Monday, July 31, 2006

Hang a JANIS JOPLIN Print in Your Living Room. Signed Original Prints For Sale

Signed original prints of my black and white photographs are available for sale. I print them myself on an Omega B-22XL enlarger using double weight fiber based silver gelatin paper. My standard size is an 8x12 inch image printed on 11x14 inch paper. I can make other sizes on request, as well as supply prints from most of my color photos. Besides the photos on this blog there are a lot of photographs on, both in my portfolios and scattered through various threads, as well as elsewhere on the web. I can be reached at The price for a standard 11x14 black and white print with an 8x12 inch image is $350 plus shipping. The lovely model is photographer Melisa McKolay that I met on She supplied the photo and I'm not really sure who shot it. Her husband perhaps? The T-shirt that she's wearing features a photo of me by advertising and wedding photographer Marc Williams For information on getting a shirt contact James Mitchell at

Marked Woman ~ Larger Than Life

Photo (c) 2006 Karl Georg Wolf

When Karl got back to Germany he mailed an envelope to me containing a number of his photographs. There are a couple of photos below that he shot here in Miami, in Denney's and at Starbucks, showing our two meetings together, but he shot a lot of photographs on his travels around the area and included a few of those also. I'm not really sure, though, if this was shot around here or back in Europe. I'm confused not by the "BULGARI" written (tatooed?) below her left shoulder but by the fact that few sane men would brave the July heat in Miami dressed in a black suit.

It looks like a movie poster or somesuch, a bit too far out to be an original painting in an art gallery, but these days you never know. I recently saw an exhibit where the artist painted on doors rather than canvas. They were new doors, already drilled out for the door knob, but without hinges or doorknobs. It makes for a rather tall narrow format but the artist had made good use of it in his paintings.

At any rate Karl's sense of composition here is superb, juxtaposing the man looking off to the side, away from the camera, while the woman is looking in his direction with an "Oh, and just what are YOU looking at?" expression in her eyes. Yet he's real and she's the painted illusion. Well done, Karl, and thanks for sharing. (I received a note from Karl about this image: >Bulgari< was for sale at an artshow in Berlin, Germany, a year or so ago. )

Sunday, July 30, 2006

You Can Always Find A Denny's

In the post just below this Karl Wolf and I are sitting outside at Starbucks. It was lovely Florida weather. We'd planned on meeting at Starbucks again, which is about half a mile to the north of here, but a glance through the window will show that it wasn't sitting-outside-on-the-patio weather. As Karl was driving towards North Miami the heavens opened up. What the hell did people do before cell phones?

Here it was just a quick call to change destinations. Denny's! Great coffee and the pleasure of smoking while chatting outside were sacrificed for a dry place to eat eggs and French toast along with a bit of nicotine deprivation. We survived. We looked at photographs and talked photography. We had a great time!

In between the two get togethers my new ladyfriend had convinced me to shave off my beard and get a haircut. Naturally a week later she announced that "it just wasn't meant to be" and split, leaving me sans beard and with short hair. They're both growing back again. The lady is still gone. Can't grow them back...LOL

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Kaffee Mit Karl

I got an Email from Karl Georg Wolf in Germany a few months back. I'd originally met him through the Leica Photography forum on Photonet. He and his wife were planning on a few days stay in Miami and he wanted to know if I'd be free to get together for a couple of hours, have a coffee, and talk photography. "Sure" I replied and asked if his English was good enough or should I bring a translater. My ex, Claudia, is from Karlsruhe and we're still good friends. He asured me that his English was OK. He called when he got to town and since he had a rental car and wanted to tour the city anyway we agreed to meet at my local North Miami Starbucks which is right on U.S. 1 at 13503 Biscayne Blvd., and is easy to get to from both Miami Beach and I-95.

I brought along a couple of boxes of prints and he had no trouble finding the place. That's him on the left, his camera in his outstretched right hand with an ultra wide angle lens. He didn't get but a fraction of his wife in the lower right corner but the couple at the next table really make the picture! They were fascinated by our photographing one another, looking at each others photographs, and probably wondering what that strange accent was.

A week or so ago he sent me an envelope with photos from the meet. I still haven't printed the ones that I shot. I've been spending too much time fighting city hall, literally, about that illegal fence my next door neighbor put up two years ago. It's still there. He's got about 3 more weeks to get it to conform to code, based on when he was given notice. I'd like to know why he wasn't given notice a year and a half sooner. The department head seems incapable of giving a straight answer.

Friday, July 28, 2006

About the next post...

Monkey flew out to San Francisco a few months ago and Todd Frederick showed him around town, but Monkey seemed lonely so Todd bought Monkette to keep him company. When Monkey flew back to Miami after a few weeks he brought his new lady friend with him. A couple of nights ago I was in a chat room and met Helen. We soon changed to IMing. I was telling her about my photography. When I got to talking about my photos of Monkey, his trip to California, meeting Monkette and so on she didn't believe it. It was too far fetched! So I emailed her some links to both my photos with Monkey and Todd's photos of the two of them. A few hours later she sent me the poem. I hope you enjoy Todd's photo and Helen's poem.

