March 2013 – Nikon FA with Ilford XP2 & Nikon 55mm f2.8 macro as primary lens

XP2 is an Ilford Black&White film. I enjoy using it because it has a great range of tones and the contrast is more low key than some other B&W films like Kodak Tri-X and Ilford HP5. Not far from where I live is Ross Prairie. It’s a small but beautiful natural area consisting of some large expanses of Prairie dotted with Oak Hammocks and Pine Forests. The area has a number of hiking trails, bike trails, and horse trails. It’s used quite a bit but stays in tip-top shape because of a dedicated group of folks who care for it. There are two main hiking trails – The Holly Hammock Trail and the Ross Prairie Loop Trail.

Holly Hammock Trail is about 2.8 miles long and cuts through all of the ecosystems in the Preserve. It’s fairly flat and makes for an excellent morning or late afternoon hike. It’s often used by bicycle riders and cross-country runners. Ross Prairie Loop Trail is longer – something like 3.8 to 4.3 miles. This trail goes through an area that had been dug up for the Cross Florida Barge Canal back in the late 1960s (I believe). The project actually started in the 1930s under Franklin Roosevelt was dropped and reinstated in 1963 under John Kennedy. President Johnson in 1964 started the actual construction for the canal. The project was halted in 1971 and officially terminated in 1991. The property was returned to the State of Florida and has become the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. Anyway this part of the trail follows a high ridge of dirt deposited as the lower canal base areas were dug out. It’s like walking a small mountain ridge above the forest and plain. Very very nice.

Holly Hammock Trail - Ross Prairie

Holly Hammock Trail – Ross Prairie

Holly Hammock Trail - Ross Prairie

Holly Hammock Trail – Ross Prairie

Holly Hammock Trail - Ross Prairie

Holly Hammock Trail – Ross Prairie

 

Next time I’ll post some photographs from the Ross Prairie Loop Trail. Hope you enjoyed.

 

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February 2013 – Nikon F5 with Kodak Portra400 & Nikon 35-70mm f3.3-4.5 AF as primary lens

The F5 is the newest film camera in my collection. It’s a great camera – loaded with features for the professional photographer but still easy enough to use for the complete amateur. It’s a bit heavy but very stable and easy to hold. The easy grip makes the weight disappear in all but the most strenuous situations. Kodak Portra400 delivers some of the most wonderful colors that I’ve ever seen on a print film. I really enjoy using it. Hope you all enjoy the pictures and agree with my appreciation of the colors.

1. The Appleton Museum of Art. This is our local museum. It’s really quite a beautiful place and they have a terrific collection. It’s associated with the College of Central Florida and Florida State University. We get some very nice travelling exhibits in addition to the standing collection.

The Appleton Museum - It's a beautiful place

The Appleton Museum – It’s a beautiful place

2. This sculpture was recently added to the Appleton Collection. I really like it. Stainless steel, glass, plastic, painted steel and stone brought together to produce a beautifully flowing piece.

Appleton Museum Sculpture - Steel & Glass

Appleton Museum Sculpture – Steel & Glass

3. Sculpture is one of my favorite forms of artistic expression and this piece really draws my attention. I plan to enlarge this photograph to hang in my office over my desk. The rock presents shapes and textures that change with the angle of view and the movement of the sun. In addition the way you position your body allows the opening in the stone to become your window of many views.

Appleton Museum Stone Sculpture

Appleton Museum Stone Sculpture

I hope that you enjoy these photographs. There are others from this project that I enjoy and I’m hoping to present some of them to you as time moves on. Thank you for looking and as always your comments are greatly appreciated.

 

January 2013 – Nikon EM#1 with Kodak ColorPlus200 & Nikon 135mm f2.8E as primary lens

The weather was pretty mild in most of January but I needed to stay close to the house for a number of reasons. This made my photography choices a bit harder and probably a bit less interesting – no wildlife or giant oaks. First I photographed an old Sears Roebuck wagon that Frannie used as a planter for a while and is now a back yard garden area decoration. Then some shots of the famous Frannie’s Screen Room Frogs but in a new locale. And finally I took a little walk around an older part of town and took a few house pictures.

