Florida

Chillin’ in the Backyard, Miami Style with Jeff Wasielewski

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Banana Bud, Jeff's Home, Miami 2014

 

It has been a minute since I have written on the Lucid Communication blog.  In Fact it has been more than a month.  After spending time in New York, Miami and the Caribbean It is time to start sifting through the 1000 plus images and selecting some stories to tell.

Today’s is about my mate Jeff Wasielewski’s home and luscious Miami garden.  I first met Jeff back in Killian High School spanish class.  We had, without question, the worst spanish teacher on the planet.  All she ever had us do was to copy chapters out of the textbook. On the first day of class the teacher was calling the roll, when she came to the name Dickie Wong.  There was no reply.  Shea paused and gazed over the classroom.  She called it again, a bit louder this time.  Still no response, then out of no where Jeff screams out DICKIE WONG! and all the class bursted out with laughter.  That is how we met.

We lost track of each other as people do, and thanks to the wonders of the world wide web we got back in touch with each other.  Jeff had been working at Farichild Tropical Botanic Garden when we reconnected and we realized that we both have a love for the outdoors and gardening.

This trip back to Miami we wanted to meet up and he invited me over to explore his garden.  It just so happened to be on a beautiful Sunday afternoon that I was able to meet and reason up with Jeff and some of the alumni of the Fat Man Calypso Band.

It was so peaceful walking around his home in Kendall, only a few blocks away from my own childhood home on South West 127 Street.  He had a few variety of mangoes, bananas, mulberry and other tropical delights.

He had constructed, with his own hands, a small pond that included some mosquito eating fish.  He truly had created a home I would have if I were to lay down my roots back in Miami.

All the landscaping used native plants.  They are all drought tolerant, and thrive in the blazing Miami sunshine.  Even his daughter Sammy got in on the gardening action and just the other day dug out some carrots she had planted by her own hand and without her poppa’s help.

It was a sweet afternoon eating some barbecued hamburgers sides with old friends and marveling at what a productive garden in suburbia can be.  I have the utmost respect for Jeff and his daughter for keeping Miami the way it shout be. green, soaking in the sunshine and full of LOVE.
Budding Bud, Jeff's Home, Miami 2014

 

 

Pond with Mosquito Fish, Jeff's Home, Miami 2014

 

 

Miami Backyard Corner, Jeff's Home, Miami 2014

 

 

Jeff Giving the Garden Tour (Hammock Point of View), Jeff's Home, Miami 2014

Butterflies Trees, and Lots and Lots of Sunshine

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Butterfly Mountain, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

 

I have no recollection of the last time I visited Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, but it most be more than 30 years ago .  Its a park that is not very far from where I grew up.  Filled with all kinds of tropical plants spread out on the edge of Old Cutler Highway and Biscayne Bay.  It is where my mother took a portrait of me under a tree when I was about 3 years old.

It was beautiful walking around the park with my niece and my parents; however, I felt disconnected from my memories of the park.  I couldn’t recollect any of the spaces or places.  I don’t know if it was because it had been too long, or if I just have lost those synapses that connect with those specific memories.

At least today I had the chance to create some new memories with my niece as we walked around and took pictures together.  That is a memory to keep.

 
Tree Trunk with the Fallen Flowers, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

 

 

Amphitheater, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Miami the Sun Filled Flat Green Wonder

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Northside, Flea Market USA, Miami

 

I can’t remember the last time I had flown in to Miami with the sun still hanging in the sky.  Today was the exception.  The orange globe was just there above the horizon illuminating the 10,000 islands that run from Florida’s west coast scattered like tossed green pebbles around the bottom tip of Florida.  The sun’s warmth reached me though a slight have of my airplane’s plexiglass window.

 

The open expanse of the Everglades is s sight to see in these ultimate conditions.  Usually looking out the planes window there is just endless darkness, with an occasional light.  Eventually a hard defined edge divides the suburban, which were once wetlands, from the land that still is, the river of grass.

 

The morning blurs in from the night as my body and mind struggle with the heat, the jet lag, and not knowing wether I should be sleeping or eating.  Hoping aboard the Miami Metrorail I was able to sit and just look out over the city as it sprawls into infinity.

 

There is a real greenness to Miami.  It may be an urban concrete jungle but interspersed everywhere is greenery.  There are trees, bushes, bromeliads and all sorts of tropical fauna that is sorely missing from Tokyo.

 

It is one of the parts of Miami’s character that I truly love.  The plant diversity even within the city is just amazing, and the skies stretch into forever.

 

Tampa Friends, Tokyo Tomadachi, Republished Book from 1991

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Christopher Ruff, 1991, Tampa, Florida from the Book Tampa Friends, Tokyo Tomodachi

This the last of my archiving projects for a little while.  It all started with the finding of my color analog prints that I made after hurricane Andrew and published on the 20th anniversary of that terrible storm.  It led me to redux my Broken Windows book.  Now I decided to take a new look at the project that I completed before Broken Window, and was only published as an artist’s proof.  I have decided to call it Tampa Friends, Tokyo Tomodachi (tomodachi means friends).

