We characterize, experimentally, the intensity minima of a polarized high numerical aperture optical speckle pattern and the topological charges of the associated optical vortices. The negative of a speckle pattern is imprinted in a uniform fluorescent sample by photobleaching. The remaining fluorescence is imaged with superresolution stimulated emission depletion microscopy, which reveals subdiffraction fluorescence confinement at the center of optical vortices. The intensity statistics of saturated negative speckle patterns are predicted and measured. The charge of optical vortices is determined by controlling the handedness of circular polarization, and the creation or annihilation of a vortex pair along propagation is shown.