35,000 Feet with Jet Trails

Taken with my 400mm lens in the late afternoon

35,000 Feet with Jet Trails

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First Coast Happenings – Florida Times


Rummage for Rescue, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Safe Animal Shelter, 2913 County Road 220, Middleburg. Accepting donations of all items except clothes. safeanimalshelter.com.

Education Summit themed “Parental Involvement,” 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Main Library, 303 N. Laura St. Speaker is Tony Miller, deputy secretary and chief operating officer at the U.S. Department of Education. Afternoon includes five mini-workshops. (904) 355-2787 or coj.net/mayor/education/education-summit.aspx.

Viva Florida 500: Florida Book Club, 10:30 a.m., Bartram Trail branch library, Bartram Trail Library, 60 Davis Pond Blvd. Book to discuss is “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston. (904) 287-4929.

Trio Cleonice in concert, 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., Friday Musicale, 645 Oak St. Free. (904) 355-7584 or fridaymusicale.com.

Jacksonville Home and Patio Show, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Prime Osborn Convention Center, 1000 W. Water St. $10 adults; $5 seniors 60 and older and students 6-12, at the door only. jacksonvillehomeshows.com.

Discover the Dinosaurs, noon-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, The Jacksonville Fairgrounds. Exhibit plus includes the exhibit, the theater, a coloring station, scavenger hunt, rides, mini golf and inflatables. Exhibit only does not include unlimited rides, mini golf and inflatables. $17 adults, $15 seniors 65 and older; $20 children 2-12, exhibit plus; $12 children 2-12, exhibit only (at the door only); ride tickets $5-$6. discoverthedinosaurs.com.

Fundraiser to benefit Seaside Community Charter School, 2-4 p.m., Alterman Johnson Chiropractors, 423 Third St. N., Jacksonville Beach. Includes raffle prizes. (904) 247-3933.

“Sea Your History Weekend: Oh My Stars,” 3-6 p.m. Friday, on long-lost shipwrecks; 9 a.m. Saturday, work on traditional wooden boatbuilding by building a boat from past centuries; 11 a.m. Saturday, Smithsonian Presentation; St. Augustine Lighthouse Museum, 81 Lighthouse Ave. Weekend value pack, $25. (904) 829-0745 or staugustinelighthouse.org.

Lions Club Seafood and Music Festival, 3-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Francis Field, 29 Castillo Drive, St. Augustine. Includes arts and crafts, live entertainment, a Kid Zone and prizes. (904) 829-1753 or lionsfestival.com.

Community Opening, 4-8 p.m., The Cummer Museum of Art Gardens, 829 Riverside Ave. Opening of “The Tsars’ Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts Under the Romanovs.” Includes art-making, live music with Russian pianist Yana Weaver and a tour of the exhibit at 5 p.m. Free. (904) 899-6004 or cummer.org.

First Friday Artwalk, 5-9 p.m., begin at San Sebastian Winery, 157 King St. Features a self-guided art walk to area galleries with exhibits, music, entertainment and refreshments. (904) 829-0065 or artgalleriesofstaugustine.com.

Harlem Globetrotters, interactive pre-event, 5:30-6 p.m.; show 7 p.m.; Veterans Memorial Arena. $23-$113; Magic Pass, $20. (904) 630-3900 or jaxevents.com.

Racing injuries talk, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Jacksonville Running Company, 9823 Tapestry Park Circle. Topic is “Common Foot and Ankle Injuries.” Reservations, email jtribett@hcr-manorcare.com.

“Hamlet,” presented by the Thespian Honor Society/Drama Club, 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Orange Park High School, 2300 Kingsley Ave. (904) 272-8110.

Two one-act plays, “Laundry and Bourbon” and “Lonestar,” 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jacksonville University’s Swisher Theater, 2800 University Blvd. N. $10 adults, $7 seniors 62 and older and military, $5 students and children younger than 17. JU employees get in free with ID. (904) 256-7349.

Spring Opera Production, presented by the Opera Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Monday, University of North Florida’s Robinson Theater. $18 adults, UNF students get in free with ID. (904) 620-2878.

Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Flagler College’s Lewis Auditorium, 14 Granada St. Show continues 7:30 p.m. March 8-9, 2 p.m. March 10. (904) 826-8600.

Daryl Hall and John Oates, 8 p.m., St. Augustine Amphitheatre, 1340 Florida A1A S. $34.50-$79.50. (904) 471-1965 or staugamphitheatre.com.

Loudon Wainwright III Concert, 8 p.m., Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, 1050 Florida A1A N., Ponte Vedra Beach. $30, $35. (904) 209-0399 or pvconcerthall.com.

Live music by Full Throttle, 8 p.m.-1 a.m., The Jacksonville Landing. (904) 353-1188 or jacksonvillelanding.com.

Billy Elliot — The Musical, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1:30 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, 300 W. Water St. Tickets start at $37. (904) 442-2929 or artistseriesjax.org.

“The Triangle Factory Fire Project,” 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Theatre Jacksonville, Harold K. Smith Playhouse, 2032 San Marco Blvd. Show continues 8 p.m. March 8-9, 2 p.m. March 10, 7:30 p.m. March 14, 8 p.m. March 15-16. $25, adults; $20 Thursdays/Sundays only, seniors age 60 and older and students and military with ID. (904) 396-4425 or theatrejax.com.



