Back From Florida
When I left Trumansburg a little over a week ago it was cool and Spring was struggling to appear. As I drove down I-81 through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Spring became more and more evident. The greening trees and redbuds, dogwoods and cherry trees, scattered through the landscape always make me feel like letting out a sigh of relief for Winter is truly gone. Strangely enough, when I finally reached Florida and the Gulf it was less like Spring than what I had left. The wisteria had already bloomed as usual, but a cold front had brought temperatures that didn’t get above 60 for three days. Still the sun and the white sand and rolling ocean waves bring warmth from within.
On the way down I stopped briefly in Eufaula, Alabama, a quaint little town known as the Big Bass Capital of the South on the edge of a huge reservoir (Lake Eufaula) with shaded streets and beautiful old houses along the main street through town. Every year they have a week of home tours to let the public in to see some of these beautiful places hosted by women in antebellum hoop skirts and big hats. Eufaula was obviously a southern boom town at one time. Now it’s quiet and feels very lazy, a place for taking it easy on a warm spring day.
I went to Florida this spring as a business trip instead of vacation. I went to promote my photography. Odd for someone who lives year round in upstate New York. But I’ve been working for about four years on a series of images from the Gulf near Panama City and truly love the area. I’ve been working the area along Rte. 30A from west of Panama City Beach to about San Destin. It’s been building and building with new developments along beaches with names like Inlet Beach, Rosemary Beach, Seagrove Beach, and Grayton Beach. There are still many of the old Florida homes, low concrete block with thick landscaping and cool screen porches. But much of what was vacant scrub fifteen years ago is now thick with three and four story developments with a distinct Florida architecture. This style sort of began with the birth of Seaside, a community that was written up in numerous architecture magazines as the “new Florida”, and has spread across the entire gulf coast. Seaside is famous for being the setting of the perfect town in “The Truman Show”.
I spent my first day out shooting in a couple of the state parks since it was too cold to be sunning on the beach (didn’t I say this was a business trip). Deer Lake State Park on the Gulf has an elevated walk out across the large bright white dunes this area used to be famous for and borders a large lake with dense pine and palmetto woods.
Eden Gardens State Park is what was once the estate of the William Henry Wesley family. Beautiful grounds with huge oaks dripping with Spanish moss surround the restored home with its wide porches, rocking chairs and tall windows. Open for tours, the mansion is an elegant example of old southern architecture that is reminiscent of the days of the Civil War.
I spent my next day before talking with gallery owners and shop managers, riding my bike through Alys Beach. This development is one of the newest on this stretch of 30A and one of the most striking.
The design and architecture are so elegant and beautiful, stark white, simple and carefully planned to offer amazing images with every turn and changing constantly as the sun moves through the day. The design and planning here just astound me. It’s such a visual treat.
I have a lot of images I want to post from this trip, so I’ll continue this in my next post.
All Images are Copyright © George Cannon, All Rights Reserved.