Deep Breaths

Deep Breaths

Maintaining a website is akin to going to the dentist - it’s something that I have to do but somehow I can always find something I would rather be doing. Maybe this isn’t the case for you, but for me, it is a chore. I am not sure why this is. I have a design background, I have plenty of material and words come easy for me. Perhaps it is a stage of my life - dealing with the transition of kids to adulthood, realizing that the generation before me is not going to live forever and contemplating the nagging question of “am I doing enough?” makes me choose mind-numbing activities like Facebook and the Hallmark Channel. That has got to change.

Today is my day. It is not a Monday or January 1st - heck, I don’t even know what day of the week it is! It is just my day to share, to grow and to make an impact to those who land on this site. As Mel Robbins says 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - Go. You can’t obsess over what you should have been doing or what you could have done better, you just have to move forward and be the best YOU that you can be. No looking back.

It HAS been a whirlwind year. It is crazy when you get older time flies so fast, years slip by like months, days like minutes. I traveled alot - not primarily for fun. I have photographed some of the most interesting people and I regret not sharing their images with you. I also regret not sharing their stories because even the most “ordinary” people are uniquely interesting.

So - my goal is to recap, to stay current and to use up so much space on my web server that I have to upgrade my account. As for that $45 daily planner (sorry Jeff - it was a business expense) I purchased to motivate me . . . I am going to try using it as more than a book to scribble notes in.

Thanks for letting me share my goals and for keeping me accountable!

Gee - that wasn’t so bad.

If you can't join 'em - BEAT 'em

If you can't join 'em - BEAT 'em

My teen-aged son approached me a while ago telling me that I had to start making presets and then start changing my Instagram so it is visibly consistent. What? I dismissed the idea - thanks but no thanks. After 35 years of doing photography you learn that the only consistency in a series of photographs is that there is no consistency. Light is always changing, no two people have the same skin tone and colors morph right before your very eyes. The camera is a tool that captures a moment and no two moments are ever the same.

I have spend decades - literally - striving to achieve the perfect skin tone and vibrant, larger than life colors in the camera. Post processing is just a bonus. You see, you just can’t unlearn something. I can’t intentionally try to take a poorly exposed picture - it is just impossible. I HAVE taken them though and have also stopped deleting them because nowadays every mistake can be salvaged.

So of course, my defenses were up when my 16 year old told me that I needed to use presets. To me, the idea of taking a beautiful image and assaulting it with desaturation, adding grain (the very grain that I had painstakingly tried to avoid) and throwing some unnatural colors on it offended me. I LIVED through Polaroid and 110 film and look back at photographs from my youth and cringe. But I also don’t want to become a dinosaur either and realize that the age gap between me and my clients is getting larger by the minute. So I acquiesced and took a whole wedding that I shot and put a preset that I snarkily called “The Millennial Blowout” onto each and every picture. To my surprise, I actually liked it. Who knew?

This is where the bonus of living with teenagers comes in. I have designed a bunch of presets to their specifications using my years of experience of what to and what not to do. I have 4 testers to try them out. I hate to admit it, but I think I am hooked.

These presets will be available in the very near future. I just have to figure out how to do that. :) Perhaps I can hire one of my kids to teach me how. Stay tuned . . .

Brian and Angela - Lifeway's Greatest Release

Brian and Angela - Lifeway's Greatest Release

Love has a funny way of showing up when you least expect it and after a combined 84 years of waiting, this love story finally came to be. How exciting it was to be there to witness this marriage! Angie is an awesome catch and Brian is lucky to be her prince. I couldn’t have been more excited to play a part in documenting this twist of fate.

Getting married in the sweet chapel that Brian proposed in just a few short months ago was perfect. It was a beautiful and intimate gathering of their closest friends and family in the recently renovated structure that was the original chapel of Angie’s home church. The building comes with a story and experiences only gained by it’s years, much like the bride and groom. How appropriate that this perfect union would take place in a setting such as this.

Happy does not even describe the emotions of the day. Brian was grinning ear-to-ear once the vows were spoken and he had his bride (and that’s alot for a man who warned me he only had a little smile). The laughter and looks of endearment were palpable. I wish I could have boxed them up and taken some home with me.

Best wishes to the bride and groom! Angie - I have no doubt that you will be the perfect wife. And Brian, I can tell by the way you look at her that the years ahead will be the best to come!

Phillip and Linda - A Beautiful Pair

Phillip and Linda - A Beautiful Pair

Wedding season was busy for me this year and I couldn’t have asked for a better assortment of couples. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the wedding venue of Linda and Phillip. Linda is a modern day Martha Stewart and had transformed the Roswell River Landing into a lovely 5-star wedding venue with a swipe of her magic wand (well - really she had been working on the venue since early that morning.) There was so much attention to detail - every little feature was perfectly planned.

I didn’t know too much about their story but throughout the day learned of a love that has stood the test of time - 17 years to be exact - with it’s share of hurdles along the way. The friends of Phillip and Linda shared such admiration for this couple that I too want to be in their inner circle. It’s a love that is evident from the way she forgives his momentary forgetfulness to the way he looks at her when she speaks.

Congratulations on finally tying the knot. I hope that the next 17 years far exceed your wildest expectations!

Untainted JOY

Untainted JOY

Several years ago, I photographed a person with special needs for the very first time. The feeling of extreme emotion was so intense I can’t even put it into words. Why was I near 50 years old and had never even crossed paths with these families or their needs for capturing moments? Perhaps their lives are too full to commit time to such an event, maybe they are embarrassed of the unexpected that will inevitably happen or maybe they think that people like me with seemingly picture perfect family wouldn’t be able to capture the dynamics of their everyday lives.

I look at people with special needs with envy - their uninhibited joy despite their circumstances is something I only could aspire to attain. Their spirits soar even when their frail bodies are confined to a wheelchair and obstacles are everywhere around them. Life is in the moment - THAT moment - their expressions are pure and uncluttered by the millions of other thoughts that would be going through my mind.

So selfishly, I jump on the bandwagon of any volunteer special needs event I can participate in photographing. The joy that comes from being around them is enough to charge me until the next time. My spirit soars with theirs whenever I look back at these images. What an awesome gift people with special needs are to the world.

A Backyard Playground

A Backyard Playground

I have gone to Niagara Falls for as long as I can remember and it never gets old.  Yesterday I went with my brother and got the royal treatment - Cave of the Winds, Maid of the Mist, Trolley Ride and the Rainbow Bridge and we still have two more things to go back to tomorrow.

How appropriate that the morning before we left, I read an article in the Buffalo News about enjoying the experience instead of worrying about capturing it to look at later.   I am not going to lie . . . I took alot of pictures but only after taking in the scene and watching my brother light up while he shared information about his favorite place on earth.

Niagara Falls is certainly not a one-time visit.  There is always something different to see and as my brother conveys, a new view each time all depending on how the wind blows.   And if you run out of interest in this natural wonder, there is a plethora of interesting characters to look at and that could keep you occupied for days.  I wish I would have had the nerve to photograph the many cultures represented there, bottle the smells and record the chatter of various languages.   Maybe next time, but until then I will relish the memories of the day I spent with my big brother at his backyard playground.