Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dream Cars

I remember the day my Dad came home with my first car. It was actually his car, but I was 14 and doing the math, by the time he was done with it, I would have my license. It was a 1985 Titanium Grey Buick Regal T-Type with a 200hp turbo engine. It was the twin to the infamous Buick Grand National, only it did not have the GN badge and didn't have to be black. The engine was archaic in today's standards, but back then it was sweet, with the right amount of growl and acceleration to press you into the seat when the turbo kicked in. I eventually did get the car after having to get a certain GPA in school. Then I had to maintain that GPA to keep the car. I missed by .4 of a point. That was a harsh lesson to learn, trading in my keys for an '82 Skylark with with a dented door and steering that would lock half way through a turn. My Dad meant business. In the end, I did get the car back Freshman year of college after buying it from my sister.
I've had a love for cars since I was old enough to crawl on the floor pushing toy cars across the shag carpet, growling vroom vroom as loud as I could, spit and drool flying everywhere like the dog from Turner and Hooch.
That same love of cars is now the driving force (pun intended) behind the next phase of my business as a car photographer. I have added a new gallery on my website devoted to cars and we are launching a line of car calendars, showcasing cars from the 40's with pinup models, 50's with pinup models, 60's and 70's muscle cars, rat rods, Mustangs and more...
A few weeks ago, I went down to Amanda's father Steve's house to photograph his '53 pick up, along with a bunch of his friend's cars. There were cars ranging from the 30's through the late 60's. I shot some of the cars with models, experimenting with different looks and outfits. One of my favorites is with my friend Mariah and a '49 Lincoln Zephyr restored by Marty's Chop Shop in Hall.
We are still looking for cars for our calendars. If you're interested, call us at 585-393-9242.

Erin and Rich

Being in the heart of senior portrait season before school starts, it's easy for time to get away from me with blogging. I will post a bunch of senior stuff soon, both here and on our senior blog at
On August 4th, I had the privilege of photographing Erin and Rich's small, intimate ceremony at the Sunken Garden at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva. It was a Wednesday evening wedding with just the two of them and both sets of parents. It was an elegant wedding followed by dinner at Belhurst Castle. Erin looked like she came right out of the 1940's. In fact, I'm hoping she'll model for me the Cars of the 40's calendar we are doing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Dancing Egg

My sister Caren is a writer. She's not just a writer though, but a passionate, descriptive writer that would make J. D. Salinger jealous. Caren has been trying desperately for quite a few years now to have a baby. After several failed attempts at both natural and artificial means, she is pregnant through IVF. She has started a blog called "The Dancing Egg" which is a journey through her pregnancy and experience with IVF. Here is an excerpt of one of the posts:

A man in West Harlem has been stealing plants and trees from the front steps of peoples’ brownstones and then in a brazen move, is selling them on the street just a few blocks away. Like the Grinch, he waits until late at night and then plucks the plants right off the porch while the homeowner sleeps, possibly in the window just above the stoop. He usually takes potted plants, though occasionally, he’ll take a tree. In one instance, he stole a beautiful four-foot Bouganvillea that had pink flowers.

One man, who had a plant stolen from his stoop, decided a thief was not going to stop him from beautifying his home so he put out another plant — which was promptly stolen. Refusing to be deterred, he put out yet another plant, only to have that one taken too, effectively feeding the thief’s appetite.

One couple actually saw the thief in his makeshift shop on the street, and they recognized some of their own plants. Having no proof, they decided not to approach him. But another couple on the block who’d had a small tree stolen and had heard about the thief’s street-side store went over to it, recognized their tree and accused the man of stealing it. The man proclaimed his innocence, saying someone had sold it to him. Still, he gave them their tree back, reluctantly.

One Harlem resident, who lives several streets north of the block under seige, says someone has been stealing his plants, too, though he’s not sure it’s the same thief. He went so far as to put a padlock on his planter and attached it to an overhang on his house, like one might put a padlock and chain on a garbage pail or a bicycle. But the man said the thief not only stole the plant, but he yanked it right through the overhang, lock and all, creating a leak in the overhang’s roof.

Apparently, this same thief used to steal plants several years ago, only then, he would actually rip flowers out of the ground from people’s front gardens and from a local park. He terrorized one block so many times, residents met and complained to a group of older women, who had lived on the block for decades and knew the identity of the thief. The old women approached the young man and told him he’d better stop if he valued his well being. He promptly did.

“Sounds like he’s back to his old ways,” said Alan, one of the plant thief’s former victims. “I’m sure if he is given such a communique again, he will go back into remission.”

I, too, have a brownstone in Harlem, and about six months ago, our block was plagued by a thief who would take whatever wasn’t nailed or chained down. Since it was Christmas time, he had his pick of mini Christmas trees in pots, glass baubles and bells, string lights and tinsel. Our thief really was the Grinch. I usually hang two wreaths on my front door, each decorated with a little copper French horn, two glittery red and gold ornaments, and two sleigh bells that would jingle every time someone came into the building. In fact that’s how I knew they were gone. The jingling stopped. I replaced the wreaths with two cheap pre-decorated copies that I bought at a dollar store, because the front door looked so naked that time of year without any adornment. Within a day, both were gone — an indication the thief was not just mean, he had poor taste.

