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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell

The pier is always a dramatic foreground to the most interesting of sky photographs and I have been very fortunate to be able to have in it my everyday life as I do my Turtle Patrol duties.

It is one of the longest piers in the State of Florida but because it follows the jetty out it is not very deep even out on the end.

The second Pelican painting is finished in a very different style as the first.  It is hard for me to say which I like the best.  The styles are very different and I guess that more of the freedom of expression is in this one because I only had myself to please. It is framed in a natural wood finished frame and will be in the gallery for a while unless someone buys it.

Each sunrise if different even though it happens on a daily basis.  It is influenced by all the elements.  But since I am now getting to the park early enough to actually see the sun sneak above the horizon I may bore you with way too many photos of it.  My first one to witness was not very remarkable but the colors themselves are just wonderful for the soul.  A near windless morning makes the surface of the waves glass like.  The colors are pinks with the bright spot of orange that is the sun re-enforcing its presence in the sand at my feet.

A wider view a few minutes later gives an even more unreal feel to what we usually see as the wild ocean.

Bending lower and bring the lens in for a closer look gives more of the feel we have of crashing waves, but only because of the point of view.

The long view is still very calm and slick in comparison and what looked like a crashing wave was only a baby one at best.  Guess life is like that when viewed from our own point of view making a world of difference in what we see.

As the sun climbs higher I am joined by a lone Willet prowling the water's edge for a breakfast tidbit.

Nest 18 hatched, once again unencumbered by the wire, but allowing for a safer time up until that time.

Nothing sweeter than the tiny miniature flipper prints heading to the water after a month of growing in that orb or an egg.  Life is amazing isn't it?

A very large dog has left its prints in the sand.  At first I was not for sure what it was but through a process of elimination I have decided for sure it is a dog, banned from the park, but brought in anyway after hours by folks whose mothers evidently taught them that they are so special that the rules do not apply for them.

The Spanish Needle (also known as Shepherd's Needle I am told) is in full bloom in time to welcome the butterflies which have begun their Fall Migration down the Eastern Seaboard and across the Cumberland Sound to our island on their way South.  Many will lay eggs and a new group with either continue the long journey or decide as they did last year that this is far enough South and just decide that Amelia Island is fine for spending the winter.  (Some of the County maintenance people in their infinite or maybe finite wisdom just turned a whole area of this wildflower in to crispy brown fodder by spraying it with herbicide at the county boat ramp.  Have a feeling they may wish they had not done that because the ire of butterfly lovers has been awakened.)

Another thoughtless act is this one where this big beautiful Bonnet head Shark was hooked (hook was still in the mouth) and tossed back on the beach to die because the fisherman did not like sharks getting on his line.  I laid my sunglasses down to show the size of the fish.  This timid and harmless this fellow was a victim of a hate crime, which (my own definition) manifests itself in destructive and senseless acts of a harmful nature against an individual or species for no logical or sane reason other than prejudices.  Since they only grow to a max of 5 feet this was a large one.

The sea of Sea Oats spreads out before me as I begin the Western leg of my turtle patrol activities on foot since our ATV has never been repaired.  The Sea Oat heads are now turning the golden color of Fall as I watch them wave in the breeze from the Pier looking toward the Cumberland Sound and the jetty of Cumberland Island to my North and West.

By the boardwalk was another of the Fall blooming wildflowers with a bright spot of color belonging to a Gulf Fritillarys one of our most common butterflies.

Our little Lacy has had another bad summer as the Botflies once again found her and laid their eggs underneath her skin causing her untold misery.  Not very many of the squirrels had these this year but she and one of my two young little boy squirrels who were the tamest were the worst hit.  I do not think the little boy survived.  His were so bad that although we tried to make a special effort to see that he had food it was hard for him to even swallow with one right in his throat area.  I think that this caused Lacy to loose her babies or not be able to raise them.  I could never tell after she gained her weight that she was feeding little ones so as far as I can tell this looks to be her second year to remain childless.

My early morning rides through the front of the park gives me a fresh look at some things I am used to seeing in daylight.  The Lighthouse was very different with its light still shining brightly as it rotated around in the dim light.

