Danny McDonald

Photography and more

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Brown Bag Lunches of Pinellas

Brown Bag Lunches of Pinellas is a non-profit organization that began in St. Petersburg by Maria Johanneson. The mission that Maria set out is to uplift the needy in poverty without judgment by giving them hope and confidence to succeed.

The values of Brown Bag Lunches of Pinellas revolves around that meals should be provided to everyone and done so through love, offering hope, mercy and compassion. They believe that everyone has the potential to go through a spiritual transformation that comes from strong faith in the love of a powerful community.

Homelessness is a temporary condition that can be overcome when desired through personal healing and support. So the organization is set to take care of their own community and help create lunches for all the homeless in Pinellas County.

The brown bag lunches include peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with applesauce, granola bars, baby food and bottled water. Brown Bag Lunches of Pinellas have seven local shelters that they deliver to and feed.

The organization has about 35 registered active volunteers and on March 24, 2012 Brown Bag Lunches of Pinellas partnered up with Student Government of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg to make 1,500 lunches to be distributed to different shelters and parks throughout the county.

The pictures that I took were not to challenging since there was good lighting going on and the colors were not too bright. I simple put the ISO pretty low and an f-stop at about 1/100 and the pictures came out pretty nice!

The event was a great success and we had a lot of volunteers come out and have a good time. The amount of people we had show up and help out made it a lot easier to make the sandwiches really quick and pack them up to have them ready to deliver. The relationship between USFSP and Brown Bag Lunches of Pinellas is just going to continue to grow and help feeding the needy, one brown bag at a time.


Swings Tampa Bay

Two of my friends started up an organization in St. Petersburg, Florida called Swings Tampa Bay. Reuben Pressman and Hunter Payne carried out the idea to a pitch contest hosted by Creative Tampa Bay and Creative Loafing called 10/100/1000. The idea originated from a interactive art project Hunter did for his class at The University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Winning the contest provided Reuben and Hunter $1,000 to make Swings an organization that can make an immediate impact on the community.

The concept of Swings is revolved around creating spontaneous community building by hanging up Swings anywhere in the Tampa Bay area. The power of the Swing becomes magnetic and can attract people to meet each other. The organization first started out by going out and buying pieces of wood and then cutting them up. Swings always tries to involve the community in any way possible. So the first couple of months Swings would go to community events and have free “Lets Paint Swings” events that will allow anyone in the community to go and paint whatever they want for a swing that will be hung up in the community. After each person painted up their swing, they got their picture taken and will be added on Swing’s facebook page.

After collecting a mass amount of painted swings, Reuben and Hunter will go out throughout the night and hang up the Swings in the community. So far Swings has collected over 1,000 painted swings and have hung up over 100. Some Swings will be taken down while others will up for a period of time. When one walks by one of these swings, it is the feeling of youth and connection to a community one will experience.

Swings has started to take interest out of state and even international. Swings Holland took off after contacting Reuben and Hunter and arranging everything to become an expansion. Swings Holland have been doing the same process of painting their swings and hanging them up in random places all over Holland and now throughout Europe. The magnetic power of Swings has expanded out and will continue to do so, one swing at a time.

I have a good database of different ‘Lets Paint Swings’ events since I would try to go out to as many of them as possible. It is pretty easy to get creative shots at these events because of the amount of art and colors that were used. I enjoyed taking all of these shots and plan to keep helping out Swings as much as possible.

'Lets Paint Swings' at the Saturday Morning Market in Downtown St. Petersburg.

Swings being painted by members of the community.


My Dog Desmond

Two years ago my mother and I purchased two English Springer Spaniel mix with Basset Hound puppies. We ended up calling them Desmond and Chispa. I picked the name Desmond in honor of my favorite character on the TV show Lost and my mother picked the name Chispa, which means Spark in Spanish, in honor of her old dog Sparky. The two puppies re-energized our life with happiness and love. These dogs were the happiest brothers and probably the cutest puppies ever. The two have helped us during difficult times and provided that sense of protection and comfort for us. Desmond became a fat dog that would only eat while sitting down, but he will definitely be the more loving dog to anyone from the two. Desmond will follow you around the house, sit down next to you and in your company at all times. The puppies ended up staying at my parents house along with my aunt and became close with everyone. Both puppies would sleep in my aunts room and they grew to be very close to her. Every single guest that we have ever had stay with us in my parents house grew close to the dogs and thought they were one of the prettiest breeds they have seen.

On March 5th, 2012 Desmond got hit by a car near his leg region. The start of the week started off rough for me after my birthday weekend. We took Desmond to the Emergency Room and we had his x-ray come in. The first news that came were shocking. Desmond only broke his tail and his hip, legs and spine was fine. At first the doctor said that the broken tail was holding back his nerves and that is why he wasn’t able to move his legs. A surgery of the removal of his tail could possibly lead to the nerves acting up and working again.

We took him to the Vet today and he said that the broken tail has nothing to do with Desmond’s ability to walk. He wouldn’t perform surgery on his tail and wants us to wait two days to see if he starts building a reaction in his leg and can hopefully urinate on his own. If Desmond can start having actions in his leg, then that is a really good sign for the nerves to start functioning again. The main concern as of now is if there is something wrong with one of his organs that could be stopping him from urinating on his own, there it is not something that we can fix.

When I first heard this, there were two feelings going through me. First of all I felt helpless. I want to do anything in this world to help out Desmond to make it better, but all I can truly do is wait and have faith. The second feeling I had was deceived. I felt like we were ready to fix Desmond. Lets go through the surgery and I rather play that waiting game. Anger starting flowing through me and I felt something in my body that I just couldn’t help. I did today something I haven’t done in six years since the death of my Godfather. I cried. I cried so much.

Desmond helped me realize that forcing myself not to cry all of these years has been an unnatural act by me and I wasn’t being true to nature. I cried at the vet, I cried at home and I cried in my bed. It helped me, it let me release my doubts and bring in my hope with faith.

I have been posting Desmond’s status on facebook and I could not believe the overwhelming amount of support and feedback we received. About 100 people replied to us letting us know that they are keeping us in their thoughts, prayers, hopes and minds. I showed my family and they immediately fell to tears. Before an era of facebook they could only rely on hopes and prayers from their closest ones and letting people know one by one. I stopped by campus today to hand in homework and my dear good friends Jami Compton, Shannon Kalahar and Hunter Payne stopped by to make sure I was alright. They made red velvet cupcakes for me and family. My mother dropped to tears and called them immediately to thank them. It is amazing in this era of easy access of mass communication, emotions can be affected in such a positive form, all thanks to innovation.

As of now we can just hope the best for Desmond and pray for him. If I could just fix one thing in him right now, it will be to make sure his organs are functioning correctly. If Desmond can never use his back two legs again, we have read about how amazing innovation has also played into the world of pets. A dog wheel chair has allowed pet owners to keep their animals with them when the more logical choice in the past was to put them to sleep.

All of your prayers are amazing. My family has appreciated it so much and we can only take it one day at a time. Keep having faith for the best, because I definitely am.

Desmond and Chispa first day together in the house.

Desmond and Chispa sleeping.

Always smiling.

Desmond won Puppy Photo of the Month with this image taken by Andrew Silverstein.

Desmond at the dog park.

Brothers. Best Friends.




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