Forgotten Local Treasure

Ok, confession time! I’m ashamed to admit that for nearly 7 years I drove past the Gamble Plantation countless times on my way to the fantastic outlet mall in Ellenton, and never stopped once!... And I love history! What’s wrong with me? I'd drive by, see it in the corner of my eye, chide myself, and keep on driving.

It embarrassingly got to the point that my Mom would say it before I said it, “I know, you need to go there some day. But, not today right?” And she’d laugh. At that point, I knew I had a problem.

I finally visited the plantation exactly a year ago. Somehow I heard there was going to be an antique car show there, and managed to make a big family trip out of it, my Mom, maternal Grandparents, my husband and I. It was a strange visual parallel to see these antique cars be outdone by an even more antique house. Here’s my favorite picture from that day last year.

Car Show at Gamble Plantation, Photo by Polar Bear Studio

So when Danielle, Pippi's Mom and an Ellenton resident, volunteered to participate in the Dogs of Manatee County calendar, I asked her if she had any place in mind, and to her credit she reminded me about Gamble Plantation. Duh! Sometimes it’s not hidden local treasures as much as it is forgotten local treasures. I hope that by including the plantation as a location (that rhymes!) more people will be encouraged, or reminded, to check it out!

We scheduled for first thing in the morning, to beat any crowds or tour groups that might make the shoot challenging, and no car show that day!

Since Pippi is petite (because no one wants to be called a small dog), I thought it would be interesting to do a shallow depth of field with extreme perspective, so Pippi would actually be the same size if not larger than the house.

There's a long driveway in front of the estate, so logistically I was able to do it! It was simply a matter of lining her up in the narrow shot without completely covering up the house.

I think the end result is reminiscent of an official White House pet portrait. Or, if you’re thinking Scarlett O’Hara and legendary Tara...well let’s say you weren’t the first, Pippi is a southern belle after all!

Jack Russell Terrier at Gamble Plantation, Photo by Polar Bear Studio

I fell in love with the green shuttered windows and the welcoming wooden chairs on the east side of the house. The morning light and shadow frames Pippi perfectly, imperfectly. This shot especially reminds me of the Wishbone books & tv series I LOVED when I was little. A dog with an inner monologue? Yes please!

Jack Russell Terrier at Gamble Plantation, Photo by Polar Bear Studio

Here are a few close ups with the sugar cane grinder exhibit in the background. Pippi has several charming 'looks.' And when I say, 'looks', I mean that this is a very self-aware dog who knows she's gorgeous and knows she's having her picture taken. She has star quality with her bubbly energy and bright, cheerful eyes and smile. 

That’s how she stole the hearts of her Mom and Dad who were intending on adopting a senior pet before Pippi delightfully sabotaged all their plans. 

Thank you Danielle & John for meeting me so early in the morning and for sharing Pippi with me! She’s a real sweetheart! 


Jack Russell Terrier, by Polar Bear Studio

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