Steaming September Wedding in Rhode Island

Most times when one thinks of September in New England, thoughts are milling around apples, colorful leaves and the crisp change of seasons.  Sarah and Anthony’s wedding day was quite the contrary!  It was 92f in my car when I pulled up to the church (built in 1806 with no air conditioning!) and I’m quite sure the humidity levels rivaled that of the deep south.  The great part was that through the hot, steamy day they both kept their cool and as a result, had a fabulous wedding day!

The day started with the ladies getting ready at the father of the bride’s house.  The tall ceilings and great light provided a few opportunities for detail photos before heading out the door. The limo whisked them off to the church and I arrived a few minutes before everyone, preparing to position the wedding party, give them their cues and then be there just as the bride arrived with her father.  I could tell Sarah was so nervous, yet so excited at the same time.  Anthony kept his cool and was grinning, almost as if to say “that’s ok, I’ll be right here”.  The brief ceremony in the historic First Unitarian Church in Providence, RI ended with the traditional kiss and we all escaped to the outdoors for a bit of a breeze.

After the ceremony everyone made short drive to Warwick, RI to the Aldrich Mansion on the banks of Narragansett Bay. We captured more photos and then after cocktail hour, watched the first dances and an entertaining toast by the best man.  After dinner Sarah and Anthony chose to have a private cake cutting with parents and grandparents in the dessert room.  I’ll admit, I had no idea what I was in for with this “dessert room”.  Wow.  First, I snuck in for a preview and I was overwhelmed by the smell of buttery rum fragrance flowing through the air, almost like a little piece of heaven.  My eyes started darting all over the room and soon, after I could focus, I saw the chef in the back corner making bananas foster.  In front of me were countless other amazing desserts.  Oh….right…. focus!  🙂

The night ended with the DJ’s rocking it out with the crowd and fun dancing.  It was still quite warm at the end of the night but I think by that point, everyone was having so much fun they forgot all about it.  Huge congratulations to Sarah and Anthony!

Matron of honor helping the bride get ready.

Bride's bouquet and wedding ring.  I loved the box!

Bride’s bouquet and wedding ring. I loved the box!

Mother of the bride, helping her get dressed.  Super special time for mother and daughter!

Mother of the bride, helping her get dressed. Super special time for mother and daughter!

Sarah, trying not to cry as her Dad saw her for the first time.

Sarah, trying not to cry as her Dad saw her for the first time.

Gorgeous dress!

Gorgeous dress!


Here comes the bride!

Here comes the bride!

Anthony, patiently waiting for Sarah.

Anthony, patiently waiting for Sarah.

Bird's eye view...

Bird’s eye view…

They did it!

They did it!










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New York, Oh How I Love Thee…

There really isn’t a city like New York City.  It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been there.  There is a constant swell of energy in the air, even during the gloomiest of days.  Whether you’re in the Financial District, Midtown, the Theater District or even the upper east side, you can still feel it.  Perhaps that’s why Travis and Kathy chose to share their wedding vows there, in the midst of that energy.  Whatever the reason, it turned into an amazing day for them!  

The day started with a few last minute schedule changes and a missing veil.  The beauty of photographing weddings is that you’re forced to be dynamic and flexible.  Things change and part of my role is to ensure that the bride and groom are relaxed and not stressed about those last minute changes.  We had changes in the start time, changes in wedding location (yes!) but in the end, it all worked out.  The wedding was initially planned to be at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.  However, pending rain and a hesitant officiant had the ceremony shifted to a small area at The Plaza Hotel.  Yes, THE Plaza Hotel, where the bride and groom were staying during their time in the city.  The hotel really is as stunning as you might imagine!

I arrived early and captured a photographs of the bride getting ready in her suite, accompanied by her mom and maid of honor.  The ceremony was very classic with a twist of hand wrapping, signifying their bond and commitment to each other.  There were just a few close family members present which made for a very intimate ceremony in the gorgeous wings of the Plaza.  Thankfully, the weather held up and we made our way via horse and carriage to Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.  The light wasn’t overly harsh and the fountain provided a beautiful backdrop for the newly wed couple.  There is also a bridged area with beautiful artwork next to the fountain that we took advantage of.  Afterward, Travis and Kathy took the carriage back to the hotel, waving to pedestrians on the street along the way, to join the rest of their family for a private dinner reception at the Boat House.

