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My mom

May 9th, 2015 , Posted in Portraits | 2 comments

This blog post goes out to all of the single mom’s out there–especially mine.

Last month I was driving somewhere in my car and I started to write this blog post in my head. My mom popped into my mind¬†and since I’m an awful child who never does anything for Mother’s Day I started thinking that I was going to write an amazing blog post for my mom. The post I wrote in my head while driving was amazing. I admit I was crying by the end of it, and I was so excited because I had a whole month to craft my blog, scan old photos and just create something that really would show my mom just how amazing I think she is.

And well last Monday I still thought I had a whole 6 days to get the post together, and now it is just 2.5 hours until Mother’s Day, and I am just hoping I can say a few words, other than sorry mom.

My mom is super smart. I remember as a kid being really proud to watch her play trivial pursuit at family gatherings, or to listen to her debate friends and family about politics. Later in life I learned to use her smarts to my advantage as an editor on all of my papers. She just couldn’t help herself. Actually I wish I wasn’t as good as tricking her into cleaning up all of my papers, because maybe the blog writing would come easier to me.

Writing is what my mom has always done well. She was a reporter for most of my life, but she also dabbled in some romance writing, jingles, personal ads, and she even wrote a book about one of my teddy bears called, “Suitable, a bear for all ages”.

There are certain things and moments that stand out when I think of my mom.

There is the super smart thing that I already mentioned. And I want to mention a million other things, little stories that are the things that pop into my mind when I think of how hard it must have been for her to try to stay afloat financially, times when she pushed me and times when she surprised me.

But really–the best, best thing about my mom is that she has never once made me feel guilty for not doing anything special for Mother’s Day. I know that she will wake up tomorrow and even if I don’t post this post, she will still love me–and I’m pretty sure she won’t be disappointed.

She doesn’t sweat the small stuff. She doesn’t need a card to know I love her.

Thanks for that mom. I love you.

And, some photos of mom.

 

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So this photo is of me and not my mom, but I am still amazed that she made me Halloween costumes. My mother was never known for any domestic arts, but somehow she can make Halloween costumes and knit socks while working more than full time. I think meals and laundry might have suffered a little, but still…IMG_4988

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And, as I finish this poorly done blog post that never lived up to the one I had written in my mind I will climb into bed and continue reading the new novel my mom just finished. I am so proud of her.

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Kangaroos, Crocs and Koalas | Syracuse, NY photographer in Australia

May 5th, 2015 , Posted in travel | No comments

Remember how last year I was living in New Zealand? Well, on our way home from our sabbatical in New Zealand we made a tourist stop in Australia. Compared to New Zealand, Australia is a lot like America. There are big boring stretches of highway connecting crazy beautiful sites, box stores, hotel chains–so a lot like home with a few adorable differences–see kangaroos, wombats, etc.

We saw a lot of kangaroo road kill before seeing our first live kangaroo. Actually, we first saw a whole herd of kangaroo hop-running along side the highway. By the time we pulled off to take a photo we only found this guy checking us out. I get the impression kangaroos are to Australians what deer are to us–a pest, but none the less they were really fun to spot hopping along.

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We didn’t see any wild wombats, but they quickly became one of our favorites.

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If you think those bats look big in this photo you have no idea! I was taking the kids for a walk to a few museums and there was no way to avoid walking underneath them and they were huge!

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The Blue Mountains.

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This hike was called the Giant’s Stairway and it said there were over 800 steps. We tried to keep count for a bit, but the stairs were also very steep and fairly worn in places so I lost my concentration on counting.

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Luckily once we did a hike at the bottom we connected with a place called Scenic World (where you can pay to take a gondola or a train down to the bottom), or you can just take the train back to the top like we did. The train was built in the 1880’s to carry coal and now is the steepest railway of it’s kind. It tilts 52 degrees.

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This is the “more hiking” face from the kids.

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Still–you gotta work hard for the good views.

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After leaving the Blue Mountains we flew up the NE coast of Australia and got things started looking for crocs in the Daintree River.

Driving by sugarcane.

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The start of our croc tour.

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I spy…

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I spy.

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After croc spotting we were hoping to see the Cassowary bird, but despite numerous warnings the bird eluded us.

