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Tampabay.com - Reporting with a camera

Welcome to Tampa Bay Times Instagram Challenge: First Day of Summer

6:34am - Monica Vernon works out on the beach during sunrise at North Shore Park in St. Pete on the first day of summer. Summer official begins at 6:34pm. Vernon was with her trainer MJ Van Voorst, owner and personal trainer with Go Fitness St. Pete. "We stopped going to the gym and decided to go to the beach," Vernon said. "It's very therapeutic." The two hit the beach for sunrise workouts three times a week. "It's amazing," Vernon said about the sunrise. "I miss it when I'm not here." The first day of summer officially begins in 12 hours at 6:34 pm on Monday, June 20th.

DIRK SHADD | Times

6:34am - Monica Vernon works out on the beach during sunrise at North Shore Park in St. Pete on the first day of summer. Summer official begins at 6:34pm. Vernon was with her trainer MJ Van Voorst, owner and personal trainer with Go Fitness St. Pete. "We stopped going to the gym and decided to go to the beach," Vernon said. "It's very therapeutic." The two hit the beach for sunrise workouts three times a week. "It's amazing," Vernon said about the sunrise. "I miss it when I'm not here." The first day of summer officially begins in 12 hours at 6:34 pm on Monday, June 20th.

Instagramers, welcome to #TBtimesgram! We want your photos!

Here's how to participate: Every Monday we will give you a photo assignment for the week, you will post your best image to your Instagram account using the hashtag #TBtimesgram, the best of those images will be curated and displayed the following Monday and featured in the All Eyes Photography Blog.

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All Eyes photo gallery: One Pulse Tattoo

 "Angel is a friend of ours," says Last, speaking of Angel Santiago, a survivor who spoke to the press about his story inside the club, "I think he got shot six times. I'm just trying to show my support for him and for the community." Amy Last, of Orlando, gets a free tattoo from Angel "Evil Tattu" Ruiza in remembrance of the victims of the Pulse shooting on Friday, June 17, 2016 at Anarchy Tattoos and Art Co. in Orlando. Angel "Evil Tattu" Ruiza, owner of Anarchy, decided to give away free tattoos honoring the Pulse shooting that left 50 dead on Sunday, June 12, 2016.

ZACK WITTMAN | Times

"Angel is a friend of ours," says Last, speaking of Angel Santiago, a survivor who spoke to the press about his story inside the club, "I think he got shot six times. I'm just trying to show my support for him and for the community." Amy Last, of Orlando, gets a free tattoo from Angel "Evil Tattu" Ruiza in remembrance of the victims of the Pulse shooting on Friday, June 17, 2016 at Anarchy Tattoos and Art Co. in Orlando. Angel "Evil Tattu" Ruiza, owner of Anarchy, decided to give away free tattoos honoring the Pulse shooting that left 50 dead on Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Angel "Evil Tattu" Ruiza, owner of Anarchy Tattoos and Art Co. in Orlando, decided to give away free tattoos honoring the Pulse shooting that left 50 dead on Sunday, June 12, 2016, "I don't wanna make money off of a tragedy like this," says Ruiza.

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All Eyes photo gallery: That time the pope met a tiger (w/video)

Pope Francis caresses a tiger during his audience to the "World of Travelling Shows" at Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Fabio Frustaci | Associated Press

Pope Francis caresses a tiger during his audience to the "World of Travelling Shows" at Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Pope Francis petted a tiger Thursday during his audience with the "World of Travelling Shows."

The pontiff greeted circus workers, musicians, acrobats, clowns and other performers during the presentation that was part of his Year of Mercy. He also met a black panther cub and a bird of prey.

While petting the 6-month-old tiger, Francis said, "You can also frighten the pope. You are powerful!"

The pope said to the performers, “You enrich society in the whole world with these qualities, also with the ambition to stoke feelings of hope and trust.”

Francis also thanked his audience for taking their performances to the needy, including poor communities, the homeless, prisoners and disadvantaged youth.