Monkey Business? Monkey Romance!

Monkey was lonely and so all alone.
He was now 62, but had a good home.
One day he ventured to a place far away
A place on the west coast, out near the bay.

He wanted to end this cry deep from within -
That said there was someone meant just for him.
So off to the zoo he trotted to look
For a love he was seeking, like he'd read in a book.

He searched and he searched and then settled down
On a horse he found there on the merry-go-round.
And who should join him as he sat all alone,
But beautiful Monkette - was this a love of his own?
They rode and they talked and had a grand time.
Now Monkey was happy - no more did he pine.
He had a great owner, but he needed his kind
And right then and right there he made up his mind -

To complete his life - he’d go out on a limb.
Monkette would have to fly home with him.
This was a love that was just meant to be
And happy is Monkette and her boyfriend Monkey.

Poetry By Helen Denning
Photography By Todd Frederick

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Young Man And The Sea

Capt. Dave Kostyo is a genius at finding the tarpon and Craig never minded having to eat his sub sandwich with one hand while fighting a fish with the other. He never minded rushing hometo do his homework so we could meet Dave about 6 PM and be out fishing before the sun set, then fishing until midnight. We did that one night a week for months back in 1996.

We'd get out there in either Haulover Cut or Government cut and start drifting where we saw tarpon rolling on the surface or marking them on the depth sounder. Two rods were in rod holders, each dragging a big live shrimp on a hook. All eyes were on the rod tips. Suddenly one would start bouncing a bit, then bend over with line screaming off the reel. It's best not to grab the rod too soon and try to set the hook. "Let Roddy (the rod holder....LOL) set the hook" was Dave's mantra. When the rod was bent over you could take it from the holder and start trying to crank the reel.

A belt with a plastic cup for the rod butt keeps your stomach from getting bruised, but it's not always easy getting the rod butt in that cup when you have 50 to 100 pounds of very angry fish on your line, pulling this way and that.

The shrimp come up out of the grass beds in the bay as night aproaches. Before it gets dark there aren't that many around. They drift near the surface wherever the current takes them, but they're on a mission. It's time to spawn, and hopefully not get eaten in the process. Usually the fast and furious action doesn't start until after dark but here Craig has hooked up to a tarpon while it's still light out. In an average night he might hook and get get three or four fish to boatside where Dave would unhook and release them. The fish ranged from about 25 pounds to possibly 125 pounds. They gave Craig a good workout!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Save The Last Dance...

He's close by the boat now and the tarpon tries to throw the hook, jumping and splashing in a final effort to gain freedom. He has no idea that right after Capt. Dave Kostyo gets him in the boat the hook will be removed and he'll be released, a free tarpon!
A constant fear when you're tarpon fishing and the fish gets close to the boat is that he'll dive and come up jumping on the other side of the boat. You have to poke your rod tip straight down under the water and go up to the bow of the boat, then back down the other side before you can raise the rod and attempt to get in control of the situation again. Otherwise you risk cutting the line on the bottom of the boat or on one of the outboard motors. A bigger fear is that the fish will jump into the boat. The last thing you want is one hundred pounds of fish flopping wildly and knocking things around. I've heard stories of it happening, but it's never happened to me.

I guess I was lucky, but in all the times I've photgraphed close-in hot fishing action like this I've never had my Leicas drenched with salt water. Maybe a bit of spray but not drenched. When I get home I wipe them off with a slighty damp cloth "just in case", then dry them with a towel. Those cameras were over twenty years old when I took these pictures ten years ago. I'm still using them. I wish that I was holding up as well...LOL

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Beat And Bushed The Silver King Surrenders

Blogs are strange places, things get posted in reverse order it seems, so read the next few posts also and things will make more sense.

My step-son Craig Thomas is fishing on Knot Nancy back in 1996 off of Miami Beach with Capt. Dave Kostyo for tarpon, a large silvery fish that loves to jump. It can reach weights of over 200 pounds, but a 100 pounder is a big one. During the winter they hang around near the cuts between the bay and the ocean feasting on the shrimp run at night. We were using live shrimp for bait and Craig is shown fishing with spin tackle rigged with 12 lb. test line. This fish is probably in the 30 to 40 pound range. After a few fast runs and a bunch of jumps he's really pooped out. With really big fish sometimes you have to crank up the engines and chase them or you'll run out of line, but not with fish this size.

When Capt. Dave unhooks the fish he'll have to hold it upright in the water for a few minutes, moving it back and forth so water will flow over its gills and the fish can get some oxygen back in his system. Then with a gentle push from Dave the fish will swim away and dive deeper into the water.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Trying To Prevent That Last Surge...

The important thing is to release as many fish as possible to win the release division. Here Craig is putting the pressure on a small tarpon of perhaps only 20 pounds as Capt. Dave Kostyo reaches out to grab the leader. Tarpon can use their air bladder as a lung, and when they're fighting you they'll try to come to the surface and "surge", getting a gulp of air and replenishing their oxygen supply. This gives them renewed energy and prolongs the battle. Sometimes the angler will thrust the rod tip deep into the water to keep the fish from getting that gulp as he nears the boat.

