A local photographer's picture of St. Augustine's Castillo de San Marcos is among the first prize winners in the National Park Service's Find Your Parks Centennial Project contest.
Stacey Sather, a photographer and graphic designer, submitted her photo of the Castillo to the National Park Service in response to their call for entries last fall. Entries could be video, photos or original artwork that told the story of what individuals loved about their national park. Her photo was among 250 finalists out of a total 5,400 entries. The finalists' photos were posted on FindYourPark.com in October 2015 and the public voted on their favorites. Sather's Castillo shot is one of 45 first prize winners in the National Park Service Centennial Project contest and is featured in the Find Your Park national campaign and on its website. Sather will be recognized in Washington, D.C., at the National Park Service's Centennial Celebration in August.
"I've probably taken hundreds of photos of the Castillo over the last 8 years," said Sather. "I captured this image of the Castillo at sunrise with a Nikon D810 and 16-35mm wide angle lens. What makes the Castillo special as a photographer is its dramatically beautiful structure and setting. The sunlight and reflections from the bay constantly illuminate the craggy coquina walls and unique angles of the fortress to showcase its massive construction, especially at sunrise. How many people have the incredible good fortune to take in a 17th century National Monument fortress every day on their way to work? I do, and it's always a "pinch me" experience."
The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S. After nine wooden forts designed to protect Spanish St. Augustine were burned by invaders, the Spanish militia took on the monumental task of constructing a stone fort to protect the city and its treasury from pirates, the British and other attackers. The Castillo, made from locally sourced coquina, began in 1672 and took 23 years to complete.
In 1924, the Castillo, or Fort Marion, as it was known at the time, was declared a national monument by President Calvin Coolidge. Approximately 800,000 people visit the Castillo each year. The National Park Service this year celebrates its 100th Anniversary. The U.S. has more than 400 national parks; a remarkable representation of America's natural and historical legacy. And no national park is more historic than the Castillo de San Marcos.
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