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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Amelia Island Artists Workshop
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)

Next Saturday is Artrageous Art Walk.  Be sure to attend and see the newest commission piece before it is picked up.  It's a beauty, -if I do say so myself.  Its a sunset over the marsh, seen through the shadowy foreground of a massive Southern Live Oak.
Now on to the Koi paintings; but am throwing in a 4 x 5 ft. abstract to relax the art instincts from all this realism.  I started it yesterday so will photograph it and let you see how it progresses. 

With the Wild Amelia Nature Festival week before last I got drafted into teaching a photography class.  It was not anything I have ever done before because I don't feel qualified to do it.  I know very little about the technical parts of operating a camera.  Granted I do have a trained artistic eye and good instincts but I am not sure how to teach that.
It was billed as a Wild Park Photo Class so I guess it filled that bill.  I told them it would be more a photo-safari more then a photo how to session.  I wanted to point out some things that I find appealing to my artistic nature but maybe a bit too abstract in subject to appeal to some.  One told me at the end that you need both the eye and the tech knowledge.  I told her problem is I never stop.  I work 16 hours a day doing something, and I don't have time to sit and read manuals and try out things which my brain just does not retain two days later when I decide I need to try it. 
We wandered around the fort with me showing them some of the places I find very interesting architecturally and personally.  I liked watching my friend Frank as he took down the stars and stripes that would have flown over the Fort in 1865.  Some things like Patriotism touch my heart strings and that is what my camera serves for me.
I like history, how and why it has made us what we are.  I live the play of light and the repeating of patterns whether in nature or architecture.  I like the mystery of the dark at the end pulling you through to discover what lies in its depths.  Although I don't think technically it is a great shot it has a nice feeling and would work very well converted into sepia tones which is an option with the computer.  Then it would look like an old time photo.
Once inside the vaulted chamber where the shells were stored and lifted to the top ramparts of the fort the rich reds of the brick and the contrasting greens of the steps and the lavenders of the shadows are enhanced by my camera settings.  Someone told me I should calibrate my white setting in my camera so that it was more accurate but I told her I kind of liked it this way.  One of the joys of not being a photographer, you aren't inhibited by rules.
Outside I tried to point out the patterns I found interesting in the tabby walkway around the catwalk area of the fort.  By this time the group had scattered so that only a few were close enough to really see what I was talking about.  One of my leadership qualities that is lacking is my ability to herd.
We then took a hike into the wilderness area of the park along a very pretty trail called "Rhonda's Trail" after one of our rangers who first explored it.  The late afternoon sun made some really pretty patterns and contrasts in light with the  Palmettos there.
The grumpy old man of the Cedar tree gave us reluctant passageway through his private domain.
The light and shadow of a palm tree this time of day with the aid of a little additional contrast from the computer gave me what I wanted, with nothing fancy from Photoshop, which I don't own.
I am not Ansell Adams; I use the camera more as a diary.  Where others are journaling in a book, I am recording images that I can go back to see, and find interesting sometimes in new ways, even after the time for my memory to recall them has passed.  When I do relive the moment through the computer, the feelings and excitement at seeing the image, come alive for me once again.  One husband accompanying his wife got excited about the interesting shapes in this weathered and rusted wood retention wall but his wife kind of chided him asking if he were becoming an abstract artist too.
I had one young lady with a very nice camera who went along with me and was more my soul mate in what we were seeing.  We did the beach part of the trek next as I pointed out one of my favorite things, the run off patterns and close ups of shells, especially the oyster shell remains sitting bleached yet photogenic in the warm sun.  I like the grouping of the shells against the more plain open space of the rock on which they clung.
A jumble of shells waited near the top of the escarpment as I climbed up that portion.  The colors in a clump of shells like this is so rich and warm with pinks, golds, grays, oranges and whites with the contrasting dark of the crevices between the shells giving them their defining shape.
Our only glimpse of forest wild life was this long skinny Florida Green Snake which I think everyone spotted as we hiked the trail back to the park.  He was very thoughtful as he stayed to give us all adequate time to capture his beautiful green color.  No prize winners here, but I did win first place in the photography competition for Adult Advanced division with my photo of the deer in the sun rays in Fort Clinch.  If you don't remember it I will post it later.
As I left the park I stopped for my usual photo of the Osprey family on 14th street.  I was given the curious stare of a guardian parent making sure no intruder was going to bother the nest.
At the week's end, a friend of ours decided to throw himself a surprise birthday party and we were invited.  A beautiful place is his, with great sunsets over the marsh.
We are still getting some haze from the smoke of the Okefenokee Swamp fire, but it makes for a great sunset and of course the un-calibrated "auto-white" setting in my camera makes it more spectacular than it probably was, but then I like it that way.  Someday I will have to read how to set my whites.
With Wild Amelia we also have the annual Sea Turtle release of whatever the Jekyll Island Sea Turtle Center has ready for release.  This year it was two juvenile Green Sea Turtles named Theo and Dori.
The first was a young male Green Sea Turtle, named after a fellow who used to fish for them to eat but then got involved in Sea Turtle Conservation and now catches them for study and release.  It is in his honor that they named him, as a tribute that things can change in ones focus.
A handsome fellow he is as his beautiful patterns show up on his freshly cleaned exterior.  Look at the interesting pattern on the underside of his back flippers, they looks just like toes.
Greens have such pretty faces and although they are not named for their exterior color, but for the dark color of their meat, I sure do see some nice greens in his coloring especially the olive and yellow greens.
A few waves were encountered before it was time to release him safely beyond the surf and not have him wash back onshore.
Then the "he's free" signal from Dr. Terry Norton and his assistant.  I wish I had a camera to allow me to get the water shots like the gal on the left.
Next came the female named Lori, who was large enough to be outfitted with a radio transmitter.
The glue will eventually release, hopefully later rather then sooner , and some valuable knowledge can be gleaned from the information they will receive about her journey.  So little is actually known about sea turtles once they are away from the nest.  They do have one turtle which they have released up on Jekyll who likes the luxury of living in a pool and being hand fed, who won't leave.  Every time they have tried to release her she just comes back.  Guess she likes the Spa life.
Through the gauntlet they head, and to freedom.  Good luck you two, maybe we'll see you again in a few years.
We started out our season on the island with a couple of false crawls.  This one came in to check out the beach but left.  She did return the next night and laid our second nest.  She was destined to lay her eggs on the river side beach.
Nest number 1 was found shortly after the false crawl on a different section of the beach, on the ocean side.  A Loggerhead nest as most of ours will be.  Florida is the largest Loggerhead nesting site in the Western Hemisphere.
Nest number 2 came in the next day on the River then nest # 3 came in the same day some distance farther down on the ocean beach than #1.  So that means we have 3 different Loggerheads nesting and also means if all three lay at least 3 nests (maybe even 5-6) we should have a minimum of 9 nests.  So here's to a bumper season in Sea Turtle nesting.
Exciting news on the turtle front for Fort Clinch in the next story.  Numbers are handily exceeding those of last year to date.

(Please take a moment to consider:
These photo-stories have always been offered completely free, to simply share the wonders of nature. Thousands of hours have been poured into them and it has even become necessary to enlist the services of a paid email service to send out the large numbers who now receive them. So, with the current economic situation if you are able to make a small donation to help ensure the continuation of the stories it would be greatly appreciated.)

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