Marcophiles: You’re going to like this picture and Islander Tom Curtis’ story

CHRIS CURLE
This striking photo of a zebra in Kenya won an impressive award for Marco Islander Tom Curtis.HIs prize is a free trip for two to a photographer's dream destination, Antarctica. Tom Curtis / Special to teh Eagle

This striking photo of a zebra in Kenya won an impressive award for Marco Islander Tom Curtis.HIs prize is a free trip for two to a photographer's dream destination, Antarctica. Tom Curtis / Special to teh Eagle

Richard and Andrea Alan are hoping to see you in their Harbor Goldsmith store in Island Plaza this Saturday for their official Grand Opening. Chris Curle / Eagle Correspondent

Richard and Andrea Alan are hoping to see you in their Harbor Goldsmith store in Island Plaza this Saturday for their official Grand Opening. Chris Curle / Eagle Correspondent

We’re guessing Islander Tom Curtis’s favorite animal is a particular zebra in Kenya that doesn’t know its image is being seen in all the right places these days.

Tom is an experienced photographer whose photo of that beautiful beast in Africa won Tom first prize in an Internet, international photo contest sponsored by the luxury travel company, Abercrombie & Kent.

His award is a trip for two to Antarctica, a favorite spot for photographers looking for spectacular sights.

To say Tom was surprised is to understate the situation.

“I wasn’t even aware of the contest until the very end so I only put in two images,” Tom says. “I didn’t give it a second thought, but then I ended up in the top ten and that stunned me.”

After that, visitors to Abercrombie & Kent’s Facebook page were able to vote for their favorites. Tom and that zany zebra won.

“This contest was for amateurs, anyone around the world, as long as you were an amateur photographer. I qualify as an amateur because, although I’m a good photographer, I’m not making any money at it.”

Not yet.

Tom says the economic crunch a few years ago ruined his real estate business and eventually forced him to close a successful valet parking service in Naples. It had helped pay for globetrotting photo trips to many parts of the world.

Since then Tom has been working at the Marco Beach Ocean Resort.

“I first came to Marco in 1967. We went fishing on the spot where the Jolley Bridge is now.”

Tom says winning this contest could change his life, in a couple of ways.

“We hope this will send people to my website and boost my career as a photographer.” (www.thomascurtisphoto.com.)

Then there’s his fiancée, Deborah Jackson, who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“We’ve been in a relationship for about five years. Maybe she’ll want to move here to Marco. Who wouldn’t?”

Oh, one other potentially live-changing aspect of Tom’s photo award: “If the ship’s captain can arrange it, we’ll get married at one of the stops the ship makes.”

Our guess is, it could be tuxedo nuptials, what with all the penguin wedding guests already dressed up.

It’s party time at Harbor Goldsmith in Island Plaza

Friends and clients of Harbor Goldsmith’s Richard and Andrea Alan already know they’ve moved from their Front Street store to spiffy new quarters at Island Plaza near Beall’s and CVS.

We want to make sure you also know they’re having an official Grand Opening Celebration from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Saturday (March 10), at that shop.

“We’ll be offering special prices on pieces by sea life jewelry designer Denny Wong,” says Richard.

And the popular Davide’s Restaurant nearby will be offering refreshments. Richard also notes that his store in Marco Walk (near the Marco Movies) is now all “Richard’s Reef”. The jewelry component there has been absorbed at Island Plaza.

Going all out for Marco’s Half Marathon

There could be 500 or so runners in the Marco Island Half Marathon this year, at least at the start of the race.

This second annual running is at 7:30 a.m., March 18. It’s not too late for runners to register for the event. The cost right now is $65 or you can sign up on race day for $75. The easiest way to register is via the event’s comprehensive website: www.marcoislandhalfmarathon.com/register/.

It’s a charity event, sponsored by an impressive group of civic-minded businesses, including Publix, the Kramer Law Firm, the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa and more.

Beneficiaries include the Marco Police Foundation, the Marco Island Fire-Rescue Foundation and the Marco YMCA, For more information email: race@marcoislandhalfmarathon.com.

Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail chris@chriscurle.com. Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: don@donfarmer.com.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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