Last week Doug Clifford and I drove up to Crystal River to document the annual manatee capture and health assessment. Biologists and veterinarians from various agencies, including United States Geological Survey and the FWC, participated in the assessments. By examining the individuals the biologists are able to learn about the population as a whole.
Here's a collection of frames from food assignments across Tampa Bay. Restaurants include The Hall on Franklin, Mortar and Pestle, Smash Burger and Oystercatchers, among others.
MONICA HERNDON | Times
MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times
A fading gray-and-white float bobs in the river on a recent morning, and Gus Muench moves toward it, navigating his flat-bottomed boat in the shallow water. After he stops the engine, he uses a hooked pole to pull the float closer and grabs the line that’s tethered to a crab trap. An electric pulley hums as it brings the trap to the surface. Muench lifts the basket out of the water, counts the crabs and shakes them into a bin, where they shuffle and scuffle before settling down.
Muench, 81, has more than 200 traps in the Little Manatee River, where he has crabbed since 1976. Today, he sells his catch and runs an ecotourism business called Gus’ Crabby Adventures.
"It’s a real pleasure to be able to be on the water," Muench said. "I’m real lucky. Real lucky."
He never liked school. He wanted to be on the Hillsborough River, running his 8-foot boat from Seminole Heights up to the dam or down to the city. In the 1940s, he said: "There were crabs everywhere. You could go out on the Courtney Campbell Causeway and catch crabs."
Muench retired from General Telephone at age 40 to pursue commercial crabbing full time. Since then, development and pollution have hurt the blue crab population. Shoreline habitats have been destroyed, the entire food chain affected.
He is not doing as well, either, since pulling traps wore out his shoulders. Within the past year, he had a knee replaced and cataracts removed. He knows his memory isn’t what it used to be, but he has no plans to retire. He crabs five days a week.
"When you stop moving as you get older, you say, ‘What’s happening to me?’ It’s because you’re not moving anymore," Muench said. "We’re not made to stop."
The Tampa Bay Times worked on an investigation into the juvenile auto theft problem in St. Petersburg, Fla. Kids as young as ten are trying door handles and stealing cars when they find the keys inside. Dirk Shadd shot all the video and stills for the project, and I edited his work. Below are two of the videos that we worked on. You can find the full project here.
Chasing 13 year-old car thief Tyron “T-Man” McKinnon
Hot Wheels: Three victims recount the day their cars were stolen
Some how the last few months have flown by. A couple of big projects I worked on ran, including Why Cops Shoot and Hot Wheels. I still managed to squeeze in a few daily assignments and a little bit of spring football. I may or may not be counting down the days until the season opener in September. In January I spent the morning at a dog show and made a couple cute frames. In February I took at day trip to the TECO power station in Apollo Beach to see hoards of manatees with Danese Kenon. I spent most of March editing video, but visited a gun factory in Melbourne, and shot a gun, a fully automated AK47, for the first time.
Towards the end of March we hired a small Cessna to shoot aerials of Egmont Key, and a couple other Bay Area scenes. Check back in a few weeks for another project that was exciting to work on!
Every year during Spring Training the Tampa Bay Rays baseball players line up for portraits on media day. This year Times photographer Will Vragovic decided he want to make moving gif portraits of some of the biggest players. I tagged along and shot a quick behind the scenes video with footage from a 5D Mark III and a GoPro. You can find all the gifs here.
The College Football Playoff National Championship was held in Tampa in this year. I covered a few press conferences and practices leading up to it, and then shot from the field on game day. It was an incredible experience, and a great way to wrap up the football season. I'm already looking forward to next season.
Last July my editors asked if I wanted to take the lead on the college football beat. I was hesitant. There were so many things I wanted to work on, sports included, but I wasn’t sure about the time commitment. After some deliberation I decided to go for it.
I spent the season covering Florida and Florida State. I traveled to Gainesville, Tallahassee, Orlando and Atlanta, while following the teams. I did manage a few Tampa Bay high school games during bye weeks as well. I returned to Atlanta on New Year’s Eve for the Peach Bowl CFB Playoff between Alabama and Washington. It’s been an incredible season of growth, and I’m looking forward to wrapping up the year at the CFB Playoff Title game in Tampa, on January 9.
MONICA HERNDON | Times
What's up friends, family, creepers? It's been a super hot summer here in St. Pete. I've been working a lot, trying to do things that maybe I used to be scared of. One of those things was a portrait shoot with FSU running back Dalvin Cook. I'm looking forward to football season. This year will be a bit different because I'll be covering college instead of high school.
Hillary Clinton spoke to a large crowd at the Florida State Fairgrounds on Friday July 22, 2016 in Tampa.
MONICA HERNDON | Times
Hard to believe 2016 is already halfway over. I feel like it was just January, yet here I am, almost two years since I moved to St. Petersburg. This month it felt like I was seeing through new eyes. I felt a renewed energy that I haven't in awhile.
