Kayaking the Mangrove Tunnels at Lido Key

20180609_132404

(above: A Kayak group outing at Lido Key)

When thinking about packing for the beach don’t forget the Kayak.

Yes, it may seem a little out of the norm to pack a kayak for a beach visit, but when you visit Lido Key Beach just west of Sarasota you certainly have that option.

lidokeymap

What are Mangrove Tunnels?  Found in Florida only “Mangrove Tunnels” are small waterways under a canopy of mangrove trees that create a tunnel effect.  Mangroves serve as nurseries for fish, oysters, crab and shrimp. Snook, mangrove snapper, tarpon, jack, mullet, sheepshead and a large variety of other Florida fish feed on this tropical plant. Its branches and boughs become nesting rookeries for many species of birds and its root system helps prevent erosion and help stabilize the shoreline.

20180609_125724

Many of the tunnels were originally ditches dug years ago for mosquito control. The strategy did not work, and the ditches left behind eventually canopied over to become a mangrove arbor. Other mangrove tunnels have formed naturally where tidal waters ebb and flow. Mangrove tunnels are often maintained by parks, conservationists and eco-tour outfitters to give paddlers a unique and enjoyable eco-adventure on the water.

Three mangrove species are found in Florida: the red, black and white mangrove. The red mangrove is the best known, found closest to the water and distinguished by its prop root system. The black mangrove has finger-like projections that are found in shallower water while the white mangrove usually grow upland of the other species and have yellowish green leaves with no visible aerial root systems. Mangroves grow in tidal salty environments and are able to obtain fresh water from salt water.

20180609_125835

One of the things I liked most about kayaking the mangroves was the shade of the tunnel trails. They provided a pleasant way to enjoy another outdoor activity while providing some relief of the extreme summer heat.

While on a kayak excursion it’s very likely you will see some of the local marine mammals. Dolphins, manatees, and an assortment of waterfowl are ever present and feed in most of the Florida waterways.

On our visit, we had a Cormorant (diving duck) tag along with us. He would dive directly under our kayaks as we paddled and hunted for food. Our paddles stirred the water and the Cormorant had learned to feed on what we apparently disturbed with our paddles. When we stopped paddling he would pop up and wait for us to paddle again. It was kind of cool to watch him.

20180609_131949

Things you will need for a Kayak Trip.

  1. A Kayak of course.

  2. A hat is recommended

  3. A waterproof bag.

( I had one but had taken my phone out and leaned over to far and tipped my kayak over dropping my cell phone into about 2 feet of water. I finally fished it out and got it working again after letting it dry over several days packed in dry rice. If you do tip over most of water in the area is less than two feet deep.

  1. A life vest and a whistle. (It’s a coast guard regulation)

  2. A couple of bottles of water and maybe a protein bar.

  3. You may also want to grab a seat cushion since you will be sitting while you paddle.

Another piece of advice is to check the tide range. During low tide, there’s that lingering aroma of sulfur gases being released from the ground including hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs or sewage, and dimethyl sulfide (DMS), which smells like rotting shellfish. If you choose to go during high tide the aroma is almost nonexistent because those areas are covered with sea water.

And if you don’t own a Kayak, you can always rent one from one of the several vendors on site for about $ 35. For a half day. It’s recommended that you call ahead to make sure you have one when you get there to avoid waiting on one to return.

Kayaking is a great family or group activity and a fun way to enjoy the water. Plus, the added benefit of a little exercise. So, put down those cell phones and get the family together and get out and enjoy some real healthy family fun.

20180609_132303
Photo credit:  Debbie Burns

Contributed by: Martin J. Allred Editor/Photographer

www.Floridaography.com  www.nationwidephotographers.com

20180609_131809

A special “Thanks”  to a very special lady, “Debra” for providing the Kayaks and hosting our trip. It was another memorable Florida experience.

