Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Snell Arcade Building

The Snell Arcade Building, built by C. Perry Snell is one of St Petersburg's gems. It's on the National Register of Historical Places and the architectural style is one of many.

The architecture is partially Spanish-Moroccan, Gothic tracery, romanesque capitals, Egyptian half-columns, baroque brackets, classic running moldings, renaissance portrait medallions, multifoil arches and fanciful finials. Even with all of these very different styles, one would think it would be hideous. It's just the opposite. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in downtown St Petersburg.

One part of Snell’s creation that no longer has it’s former glory is the arcade itself which was built as a passage from Central Avenue to First Avenue North. I agree with Lowe’s impression from the photographs, “To say that it was lavishly decorated is clearly an understatement” (p. 121). Perched high along the arcade were seven Venuses as well as a large mosaic tile imported from Europe that depicted a Baroque Venetian church. The name of the mosaic is Baldassare Longhena’s Santa Maria della Salute. The tiles were uncovered during a 1983 restoration and Snell himself removed the statues when he sold the building (Lowe, 2006).

Today, there are a few stores on the ground floor in the "arcade" and some offices on the first couple floors. The remainder of the building houses condos--one condo per floor!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Architectural Detail on the State Theatre in St Pete

The building was designed with 3 bays and a swag above all three. The middle bay was for the main door. Two "eagles" on each side of the swag "guarded" the bays. This is one of the eagles. It is actually a reproduction of the original eagles which were removed in 1949 during one of the renovations.

The State Theatre has gone though many renovations since its original build in 1924 as the Alexander National Bank. The bank only lasted 2 years when its owner, Jacob Alexander, died in 1926. Since then it became the home of an electric refrigeration company, another bank, then a small office building.

In 1949, it became the State Theatre. It has housed many concerts since that day.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Historic State Theatre

Constructed in 1924, the State Theatre is an outstanding example of Beaux-arts style architecture. At the time of its construction, the State Theatre's 6000 sq. ft. made it one of the largest banks in St. Petersburg. Its original use as the Alexander National Bank lasted only two years until Jacob Alexander died in December 1926.

During part of 1927, the building was occupied by the Gregory Electric Refrigeration Company but by 1928 sat vacant. The Fidelity Bank and Trust Company purchased the building in July 1929. The stock market crash in October of that same year was too much for the local economy and the Fidelity Bank, like most St. Petersburg banks, was forced to close. After Fidelity's liquidation in 1931, the building was used for a succession of small office tenants until 1949 when it was remodeled into the State Theatre.

Neel Reid was the architect who designed the original building and was also responsible locally for the Alexander Hotel. In 1949 another notable architect, Archie Parrish of St. Petersburg, remodeled the building. The facade of the State Theatre is a symmetrical composition of three bays.

The bays are defined by engaged pilasters expressed as a series of quoins above a projected water table base topped by an ionic capital with an attached swag. A projected cornice with a simple entablature tops the facade. Above this is a parapet divided into three corresponding bays again divided by projecting pilasters. Each of the three main bays contains a pair of ionic columns on a block base supporting a banded arch with an engaged keystone with an acanthus motif.

A stylized bas-relief eagle fills the space between the sides of the three arches and the engaged pilasters. The original fenestration was removed at the time of the 1949 remodeling when the openings at the side bays were filled, and a new contemporary projecting marquis was added at the central bay above the theater doors. A later renovation into a concert venue included the installation of glass blocks at the two side arches. -Wikipedia

Today the State Theatre is used for concert venues. It has room for a stage, 3 bars and 400 guests.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Vinoy Basin From the Dali

Another view from the glass at the Salvatore Dali Museum. The metal framing throughout the windows is perfect for finding a picture within a picture.

In the background you can see the Renaissance Vinoy Hotel and the Vinoy Condomiums along with the Vinoy marina.

The downtown waterfront in St Petersburg, FL is one of the most beautiful waterfronts I've ever seen--and I've lived on the Eastern Coast all my life. There is no space wasted and no space not beautifully landscaped with it's manicured lawns and beautiful flowers all year 'round.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Landscaping Around the Salvatore Dali Museum

Since Florida has no rocks, we need to either make our own or have rock shipped in. The man made rocks incorporated into the landscaping at the Dali are man made.

