Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Tree is Beautiful!

I love picking and decorating our Christmas tree! It's our tradition to cut our own tree and we've been doing that at Pete's Tree Farm in Holley for many years. We had to work a little extra to find the perfect tree this time and wandered around the farm for longer than usual. It was worth it though.

We were lucky to have our daughter Morgan and her "boy" Brian come along with us. That always adds to the fun!

The lights are my job, so once the tree was in the stand, I got them on and added some golden tinsel garland.
The kids came back the next day to put on all our decorations  -  a story to remember while each one is placed on the perfect branch. The final step was for Morgan to place the angel on top of the tree 
( with assistance from Brian this year ). 
We shared stories, eggnog and love. 
What could be better than that!
The start of a great holiday season.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Busy time!

Fall is always a busy time for us.

Business is busy with thoughts of the coming holidays and gift giving.

Personally, we have lots of extra events at this time of year.

Since I haven't posted in awhile, I thought I'd share a slideshow from a wonderful 8th birthday party held for our youngest granddaughter in late November.

The excitement of a child can energize the whole world!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rochester Children's Book Festival

As the official photographer for KidsOutandAbout, I decided to head out for the Book Festival at MCC last Saturday to visit with friends and photograph some of the activities.
The great staff who greeted us were giving out programs with complete details of the event.

And of course, the KidsOutandAbout booth was full of great information for families.
Deb and June were kept very busy giving away all kinds of great prizes.

It was wonderful to see the many talented authors and the amazing number of families who are so interested in reading! 
I was very pleased to see my friend, Author/ Illustrator, Sue Beckhorn. Her latest release, "Moose Power! Muskeg Saves the Day" is a lively tale and we were able to sit in on a special reading given by the author herself.

Stokoe Farms donated pumpkins that were given to attendees as they left. Deb Ross was on hand to make sure everyone had a chance to take one home.
And look! My husband found a Storm Trooper in the hall! 

We really enjoyed our afternoon at this wonderful event. I'm going to make sure I put it on our calendar for next year and hope to see you all there!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mary Kay Makeover Event

We did it again!

The Mary Kay Consultants invited their clients to join them for a new "look" and a mini portrait session. This time, there is an extra incentive to have before and after photos done.
Mary Kay is holding a contest and giving away wonderful prizes including a dream vacation. You can get the details by visiting Morgan's page.
We had a full house for this Portrait Event and it was so much fun to see the results of each makeover.
We plan to do one more event before the contest deadline. If you're interested in having YOUR portraits entered in the contest, contact me at and we'll let you know when the next Makeover Event is scheduled.

Here are the lovely ladies who got a new look on Makeover Night!


Amy is a Mary Kay Consultant who attended the Portrait Event also. She didn't have a Before photo done but wanted a "new look" portrait for web purposes. 
Here she is!

Don't forget! You can have a makeover with a new look and a Mini Portrait Session too!
Just contact me anytime!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jonathan's a SENIOR!

It's always a pleasure to photograph Seniors I've known for many years.  After watching them grow and change, I'm honored to be chosen to capture a unique portrait at this special time in their lives!

Jonathan wasn't sure where he wanted his Session taken, so I suggested we start at his home and then move on to our local Community Center.

Personalizing portraits is an important part of the experience I give my clients. Since skateboarding is a HUGE part of this Senior's life, it was great to find a ramp right in his own backyard. It was about to be taken down so I was really glad we had scheduled the session before that happened. Can you think of anything better than having your Senior Portrait taken in your own surroundings with your very own "skatepark"?

When we moved on to the Community Center, we found a variety of locations and light and had a great time making use of all of it. The family's favorite image was one taken on the steps there.

Thank you, Jonathan, for being such a GREAT subject and best of luck during your SENIOR YEAR!

We still have openings in September for Senior Sessions. Contact us today to reserve your time!

 Enjoy the show ~

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Finger Lakes Friends

Each year the Finger Lakes Section of PPSNYS gathers for their annual Family Picnic. I've been a member of this great organization for over 20 years and in that time we've held the picnic in different places.
The first I ever attended was at a private park owned by Goulds Pumps in Seneca Falls, NY. One of our members at the time worked there and he arranged for us to use it. My daughter was not even a year old and I remember how much fun we had and how many families. It was a different era.
After that, we moved to a community park on Keuka Lake, took a boat trip on Skaneateles Lake, picnicked at members homes, a state park in Hamlin and one in Geneva and for the last few years we've been privileged to have Craig and Linda Hutchings, Finger Lakes members, host us at the campground where they have a seasonal spot.
As soon as everyone arrived, we got ready for the long awaited Horseshoe "tournament". I don't know who won but I do know we had a great time - win or lose.

