Robin & Brandon: A Wedding in the Finger Lakes

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure and privilege of photographing the wedding of Robin and Brandon in Skaneateles, NY. Robin is the sister of a client of mine, and decided to hold the ceremony and reception at a family home just down the road from me in my still “new’ish” home town.


It was a stunning (albeit, warm) September afternoon in the Finger Lakes, the setting both feeling and looking like a summer garden party thanks to the abundance of flowers and elegant setting/styling by She Rents Vintage; the scene would not have looked out of place in a Country Living spread.


It was very much a casual, comfortable affair where the laughter was easy and smiles abundant. This was the case from my arrival around 12:00pm as the bride got ready, through the end of the dinner, a picnic-style BBQ courtesy of the always good Dinosaur BBQ.


As has been the case with other weddings I’ve photographed, my goal was to document the day much as a photojournalist would cover an event, using candid shots to compose a narrative with as little intrusion as possible. The smaller wedding and venue size made this challenging at times, but the access and trust afforded by the family of the bride and groom allowed me to capture the spirit and feeling of the day.


The word that came to mind in how I pictured the day was “classic,” from the suspenders and smart bow ties of the groom and his best men, to the antique couches and elegant place settings. The color palate was warm, but subdued; the bride’s dress was simple, elegant lace… it wasn’t stuffy, and it made for some great photo opportunities.


For purposes of the photo essay I made for the bride and groom, I chose to desaturate the colors somewhat, using an “antique” filter to enhance the warmth, but stopping short of a full-on sepia tone for the day. While it was an exceptionally clear and bright day, muting the colors made the most sense, picturing something that was very much, ‘vintage.’


I’m grateful they agreed to let me photograph their special day, one you can see more of by checking out the full, photo essay of Robin and Brandon here.


September in Central New York (CNY) means many things, in my case, spending Friday evenings on the sidelines of a high school football field. Last year I had the opportunity to photograph area games as a contract freelancer for, and am happy to say I'll be doing so again for 2018. 

The current season kicked off with a Section 3, Class B matchup between Skaneateles and Marcellus, two local rivals separated by a bit over 6 miles on Old Seneca Turnpike. Skaneateles, came into the game having moved up from Class C where, in 2017, they won the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHAA) State Championship. Marcellus, expected to be one of the strongest teams in Class C, is still dealing with the loss of Matthew Norris, a Marcellus player who tragically lost his life this past summer on a one-car automobile accident.

My official game photos and the game report can be found here:


Skaneateles went on to dominate the night, beating Marcellus by a score of  42-9. Additional photos can be found below.

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In addition to doing some wedding videography over the last few weeks I've also been busy taking headshots for a number of clients, including a number of musicians and singers.

 Lana Stafford is a talented flutist and flute teacher who performs and works in the Syracuse, NY-area. You can learn more about her here:

Lana Stafford is a talented flutist and flute teacher who performs and works in the Syracuse, NY-area. You can learn more about her here:

 Robbie Padilla is a pianist and music teacher who also works and performs in the Syracuse-area.  You can learn more about him and hear some of his music at:

Robbie Padilla is a pianist and music teacher who also works and performs in the Syracuse-area.  You can learn more about him and hear some of his music at:




Lakeside family fun

Made a drive down the east side of Skaneateles Lake yesterday evening to photograph members of the lovely McMullen family on a gorgeous summer evening. Their property has been in the family for generations, with members coming together this evening from as far away as Germany. 


The late afternoon sun was beautiful but presents challenges when trying to get wonderful, backlit photos... I was also standing right on the edge of the dock when I took some of the images, and it would not have been good form had my Canon 6D and I taken an unexpected dip.


Aunts and uncles, moms and dads, and an al fresco dinner to follow the session. It was a pleasure getting to meet the family and I hope they enjoy the photos as much as I had taking them.


Love is an open door

On May 14, 2018 I was privileged to photograph The Child Center of NY as they celebrated their 65th Anniversary at their Annual Gala, held at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York, NY.


Emcee Sunny Hostin, co-host of The View and ABC News Correspondent, led nearly 400 guests through a moving and inspiring evening that opened with a performance by the guitar group from Ps 182, followed by a heartwarming rendition of “Children Will Listen” by musical theater students from Is 237, accompanied by Broadway star Jessica Fontana.


Jessica was later joined on stage by her husband, Tony-nominated Broadway (Cinderella) and film (Frozen) star Santino Fontana, for a highlight of the evening, “Love Is An Open Door.” Tony Award-winner (Rent, Wicked) Idina Menzel closed out the event with a medley that culminated with a group-sing of “Let It Go.”