In this photo Capt. Dave is reaching out to get a wrap of the leader around his gloved hand. Then he'll stick his thumb in the tarpon's mouth, the other fingers under its chin, and lift it out of the water. Sometimes they swallow the shrimp quite deeply and you want to get the hook out. In recent years so called "circle hooks" have become popular. They don't tend to grab into anything until they get to the lip. You rarely get any gut hooked fish with them, but ten years ago we were still using J-hooks.

There'll be more photos and story over the next few days. Whether you want to do a night trip for tarpon or a day trip for sailfish, kingfish, amberjack and a host of other fish Capt. Dave is The Man. To book a charter call 305-620-5896 or his cell at 305-965-9454. A fishing trip on the Knot Nancy will be both fun and exciting for you and your family or fishing buddies.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

And The Winner Is....Craig Thomas!

My girlfriend Vivette's younger boy loved to fish. The first couple of years we were together Craig and his older brother Xavier still lived with their dad in Jamaica and Craig would fish with me wen he was here visiting his mom during school vacations. He'd get meup before sunrise day after day and we'd fish in the bay for sea trout, jacks and tarpon in my 13 ft. Boston Whaler, or if the weather was good even venture into the ocean looking for dolphin and kingfish depending on the season.

After the kids moved here with us we joined the South Florida Fishing Club and Capt. Dave Kostyo (on the right) was planning on quitting his phone company job and start guiding full time. He and I came up with a plan to get him the publicty he needed to get mentioned in the paper week after week during the annual Metropolitan South Florida Fishing Tournament, which runs for several months each winter. Craig would fish in the junior division one night a week for tarpon, a large silvery fish that gets over 100 pounds and jumps like crazy. Dave would charge me just for the fuel and the live shrimp Craig used for bait, and I'd do some photography too. We released all the fish. The most releases in a division is the winner.

Well, week after week Craig caught and released jack crevalle and tarpon on 20 lb. class tackle. I spent my time up in the bow of Dave's boat, Knot Nancy, casting one of my home made bucktail jigs on 12 lb. class baitcasting tackle, the same kind of rod and reel people use for freshwater bass fishing. Week after week Dave got his name in the paper. Not only was Craig leading in the Junior Division for both jack and tarpon but I managed to keep the lead in the baitcasting division. At the awards banquet Craig was one proud kid as Charlie Richter from the MET handed him his awards while Capt. Dave stood next to him. Vivette and I were beaming with pride.

We then sent photographs to Penn reels, Abu Garcia, and Ande Line, showing Craig fighting tarpon, posing with the huge fish for a minute before they were released. We got several free rods and reels and a seeming lifelong supply of line. Craig and Dave got their photos in several magazine ads and catalogs. Dave got the publicity he wanted and now runs a succesfull charter business. He still uses my jigs.

It seems that the tackle companies get loads of photos in the mail, but very few show a cute black kid. They let us know that more pictures would be most welcome. Craig, already 14, was in the process of discovering girls. Fishing as an obsession fell by the wayside. Four or five years later Vivette and I had a falling out. Once in awhile I run into Craig and he talks about going fishing again.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Fires In The Everglades

This shot was about 35 years ago and in posting it I'm breaking about all the rules of good journalism. I was taught that a story should always tell "The Five W's": Who, What, Where, When, and Why. At this point I can't remember who the person was or why I took the photo, but I kept it because I liked it.

I think it's someplace in downtown Miami in the fall of the year after the rainy season is over. Every year it's the same thing. The rains stop and the marsh dries up, the saw grass prairie turns from green to brown. Thousands of years worth of decaying vegetation has built up a layer of peat many feet thick. Then either a stray lightening strike or a careless hunter who didn't put out his campfire set the place on fire. The winds blow the smoke eastward into the metropolitin area. The air is pungent, even acrid and the setting sun fills it with a brilliant golden glow.

Pipe smoking was still fashionable at the time, and a nice hand carved Danish briar like this might cost $25, maybe $50, perhaps even more, and tobacco shops offered custom blends. You could smoke anyplace, offices, restaurants, department stores, and nobody said a thing. Of course the air inside, even with the tobacco smoke, was cleaner than the air outside. We were thankful that we lived here in south Florida rather than the industrial northeast and midwest where both factories and buildings belched black smoke from furnaces and machinery largely running on coal and oil. A sign of prosperity they said.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Reaching Up To God?

It's kind of amazing really just how much church/state relations have changed over the last forty years or so. At city council meetings, after the pledge to the flag, one of the local clergy would say a prayer. It might be a rabbi, priest or minister, but the most controversial thing would be just how many times he (there were no women clergy back then in North Miami) would say the name Jesus. Islam and various eastern religions were ignored completely.

I used to do all of the city's public relations photography back then, and the city used to publish its annual budget in a book that could put to shame the annual report from many a major corporation. It was nearly an inch thick and about 8.5 x 17 inches, with a glossy cover featuring a color photograph. One year I got a call that the photo would be of the new cross in front of this church, with the sunday school kids standing around its base. I'd recently gotten one of the first 19mm Canon lenses, which fit on my Leicas and was eager to use it. The photograph actually was cropped a bit on both sides so the roof of the building extended almost to the edges of the cover.