NJROTC Area Twelve Drill Championship, 7:30 a.m., Cecil Field Commerce Center, U.S. Coast Guard hanger; relay races competition, 2:45 p.m., the track near the hanger. (904) 542-8793.

Tessa Godwin Memorial Super Ride to benefit Dreams Come True, guided trail ride, 10 a.m.; festivities, noon-3 p.m.; Diamond D Ranch, Solomon Road. Includes games, hayrides, a petting zoo, live entertainment, a silent auction and door prizes. (904) 289-9331.

5K Foam Fest, 9 a.m., Equestrian Center of Jacksonville, 13611C Normandy Blvd. Includes inflatables, army crawls, mud pits, cargo net climbs and water obstacles. (904) 573-3163 or jaxevents.com.

Family Day Boat Trip, 9-11 a.m., Riverside Arts Market, under the Fuller Warren Bridge. Learn about the ecology of the river through hands-on activities. $15 adults, $10 children younger than 12. Reservations required. (904) 256-7022 or stjohnsriverkeeper.org.

Book Warehouse Sale, 9 a.m.-noon, University Park Library, 3435 University Blvd. N. $10 a bag. (904) 630-2304 or fjpl.org.

Super Saturday special tax assistance day, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., WorkSource Gateway mall, 5000-2 Norwood Ave. Features free income tax perparation for those with household incomes of $57,000 or less. (904) 632-0600 or realsensejax.org.

Mutt March to benefit the Jacksonville Humane Society, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., The Jacksonville Landing. Includes a walk at 10:30 a.m., live entertainment, activities for pets and kids, a silent auction and vendors. $30 a person, $25 a person for members of teams of four or more, $15 for students 13-22, $10 children 5-12; pets get in free. All prices $5 more at the gate. Registration, jaxhumane.org/muttmarch.

The Ultimate in Recyling, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Mandarin Garden Club, 2892 Loretto Road. Features clothing, purses and shoes for men, women and children. (904) 268-1192.

Garden Month 2013, throughout March, The Cummer Museum of Art Gardens, 829 Riverside Ave. Includes tours, music, activities, lectures and classes. (904) 356-6857 or cummer.org.

■ Saturday — Plant Sale, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; Community Day, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with live music, art-making activities and the St. Johns Riverkeeper Rain Barrel Sale ($65 a barrel or two for $120); artist demonstration, noon-3 p.m., with artists in the gardens demonstrating watercolor and acrylic painting and pastel drawing. Free.

■ Tuesday — St. John Riverkeeper Lecture, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Speakers are Bob Chabot, director of horticulture and facilities at the Jacksonville Zoo, and Jake Ingram of the Florida Native Plant Society, with “Native Plants in Garden Design.” Free.

■ March 8 — Garden concert, 7-9 p.m., with the Noel Freidline Quintet. Bring blankets, chairs, food and alcoholic beverages, if desired. $20 members, $25 nonmembers; food and beverages not included.

■ March 9 — Excursion Into Wild Florida with Jim Draper, for ages 13 and older, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Willie Brown Trail — Theodore Roosevelt Area, 13165 Mount Pleasant Road. Bring a lunch. $100 members, $115 nonmembers, $63 active docents.

Nature Photography Summit exhibit and trade show, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Hyatt Regency Riverfront, 225 E. Coast Line Drive. Free. naturephotographysummit.com.

Union Garrison, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-noon Sunday, Fort Clinch State Park, 2601 Atlantic Ave., Fernandina Beach. Includes demonstrations, living history interpreters and soldier drills. $6 per vehicle up to eight people, $4 a vehicle for one person; $2 bicyclists and pedestrians; fort admission $2. (904) 277-7274. or floridastateparks.org/fortclinch.

Citywide Dance Marathon to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network, 9 a.m.-10:06 p.m., EverBank Stadium’s West Touchdown Club. Spectators, $10 adults, $5 children. jacksonvilledancemarathon.org.

Hogs for Dogs Bike Run to benefit the Clay County Humane Society, registration 9:30 a.m., Adamec Harley Davidson, Wells Road, to Whitey’s Fish Camp. $25 a person, includes dinner, a goodie bag, music, raffle and prizes. (904) 276-7729 or clayhumane.org.

Dr. Seuss’ Birthday celebration, 10 a.m. Saturday, 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, Ponte Vedra Beach branch library, 101 Library Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach, (904) 273-0495; 1 p.m. Saturday, Hastings branch library, 6195 S. Main St., (904)827-6970; Seussapalooza, 2 p.m. Saturday, Southeast branch, 15099 Deerwood Park Blvd., 996-0325.

Adult Book Club, 10 a.m.-noon, Clay County Headquarters Library, 1895 Town Center Blvd., Orange Park. Book to discuss is “Murder in the Cathedral” by T.S. Eliot. Newcomers welcome. (904) 278-3722 or ccpl.lib.fl.us.

Arts Market season opening celebration, parade, 10 a.m.; opening ceremony with the Stanton College Prep Marching Band, 10:30 a.m.; Navy Band Southeast TGIF, 11:30 a.m.; Antique Animals, 1:30 p.m.; Farmers Riverside Arts Market, 715 Riverside Ave. riversideartsmarket.com.

