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Fort Pickens, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Fort Pickens Archways

Fort Pickens Archways

Being the ever accommodating hostess she is, Laurie Murphy, the Emerald Coastkeeper, took me to photograph the Fort Pickens ruins.  By the third day, she knew just what subjects would appeal to me.  This fort, located on Santa Rosa Island, completed in 1834, and in use until 1947, was the largest of the forts constructed to protect Pensacola Bay.  It was a pivotal fort in the Civil War, the details of which I will not go into here.  If you want to know more about the crisis of Pensacola here's a link: http://www.museumoffloridahistory.com/exhibits/permanent/civilwar/03.cfm.

The elements took quite a toll on the masonry, creating all kinds of interesting textures and colors.  Below are some more photographs of the site, including an impressionistic one done in camera with additional processing.  I am currently working on a series of photo transfers and multi media artworks based on these photographs and more.

Fort Pickens Interior Archways

Fort Pickens Interior Archways

Green and Gold Abstract, Fort Pickens

Green and Gold Abstract, Fort Pickens

Architectural Vertebrae, Fort Pickens

Architectural Vertebrae, Fort Pickens

Fort Pickens Dissolving Beneath the Water Spout

Fort Pickens Dissolving Beneath the Water Spout

The image below was a waiting area in the fort.  The bright sun beyond, made me think of the light at the end of the tunnel and I wondered how many standing here felt the same way.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Light at the End of the Tunnel

The images below are from the beach down a little way from where the fort is located.  It was incredibly beautiful there and the dunes looked thriving and healthy.

Rainbow through the Sea Oats, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Rainbow through the Sea Oats, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Osprey in Flight

Osprey in Flight

Young Pine and Dune Vegetation

Young Pine and Dune Vegetation

Laurie Murphy in the Field

Laurie Murphy in the Field

Laurie is an intrepid Waterkeeper and will go anywhere necessary to check on the state of her waterways.  I very quickly learned not to complain and to just follow her! 

Shoreline, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Shoreline, Gulf Islands National Seashore

The water was so beautiful and inviting along the shoreline that I had to jump in.  It was crystal clear with an emerald tint.  While I was swimming, unfortunately without my camera, a large school of dolphin swam by in the distance. It was absolutely magical and I was happy to see them swimming and jumping and looking healthy and thriving.  I know there are many problems out in the Gulf of Mexico, with fracking and the dumping of chemicals off shore, but for a moment I felt like things were the way they were when I was a child, when I used to feel like I could swim anywhere and that the water was healing and safe.

Rainbow Gulf Islands National Seashore

Rainbow Gulf Islands National Seashore

When I came back on shore, I noticed that the rainbow that had started early had grown and its colors had become more pronounced.  I decided to grab my camera and run back into the shallow part of the water to make the image above.  There was something about the rainbow over this beautiful water that made me want to create a photograph that spoke of magic and nostalgia for the more pristine universe we used to inhabit.