This fern type of foliage was growing on the side of this rock. I have no idea what it is, but I think it's kind of pretty. If any of you readers can identify it, I'd surely appreciate it. Just leave a comment about it.

The second shot shows a larger image of one of the man made rocks with the foliage growing out of it. This is an interesting concept and a pleasant addition to the overall landscape.

This last photo is a wide shot of the patio and Palm tree lined walkway out to the Marina and to Tampa Bay. It's just nice to walk around on the patio and take in all the beauty we are so lucky to have here, in St Petersburg, FL.

If you're wondering why three photos today, it's because I neglected to post anything the last two days. I'm trying really hard to stick to my New Year's resolution to post a Photo a Day. The first month is nearly over.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spiral Interior

Another view of the interior of the Salvatore Dali Museum. This one shows how the spiral design is carried throughout the interior of the museum.

If you look closely at this image, you can see the second floor where the gallery is located. The rest of the spiral continues up to the roof. It's a very modernistic approach, but interesting at best.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Another Interior Shot of the Salvatore Dali Museum

This interior shot of the Salvatore Dali Museum shows what I call the gridiron window. As you can see, it extends from the ground floor up to the roof. By reinforcing the glass with the steel, it is strong enough to withstand a hurricane.

I love the lines, curves and angles in this museum. Looking through the window, you can see Tampa Bay. While the old museum was built on the water, it didn't use the water as part of the design.

This is truly state-of-the-art and it reflects the artistry of the great master, Salvatore Dali.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2 Views: Spiral Staircase at the Dali

This is the inside of the Salvatore Dali Museum. These two images are views of the spiral staircase. One was taken from the 2nd floor looking down; the other from the ground floor looking up. The staircase goes right up to the roof. It keeps on spiraling until it goes to nothing.

I'm willing to bet if I look good enough at Salvatore Dali's work, I'll find something like the staircase in one of his works. This museum was built to represent his work and his vision.

Check back tomorrow night. I'll be posting more shots of the Dali's interior.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Salvatore Dali Museum

This is the new state-of-the-art
Dali Museum and it is one of a kind. It was built to reflect Dali's art, which was once classically-based and provocatively imaginative. The Dali Museum is iconic and a beacon of the arts scene in downtown St. Petersburg.

The museum houses the largest collection outside Europe of the works of Salvatore Dali.

This is St. Petersburg's second Dali museum. This new one opened January 11, 2011. The old museum opened in 1982 and needed more space and more protection from hurricanes.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Orchard Spider

I found this Orchard Spider in my daughter's garden in Brooklyn, CT in the USA. I've never had much success photographing this spider here in Florida. The light is too bright here--even on overcast days.

The Venusta Orchard Spider (Leucauge venusta), can be found from Southern Canada to Panama. they can be seen in woodlands. They build their webs in low shrubs or small trees, close to the ground.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Weird Footsteps

My daughter called me today to ask if she could use some of my photos for a church project. She said she needed inspirational photos. I pointed her to this blog and told her to take what she needed. Then she started asking for specific photos if I have them. So, I started to look through my photos and one of the things she was looking for was footsteps in the sand.

Well, check this one out! This is one I never did anything with because frankly, it's really not all that interesting. Wrong! I took a good look at it and check out what I noticed today. There are two sets of footprints there, it looks like a man and a woman's judging by the size. You'll have to click on the photo to enlarge it to see what I saw. Each footprint has no match and each one is going in a different direction. Where's the other foot/feet?

I took this shot from on top of the pier, that's what's causing the shadows on each side of the footprints. I can't imagine how this was done.

Anyone have a clue? It would be interesting to see what you all think. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fountain Planter

My daughter bought this pretty little flower cluster called Ageratum to plant in an old fountain she had. The pump was broken and it had cracked over the previous winter and it was too pretty to throw away, so she turned it into a planter. (See image below) I think she had a great idea.