Sears Roebuck wagon in the back gardens

Sears Roebuck wagon in the back gardens

Frannie's Chair with Frogs

Frannie’s Chair with Frogs

Tres Chic - an old Ocala home turned into a B&B and boutique.

Tres Chic – an old Ocala home turned into a B&B and boutique.

 

 

 

Another “ALL GONE” but with a happy ending

Toffeletti’s Hardware was a special sort of store. It certainly was not your super-center Hardware store ala Home Depot or Lowes but you could pretty much get whatever you needed and lots of friendly advice about your repair needs at the same time. My father-in-law took me there on my first visit to Ocala and explained to me that the folks there came from the same part of Italy as his parents. We visited that store almost every time I came to Ocala for a visit. As time marched on the store fell on hard times and eventually closed leaving a beautiful building to decay and a faithful following to find new sources of help. (I personally believe that a heightened crime rate in the area played a major part in the downfall. That’s another story.)

The Toffeletti Hardware Store building

The Toffeletti Hardware Store building

The building sat empty and for sale for a number of years.

Toffeletti's Hardware

Toffeletti’s Hardware

Eventually the building was razed and the empy lot took on the appearance of a small park.

Former site of Toffeletti's Hardware

Former site of Toffeletti’s Hardware

And here’s the site today. It’s now been put to use as a parking area for a business that has located in the part of town, providing much needed employment for a number of people.

Site of the former Toffeletti's Hardware Store - now a parking lot provided by the City of Ocala as part of an incentive package for a Call Center business which has recently located in that part of town.

Site of the former Toffeletti’s Hardware Store – now a parking lot provided by the City of Ocala as part of an incentive package for a Call Center business which has recently located in that part of town.

Southern Plate Glass and Paint – North Magnolia Ave

A few days ago I wrote about a really neat sidewalk that I like very much. It was in front of a Paint and Glass store building in an older part of town. The sidewalk is inlaid bricks and quite old but in remarkably good shape. When they tore the buildings down, I checked to see if they were breaking up the sidewalk, but they were not. Here’s a photograph taken in December of 2010 that shows the building, still in use.

Ocala Plate Glass and Pittsburgh Paints - North Magnolia Ave

Ocala Plate Glass and Pittsburgh Paints – North Magnolia Ave

I always found the overhang on this building to be a very nice feature. It gave it that something extra – a bit of class perhaps. In the next photograph you get a good look at the overhang and also the sidewalk running in front of the building.

Ocala Plate Glass and Pittsburgh Paints - North Magnolia Ave

Ocala Plate Glass and Pittsburgh Paints – North Magnolia Ave

Bricks

North Magnolia Avenue has been a main business street in our town for as long as anyone can remember and probably since the town was originally founded 1846. I believe that it has been renamed a few times through the years. Looming over this older section of town is the Marion County Judicial Center. Many of the old buildings have fallen into disuse and recently the city has started to remove them and build new facilities, mostly parking areas to serve the courthouse and several downtown businesses. One such building was the old Pittsburg Paints and Ocala Glass Building. It was from the early 1900’s (or maybe even late 1890’s depending on who you ask). Still privately owned the building was recently demolished because it was cost prohibitive to bring it up to codes. One of my favorite things in that area is the sidewalk that ran in front of the building. It’s old old inlaid brick. Many of the bricks have patterns on them from their molds.  Over the next week or so, I’ll post some pictures of the building as it was but for now here’s my favorite brick.

A wonderful brick sidewalk from an older section of our town, part of the North Magnolia Historic District.

A wonderful brick sidewalk from an older section of our town, part of the North Magnolia Historic District.