“This is also mercy: sowing beauty and cheerfulness in a world which is at times dark and sad,” he said.

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Supporters and protesters show up for Trump's campaign stop in Tampa (w/video)

A young girl holds a Trump sign at a Trump campaign rally at the Tampa Convention Center in downtown Tampa on Saturday, June 11, 2016.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

A young girl holds a Trump sign at a Trump campaign rally at the Tampa Convention Center in downtown Tampa on Saturday, June 11, 2016.

Inside and outside supporters and protesters show up for the Donald Trump campaign stop in Tampa, Florida. Follow the reporters and photographers of the Tampa Bay Times for live coverage and reaction.

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Photo Studio 101 Workshop with Melissa Lyttle & Bob Croslin

Jackie Siegel is the Queen of Versailles. Versailles is the nickname of the 90,000-square foot mansion that's being billed as the largest house in America, and has been under construction since 2008. It's being built in the Orlando area, by Jackie and her husband David A. Siegel, founder of Westgate Resorts Ltd, a Florida based timeshare resort firm.

MELISSA LYTTLE | VICE Magazine and Broadly

Jackie Siegel is the Queen of Versailles. Versailles is the nickname of the 90,000-square foot mansion that's being billed as the largest house in America, and has been under construction since 2008. It's being built in the Orlando area, by Jackie and her husband David A. Siegel, founder of Westgate Resorts Ltd, a Florida based timeshare resort firm.

Where do I put the hair light? How far should the subject be from the background? What is the best type of light kit to use? These are just a few of the questions that will be answered on Saturday, June 11, with former Times staffers Melissa Lyttle and Bob Croslin. …

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May 2016 ‘Reader Photo of the Month’ poll: 5 great photos from Tampa Bay Times readers

1. Posing pelican on Pier 60 (Published May 1, 2016)

[Submitted by Kiersten Lapp, Hudson, FL.]

1. Posing pelican on Pier 60 (Published May 1, 2016)

You might say we are totally for the birds this month, but we think you'll also agree that these five reader-submitted photos are gorgeous or adorable (or both). Please cast your vote to help pick the one that will wear the title of Reader Photo of the Month.

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All Eyes photo gallery: On Memorial Day, the nation pays tribute to its war dead

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2123 Honor Guard Capt. Ed Ellis, right, plays taps on the bugle as honor guard members hold their rifles after firing a 21-gun salute during a Memorial Day observance Monday at Shenandoah Memorial Park in Winchester, Va.

Jeff Taylor | Winchester Star via AP

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2123 Honor Guard Capt. Ed Ellis, right, plays taps on the bugle as honor guard members hold their rifles after firing a 21-gun salute during a Memorial Day observance Monday at Shenandoah Memorial Park in Winchester, Va.

Today we remember and honor all the service men and women who died in service of their country.

The first official observance of Memorial Day was May 28, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. 

After World War I, the holiday was extended to all soldiers who had fallen in all American wars.

Here are some of our Memorial Day articles:

• Since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the remains of those military personnel killed at the Pentagon and nearly 7,000 killed in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere around the globe have arrived at Dover Air Force Base, Del., to be identified and turned over to their families. John Harper talks about the high toll that work takes on those who serve there.

• Just days before William Branch left for a second combat tour in Vietnam, his wife bought him a black leather Bible. Last year, his daughter found it packed away in a box labeled "memories." In this piece, Jennifer Denard remembers her fallen father, verse by verse.  …

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All Eyes: The story behind the €'American Dream'€™ photo at West Point that went viral

Tears tream down the face of West Point Cadet Alix Idrache during the 2016 commencement ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant | U.S. Army

Tears tream down the face of West Point Cadet Alix Idrache during the 2016 commencement ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy.

As 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache stood at attention during the commencement ceremony at West Point, N.Y., on Saturday, he was overcome with emotion. Tears rolled down both cheeks, but his gloved left hand held firm on his white, gold and black "cover," the dress headgear that Army cadets wear.

