Rearing In The Reins – Sarasota, Florida

Those of you, who follow my posts on a regular basis, know that it seems as if “adventure” follows me. I try to be quiet and out of sight, however there seems to be some reason why I need to be included in everything. This trip was no exception. One of our local attractions is the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. Last year we visited this wonderful place only to get sucked into buying a annual pass, and I’m glad that we did. There is so much to see and photograph…as long as you know the rules. I later posts, I will share some of the other photos as I get them grouped together by event at the estate.

Corridor To The Museum

In this post I wanted to share with you a little about the museum itself. When John and Mabel Ringling settled here, they built the house and the museum to house all of John’s artwork. He has many priceless pieces from around the world. I guess if you have a successful circus, you can buy anything you want. As a side note, ironically when he died, he only had $312.00 in his bank account! When the museum was built, he spared no expense. As you can see in the photo, this is one of the corridors that lead the visitor into one of the sections of the museum. The floors seem to be made of granite or marble and always have a high shine. When you are inside the museum, the galleries seem to go on forever. If you are an art lover, this is the place for you.

Chariot A Fire!

In the courtyard of the museum, there are statues and water fountains that are also part of the collection. I came across this one particular statue that caught my eye. It looks as if it’s in motion, but stuck in time. The only thing missing from this statue is the warrior. I took a couple of photos and then it hit me. I have a family member who loves horses. Seeing the black statues there made me think that this might make a great black and white piece. Not to mention that I was fighting the noon sun. Harsh light everywhere and since the statues are black, that made the detail in the shadows even worse. However, I left with my chin up and hoped for the best.

Horse Heads

When I returned home, I loaded the files onto the computer and started to see what I could come up with. First, I knew that I wanted the image to be black and white. I converted the photo in Adobe Camera RAW (This was before I had my wonderful Silver Efex plug in). This image really seemed to pop when it was finished. I made a print of this and it is now in my Aunt’s living room.

You might be asking, where is the DRAMA in this visit? Here is a great pointer if you plan to visit. When we checked in at the front desk, I had my camera and tripod in tow. I asked the clerk if tripods were allowed. She told me that they were as long as they weren’t used INSIDE the museum. This seemed like a reasonable request. At the time, I wanted to shoot some HDR of the house and the EXTERIOR of the museum. I put on my wristband and off to the house I went. I was lucky as a golf cart was passing by and picked me up and gave me a lift to the house. At this point, I’m sitting in the front seat of the golf cart putting the camera on my tripod. During our trip to the house, we passed the security personnel and we even waved at each other. The driver dropped me off at the house and told me to have a great day. I walked around the house to see what angle might make a strong composition. I found my spot and extended the tripod legs and started shooting away. After I captured a couple of scenes around the house I was off to the museum. Again, I didn’t have to walk far until I ran into another friendly golf cart person. Like the person before him, he dropped me off at the museum and told me to have a great day.

I walked around the courtyard of the museum and found an interesting spot. I set up shop again and got a few scenes captured, it was then I felt as if I was back in early America. The docents that work these areas have “red coats” on with a big scripty “R” embroidered onto the coat. Out of the distance I hear, “Sir! Sir! What are you doing? There are no tripods allowed in the museum area.” I explained what I was told at the front counter. He asked me what her name was. I told him that I had no idea. She just took my money and let me through. He told me that he was going to get security. I said that I wasn’t refusing to dismantle my tripod; I was just explaining the situation. In an instant, this “red coat” went running across the courtyard, I would bet that he went to get security. I decided this wasn’t worth pressing my luck and to save it for another day. I packed everything up and headed for the front gate. No one stopped me and I left without a confrontation.

The following Monday, I decided that the one person who should know the answer to this question would be the people who run the joint. I called the administration and I had to go through about four people before I found someone who had a definitive answer. So, what is the magic answer? Here is what I was told, “We do NOT allow tripods ANYWHERE ON THE PROPERTY.” So in the end, the entrance lady and the museum “red coat” were all misinformed. I explained that I apparently accidentally broke the rules and explained the situation. I mentioned to her that they might want to bring this up at the next company picnic so EVERYONE is on the same page.

Moral of the story, if you are going to visit the Ringling Museum, be sure to do one thing, TAKE A MONOPOD! (She didn’t say that those weren’t allowed!)

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean



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