Someone picked up my camera and took a cute photo of PPSNYS Historian, Denise Weldon. She plays a mean game of horseshoes. (not)

The highlight of dinner was a great deep fried turkey, cooked by our very own chef Craig!

It was absolutely delicious. Each member brought a dish to pass and I'm always amazed at the variety of great recipes people come up with.

This year the attendance was small but the enthusiasm was immense. Steve even brought his his sweet companion to meet us.

I guess I'm a little nostalgic for the days when a social gathering with colleagues was an important part of life. Years ago our families brought their kids to our picnics which meant games, prizes, swimming and laughter. Those children are grown now and our members with families seem to have less time for taking a leisurely afternoon to socialize. Times are definitely changing... but that's what the long time members told me when I arrived at my first picnic. Times are constantly changing.

I know I couldn't do without my internet, but I'd really miss the face to face encounters with friends to hug, who understand the life of the lone photographer and always have great conversation to share.

I don't think I'll ever want to give that up.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Great Book Launch Event

As I mentioned in the last post, there have been a lot of interesting events happening in my family lately.

My son and daughter in law have been involved in publishing a book for the past year or so. They are very active in a group called R-SPECa group of writers, readers and thinkers in the Rochester NY area, that exists to celebrate and create speculative literature. Alicia is an author and David is one of the Editors and all round "go to guy" for the group. They meet monthly at Barnes and Noble in Pittsford, NY where the meetings are open to everyone.

On Saturday, July 31, they launched the book "2034: Writing Rochester's Future" at Mood Maker's Books in Village Gate on Goodman Street in Rochester, NY. The event was attended by many of the authors and lots of friends. Jack Garner, nationally known film critic, based in Rochester, wrote the introduction to the book and was on hand for the festivities. 

If you're interested in learning more about the people in the slide show, check out my facebook album

The group is now soliciting authors for the new compilation called "Alternative Rochesters" and would welcome your submissions. All the information can be found on their website.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Family Ties

This past week has been filled with amazing happenings for my family. On Tuesday, our daughter attended an open call for models held in Batavia. She asked me to come along since she was wary that it might be a scam. So many of these things are.

She found the right classified ad to answer!

The Keen Agency is a reputable, qualified talent agency that came to our area because they are getting calls to supply models here. They are based in Pennsylvania and many of the models they represent now are from the NYC, PA and Boston area. That makes it difficult for them to get to Western New York. This was the perfect opportunity for Morgan to join a firm which will handle jobs around our part of the state. She's very excited and is looking forward to her first go see.

I'm very proud of her for setting this all up on her own and wish her love and best wishes as she starts a new chapter in her life. She also writes a great frugal fashion blog at so check it out to see what's up.

Next up - our son and daughter in law and the Great Book Launch. (as soon as I get the photos uploaded and sorted)

I thought I'd share some of the photographs we took for her portfolio. Let me know how you like the show!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fun at the PPSNYS Photography Workshop

Each year, the Professional Photographers Society of New York State sponsors a week long "summer camp" for photographers. It is held at Hobart College, Geneva, NY in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region. This Workshop is open to all with an interest in photography and is the best value in education that I know. You can check out some of the fun here -

There is always a choice of Instructors who are highly regarded professional photographers and come from all over the country.  They take time from their busy schedules to share their knowledge with all who attend. It is an amazing experience to immerse yourself in your craft for a whole week!

This year I had the privilege of taking a class with Tammy Wolfe and Tamar London, owners of London Wolfe Photography in Pennsylvania. They are wonderful teachers and had great ideas and advice for us throughout the week. There were eleven photographers in the class and we had a blast! Not only did I learn from my instructors but from all my colleagues as well.

After hours we gathered in the barn for ping pong, poker and conversation. Even later, some would stay up and share quiet conversations in the Gazebo. The condo I was assigned was occupied by me, alone, and gave me an opportunity to catch up on some music I've been wanting to perfect. The acoustics in the living area were amazing and that made practice very enjoyable. It's always nice when you like the way you sound! It was a relaxing way to wind down before trying to sleep.

