Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stephanie and Mark

Last year I photographed the wedding of Stacey and Jim. Yesterday, I photographed Stacey's twin sister Stephanie. Stephanie and Stacey were also part of our twins book that we did to honor my wife Sue and her late twin sister Sandi. Yesterday's wedding was quite unique. The ceremony was in Charlotte, just a few hundred feet from Ontario Beach Park where the airshow was being held. We were treated to a demonstration by an F-15 before the ceremony and the Snowbirds after the ceremony. The timing was perfect. It was quiet in between. The F-15 was so loud that if the timing were off it could have been devastating to the ceremony. Since the wedding was booked over a year ago, the airshow committee graciously supplied us with a police escort to the church. It was like Moses parting the Red Sea watching all the cars dive out of our way. After the ceremony we headed down to Corn Hill for some fun photos with bridal party, then it was off to the Rochester Club Ballroom on East Ave. for the reception. Congratulations Mark and Stephanie!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Weathering the Storm

With the sound of the rain splashing on the roof and rushing down the gutters, it only seems fitting to reflect on the economic storm soaking us all. We hear the daily reports on the news of this company in bankruptcy or that bank needing a bailout, but what are we to do locally as small business owners? More specifically, what am I supposed to do with my own business? Compared to stories I'm hearing from across the country with other studios, we're holding our own. Sure business is off a little bit, but it's not anything that will drown us. However, there are members of our community, my clients, my friends that this storm is effecting. That's were the question comes in as to what to do with my business in order to help those in need around me. What could I do to be sympathetic to my clients financial stresses without devaluing the quality and integrity we've spent the last decade building?
We've decided to implement a new payment structure to spread out the financial commitment to our artistry. We don't want you to have to skimp on quality with such milestones in life such as a wedding or senior portraits, so we've decided to allow those who need it to spread their investment out over 12 monthly payments. Every situation is unique so we will work with each of our clients on an individual basis.
The sky is getting brighter on the horizon and as we experienced with many of our weddings last year, at the end of the rain we find the rainbow.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gigi and Kevin

I had a great wedding this past weekend with Gigi and Kevin in Brockport with the reception at the Italian American Center in Gates. We had a lot of fun including getting to photograph with a fire truck that showed up at the reception when the fire alarm went off. Everyone had to evacuate the building which did not impress Gigi, but she took it like a trooper and posed with the truck. Despite that little hiccup, the day went very well. The bridal party was huge. We went up to the Cobbs Hill Reservoir to do photos. Lucky me stepped in a wad of gum that proceeded to follow me for the next three miles in a long gooey string. Amanda's husband Mark was video taping and got the whole thing tape for the blooper reel.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rob and Andrea

I love to photograph the weddings of siblings of previous wedding couples. They are already familiar with my style and vision. Yesterday's wedding with Rob and Andrea was one of those. I photographed Andrea's sister Annette's wedding a couple of years earlier.
Last year was the year of thunderstorms and rainbows during weddings. It seemed that nearly every wedding had a storm and a rainbow at some point. Yesterday's weather followed suite with two rounds of storms with torrential downpours that turned the streets of Geneva into rivers of chocolate milk in minutes. At one point, we were at the Chamber of Commerce along the north end of Seneca Lake, doing photos of the bridal party with a Harley Davidson. Looking off to the west, I saw a storm approaching that looked like a scene from the movie Twister. The sky was green with a veil of grey rain plummeting down through the middle. A ribbon of rolling clouds wrapped around the rain like a rope. We made it back to the cars just as the sky ripped open with a tropical like deluge.
Despite the weather, the wedding and reception went off flawlessly. Andrea and Rob are perfect for each other.

Ryan and Alex Slideshow

Friday, May 15, 2009

Flight #666

Here is the beginnng of the Naples trip from Rich's perspective...

Captain's Log.....Stardate 05.09.09
En route to Ft. Myers, Florida to shoot a wedding in Naples, we experienced a little turbulence. I'm not referring to the kind that makes the plane bounce. I'm talking about life turbulence. The kind that makes your mind bounce. It began with the bacon and egg sandwich I ordered at the airport in Atlanta during my lay-over. That sandwich, and its accompanying Ruby Red Grapefruit juice came to a total of $6.66. Clue #1. I shook off the anxious thoughts and headed to the gate. I noticed an off-duty pilot "deadheading" a ride to Ft. Myers on my flight. (Doesn't every air-disaster movie have an extra pilot deadheading on board?) Clue #2. We waited on the tarmac for 45 minutes before finally taking off.....What were they fixing or diagnosing? Clue #3. Again, I wrote off my trepidation to imagination.