Community First Saturdays themed Celebrating the Great St. Johns, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Coast Line Drive, Northbank Riverwalk. Includes a Mutt March, Tai Chi, a river hunt, scavenger hunt, the Shannon Miller Walking Group, free CPR demonstration, yoga, a musical petting zoo and other children’s activities, local interest tents and food trucks. (904) 366-6638.

Stamp, Coin and Collectables Show, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Elk’s Lodgee, 53 Old Kings Road, Palm Coast. Includes door prizes and dealers to give appraisals. stampandcoinclub.com.

Living History Day, 10:30-3:30 p.m., Fort Matanzas National Monument, 8635 Florida A1A, 15 miles south of St. Augustine. (904) 471-0116 or nps.gov/foma.

Cosmic Concerts, Laser Holiday, noon and 5 p.m. Saturdays, Museum of Science and History, 1025 Museum Circle. $5 a person, laser glasses $1. (904) 396-6674.

North Atlantic Right Whales, 2 p.m., Fort George Island Cultural State Park’s Ribault Club. Free. (904) 251-2320.

Auditions for “The Me Nobody Knows,” 3-5 p.m., Stage Aurora Performance Hall, 5188 Norwood Ave., inside Gateway Town Center. (904) 765-7372.

Fun at The Landing, Suwanee River Jam auditions, 3-7 p.m.; live music by Sugar Bear, 8 p.m.-1 a.m.; The Jacksonville Landing. (904) 353-1188 or jacksonvillelanding.com.

Amelia Island International Wine and Food Tasting to benefit Wolfson Children’s Hospital, presented by Amelia Island Sunrise Rotary, 7 p.m., Amelia Island Museum of History, 233 S. Third St., Fernandina Beach. Includes live and silent auctions, wine tastings, hors d’oeuvres and wine experts. $45. (904) 358-2750 or ameliaislandwineandfoodtasting.com.

Glow Run 5K, 7 p.m.-midnight, Metropolitan Park and Marina, 4110 Gator Bowl Blvd., across from EverBank Field. Run followed by a dance party. (904) 630-0837.

“Fame!” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Jewish Community Alliance, 8505 San Jose Blvd. Show continues 7:30 p.m. March 9, 2 p.m. March 10. $7. Registration, (904) 730-2100, ext. 221.

Keb’ Mo’, 8 p.m., Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, 1050 Florida A1A N., Ponte Vedra Beach. $47.50, $57.50 first three rows. (904) 209-0367 or pvconcerthall.com.

The Royal Comedy Tour, 8 p.m., Veterans Memorial Arena. $50-$90. (904) 630-3900, jaxevents.com or royalcomedytour.com.

Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra with “Amadeus,” 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, 300 W. Water St. Program in collaboration with Players by the Sea. $25, $35, $45. (904) 354-5547 or jaxsymphony.org.



MG Walk, 9 a.m., The Jacksonville Landing. Event is a one or three-mile walk to raise awareness of and funds for Myasthenia Gravis research. (904) 353-1188 or jacksonvillelanding.com.

Hot Foods N’ Spicy Blues Festival, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., The Florida Agricultural Museum, 7900 Old Kings Road, Palm Coast. (386) 446-7630 or myagmuseum.com.

Front Porch Stories, 2-3 p.m., Mandarin Museum and Historical Society, 11964 Mandarin Road. Features long-time Mandarin resident Billy Barwald, on “Stretch Your Mind,” with an antique mystery item. Series concludes March 10 with “World War II from the Perspective of One Who Served.” (904) 268-0784 or mandarinmuseum.net.

Reggae on the River, 5-9 p.m., The Jacksonville Landing. Features live music, a vendor expo and drink specials. Program takes place the first Sunday of every month. (904) 353-1188 or jacksonvillelanding.com.

Bruce Cockburn, 8 p.m., Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, 1050 Florida A1A N., Ponte Vedra Beach. $30 in advance, $35 at the door. (904) 209-0367 or pvconcerthall.com.



Communication Week speakers: award-winning photojournalist Bruce Strong, 10 a.m. Monday; Deirdre Breakenridge, president and director of communications at PFS Marketwyse, 1 p.m. Monday; Rob Armstrong, former Flagler college professor and journalist, 10 a.m., Wednesday; Fox Sports Network television marketing consultant and strategist Cathy Jamison, 11 a.m. Thursday; Flagler College, St.Augustine. (904) 819-6353.

International Affairs Discussion, 6:30 p.m., Bartram Trail branch library, 60 Davis Pond Blvd. Moderator is Joseph Warner, retired U.S. diplomat and adjunct professor of geography and international relations at Florida State College at Jacksonville. (904) 287-4929.

Florida Forum, 7 p.m., Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, 300 W. Water St. Speaker is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, former NBA player, coach, consultant, actor, documentarian, history author, sports columnist, public speaker, cultural ambassador and battling chronic myeloid leukemia. (904) 202-2886 or thefloridaforum.com.



Greater Jacksonville Prayer Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., Wyndham Jacksonville Riverwalk Hotel, 1515 Prudential Drive. Speaker is Byron Johnson, author and professor of the social sciences at Baylor University. Includes the Sandalwood High School Chorus and Beaches Barbershop Group. Reservations required. fccoutreach.com.

