Candles. They are also known as Bog Loosestrife. They were in the garden at Webhannet Falls in Wells.

The next one is a rare variety of Peony. I love the bright red color with the creamy white centers. I knew it was some kind of Peony, but didn't realize that this variety is rare. They are just as sweet smelling as any other Peony, which was my first hint that they were Peonies. These were in the gardens at St Anthony's Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunk.

Finally, I spotted these Foxgloves. These I was able to identify without the help of the internet. They're fairly common, but I've never seen them in Florida gardens. Maybe they just don't take to the heat very well. These were also in the little garden at Webhannet Falls in Wells.

Most everywhere we went we found flowers and gardens. It just adds so much to the beauty of this area. This also pleased my daughter-in-law. She loves to garden and loves beautiful flowers. She was in her glory.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Norseman Resort

Looking across the Ogunquit River, I could see The Norseman Resort, on Ogunquit Beach. The Norseman is the only resort on this beach.

The Norseman, though, is not what attracted me to this scene. It was the incredible color of the water. I remember saying to my daughter-in-law, "I only hope that I can capture that color". The various shades of blue, green and purple just staring at me begging to be captured with my camera.

I put my camera to my eye and shot the scene. Immediately after, I checked the histogram to be sure the exposure was right on the money. It looked good, so all I could do was hope I got it right. I wouldn't know until I got back to the hotel to check it out on my computer.

I checked the display on my computer later that night and it was perfect! I was pleased as punch to see those beautiful colors. If you want to see them for yourself, just click on the photo and make it bigger. Some of the definition and color is always lost during the jpg conversion, then a little more is lost when uploading to this site; but it still looks great! I just may try to paint this one day.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Incoming Storm

I'm figuring you're all sick of my Maine photos, so I'll stick this one in to show that I'm still out there photographing at home.

On Monday evening, while out with my friends in Safety Harbor, a storm started to roll in over the pier at the Safety Harbor Marina. We were all hoping for some lightning photos, but no luck.

The storm never really hit. All we got were a few sprinkles. It sure looked a lot meaner than that when it was coming.

Florida weather in the summertime is unpredictable. One never knows when a storm will come up. It hits fast, hard and most times the rain is horizontal. It usually only lasts for a about 1/2 hour, then the sun comes out and dries everything up within another 1/2 hour. Most of the time there is heavy lightning and lots of thunder. This storm had no lightning and no thunder, which is unusual this time of year. Tampa Bay is known as the lightning capital of the world.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

JD Williams' Restorations and Museum

This is the main house on the grounds where JD Williams, auctioneer and collector, is in the process of restoring his great-grandfather's home and office. Mr Williams spent 20 years trying to buy this home back from the people who bought it from his great-grandfather's estate and turned it into a restaurant. He now is the owner and is diligently working to restore the main house as well as several other houses on the grounds. He plans on making it a museum. The Museum is closed, but Mr Williams will open it and give a personal tour for a $10 donation. Inside, you will see every possible kind of musical playing device from the last 100 years or so as well as remnants from the old restaurant including the original kitchen and dishes. The restaurant facility in the museum is opened for rent for special parties and weddings, but all the food is catered. The original dishes and silver are used to serve the food.

His great-grandfather was an Optometrist. His office and exam room are still in the museum. They are the first thing seen as soon as the door is opened. All his tools and machines including the glass and old eye-glasses are still there.

The Socony Gasoline station, Cummings Railroad Depot, Wells Fargo and Western Union building, and several other buildings, including log cabins and even a caboose are all awaiting restoration.

Mr. Williams has taken on a huge project, but if he can wait 20 years to buy back his great-grandfather's house, I am convinced he has the patience and stamina needed to complete this project. In the meantime, visitors can enjoy the fruits of Wiliams' labor for pennies.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dinghy on the Rocks

This little dinghy just sat here all alone on these rocks with nothing else in sight. It just goes to show how trusting people are in northern New England.

The chain that's holding it isn't strong enough to keep someone from stealing it, yet it just sits there. In the big cities, it wouldn't last an hour, let alone for however long it's been there.

Cities have become unsafe to live in. I can remember as a kid my parents never locked the door, never locked the car, and we lived in a project. In those days, a project was a great place to grow up. There were always other kids to play with, activities planned for after school, weekends and school vacations at the community center. There was always something to do. In the summer it was play ball, roller skate and play outside; in the winter it was ice skating, sledding, snowball fights. What a different world we live in today.

We feared and respected our teachers, the police and our parents. Our mothers stayed at home and made us tole the line. If we got in trouble with our teacher, we not only got whacked by the teacher, our parents whacked us on top of it. Today, mothers are forced to work to make ends meet, and there are no activities for kids after school planned. We yell back at our teachers, our parents and have no respect for authority. When did all this happen? No wonder we're a mess!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Last of the Monastery

These are the last of the St Anthony's Franciscan Monastery photos. I hope I haven't bored you all to death with these. As you can imagine, I was quite taken up with this beautiful place.