The flight seemed uneventful for the first 60 minutes, but the next 15 minutes took 30, and felt like 3 hours. Our approach seemed normal enough, until I noticed we were no longer at 1,000 feet on final approach, but rather 5,000 feet, heading away from the airport. It wasn't as noticeable as an outright waive off over the airport, but we were definitely further from landing than we were a few minutes before. I glanced over at the extra pilot sitting across the aisle one row back. He didn't look nervous, but he was paying close attention. Then we began a series of steep turns, altitude, and throttle adjustments that seemed so peculiar to me. I'm no pilot, but the maneuvers definitely felt out of character for a commercial airliner. I half expected to see the pilots involved in a bar fight rolling around and kicking the controls had I opened the cockpit door to see. The engine noise was alternating full throttle and then no throttle, pressing me into my seat and then pitching me forward in my seat, not once or twice, but dozens of times over the next few minutes. I looked at the extra pilot again. He may have looked nervous. Was that a bead of sweat on his forehead?

We finally headed back toward the airport and our decent was anything but smooth. Still accelerating and decelerating aggressively, tipping side to side. I could hear the concerned comments of those around me, and focused on the terrain outside the window. I wondered if these were the last images I'd ever see. I wondered what people think about before a crash. I thought it was funny to wonder what people think about, rather than thinking about something myself. My knuckles were white, and I quickly downed the last of my grapefruit juice. Was that the last thing I would ever taste? It was delicious.

What separates the survivors from the victims in an aircrash? Luck? Fate? Precise position in the plane? Strength of character? Soul? Morals? Karma? Am I as truly indestructible as I hoped? Was all of this in my head?

We touched down hard and clearly too fast. We didn't slow down for a long time. I wondered if we could. The extra pilot was sweating now, no doubt. And then it was over. Welcome to Ft. Myers. The local time is 11:56am and the temperature is 83 degrees. Hmmmm, no mention of the near disaster. Not a quiver in his voice. Nothing.

As we left the plane, I turned to the extra pilot and asked him if that landing seemed peculiar to him. He looked at me for a long time, and finally said "No." He thanked the pilot as we left the exit near the cockpit. "Thanks for Ride," he said. What did he mean by that?

Still the safest way to travel, and I won't hesitate to fly again. Though I may add hash browns if my bill ever comes to $6.66 again.

~Rich Chesler

Chesler Photography on 13WHAM

Last week, Ginny Ryan from Channel 13 came down to the studio to interview me on our volunteer work for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. NILMDTS is a network of volunteer photographers who help parents cope with the loss of their infant during pregnancy or in the first months or years of their life. You can get more information at

The news story ran yesterday on the 5:00 and 11:00 news and is now on their website. You can view the 5:00 story at

I want to thank Terri and Todd Burkett for coming forward with their story on the loss of their son Malin at just 17 weeks along in the pregnancy. Being able to help them through the healing process is comforting, knowing that our photographs made a difference they will remember forever.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Naples, The Morning After

What would a destination wedding on the Gulf Coast be without bridal photos on the beach. We woke up early Sunday morning and went down to the beach with Alex, Ryan and the rest of the bridal party. The guys wore tan pants and white shirts while the girls wore sun dresses. Alex was able to obtain a few extra wedding dresses for the extra photo shoot so she was not bashful about letting it get full of sand and water. We had a great morning except for the sand fleas that at my feet.

After the beach shoot, we enjoyed a great brunch with the families down at McCabe's. I love destination weddings. After spending so much time with everyone involved, you become like family. I look forward to many future events with them.

We said our goodbyes and trekked north toward Ft. Meyers with an obligatory stop at the Bass Pro Shop and the we took a side trip to Sanibel Island. Sanibel is one of my favorite places although it was chewed up a bit by a few hurricanes since the last time I was there. My previous trips there were with my Dad, so it has a special place in my heart. As amazing as the trip was, it was nice to come home to my family, especially after having been apart from them for Mother's Day.

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