octobertwelveontwelve

 

Like everyone these days it seems, it feels like I am on the go all the time. When I got away for a few days this month, I wondered what it would be like to just not come back…just to stay where the waves are.

But obviously that is not an option. So back I am.

This month has been filled with work and volunteering and lots of time in the car and traffic and not enough time at home. Lots of noise.

We finally got back to Sanibel to down to check on our place, post hurricane. We were fine, but my god…on an accidental road trip we found where Irma’s wrath really landed.

We went looking for alligators and we found Everglades City. While we were on the edge of town, deciding which airboat ride to take for our little holiday jaunt, we did not know that less than a kilometre away, pure hurricane devastation had happened.

A guide at Jungle Erv’s made mention of the hurricane in an off hand comment, saying that if you wanted to really see what a hurricane could do, then we should take a drive through the town.

Off we went on our airboat ride, flying through mangroves and meeting a three legged girl gator and her huge gator boyfriend. Pure fun and Florida kitsch. We looked at the t-shirts and alligator key chains and got back into our comfy rental car. And then took that drive the employee suggested.

Well.

Shit.

Everglades City was inundated during the hurricane. It lies at sea level, an original fishing area, tucked away on the edge of a national park. Many of the residents have lived there forever and many of the homes are trailers. They did not stand a chance against Irma. Many residents stayed and witnessed their homes and properties be destroyed, escaping with their safety and practically nothing else. During the flooding, their waste management system was overwhelmed and let loose a dangerous mix of waste into the rising waters…waters that flowed through homes and lives, making a terrible situation even worse.

Piles of belongings lay along side the road. There was an area ( it is still there ) that the locals ( according to local media, because I have read everything about this town now ) began calling Mount Trashmore – a mountain of toys, mattresses, clothing, furniture, broken pieces of hundreds of homes, waiting to be taken away, unusable, defiled by the waters of the storm.

The people of this area are self sufficient, many having weathered many hurricanes, and they did not get the help they needed as fast as they should have for a few reasons. They still need help. Homes are condemned and unliveable. Temporary housing still needs to be organized. Businesses are closed. Businesses that need to open. The school is open but kids are living miles away in homes of family and friends while their own homes sit empty, bare of all their belongings, waiting for the recovery to start.

It is one thing to see photos of devastation on CNN. It is completely another to see it first hand. I can not even imagine what Puerto Rico is experiencing if this is what a town an hour away from affluent Naples looks like.

And what are the people of Everglades city saying? Come and see us, help us get our businesses back up and running, come spend your money here and let’s get back to normal as fast as we can.

So, that is what I will share…anyone going to Florida in the near future, go to Everglades City. Take an airboat ride at Jungle Erv’s. Buy the t-shirt and the alligator key chain ( I wish I had ). Visit the Everglades National Park ( it is aiming to reopen partially for the upcoming winter season ). The seafood is supposed to be amazing…but I could not find any restaurants that were open. They are all damaged. Hell…just stop at the gas station, fill up and buy snacks. Help support these people get back on their feet. It is going to take time.

Here are some articles about the devastation in Everglades City:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/10/11/people-everglades-survive-thrive-wake-hurricane-irma/752666001/

http://www.fox4now.com/weather/hurricane/everglades-city-post-hurricane-irma#id7

http://www.naplesnews.com/story/weather/hurricanes/2017/09/19/hurricane-irma-bacteria-too-numerous-count-everglades-city-floodwaters/677441001/

http://wlrn.org/post/everglades-city-residents-still-without-temporary-housing-after-hurricane-irma-storm-surge

The irony of beginning my month of images with picture perfect photos of homes and ending my month realizing what the dirty reality of losing your home looks like is not lost on me.

I did take photos in Everglades City, but I have chosen not to share them. There are many images of loss out there and I did not want to add to the noise. And those are people’s lives in those piles. It felt wrong.

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twentyfouronfourteen

Funny how that time thing works…it just keeps moving forward, regardless if you can keep up with it or not.