She bought the plants with a color design in mind and had her husband, Gary, move the new planter in front of the house. All the flowers are annuals, so they'll have to be replanted next year, but it gives her the flexibility to be able to change the color scheme each year. She has such a creative mind. I admire her for it.

This is a great way to recycle or better yet, reuse and do her part by keeping things out of the landfill. What a way to go green.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pearl Crescent Butterfly

This image of a Pearl Crescent Butterfly was taken in Brooklyn, CT last June. We don't see these butterflies here in Florida so normally I wouldn't post a shot of one so tattered, but this one is for my friends here in Florida.

The Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos), is a small wonder that is simply astounding. It is one of the more common butterflies visiting open, sunny areas in North America. It gets its name from a pearl colored crescent shape on the underside of its hind wing, outlined in black. This butterfly can be hard to identify because it resembles several other butterflies and because the overall pattern on its wings can differ geographically and can change depending on the seasons. The cooler season of this butterfly usually has more markings and is a darker orange.

The Pearl Crescent is also amazing because in some regions of Northern America it flies year round and in other regions it overwinters as a caterpillar. The caterpillar will stop eating and enter diapause, a pause in the growth and development until the weather is more favorable. When the weather warms again, it will continue to eat and grow.

The female can be identified by its pointed abdomen, while the males have a blunt shaped abdomen. The male’s antennae are also orange on the upper side with black on the underside.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Canadian Goose

This Canadian Goose was among a whole flock in this little pond. There were so many Geese that it was hard to pick just one out and get him alone.

If you've never seen one of these Geese, they're about as big as a Pelican and they can be pretty nasty at times. They have no problem chasing humans. This flock is in a park and used to humans, so they had no problem with us being there.

Canadian Geese are migratory, and since this county is right on the migratory path, I'm surprised I've never seen any here in St Petersburg, FL. I have seen a lot of them in NY and CT, though.

Another Mystery Bird

This bird is a female Red-Winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), I think. I'm looking for someone to confirm or correct me on this one.

I love how she's gathering most likely nesting material or possibly food; but my guess is on the nesting material. She's a cute little bird whatever she is.

Red-winged Blackbirds run in flocks with other Blackbirds, therefore are abundant in marshes and fields, which is where I photographed this one.

They breed pretty much all over the United States. Each pair produces 2 to 3 clutches a year. They build a new nest for each clutch.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Immature American Robin (I think)

I spotted this immature American Robin while walking in a park in Brooklyn, CT with my daughter, her husband and son in May.

At least I believe it is an American Robin. The only thing that makes me have any doubt is the short tail. If any of you readers know for sure, I'd love it if you either confirm or correct me.

Robins are the most easily recognized birds in the United States because of their distinctive markings. There are no other birds like it. That red breast is hard to miss.

They can be seen on lawns most everywhere in the US. They eat fruit and insects, but their favorite food is earthworms. Robins can be seen in large numbers foraging for worms. Besides lawns, they can be found in forests, woodlands, swamps and in parks.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Oriental Poppy Seed Pod

This seed pod is all that's left of an Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale). I love the star burst on the top of the pod with just a few of the stamens around the edges. It's so perfect; it reminds me of a Sea Urchin they have here in Florida.

Although I photograph babies and people for a living, my passion lies with nature. There are so many fascinating things in nature to look at. All you need to do is slow down and look; I mean really look. You'd be surprised at what you may find.

For me, the Poppy is beautiful, with it's bright orange color and this purple and greenish center, but it's common. I like to look at the details, like this seed pod. Most people wouldn't give this a second thought. They'd look at the flowers and say they're beautiful and keep right on walking. It's too bad they don't notice the rest of it. They have no idea what they're missing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Luna Moth Caterpillar

This Luna Moth Caterpillar was photographed while I was staying with my daughter in CT. She has a lot of wooded property and this was in her back yard.

The Luna Moth Caterpillar (Actias luna) can usually be found in deciduous forests in the Eastern half of the United States and Southern Canada. These caterpillars eat the foliage of hickory, walnut, sweet gum, persimmon, birch and sometimes other trees.