Now nobody would even consider running a "religious" picture like this on a city's budget book, but this is now and that was then. I tried to remember which church it was. I showed the picture around and nobody seems to have any idea. I'm wondering if over the years lightning or perhaps hurricane winds destroyed the tall cross. Was the church rebuilt and enlarged with something different? Nobody seems to know. The Ektachrome slide has kept its color pretty well.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hank Meyer and The Malls

Back in the late 1960's, before the hi-rise boom, Dade County was rapidly spreading in all directions, gobbling up the Everglades on the west, the farm land to the south, and merging with Ft. Lauderdale sprawl on the north. Urban sprawl. Expressways barely kept up with the growing traffic and new malls sprouted out of nowhere every ten miles or so in every direction. I'd been shooting for The North Dade Journal and worked on many a story with our top reporter, Elvalee Swift. One day she quit, and did the unthinkable for a true news reporter. She went to work for a public relations firm

Hank Meyer Associates was the largest most prestigious firm in South Forida. Elvalee called me, wanting me to shoot some photos of some newly promoted executives. I figured what the hell. The money was great. Soon I was doing mayoral campaigns and mall openings and covering events for the Jamaican Tourist Board here in Miami. The first party I covered for them I was invited to sit down and eat something. The consul general walked by tapping his fork on his plate, saying "you should try some of this!" I looked and tapped my fork on my plate. "I'm eating the curried goat!" I replied. I guess he never expected to find a white American eating goat. Later that night some of the middle aged women encouraged me to get out on the floor and dance with the girls. I did. The next day when I delivered the contact sheets Elvalee told me that the Consul General had called, telling her that from then on she should always send me. It seems that eating goat and being willing to dance with the colored girls was the test!

Most of what I shot back then for Elvalee was mall openings. Kendall Town and Country, Omni International, Loemann's Plaza, a whole bunch of them, and as a follow up I'd shoot fashion shows and store remodelings. Networking through those contacts I shot Aventura Mall, Dadeland Mall, and photographed the enclosure of the old 163rd St Shopping Center, transforming it into The Mall at 163rd Street. Some of the shooting was black and white, some was color slides. I carried a ton of filters back then. There was no Photoshop for after the fact color correction. You got it right the first time! I worked with both my Leicas and my Hasselblad.

One big problem with being a young photographer is that most of the people you work for, like Elvalee, are older than you. The people they work for, like Hank Meyer, are older still. One by one your clients retire and die off. I drifted more and more into the arena of politics. I started working with younger people. In the last couple of years I've attended the funerals of several people who were both clients and close friends. They were eight to ten years younger than I am. It makes you stop and think.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Does History Repeat Itself?

A few days ago I wrote about my daughter Elena running for state rep in Atlanta, GA where she lives. On her campaign website she talked about going to city council meetings with me when she was a little girl, and that's how she got interested in politics. She always went to the polls when her mom and I voted. She accompanied me when I went on photo assignments and met President Jimmy Carter and she used to see Congressman Bill Lehman on a pretty regular basis when I'd drop by his office to deliver photographs.

19 years ago I ran for city council here in North Miami. I lost by a narrow margin after being massively outspent by a wealthy opponent. It was a good experience though, and I built up a network of supporters which I've maintained over the years. I serve on a couple of city advisory boards and I'm a well known figure around city hall.

Now it's Elena's turn to make her mark and to make her contribution. She picked a tough race to win. She's a straight white woman in a district heavily black with a large gay population. She lost the primary yesterday but l'm sure that she made many contacts and friends that will be there in the future, whether or not she runs for office again.

I posted this photo of Elena on the blog before but I thought it captured the idea of how things just keep going around and around. I'm sorry that you didn't win, Elena, but I still love you.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

People You Don't Really Know, And Never Will

Loretta only stayed at my house a short time before heading off. Her cat Baby is still happily living with me. Her former boyfriend would call her all the time, and a few times a week he'd just show up here at the house. They never went anywhere, they'd just sit and chat. To me at least it seemed like they really had a good relationship, but then I wasn't there when they were living together.

Loretta got a big kick out of the fact that I had 1960's vintage Hermes 2000 manual portable typewriter. She enjoyed sitting out on the front porch and typing letters to her friends, drinking coffee or a beer and smoking cigarettes.

Strange how the brain works. Looking at this photograph for the first time in a couple of years my thought was that I can't remember his name and I have no idea what ever happened to him. Still, there was something familiar there. Then it dawned on me. I see him from time to time over at Starbucks. We've even shared a table and chatted on a few occasions when it was crowded. We always nod a hello to one another. Loretta never gets mentioned and I've never seen him with another woman. I still don't recall his name.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Monday, July 17, 2006

...Kiss The Girls And Make Them Cry

My former neighbor Peggy called me up one day and told me that one of her girlfriends, Loretta, had a huge fight with her boyfriend and needed a place to stay. Would I be willing to rent her a room for a few weeks until she got her life organized again? Also, there was a cat that needed lodging too.

