Friday, December 28, 2007

Warm Cookies and Warm Fuzzies

Here are some photos from the past few days. They start out on Christmas morning with Sue and Cade opening presents. Late Christmas Day we drove down to my sister Caren's house on the Jersey shore. She has a really great house in an artsy community a few blocks from the beach. She has a great kitchen that she made Christmas cookies with the kids. We came down here to do the Inside Edition photo shoot, but the real treat is visiting Caren and spending time with family. I've discovered that she makes the best little Lindser Tart cookies I have ever tasted.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Inside Edition

I did a Trash the Dress Session today in New York City for Inside Edition. I'm not sure when it's going to air, but it looks like the end of January. I will post when I know more definitively. We did the shoot around Columbus Circle with Debbie, who was one of my brides from last year. She was great, as was the crew from Inside Edition. Here are some images from the shoot.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Peace on Earth

On behalf of all of us here at Chesler Photography, I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. I hope the holidays bring peace as you cherish the gift of spending time with loved ones. All to often we get caught up in the monetary aspect of the holidays instead of embracing what truly matters most, the gift of family, friendship and love. Without those three, all the material possessions in the world vanish into a veil of insignificance. May the holidays bring you together with friends and family so you can give your gift of love to each one of them.

Top Row from Left to Right:
The big man himself, Michal-Kathryn, Sue, Steve, Amanda, and Jess.
Bottom Row: Ellen and Kim

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Spirit

I received a great e-mail from my Mom the other day. It's nice to see there is still good in the world and even better that it came from my Mom.

"Today started out like every other day....boring....Jimmy was working and I am just so tired of wasting my time in front of the computer playing games and sitting in front of the TV all day. I decided to go out and see the world. I went to TJMaxx, Marshalls and Michaels. When I was coming out of Marshalls and walking to the car this little old lady stopped me to ask me if I knew where the animal shelter was on Boca Rio Road. I said yes and she asked me if I was going past it. I said yes again and then she asked me if I could give her a ride. She had to get a new cat carrier because the one she has doesn't fit under the seat. She reassured me she wouldn't mug me, kill me or rob me. I did a Mitzvah.....I put her wagon in my car and drove her there. The whole way there she told me her life story from soup to nuts and included some of the poems she has written and had published. She was so sweet....we sat and talked for about 15 more minutes and when she got out of the car she wanted to give me some of the poems she wrote. She was going to give them to the animal shelter but instead gave them to me because I was so nice to take her there. The poems are so beautiful. I really felt so good in my heart for being able to help someone......What a great feeling. She just turned 80 years old 2 days ago.....

Love, Mom oxoxoxo"


I never knew how precious life could be

Until God came to me

In moments I could not touch

And showed me how much I really love you

Your caring

And your sharing

Is more than I can bear

It is a blessing only we can share

God keep you in my life forever

Sunday, December 9, 2007

She Shoots, She Scores!!!!!!

Sarah had two hockey games this weekend. They played a strong Hamburg team today at the Greater Canandaigua Civic Center and lost 4-0. Yesterday's game, however, was a real nail biter. The Canandaigua 12U girls team had a 2-1 lead with just over two minutes remaining, hoping to hang on for their first win of the season. It wasn't to be though. The Monroe County team had a strong surge to finish the game scoring two goals in the final two minutes. Canandaigua goalie Casey Booth had her strongest showing of the year. Nice job ladies!

Praying for a Miracle

I drove out to Hamburg this weekend to photograph a beautiful 5-year-old little girl. Her name is Janie and she has the most adorable gap-toothed smile. While we were there, all she wanted to do was dance. She is so full of life. It's hard to believe Janie has cancer. She has been battling it for quite some time. Now it's back and it's in her brain and bone marrow. It's hard to comprehend why such a perfect little girl deserves such a fate.
I want to ask everyone a favor. Over the past month Sue and I have received hundreds of condolences with your thoughts and prayers. We have also reached a milestone of over 10,000 hits on the blog. If we could turn all those thoughts and prayers we received along with an army of 10,000 readers to band together and pray for Janie, maybe, just maybe we could lobby God for one small miracle.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Santa Favorites

Despite the weather, our Santa photos went very well on Sunday. I was worried that the weather would keep everyone home. Here are some images from this weekend and one from a few years ago that is one of my favorites of my kids with Santa. We will be at Dunkin Donuts in Geneseo this Sunday from 10-12 and next Sunday at Tim Hortons in Geneseo also from 10-12 with the same sleigh set up with Santa. Come visit!

