Submitted April 15, 2013

I am very pleased with the resulting photos selected for my Gallery 10 EXHIBIT.     
I shot over 700 photos to get 10 good ones. My camera, a DSLR Nikon D70s with an assortment of lenses, using a MACRO lens f/1.8 for most of them, was sharp and fast for the photos  I needed with manual settings. I did not use a tripod, although at times wish I had done so. Generally I used an AP setting: an aperture priority at F/8 to an F/11. At times I tried a smaller aperture, f/22 that yielded interesting results and better detail. I used manual focus some of the time but felt that an automatic center weighted focus served me better. But as we is not the camera that takes the photo, it is the photographer.
Using Adobe Photoshop CS5 for refinement and black and white conversions, I tried different conversion techniques with the LAB method in Photoshop CS5 best for control. Other Photoshop methods, some automatic, did not yield the sharp black and white with distinct grays I was aiming for. I referenced Ansel Adams'  ZONE method frequently to establish the zones of pure black to pure white with all the grays in between.
Many of my shots are influenced by the artwork of American photographers and landscape painters. I visited many museums (see bibliography in website: for this purpose to study work by American landscape artists such as Bierstadt, Cole, Moran and others. American photographers such as Adams, Weston, Muench and others were a great influence on my photography as well. They provided the "teaching" I needed!
I used Clyde Butcher, Landscape and Everglades photographer as one visual reference, and Mr. James Gibson, one of the original Florida Highwaymen, as my painting reference, respectively as Florida Landscape Photographer and Artist. I have met both artists and took a 2-day painting workshop with Mr. Gibson. I met Mr. Butcher at a lecture he gave at the Orlando Museum of Art.  I learned that the Everglades is called “The River of Grass” and isn’t “just a swamp.” It is vital to the watershed of Florida and our main fresh water resource.
My photography travels and information gathering were of a primary research nature, guiding me from one side of the state to the other, but due to an unforeseen illness in March, I was not able to make the trip south. I did go north though, to Tallahassee for photos and a workshop with Mr. Gibson. If you were to drive from north to south in Florida, it would take about 12 hrs. without stopping except for gas. It's a big state and I happen to live in the middle of it -Orlando! 
In the vein of art education, I pursued this course as a possible introduction to the art of Florida for K-12 students. Although one might wonder how you could make a lesson plan for kindergarten out of this, you will be surprised at how interested little ones can be when it comes to looking at "pictures." You have to begin somewhere! As an art teacher for over 30 yrs.  I have done "landscapes" with kindergartners and with teachers as well. When training as a teacher consultant for National Geographic, my students,aka my peers, (15 classroom, not art, teachers at Univ. of Connecticut} created collages of mountains after an introduction to physical geography through American landscape paintings. (I won first place at the NG Summer Institute for this lesson unit! Teachers loved it too!)
Expanding this objective further, I can see lesson plans using these two artists, Butcher and Gibson, as the basis for a study in Florida art and geography. There are many who do not believe that there is any art here in Florida. The impetus for this paper was based on that assumption.
And guess what...there IS art here, it's good art and it has national recognition as well.
Objectives - What were my objectives and how did I accomplish them?
1.     Show through landscape/seascape photography and paintings, an artist’s view of Florida.
1.1.  Photos and paintings of two prominent Florida artists: Clyde Butcher, Landscapes and the Everglades; James Gibson, one of the original Florida Highwaymen, studied under A.E. Backus, landscape artist in southern FL.
2.     Understand who the Florida Highwaymen and Clyde Butcher are through exhibits and/or workshops and their influence on Florida art.
2.1.  Through the use of published books and writings by both artists, one gets a picture of two people who have acclimated to the landscape and have a distinct interest in the environmental aspects of Florida. It is through their art that we have become more aware of the necessity of preserving what we have rather than destroying it.
3.     Photograph landscapes in Florida and select 10 to upload and  exhibit on website (I typically shoot anywhere from 50-100 photos on any photoshoot).
3.1.  Shot over 700 photos and chose the 10 best for the GALLERY 10 on my self designed website.
3.2.  Documented work done in a journalistic manner.
4.     Observe  the ecology of Florida and use this information to caption related photos.
4.1.  Photoshoots to the headwaters of the Everglades and how it relates to the watersheds where I live. The headwaters actually are in my backyard – and I never knew this!
5.     Design and execute a landscape painting{s} of a Florida habitat in Florida Highwaymen style.
5.1.  Attended a 2 day workshop conducted by Mr. James Gibson, one of the original Florida Highwaymen.  This group of 26 painters managed to create paintings of Florida in 1950’s in a time of civil strife and agony for black artists. They are now recognized and known as documenters of our environment. I have done 2 paintings in their style.
6.     Submit a reflective paper on what and how I created and followed through with this course.
6.1.  This is my summative paper – a reflection on what I did and how I did it.
In conclusion, this has been the most extraordinary class I have taken. I was given permission by Dr. Din (thank you!) to create a course with the activities that I love doing: photography, painting, drawing, travel.  I was able to integrate (here’s that integrated curriculum I’ve always pushed!) art, ecology, environment, photography, geography, physical science – even history of the Civil Rights movement and how it affected the black artists and their artistic development here in Florida. Sometimes I wish I had not retired – but really, I haven’t have I?

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