We worked out a deal. Loretta is a professional chef so she'd supply the food, do the cooking, and in general "keep house". It turned out that she's one of these people who is a bundle of energy, can't sit still for a minute. She LIKED to mow the lawn, and she pushed that mower around twice as fast as I ever did. All the furniture got moved, dirty corners that hadn't seen the light of day in twenty years would pass muster for use as a hospital operating room, all the pots and pans and cutlery were scrubbed "just because", the back porch was cleaned up, and she scrubbed my boat inside and out. I was forced to go buy car wax and upholstery cleaner for the truck.

We went shopping together like in this photo, out to dinner on occasion, a movie or two, and already had some friends in common. She soon found a job at a nearby restaurant and everything seemed great except for her cat Baby. Every night Baby would get in bed with Loretta, then as soon as Loretta went off to Dreamland Baby would sneak in to my room and curl up on the pillow next to my head. Loretta got jealous.

I think Loretta was still in love with her ex boyfriend, or at least very hurt by his rejection of her, because no romance ever developed between us. Believe me, I tried...LOL, but Baby and I seemed a match made in heaven, at least to Baby. After a few months Loretta had saved up a few dollars, managed to put 15 pounds on me with her culinary skills (a record!), and decided to take a job in Las Vegas. She left Baby with me. She told me that Baby liked me better anyway. I haven't seen Loretta in about two years now, but she calls every couple of months to check on how Baby is doing. Last time she called she was in New Jersey. I'd lost the 15 pounds. Baby is fine.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

"If you're in Atlanta vote for Elena Kaplan, District 58 on July 18th..."

I've known Jim Kukar going back to 1968 or there abouts. He's edited several publications that I photographed and wrote for, had an ad agency for a few years at one point, and we've worked on quite a few political campaigns together. Everything from city council to U.S. Congress. He's the guilty party for getting me interested in politics. My daughter Elena is now running for state rep in Georgia and she gives me credit on her web site for her early interest in politics. Well, Jim is really the guilty party! For all those years, whether working together or not, we've met just about every week for brunch. Since we're in South Florida and Elena is in Georgia we're not involved in this campaign.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The House On The Corner...My House

That's my house there. The front yard looks huge in the photo due to the distortion from the 15mm ultra-wide angle lens. I love the trees. When I bought the place back in 1967 it looked pretty barren. Back in 1949 they built solid houses, and this one has survived many a hurricane over the years. No flimsy slip-shod construction here. . Even the quality of the chain link fence doesn't compare to the crap they make now. Heavier wire and it's hot dipped galvanized.

I have a small room, about 7x9 feet, for my darkroom complete with running water and a 2x7 ft. sink for the trays. There are two bedrooms and a small office. Now that I'm divorced, and my son and daughter are grown and on their own, I live here by myself except for a cat, Baby, left with me by a former girlfriend who moved out of town. She told me that Baby liked me better than her anyway. It's a corner lot so I have a driveway coming in from the side where I keep my boat, a 17 ft. center console.

I'm not much of a housekeeper, and the inside looks just like a single guy lives there. Cameras all over the dining room table. Fishing rods leaning against the wall in the living room. I do manage to keep up with the dishes and the laundry though, and the lawn gets cut often enough so the city code enforcement guy leaves me alone. The best thing about the house is that it's paid for. No mortgage payments! All it needs is the right woman. If you want to apply for that position send me an Email.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Nice Cold Can...

I think I shot this at Haulover Marina after one of the South Florida Fishing Club tournaments. The marina, together with a boat launching ramp, bait & tackle shop, and restaurant is all part of Miami-Dade County's Haulover Park, which includes a beach on the ocean side of U.S. A1A and runs for a mile or two north from Baker's Haulover Cut connecting Biscayne Bay with the ocean.

The name dates back to the nineteenth century when a guy named Baker used to haul boats across the narrow piece of land at that point using mules and wheeled carts running on rails. It saved about a 25 mile voyage around the south end of Miami Beach, a long trip back when water transportation was with sail and oars. Eventually a hurricane blew an opening there, and Uncle Sam deepened the channel and constructed rock jetties along both sides to keep it from closing up again. Today it's mostly fishing and pleasure boats going in and out of the bay through the cut.

There used to be a public fishing pier extending about eight or nine hundred feet out into the ocean just to the north of the cut, with good fishing for mackerel, bluefish, pompano and other fish in season. Hurricane Andrew destroyed the pier about 13 years ago and the county collected the insurance money. Big mystery! Where did the money go? Nobody seems to care about places where the average Joe, the kid on a bike, can fish. It's just all about catering to the folks with money. There's still no pier.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

After The Tournament

Not really much going on here, just myself and a bunch of the other members of the South Florida Fishing Club milling around after the annual Sailfish Tournament waiting to eat. I have a tendancy to get seasick so I seldom fish the offshore tournaments. By the time I get enough Dramamine into my system to not get ill I'm so spaced out that it would be no fun. I usually end up being weighmaster. In the case of an all release tournament lie the annual sailfish and tarpon events I just keep score as the releases are called in via radio.