...and Cade picking out a gift for Santa!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

10,000 Hits

I started this blog a year ago on November 17th. It wasn't until February or March that I added a hit counter on to the blog, and as of yesterday we reached the 10,000 hit milestone with over 25,000 page views. It's exciting to see that so many people visit the site as a source of information and inspiration, and most recently as a source of healing. Unlike my website, the blog is a personal journey. I don't know where it will go from week to week or day to day, but that's the beauty of it. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Not Your Average Mall Santa

With our Santa photos a few days away on Sunday, I wanted to post some photos from past years. Not only do you get the high quality you've come to expect from us, but you get the best Santa in existance. He is the real thing!

We are doing walk-in sessions from 11-2:00 on Sunday, as well as more extensive sessions from 2:30-5:00 consisting of a 15 minute creative session with Santa and another 15 minute family session in front of our fireplace Christmas set. The afternoon sessions are by appointment.

We will have cider, donuts, coffee and hot chocolate on Sunday along with an open house for anyone who wants to stop in and visit the studio.

We are also doing walk-in sessions in Geneseo at Dunkin Donuts on December 9th from 10-12, followed by walk-in sessions at Letchworth State Park on December 15th. On December 16th we will be at Tim Hortons in Geneseo for walk-in sessions from 10-12 as well.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Words of Comfort

Over the past three weeks, we have received countless dozens of sympathy cards, e-mails and words of encouragement. We can't thank all of you enough. It feels like one big group hug from friends and family across the globe. The support and prayers we have received go a long way in our healing process. I would like to share with you an e-mail I received yesterday from Caitlin McLean, a bride whose wedding I had the honor of photographing this summer. She had some profound insights to share with me on how she dealt with the loss of her brother. Despite all the support we are receiving, sometimes the feeling of being alone, even in a crowded room is overwhelming. Thank you Caitlin. Your experience gives me peace of mind that Sue and I are not on this journey alone.
Dear Steve,

You photographed my June 23rd 2007 wedding at Ventosa
Vineyards. You and your assistant did an incredible job, and I often go to your
website to revisit our wedding photos and the good memories and smiles they

I visited the site for the first time in a couple of weeks and
your twins piece caught my eye. I read your blog entries about the sudden death
of your sister-in-law Sandi. It's nearing a week to the date of the sudden death
of my younger brother Alex, one year ago...its' still hard to believe.

I know that there are no words that are right...I found a hug was often most
comforting. But I do pray for strength and courage for you and your family as
you move forward...and you are, you're doing it...TOGETHER.

That's become the mantra of my family in this past year: "we're doing it." Sometimes I call my Dad just to hear this reminder. And in this year, my Dad has called me three times to say he feels "normal." None of us can describe what it means, but there are moments when it happens. I suppose we're learning to love Alex in death as we did in life.

I hope your memories bring you peace. Sandi
sounds like an incredible person, and I too believe that the bonds of family
transcend death. Please know that Sandi and your family are in my prayers.

Caitlin McLean
(Belmonte wedding)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Being Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving. This was no doubt a tough Thanksgiving for us. Two weeks ago we canceled our plans to host both sides of our family at our house. It just didn't seem right to be celebrating. After a few days I came to the conclusion that I needed to be surrounded by family, so I requested that my side keep their plans to come here. A few days later Sue's side also came to that same conclusion, so our canceled Thanksgiving ended up being 18 people, a large bird and more pies than should be allowed by law.
It is typically a tradition of ours to go around the table and say what we are thankful for. In light of recent events that was not done. Instead we toasted. At first it was hard to be thankful, but then I realized that yes, we were missing one person, but I was surrounded by 17 others that I cherish. I was also thankful for the time we had with Sandi, as a sister and as a best friend.
After the table was cleared, the left overs stored and the football games ended, it was time to relax and let protruding belly get some rest. I began flipping through the channels and stopped on the Hilary Duff move "Raise Your Voice." The movie ended with a song she performed in honor of her recently deceased brother. I have been numb for the last week or so, but hearing the lyrics to that song brought a rush of emotion I was not expecting. As much as it hurts, it also felt good to feel and let some of the numbness wash away in a flood of tears. Here are some of the lyrics.

So I won't give up No I won't break
down Sooner than it seems life turns around And I will be strong Even if it all
goes wrong When I'm standing in the dark I'll still believe That I won't give up No
I won't break down Sooner than it seems life turns around And I will be strong Even
when it all goes wrong When I'm standing in the dark I'll still believe That
someone's watching over Someone's watching over Someone's watching over

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Saturday's Wedding

I did a wedding this past Saturday, which thankfully went very well. I was very apprehensive about the thought of diving into a full days work so soon after the trauma of Sandi's death. The anxiety leading up to the wedding was strong. As part of my healing process, I was determined to successfully get through it though, especially since it was the most important day of Sara and Chris's lives. I had a great support system from my second photographer, Michal-Kathryn, who also captured some amazing images. The wedding was in Rochester and the reception was at Casa Larga Vineyard in Perinton.

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