The photograph of Idrache, by Army Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant, was published Tuesday on the Facebook page of West Point's U.S. Military Academy, and it almost immediately went viral. Part of that is Idrache's background: He worked his way through one of the nation's most prestigious military schools after immigrating to the United States from Haiti, earning his citizenship and serving for two years as an enlisted soldier with the Maryland Army National Guard, according to Army records.

"I woke up this morning and found my face all over Facebook and with it myriad of amazing comments about my accomplishments," Idrache wrote Tuesday on Facebook. "I am humbled and shocked at the same time. Thank you for giving me a shot at the American Dream and may God bless America, the greatest country on earth." …

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All Eyes photo gallery: Photos from Game 6 - Lightning vs. Penguins

Pamila Kaufman, of Tampa, left, and Don "Skully" Bradshaw, of Tampa, hang out at Ferg's Live before the start of Tuesday's (5/24/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins for game six of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

[DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]

Pamila Kaufman, of Tampa, left, and Don "Skully" Bradshaw, of Tampa, hang out at Ferg's Live before the start of Tuesday's (5/24/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins for game six of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

Three Tampa Bay Times photojournalists and three on-location photo editors tackled game six of the NHL playoff game at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL yesterday. The Lightning lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, pushing the series to a seventh game to be played in Pittsburgh on Thursday. In case you missed the game, here are some photos that captured the heartbreaking defeat.

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Behind the lens: Baseball photographs away from the action

East Lake outfielder and pitcher Travis MacGregor (center) gathers his teammates for a pregame huddle before a Class 8A region final baseball game against Steinbrenner at Steinbrenner High School in Lutz, Fla., on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Steinbrenner went on to win the game 3-0.

[LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]

East Lake outfielder and pitcher Travis MacGregor (center) gathers his teammates for a pregame huddle before a Class 8A region final baseball game against Steinbrenner at Steinbrenner High School in Lutz, Fla., on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Steinbrenner went on to win the game 3-0.

I have a confession: my favorite lens for shooting high school baseball is a 24-70mm. A super telephoto lens, usually a 300mm or 400mm, is the first lens photographers turn to for this sport. The long focal length is key for getting in tight on action around the field. You'll never find me at a baseball game without at least a 300mm, but there's always a 24-70mm or 35mm hanging around my neck too.

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All Eyes photo gallery: The Tampa Bay Bucs visit Bevis Elementary

Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander greets students at Bevis Elementary School in Lithia, Fla., on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Bucs players, personnel and representatives from the American Heart Association visited the school after it won the 2015-16 Buccaneers PLAY 60 Challenge, a program that encourages healthy lifestyles for students at local schools through physical activity.

[LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]

Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander greets students at Bevis Elementary School in Lithia, Fla., on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Bucs players, personnel and representatives from the American Heart Association visited the school after it won the 2015-16 Buccaneers PLAY 60 Challenge, a program that encourages healthy lifestyles for students at local schools through physical activity.

I was recently given the opportunity to become the Tampa Bay Times' Buccaneers beat photographer. Covering a team in this capacity is about so much more than just showing up at games every Sunday. With the first game of the season happening on September 11, I have four months to begin forming relationships with team personnel and, to a lesser extent, players.

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All Eyes photo gallery: Eckerd College's 4th Annual Pet Graduation (w video)

From left, Jennifer Lincoln holds her tabby cat, Sneezy, and Danielle Becker holds her bearded dragon, Mushu, before the 4th Annual Eckerd College Pet Graduation at Eckerd's Fox Hall in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Thursday, May 12, 2016. Eckerd College, the first school in the nation to accept on-campus pets, holds the ceremony to honor the animals that support the school's students.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

From left, Jennifer Lincoln holds her tabby cat, Sneezy, and Danielle Becker holds her bearded dragon, Mushu, before the 4th Annual Eckerd College Pet Graduation at Eckerd's Fox Hall in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Thursday, May 12, 2016. Eckerd College, the first school in the nation to accept on-campus pets, holds the ceremony to honor the animals that support the school's students.