We had an opportunity to create some portraits with the models who came to pose for us. Getting outside also made it possible to catch some of my colleagues having fun at "work".

It's difficult to explain the value of attending an event that is so special. I do know that each time I've been able to participate, I come away with amazing ideas, new skills, great photoshop tips, renewed enthusiasm for my craft and wonderful new friends.

Thank you PPSNYS for sponsoring such a great school and thank you TamTam for an absolutely fantastic week of learning!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tips for Your Vacation Photos

It's time to hit the road and for me, the most important thing to bring along on vacation is my camera. Even before photography was my profession it was a favorite pastime. Over the years I've learned how to take better photographs from some of the country's greatest photographers.  I'll pass along some of the tips that have been shared with me.


I use my camera equipment every day but you may not have picked up your camera since the last birthday party or holiday. Make sure your camera is in working order before you pack. Turn it on and take a picture - it doesn't cost a thing if you're using a digital camera as most are these days. Make sure you have extra batteries. There is nothing worse than getting to the top of the mountain after a long hike and running out of battery power. Bring a memory card that is large enough. Media is very inexpensive, so you might even think about purchasing an extra card when you see them on sale. Not only will this allow you to take more photos, it's also a good idea to use more than one card when you are taking a trip. That way if one card fails, you'll still have images on the other.


Don't save the picture taking only for your destination. Unless you're a travel and landscape photographer, your goal isn't to take the ultimate scenic of Mount Everest or wherever you are planning to go. Leave that to the National Geographic guys and buy a postcard if you want the perfect photo. Your mission is to tell the story of your family's trip. That means photos of all the fun including packing the car, playing games while travelling, stops along the way for breaks - you get the idea. Some of the nicest light  for portraits is inside the car ( during the day of course), so snap a couple of fun photos of the kids fighting in the back seat. You want to think of your trip as a documentary and show the emotions, reactions and laughter along the way.


When I travel with my family, I take the same silly pictures everyone else does. We always like to show the outside of our hotel with the family waving at the camera, the inside of the room, the view from the room, etc. I try to make them more interesting by using different angles and composition. Most casual photographers put their subject in the center of the image. Try using what is called "the rule of thirds", where you place the subject to one side of the frame. You can also move your horizon line out of the center and place it either one third from the top or bottom of the image. While your at it, make sure the horizon is straight.

Your photos will always be better if you check what's behind your subject. Be careful to keep the horizon line from going through someone's head. You can accomplish this with the camera angle you use so either squat down lower or get up higher to move it.  Don't let things "grow" out of people's heads. The objects behind your subject may be quite far away and not be noticed by the eye, but the camera sees things differently. Placing people in your landscape or scenic photos will allow you to show size in relation to humans. It's difficult to grasp the concept of size without seeing something we know in the photo.

On sunny days, you should place people so the sun is behind YOU, the picture taker, and have the sun come in over your shoulder from the right or left a little. That way it doesn't go directly in the subjects' eyes yet lights the faces nicely. There's nothing worse than telling people to look at the camera and make them look directly in to the sun. No one likes squinty eyes.

If you must have your subjects in a place where the sun is behind THEM in order to get the scene you want, make sure your flash is on to try to fill in the light on the faces. If there is too much sun behind them, you'll get silhouettes of the faces and even the small flash on your camera may not be enough. Since the camera has a difficult time adjusting to contrasty situations, it is best that the background in the picture not be too bright or too dark, but similar to the light on the subject.

When placing people in the shade, make sure you don't have them too far under the trees. Try this experiment. Walk all the way under a tree to the trunk, then turn around and slowly walk back toward the edge of the shade. You will feel when the light starts to hit your face, just before the edge. That's the perfect place for photographs of people. You will be out in the sun facing the trees and they will stand facing you at that "perfect" spot. I know you'll like the results.

Try telling your story with some unposed photos. Today's cameras have great ability to focus fast and get good exposure. Let your family have fun with the activities you've  planned while you take some action shots. That's the perfect way to get real expressions and reactions to what they see along the way.

When you come home, don't put the camera away with your photographs inside. Upload them to your computer and burn a backup CD so you don't lose those wonderful memories. There are great ways to show your vacation photos including slide shows and press printed books. You can also share them with friends and relatives by making a family blog at one of the free sites on the internet. Make sure you have a few of your favorite images printed at a lab to add to your family album.

By taking photographs, you are recording your family's place in history. These tips may help you create better images so you will be proud to pass those memories on to the next generation. 

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