I started off the month with a tour of the former studio of Tampa artist Theo Wujcik, in Ybor City. Wujcik died in 2014 and his ex-wife Susan Johnson is still organizing and archiving his life's work. (Here's a link to the story).
After Muhammad Ali died, I spent a morning with St. Pete artist Rasta Geary Taylor, while he worked on a comic book mural.
The tragedy in Orlando struck close to home, with the passing of Tampa resident Christopher Sanfeliz. (Here's a link to the story).
I ended the month with a tour of a historic cemetery in Downtown Tampa. It's been poorly preserved and has had problems with vandalism. (Here's a link to the story).
I never photographed food before I got to the Tampa Bay Times. I would show up for a food assignment with sweaty palms and nerves through the roof. With the help of mentors here I've gotten better, even though I still get nervous.
Happy Mother's Day
We always called you Mom, which confused the crap out of friends, even though you were our grandma. As I looked through these old pictures, I was inspired by how fly and confident you were. You loved a good party, so we celebrated even the smallest occasions with homemade cake and a finely made table. You showed my mom that Valentine's Day was about more than significant others, but also for loving family. That gave me the strength to never fear the day.
Your love for us was never-ending.
I cherished spending the night at your house. Pretending I was an only child, eating peanuts in bed with you. Then years later, holding your hand as we walked slowly to church, reading aloud to you days before your death.
When you passed, all I could think about was how you wouldn't be there for my high school graduation. That I wouldn't be able to share prom dress shopping with you. I made it through those days without too many tears, my mom helped me pick out a dress you would have loved.
I may not think about you everyday, but on Mother's Day I can't help but think of all you taught my momma and I. Happy Mother's Day. <3
Here's some of my favorite images from March 2016.
1. Molly Pedone, 13, puts on her jersey before practice with former lightning player Stan Neckar on Thursday February 24, 2016 at XTRA Ice in Tampa. Pedone will enter Shattuck St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minn., next fall to play hockey.
2. Hilary Batcho models for the April issue of Bay Magazine.
3. Portrait of Katherine Snow Smith for April issue of Bay Magazine.
4. Marco Rubio held a rally for Pinellas County voters outside Beckwith Electric in Largo on Saturday March 12, 2016.
5. Cathy Doyle, of St. Petersburg, claps during a Marco Rubio rally for Pinellas County voters outside Beckwith Electric in Largo on Saturday March 12, 2016.
6. Officers from various agencies line up to enter the service for Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy John Kotfila Jr. at St. Timothy's Catholic Church on Friday March 18, 2016, in Lutz.
7. Officers from Hillsborough County Sheriffs line up to enter the service for Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy John Kotfila Jr. at St. Timothy's Catholic Church on Friday March 18, 2016, in Lutz.
8. Pallbearers salute the casket outside after the service for Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy John Kotfila Jr. at St. Timothy's Catholic Church on Friday March 18, 2016, in Lutz.
9. Palm trees at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg seen through a rainy car window on Saturday March 19, 2016.
10. Docent Linda Rice, of Lutz, lead a tour through the outdoor Jaume Plensa sculptures at the Tampa Museum of Art during the first Fourth Friday on March 25, 2016 in downtown Tampa. Fourth Friday is a monthly celebration of the arts in downtown Tampa. Museums, restaurants and bars have special offers. Participants could get complimentary rides on the Pirate Water Taxi along the Riverwalk.
11. Participants, including (yellow shirt) Sean Martin, Keisha Martin, Geraldine Rousseau, and Yvon Rousseau, all of Tampa, wait for the free water taxi on the Riverwalk during the first Fourth Friday on March 25, 2016 in downtown Tampa.
12. (left to right) Otokoyama, Shirakabe Gura which is called White Cellar at SoHo, Yuki Nigori, and Pure, sakes photographed at SoHo Sushi on Wednesday March 23, 2016 in Tampa.
13. Kids and parents collected Easter eggs during Radiant Church's first Helicopter Egg Drop on Saturday March 26, 2016, at Robinson High School in Tampa.
14. Kids collected Easter eggs during Radiant Church's first Helicopter Egg Drop on Saturday March 26, 2016, at Robinson High School in Tampa. Radiant Church had 50 thousand eggs for the free family event. The helicopter dropped 15 thousand, while the rest were scattered on the ground.
15. General Joseph L. Votel stands before the passing of the guidon during the United State Central Command Change of Command on Wednesday March 30, 2016 at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
16. Members of the armed forces stand at attention during the United State Central Command Change of Command on Wednesday March 30, 2016 at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
17. General Lloyd J. Austin III walks back to his seat during the United State Central Command Change of Command on Wednesday March 30, 2016 at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. General Lloyd J. Austin III, was relieved by General Joseph L. Votel, of the United States Army.
18. The Para-Commandos perform during the United State Special Operations Change of Command on Wednesday March 30, 2016 at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.