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Such a tempting beach. Why no swimmers?

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Oh, yeah–crocs.

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We took a ferry over to Magnetic Island. We picked this destination because it was supposed to be one of the best places to spot a koala in the wild.

This first thing we spotted was this very loud that liked to stand right outside our door.

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Off to spot koalas. I didn’t take a picture of the next sign, but it was a warning about how the viper snake was very popular along this trail as well. So, taking this hike meant looking down before you step so as not to disturb one of the most poisonous snakes, and then looking carefully up to try to spot a koala.

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Luckily we spotted one koala–and he/she was extra cute.

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selfies with a wallaby. These guys were all over the place.

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We did visit a small wild life sanctuary where the kids got to hold all sorts of Australian animals including a koala.

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selfie with a koala. Notice a theme?

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That snake is getting a little too cozy in his neck wrapping.

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Fun bird watching.

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Sydney has to be my current favorite city. Sorry NYC and Paris.

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See those tiny tourists up there walking over the bridge? We didn’t do that.

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Being tourists at the wax museum was actually more fun than I expected it would be.

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I don’t think Sydney always puts on this type of show, but we happened to be there during the Vivid Light festival.

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The famous Manly Beach. There was a shark off shore when we were there and they cleared all the surfers.

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Right after this photo was taken the bird pooped on Jason. ūüėČ

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The Sydney Opera House all aglow for the festival.

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One more of the opera house.

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I will end things with our trip out to the Great Barrier Reef. We spent 3 hours on a boat over high seas where you couldn’t walk and you needed a hefty amount of ginger to keep your stomach calm. Despite all the rock and rolling to get there, once we got there things were nice and calm with water warm enough that you didn’t need a wet suit, but we thought they looked cool.

 

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We tried a little underwater photography to moderate success.

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So far away from everything.

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More catching up| Syracuse family photographer

March 30th, 2015 , Posted in Portraits | No comments

Here are a few more favorites from sessions that I haven’t shared yet.

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Have a great Monday.

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flashback sessions| Syracuse, NY family photographer

March 27th, 2015 , Posted in Portraits | No comments

It is another gloomy day here in Syracuse–we have had a share recently. I have been trying to keep a positive attitude, but some days are harder than others. I wonder how many new houses were bought in Florida or North Carolina by Central New Yorker’s this winter. I would bet there will be quite a few houses for sale here this summer.

These photos were not taken this summer, but they are a few of my favorites from sessions this winter. As you can see some were taken before the snow started to fall.

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Despite the gloom I am still taking on sessions and I would love to photograph you cuties soon. We can pretend it is spring. ūüėČ

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The theater, the theater| Syracuse, NY photographer

March 12th, 2015 , Posted in personal, Portraits | No comments

I have photographed many adorable families this fall and winter(and will share them soon), but I have also gotten to branch out a bit and photograph a lot of local theater. It all started this winter when my daughter participated in the summer theater program put on by  Redhouse Arts Center of Tarzan. The kids got to work along side professional actors and they put on a stellar production.

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I have always enjoyed the theater and I have been surrounded by it in many ways all of my life. My namesake and great grandmother, Genevieve Guiou served as the President of the Omaha Community Playhouse for a time in the 20’s. And my Grandmother, Echo Guiou Ellick acted in plays there as well¬†and even wrote a few plays that got produced. My father is drama at all times, and now my youngest daughter has caught the bug. ūüėČ I don’t know why it took me so long to find out about all of the great local theater here in Syracuse.

Here are just a few of my favorite images from recent shows–all at the Redhouse Arts Center unless specified.

From A Man of No Importance

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Gross Indecency: The Tree Trials of Oscar Wilde

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The Importance of Being Earnest

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Godspell

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25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

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The Penguin Tango

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The Color Purple

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a cabaret with Marguerite Mitchell and Chris Coffey at The Central New York Playhouse

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And, finally some shots of my little one in her middle school production of The Little Mermaid

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What a talented city we have here in Syracuse. Now quick–go and buy tickets to a show.