“James Bond — A Fifthy Year Retrospective,” 7 p.m., Florida State College at Jacksonville Nassau Center. Speaker is Ranjan Chhibber with a cinematic tour of the mainstream actors who played James Bond from Connery to Craig. Includes free popcorn and cold beverages. (904) 548-4432.

Dance, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Lane Wiley Senior Citizens Center, 6710 Wiley Road. Features a live 2-piece dance band. $5. (904) 260-8061.



Navy Band Southeast in concert, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Clay County Headquarters Library, 1895 Town Center Blvd., Orange Park. Features the TGIF Dixieland Band. (904) 278-3722 or ccpl.lib.fl.us.



Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Thursday-Sunday, various venues. ameliaconcours.org.

■ Gooding Co. Amelia Island Auction — 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, 9-11 a.m. Friday; auction, 11 a.m. Friday; Racquet Park at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Information and online catalog, goodingco.com.

■ RM Auction at Amelia — 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Friday; auction, 11 a.m. Saturday; Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, 4750 Amelia Island Parkway. Information and digital catalog, rmauctions.com.

■ Festivals of Speed — cocktail reception, 8-11 p.m. Friday, $150 a person; Festivals of Speed Amelia Island lifestyle show, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, $20 a person; Omni Amelia Island Plantation, 6800 First Coast Highway. (352) 385-9450 or festivalsofspeed.com.

■ Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance — 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sunday, Golf Club of Amelia Island, $70 adults, $35 children 12-18, children younger than 12 get in free with paying adult; racing seminars, an art show, charity auction and classic car tour, Friday-Saturday, Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, 4750 Amelia Island Parkway.

Judy Collins, 8 p.m., Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, 1050 Florida A1A N., Ponte Vedra Beach. $45, $65 first three rows. (904) 209-0367 or pvconcerthall.com.



“Laugh for Charity” to benefit Junior Achievement and the Mandarin Food Bank, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, silent auction, 6 p.m.; show, 7:30 p.m.; The Comedy Zone, Ramada Inn Conference Center. $50 a person. Registration, email, mandarinrotary@aol.com.



Camp Healing Powers, presented by Community Hospice, March 15-17, Marywood Retreat and Conference Center. Program for children and teens 7-17 who have experienced the death of a loved one three months to two years prior to the camp. Register by Friday. (904) 407-6222.


Fax to (904) 359-4478 or email events@jacksonville.com. Complete listing at jacksonville.com/calendars. To put your event in the free online calendar, go to events.jacksonville.com.

Texas doctor who captured iconic image of Columbia disaster is now a working …

A lot has changed in the decade since Dr. Scott Lieberman captured an iconic shot of Space Shuttle Columbia breaking apart on Feb. 1, 2003. The 6-megapixel digital camera he used to capture the shot was a curiosity then — he’d had to order it from a Canadian distributor because he couldn’t find one in the U.S. To get the photo out to the world, he had to drive the file to the office of his local newspaper. And since then, of course, the United States stopped flying space shuttles.

Lieberman has picked up a sideline to his interventional cardiology practice in the decade since the disaster. He’s an independent contract contributor to the Associated Press now, with hundreds of photos carrying his credit.

Lieberman’s photo appeared on the front page of virtually every U.S. paper, including this one, which is republished courtesy of the Newseum

“Getting published was a fantastic, visceral event,” he says on the phone from Tyler, Texas, where he still lives.

After his Columbia shot ended up on the front pages of more than 100 newspapers and the covers of Time and Paris Match, Lieberman says he studied “hundreds of thousands of images” and befriended AP photographers he could learn from. He attended shuttle launches and landings — in fact, he scored with another shuttle shot in 2006 when Shuttle Discovery was heading back to Florida after a stopover at Barksdale Air Force Base. He attended with many other photographers.

“Almost everybody left” after the shuttle took off and headed north, Lieberman remembers. “Last time I looked, Florida was south and east of us.” So he trained his tripod on the early sky and captured a shot of the shuttle silhouetted against the red morning light. “That was not a dumb luck picture,” he says.

Lieberman says he has “a little bit of a scientist’s, observer’s nature, and I think that’s what I bring into the photos.” Also, he says, he can afford nice equipment. He’d purchased the 6-megapixel Canon EOS-D60 he used for the original Columbia picture as a way to get back into photography before a trip to Alaska. “You probably did have to be a doctor or a lawyer to have one of those things,” he says, laughing. He says he gets a lot of use out of his 400mm f2.8 lens, a very expensive piece of glass. “I’ve always said what I lack in skill I can compensate for in better equipment,” he says.

This 2007 photo shows a helicopter searching for a missing person in Texas. (AP Photo/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman)

When Lieberman’s Columbia image ran on the cover of Time, the photojournalism establishment still regarded digital photography with a slightly wary eye. Vin Alabiso was head of photography for AP when Poynter’s Kenny Irby interviewed him about Lieberman’s photo; he predicted at the time the image, which the wire service disseminated hours after the event, would wear down some of that resistance. “There is no question that this photo will be one famous photograph of the year,” Alabiso told Irby. “Additionally, given the technology of the day and our instant delivery abilities, pictures can now move further, faster than ever before. Tyler helped us make this happen.”

