Monday, December 29, 2008


There is something satisfying about the eighth night of Hanukkah. The mission is complete with all 8 candles towering above the menorah blazing in unison. Then they start to melt and for the next hour, the excitement and anticipation of Hanukkah drips down until all that is left is the faint glow of the flame as it tries to hang on as long as it can. One by one each flame flickers out, leaving a trail of smoke that ascends in to the air. As the last one disappears, the anticipation has been replaced with sadness that it's over, like boarding the plane at the end of a long vacation. It's nice to know that it will return again next year without fail, as it has for thousands of years.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Lightning

I bought Sarah an iPod dock for Christmas with one of those cool electric Photon Balls attached to it. I couldn't help but experiment with the camera to see how it would photograph. It looks like something from outer space.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Spirit of Christmas

I wanted to share with you the amazing experience Amanda and her family had today.

Rodney L. and Arlene M. Lee
For those of you who know me, know that I am not the most religious person. But I do believe in God, or some wondrous force that drives us in our lives, and Fate.
Mark's grandmother passed away today, surrounded by friends and family. We had all planned to visit her Friday to "tell" her that is was okay to go. Her husband passed away 8 years ago on 9/24. And she started going down hill from that day.
Over the last two weeks or so she was labeled as "Actively dying", meaning her body was slowly shutting down, and forgetting how to do things. She had lost the ability to move in any capacity, and had not spoken in several weeks.
We received a phone call this morning at about 7 am that she only had a few hours left. We rushed around, found someone to watch the boys, and went to the hospital to be with her, and say our goodbyes. 3 of her children were there, her oldest daughter lives in OK, so she spoke to her via a cell phone. They all told her that they loved her, and she was a great mother, and grandmother. They told her that her husband was waiting for her for Christmas, and she should go to him.
I left at about 1:00, to do some holiday cleaning, and cooking, and Mark stayed there with the rest of her children. I called Mark at 4:00 to see how things were going. He told me she had just passed, and he would talk when he arrived home.
He said it was the most amazing, uplifting experience of his life. He said that her breathing had changed from the slow, deep breathes, to a very fast, shallow quick breathing pattern. Her two daughters(Kellie, and Nancy) each were holding a hand. They knew by her breathing that things were changing. They started to again tell her that it was ok to go, they were all crying and letting her know that it was ok. Suddenly Kellie said, "I felt her hand move." Nancy told her to hold on tight to it. Nancy grabbed her other hand tighter as well. They asked "do you see dad?"(Rodney-her husband) - there was no response. Then Nancy said, do you see Jesus? And clear as a bell she said "yes". They were all in awe, they asked again, "Mom, do you see Jesus? Are his arms open" And again, "yes". They said at that moment they all felt a warm calm feeling over all of them, and Nancy said, "Then go to him." And she passed.
Mark says that telling the story of the experience does not do it justice. But the whole family is so happy, and at ease. It's amazing to be part of such a close family.
Mark's dad (her son)says it's the best Christmas present he could have ever received. They all say, they do not feel as though they need to cry. They're just so happy to know where she is, and who she's with.
Mark said to me "I saw Jesus today, and He is great"
I find it so hard to wrap my brain around things in life sometimes. I'm still trying to get a grip on the loss of Sandi, and why she was taken from us so soon. And Mariah's mom, Susan-my second mom growing up. And my friend Terah who passed away from cancer just after her 21st birthday. They were all young, ambitious, vibrant women, and I miss them so much. My heart aches thinking of what they could be today, and the many wonderful things they had accomplished in life. And all of the many more things they could have if they weren't taken at such a youthful age.
I think what I've learned so far is to stay close to all of the great friends I have. I'm so lucky to have such an amazing circle of friends. We are all so different in our lives, yet we would do anything for each other. And often do without ever expecting anything in return.
It sounds cliche', but life is short, and you never know what may happen next.
So, I wish everyone a very safe, and wonderful Holiday. I hope your hearts are full this season, and that you enjoy every second you are with your friends and family. And even though we are scattered across the globe, we're all thinking of each other this time of year.
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!!!

We officially made it through the holiday rush and are now ready for some much needed family time and rest. But first, we must make one more stop at Sprague's Maple Farm in Portville, NY to do Santa photos in the morning before heading down to Virginia.

I would just like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year. I would especially like to acknowledge my incredible staff for not only their tireless effort, without which none of this would be possible, but also for their friendship. They are an incredible group of people. Kim, Amanda, Jess, MK, Ellen, Mariah, Karen, Terri and Alicia, thank you for all that you do. Oh wait, there is one more person who not only keeps the business side of the business running smoothly, but she also puts up with me 24/7 which is no small task; my wife Sue. Thank you Sue, for being the one person by my side from day one, when I had this crazy idea that I could make a go of it being self employed.

I hope you all have a great holiday. The studio will close Christmas Eve and reopen on Tuesday, January 6th. Should you have any questions or concerns, my e-mail is never far away.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Light Tour

It's an annual tradition of ours to take a ride through the neighborhoods of Canandaigua to see all the Christmas lights. The setting was perfect this year with a foot thick blanket of fresh powder snow. With holiday music playing over the radio, we were snug in our car driving around the Victorian neighborhoods, then down to the shores of Canandaigua Lake. There were some great houses, but overall there seemed to be a lack of really decked out houses. As with every story from the good old days, when I was a kid, I remember houses that were so over done, there were lines of cars out in front of them.