Speakers included the evening’s honoree, Emmy award-winning chef Lidia Bastianich, who passionately spoke to the event’s theme of Finding Your Voice; Asian Outreach Assistant Program Director, Omar Kazi, recipient of The Child Center’s annual Russell E. Carson Visionary Award for embodying the theme of building up young people to achieve their potential; and longtime Child Center client, Frantzcia Saintil, who movingly spoke of her journey.


A blustery proposal

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a gentleman from NYC who was looking to hire me to photograph a surprise wedding proposal, specifically in Syracuse and someplace outdoors. His thinking was that The Gazebo at Onondaga Park would be a good idea, right around sunset where the light would be beautiful.


Well, things didn't go exactly as planned. First, he had planned to buy roses for his soon-to-be fiancé, but flower shops and any number of other stores are closed on Sundays in Central New York. He asked for my help, so I made a run to Wegmans, bought every red rose I could find (there were not many), and with great help from my wife, put together a bouquet. Second, while the gazebo would have made for a great spot to pop the question, Syracuse Department of Parks and Recreation had yet to put in the footbridge across the water to the gazebo, requiring me to call an audible and suggest a beautiful, nearby stone bridge. Finally, while the weather had been lovely and warm in the days leading up to the proposal, the evening turned out to be blustery and cold, to the point where I actually brought hand warmers


All that being said, things worked out in the end, with the lovely couple having the park (and proposal location) to themselves yesterday evening.


It was a wonderful moment that I felt privileged to have chronicled, and I wish the future bride and groom a happy life together.


Dropping the puck

Thanks to the media relations staff with the Syracuse Crunch, I was given the opportunity to photograph my first, professional hockey game on February 9, 2018. Syracuse was facing off against the Hartford Wolfpack in regular season American Hockey League (AHL) action at the the Oncenter War Memorial Arena


I was able to work opposite the Crunch team photographer, shooting through one of the cutouts in the glass along the corner boards. This was so much nicer than trying to shoot through dirty glass at a high school rink, with the overall lighting being much better overall. 


The speed of the players and pace of the game was much, much quicker than the high school games I'd photographed to that point, and had to be hyper-vigilant to know where the players and action were lest my camera get nailed by a stray puck or player.


To protect my Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM, I borrowed a suggestion from Toronto Star NHL photographer Steve Russell, fashioning a flexible lens hood out of a rubber gasket from the hardware store I bought for less than $3. It did the trick (not that I had to test it), and is a neat hack I'll certainly put to use again.


While the full frame of the 6D is nice, especially when paired with the 70-200 it is FAR from ideal for high speed, sports photography; the fps is way to slow. Next time, should the opportunity present itself, I'd like to rent a 7D mark II, not just for the much faster frame rate, but for the added reach the crop sensor will provide. All in all, not bad for my first, professional game.


Early evening maternity session

The Dempseys first contacted me about doing a maternity session in early October, hoping to do something outside and, in particular, taking advantage of the local fall colors or foliage. 


Unfortunately, not only were the colors rather muted this year, but the weather and schedule conflicts conspired to push the desired session further and further down the calendar.


While it took some time, we were finally able to get together the week before Thanksgiving, taking advantage of some great early-evening light out at the Skaneateles Conservation Area. 


While there wasn't much in the way of fall color and the temperature was hovering around freezing, everything came together in the end and I was able to get the photos seen here. Both they and their son were troopers and I appreciate the patience and good humor; I look forward to working with them again.


Pre-Halloween family outing

Had the chance to photograph the lovely Peck family this past Friday on the Charlie Major Nature Trail in Skaneateles, NY. While the fall colors have been somewhat muted this season, the late-afternoon light helped bring out some of them just a few days before Halloween. The Pecks have strong, local ties to the area and I had a blast getting to photograph them.


First clients

Readjusting to real winter weather was a challenging aspect of relocating from Arlington, Virginia to Skaneateles, New York; having to build a new a client base was also a formidable proposition.

While I didn't make the pivot to full-time, professional photography until we moved to The Finger Lakes, I had built up a good "side" business in the Washington, DC-area where I was doing work with a variety of clients. I covered book signings; did some commercial shoots; photographed families; captured retirement ceremonies... I did a bit of everything, but couldn't take that work and the associated clients with me.


Enter the Marrinan family. They came across an advertisement I'd posted in a local Facebook group and became my first clients in town. I could not have asked for a better, more enjoyable first session, with mother, daughter and their beloved pooch bringing added luster to an already beautiful, Fall day. In addition, they became my de-facto publicists for my first few months in town, referring me to a number of additional, new clients; I am incredibly grateful for that.