Step Right Up - Sarasota, Florida

Ringling Museum, Sarasota, Florida

One of the places we had targeted to visit on our trip to Sarasota was the Ringling Museum. While none of us were big circus fans, the museum tops the list of places to visit in Sarasota. After spending the better part of a day there, I can wholeheartedly recommend the museum. One of my favorite (and most popular) displays was the miniature replica of the Ringling Circus circa 1920s. I know what you are thinking, what is so great about a miniature circus? The answer is with the size and breadth of it. It was created by Howard Tibbals, who started work on it in 1956. It took him 18 years to complete it (and a year to set it up at the museum). It consists of over 42,000 items with a ¾-inch-to-the-foot scale. Strangely enough, Ringling did not give Tibbals permission to use the Ringling name, so he called it the Howard Brothers Circus.

Shooting this was quite the challenge. The model is encased in glass, so reflections became a big problem. Not only that, visitors can walk the length (and it is long) on either side, so getting a composition without people on the other side of the replica was difficult. Finally, I was continuing my shooting with a 23mm lens (35mm equivalent) for the PhotoFrontier's WE35 project. I was expecting none of my shots to come out, but a few did, and this one really caught my eye.