Graduating seniors donned caps and gowns. Brushed their hair. Smiled proudly for photos. And cleaned their scales? Classmates brought their pets to a ceremony celebrating the 4th Annual Eckerd College Pet Graduation at Eckerd's Fox Hall in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Thursday, May 12, 2016. Eckerd College, the first school in the nation to accept on-campus pets, holds the ceremony to honor the animals that support the school's students.

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All Eyes photo gallery: Born to Run - Action and scenes from the Florida High School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships.

Runners prepare for the 200 meter dash preliminary race during the FHSAA statewide track and field finals on Friday afternoon, May 7, 2016 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.

ZACK WITTMAN | Times

Runners prepare for the 200 meter dash preliminary race during the FHSAA statewide track and field finals on Friday afternoon, May 7, 2016 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.

A gunshot rings out across the stadium, the crowd goes wild. Tears, shouting, hugging; somehow this all seems like an under reaction to the athleticism portrayed at the FHSAA Track and Field finals.

Athletes from all around the Tampa Bay area competed recently at the IMG Academy, some arriving before sunrise and most staying until well after dark. Dashes and relays, shot-put and discus, long jump and high jump, each competition pushing the limits of the human body.

When you see the commitment and athleticism these students put forth, it's easy to forget that they're so young. They're all still in school, balancing their schoolwork, social life, and jobs, while still maintaining the discipline to be among the best athletes in the state.

I left the IMG stadium after more than 20 hours of work over two days. I felt nothing but appreciation and respect for these young athletes. Officia Harold Pierce said it best, preluding the shot-put finals on Saturday afternoon: "I just want you all to realize that you've already made a huge accomplishment: you're here. The only reason you're here is because you're among the best in the state of Florida, one of the leading states in track and field. That might not seem like a lot to you, I know you're all here to win. I just want you to remember how impressive you all are. Now let's get started, good luck!"

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All Eyes photo gallery: Rising Stars showcase

Jonathan O'Brien, a junior in the Pinellas County Center for the Arts program at Gibbs High School, performs in the instrumental category on stage at the Mahaffey Theater, in St. Petersburg Monday afternoon (05/09/16). Students from all over Pinellas County were rehearsing at Mahaffey Theater Monday afternoon in preparation for Monday night's annual Walker's Rising Stars Scholarship Program Showcase. The main sponsor is the Pinellas Education Foundation. The categories of performers included culinary, instrumental, dance, theater, visual arts and vocal music.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Jonathan O'Brien, a junior in the Pinellas County Center for the Arts program at Gibbs High School, performs in the instrumental category on stage at the Mahaffey Theater, in St. Petersburg Monday afternoon (05/09/16). Students from all over Pinellas County were rehearsing at Mahaffey Theater Monday afternoon in preparation for Monday night's annual Walker's Rising Stars Scholarship Program Showcase. The main sponsor is the Pinellas Education Foundation. The categories of performers included culinary, instrumental, dance, theater, visual arts and vocal music.

Students from all over Pinellas County were rehearsing at Mahaffey Theater Monday afternoon in preparation for Monday night's annual Walker's Rising Stars Scholarship Program Showcase. The main sponsor is the Pinellas Education Foundation. The categories of performers included culinary, instrumental, dance, theater, visual arts and vocal music.

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April 2016 ‘Reader Photo of the Month’ poll: 5 great photos from Tampa Bay Times readers

1. Red-Shouldered Hawk at Raptor Fest (Published April 3, 2016)

[Submitted by Larry Cote, Madeira Beach, FL.]

1. Red-Shouldered Hawk at Raptor Fest (Published April 3, 2016)

Fine-feathered friends and foggy morning weather are featured in this month's batch of reader-submitted photos. Help pick the one that will wear the title of Reader Photo of the Month.

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