 

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a birth story| Syracuse, NY birth photographer

February 23rd, 2015 , Posted in birth story | No comments

It is an amazing day at work when I get to see a new person come into this world.  Photographing births has to be one of the most amazing things I have done. I am happy to share a few images from the most recent birth I photographed.

 

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My 2014 year of reading

January 12th, 2015 , Posted in personal | 2 comments

Happy 2015! Ahh, another year has passed and I feel the need to continue my tradition of blogging about the books I have read this year. I have been keeping track of the titles of books that I have read for quite a few years, and I have been blogging about them since 2009. I have had clients and family comment on this post and I have found many new books to read by sharing what I read–hence the tradition continues.

I thought that this would be a bumper year for reading considering I had a two week vacation in Hawaii and then spent another 5 months on a break from my job while traveling to New Zealand and Australia with my husband while he was on sabbatical. You should have seen my amazon wish list before I left! I spent all year adding books to my cart with grand dreams of catching up on lots of missed reads, but alas, it seems I read about the same number of books regardless of the country I am living or the demands of my job. I always say that if you are the type of person who likes to make resolutions, reading more books is a good one. This year I will try to take more time to read that isn’t just right before I fall asleep. I still feel guilty if I pick up a book during the day or anytime that I should be working, cleaning, cooking, exercising,¬†being a fabulous parent, etc. Maybe a good book on letting go of guilt is needed. ūüėČ

Now before I share my books a little disclaimer or two. These are not book reviews, just a small line or two to remind myself of what I read and perhaps give you some ideas about books you want to read. Since I only jot down blog titles throughout the year some of these books I hardly remember reading. Next, even though I barely write anything for this blog post it is still more than I have been accustomed to writing and I am way out of practice. I think my resolution needs to be to write more, this sure is painful when you don’t do it much.

*Can you believe it. After I finished writing this whole thing I tried to save it and my blog had signed me out and I lost everything!! Yes, I am an idiot for writing directly in my blog and not in Word. Lesson learned.

Okay–enough.

Island Girls by Nancy Thayer

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This was an impulse library book grab. It was sitting on a display table tempting me with a warm¬†picture and quote about passing this book onto the women in your life that you love. I haven’t read a book that was so fluffy and had all the characters get what they want in a long time. If you need happy endings and very little conflict you will like this book. She only lets bad things happen for a few pages and then yeah! things turn out great. I did finish it, and it might have been just a little nice not to have to worry or think to much while reading it.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

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There were some good parts, but I felt no need to read the next book.

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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I had to grab one of my teenagers books while we were camping when my kindle lost power and this one was available. This might be a good discussion book for teens about suicide and how your actions or non-actions can have an impact on others. It was okay, but not one that I felt like my teenager had to finish (and she didn’t).

Divergent by Veronica Roth

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Another book grabbed from my teenager. I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would, but again not enough to continue onto the other 2 books in the series.

Champion by Marie Lu 

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This was the last book in another teen dystopian trilogy. This series grabbed me enough to finish the series, although I am still conflicted about how I feel about the ending.

The Bone People by Keri Hulme

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And, now a move away from YA books. This book takes place in New Zealand and I started this book about 4 times and I could never get past the first 80 pages, but I gave it one more time once we were living in New Zealand and everything fell into place. This is one of those books that has a strange structure to it and it uses lots of Maori words that can be difficult to get used to. It was also my favorite book of the year. I am pretty sure I will read it again, but hopefully the next time with an English teacher. Highly recommend.

The Dinner by Herman Koch

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This was a book club book. I hated it. Yuck, blah, poop.

Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

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To quote the author: ‚ÄúThis book will take you two days to read. Did you even see the cover? It‚Äôs mostly pink. If you‚Äôre reading this book every night for months, something is not right.‚ÄĚ I had a great time reading this book. I thought it was honest, and real, and smart. I laughed, but was also inspired. I have given this book as a gift to friends and recommended it to older teens as well.

The Signature of All Things: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert

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This book had a great start, but my interest in the story and characters waned towards the end.¬†Even though I didn’t love this book I did like it much more than Eat, Pray, Love, her other book.

Dat is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

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If you have seen any of Jim Gaffigan’s stand up shows, you probably don’t need to read this book. If not, the book is really funny–especially for parents of young children. It would probably make a great book to listen to on a road trip.