The Luna Moth is only found in North America and is considered endangered.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pretty Pink Flower

I haven't posted any photos of flowers lately, so I thought I'd add this one taken last May. I didn't post it before because I have no idea what kind of flower it is, unless it is a Peony of some sort. Maybe some of you might know what it is.

This flower was part of a get well bouquet sent to my daughter after her operation. I was there in CT because she couldn't be left alone and I was the only one who could get time off. Since I couldn't go outside until she was able to be out walking around, I had to shoot whatever I could find in the house. I like this composition and love this flower.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Moshe is a Beagle/Chihuahua mix and belongs to my friend and upstairs neighbor. Someone we met at Clearwater Beach dubbed him a Cheagle. We're still trying to figure out which dog was the mother.

At 14 lbs., he has more Beagle traits than Chihuahua. He has a tiny bit of white on his rear paws and when he "hunts" for lizards and cats, he runs from side to side the way a Beagle does. He also has his nose to the ground when he's looking/scenting for anything.

We got Moshe at a shelter in Bradenton, FL. Jim, my friend, picked him over the other dogs because he was the only quiet one. He didn't want to bring a "barker" into our apartment building. It was 4 days before we heard this little dog bark.

The shelter told us that he had been abused by a larger dog in the home and that was why he was left at the shelter. However, a few days with him told us the real story. This poor little dog would cower if anyone tried to touch or pet him. He seemed to trust women at first, and it took a while to get him to let any men near him. So, we assumed that he was abused by the man of the house where he was previously owned.

It's been a few months, and Moshe has made a quick turn-around. He "allows" anyone who lives in our building to pet him and some can even play with him without him cowering or hiding behind Jim or I. He's still a bit leery of strangers, but with a little bit of coaching, he'll come out and give the new stranger a sniff.

He's got some quirky habits that make him more endearing to me and some of the residents in our building. One of them is so funny. I'll pet him and love him up, which he loves, but after a minute he feels the need to reassure Jimmy that he still loves his "Daddy". He'll go up to him and rub on Jimmy as if to say, "I like her petting me, but I still love you more, Daddy." He is just too cute.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Meet Casper, my daughter's Bichon Frise. He is 12 years old and I'll bet he's licked his nose over 5 million times. He is constantly licking his nose. He likes to lick people as well. My daughter says that's a trait of this breed. I wonder if that's because he's French--it's the romance in him.

Bichon Frise are similar in appearance than the Maltese, but larger. They are generally happy, playful, gentle mannered and affectionate. Bichon Frise's are non-shedding, but must be kept clean with brushing and bathing. They should be brushed daily and groomed every 3 months to prevent matting of their fur, which can lead to hematomas. They are also considered good pets for allergic people because they are hypo-allergenic to all but the extremely sensitive.

The Bichon Frise's life expectancy is 12 years, but some have been known to live to 16 years.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Night-blooming Cactus

Night-blooming Cactus (Cereus gregii) blooms one night a year and you have to be really lucky to catch it. These beautiful blossoms are very large--from 4 to 6 inches in diameter and exquisitely fragrant.

The are called night-blooming because they bloom after dark only 1 night a year, and by the first light of the day already wilted. There are many varieties of this cacti, and if you look closely at this one it is a long rope-like climbing cactus. This particular one is growing up the side of a Palm tree.

It was strange when I saw it. I had heard about it but never saw one in bloom until one night last May, I was outside around 11:00pm and noticed the flowers on a Palm tree across the street. I ran upstairs to get my camera after checking that they were indeed Night-blooming Cactus and grabbed a couple of shots before going back home to go to bed.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


This is another shot from my archives taken last May.

Bella was my friend's dog. She was a service dog for emotional support and therapy and did a fine job of it in her short life. She was only 4 yrs old when she developed a blood disease that depleted her red blood count. We were very sad to see her go. She died within 4 days after getting the disease.

I wanted to begin a project photographing pets. Since I live in an apartment building with 147 units where pets 25 lbs and under are allowed, it would be ideal for me to get a lot of practice and experience shooting the pets in my building.