“Suddenly there was an appreciation that, yes, you could carry a digital camera,” Lieberman says. “The wariness that existed was rooted more in the speed than in image quality,” Poynter’s Kenny Irby says. “The media industry would just as soon settle for a lower resolution frame grab given the lack of a quality still photograph.” Irby says Lieberman’s photograph did “contribute to the strong validation in the potential and power of digital photography for real time news coverage.”

And of course, Lieberman’s photo came at the dawn of a golden age for citizen journalists — from George Holliday’s Rodney King video to Janis Krum’s photo of the “Miracle on the Hudson.” It’s no longer surprising when someone not employed as a photographer takes a shot that amazes the world. (Sadly, it’s also a time in which it’s no longer surprising to hear about photographers who are no longer employed.)

“There is no doubt that Dr. Lieberman captured a historic moment in U.S. space flight history,” Irby says. “It certainly contributed to the expansion of citizen journalism in the photographic reporting arena. And it is particularly unique that someone of his professional accomplishment would continue to consistently contribute to practice photojournalism professionally. His contributing work with Associated Press has been commendable.”

Lieberman takes photos of celebrities who come through Tyler, and he sometimes self-assigns news events where he knows pros will be so he can try to get an unusual shot. And he still trains his lens on the sky with some frequency — lightning is a specialty. In fact, one of his shots of lightning in the Texas sky ran in USA Today this week.

A 2011 photo of lightning over the Heritage Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas (AP Photo/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman)

I had to ask: Does Lieberman’s medical training ever come in handy when he’s moonlighting? Under the constraints of the Hippocratic Oath, he couldn’t give me specifics, he says, but he’s helped fellow photographers in the field — one at a shuttle launch — and also given many of them medical advice on the phone or via his Facebook page. “I’ve felt more than obligated to help them when I can,” he says. “I’ve learned a lot through exposure to these people.”

Once at the Tyler newspaper offices, he says, an editor complained of some symptoms and Lieberman suggested he get a stress test. The guy ended up having surgery. “I wouldn’t jump up and down and say it saved his life, but it certainly could have,” he says. He’s made lasting friendships with people he hasn’t sent to a gurney, too. “As awful as the original picture was, the disaster it represented, some good has come out of it,” he says.

Space Shuttle Atlantis lifting off in September 2006. Atlantis was the last shuttle to fly; the program ended in 2011. (AP Photo/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman)

Fort Lauderdale airport a top spot for aviation photographers

They try to capture the most exotic big birds, and South Florida is one of their favorite haunts.

Hunters? No. These are aviation photographers, who call themselves “spotters,” because they take pains to identify and shoot interesting and colorful airliners, corporate jets and military planes.

“It’s a passion,” said Eddy Gual, 70, of Miami, a retired freelance photographer, who has taken more than 200,000 photos of planes, and organized the shutterbugs under the Florida Aviation Photography Society about 23 years ago.

Coming from around the globe, including Japan, Australia and Germany, dozens of the spotters congregated on the roof of a parking garage at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International on Thursday and shot everything from small commuter planes to Airbus airliners.

“It’s like bird watching, but instead we’re looking for airplanes,” said Manfred Turek, of Munich, Germany, who noted Fort Lauderdale airport is primo for the spotters because of its good vantage points and diverse operations.

“There’s a large variety. You get the Canadian aircraft, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue and the Latin American traffic,” added Suresh Atapattu, of Plantation, a biomedical engineer.

Armed with expensive Canon and Nikon digital cameras and lots of long lenses, the photographers also shoot at Palm Beach and Miami International airports, as well as smaller general aviation airports.

Joe Pries, who drove nine hours from North Carolina to join the photo-fray on Thursday, said South Florida airports are usually drenched in sunlight, “and the sun’s angle is critical for photographers.”

John K. Morton, 78, of West Yorkshire, England, has vacationed in South Florida for 35 years to shoot airplanes. He also has published 14 picture books, featuring many of his 60,000 photos.

“I used to take pictures of steam trains in England, but in 1968 they stopped running those,” he said. “I just started taking photos of planes, and it went from there.”

Now that most photography is digital, many of the spotters display their work on websites, such as Airliners.net or have their own links. For instance Victor Lopez, of Miami, administrates NetAirSpace.com.

“I’m a third generation pilot, so it’s in the blood,” said Lopez, a quality control director for an aircraft company.

The photographers on Friday plan to tour Miami International Airport and hold their annual convention, where they will swap and sell their photos at prices ranging from 50 cents to hundreds of dollars.

Much like bird or train spotters, some try to capture entire collections of aircraft, for instance, every plane in an airline’s fleet, or every Boeing 757 ever built. They also covet older planes on the verge of retiring.

Ultimately, the spotters’ goal is to preserve aviation history, said Atapattu, who specialized in shooting space shuttles from Cape Canaveral.

“Over 11 years, I put 50,000 miles on my car, commuting to the cape, chasing the shuttle,” he said.

kkaye@tribune.com or 954-572-2085.

Club members learn how to create travel photo books

Steve Roth, president of the Wycliffe Photography Club in Wellington, demonstrated how he makes travel photo books at a recent Delray Camera Club meeting.

Roth, an architect, avid traveler and photographer, has designed numerous buildings in Florida and visited and photographed every continent except Antarctica.