The image of St Francis of Assisi shows the whole fountain. It is located at the beginning of the walking trail, which winds around through the woods adjacent to the Kennebunk River.

The next image is of the Shrine to St Anthony just inside the entrance of the Monastery. This was also created by the same artist that won several gold medals at the 1964 World's Fair. In case you haven't been following, his name is, Professor Vytautas Jonynas.

And finally, we have a long view of the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, which shows the prayer benches. I have posted closeup views in my previous post. This shrine was constructed in Lithuanian architectural style by Jonas Mulokas, winner of the First Prize if the American Architects Associated.

I hope you have enjoyed my journey on the grounds of the St Anthony's Franciscan Monastery. If you ever get up to the Kennebunk area of Maine, this is a must see.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

St Anthony's Franciscan Monestary

I hope all this stuff from St Anthony's Franciscan Monestary isn't boring you all. I'm nearly done with my visit here. Tomorrow, I'll be posting the last of it.

The first image of the stairs is just inside the building where the Chapel and Confessionals are. There was a sign pointing to the offices; but nothing was mentioned about where these stairs were leading. I'm assuming that they are probably the stairs to the Monks' quarters.

When we were coming out of the walking trail, we spotted this side entrance. We had no idea what was in store for us to see, but we went up the stairs anyway and followed it around the building. We saw some of the most beautiful gardens and well-landscaped grounds with very unusual flowers.

The image of the building that includes the stairs in the foreground is the side entrance to the main building. I have also included a shot of the rear entrance, which is equally as stunning as the side. At one time this was a private residence owned by William A. Rogers, Esq. He was a Buffalo industrialist. He had the building built in 1900 by Green and Wicks, a Buffalo firm.

The estate was sold in 1937 to William N Campbell. who owned other homes in Brookline, MA, Bal Harbor, ME and Miami Beach, FL. In 1947, Campbell sold the estate to the Franciscans.

The last image is of the Chapel, which was designed by Professor Vytautas Jonynas, the same artist who created the World's Fair piece that sits at the entrance to the estate.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monuments and Statues

As promised in an earlier post, these are some of the statues, monuments and prayer stations on the grounds of St Anthony's Franciscan Monastery.

The first statue is of Blessed Kateri (Catherine) Tekawitha, who is not yet a saint according to the Catholic Church. She is a child of nature and known to the Church as the Patroness of Ecology. It is only fitting that a statue honoring her would be on the walking trail.

The next statue and fountain is of St Francis of Assisi, is the founder of the order of Monks, Franciscans. St Francis is the Patron Saint of animals and the environment. His statue is just at the beginning of the walking trail.

The next photo is a prayer station. It is one of many along the walking trail. This one honors St Vincent de Paul, who was dedicated to serving the poor. There are many St Vincent de Paul Society Chapters in large cities who provide aid to the poor in his honor.

And finally, the last monument is a Crucifix honoring the Lithuanians who lost their lives fighting for freedom.

More to follow in a future post.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sculpture at St Anthony's Franciscan Monestary

This sculpture by Professor Vytautas Jonynas, of the Militant, Suffering and Triumphant church, was displayed at the Vatican Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair. It is now displayed on the grounds of St Anthony's Monastery in Kennebunk, Maine.

There were so many great works of art on the grounds of this Monastery, many by the same artist, Professor Vytautas Jonynas, that it almost seemed a tribute to the artist.

The Monastery itself was once owned by William A Rogers, Esq, a Buffalo industrialist. He bought the grounds in 1900 from John Mitchell, a professor of the Christian religion. Rogers commissioned Green and Wicks, a Buffalo firm to build a house in Tudor style. The estate was sold in 1937 to William N Campbell, who then sold it to the Lithuanian Franciscan Monks, who used it for the Monastery.

In later years, the Monks added a Shrine to St Anthony, a Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine, a Chapel of the Stations of the Cross, the main St Anthony's Chapel and several little shrines along the trails. More photos will follow this post.

I'm not a very religious person, but I will tell you that my walk around these grounds and on the trails had some kind of peaceful, calming effect. It's as if my whole body knew that these grounds were sacred.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Landings - Kennebunkport Shipyard

During our travels in Kennebunkport, we came upon the St Anthony's Monestary. While there, we decided to take a walk on one of the trails on the grounds.

During the walk, we saw many little shrines and some bigger ones that I have yet to post. This shot of "The Landings" the old Kennebunkport Shipyard was an unexpected surprise. Right out there in the middle of the woods, we came to a clearing and I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted this view of the Kennebunk River looking over to The Landings.

I was so blessed to have such great weather with beautiful clouds all the time we were in Maine. What a wonderful vacation. I'm thrilled that my son and daughter-in-law included me on their vacation, which was my daughter-in-law's present to my son. He is also blessed to have found her. She's a wonderful girl and I couldn't have picked a better person for him to spend his life with if I had picked her myself.