Posted in Dining, Just for Fun, Worthy Destinations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Drone Market Showing Rapid Growth

DJI-Mavic-Pro-Collapsible-Quadcopter-Osmo-Mobile-Combo-Includes-FlexiMic-SanDisk-32GB-MicroSD-Card-and-more-0-3.jpg

Industry Trends

Commercial Drone Market size in 2016 was over 100 thousand units with a market value of more than USD 2 billion, and is anticipated to grow at around 25% CAGR over the forecast timespan 2017-2024

Aerial photography is one of the most common application areas. The growth of the commercial UAV market is attributed to the increasing adoption in the media and entertainment industry for photography and filming. They are highly useful in reporting events for capturing footage for news and broadcast. For instance, BBC is using drones for capturing footage in sports competitions and has its own in-house drone team. Furthermore, the growing applicability in wildlife photography is also augmenting the demand of the UAVs for aerial photography applications.

Inspection and monitoring applications are estimated to gain substantial growth during the forecast period. UAVs have been used in the management of various kind of infrastructure. Several industry verticals such as energy & utility, railways, roads can benefit from the technology for asset monitoring and inventory management. Their ability to perform hazardous work and acquire various data sets with accuracy and cost-effectively is one of the major factors driving the demand of UAVs for inspection and monitoring purposes. Furthermore, real-time data provided by these devices is also one of the major factor augmenting the demand in inspection and monitoring applications.

Earlier this month China (EHang Egret UAV Firm) set the world record for most drones flown simultaneously in a 13-minute flight that involved 1,374 drones spread over 3,280 feet. The previous record was from US technology firm Intel, which flew 1,218 drones in formation during the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.

Watch the video shot earlier this month showing the drone project which produced a fantastic aerial light show. Click Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ac_RjtF7-Y

I foresee Hollywood and other movie production companies continue to hop aboard the drone train to create the special effects in their productions. Many have already utilized the drone technology.

The commercial drone market is set to experience substantial growth due to the increasing range of civil applications. Since the development of commercial UAVs, they have been used for video and photography. However, from past two years, their capabilities have been leveraged by different industry sectors, such as agriculture, real estate, architecture & construction, delivery and media. They have been widely used in civil applications such as smart agriculture practices through mapping and studying of crop data in agriculture, utilization of footage and images of a site to make 3D rendering of structures, in real estate market for package delivery to customers from retail stores, and media coverage by journalists to capture important news with closer aerial shots.

However, stringent government regulations on the use of commercial use of drones and security and privacy issues are hindering the growth of the market. Civil drones which are used for non-military purposes brings vulnerability to cyber-attack and misuse by criminals. It utilizes the unencrypted data links for control, navigation and command. Due to this, hackers have attempted to intercept, jam and manipulate drone controls for exploitation.

Top 10 Drones for Sale from Amazon

  1. DJI Mavic Pro
  2. Cheerwing Syma X5SW-V3 FPV Explorers2
  3. DJI Phantom 3
  4. Holy Stone HS170 Predator Mini RC Helicopter Drone
  5. Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon
  6. Force1 U45W Blue Jay
  7. DJI Phantom 4
  8. DBPOWER MJX X400W
  9. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Drone
  10. Eachine Racer 250 FPV

Contributed by:

Martin Allred,   Photographer/Editor www.Floridaography.com

www.NationwidePhotographers.com

Posted in Dining, Home, Photography Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s in the Pro’s Bag?

ProRoller.jpg

As a pro still photographer specializing in commercial imaging, I’m witnessing a growing number of requests for hi-res video (4K) to accompany still photography imaging on many of our work assignments.  Fueled by the Internet, both mediums are now heavily utilized for commercial ads and reader content on the web.  We know going forward that the Internet will pound away and continue to gain more market share of the paper media organizations. According to the Pew Research Center,  “In the U.S., roughly nine-in-ten adults (93%) get news online (either via mobile or desktop), and the online space has become a host for the digital homes of both legacy news outlets and new, “born on the web” news outlets. Digital advertising revenue across all digital entities (beyond just news) continues to grow, with technology companies playing a large role in the flow of both news and revenue. Just ask yourself, “Do you still subscribe to the morning paper or do you read printed news from your desktop or handheld device?

