Birdwatching is one of my favorite activities that easily accompanies photography. Living in close quarters with the Virgin Islands National Park affords many wonderful opportunities to see birdlife, and the waterfowl are my favorite. This Great Blue Heron was spotted while out photographing on the edge of Waterlemon beach. The call that a Heron gives is quite distinct. Not to be confused with the Great Egret, I love the grace and poise that these beautiful birds possess.
St. John recently celebrated Carnival throughout the streets of town. A carnival village is set up every year in Cruz Bay. West Indian food and drink is served to the beat of Caribbean music heard during nightly concerts. The festivities concluded with a show of fireworks, usually done near the Fourth of July, and held this year on the Fifth of July. This is one of my favorite times of year in the West Indies and this year was no exception. I had a wonderful time capturing this exuberant celebration.
Recently St. John has had a more visible population of deer, such as these two does photographed in Caneel Bay resort. Locals say that the population originated from a few deer swimming over to St. John from a neighboring island. They have become much more visible on the trails in Virgin Islands National Park and their boldness is noticeable. The park affords the non native species a sanctuary and no natural predators – though a concerted effort is underway from park staff to control the population. Despite thier invasiveness I am finding inspiration from seeing these familiar creatures, especially with their siginificant role in many cultures myths and legends.
I am happy to share with you a set of images I recently produced and photographed for Asolare Restaurant in Cruz Bay, St. John. The restaurant was doing a branding redesign and subsequent online marketing campaign to highlight new ownership and a new chef/management team. I was enthusiastic to highlight the beautiful (and delicious!) asian style cuisine they feature. I love shooting food, as it is wonderful to work with restauranteurs and collaborate with the creativity of chefs. Evan Neal-Pishko has been the chef of Asolare restaurant since October of last year, and his team has been doing a wonderful job of emphasizing local ingredients with asian flair. The shoot was fun, and the images were integrated within the website design by Level9 Studios, as well as in online marketing and social media. I look forward to more projects such as this in 2010.
Virgin Fresh: An island beekeeping initiative – Images by Kathryn Wagner
This past winter I was fortuante to document an island wide beekeeping initiative on St. John. I was interested in the effort and the class because it attempts to tackle a unique problem to the islands: what can you do in a rural area with little land for agriculture? Tourism is definitely the island’s mainstay industry, but beekeeping is a small, yet unique solution, to the lack of local goods available. Bee hives do not require a large amount of land and they have a highly diversified portfolio of potential end products. Thus an interested bee farmer could have many hive on just one acre of land and host their own small industry in their backyard. The class was ten weeks long, and highly attended by many interested locals, who have gone on to begin raising their own hives. My hopes are with the many beekeepers that local honey, candles and beauty products – not to mention a new industry – will soon become available as a result of a beekeeper’s efforts.
Josephine’s Greens, Coral Bay St. John – Images by Kathryn Wagner
St. John’s Coral Bay Garden Center is Josephine Roller’s organic brainchild and the best place on island to get produce, as it is local and harvested daily. In this photo Josephine begins her morning by walking out to her garden for a batch of her mixed greens before the day’s customers arrive.
Images such as this are why I love living in a location surrounded by water. Cruz bay harbor is busy for it’s small size and you can frequently see boaters coming and going from the docks. I loved making this photograph, as it shows a slice of island living that happens every day throughout the Caribbean.
I had a great time this week photographing a rare sight, Nash Metropolitan. The car is the only one in the Virgin Islands and dates from 1962, one of the last years Nash manufactured the Metropolitan model. Many celebrities have also owned a similar vehicle, including Jimmy Buffet, who had a 1958 Nash which he drove around Key West Florida. This car was really beautiful and spoke to me of a genteel era on St. John, when a car was a less common sight than a sailboat. Deanna, the car’s owner, imported it from the U.S. where it has been a member of her extended family for years. She drives it daily and says it ‘runs like a top.’