I can tell before I get to the beach most mornings if it looks to be a good sunrise.  But then if you see it at all, it will be a good one won't it?  I am enjoying them but without the turtle patrol as an excuse I know that I will not have the disapline to get up early enough to see them after my patrol duties are past.  

The Sea Oats at the end of the boardwalk leading to the beach often provide a frame for the morning light show.

It is always different just sometimes more dramatic than other times.  On a rating scale of 1-10 then this would be about a 7.  Loved the beams of light that radiated from the dark foreground cloud edged in a glow.

A flock of Pelicans can always make the who sky more interesting but they go by so fast it is hard to get the camera focused with the digital camera so that I don't miss the best timing.   Its hard to watch for fossils and flocks of birds too.

As dependable as the sun is on rising the Pelicans are there for their Northernly flight each morning.  Where are they going that they all go North in the mornings?

Catching the light as it spreads across the water washing ashore can be more colorful than the sunrise itself.

The gull wades in amidst the pale peach colors that have been caught in soft strips across the landscape.

I am anxiously awaiting the hatching of this nest, a Green nest, our next to last, which is due any day.  I am checking it morning and night because it has been a long time since I have seen one hatch for myself and this would be a good one to watch.

Morning light is always a fun time for both photographers and painters to observe nature.  Just a simple thing like a well worn shell becomes a thing of beauty as it takes on the glow of copper, reminiscent of my vintage copper jewelry collection in my showcases at the gallery.

As the sun brightens it highlight things one would overlook and crunch underneath your feet and they become something you want to catch forever with the camera.

The slight irridescence of the Pen Shell mixed with other interesting bits and pieces of the beach's artifacts.  The small perfectly shape shell in the lower bottom corner is pretty in the light.

It's always hard to decide which I like best.

September brings thoughts of sadness as we approach September 11th but for me it is also a day of joy because it was the day I gave birth to my first born child.  To be a mother had always been one of the main goals in my life.  I only wish I knew then what I know now, but that again is life.  Wisdom only comes with experience and time and sometimes we don't get "do overs".

One day I was driving by the Greenway and I saw that out in the middle of the grassy marsh area bordering Fort Clinch State Park was a tree decorated in pink.  I knew that meant one thing, it was filled with Roseate Spoonbills.

By using my lens to its best telescopic distance the lens would allow I was able to get a better view.

On returning via the same route they were no longer in the tree but had moved down to the marsh where the receding tide was making it a good time for them to look for their next meal.

I think this may be a family group because two were much lighter in color as the young ones are, but two were quite pink.  I have observed that this is mostly why they get the richer pink colors instead of the idea that like the Flamingos it depends on how much shrimp they eat.  When it is mating time they also get a very bright, reddish orange splash across the top of their wings and that definitely has nothing has more to do with horones than with shrimp.

The moisture filled clouds are still filling the skies but the rain showers have diminished with the passing of summer.  We have had some glancing blows of bad weather with some Nor'easters that are the result of various weather patterns and tropical storms out at sea, but it has been a very uneventful summer despite all the Spring prognosticators predicting a very bad tropical storm year.  That is something we all decline discussing or follow the comment by "knocking on wood" in fear we might jinx the weather.  There is still time for some bad storms in the season.  Since weather is so out of our control, like the citizens of days gone by we do not want to upset any of the storm gods who might be listening.  The massiveness of the cloud bank is put in perspective by the half mile long pier included in the photograph.  

Time reminds us that we can expect a cool off soon as September moves on down the calendar squares on the page.  Turtle season can't go much longer even though we had a surprise Loggerhead nest very thoughtfully laid just beside the boardwalk.  It will not hatch until probably the beginning of November allowing me to continue my early rises for a longer time than usual.  Since it is an easy walk across the boardwalk for that one I will probably begin checking it on the way into the gallery instead of enjoying my early sunrise photography sessions.  The season winds down and comes to an end I will welcome the longer sleep times but will miss that very special beach time to restore my batteries.

(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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