During the life of our careers still photography professionals have made a decent living working for the printed media establishments. We are now witnessing the end of that long era of printed media revenue. Perfect example, just this morning I read  (online) about our local newspaper the “Tampa Bay Times” slashing 50 more jobs due to new tariffs that will cause the newsprint to skyrocket in costs.

11111.jpg

Communication Technology has advanced and changed the way we get information. Our clients deliver instant news now with live web broadcasts,  video ads and written articles to the palm of our hands 24-7.

So what exactly does that mean to a professional still photographer? Or a photographer just starting a career? Many pros see it as the beginning to the end of their career. While this may be true for some printed media staff photographers,  I see it as a positive shift in our industry. Competition and demand will require photographers to be experienced in both formats, which in return will give us better flexibility, more assignment opportunities and a greater selection of experienced photographers. And with all the print media going the way of the Dodo Bird, professionals can help offset the lost revenue with a newer enhanced service making us more diverse photographers, which gives us a better competitive edge in our marketplace.

So, that brings us to the question, “Whats in my Bag?”

20180301_101345

  1. A decent professional camera (My Choice is the Canon 5D Mark IV) that does both stills and 4K video.wireless mic.jpg
  2.  Accessories for video: a wireless mic, and headset for checking the sound qualitycanonspeedlite600 copy.jpg
  3. Lighting: Pair of Canon 600EX-RT Speedlights for stills.  A 600LCD light panel for shooting Video70-200-ava.jpg16-35.jpg
  4. Canon L Glass. If you want good images you need more than jus a good camera. You need sharp optics. Wide: 16-35. 2.8 L lens, Medium 24-70, 2.8  L lens, Long: 70-200, 2.8 L lens.
  5. roguebounce.jpg
  6. Flash Head Bounce reflector and color correction filters

Contributed by: Martin J. Allred    Editor/Photographer  http://www.floridaography.com

http://www.nationwidephotographers.com

 

Posted in Dining, Essential Travel Devices, Photography Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rank #1 Tour in St. Pete by Tripadvisor Duncan McClellan Glass Art Gallery

20180331_133211.jpgOne of the many things I like about living in Tampa, FL is the array of art and cultural activities available in the area. With that said, this past weekend with a couple of friends I got the chance to visit an iconic local art venue, the Duncan McClellan Gallery, located in St. Petersburg.

Duncan McClellan is a “World-Renowned Glass Art Master”, and as one would expect, his labor of love for the glass art craft can be found throughout his Gallery.

Shortly after my arrival, I met the Gallery’s art director Mary Childs, she was unpacking a beautiful glass vase shipment that had just arrived. Mary gave me a quick synopsis of

“The Duncan McClellan Gallery is so much more than a Glass Art Gallery”

the gallery and quickly schooled me on how the artists get the brilliant colors working with glass. And since we were talking glass art, I can truly say I was blown away by the art on display. The Gallery features some of the most fascinating glass art from over 50 internationally acclaimed artists and over 90 total artists.

20180331_124502

(Gallery Director, Mary Childs explains how rare the color process on a work of art is used in the USA)

The Duncan McClellan Gallery is so much more than a Glass Art Gallery,  it’s a treasured work of art in itself. Duncan McClellan transformed a former 13,000sf fish and tomato packing facility into a multi-functional art education center all while creating the largest Glass Art Gallery in Florida.  The Gallery offers art education classes on a regular basis, which are taught by Master Artist Instructors on the different forms and technics of their respective art. The Gallery also has a mentor program in place that teaches the medium of Glass Art, the DMG School Project “Get Fired Up! ”

The Gallery extends outdoors with an open covered patio filled with both glass and non-glass sculptures. It would be the perfect venue for hosting an upscale catered or wine/art event. Upon our visit, we were lucky enough to meet the Duncan McClellan in the flesh, who was actually working on orchid grafting in the Sculpture Garden area, just off the gallery’s patio.

