Monday, April 17, 2006

Fires In The Everglades?

One of these years I'll get all my 12 inch vinyl collection organized. I can picture the album in my head, but of course without the album in hand I can't offhand recall the name of the group, let alone the names of the band members.

The Reverand Tom Morse, a Pentacostal minister came to Miami to open a drug rehab center, a home for runaways, in general to bring Jesus to the masses and to save the world. I don't remember exactly how Tom and I first met, but we hit it off and became good friends. I've never quite understood why, my being a Jew, but over the years some of my closest friends have included a Greek Orthodox priest, a Congregational minister, and Tom.

In the late 1960's there was an extremely popular TV show filmed in Miami, a police show, lots of action, car chases on the roads, boat chases in the bay and the ocean. Anyway, it was called Surfside Six.Tom rented a big old house just off Brickell Ave. a few blocks south of the center of downtown Miami and Surfside Challenge was born! I followed Tom around to various places in the greater Miami area over the next few years documenting his ministry. Sometimes we'd have church bigwigs in tow, ministers from the church headquarters in Cleveland, TN. Other times we'd go off, just the two of us, to some of the seediest parts of town as he tried to bring the word of the Lord to drug addicts and prostitutes.

The big old house was soon filled up with mostly white middle class runaways and former pot smokers. A younger minister, Steve I think, was working there also. He soon organized a rock group playing Christian rock and they were popular with the younger people at the area churches. Soon they decided to self produce an album. I'd recently done a cover shot for Fantasy. That was shot on the beach at sunrise. They liked the effect but I suggested that maybe we should go out to the edge of the Everglades at sunset instead. Dry weather and brush fires had the air laden with smoke, and the light of the setting sun came through vibrant orange. We drove about as far west as we could on a gravel road. Alongside theroad were piles of topsoil removed when the road was bulldozed. They're standing on one of those piles. I had 400mm f/6.3 Sterling Howard Tele-Astranar lens, a cheap lens actually, which listed for about $34.50, and I was likely using a Pentax SV body. I used to own a massive wooden F&B Ceco motion picture tripod, so stability wasn't a concern. The film was Ektachrome, probably Ektachrome-X with an ISO of 64.

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