My first subject was Bella, since she was so well-behaved and I knew her well, I thought it would be a great place to start. Little did I know that she would be dead within the next 4 days. I'm so glad I photographed her when I did. My friend didn't have any other pictures of her and he loved this dog so much. I never finished the project after she died. She was the only one I photographed for my project. I'm also glad that the photos turned out as well as they did. She was easy to handle and a good dog until the end. All the people in the building knew and loved her and she is missed by all of us, but especially by my friend.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Red-winged Blackbird

Didn't get out shooting today, but I found one in my archives to post.

Red-winged Blackbirds have eluded me for years. They know how to get into the deep parts of the tree where I just couldn't get off a decent shot. This is my first one that I've managed to catch off guard.

The Depth of Field or perspective isn't perfect, but I still like the shot probably because it's the first time I been able to capture one on camera.

Red-winged Blackbirds are viewed as a health hazard because after the breeding season, the gather with other Blackbirds forming huge flocks numbering in the hundred of thousands to millions according to the National Audubon Society Field Guide.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bradenton, FL

Where else but Florida would you see a scene like this first thing in the morning in January.

This shot was taken from the parking garage at Manatee Memorial Hospital early this morning. I love how the Palm trees dot the horizon.

Normally, I wouldn't cut the picture in half with the horizon dead in the middle and with an uninteresting sky, but for some reason this composition works for me. Sometimes you just have to break the rules.

For my non-photographer readers out there. the "rules" or guidelines of composition state that the horizon should not be dead center in the middle but rather at the intersection of thirds. For me, I just like this shot this way.

For my photographer followers, does this work for you as well? Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Buckeye Butterfly

I'm giving up on the 365 project. I just don't always have the time or the ambition. Today I remembered, but I wasn't feeling very well and had a lot of errands to run. It seems that life just gets in the way sometimes.

However, I'm not abandoning it altogether. I'm going to stick to the part that I write my blog every day. Today I went back through my archives and found this shot of this Buckeye butterfly taken last April at the Roosevelt Wetlands Preserve in Pinellas Park, FL.

They're not very rare, but we don't see many of them here in Florida. I think they hide or blend in very well. This one was on the grass. Maybe it's their habits.

The Buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia), can usually be found at or near shorelines, roadsides, railroad embankments, fields and meadows, swamp edges and other open places throughout the South in North America. They can also be found in the Summer in the Northeast.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I finally remembered to take my photo of the day. This is #1/365. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep this up.

I've never seen fungus growing on a Palm tree before and was really surprised to see this one. This is growing up near the growth bulb of a Cabbage Palm.

I probably have never noticed it before because I've never seen the growth bulb of a Palm tree up close. I was in the parking lot where I work in Bradenton, FL and looked out over the ledge of the second floor. There it sat growing on the Palm tree.

There is no identification of this fungus listed because I couldn't find it in any book that I have. I did a quick search on the internet and couldn't find it there, either. I must admit this isn't the prettiest photo I've taken, but I find fungus to be very interesting. I also like the yellow color and lines in this particular variety.

If you can identify it, I'd be most appreciative.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Loggerhead Shrike

Well here it is the second day of January, and I didn't get out with my camera again today. My New Year's Resolution isn't going very well, is it? At least so far I'm completing half of it. It's my second day blogging this year.

This Loggerhead Shrike was photographed during a photowalk at the Roosevelt Wetlands Preserve. It was the first time we went there and I couldn't believe how many birds we saw there. The best part is it's local so I didn't have to travel far to get there.

Loggerhead Shrikes (Lanius ludovictianus) can be found in grasslands, orchards and open areas. It feeds on insects and smaller prey like small birds and mice. It usually impales them on a thorn or a barbed wire fence to facilitate eating later on. That's how it got its nickname, "Butcher Bird".

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Budweiser Clydesdales

Well it's only Jan 1st, 2012 and I already forgot to take my photo of the day. Actually, I did take a photo because I worked today and photographed the babies there. Unfortunately, due to HPPA laws, I can't post them. Besides, since I work for another company, they own the copyright.

So, I'm posting a photo I took in March of last year during the Festival of States Parade in downtown St Petersburg.

If I can't take a photo, I'm going to try my best to post one. Let's see how that goes.