Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas in the New House

Freja had a chance to meet Santa for the very first time. He happened to visit our local library on the same day as the holiday bake sale. And by "happened" I mean they had a brilliant way to sell all sorts of goodies at $9.50/pound. A new friend, Alex Bledsoe, tipped us off on how important it was to get there early. In order to see Ole St. Nick it was purely a "take a number & wait" sort of deal.

Thankfully we got an early number, while the guy in red was still fresh. We told her that it was important to only ask for the ONE toy she truly wanted. She had time to think, so was ready to get up there, and have her turn.

To Santa's inquiry of what she most wanted her reply was, "Ummm. I want a robot dinosaur that is as big as the REAL Godzilla! Yeah, and it has to breath REAL fire!"

That's my girl!

The Thursday before Christmas weekend we got hit with a blizzard that dumped 16" - 24" of snow. I doubt there was anybody as excited by this as I. It meant we were snowed into our new home for the first time! After a quick stocking up, moving firewood onto the porch, and simple prepwork, we were ready for a six-day home holiday!

Teri did work from home, but thankfully she was able to take short breaks in order to enjoy simply being home. Having her here, for almost a week, combined with the Christmas surprise I had in store for her, was the best. For practically the very first time we where going to relax, and enjoying our home. We've done a lot of work since March when we bought it, with more to do. This first time though, it was just about being home for the Holidays.

Naturally, we did a lot of just playing with the kid. Freja was beside herself with both of us here to entertain here. As we all played, and endured being examined by an "Angel Doctor," all I could do was count down the hours until the surprise I had in store for my wife.

After days of preparing "to go shoot photos" of whatever, I was able to slip over to the airport, pick up my stepson, and make it home in a reasonable amount of time. I dropped him off a block away, and then parked in our garage. When I entered I complained of the bad lighting conditions, and started unpacking my gear bag. In actuality I was preparing to try to take the shot of her being surprised.

After unlocking the front door, I had just enough time to get my gear pointed out the kitchen door, into the house. Gabriel, my stepson, was just walking in. My wife was combing out her wet hair as she began to head towards the front.

At the sight of him, she began to whirl towards me, a look of disbelief on her face. We'd achieved total surprise!

We spent a couple of days just celebrating the Christmas Holiday! Having family at home, a warm fire burning, lots of great food, and beer, not to mention the great guests who all stopped by, made for the perfect Christmas! I can't wait until next year. Hopefully more family will come.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Just a Few More Days...

Over the years I've been fortunate to know, work with, and be inspired by talented, passionate artists in the Pittsburgh area. From my early apprenticeship in a prop fabrication studio, to being Creative Coordinator at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History; I've always had the desire to generate quality, artistic work. In the early years I worked at various studios, learning to create the various elements that tend to go in front of cameras. Prop and diorama fabrication, theatrical/movie set construction, special effects, and lighting was my passion. Eventually I began to delve into computer animation, graphics, and digital movie production. Something essential seemed to elude me. In everything I did, from creating realistic dioramas, to producing short educational films at the museum, I’d never truly found my personal artistic medium of expression.

In 2003 I bought my first digital SLR camera. Delivered a day before a trip to Maui. I actually read the manual for the first time during the long flight. On that island something magical happened! Through that first lens everything I’d learned over the years suddenly gelled. An aesthetic formed inside me that tied all the various elements of my professional skills together. I’d found a medium that sparked an intense passion to learn, and explore.

Sunset Through Jacaranda

As I began to grow as a photographer, I found an excitement of purpose that hasn't stopped. I doubt it ever will. The enjoyment of doing good work, constantly learning new aspects of the craft, and engaging with new people is something I’d not trade for anything.

I eventually resigned from the museum. Not only to become a photographer, but also to become a stay at home father. In 2007 my daughter Freja was born, and I've never been happier. I live my life these days. I’m fortunate to be able to enjoy my life as a parent, and to have met success as a photographer. In late 2011 we had another sudden change of direction.

A few rides down the big plastic slide and she’s charged up enough to light a small town!

My wife, Teri, had a career opportunity that saw us move from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin. At the time of this writing, December 2012, I've been officially closed (minus one wedding shoot at Virginia Beach) for over a year. Relocating a family, and all the accumulated “stuff” in an organized way, and then remodeling/repairing our old house, and the new, meant putting my photography aside. Other than family photos, I've tried to resist my urges to go shooting.

Needless to say, I’m VERY excited that 2013 is just days away!! I can set aside my self-imposed hold on exploring my craft. Here I am, in an entirely new region to explore. We love our new life as well. I've been fortunate once more and have found the perfect place for me to grow, not only as a parent and husband, but as an artist as well.

Just a few more days…