These images were all taken in 1991 with a Nikon FG mostly with a heavy flash.  I was photographing what was around me, my friends.  I spent so much time with all of them that I wanted to capture those moments.  It was my way or participating in life as both an observer and participant.

The book is split into two halves.  The first half is filled with my Tampa family of Jahn, Christopher, and Elizabeth.  We spent all of our free time together exploring life and the land around Tampa.  The second half of the book comes from two different trips to Tokyo and the time I spent with Tetsuya, Yoshinori, and Masami.  The two halves show a version of my life as it was in 1991.  A time when my friends were my family.

By 1991, I rediscovered my love of photography after having a passion ignited in my soul from cinema.  I wanted to go one step further and enrolled in a photography class.  A whole new world opened up before me.  I learned about photographers I never knew before.  I was eager to discuss the deeper meanings of photography, and that passion that was reignited by my teacher Beth Shields never has diminished.

I wanted to look at these old photographs of mine to see where I have been as an artist.  I wanted to know if the images that I were producing in my youth were still valid to my critical eye 20 years later.  The answer, for the most part, is yes.  It has been a process of learning and self discovery with my camera as my means of expression.

The PDF file can be downloaded here for free. Tampa Friends Tokyo Tomodachi PDF

the book can also be purchased online via Blurb.

 

Lastly I want to give a extra special shout out of love to all those whose images are contained within the book Tampa Friends, Tokyo Tomodachi.  All of you made my time as a young man some of the most interesting and heartfelt years of my life.

20 Years Ago There was Hurricane Named Andrew

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Krome Avenue Post Andrew 1992

20 years ago, Hurricane Andrew was a category 5 storm that hit South East Florida on August 24, 1992.  I was living in Tampa, Florida and only experienced some bad weather, my family and many others suffered through the storm of the century as it was being called.

Countless property was lost and Miami, especially Homestead, Florida was an utterly appalling  disaster area.  Water was scarce, tempers ran high as people struggled to provide the survival necessities.  My family’s home was severely damaged in the storm forcing my family to relocated to North Miami while the repairs were being done on the home.  I still regret for not realizing the extent of emotional and physical damage to my family.  I should have packed up my Bronco with supplies and headed to Miami, but I didn’t.  And, for this I am deeply sorry.  One positive outcome of the hurricane Andrew was that my beloved brother and I grew much closer cultivated our brotherhood.

I am not exactly sure when these pictures were taken.  It was sometime later probably in Autumn of 1992 when I took a drive around Homestead to see the damage with my own eyes.  The streets were unrecognizable, I couldn’t tell one from the next.  All of my childhood landmarks were gone.  The Miami that was part of my soul was blown away as the 175 mile per hour winds (280 k/ph) hit the city of my birth.  When I drive Krome Avenue these days, it still looks more barren than it ever was, except for all the cookie cutter developments that was sprouted over the last 20 years.

All these years later Miami has become a greener city again.  Many of the trees have grown back and some of the neighborhoods look lush as they used to, but not the same.  There are neighborhoods you can visit in between Miami and Homestead where the only the foundation of buildings remain.

It is hard to believe that 20 years have passed since that day.  These pictures were taken with my beloved Nikon FG, and a taped up and reloaded disposable panorama camera.  They were also hand printed in my university’s darkroom.  Some of my first prints to be done in color.  My color balancing skills were not as good as they are now.  As I can now use my digital darkroom to work on my pictures, part of my heart still belongs to the magic of watching an image come alive in the developer.

Looking back now I have come to the realization how much this event changed my life.  Hurricane Andrew not only tore down buildings but it ripped some families to shreds. I am thankful that my family was safe, and that we all survived to be together.

Let us not forget this tragedy as other storms barrel their way across the Caribbean and the American South, especially the land of my birth, Miami.

137 Street Homestead Post Andrew 1992

 

After Andrew Homestead Racer 1992

 

 

Secret Garden on NE 135 Street North Miami

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Secret Garden, NE 135 Street, Miami

I made a late night visit to an old friend last night.  It was great getting the chance to reason and just be together with him in brotherhood.

As I was walking back to where we had parked on the street I noticed what a beautiful garden was in front of the house.  The land unfolded before my eyes, as the yellow halide light filtered through the trees.

Our little secret garden on NE 135 Street, North Miami.  It was so far removed from the hustle of 135 Street, but this patch of sculptured green was so far removed.  There are places for one to sit and just relax and take in the cool Miami air.