20180331_125844

20180331_125325

(Pictured Left: Local Artist and Musician Jodi Weiss, Artist Duncan McClellan and Janice Bornstein Telstar, a visitor and good friend with the Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.)

The Gallery also features a “Hot-Shop” for artists with a dedicated area for art lovers and visitors to view the artists as they create new works of art. I found this area of the Gallery very intriguing and loved watching the technics of the artist at work. I took a couple videos click here to see the action.  Video of Hot Shop in Action    Working the Kiln

20180331_130911

20180331_130718

The atmosphere at the venue was very low key, friendly and inviting. I loved this Gallery and I can’t wait to visit it again soon. I would highly recommend a visit!  It’s located just a short distance west of Tropicana Field (a few blocks west of (I-275) in the St. Pete Warehouse Art District at 2342 Emerson Avenue South, St. Peterburg, FL  for more info you can visit their website,  www. dmglass.com

Tripadvisor link;  Rank # 1 of 83 tours in St. Petersburg.

Contributed by: Martin J. Allred, Editor/Photographer

www.Floridaography.com

www.nationwidephotographers.com

 

 

Posted in Worthy Destinations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Old Public Heights is New Hot Spot for Tampa’s Riverwalk

20180302_115744Tampa’s Riverwalk is buzzing with the latest opening of the Armature Works, Heights Public Market. Located just a few steps north of the popular Ulele’ Restaurant on Tampa’s North Riverwalk. The place packs an entertainment punch with several new trendy and innovative open floor plan restaurants. The concept follows the latest architectural trends happening in other U.S. Cities. Local developers retrofit older abandon buildings and warehouses into new trendy urban hang-outs.

20180302_115616

The 22,000 sq-ft industrial market features many boutique style restaurants and bars with open seating showcasing local chefs and restaurateurs in the Tampa Area. Heights Public Market also includes a “Show + Tell” workshop that hosts an array of events such as cooking classes, wine tastings and pop-up dinners.

20180302_115700 copy

The building dates back to 1910 and was originally the Armature Works maintenance facility for Tampa Electric’s (TECO) streetcars.

image001.jpg

image003.jpgThis urban and trendy addition to Tampa’s Riverwalk is the brainchild of Developers Chas Bruck and Adam Harden of SoHo Capital, who envisioned a modernized neighborhood hangout for Tampa’s waterfront community and a national destination aimed to attract visitors from near and far. Over time, each piece of the 50-acre riverfront property was acquired with plans to create the Heights. The Heights will offer entertainment, workspace and shops, as well as a residential community. Whether you travel by land, bike or sea, the family-friendly district will connect the growing neighborhoods north of downtown to the Heights through the Riverwalk.

At the epicenter of The Heights is Armature Works, a 73,000 square foot mixed-use commercial space consisting of the Heights Public Market, multiple event spaces, a co-shared workspace as well as multiple restaurants and bars.

20180302_120047

SoHo is recycling as many original materials as possible. Everything from refinishing the original steps leading up to the second-floor event space called the Theatre, to reusing the old roof that’s been milled down as hardwood flooring throughout. The inside of Armature Works features original exposed brick walls, skylights, windows and doors.

The official opening is scheduled in the coming weeks. I think you will hear more about the development as the renovations are completed.

See soft opening media video from local Fox 13 News: http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/new-venue-opens-in-old-armature-works-building

 

Contributed by Martin Allred, editor   www.Floridaography.com

http://www.nationwidephotographers.com

Posted in Dining | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cleaning Camera’s Sensor on Location

20180301_101345

Dust Spots….Yikes!   Our digital cameras seem like dust magnets.  Dust spots on your images can be very frustrating and time-consuming to remove. Imagine how you would feel if you shot several hundred images while on assignment. URGH!

One could spend several hours trying to clean dust from images during the post-process. Who wants to do that?? Keeping the lens and camera covers on at all times will help keep dust off the sensors. Also, change your camera lens indoors if possible, especially on those windy days.

