Friday, February 29, 2008

Springtime in Florida


One of the first pictures I took of my dad with my own camera, a Kodak Instamatic that someone gave me He's on the left with his brother Jerry sitting on his Vespa scooter - his introduction to the motorcycle.
. (1979).

I have tons a great memories of Florida in the springtime. I spent every available free time I could taking my kids down from North Carolina to see my dad and the beach. My dad lived in an apartment for awhile and then he bought a small one bedroom house with a nice yard filled with orange trees in the back yard.
We would usually leave early in the morning and get there around 5-6 in the evening and my dad would be waiting for us. A lot of the times, he would be out in the driveway with his motorcycle cleaning it or polishing the chrome or something. We'd pull up, he'd have hugs and kisses for us and he would always ask how the traffic was at different points on the route. He drove the same way up to us every chance he could as well. In some ways, it was like he was just up the road (about 700miles) but we still saw each other often - maybe even more than families who live in the same town.
I remember a particular trip on Memorial weekend when we came down to paint my dad's house. We only had five days so we just planned to paint, go to the beach and just hang out with my dad and brother. My dad had been sick and had a liver transplant the year before. He was recovering very well and it was so exciting to see him getting back to his old self.
The kids were about 8 & 9 and they were able to help with the trim and we had a great time. My brother Tony and Brad did all the high stuff and I helped with the detail and getting their buckets filled. I took pictures too.
We finished in 3 days and we went to a park in downtown St.Pete near the harbor. We watched Jim skateboard and the kids climbed trees and we had a nice time. The air was soft and breezy, the sky was clear and blue, and the air smelled of lilac and saltwater. It was a lazy long spring afternoon and it was as close to perfect as one can get on this earth.

My dad with the kids.

He didn't know I was shooting him.

We went to the beach the next day, got quick tans, ate out and slept in. What I remember the most about the trip was how easy it was to be there. My dad was doing so well and my brother had gotten a great job. My husband was home from an overseas deployment, the kids were happy and healthy, and I had finished school. We drove home that Tuesday and I remember driving away and feeling like all was right in the world. It was.

My family - Brad, Tony, my dad Jim, Rachel & Jimmy.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wilma and Fred

On April 1, 2004, I was sitting having a cup of coffee and had just sent my kids on the bus to school. It was a clear, bright sunny day and the temperature was just above zero. I live in Alaska - no joke. Anywho, I had just glanced out the kitchen window and discovered that a moose was crossing the street behind my house and coming towards my neighbor's yard. I got excited and grabbed my camera and proceeded to shoot several frames (before I went digital) from my deck in my jammies and socks. He got bored and walked away.
I began my housework and went to take the trash out to the dumpster (across the parking area) and as I turned around to walk back to my house, there he was!!! No farther than about 6 feet away - just chomping on the tree in my neighbor's front yard. He just looked amused at my apparent state of shock. But he just kept eating. I couldn't breath and I was was frozen (both figuratively and literally - I hadn't bothered to put shoes on over my socks - just a quick jaunt right?) and I just ran into the house and threw on some clothes and went to my camera gear. I quickly inventoried my film, my lenses and both bodies.
My husband was surely fascinated to see me running around scrounging every last roll of film. I found a total of thirteen rolls; most 24 exposures, and a few 36 exposures. I threw everything into my truck, refilled my cup of coffee and grabbed my cell phone and an extra pack of batteries (just in case). I drove out of the garage and the moose was nowhere to be found. My heart sunk. I drove around one side of my block, nothing. I started to come back home when my hubby called and said the moose was on the other side and there was another moose with him. My heart started racing!!! I quickly drove over to the other side and there they were!!!! I hit the mother load!!! They were about 15 feet away and gorgeous!!!
I love moose! I think they are such awesome creatures and while a lot of people say they are simple, I think they are perfect! They live by instinct and they nurture their young and they are simply fabulous!!!

I began to shoot them, at first just a few at a time. It was so cold and I was dealing with fog on the lens. But I just watched them to see what they were going to do. They didn't seem to mind me sitting there at first; they just foraged and walked around. Then they decided to check out the other side of the block and I followed. Watching them was fascinating, it was obvious when they were communicating with each other and when one wanted to move, the other followed. So did I.

I spent that whole morning and early afternoon watching them and shooting them from my truck (through the moon roof, money well-spent) and across my hood. A couple of times I ventured close to them, took a few frames and then got scared to death! One of the best days I have ever had here in Alaska.

You can see more here - http://flickr.com/photos/nikongirlsphotoshop/

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cabin Fever

I quit my job as a swim instructor this week and I have been having a cabin fever type feeling about quilting. I have an enormous stash in my basement and in my sewing room and I have been going through UFOs (unfinished offerings) and sorting through all the "kits" I put together with wonderful patterns that I thought would be fun to make. Of course, time has gotten away from me with the series of events from this past year and half of the "kits" are not together with their patterns (or books). SO much for organization!
Anywho, I am moving to Kentucky from Alaska (after 6 years here) in 9 weeks. I obviously have a lot to do just with packing and purging, but I can't seem to fold up my fabric tent just yet. It's crazy I know, practicality should win over and I should get my butt in gear; but, the muse is calling and she is determined to get some creative juices flowing.
I have been working on a BOM with my great, awesome friend Lori, my wonderful Sarah and my beautiful daughter Rachel and some new friends across the country and world. Well, it is going extremely well, almost too well! I have been quite prolific in my sewing and am ahead on my blocks. <-----AHEAD! We are only finishing the second block. See, this all started when my friend Lori and I were together after the birth of my grandson and awaiting the birth of hers. I was confessing to her all the doubts and disappointments I had experienced over the past few years and Lori, being the upbeat, positive woman that she is, said we need to do something about this slump you're in. Hence, the LL Super Sampler BOM was born. Then it quickly spread among our friends and now we have our own website. http://kellygillis.wordpress.com/.
Anywho, don't know where all that came from, but I am struggling with wanting to sew all day and night and getting my household packed. Funny, that my cabin fever isn't tring to push me out of the cabin.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My grandson - Brian Christian Larrabee

Well, I know I should have done this sooner and I apologize that it took me this long. Brian is here! He arrived on October 19, 2007. Oh, I know what you're thinking, lazy!! I think it everyday! Well, I will attempt to make up for my slacking by showing you a few of my favorite photos of him. He is the most wonderful human being in the world and brings me so much joy! I love him so very much and I want to share him with you.
One day old -
Going home -
My first photoshoot with Brian


Sunday, February 24, 2008

I am a photographer

I am a professional photographer. I enjoy capturing that ONE image that makes you go...wait a minute! Or what a great smile!!! I use my camera to communicate, illustrate, record, capture, express and to remember. While I shoot a variety of subjects, my favorite is the human face. I believe the human face is the most interesting subject to look at and I never get tired of looking.

Some of my favorite faces:
my son Jim, my daughter Rachel,
and my friend Sarah Raffuse's baby girl, Audrey Marie!

Jump Jump Jumparoo!

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler: Encore

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

Too Much Candy

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