Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Eyes East

Lake Worth Pier by Land & Sea Imagery
     When I write one of the blog articles, columns or short stories about South Florida and growing up here, I work hard to paint such a vivid picture that you, my wonderful readers, can almost see what I'm describing. I want you to get a glimpse of the beauty of Florida - both what was and what is now. My hope is that I can convince you to love the state like I do.

     I have two friends from my childhood who aren't as nuts about writing about South Florida history as I am, but both have an incredible eye for the unusual along with a deep love for Florida and the ocean that lies off the east coast. Together, they formed Land & Sea Imagery to bring their vision to others.

     Fred Holmstock, a very modest guy, was born in West Palm Beach and I first met him at North Shore High School. The school no longer exists (it's now Bak Middle School of the Performing Arts), but the friendships that started there definitely do.

     Fred, who graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in English and Journalism (Broadcast) and a minor in Engineering, apparently had a thing for color photography way back in the mists of time.   Check out this Kodak International Newspaper Snapshot Award announcement in the Palm Beach Post archives from 1980. The winner of the color division looks vaguely familiar to me...

     These days, Fred takes vivid pictures of South Florida scenes which are then tweaked with intense color and baked on to aluminum. His work in Broadcast Production steered him to computer graphics and animation which led to his creation of a unique computer code. That code is part of what he uses today for the enhancement effects on his images. The result is a Florida beyond imagination. Some of the prints look like hand-colored postcards from the 1940s and evoke the kinder, simpler times we remember from our childhoods. Others are almost futuristic. All are wonderful.

     Jim Abernethy was born in Connecticut, but has been in Palm Beach County from early childhood. We both went to North Palm Beach Elementary School and in later years to Northshore High School where Jim and Fred were on the swim team together. As Fred puts it, they swam when they "weren't hanging out at the beach." Those of you who read my story, "Salvation in the Earman River" have already met Jim. He's the boy who grew up to play with sharks.

     Jim has been diving with sharks for decades and is one of the most highly-recognized authorities on sharks and their behavior in Florida. Perhaps far beyond Florida. He runs Jim Abernethy's Scuba Adventures which not only takes thrill seekers out to dive the waters of South Florida and The Bahamas, but is devoted to education about shark conservation. Jim takes undersea pictures of the creatures who swim off our shores. Recently, he worked with Guy Harvey to produce "This is Your Ocean: Sharks" a movie that seeks to entertain as well as educate.
Jim Abernathy with Emma
     If you haven't visited Land & Sea Imagery on line yet. Please do. You can find them on Facebook as well as clicking on the link above.

     There are many wonderful things about growing up in Florida. One of the best is knowing people like these two guys. I'm sure they'll be part of the Florida history stories our great-grandchildren read.


  1. I love Florida. We lived there for two months during our year-long road trip because my younger son was born in Ft. Myers.
    We returned to visit this past December. My husband would never in a million years live away from the mountains, but I feel at peace in Florida, so you don't have to convince me of how wonderful it is.
    BTW...what beautiful artistry from your friends.

    1. Thank you, Susan. I have to admit, I love the mountains, too!