The magic of the city didn’t disappoint!  Congratulations to Kathy and Travis!

Kathy looking toward the streets as she waits to meet her groom.

Kathy looking toward the streets as she waits to meet her groom.

The book that Travis used when he proposed to Kathy, which the maid of honor used to carry the rings in.

The book that Travis used when he proposed to Kathy, which the maid of honor used to carry the rings in.

Bride and maid of honor

Bride and maid of honor

Cutest wedding shoes!

Cutest wedding shoes!

Travis as he sees Kathy for the first time, waiting with the Reverend.

Travis as he sees Kathy for the first time, waiting with the Reverend.

Handholding during the ceremony

Handholding during the ceremony



Signing on the dotted line...

Signing on the dotted line…

Kathy, patiently waiting her turn to sign the papers.

Kathy, patiently waiting her turn to sign the papers.

Kathy and her mom, waiting for the carriage.

Kathy and her mom, waiting for the carriage.

The ladies took the carriage to Central Park - not a bad way to ride!

The ladies took the carriage to Central Park – not a bad way to ride!

In front of Bethesda Fountain

In front of Bethesda Fountain

A little inside joke

A little inside joke

The walkway with beautiful arches and Bethesda Fountain in the background.

The walkway with beautiful arches and Bethesda Fountain in the background.

Waving to the pedestrians on the way back to the hotel - they received many congratulatory cheers from them!

Waving to the pedestrians on the way back to the hotel – they received many congratulatory cheers from them!



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Majestic Mount Washington

This past weekend I had a real treat with not only my parents in town from Florida, but also a ride up the Cog Railway to the top of Mount Washington!  Mount Washington is stunning and the tallest peak in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire.  In fact, it’s the tallest peak in the entire northeast at 6,288 ft.  It’s known to have “the world’s worst weather” and once recorded a wind gust of 231 mph!

Mount Washington also quite historic as it is home to the very first mountain climbing rack-and-pinion (Cog) railway in the world.  It’s been in operation since 1869 and the design has been mimicked around the world.  There is actually a sister Cog railroad on Pike’s Peak in Colorado that I road a few years ago.  I wanted to treat my parents to a ride on the Cog and the beautiful views from Mount Washington while they were visiting.  We nearly didn’t make it after a few wrong turns and missing our reservation, but we got lucky and found our way on another train.  We boarded onto the small railcar that had a maximum capacity of 70 people and it was near capacity.  The conductor provided a bit of history for us as we made our way up.  He took time to boast that we were riding the second steepest track but by far the most dangerous – thankfully he shared that information after we made it past the risky “Jacob’s Ladder”!

Ok, yes, I went to Purdue and I have a thing for trains too.  🙂  I am a Boilermaker after all!

The views were amazing, from those behind us as we were riding up to those all around when we reached the summit.  The clouds looked magical and the peaks in the distance almost looked like cartoons that were about to come to life.  We were fortunate that the winds were relatively calm and we had the sun attempting to warm us which isn’t always the case.  My parents even got “photo bombed” by a hiker that was determined to touch the summit marker!

I highly recommend a ride on the Cog at least once if you have the opportunity.  You can also take the motor way up or enjoy a nice long hike!  Check out more about the observatory and weather center at

Here are some photos from our adventures!

All aboard!

All aboard!

Inside the railcar

Inside the railcar

A view of the power source ahead

A view of the power source ahead

Our engineer!  Oh... and some mountains.  :-)

Our engineer! Oh… and some mountains. 🙂




This is what happens when you fumble your camera while hitting your shutter release at the same time!

This is what happens when you fumble your camera while hitting your shutter release at the same time!


Mom and Dad at the summit!

Mom and Dad at the summit!

New buddy - photo bombed!

New buddy – photo bombed!