“I have published travel photo books on New York City, Maine, Europe, Africa and many other countries,” he said. “My wife, Sonni, is a travel agent and we do lots of cruises, four last year. … I love taking travel pictures with my Canon 60D and Tamron 18-270 lenses. It’s not uncommon for me to take 2,000 or more photos per trip. The question was what to do with all my photos. I used to do slide shows; now I make books.”

Roth said he uses the Blurb site to make the photo books.

“[I’ve] made 12 photo books using their highly intuitive free software that allows flexibility,” he said. “I like the quality of their books and their reasonable prices.”

Roth described the nine-step process he uses to prepare the book’s content.

Among them is to “select and enhance the photos you want to include in your book. I put all photos I want to use in one or several new folders,” he said.

He also discussed selecting the book design, including how much text you want and where you want to put it.

“This is the creative part of book making,” he said. “I like to do a title page and description for each port visited.”

When placing photos and text into the book, Roth said he starts with the front and back cover photos and the book title.

“I next prepare the typical title pages for each port,” he said. “Since I have more photos than pages and I want to end up with a 160-page book, I prepare a guide for the approximate number of pages I want to include in each port to keep the total number of pages at 160.”

Don MacKenzie, president of the Delray Camera Club, said the presentation “was complete and informative. We always enjoy learning various methods of how to display our photographs.”

“Fascinating program,” said Paul Tocker, of Delray Beach. “I learned about photo books, where amateur photographers keep their photos for the pleasure of themselves and family with no commercial exploitation.”

The club meets at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, October to May, at the South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road in Delray Beach.

For more information, visit Delraycameraclub.wordpress.com.

Python Challenge 2013: Hunting snakes in the Everglades

Python Challenge 2013: Hunting snakes in the Everglades


Brains versus brawn would bag a python, Chris Harmon was convinced.

But after three weekends of peering at the Everglades through an infrared camera that registers animals’ body temperatures, the Boca Raton information tech specialist hasn’t spied a python. However, the gadget makes a handy gator locator.

“We saw all these huge bodies under the water and said, ‘OK, we’re not going there.’”

Hunting pythons, as nearly 1,500 hopeful hunters registered in Florida’s “Python Challenge 2013″ have discovered, is a “Where’s Elmo” game of finding a nearly invisible snake that could be right under your nose — or foot.

— Read the complete story by Palm Beach Post writer Barbara Marshall below the photo gallery
— Photography by Palm Beach Post photographer Greg Lovett

TIP: You can use your keyboard’s left and right arrow keys to navigate through the gallery

Brains versus brawn would bag a python, Chris Harmon was convinced.

But after three weekends of peering at the Everglades through an infrared camera that registers animals’ body temperatures, the Boca Raton information tech specialist hasn’t spied a python. However, the gadget makes a handy gator locator.

“We saw all these huge bodies under the water and said, ‘OK, we’re not going there.’”

Adam Gearhart of West Palm Beach figured hunting snakes while growing up in Indiana would give him an edge.

“Pythons are like garter snakes, right?” joked Gearhart.

He, too, came up snake eyes, after two long days of hiking deep into the Everglades with three friends.

Hunting pythons, as nearly 1,500 hopeful hunters registered in Florida’s “Python Challenge 2013″ have discovered, is a “Where’s Elmo” game of finding a nearly invisible snake that could be right under your nose — or foot.

Concerned about the snakes’ rapid spread through the Everglades, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) organized the four-week Challenge, which ends February 10. Those who bag the most snakes get $1,500; the biggest snake nets $1,000.

Almost anyone willing to tramp through razor-edged saw grass and endure boot-sucking muck can hunt this slithering form of bio-pollution that may be growing up to 20 feet long on Florida’s wild lands. Worried wildlife officials say the invasive snakes may be pushing native mammals to the edge of extinction in the southern Everglades.

But one thing is clear halfway into the hunt: The snakes are fairly easy to catch but confoundedly difficult to find.


Why are they so hard to track down? A python’s brown and black coloration blends seamlessly into the Everglades’ winter mantle of dry grasses.

Even long-time Gladesmen like Weston’s “Alligator Ron” Bergeron, can’t always spot them.

“I’ve actually stepped on them without knowing it,” said Bergeron, an FWC commissioner, after docking his custom airboat at a Tamiami Trail canal.

Bergeron has been pressing home the python problem by taking elected officials hunting on the tree islands dotting the ‘Glades golden saw grass prairies. Although Sen. Bill Nelson came up empty-handed on a recent safari with Bergeron, professional snake hunter “Python Dave” Leibman helped a Miami-Dade county commissioner catch a 9-foot python.

Leibman held the snake’s head while a Telemundo reporter wore the still-live snake during a stand-up.
Bill Booth found his first python by listening.

“I’ve never heard a sound like that,” said Booth, a Myakka City firefighter and lifelong outdoorsman. He and his hunting partners had motored their boat deep into the saw grass, then scrambled up a levee to look around. “It was a slow rustling of something big in the grass, not fast like a gator or a mammal.”

After some bare-handed snake wrestling and momentary panic — where the heck is the shotgun? — the snake in the grass became a live snake in a bag.

It was as big around as the fire hoses Booth uses on the job.

“They’re beautiful animals, but they don’t belong here,” said Booth, admiring the snake’s satin-smooth scales a few hours later at the drop-off site where hunters bring the day’s catch. “I feel like we’re helping save the Everglades.”