The teams consist of whoever owns the boat and another angler asigned by lot, so I think people are really pretty honest. Since you get more points if you fish lighter line the fights often last half an hour, sometimes longer. Both tarpon and sailfish are jumpers so odds are that people in another boat are watching the action.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Joan Baez and Bob Dylan ~ 1964

Joan Baez was the featured act that night back in 1964 at the Boston Arts Festival. She announced a surprise guest and invited Bob up on the stage to join her. She handed him her guitar and they sang a number of songs together. He normally played a steel string guitar but seemed equally at ease with Joan's nylon stringed instrument.

Joan was the person who originally discovered Bob, and she used to take him with her when she sang at various coffee houses. Back then Bob was pure country folk in the Woody Guthrie tradition, then he went through a more country music phase, Johnny Cash style. He had a charm and charisma that managed to constantly win over new fans, and he somehow was able to hold on to the majority of his existing fan base. They were less than thrilled when their "young Woody Guthrie" suddenly started playing Johnny Cash style twangy guitar and singing contemporary style country & western music.

Another fan rebellion took place when he "went electric" after discovering British rock, but nobody can argue the point that Bob was The Man, the guy who morphed teeny bopper Rock & Roll into a mature musical genre, with the sophistication of jazz and the complexity of classical. Music would never again be the same.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Salvaging Ancient History

The land was to be sold for hi-rise development, and the riding stables and pony ring would soon be history. The nursery school next door was slated to be demolished also. The 1930's vintage trailer park still had the rusting and rotting carcasses of a few ancient trailers, true trailers, not "mobile homes", hidden amongst the trees on the east side of Arch Creek. A few posts below I wrote about how a bond issue saved the land for public parks.

When this shot was made we still all thought that everything was soon to be leveled, the oak trees gone, the remains of several thousands of years of human habitation destroyed by the bulldozers. The developers agreed to let a group of mostly amateur archeologists explore the site under the direction of some professors from the University of Miami. I think everyone secretly hoped to find the proverbial Treasure Chest, the mother lode of gold coins and jewelry buried either by early Spanish explorers or perhaps even real pirates. Their were also rumors of treasure moved south by Confederate soldiers during the U.S. Civil War.

Because of the rush to beat the bulldozers the usual care to keep track of exact locations on a grid map and notate the exact depth of where an item was found was fudged a bit. A few coins were found along with some everyday items such as belt buckles and buttons, the occasional lead bullet, but nothing of any real monetary value. Tools and cooking utensils made from shell, some pieces of pottery, and the rare flint item the Native Americans had traded with their more northerly relatives were the most common things. No clay or flint is found this far south. There were lots of charrred bones in what seemed to be fire pits that probably burned pretty much in the same place for hundreds or even thousands of years. There's a small museum on site today with some ofthe items on display. Maybe they should have also kept some of those old beer and soda cans, or better yet, the Coca-Cola and Pepsi bottles that would've been worth the two cents deposit when you returned them to the store.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The South Florida Fishing Club...

...meets twice a month at Tony Romas. This is probably the best place in the world for spare ribs, although they also have a variety of other things including chicken, steaks, huge burgers, and some seafood also. Strange that a club with a majority Jewish membership meets at place that serves pork, crabs and lobster, but the Miami area is a strange place.

I first joined the club about fifteen years ago because it was a "family" club. I'd belonged to an all male bass fishing club for a few years when I met Vivette Thomas and fell head over heels in love with her. She loved fishing, as did her younger son Craig. A local tackle shop suggested the SFFC, and I already knew several of the members including some of South Florida's top professional guides like Bouncer Smith, Dennis Forgione, and Dave Kostyo.

Actually, Dave was working for the phone company back then and guiding on the side. He was about to have enough years to be vested in their pension plan when he approached me with an idea. He wanted to get a lot of publicity for his guiding skills, the annual Metropolitan South Florida Fishing Tournament was about to start (it runs for several months), and said that If I'd come up with $35 a trip to cover gas and bait we'd fish Craig in the Junior Division going after tarpon, one or two nights a week. Craig was a good looking Jamaican kid with a moderate Afro. Tarpon are big silvery fish averaging 30 to 80 pounds that jump like crazy when hooked. We also caught a lot of jack crevalle. We fished both Government and Haulover Cuts drifting with wind and current and dragging a couple of live shrimp behind the boat on 20 lb. tackle. While Craig was doing that I fished one of my hand made bucktail jigs off the bow, using standard 12 lb. plug casting gear.

Week after week our names were in the Miami Herald, Craig leading Junior Release Division for tarpon and jack while I led the plug casting release for the two fish. Dave got his publicity! We got nice trophies.