 

The Edge of the 10000 Islands

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Everglades City with Fishing Line

Our family set off across the bottom tip of Florida this morning to visit my aunt in Ft. Meyers.  I always love the drive across the everglades.  Some people will call it flat and boring, but I call it home.

The endless mounds of hammocks floating on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, or the river of grass that warmly surrounds both sides of highway 41, a.k.a., the Tamiami Trail.

We stopped for a very early dinner in the town of Everglades City, which sits on the edge of the 10000 Islands as they blend into the horizon and eventually meet the Gulf, and the Florida Keys.

Munching on a grouper sandwich I just marveled out across the water.  The houses tucked into the mangroves, the boats on the docks, the birds swarming around trying to get a free meal.  Just a pleasant place to sit still and be.

 

The Skies, Its All About the Skies

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Sky Over Flagler Street, Miami

The skies of south Florida are amazing.  I do not have to venture far to be in complete amazement of the fluffs and puffs of those Miami skies.  In fact, I usually only have to walk outside of my home.

Look up!  See those blues fill up my heart as far as I can see.  The colors the hues, those setting sun golden moments.  I could be at the shopping mall, I look up and watch the clouds.  I can be in the middle of downtown industrial side of 305, and there is the constant reminder of the beauty that The Creator shows us.

Look up!  See!  Feel!

 

The Creator Works in Beautiful Ways Too

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

The Creator's Cinema, Miami

Miami is definitely not a walking city.  In fact walking in this city can be down right hazardous to your health.  Miami is a city that was designed for car use.  Even if that use frustrates most as they get stuck on 1-95 in the most horrendous traffic imaginable.

I still like to take walks.  Even if those walks are just around my neighborhood and all I get to see are house, strip malls and some landscaping.  Its my home.  Miami is where I grew up and all these sights and sounds are beautiful to me.

The skies are unforgettable.  The skies in the late afternoon yesterday were a blessing.  To look up into the limitless skies that adorn my neighborhood just helps to put life into perspective.  I can never truly capture the beauty that the Creator performs for us.  I will try to interpret and give my view on that beauty through my lens, but it will never be able to fully capture the personal experience.

It is the Most High’s cinema!  Observed by this lucid communicator for the first time in the cinematic 16:9 ratio.  Love, beauty and life is all around us.  I want to keep my heart open so I can let it flow through me.

 

Flamingos, Sky and Jet Lag

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Flamingos Sky NW Miami

No ifs ands or buts, but jet lag is utterly wack!  There are lots of theories on how to lessen the impact.  Expose yourself to light.  Use melatonin to help adjust, some even say drinking some alcohol.  Some of these work some of the time, but none of them work all of the time.

It never fails.  Sometimes I adjust ultra quickly, and other times I don’t.  Best thing, is to eat right, try to sleep at the appropriate times, and just let it takes its course.

It was in my foggy haze that i spotted these plastic flamingos spinning around in the Miami breeze.  Hanging out on the ledge of a 3rd story, looking out over the Design District in NW Miami.

And, I am out.

 

Sekajipo and the Jungle: The Making of the Revolution of the Mind-State Album

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

In this post I will change the focus for a minute back to some images I took last spring in Miami.  These are from some studio sessions for Sekajipo and the Jungle’s debut album The Revolution of the Mind-State.  I was so grateful to meet the ultra talented and down to earth brother Sekajipo.  He is truly a Hip Hop force that is a summation of his experiences that manifest in tight banging lyrics, tinged with reggae chats, and one drop beats.  So without further introductions.  I’ll let Sekajipo introduce himself and the players that make up the Jungle.

Check the website http://sekajipoandthejungle.com/

and you can check sekajipo on facebook

And now Sekajipo

My name is Sekajipo Genes of the Reggae Hop ensemble Sekajipo & The Jungle. These photos were taken at 19 ONE studios in Miami, Fl, during one of the final recording sessions of my debut album the RMS (Revolution of The Mind-State). The artists in these shots have all been leaders in a movement of conscious music, art, and humanitarian work not only in South Florida, but throughout the country and world. It was an honor to be counted as one amongst this collaboration and to be embraced as new comer to the local music scene in Miami, Fl. Much love, respect, and God’s blessings to you all. Keep it Revolutionary – Sekajipo Genes

Sekajipo on the MIC, Making of RMS Album 2010

Sekajipo “…If I die aint no need to write me an obituary just ray the music’ll resurrect me from the cemetery.”  When the Lions in the booth, the Jungle comes alive! Nuff Said! “This is a Revolution, We Are the Demonstration Welcome To The Movement, Here’s Your Invitation!”

LaGuardia, Making of RMS Album 2010

Welcome to LaGuardia World. Fellow Hip Hop Educator, rocked many shows with this brother, One of the dopiest emcees I know, from the stage to the booth. This brother took the energy to another level on the TMVMT track. The Street Fighter Line was classic!