The snake was so big that University of Florida technicians had to stretch it out on the gravel road. It wouldn’t fit inside their tent.

One of the state’s partners in the Challenge, UF is performing the necropsies that yield crucial information for scientists. Stomach contents will reveal what the snakes are eating; DNA analysis might be able to link the snakes to a particular ancestor, the Patient Zero of pythons, likely a released former pet.

Booth’s python was longer than the technicians’ 10-foot tape measure. After a second tape measure was located, Booth heard the verdict: he’d snagged an 11-foot, 6-inch monster snake.

Fist bumps all around.


A big, no-nonsense guy who considers himself a conservationist as well as a hunter, Booth took a leave of absence from his job to hunt snakes through the vast gold and green landscape of the southern Everglades. He’s sleeping in a small tent at a campground where a sign warns the area is panther country.

“Make yourself large.” “Maintain eye contact with the panther,” the sign instructs.

Making eye contact with a python requires a large outlay of time, patience and gas money.

According to his GPS coordinates, Booth covered 540 miles the first week, by boat, truck and on foot. In two weeks, he spent $800 in fuel.

Winning would not only defray costs, but the awards ceremony on Feb. 16 would make a fine 48th birthday present, and perhaps fulfill a dream.

Booth, who also is an award-winning taxidermist, hopes to have his own hunting show. The publicity from winning might capture the attention of an outdoors network.

To that end, his partners, Dusty Crum and Duane Clark, also from Myakka City, document Booth’s snake-snagging abilities on video, hoping to edit it into the pilot of a TV show. At the same time, a National Geographic crew has been following Booth while taping their own documentary, making a meta moment in the swamps.

Booth would rather turn the snakes in alive, but the Challenge’s rules stipulate pythons must be killed in the field, from a gunshot to the brain (Booth’s choice); a blast from a captive bolt (the weapon Javier Bardem’s psychotic killer used in “No Country for Old Men”) or decapitation.

A frustrating week goes by with only one more snake caught. Then, pay day.

Booth and his crew are now bumping down a saw grass-fringed levee in Booth’s camouflage-painted truck when they spot what every python hunter would trade his snake chaps for: two snakes sunning side-by-side in a clump of dry brush.

Leaping from the truck, Booth and his crew grab the snakes’ tails while trying to avoid the snapping, darting mouths lined with four ferocious rows of backward-curved teeth.

After gripping the captured snakes carefully behind the head, the men wind them into an Army-green duffel bag, then place the bag behind the driver’s seat before nonchalantly continuing their search.
“Snakes on a truck,” someone jokes.


To try to contain the snakes’ relentless spread through southern Florida’s wild lands, the FWC decided an open-invitation “incentive hunt” with cash prizes of up to $1,500 would drum up interest in hunting them.

They didn’t expect “Pythonathon 2013.”

The combination of Florida’s mysterious Everglades infested with huge exotic snakes chased by a gun-wielding, camo-clad crowd of hunters proved irresistible to sportsmen and media alike. On opening day Jan. 12, hunters bristling with guns, snake sticks and bravado set off into the Everglades, followed closely by a media herd brandishing cameras, boom mics and tripods.

With a purported tens of thousands of slithering targets, everyone anticipated easy pickings, as if grabbing a snake with the girth of a sewer line can ever be easy.

Yet, more than halfway through the monthlong hunt, almost all of the hunters have come up snake-less.

According to the FWC, which organized the hunt, 37 snakes were turned in by Tuesday, an average of about two snakes a day (0r .02 snakes per hunter.) Friday’s count was released too late for publication.

“Based on the hype, I thought I’d have 30 or 35 snakes the first day. Instead, I’ll be lucky to get that many the entire hunt,” said Booth.
By the middle of last week, Booth only had five snakes, likely enough to put him in the money for the contest.

How many pythons are spread over 1.3 million acres of Everglades? No one really knows.

“A lot,” said UF wildlife biologist Frank Mazzotti, one of the architects of the python hunt. “Honestly, any number you give after that is going to be wrong.”

Scientists do know the first python was caught in the Everglades in 1979, but few were reported until the 21st century, when the population seemed to explode.

In the first 11 months of last year, hunters caught 132 snakes. In 2011, they bagged 169 pythons.

The snakes are there, Booth agreed, if you’ve got the time and patience to find them. He estimates each of his catches required about 45 hours of hunting.

For casual hunters, that’s too much peering and poking for too little payoff when there’s a cold beer waiting down the road.

That leaves the Everglades’ new apex predators free to loll around inaccessible canal banks like basking cats.

Sooner or later, a meal will stroll by, since a big snake can dine on almost anything in the swamp: raccoons, opossums, wading birds, alligators, even a panther.

Unless the snakes have already devoured most of their food sources.


Experienced hunters say they’re shocked at the empty stillness of the southern Everglades.

“It’s a wildlife desert,” said Booth. “We’re not seeing many animals of any kind.”

Between 2003 and 2011, a survey reported that rabbits and foxes in the area have vanished.

Raccoon sightings declined 99 percent, opossums 98 percent and bobcats 88 percent, according to the study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Two years ago, water district workers killed a 16-foot python containing an undigested 76-pound deer.

It’s a crime, agreed Mazzotti, but we don’t yet know who or what is guilty.