Two twelveontwelve months have passed, both with extraordinarily good intentions. Both foiled by, oddly enough, Florida.

In August we got away for a quick mini ( meaning with one kid instead of three ) vacation to Orlando. Any other photographers want to describe how AWESOME hotel internet is when you try and upload multiple files? For those not in the know…it is abysmal. Like beyond bad. So, aside from fitting in four parks and one rocket launch, I did not manage to post for August. I meant to, I really did…

And then this month, which was already more than full with birthdays and school for the kids and business trips for my husband and many shoots for me, was completely derailed by Irma. Who could pull themselves away? We have homes and huge sentimental attachment to a little island that was in the path of Irma and I spent all of last weekend glued to CNN ( god…even FOX ) and twitter ( thanks @sanibelnik! ) watching and waiting and watching and waiting to see if we would even have an island to go back to.

Florida. It is always Florida.

So, in honour of this sunshine state that so messed with my state of mind this summer, I am dedicating this whole darn post to Florida.

The first twelve images are from our recent trip to Orlando. Yes, a pilgrimage to the parks of Disney and Universal. I have a child who is not a fan of mascots. Let’s just say that I might be down playing his complete and total aversion to anything in costumes with that previous statement. So when he felt that he was ready to face his fears…we took advantage of this window of enthusiasm ( this same child may have a mother who adores pretty much everything about the Magic Kingdom ). Unfortunately, that window slammed shut somewhere between Thing One and Thing Two at Islands of Adventure and then became locked and never to be opened again with the Jamboree Bears at the not so Magical Kingdom. Oh well…the rocket launch was awesome. No mascots at the Kennedy Space Center…thanks SpaceX!

The second twelve images are a nod to the beauty of our little spot in paradise that was spared during Irma. I shared many of these images on instagram during the storm and can not express how thankful I am that the damage received was no worse. That said, minutes away, the damage was severe and plentiful and there remains right now a great need for post Irma support.

I will add some links after the images of  charities and organizations offering their support to South West Florida, the Keys and the Caribbean Islands.

So, Florida, we love you. See you in a few weeks.

 

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One day he will love the magic. One day.

We should have just gone to the beach…

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My kids have spent their childhoods here. I love this place.

But Florida ( and the Caribbean ) need help now.

These charities are taking donations and will get the money to the people who need it.

F.I.S.H. of Sanibel – Captiva

CROW ( Animal Rehabilitation )

Key West United Way

FLKeys SPCA

GoFundMe – IRMA ( Consolidation of Multiple Caribbean Charities )

Virgin Unite

 

 

 

julytwelveontwelve

I am writing this post late. Vacation and bad internet get in the way of doing anything properly in the summer. As it should.

And as I write this, I have no idea which photos I am choosing to share this month.

Rachel, the mom of #photographinghappiness, spoke about memorializing your life in photos after she and her family experienced a heartbreaking loss recently. For me that means capturing the people you love living and laughing and being. The big moments, the little moments, the special and the quiet. Even the mad and the sad and the disappointed.

In my group of friends, as in any large group of friends, there have been many life changing losses.  And when these terrible times happen, I always find myself scrambling for images – smiles, laughter, togetherness, love, humour – anything to not let that person go one more bit. And there are never enough photos. Never ever.

I think this is why I take so many damn photos. Even when I know it is not enough.

I don’t think that I really took anything outstanding this month, but what I am offering up is a ollection of life as it happen to us.

Edited to add: So even in selecting these images I realize I am missing so much and so many.

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JUNETWELVEONTWELVE

The #photographinghappiness theme this month revolves around food.

My month revolved around soccer and baseball and birthday parties and proms and more birthday parties, leaving little room for foodie-ness.

