Birds that make Siesta Key home have “landed” on a new line of handmade note cards, Siesta Key Notes, from professional photographer Jan Baumgartner, a visitor to Siesta Key since 2009.
Baumgartner’s Siesta Key Notes features images of native birds reproduced as high-quality prints with a UV coating on archival lustre paper. Each print is attached to the face of the note card with clear photo corners instead of glue to protect the integrity of the print. A piece of hand-trimmed writing paper is fastened inside each card. The back of the card provides a wealth of information including a map of Siesta Key and a vivid description of the bird.
The “A-ha” moment for Baumgartner in developing her line of note cards occurred during her visit to the island last spring. She went looking to purchase note cards that featured photos of Siesta Key.
“Gift shops on the Key and around Sarasota offer lovely post cards, calendars, and books with Siesta Key vistas,” said Baumgartner. However, I couldn’t find any keep-and-frame photographs of Siesta Key wildlife to share with family and friends in a note card size.”
Baumgartner takes great pride in the patience required to create a stunning photograph of one of her subjects. She doesn’t use food or other inducements to capture her subjects. Her most effective way to get the picture she wants, “patience.”
“I have found it is possible to casually approach coastal birds resting on the sand, foraging in the waves, sunning on the rocks, and congregating on man-made breakwaters for a closer look,” said Baumgartner. Then, I just need to wait to get the picture I want.”
Siesta Key Notes can be found at BLVD Beachwear in Siesta Key Village. Owner of BLVD Beachwear, Carmen Rouse, provided Baumgartner with support and guidance to further the development and refinement of the product line that is custom- designed for the Siesta Key audience.
“Carmen took a genuine interest in my concepts and samples and offered me encouragement and ideas based on what she knows Siesta Key shoppers want,” said Baumgartner. “Her help was invaluable, and she offered me an open invitation to debut Siesta Key Notes at her store for the 2019 holiday season and upcoming high season.”
What inspired Rouse to make such a generous offer to an unknown artist with no merchandising experience?
“I liked the Siesta Key Notes because it highlighted the birds on our beach and offers an immediate local connection,” said Rouse. Plus, the cards are beautifully done, are truly unique, and naturally compliment BLVD Beachwear’s selection of resort wear and carefully curated selection of gifts.”
Baumgartner doesn’t see Siesta Key Notes as just another typical note card. To her, it is much more.
“I want residents and visitors to be able to connect with and appreciate the coastal birds that are mainstays of the Key’s natural environment,” said Baumgartner. What started as photographing birds for my own enjoyment has evolved into a larger mission of bringing people closer to the natural inhabitants with whom we share our beaches.”
“Many types of birds may appear plentiful when they congregate on the beaches,” Baumgartner continued, however, according to the National Audubon Society , their collective numbers have declined since the 1970s. “If my work somehow boosts awareness of Siesta Key’s coastal dwellers and their shrinking habitat, I will be very happy.”
Currently, there are 14 different note cards in both sizes featuring 9 different birds. Some birds are repeated with more than one view.
The note cards come in two different sizes: A7 = 5 x 7 in. card with 4 x 6 photograph and matching envelope. A2 = 4.25 x 5.5 in. card with 3.5 x 5 photograph and matching envelope.
The inaugural set of birds featured on the note cards are: brown pelican, laughing gall, little blue heron, ring- billed gull, royal tern, sanderling, snowy egret, willet, and coming soon, great blue heron.
On her most recent trip, Baumgartner captured images of six additional birds that will be become new additions to her line of note cards. She also captured new views of several other birds already in the collection that will be also be available.
BLVD Beachwear is located at 5239 Ocean Boulevard, Suite C, Siesta Village.