Most of the professional cameras have internal sensor cleaners. So, if you’re working on location and you suddenly find a dust spot on your sensor, don’t despair. Although you may not be able to physically clean the sensor, you can still use the in-camera sensor cleaning – don’t just turn the camera off and back on again though – use the Clean Now setting to force a deeper sensor clean. Make sure the camera is pointing forwards (not down) and do this process a couple of times. In most instances this will clear any dust spots.

Contributed by: Martin J. Allred   (editor) http://www.Floridaography.com

http://www.nationwidephotographers.com

Source Canon CPS

Posted in Photography Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make Your Sunset Photos Pop!

sarasota sunset1

Many people ask me if I PhotoShop my images prior to posting to the web. Truth be told,  every single digital image needs a little tweaking.  Fact: Nearly every image used in commercial advertising  (billboards, newspapers, magazines, etc)  has been Photoshopped in some matter prior to being printed.

I shoot a lot of photos. While on assignments I can easily shoot over 8K in photos in a single week.  Although most of them are editorial photos and usually just a few are needed by the clients. I also shoot a lot of personal photos. I like to bracket exposures and shutter speeds, adjust lighting and shoot several shots of the subjects if time allows. This system makes the final editing easier and gives the client more choices since a good photo will help make their written articles standout.

NO ONE  wants to waste the time editing every single image photographers create, especially the photographer. If the photographer brackets his shots it’s easier to pick a decent exposure to work with in post edit. Getting the composition and exposure close will also pay dividends in time saved during post edit.

So what makes an image pop?  Composition, Lighting, Color, Exposure and Subject of course. The first three can be controlled in post-processing. Although, one can control exposure in post try to get the exposure close from the start.  After a decent exposure,  I crop the image and add a little color saturation at times and “whoa” that’s it! The whole process only takes about a minute or two.

Let’s talk about composition for a bit. Framing your photo in the camera viewfinder is most important if you want a great or compelling image. Try applying the basic composition rules like the “rule-of-thirds”. Turn your camera verticle or horizontal and pretend you see that tic-tac-toe graph. Also, try to get some low or compelling angles. Whatever you do, DON’T put the horizon in the middle of the photo. Yikes!!

If you notice the sky is more dramatic, try to include more of it. Including a live subject, building structure or animal to your photos will also help make many photos work. If you look at the sunset I shot at Bradenton Beach above you will notice the sky with the whispery clouds swirling around and the birds running at the base. I shot a very low angle with the camera just inches from the sand. I wanted to include some of the shine on the sand because it was reflecting a very dramatic sky which added another element of lighting which silhouetted the birds. During post I barely saturated the color and cropped the image a little and that was it.

The photo below was shot along the Gold Coast of Brasilito, Costa Rica. It was an amazing sunset and the color was right on. Again, just a tad of saturation. The young surfers in silhouettes added the human element and scale. Many may say the image is a bit over saturated. However, you as the creator of the image can adjust lighting and colors to get your desired effect. At times we can adjust colors to match a decor in place in our homes or offices.

IMG_5230 copy

The image below is the same beach scene as above, but shot several minutes later. The lighting became so much more saturated as the sun started to set low in the sky and exhibited some astonishing brilliant colors, so I was compelled to shoot a series of photos which all turned out incredibly amazing.

17884617_1686104488072199_8671869227890460347_n

The image below was right outside my hotel in Brasilito, C.R., . The lighting was right on with little photoshop. I had just arrived and hurried to get the shot. The moss hanging from the tree and the people added some extra elements.

IMG_4890 copy

Below: Playa Hermosa Bch, just south of Jaco, Costa Rica.

playahermosabeach, C.R

Below: Clearwater Bch, Florida

clearwaterpier60ab

Exhibiting your Masterpiece: Try adding a border around your finished images. It completes the photo for publishing. If you want to hang your images you may want to skip the traditional frame and matting with glass.  Opt instead for a gallery wrap, metal or acrylic print. I’m loving the metal and acrylics.