Instead, this month I have decided to indulge myself in a delicious walk down memory lane. It was actually food photography that led me to become a contributor for Dabble magazine several years ago…a little Quebec brie, a well worn wooden cutting board and some good natural light was enough to give me a chance to travel to France and capture food, wonderful food, from Albi to Honfleur. Fritons de canard, les bulots, coeur de neufchâtel cheese, canard à la rouennaise ( pressed duck ), racine des reglisses…and of course the custom of the trou normand.

So much to learn and so much to photograph. I am by nature rather shy in new situations but within a day, I found myself standing atop a chair in a restaurant in Toulouse, surrounded by amused patrons as I captured a beautifully presented soup…on the floor.

After ten days of extraordinary meals prepared by dedicated and talented chefs, a trip to a five hundred year old wine cellar, a Normandy cooking lesson in Le Havre, dining atop a hill in a medieval village, a renewed appreciation for apples and a love of Calvados and a magical dinner in a Michelin Starred restaurant, I was happily sated.

Well, until the next food adventure appeared. I always have room for just a little bit more.

I do love my food. I hope this comes through in my collection of twelve images this month.

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My friend Jen’s home

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L’Ancienne Auberge, Puycelsi, France

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Farmer’s Market, San Diego

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L’Ancienne Auberge, Puycelsi, France

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Mont Tremblant, Quebec

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Les Terras Neuvas ( closed ), Fecamp, France

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GoldenEye, Jamaica

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Le Bistro du Port, Honfleur, France

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Made with love

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Fairy Floss

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La bete a pain, Ahuntsic, Montreal

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My kitchen, carrot cake

 

Curious about any of the restaurants, dishes or details I mentioned? Here are the links:

L’Ancienne Auberge in Puycelsi, France

Le Bistro du Port in Honfleur, France

La Bete a pain in Ahuntsic, Montreal

GoldenEye in Oracabessa, Jamaica

For pressed duck, La Couronne in Rouen

For Calvados in Pays d’Auge, Normandy, France

 

On to July and a new month of images.

maytwelveontwelve

This month, the #photographinghappiness challenge is “faceless portraits”.

This was not a stretch for me. I love looking at portraits that are not traditional, expected or easy to read. I find them to be interesting and often able to tell a story much more effectively than a straight on, full face portrait. Take a peek through my photo albums ( yes, I still print almost everything ) and it is often not what you would expect. Backs of heads, tops of heads, blurred bodies, lots of feet ( what can I say? I can’t really explain that easily )…but hopefully always a story.

I was  not able to shoot twelve faceless portraits this month. I don’t even think that was the expectation. However,  I went back over the last few months and was able to find a definite pattern of images, one that has been present for a long time in my shooting. I think part of it developed early on, when we were forced ( happily ) as photography and art history students to not miss the details. Part of my appreciation of these images also emerged during my first 365 Project. You can only look at your face so many times before you need to look elsewhere for inspiration ( probably the same reason why there are so many Snapchat stickers and Instagram *from where I stand* collections. Or so I hope. ).

I have to say that, ironically,  when I do need a headshot for one of my kids for school, that I am often left scrambling, fully realizing that despite having hundreds of photos that hopefully share so much…that sometimes you actually need a head and a smile and a reliable gaze.

I wanted to delve deeper into the theories behind being faceless and presenting faceless to the world, as I imagine there are many…but that will have to wait for another time. For now? A collection of a few recent favourite faceless images from the last year.

 

 

apriltwelveontwelve

So soon!

The #photographinghappiness group certainly keeps me on my toes.

This month’s theme was to tell a story. I loved this theme. I pretty much shoot to tell a story every time I pick up my camera. Sometimes you get the tale in one shot, sometimes in twelve and sometimes not at all. I could have told this story in six photos ( and they would have been a different six than the ones that appear here ) but the challenge is twelve images and so be it, I am sharing a dozen. I could have shared all of them ( and probably did on Facebook already;)).

I did not shoot consciously with this theme in mind, and in some ways I wish I had. I would have taken more photos of the sugar pie and the maple beer. That is a pretty fair criticism of everything I photograph. Never enough pie and beer.