One day, the thief managed to break into the caged-in area under my front stoop and stole a snow shovel, a weed wacker, a red wheelbarrow and various other tools I’d long forgotten about but know are gone because the storage area is a lot cleaner than it was. The man had apparently reached his hand around the side of the wrought iron gate and opened up the lock. I promptly put up thick wire mesh so that no one could stick there hand around again. The cost to install the mesh, spray paint it black, and then apply a small amount of cement near the door’s opening to plug the gap: $600 — about twice what it should have cost. And I had to call the contractor three times to get him to come back and finish the job. I got away a lot cheaper with the thief.

I wonder whether I’ll be able to protect my child against all the mean, scary things that can happen to him. I thought today that having just one child quite literally is “putting all your eggs in one basket.” If something were to ever happen to him, I would be utterly devastated. We heard Rupert Holmes interviewed on the radio the other day — he said people know him as “the guy who wrote the pina colada song” — and he talked about losing his only daughter and how he was almost suicidal. She wasn’t stolen from him by some crazy pedophile or kidnapped by a nut. She died of an undiagnosed brain tumor. But he was flattened. Incapacitated. For now, I’m still preoccupied with trying to sustain the pregnancy, but I imagine once the child leaves my body, I’ll then begin to fear all the goblins and gouls that will have access to her.

Jenn and Zane

Good things come to those who wait. I think that's how the saying goes. I'm not great with remembering sayings. Neither is Ellen. We came out of the ice rink once and she was telling me something about someone's true personality coming through and used an expression I never heard before. "The zebra really showed his stripes, on it's big, white under belly?" I looked at her with confusion as she made her statement in fragments with a questioning tone. We both looked at each other and burst out laughing.
Anyway, I shot Zane and Jenn's wedding yesterday at Wagner Vineyard in Lodi. It was a real gully washer when we got there, but by the end of the day, we had a spectacular sunset. The rain let up in time to do there outdoor ceremony in front of the pond with the killer swan in it. If I had to name the bird it would definitely be a mob name, like Tiny or Vinny the Hisser. You could lose an eye if you get to close to that thing.
I like shooting at Wagner. It's a beautiful setting with a lot of unique areas from vineyards and scenics of the lake, to aging field ornaments like an old grape truck and old fire truck.
Jenn is an alumni of Clemson University, which was a sub theme of the wedding. She had a Clemson garter and lot's of purple. Both Zane and Jenn are scientists, so instead of doing a unity candle or a sand ceremony, they mixed a bunch of chemicals in a glass heart shaped beeker that changed color when mixed. It was a very cool idea for two very cool people. Congrats Zane and Jenn.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

There's an App for That!

Just a few short years ago, if you mentioned the words Tweet or App, people would think you were making bird noises. Now they are common household terms. I haven't yet jumped on the Twitter band wagon, simply because I don't think anyone would give a rats patooty if I were drinking a double mocha frappalatte chino at that given moment. If I do anything worthy of shoutinig about, I'll put it on my blog. Apps on the other hand, I have found to be quite useful and entertaining. So much so that I now have my very own Chesler Photography App in the iTunes store.

The App has some cool features, such as:

* DailyPic – You will automatically be presented with unique, one of a kind images directly from Chesler Photography. Each day an exclusive, new image is presented to you for your inspiration and enjoyment that showcases our style of portraiture. The DailyPic image can even be saved as your wallpaper on your iPhone/iPod Touch. View our DailyPic feature every day! Your image may even be featured.

* News – Keep up with the latest news & events just for app users.

* Keep In Touch – A great feature for app users, see what's happening with us with a live feed on Facebook, and our Blog – all right in the palm of your hands.

* Request a Booking – We make it simple & convenient to request an appointment with this exclusive app feature for our studio.

* 'For You' – This one of a kind feature for our app users allows you to see personalized images, galleries, and information that’s meant just ‘For You’. You can easily register with us so we know you have our app and we can make selected images, galleries, and information available for you specifically. This one of a kind feature is a great way to take images with you on the go and share with family, friends, and co-workers.

It has a map to the studio, direct links to our website, blog and Facebook pages. It will even automatically call the studio or direct link you to our e-mail. We will be placing App only specials that will automatically show up on your app without having to download updates. The best part is that it's all free.

Monday, August 9, 2010


One of my thoughts going down to New Orleans was to photograph some of the areas devestated by Katrina. Unfortunately, the worst hit areas are not safe to go in to, so we found some of the remnants just outside the French Quarter. I think the images would have been quite dramatic, but not at the risk of mine or my clients safety. We did come across a really cool cemetary though that was in various states of decay. Since New Orleans is below sea level, the dead are buried above ground.
In this last set, there are also some images of some of the interesting people we met in our travels, from starving Blue's singers to some interesting characters on Bourbon street who were less than sober and looking for love.

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