SKATER SUNSET

In the creative world we occasionally get battered by insignificance. We often feel that while others are doing great feats, we wallow and flop around attempting to find our focus. But once we step out of our solitude into the world around us, we see that everyone is on their own path toward self-expression. Each of us questioning our own validity.

And each day that we live, comes to an end like all other days. We launch out into the world not knowing what we’ll encounter but we do know that each day will end, and how we live it is a little bit of paddle for direction and a little bit of surrendering float when the current takes us over.

We get preyed on by others, promoting extravagant claims that must be investigated in order to discover their fault. Sometimes no discovery is necessary and just a chuckle will do. At the end of the day, it all doesn’t really matter… I think all any of us can hope for is just a little inspiration and then call it a day.

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On this day, it all started out with a visit to what was supposed to be a “Third Annual Craft Fair”. There were a few exotic and extraordinary pieces, like these two Nubian princesses. But overall the big deal was not about the art but what I found around it.

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The best catch of the day was not one of the hand-made items. It was a woman wandering on the sidewalk talking on her cell phone. The sun was low in the early morning sky and she was oblivious to me and everything around her. Such disdain made her  invisible to others but I caught her in mid-stride and mid-conversation just before she disappeared completely.

We don’t know who she is, who she’s talking to, where she came from or where she’s going, but I got her… I got her good. Frozen and perfect. Just a strange set of elements, shapes, contrast and curiosity that can make you stare for a while and not know why.

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Across the street from the craft fair was Yoga Class just wrapping up its session. It had beautiful light and the space was amazingly relaxed. Forgetting himself and as the man with his back to us was day dreaming about the yoga leader, he had to relieve his itch. I had to catch him. Namaste.

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I searched for the next bright thing to capture and the sun shone through a soda bottle on a brick wall. It was an abandoned bottle of liquid and it’s impossible to know what’s really in it, but I chose to believe it to be the virgin Pineapple Soda it half-turned-claims to be. It looked to me like the sun was shining into it and the juice was holding onto the light.

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More barbecue grills stoking up their fires. They handed out samples of chicken and ribs and trusting souls tasted what they were given. The wavy frizz of smoke perspiring off the ribs, danced next to the jars of sauce awaiting the next swab of the mop.

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Smoke was everywhere and still, a man steps into the cloud of it to have a cigarette and add to the fog of carcinogens.

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A punchy fellow takes a break from the gym to start drinking early on a Saturday. Excited to wear his Gilligan’s Island hat, I caught him off guard as he jabbed me with his best “I’m not drunk” pose.

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A magical woman strolled over to a table of aspiring writers. She had on layers and layers of interesting and intriguing styles. I caught her beaming her magic out of her eyes, before she looked down to write some mysterious note to an unknown person.

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The writing class endeavored to strike out on a venture of street writing to raise money for some class activity.

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Naturally, I was honored by their request to capture me, the Street Photographer, with their words. They honored me by letting me capture them with my camera.

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Street Photography

One natural moment.
Art that creates itself, with minimal alterations and maximum beauty.

The shutter speed is our tool for capturing that which will never again be.

Our result is a fossilization of the most genuine human condition.

Honest being.”

Touched by the quiet voice of a young creative, trickling out her whisper, I moved forward in humility by her words.

I felt nothing could top this in my day so I appreciated it without having to posses it and then released it and moved forward.

That’s when I ran into a gang of hoodlums on Segues.

Apparently they had been terrorizing the neighborhood by tagging abandoned buildings with messages about energy conservation.

They organized themselves like a biker gang, with a President, a Vice President, Sergeant of Arms and of course they had a system of recruiting new Segue Riders… called prospects.

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On my way out of the neighborhood I caught some street musicians plying their craft. I wasn’t sure who was the target… the musicians on the bench or the colorful woman watching them.

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I had heard there was Skateboard event in town. Something called the Tampa AM 2012. I thought it was some kids in a park sliding up and down on walls but when I arrived I discovered that we were hosting a global competition of an extraordinary scale. The light was tough to shoot with and the skaters moved fast, but I tried to grab a few of them.

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It was also amazingly hot inside this arena and the skaters were sweating like crazy. I caught this guy replenishing his fluids.

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Apparently, these guys were not just skating to compete, there was also a fund-raising event going on to help people with cancer.

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The skaters…much like the Segue Biker gang, were organized and have a culture all their own. They drink tons of Red Bull to keep their energy up, they greet each other with vigorous high-fives and have quite a following of groupie chicks that fawn over the skater stars.

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Tattoos are big in this culture and when they attend an event, they mark their bodies with the logo to show others they were there. In this case, the skaters commit their bodies to life long body graphic that say, “Skate and Destroy Cancer”.

If I was a skater and lost someone to cancer, I would have no problem getting this ink on me for the world to see. Kudos to them that commit and are not afraid of permanence, not afraid to be who they want to be and damn everyone else who judges them.

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And just as things got a little intense, a little girl strolled across the center of it all. Little tiny life givers… such precious beings.

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Later that night I headed to the beach. I got there just in time to catch a few things going on, including the classic event of sunset. One thing happening was that the flowers were getting ready to close up shop for the day only to wake up again the next day to soak up some more sun.

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Another thing going on was a little sunset wedding party. I caught this gift hanging from the tree as the sun was galloping away in retreat. “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.”

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A man flew by in a motorized kite of some sort. He was up high, I imagine so that he could see more of the sunset than all of us hanging on to the measly horizon.

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As the ball of fire slipped lower and lower beneath Earth’s waistline, the bands at the beach bars got louder and louder. Apparently I was near the hottest wet spot in town!

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I stepped in, just to see what was going on and I’ve never seen so many drunk women dressed in Santa Suits in my life! Naturally, where there are lots of drunk women dressed up, you will find lots of men with big smiles on their faces, just waiting to help the damsels out of distress.

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With moments left to go, I ran out to the beach. I wanted to get the sun but so loved the capture of others wanting to get her too.

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And another day of wild walking and photo grabs comes to an end. Here, a gift to you my friends, God’s holy awe for all of us to see and be inspired by.

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