Ever.

Not even at three pieces of pie.

And so here is the story of Auntie Heidi’s birthday party. And how the Bloomfield family has never met a maple tree or a competition they did not rise to.

Okay, the maple part is absolutely the Auclair part of the family ( maple ) tree shining through:).

 

twelveontwelvemarch

What a whirlwind of a month that was. And now it is gone.

And here I am, April Fool’s Day, posting the photos I took ( kind of ) for #photographinghappiness on March 12th. Because I have issues with being late, I ended up once again ignoring the theme due to the fact that the internet I had that day would not cooperate with loading my *insert finger parentheses here* real photos and I went ahead and participated with my mobile images.

Which are really no less *insert finger parentheses here* real than any photos taken on my other camera. But I digress.

Apparently I do not have that many issues with being late, since its has taken me two weeks to get around to updating this space. But here I am.

I actually only remembered because I am cruising Montreal Fashion Blogs for who knows what reason. I actually have reasons but they are dumb so I will leave that there.

PHOTOS!

Once again, lucky girl that I am, I was away on sunnier shores for the twelfth of the month again. Let’s be honest, if I could be away for EVERY twelfth of every month, I would be. So, sunshine and bad internet ruled the day and here was my little piece of happiness in twelve.

Maybe I will just start writing about Sanibel. My fave photos are all from there. Getty is loving everything I submit from there. I am happy there. And I intend to be there more and more and more. Hmmmm.

If you are so inclined, please feel free to search out Sesame Ellis’ #photographinghappiness project on IG and Facebook. Just use the hashtag. You know what to do.

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twelveontwelvefebruary

Well look at me. Here I am again. I have to be honest. All twelve images this month could have been birds and beach. Since we last met, there has been nothing but winter, concussed kiddo, winter, sick kiddo, winter, beach ( thank frickin goodness ) and yes, more winter happening here. Ironically, there will be no photos of winter in my twelve this month. Perhaps tomorrow I will break down and try and find some wintry beauty to capture as we are receiving quite a bit of it this evening. But I still won’t like it. You can not find heart shaped anything in a snowbank no matter how hard you try.

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Just a monthly reminder that you too can join the #photographinghappiness group on Instagram and Facebook. Follow that hashtag;).

Perspective was the theme for February but I suck at self reflection and have a generally skewed sense of perspective, so I hope that covers me for the theme.

 

1.twelveontwelve

A long time ago, I used to post photos daily,  in a wonderful universe, surrounded by friends doing the same. It was a community that I adored.

But of course things change and sometimes beautiful things have their time and are outgrown.

And then, sometimes, you think that maybe, just maybe, it is time again to take a few moments and embrace them as your own.

A photographer I found all those years ago and have always followed quietly, recently shared an idea and it appealed to me in it’s simplicity and ease. Take time for the little moments. Regularly. And share.

And so I am.

Alex. Eight. Beach.

Alex. Eight. Beach.

Alex. Eight. Universal.

Alex. Eight. Universal.

Alex. Eight. Christmas Ball. Tradition.

Alex. Eight. Christmas Ball. Tradition.

Alex. Eight. Spellcasting.

Alex. Eight. Spellcasting.

Alex. Eight. Listening.

Alex. Eight. Listening.

Alex. Eight. Cousins.

Alex. Eight. Cousins.

Alex. Elliot. Eight. Nine. Waiting. Wands.

Alex. Elliot. Eight. Nine. Waiting. Wands.

Overhead.

Overhead.

Discovery.

Discovery.

Eat.

Eat.

Walk.

Walk.

Stand.

Stand.

Originally I had these ordered all differently, but it has been a long time since I posted and I mixed them all up…and then liked them better. So they stand, like my little bird friend.

 

You can find the creator of the 12on12 project here:

Sesame Ellis & Co. Photographing Happiness

#photographinghappiness on Instagram

There is a Facebook group as well. Let me know and I can get you there.