Two weeks at the Gulf

by imageguy

It’s been far too long since my last blog post. It seems that it get’s harder and harder to find the time to just sit and write a post, but I pledge now to make 2011 a more communicative year.

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With a number of business plans that involve my images from the gulf and upcoming shows, I decided to turn my family vacation for Thanksgiving into a business trip by first going through Atlanta to meet with the Barry Glustoff at Digital Arts Studio where I get my fine art prints made. I’ve been working with them for a few years but always from a distance and never met face to face, so it was about time. Barry gave me the tour and we chatted for a while. I left several files to be printed for my show coming up at Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars here in the Finger Lakes. Then into the rental car to drive down to the Florida coast.

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While in Florida I made arrangements to meet with current clients and met some new folks as well. I finally got to touch base with Dan Bailey at Amavida in Rosemary Beach and talk about a show there in June and July. He introduced me to Arix Zalace who will handle the show arrangements, so very happy to set that up. I got to see Jenny King at Sundog Books in Seaside, who sells so many of my postcards. And met and chatted with Tommy Crow, a wonderful photographer who has opened the Tommy Crow Collections gallery in Rosemary Beach. Happy to make that connection.

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My goal while in Florida was to also add a sizable number of new images for use in what I hope will be a new entry into Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach for 2011. I have been in this show two of the last three years, but missed 2010. So I am looking to do something really fun for 2011 that will involve a multi-media presentation with about a thousand changing images from the Gulf area.

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I love this area so much and am so glad that my Father-in-law and his wife are so generous in sharing their beautiful home there with us whenever we want to visit. I arrived ahead of my family so spent the first evening watching the sunset by myself on the gorgeous beach. Tanni arrived the next day from New York and Tessa and her girlfriend, Ariel, arrived from Ohio as well, so that we might all spend Thanksgiving with Art and Cheryl.

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I spent each day rising early and heading out with my gear to shoot, visiting all the familiar haunts at Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach, Seaside, Grayton Beach, and the back streets of Panama City Beach where I continue to add to my “old Florida houses” collection.

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I also went back to Eden Gardens to shoot this beautiful plantation house and grounds again. The place has changed considerably in the last year with a new entrance, walkways, parking, and other really beautiful improvements.

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Animals were a theme this trip as they have often been with my zoology major daughter. We rode out to Alaqua Animal Refuge in Freeport where Laurie Hood and a large staff of mostly volunteers care for hundreds of adoptable animals including dogs, cats, horses, sheep, geese, pigs, and more. An amazing and wonderful operation.

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Tessa and Ariel wanted to return to Gulf World in Panama City where Tessa has been “trainer for a day” twice. So we went back to pet the sting rays, and see the sharks, turtles, penguins, and performing sea lions, dolphins, and parrots.

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As a further good omen, we were blessed with a visitor on Wednesday of a roosting Eastern Screech Owl, who sat quietly all day between evening hunts.

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After the girls headed back north, I stayed about five more days to keep shooting. A couple of rainy and foggy days gave time for movies and a little shopping. I finally visited Margaritaville in Panama City Beach for dinner a couple of times after an amazing sunset as I came out of the movie theater at Pier Park. I sit listening to Radio Margaritaville as I write this to keep me in a Florida state of mind and warm inside, despite the snow outside here in New York in December. Rosemary Beach was all decorated for Christmas, so I made the stop on the way home after dinner to record the light show.

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My last day there was spent walking trails at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. It was my fist visit there and, not being really familiar with the park, I arrived at about 3:00 pm with a bit of an ambitious agenda. My plan was to make my way down to the dune lakes then loop around to catch the beach dunes at sunset. It turned out to be about a seven mile walk and I’m so glad I didn’t take more gear than the two cameras I was carrying. Despite having to really keep moving at a quick pace, I found some beautiful spots. They had been doing a controlled burn in the park, so some areas were still smoking, adding a really nice quality to the light streaming through the trees. One of the rangers offered to take me to some prime spots if I would look him up when I come back. I’ll definitely go back allowing more time on the next trip.

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All in all, a much needed time away, a very productive business trip, and a lot of great new images. When can I go back?

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Thanks Art & Cheryl.

Copyright © George Cannon – Images, All Rights Reserved.

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