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Mission Gratitude

Last week I had the honor and pleasure of volunteering my photography services for a fundraiser for Home Base called Mission Gratitude.  For those that aren’t familiar with the organization, Home Base is a wonderful group that helps returning veterans and their families with the challenges they may struggle with when returning to civilian life after serving.  Specifically, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Mission Gratitude is one of their huge fundraisers for the year filled a star studded lineup and $1000+ seats at the Boston Symphony Hall.   You can learn more about the Home Base program here:  Also, specifically this event, Mission Gratitude here:  I encourage you to learn more and when possible, help support this organization.   Personally, I can’t say thank you enough for what the men and women of our US military (and their families) do for our country.

The majority of my evening was actually spent photographing guests as they socialized before the event started with cocktails.  There was also a fun opportunity for guests to have their photo taken with Tim Wakefield and Ray Bourque of which I did.  Both were great sports as the guests were thrilled to shake their hands and have their photo taken with them.  All of these photos were taken using a special tool by dwinQ (also a major sponsor of the event) that allowed the photos to immediately be transferred from my camera to their email in-box or Facebook page.  Very cool technology!

After guests were seated, I grabbed my longer lens and snuck in for a few photos of the guest speakers and performers.  There were several big name folks there, but the one that struck a chord with me was the Medal of Honor recipient, SSG Ty Carter.  Wow.  His story and acts of bravery amazed me, as well as his heartfelt honesty about his own challenges with PTSD.  He is a true hero.

Below is a sample of photos from the evening.  Don’t forget to check out!  😉

Boston Symphony Hall

Boston Symphony Hall from the stage before the show

Sarah Silverman

Comedian Sarah Silverman

Angie Johnson

Angie Johnson

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Author and historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin

Rita Wilson

Rita Wilson

The Henningsens

The Henningsens

Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient SSG Ty Carter

Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient SSG Ty Carter

Tim Wakefield

Tim Wakefield

Ray Bourque

Ray Bourque

Cassadee Pope

Cassadee Pope

Comedian Darrell Hammond

Comedian Darrell Hammond

Big & Rich

Big & Rich

Big & Rich

Big & Rich

Big & Rich

Big & Rich

The Band Perry

The Band Perry

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Katie and Jason

The big day FINALLY arrived for Katie and Jason!  I had the honor of capturing the memories of the day in photos for them.  I had an extra special second shooter too – my friend Kara, who flew over from Denver!  Kara went with me to buy my very first SLR camera back in college many, many years ago and it was extra special having her by my side.

We hit the road early (by 8:00am!) and drove to Mt. Wachusett, which is about 85 miles from where I live.  Thankfully, we arrived safely right on time and got to work with me capturing the ladies getting ready and Kara capturing the men.  The champagne was flowing and it was a beautiful and bright sunny day.  They did something very unique and actually met each other at the mountain top prior to the wedding ceremony.  It was magical watching them see each other for the first time that day.  The immediate wedding party joined at the mountain top and we were able to take many of the photos prior to the ceremony, which is a real perk for those that are familiar with how busy a photographer’s schedule can be right after the ceremony.    The bride was escorted by her father and step-father and completed the walk down the aisle with her father.  The look on Jason’s face was that of pure bliss as he watched her walk toward him.  They were both so calm, so peaceful as if everything was simply right as they said their vows.  It was one of the most emotional wedding ceremonies I’ve experienced and actually felt myself tearing up!

The cocktail hour immediately followed the ceremony which included chair lift rides to the mountain top for the guests.  Jason and Katie took advantage of that time to sneak a few minutes to themselves as they overlooked the gorgeous landscape.  After the guests were seated and the wedding party was introduced, Katie and Jason sang a song – yes, SANG!  It was wonderful!  Of course, the first dance followed later after dinner… but what a special treat to hear them sing!  Speaking of special treats, there was a super yummy smores table out by the fire.  So perfect for the setting, watching guests roast marshmallows as the sun set.  No worries though, soon enough the dancing really took off!  I’m sure there were a few guests with sore feet the next day.  😉  Kara and I were there for over 9 hours on our feet, but we weren’t in heels, thank goodness!