Omayra La Gitana Writing Verses, Making of RMS Album 2010

Omayra La Gitana, a sistren full of spirit and excitement brought her gypsy reggae style vocals to the One World collab track.

Kavayah on the 5 String Bass, Making of RMS Album 2010

Kavayah came through adding some sick bass lines for the TMVMT (The Movement) track.

Kavayah, Making of RMS Album 2010

The “one man band” Kavayah again on acoustic guitar, laying down some solo cuts for One World.

Livin in Amerika, Making of RMS Album 2010

This is THE notebook containing all the RMS lyrics, surviving 5 years of wear and tear its now safely stored away as an accomplished work of art. Ran out of space inside so I started writing the chorus to reggae hop jam “Livin In Amerika” on the back. Every inch of free space counts!

Rhumba King, Making of RMS Album 2010

Urban Artist, Painter and Bboy, Junior aka The Rumba King, the man of many trades,  bringing live percussion to the TMVMT and One World Collaboration.

Vocal Power, Making of RMS Album 2010

Activist, Poet, Author, and good friend in heart, mind, and soul. Maeva the Artist was the inspiration behind One World, she was during her 1st sermon in church and all I could hear was Angels singing “One World, One Love”. Jammed out at a Starbucks, I took a chance singing the chorus and she did the same on her verse. The rest is history!

Soulflower, Making of RMS Album 2010

Sista Soulflower wrote her verse for TMVMT on the spot in the studio and Raize it UP!. 1 time for the female emcees, favorite line from her “Stay Strapped, Bus Back with L.O.V.E.”

Acoustic Drums II, Making of RMS Album 2010

Sean Delaine on drums doin damage to the set! met this brother at a screening on the PATH documentary in Ft. Lauderdale and had to bring him on for this project. Showing love to the future generation of musicians.

Last Minute with Sekajipo, Making of RMS Album 2010

Last minute adjustments to my verse for One World. Striving for perfection even until the last minute! “In this battle to see every last one of us unite, music is the one weapon that we bringing to the fight.”

Final Second with Headphones, Making of RMS Album 2010

Musician, Emcee, and Engineer Final Second in the booth puttin in work as co-producer and featured artist on TMVMT. “The Youth Is The Movement!” Final is also the talent behind the people’s anthem “Hard Times”, which was later chosen as the first single off the RMS album and used for my first ever music video, with an Original Cut and Haiti Re-Cut available on Youtube.

Sekajipo Acoustic Stylings, Making of RMS Album 2010

Me preparing to strum some rhythm guitar on the One World track. 2 years of teaching myself how to play the guitar, never thought it would get to this level. Never be afraid to try something new, you just may be a natural at it! “Im just a man with a guitar and 1 mic, strumming melodies and making the best out of 1 life”

Brimstone127, Making of RMS Album 2010

The man with the master plan DJ Brimstone127! My big brother, friend, mentor, and co producer of the TMVMT track takes on the mantle of engineer for this session as well as the majority of the RMS studio recordings. Couldnt have accomplished this project without you bro!

The Jungle, Making of RMS Album 2010

Soaking it all with some of the artists of The One World/TMVMT collboration at 19 ONE studios. Featuring (from right to left) the one man band Kavayah Amyn (on bass, acoustic guitar, percussion) LaGuardia (vocals) Empress of Hip Hop Soulflower Amyn (vocals) DJ Brimstone127 (engineering, vocals) MaevatheArtist (vocals) Love Revolutionary Sekajipo Genes (vocals), Drea Andrea Sylvester (chilling in the studio providing the irie vibes) and Omayra La Gintana Boriqua (vocals) All in the name of 1 Love.


Earth Shakes, and My Heart Turns to Florida

Monday, March 28th, 2011

I have been back in Tokyo for a few days.  The earth is alive and in a constant state of flux.  My heart drifts back to sitting on the edge of the sand at Delray Beach.  The simple uncluttered view of my birth.

Let Me Not Forget You, Florida

From Key Largo to Japan

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

As many of you know my adoptive home is Japan.  I have been a bit overwhelmed being in Miami while my family is in Tokyo.  I really haven’t had the urge to keep my blog up to date; however, I will livicate this post and image to all the people I know still in Japan, and all those that I don’t.

Taken on the way to snorkeling in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

As usual this is just a taste, more to come.

Sky, Black Mangrove, Waterway, John Pennekamp Park, Key Largo Florida

The Edge of Florida, Everglades City

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Just back from the edge of south Florida.  The part of Florida that drifts into a Thousand Islands and then into the Florida Keys.  It was a beautiful place to sit with the family and have a refreshing dinner.

Sky Water Docks, Everglades City, Florida

Not Far from my Old Hood, Kendall, Miami, Florida

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Took this image not too far from my old neighborhood in Kendall.  Perfect light on a lovely end of a day.

Wall to Landscape, Kendall, Miami, Florida

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