“Pythons certainly have motive, means and opportunity, so you can indict them, but indictments don’t always mean a conviction,” said Mazzotti, who said man-made changes in water movement and pollutionalso might be culpable.

For now, hunting seems the best option to keep the lid on python proliferation, hence the creation of the Python Challenge.

“For every python removed, another wading bird will survive to next year,” said Mazzotti. “It’s like getting a criminal off the streets.”

Today, Sheriff Bill Booth is somewhere out there in the saw grass, trying to make the the ‘Glades safe for Florida’s critters.

“I still want to catch a super snake — one more than 14 feet long,” he said. “Imagine what that’s been eating.”



Florida’s Python Challenge 2013 has two categories: one for the general public and one for hunters with special python permits. Top prizes in both are $1,500 for the most snakes caught and $1,000 for the biggest snakes. A $750 second prize was added last week in all categories.

The Challenge ends Feb. 10, with prizes to be awarded Feb. 16 during a ceremony at ZooMiami.

For more information, go here.


During Florida’s first python hunting season in 2010, a wildlife biologist reflects on his experience and personal battle trying to restore the Everglades by eradicating the animals he has dedicated his life to saving.

Watch the video: In pursuit of pythons

County’s Natural Beauty Highlighted in 2013 Calendar

Hillsborough County is inviting residents to keep track of their days while appreciating the county’s precious resources.

The free 2013 Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program calendar is available at various locations.

Photos for the 2013 ELAPP calendar were selected following a photo contest. Amateur and professional photographers of all ages were invited to submit photos portraying the natural beauty of the county’s 60 ELAPP sites.

The 187 submitted photos were posted on the county’s Facebook page and residents had an opportunity to vote for their favorite photos.

The top 34 vote-getters were then reviewed by a panel of judges who made the final selection for the calendar.

A bobcat photo by George L. Veazey III of Temple Terrace received the most public votes overall, and it is featured, along with 25 more photos, in the calendar.

Veazey actually has eight photos in the calendar — the cover photo and the months of February, April, May, July, September, November, December and the cover photo. For having the photo with the most votes, Veazey will receive a private canoe tour of Cockroach Bay Preserve.

A lifelong Hillsborough County resident, Veazey worked for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for 35 years, retiring in 2006. He said he fell in love with photography while he was a student at the University of South Florida, working on the yearbook staff.

After retiring from the sheriff’s office, he pursued his photography in earnest, focusing on the county’s native wildlife and natural resources.

His works are currently on display at The Art Lounge Gallery, 119 E. Reynolds St., Plant City.

Other winning photos were taken by Donna Bollenbach of Valrico, featured in January; Robert Heath of Riverview, featured in March and June; Mariella Smith of Ruskin, featured in August; and Herman Cook of Valrico, featured in October. These winners will receive a Tampa Bay pontoon boat tour.

To get a free copy of the 2013 ELAPP calendar, visit:

Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department

  • Administration, 10119 Windhorst Rd. in Tampa
  • Bell Creek Office, 10940 McMullen Rd. in Riverview
  • Cockroach Bay Preserve Office, 3709 Gulf City Rd. in Ruskin
  • Lake Frances Preserve Office, 10225 Woodstock Rd. in Odessa

Hillsborough County Center

  • Communications Digital Media Services Department, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd. 1st Floor, in Tampa


Public Utilities Department Customer Service Centers

  • Northwest, 15610 Premiere Dr. (off Northdale Boulevard, one block west of Dale Mabry Highway)
  • South – Central – Brandon Support Operations Complex, 332 N. Falkenburg Rd.

For more information, contact Conservation Services at 813-672-7876.

Note: Conservation Services contacted Patch to let us know the calendars are no longer available at local libraries. All were given out within a couple of days.

Wildlife Photographer Clyde Butcher Open House

Wildlife Photographer Butcher Open House

Famed Everglades Photographer Invites Public To Gallery Clyde Butcher and his wife Niki will open their photographic gallery to the public for the 20th anniversary celebration of Butcher’s Big Cypress Gallery in the Florida Everglades. 

During the three-day weekend event, guests are invited to meet the photographer, take guided swamp tours, and learn about Butcher’s 20 years of displaying unique black and white photography at the gallery.

Butcher will be in the gallery all three days to greet guests and autograph books from 10am – 5pm. The event will feature family friendly activities throughout the weekend including speakers throughout the day: Rangers from the Big Cypress National Preserve, Friends of Big Cypress, Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge and more. 

For a fee there will also be guided wet swamp walks where visitors can explore the beautiful nature preserve right in the backyard of the gallery while free guided dry walks will leave every half hour with no reservation required.

Recent projects include work for Florida’s “Save Our Rivers” program, the South Florida Water Management District, the D.E.P., Divisions of State Lands, the Bureau of Submerged Lands and Preserves, Everglades National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, River Keepers, and the Wilderness Society. 

The Sierra Club has given him the Ansel Adams Conservation Award, which is given to a photographer who shows excellence in photography and has contributed to the public awareness of the environment.

The Big Cypress Gallery is located on thirteen acres in the center of the Everglades, mid-way between Naples and Miami on Tamiami Trail (Hwy. 41), in the Big Cypress National Preserve. The gallery is surrounded by more than a million acres of National Park wetlands and cypress strands of wild Florida.