Really, I could go on and on about the day… but hopefully a small sample of the photographs captured that I shared below help show how special the day was.  I wish Katie and Jason the very best as they start their lives together as husband and wife – congratulations!



































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Remember Fallen Coast Guardsmen

I had the pleasure of traveling back to my hometown of Grand Haven, Michigan not long ago to spend a great vacation with family and friends.  It was the first time in ages my entire immediate family was together.  We all stayed in one house, 13 in total (with 5 kids!) and we survived! 😉  The trip began with a fun family reunion and then transitioned into one of my favorite events of the summer, the US Coast Guard Festival.  Grand Haven is “Coast Guard City USA” and celebrates the Coast Guard for a full week with a variety of fun activities and concerts.   It is capped off by a great parade and spectacular fireworks.  The crowds are so big we put blankets down for the parade and fireworks days in advance!

One of the highlights of the week is the National Remembrance Ceremony for lost members of the Coast Guard during the past year, as well as to remember those lost in the Escanaba ( 70 years ago.  It was a very moving ceremony, complete with a 21 gun salute, the playing of Taps and a flyby of one of the Coast Guard helicopters.  The most touching part was when the family and close friends of those that were lost placed flowers at the base of the memorial wreath.

I have incredibly heartfelt respect for those serving in our United States Coast Guard, along with the rest of our armed services.  The USCG saved 3560 lives and over $77M in property last year, among many other things.   Their motto of “Semper Paratus” means “always ready” and they’ve proved that since 1790.

Below I’ve included a few photographs from the memorial service.

Thank you to all of those that have served and continue to – we’re all grateful for your service.  May the fallen rest in peace.



















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Vroom! Vroom!

What a day at the local drag strip last Friday!  The inaugural National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) New England National event was held last week at our local drag race strip.  This is “big time”, as in the pros in Top Fuel, Funny Cars and the like.  This was a huge boost for this area and race track and thousands came out for the event that lasted all weekend with the final races on Sunday.  Personally, I love racing, all types of racing, and I decided to head out for the Friday qualifying events.

I’ve been to NHRA races before (in the Dallas area) but it had been several years and admittedly, I forgot how amazing it is to watch these drag races.  They are SO incredibly loud and when they take off from the starting block there is so much vibration and noise that it creates a feeling like no other inside you.  They burst off the starting line so explosively that I could help but laugh and scream and eventually, take pictures!  I started out in the preliminary line up area that they call “Nitro Alley” and was able to grab a few closeups of drivers and their cars.  It was fun watching them go through their rituals of getting prepared, from getting in their firesafe suits to prayer with a chaplain to methodically getting strapped into the car.  I also grabbed a few of the actual races.  This was really my first attempt at anything like this and I’ll admit, it is hard trying to capture something going by you at over 300 miles per hour!  I learned a lot and had an absolute blast… I can’t wait until next year!

Oh… and in the finals on Sunday for the Funny Cars it was a father-daughter duel.  John Force versus his daughter, Courtney Force (pictured below).   It was an excellent race and Courtney WON! 🙂













_DSC9732 _DSC9745





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Sunshine, Ice Cream and Cute Kids!

Seriously, what more does one need to make you smile HUGE!?  I had the pleasure of photographing 4 kiddos for a set of portraits that were given to their grandparents for their 50th anniversary recently.  There were two sets of siblings and the sets are cousins.  They arrived at our meet-up spot near the waterfront and I couldn’t stop grinning!  They were sooooo stinking cute!  Not only cute, such personalities that just shine and keep you laughing.  Sure, I have no doubt they have their moments, but they were awesome kids for our little photo shoot!