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

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This book was sitting on a shelf at the house we rented in New Zealand. It was so fun to read, but please do not read this unless you have plenty of wine and lots of good cheese in the house. OR, you could just give this book to someone you love with a plane ticket tucked into it. Actually, I don’t own this book so if anyone who loves me is reading this–what a great idea. ūüėČ

Book of Ages: The life an Opinions of Jane Franklin

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This historical fiction book was about Jane Franklin, the sister of Benjamin Franklin. Since the author had so little to go on to create her story it is also a rumination on who history forgets, especially if they are women. It was a short book, and not entirely a page turner, but I did enjoy it.

Aimless Love by Billy Collins

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Thank goodness for Billy Collins because I can now say that I read a poetry book this year. I love him–and I’ve even ordered a new poetry book to read for this year by another poet. I hope I won’t be let down.

Tracks by Robyn Davidson

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I love a good adventure travel memoir and this one was great. It had violent camels, a sexy photographer, big snakes, a loyal dog. If you do read it I highly recommend that you look up the original photos that were done by the previously mentioned sexy photographer.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

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My sister-in-law recommended this series to me. It is another dystopian book set in a future where genetic engineering rules the world. I have read quite a few dystopian books recently and this one was the most believable to me and hence the scariest. I will probably finish the series.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

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J read this book first and it did seem sort of like a guy book (lots of baseball) so I didn’t pick it up until I was on a 14 hour flight and I needed something to read. I got really mad at this book a few times, but in the end I really liked it. I didn’t love it–and the middle dragged a bit, but I have passed it on to friends which is my measure of how much I liked a book.

We Were Liars by e. lockhart

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I like to stay on top of the hot new teen reads and this book was getting a lot of attention, especially for a twist that you can’t talk about. I think this might been one of those teen reads that is actually just for teens. I didn’t really care too much for it, but I can see why teens like it.

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

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This was my favorite book that I read for book club.¬† It’s based on the authors own experience during the regime of Cambodia’s Khymer Rouge. It was beautiful, and enlightening, and really really sad. I loved it.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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I couldn’t resist this book. It is a murder mystery with the murder taking place at a preschool fundraiser. It is funny, with great dialogue and a good ending. It is a quick fast read that makes me want to read another book by Moriarty.

The Fever by Megan Abbott

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A while back I read an article in the New York Times about girls in upstate NY who were having verbal and physical tics. It got a lot of media attention with lots of speculation about what was causing the symptoms. In the end the cause of the outbreak was¬†found to be psychological. This book was inspired by that story, which is what interested me.¬†The book dives deeply into the world of teenage girls and a little bit into their parents lives. Being a teenage girl is scary and this book brings that fear to the forefront–fear from the girls, but mostly fear of the parents about their teenage girls.

Heft by Liz Moore

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This was another book club book that I read on my own while we were in New Zealand. I had a lot of empathy  for the characters (a morbidly obese former academic stuck in his home, and a high-school star athlete of a drug abusing mother) and I  was sad to leave the characters when it was over. The premise sounds like it could get really depressing and sentimental, but there is a lot of hope in this book which was really well done.

Unfinished books:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I thought I would try to read this after seeing some hype about the tv show based on the books coming out. I tried, got about 100 pages in, but couldn’t really get into it. Maybe I will try the tv show instead.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I had great goals of keeping up with Echo’s 9th grade reading list. I loved this book when I first read it and it was just like I remembered it reading it a second time. I think I must have read it recently because I didn’t feel the need to finish it. Now they are reading the Odyssey and well…my goal of keeping up has been scaled back.

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas

I saw this book all over the place in New Zealand and Australia. The author is Australian. I liked the start of this book, but I got sidetracked by Big Little Lies. I hope to finish it, but my track record on this isn’t great.

I also like to keep track of any live music or shows we see. With Sadie getting more involved in theater and Jason playing more I hope to see lots of great theater and music in 2015.

We had great travel this year, but we didn’t get to see much live music.The only live music we¬†saw was our friend and neighbor Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers and Wendy Ramsey and while I wish we had seen more live music we love seeing their shows.

