Pandemic Project 2: Sailing the Polaroid Keys with Ronald C Modra

Pandemic Project 2: Sailing the Polaroid Keys with Ronald C Modra


As we stutter step our way into 2022, and the pandemic waxes and wanes, our friend, Ronald C Modra, recently penned this piece on how he's staying sharp and creative, even as the ground shifts beneath him. 

The good news though?  Ron tells us that workshops are back on, and that he and Don Smith are off to lead a trip to the Lofoten Islands next month.  Safe travels, gentlemen! 

Here's Ron's piece on his adventures in the Florida Keys, with tackle box and camera in hand:



All the years I worked at Sports Illustrated and for my entire career, I rarely pumped the brakes. I just moved on from one assignment to the next so sitting around with nothing to do makes me restless and irritable, which in turn makes my wife, MB, irritable. What I needed was another Pandemic Project. Last year, it was Roseate Spoonbills up in north Florida so for 2022, I needed Pandemic Project 2. But what should I do?



As Christmas approached, we headed to a place that’s been our home away from home for over 30 years, Bud n Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, Florida. This is a place where along with my best friend, Capt. Richard Stanczyk, I could pursue my fishing passion—primarily our pursuit of the elusive bonefish—and work on Pandemic Project 2.



The Florida Keys, where Islamorada sits, provides plenty of inspiration, so when I wasn’t fishing, I started making a number of images of the coolest, funkiest kitsch I could find, from Key Largo to Key West.



When I started processing, I thought giving the images that old Polaroid black and white look might just have the feel I was looking for.




Stay safe out there everyone and don’t let the pandemic stop you from getting out and finding a project to pursue and maybe…. catch a few fish.


Ronald C. Modra was a Sports Illustrated photographer for 25 years. He has seventy SI covers to his credit and several of his photographs were selected for Sports Illustrated's 40 Best of All Time and The Century's Best Sports Photos. He is also the two-time winner of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Best Photo of the Year award. You can see more of his work on his website,

1 comment
  • Great photo. Very interesting presentation. The old “Polaroid look” is terrific for these subjects.

    Joel Kleiner on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published