Contributed by: Martin J. Allred (editor) http://www.floridaography.com

 

 

 

 

Posted in Dining, Photography Tips | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gasparilla Pirates Set To Invade Tampa

20160130_125415bThis Saturday January 27th, the city of Tampa, Florida will be invaded by thousands of Pirates as part of Gasparilla Fest. Named for the pirate “Jose Gaspar”, who terrorized the coastal waters of West Florida during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Tampa’s annual Gasparilla celebration begins with a flotilla of hundreds of  boats lead by the 165′ pirate ship “Jose Gasparilla” which sails across Tampa Bay in route to the Downtown Tampa Convention Center. Once the ship lands, the pirate captain demands that the mayor hand over the key to the city in a playful ceremony which has had different outcomes in different years.

It’s Like Mardi Gras in New Orleans”

Whether or not the mayor actually “surrenders”, the pirates hold a huge parade through the streets of Tampa as part of their victory celebration.
The festivities continue into the evening at the Gasparilla Pirate Fest Street Festival with live music, food and entertainment. Many related events and parties start the week before the landing and continue until the conclusion of Pirate Fest.

47586468.jpg

Aerial view of the Pirate Ship “Jose Gasparilla” gathering followers and firing Canons as part of the Pirate Invasion of Downtown Tampa.

It’s like Mardi Gras in New Orleans but with a Pirate theme. During the parade, members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and dozens of other krewes throw beads, coins, and various souvenirs to the crowds from mostly pirate-themed floats. Area high schools and universities provide marching bands, cheerleaders, majorettes, and many local businesses and organizations participate by entering elaborate floats and joining the krewes in throwing beads and other trinkets to the crowd much like a Mardi Gras Parade. In the past, many members would fire .38 six-shooters loaded with blanks into the air and toss the empty shells into the crowd. This tradition was restricted in 1992 and ended entirely several years later.  However, trained members still fire loud mini-cannons mounted atop several of their parade floats.

The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is attended by over 300,000 onlookers, many donning period-themed pirate costuming. The parade is considered to be the third largest parade in the United States, following the two that are bigger: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

20160130_141404bThe Gasparilla invasion begins at 11 a.m. Saturday out in the bay and the parade starts at 2 p.m., proceeding along the 4.5-mile route along Bayshore Boulevard from Bay to Bay Boulevard into downtown. The parade, which has been presented by the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla since 1904, has more than 140 units, over 100 floats, marching bands,  and over 50 participating social organizations. The economic impact is estimated at over 25 million dollars to the city of Tampa.

For more info on the parade and street closures click this link.

https://www.tampagov.net/special-events-coordination/gasparilla-parades-information

Contributed by: Martin J. Allred

http://www.Floridaography.com

 

Posted in Dining, Home, Just for Fun, Worthy Destinations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cooler Beaches better for Sea Turtles Survival …

turtle hatchlingNearly 90% of sea turtle nesting in the U.S. occurs in Florida. The nesting season runs from May through October where most of the turtles return to their home beaches to lay eggs. Although, some species will come ashore as early as March.

Turtles deposit approximately 100 golf-ball size eggs, and gently cover the eggs with sand and then they spread sand over a wide area to obscure the exact location of the chamber. They then leave the nest site and re-enter the water never to attend to their hatchlings again.

The remaining article below is a reblog from my Daily Curio.

Climate change is having an unintended consequence affecting the gender of sea turtles. Sadly, this phenomenon could affect the future survival of the species. In a recent study from Current Biology, scientists found that in major breeding areas along The Great Barrier Reef, warming sands are causing over 99% of green sea turtles to be born female. A sea turtle’s gender is determined by the temperature of the sand where the egg incubates. At around 85º F, a clutch of turtles will be about 50/50 male and female. But if it’s slightly cooler, they skew male; slightly warmer and they skew female. The Current Biology study looked at a population of 200,000 turtles in the nesting area of Raine Island in northern Australia. They discovered that 99.1% of juveniles, 99.8% of subadults, and 86.8% of the entire population were female. Populations in southern Australia fared better, since beaches there are cooler, with 65% to 69% females. When the biologists combined their results with temperature data in the area, they concluded that these green turtle rookeries have likely been producing predominantly female populations for two decades. Since the animals don’t reach breeding age until 25 or 30, it means disaster could be right around the corner. What’s more, scientists have long looked at sea turtle populations to predict trouble for other heartier species. Sometimes called the “lawn mowers of the ocean,” sea turtles maintain coral reefs and transport their nutrients for other marine animals. Not all the news about turtles is grim. A study from last year showed many of the planet’s seven species of sea turtle are increasing in population. But where those populations will thrive is another question.