Our big show this year was for Sadie’s birthday.

Matilda on Broadway. It was great–especially the talent of the kid actors.

Our favorite local shows we saw this year:

Hairspray and The Piano at Syracuse Stage

The Color Purple, The Penguin Tango, A Year with Frog and Toad and Tarzan at Redhouse Arts Center

Looking back it wasn’t a great year for reading. My kids didn’t want me to read aloud to them much, and I didn’t press it. We started a few books, but they always got pulled into their own books and we often didn’t finish. I am disappointed in this, and I miss it.

I also read zero non-fiction books. I make fun of my husband for his lack of fiction reading, but I am just as bad. This needs to change as well.

Thanks for following along, and please–if you have read a great book recently tell me about it. My amazon cart needs refilling. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cady & Mark are married!! | Syracuse, NY wedding photographer

November 3rd, 2014 , Posted in Portraits, Weddings | No comments

I had been looking forward to this wedding ever since meeting Cady and Mark during our initial consultation and photographing their engagement session. They did not disappoint. Their wedding was so much fun to photograph-full of laughter and joy and a wonderful relaxed attitude despite some last minute setbacks with their ceremony location.

Admiring the dress and the rainy view.

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Cady and her bridesmaids walked from the hotel over to Sky Armory to finish getting ready.

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Tara was hanging out with the guys and captured this fun shot.

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Cady and Mark exchanged beautiful vows that made people laugh and cry.

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Married!!

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I love how Cady and her mom have the same expression here.

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The limo driver was a hoot–here he is photo bombing my group formal.

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Coleman’s bar is their neighborhood bar and also where they had their first date so it was natural for them to stop there after saying their vows.

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I love it that the whole bridal party was dancing during the formals.

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I wish I remember what was said before I took this photo.

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So much fun.

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See the big pink limo in the back?

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Formals in Armory Square—so great.

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Tara and I were calling Mark, Sinatra all night long. The hat was perfect.

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Cady and Mark were the first couple to get married at the new Sky Armory.

Yum.

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Check out the dessert table!

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Cady and Mark, thank you so much for choosing us to photograph your wedding. We wish you the best of everything.

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Colin and Binglei are married!!| Syracuse, NY wedding photographer

October 31st, 2014 , Posted in Weddings | No comments

Congratulations to Colin and Binglei who were married on Sept 6th. Tara and I had such fun wandering around the ESF campus with them (where they met) for pre-wedding photos until rain pushed us away. They then had a lovely daytime wedding at Camp Brockway in Pratt’s Falls Park.

These two were such good sports–out in the rain with me–always laughing.

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Here are a few of my favorites from their wedding.

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Binglei’s mom feeding her while getting her hair done.

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A little pre-wedding music rehearsal.

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A first look on the ESF campus.

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A walk across the lawn that you are not allowed to walk across. I had no idea.

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The brewing storm added some awesome wind and sky.

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Umbrella?

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I loved riding on the bus with the wedding party.

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Staying dry and unseen.

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Married!!

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I love Binglei’s reaction.

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This wedding wins the award for most babies in attendance.

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Thanks again for having Tara and I photograph your wedding. Congratulations and best wishes.

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Eleora & Jacob are married!!| Syracuse, NY wedding photographer

October 8th, 2014 , Posted in Weddings | 1 comment

Eleora and Jacob were married outside at the Lily Pond  on an unsettled day with dropping temperatures and threatening rain. The weather was unexpected, but the wedding was amazing and the weather added to the beauty of the day. My wonderful second photographer Tara was along. Enjoy a few of our favorites from the day.

Last minute flower preparations.

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The unsettled weather made for some amazing light for the ceremony.

 

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The beautiful chuppah made by Backyard Garden.

 

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Married!!

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The bride and groom originally had hoped to have the ceremony in the backyard of Jacob’s grandparents house. That plan didn’t work out, but they still stopped by for some photos.

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The reception was at The Lodge in Skaneateles.

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When Eleora and Jacob contacted me I was living in New Zealand and they live in Australia. I joked that this was the first Syracuse destination wedding I had photographed.

Thanks so much for choosing us to photograph your day.

 

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