I also took photos of Craig fishing, and Dave and Craig holding tarpon prior to releasing them. We gave photos to Penn Reels and Andy Lines, which they used in their catalogs giving Dave even more mention. It seems that they get very few photos of black people using their stuff, especially handsome young teenagers. They loved it! Dave is now running a succesful charter service. Vivette and I split up a couple years later, but I still show up at the club meetings. Here I'm early, one of the first to arrive.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Spuds, A lone Dog Amongst Too Many Cats

(12 July 2006 ~ Mary called this morning all upset and crying. Spuds died in his sleep last night. Mary thinks he was about 18 years old.)
It's a small trailer and it's over run by cats. There are inside cats and there are outside cats. The inside cats all have names, and there are more of them than city ordinance allows, which is only four. Outside the cats are "strays" according to Mary. They're not really hers, she says, but she puts food out every morning and every evening so the poor little dears won't go hungry. Most of them have been around so long that not only do they have names but they'll come when you call them by name.

She buys cheap meats at the grocery so her animals don't have to just eat pet food. You can't buy pet food with food stamps, plus there's sales tax on it. She likes to treat them to some canned pet food too, and not just make them eat the dry kibbled food out of the sack.

A few years ago I was visiting Mary and something new had been added. She'd gotten a little dog, Spuds. From the beginning he seemed to get along just fine with all the cats, and he was about full grown when she got him. Maybe he'd lived with cats before? Sometimes she puts him on a leash and takes him for a walk but most of the time he spends lounging around the trailer, sometimes curled up next to a cat. Here he's relaxing on the day bed on the screened porch. This is another one of my "self-portrait" series taken with the 15mm Heliar on my Bessa L.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Service With A Smile

I just love walking into the North Miami Post Office on those rare days when I just have to go up to the counter to mail something and there's no line, nobody at all ahead of me. I not only get waited on promptly and with a smile but get to chat a bit with people that I've seen nearly daily for years. Everything from complimenting their new hair do to dicussing sea trout fishing in Biscayne Bay.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Arch Creek And The Enchanted Forest

The original road into Miami that eventually became U.S. 1 goes along the top of a limestone ridge that runs along the coast. At one time there was a small waterfall in the Miami River where it crossed the ridge. In North Miami somehow Arch Creek managed to flow right through the porous limestone, eroding away a sizeable portion, and we ended up with Natural Bridge. The road ran over the bridge.

The Tequesta Indians were the first inhabitants, and white settlers built a village there. When I first moved to the area in the 1950's there was a trailer park in the oak hammock around the bridge. Eventually, around 1970, developers wanted to build hi-rise condos on the site but the community wanted to preserve the natural hammock. A group of citizens led by community activist Maureen Harwitz got the city to put a bond issue on the ballot to raise 12 million dollars. It passed, the city bought the property, and the state purchased the adjacent property so we now have a city park and a state park next to one another.

The bridge was made of porous oolitic (pronounced oh-ah-lit-ic) limestone and roots from the live oaks on either side ran all through it, with some dangling down to the water below. The parks people decided to "clean up the jungle" around the bridge by cutting down some trees, and to keep cars off of the bridge by blocking the road at either end. They bored rows of holes several feet deep at each end of the bridge, and set old railroad ties on end in the holes. There were plenty of ties available because the nearby Florida East Coast R.R. track, maybe only 50 feet from the road, was having the wooden ties replaced with concrete ties.

Early one morning a year or so later Maureen called, wanting me to meet her at the bridge "and bring your camera!". She sounded frantic. It seems that after cutting down those few trees nearest the bridge the roots had rotted away that ran all through the brigdge, and they were what really held it together. The post holes acted like the perforations on a postage stamp. The entire bridge had collapsed into the creek. Now there's a concrete and oolitic limestone "replica" bridge which looks nothing like the original.

When I take Mary on our weekly trips to the grocery we get to drive down U.S. 1 past the oak hammock on the state park side. I took this photo with the 15mm Heliar on my Bessa L.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

White Girls Are So Pretty

I've known Mary since about 1979 or 1980 when she had an antique shop across the street from city hall and next door to a coffee shop I used to frequent. When I split up with the first wife I bought furniture and other things from Mary. I met my other now-ex, Claudia, through an introduction by Mary. Over the years I've photographed antiques and paintings for her to submit to the big auction houses.

There's always been a touch of magic, a spark between us, but there's also been a twenty year age difference. When I first met Mary she was in her late fifties. To a guy in his late thirties she looked like an old lady. Looking back at photos of her I took back then she looks quite attractive in the pictures to me now, but there's still that twenty years to deal with. She's now 83 and I'm 63.

Last year she gave up driving. Maintaining a car is expensive, and cataracts have taken away her night vision. I take her to her doctors appointments, and once a week we go grocery shopping. Here we're having a cup of coffee at Starbucks after visiting the doctor. Her mind is still sharp as a tack and we discuss everything from antiques to local politics and the world situation. On occasion we go out to dinner together. Sometimes she comes by my place and cooks up a storm. She's one of my favorite people.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Brokeback Prairie?

Our Great Tour of The American West in the summer of 1973 showed us a place that was nothing like the west that I'd remembered from cowboy movies as a kid. It was also a far different west than my mother used to talk about visiting in 1943 when she took her newborn infant son on three day's worth of train ride to get to Casper, Wyoming. Anybody knowing her in later life wouldn't believe that she'd ever do such a thing, but she did. She went to spend a couple of months with my dad who was stationed there in the Army Air Corps before being shipped off to India. I suppose today it's different still from what I remember.