More info related visit:  Sea Turtle Conservancy, a non-profit group based in Gainsville, Florida.  https://conserveturtles.org/information-sea-turtles-threats-climate-change/

Contributed by: Martin J. Allred

http://www.Floridaography.com

Posted in Dining, Just for Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Stolen

images-2 copy copy copyJust recently I watched a news video on TV showing a person stealing a Christmas Tree,  if that doesn’t score an all-time low for the season,  gangs are targeting bus riders and drivers for their Christmas bonuses in Central American.  The Toys for Tots and Salvation Army collection bins are being robbed. We read about homes and cars being burglarized and the contents many being Christmas gifts are being stolen. The holiday crime stats show criminals are robbing and stealing more than ever.  Many of the culprits feel so pressured to provide gifts for their loved ones that they resort to theft.

I wonder what would happen if we stopped giving each other gifts for Christmas? Would this help prevent attacks on innocent people and theft during the Christmas holiday?

The over-commercialization of Christmas on television, print, and the Internet help fuel the criminal activity because many people,  especially children are so excited about receiving gifts.  Advertisements run day and night about many new products and create these desires.  Family and friends have grown accustomed to informing each other on which gift they expect for Christmas.

I was out shopping the other day and noticed a Christmas Tree dress on a mannequin. Although, I think it was just a display decoration for the holiday, because if it wasn’t who would wear such a thing?  It did reinforce my thoughts about how far our society has shifted and commercialized Christmas. Think for a moment, we buy a tree, all the decorations, ornaments, lights, stand, etc., then spend hundreds of dollars on gifts to pile under the tree. People overspend and many create debt on their credit cards that take months to pay-off.  Retailers spend millions on decorations, ads, and inventory for the holiday.

However, the holiday does provide some positive outcomes for many people and a great deal make a living on holiday retail sales.  As a matter of fact, some retailers only exist due to the holiday sales and jump-start their marketing campaigns early and skip right over the Thanksgiving holiday altogether to cash in early.  If that seems a little overzealous, you can actually find the popular after Thanksgiving shopping day Black Friday running multiple days. Just look at the recent sales posted by the online shopping giant Amazon last month. Early Monday after Thanksgiving, Jeff Bezos Amazon Founder and CEO was worth $99.6 billion, according to Forbes. By the opening bell, Bezos surpassed the $100 billion mark making him the richest man in the world, and Bezos made almost $2.4 billion on Black Friday alone. That’s Billion with a B! 2,400 million in one day. Wow!  I don’t think anyone has ever done that.  Makes one think about what will be spent on Christmas.

25299553_10156023209951079_3940630718183927920_n

The Christmas gift of giving for many has been lost, stolen and overly commercialized along with the true meaning of Christmas.

As a society, we have created this monster holiday that manifests itself and feeds it’s growing appetite on the back of a lost Holy Day.

What if we just totally stopped giving each other expensive Christmas gifts altogether and started helping our fellow neighbor in kind acts?  We could spend a little time volunteering at local food shelter or church,  deliver food to the needy and elderly,  help with needed home repairs or purchase school supplies for unfortunate people.  We could lend a hand to a non-profit charity. Isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas? It would most certainly help stop the theft and focus more attention and help provide remedies to the neglected people in dire need. But I think most of all, it would be teaching our children good morals, which in return would be teaching our society to give rather than to take. I don’t know about you, but for me personally, I think that would be the best Christmas gift for all.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Contributed by: Martin Allred

A reblog from Martin Allred.

 

Posted in Dining | Leave a comment