We had a gorgeous and super sunny afternoon in the beautiful downtown are of my little New England seaside town.  The challenge I found myself pondering was “just how in the world am I going to make this work with 4 kids ranging from 18 months to nearly 12 years old??”.  I was thinking about everything from posing to making them laugh and smile to well, praying they don’t break down and cry!  The other challenge is that I fully realize that time is of the essence with kids.  We needed to work FAST!  So, we grabbed a few photos under a tree near the waterfront first… they started to loosen up and understand what was going on, that maybe it’s not all THAT bad being in front of the camera.  However, the direct sunlight was brutal and we needed to move toward shade.  Off we went, trucking toward a garden area with some trees.  We snapped a few more and kept moving until we decided to sneak inside a gate in front of an old, historic home in town.  Hey, what can I say?  I’m a photographer and we’re notorious for trespassing! 😉

The historic home was a soft color with a nice front stoop and best of all, shaded, so we had a nice backdrop for a few portraits.  However, soon enough the youngest was definitely getting restless so we headed toward the bribery point.  Yes, bribery.  I had prepared the parents:  we WILL get ice cream!!!  The kids were thrilled and once they started licking those cones, it was nothing but smiles.  Admittedly, I didn’t get ice cream and even I was all smiles.  They were so fun and messy and just adorable.  Funny, I’m sitting here grinning the whole time writing this for you, remember the time with them.  I’ve included a few photos from our session below.  I hope they bring a grin to your face too!









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“Wedding of the Century!”

So many of Mike and Lisa’s friends were calling their wedding, the “wedding of the century” and I think it’s safe to say that the day lived up to their expectations!  They have a reputation for hosting great parties and certainly did not disappoint!  Despite the tumultuous forecast, the day was perfect for this gorgeous couple.  The sunny skies provided a beautiful backdrop for their ceremony on the shores of the Atlantic ocean with classic New England stone walls and lighthouses in the distance.

The guys were first to be photographed, getting prepared at the groom’s house.  We spent a little time indoors on a few details (which oddly included me ironing the best man’s shirt 🙂 ) Then we made our way outdoors for some group photos.  They were good sports and we got a few serious photos and well, a few not so serious, which is just how it should be!  From there, I scurried over to where the bride and bridesmaids were getting ready, capturing all of the little details along the way from makeup application to hair and getting dressed.  We made our way out to the back yard and had the backdrop of the lake and granite staircase to work with for photos.  The natural light seemed to love the bride.  I think it erased the wedding jitters!

The ceremony took place and then they were all off to the reception at a local country club.  The clouds had started to move in, but we still captured a few late evening photographs before more dancing, cake and the fun of the reception set in.  I captured several hundred photos and will build these into a great story for the bride and groom in a very photojournalistic sort of way.  I’m hoping that they can pass the album along to friends or family that weren’t at the wedding and those people can simply feel the excitement, fun and overall joy of the day.  At the same time, they’ll be able to look back at these photos years from now and fondly remember the day surrounded by their close friends and family.  Below is a small sample of some of the photographs.

Many congratulations and wishes of years of happiness to the bride and groom, Mike and Lisa!














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Mike and Lisa

I just realized it’s May.  Holy cow.  How did that sneak up on me?!  I think it doesn’t seem quite like May because it’s been a bit chilly right on the seacoast in my area.  Well, do you know what May means?  The start of wedding “season”!  Of course, summer and warmer days are right around the corner too.

I had the pleasure of taking engagement photos for two people I consider great friends of mine, Mike and Lisa, a little over a week ago and thought I’d share my experience and some of the results with you.  I think I do know their personalities fairly well, so I didn’t worry too much about that aspect of our time together, but I did want to find out where their favorite places were… where they could go and really be happy.  My first thought was maybe to do some fun photographs on Mike’s Harley or in their backyard near the swimming pool.  However, when I asked, without hesitation they both said they loved the beach.  So, off to the beach we went!

Well, kind of.  🙂  We actually went to a park close to the beach with lots of fun rocks and trees.  I’m glad they went along with this as the light was very harsh that morning, with the sun perched high in the sky and not a cloud around.  For those that aren’t familiar with how that impacts photographs, I’ll just say that it makes it very difficult to control the light and photographs tend to be very “blown out”.  Mike and Lisa were great sports and were willing to walk around and try just about anything.  We made our way down near the water, took a few photographs in the trees and even had a little fun!  😉  Here are a few of the final photographs for them…







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