We took our tour straight from Sarah's hockey game so I didn't have a camera with me. So in lieu of photos from Canandaigua, here are a few I've seen online this holiday season.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pet Week January 27-31

Mark your calendars for our first ever Pet Week at the studio, January 27-31st. Spoil your pooch or little miss kitty with a portrait session for a good cause. Bring in a bag of dog or cat food to be donated to the humane society and receive a free 1/2 hour session or a free 5x7 print from your session. We will have two session options available for you:

1/2 hour session with a framed 8x10 print....$95
1 hour session with multiple backgrounds plus,
4-5x7 framed wall collection or a framed 11x14 wall portrait....$195

Call the studio at 585-393-9242 to book your appointment.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

8 Million Cards

I think we must have done 8 million cards at the studio this season. Actually, I should say Amanda designed 8 million cards. They all look awesome, but here are some of our favorites.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

'Snot Your Average Wipe!

Sue came home today with a new product called "Boogies on the Run Boogie Wipes" for my son Cade. Cade has been known to have a boogie or two throughout his life, so much so that he has evolved all of his nick names from the little critters that inhabit his nostrils. Here is the evolution of his numerous names since he was an infant:

Booger Boy
Booger Nugget
Nuggie Boy
Nuggie Bear
Nugg Butt
Nugg Bug
Chuggins Tabubasee

Monday, December 15, 2008


I've decided that the country's financial crisis is due to the fact that everyone is on Facebook instead of working.

Quote of the Day:
He who dies with the most Facebook friends wins.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Great Pumpkin

OK, so it's not exactly my mid-life crisis sports car, but it is pretty cool when it comes to hauling the family from rink to rink. We picked up our brand new, burnt orange Dodge Caravan last Friday, complete with dual DVDs in the back for the kids. As luck would have it, we came out from doing some Christmas shopping and while loading the van, a woman parked next to us, opened her door hard and smashed the side of the van. It was snowing so it took me a minute to find the damage and when I looked up she was gone. She ran in to the store to avoid having to own up to it. Duh, we were standing right there. When she got back to her car, she was greeted by the stores damage control expert and a state trooper. I felt bad for her because she was crying, but all she had to do was stick around and own up to her mistake.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Santa at the Outdoor Store

We will be photographing with our Santa again on Saturday, December 13 at the Outdoor Store at Toomey's Corners in Bloomfield from 2-4 p.m. Toomey's Corners is at the intersection of Routes 5/20 and 64. If you missed the chance to come to the studio to see Santa in November, now is your chance.

Michal-Kathryn and I just got back from Cuba, NY to do a shoot with Santa at the Cuba Cheese Shoppe. We will be back down that way Christmas Eve morning at Spragues Maple Farm from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Twins Book

After a year in preparation and the unending support of the twins community, our Twins Book is finally ready for production. Below you will find several options for ordering the books. Please read each one carefully as each volume contains different people. Volume One of the 8x8 soft cover book will be ready for Christmas delivery. Volume Two we are hoping for as well.

The 10x10 hard cover book will contain both Volume One and Volume Two in a single edition in a high quality bound book that comes with a protective sleeve. This is a Premiere Edition heirloom to be cherished for a life time.

Proceeds of the books will go to benefit the scholarship fund set up at Canandaigua Academy in memory of Sandra Curtis. The fund is used to continue the work Sandi did as a counselour at the Possibilities Center, by helping disadvantaged students continue their education after high school.

Click Here to Order

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yeah Mariah and Pat!!!!!!!!

I took the following post from Amanda's blog and I'm reposting it here. Mariah is one of my wedding assistants. She and Pat got engaged last night in style...

How exciting! We ALL knew, except for Mariah!
Pat was one of the leads, and Mariah was the stage manager for the play "Every Christmas Story Ever Written, and then some" A production at the Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls by the Seneca Community Players communty theatre group.
Pat had called our friend Carrie to put out the word that he planned to propose at the end of the play tonight.
How perfect!
After the curtain call, they called Mia out to the stage. It was hard to hear very many words over the screaming of the crowd(EVERYONE was there!)
She said yes!
Congratulations-we love you!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Closing the Book Ends

Ellen and I closed the book ends on a fantastic wedding season today with the wedding of Monica and Rob. When ever I start the wedding season I think of all the weddings I have in front me, and then when it ends, it amazes me how fast it seemed. I can look back and think of some key moments or photos that characterize the season and will stick with me for life. I can also look back at the dozens of friends of have made and marvel at what an amazing career I have to be able to make these new friends on the most special day of their lives. It's just plain cool.

Monica and Rob were married today at St. Mary's in Canandaigua, with the reception in the new room at Bristol Harbour. We went out back on the hill over looking the lake to get some winter scenic shots, but each time we went out, we could only stay for a few minutes before our fingers went numb. It was so cold up there. Nevertheless, I love winter weddings. Congrats Monica and Rob, and thank you for being icing on a great wedding season.

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