We spent a night in Casper and headed to Sheridan to spend a few days with the Kehrwalds, who were friends of friends of ours in Miami. We got the Grand Tour of the area, got to ride horses and visit Indians. We fly fished for trout in mountain streams. We heard the local jokes for tourists. "Why do cowboys wear boots? That's where they jam the hind legs of the sheep so she can't get away while they're..." Well, there aren't many women out there on the prairie.

We got apologies for not being able to enjoy the local delicacy, mountain oysters, because they were out of season. Springtime is the season, when the calves and the lambs are born. They castrate the young animals and fry up their testicles. Supposedly they're very tasty. And they call them mountain oysters.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Alpa Lady, Louise Dana

I met Paul and Louise Dana at Browne's Photo center, a popular hang-out for professionals and amateurs alike. Paul was a recently retired aircraft mechanic and louise did some freelance art directing but they were both avid photographers. She was perhaps twenty years younger than Paul, and they were childless. They awaited the birth of my daughter Elena as if she was their niece by blood. After her birth they visited frequently and had us over to their place just as often.

This was a time when there was a group of maybe 15 of us that got together weekly at one house or another to talk photography, eat pizza or homemade goodies, and look at one another's prints and slides. I had a pull down screen mounted on the living room wall and a Kodak Carousel projector always ready to go on a projector stand at the other end of the room. Covering the projector I had a rigid plastic cover made for a record turntable so it was easy to put the Dana's Leitz Pradovit projector on top. Yes, Leitz lenses are sharper than Kodak.

Here Louise is busy making hamburg patties with her "special blend of herbs and spices" while Paul was firing up the coals in the grill on the patio. This was shot with my Leica M4 and a 35/2 Summicron on High Speed Ektachrome. Louise loved shooting Kodachrome with her Alpa cameras, and had about every lens from the 24mm to the 180, a mix of Angenieux and Switar. She LOVED her Alpas! Paul had a 4x5 Sinar view camera with a bunch of lenses, a Leicaflex SL with several lenses, but his favorite was his Leica M5 with a 35 and 50mm f/1.4 Summiluxes and a 90mm f/2 Summicron. He had an M4 body too. One bedroom in their house had been converted into a darkroom.

After Browne (nobody ever did know his first name) died I stopped running into them because the store closed and we gradually lost touch.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

At The Range ~ The North Miami Police

I was very much a counter-culture type of guy back in the late 1960's. I guess you could call me a hippie, although I was a bit old for that, and a generation too young to be part of the Beat Generation, even though I loved reading the writings of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Not exactly the kind of guy to be hanging out with a bunch of conservative cops.

I was primarily shooting for The North Dade Journal, a weekly paper owned by the Miami Herald covering a few cities and towns in the north east section of the county. North Miami had recently built a new police station and my editor, Jim Kukar, had assigned me to do a story on the police and their new facility. I photographed everything from the jail cells in the basement to where they reloaded their practice ammunition. While I was in the chief's office getting some shots of him he suggested that I might want to come back in a few days and go to the shooting range with them.

The range was about 6 or 7 miles to the west on what was then the edge of the Everglades. It was a shared facility with several other police departments in the area. I met the chief at the station and rode out there with him. Back then the police had yet to start using 9mm automatic pistols. They still carried .38 revolvers and had a couple of "speed loaders" in pouches on their belt so they could drop 6 fresh rounds into the gun in one fast motion.

An interesting thing about the then new station that they showed me was the emergency generator. In case of a power failure it could be turned on and it would supply electricity to the entire building. Like many public buildings of that era it had minimum windows so it would be cheaper to air condition, but almost no light came in through the small tinted windows. Once a week somebody would go down to the basement and flip the switch to fire up the generator for a few minutes to make sure that it was working properly.

Well, one day there was a big storm and a power failure. The switch was flipped and nothing happened. It seems that the starter motor was 110 volts and plugged into a wall outlet! No 12 volt motor, no battery with charger. No lights!

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Easter Time In The Park

North Miami has always been big on festivals and festivities. Things have been scaled back somewhat in size, but increased in frequency during the last few years. Since they built the Museum of Contemporary Art next to city hall with a big open plaza in front of it we have frequent concerts, everything from Jazz to classical.

Back in the 60's and 70's we had the Winternational Festival and parade near Christmastime, and come spring, around Easter, we had the Arts Festival. In later years this was known as Arti-Gras. Dozens of artists had outdoor exhibits of their work, other booths sold everything from hot dogs, cotton candy and balloons to Navaho silver and turqoise jewelry. A big tent with a stage and a couple hundred chairs hosted plays, dance, all kinds of music, and in the morning there were story tellers and puppet shows for the children. I did all the city's public relations photography back then. It was mostly black & white so we could supply the newspapers, but I'd shoot some color for use in brochures for the following year's festival.

Judging by the bunnies in the balloons these kids were attending Arti-Gras. I guess now they'd be around 40 years old. This Ektachrome was shot in an M Leica with a 35mmf/2 Summicron.