NY Marathon Sunday

Despite a chilly start, it was a GORGEOUS day in the city today for the marathon.  When I lived in Monterey, I signed up for a half marathon and had to quit training a month before the race due to horrible shin splints- and that was only to run 13.1 miles!  To say that I am in awe of the runners each year is an understatement.  The displays of personality (running with their nation’s flag as a cape, 2 guys running in costume as Dr. Seuss’ Thing 1 and Thing 2) and perseverance (gritted teeth, head down but the legs still moving) always make me smile and tear up a little.  Over the past few years, I’ve found a spot that I love to cheer from- 91st Street and 5th Avenue.  It’s at about Mile 24, just before the runners enter Central Park.  At this point, the runners have already experienced the thunderous and encouraging canyon of 1st Avenue, turned west, and as they head down 5th Avenue, the crowd thins somewhat before the park and runners are in need of serious encouragement.

This is also a great spot to take photos.  Marathons are a fun time to play with shutter speed, aperture, focus, movement, and perspective.  Every year I love the aerial shot of the runners crossing a bridge, looking like a massive rainbow streak.  One of my own favorite marathon shots is below.  I used the curb as a tripod and got really low to see the marathon from pavement level.  I love the mix of fall leaves with marathon sneakers. Congrats to all of the 2011 runners- especially my sister-in-law, the speedy Lauren Greig, who ran the race in 3:11:19 and finished 176th among the women runners!

Trick or Treat- Halloween in Manhattan

Happy Halloween!  Raising a child in Manhattan means doing a few things quite differently than I did as a child in the suburbs, and Halloween is one of those very different experiences! Since it’s my daughter’s first Halloween, we had the inaugural taste of trick or treating Manhattan style.  Some kids here don’t even leave their buildings-they just go door to door between apartments-while others walk from building to building collecting candy from the doorman.  Luckily, our street actually closes to traffic and the residents do a wonderful job getting LOTS of candy and decorating their stoops. Though it was past my daughter’s bedtime, we took her for a quick spin around the chaotic yet fun block.  Here are a few photos of her- pumpkin by day and zebra by night.  When photographing children, make note of the background- I always put her on the white couch for a neutral background (but don’t let all of that white trick your light meter!), but for a laugh, I chose a patterned background to camouflage her in her zebra costume.  What was the best costume that you saw on Halloween?

Rocking WPPI and the Photo Plus Expo

I spent much of last week and weekend with lots of energetic professional photographers attending the WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) and Photo Plus Expo conferences at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.  I usually like I.M. Pei’s work, but the Javits Center is as 80’s as it gets (bad 80’s, not excellent 80’s), and this once revolutionary cage design has seen better days, as evidenced by the leaky roof during Saturday’s October snowstorm (yes, you read that correctly, OCTOBER snowstorm). Architecture aside, it was a great conference and while I only traveled 40 blocks south to attend, photographers came from all over the U.S. and the world to enjoy the three days of seminars led by many leading photographers in the field.  We were greeted with a wild (and overwhelming) trade show floor of cameras, albums, printers, scanners, frames, storage devices, and demonstrations of the perpetual Canon/Nikon battle.  It was fun to see old friends from photography school and hone my knowledge of posing (bride, groom, kids, parents, wedding party), blogging (see, I’m up writing this!), Adobe Lightroom work flow, branding, and marketing. Below shows some fun on the trade show floor…the wonderful Me Ra Koh explains the secret to photographing this little guy.  He was fascinated with the light and loved crawling under the table.  I attended a seminar with Me Ra on…social media and blogging.  Me Ra just released a new book about photographing children and is a frequent guest on The Nate Berkus Show, giving tips to shutterbug moms everywhere.





Fall Road Trip- Blue Hill at Stone Barns- NY

With the leaves changing and some Upper West Side cabin fever setting in, my friend Kate and I ventured up to Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, NY to check out the farm and grab a delicious lunch.  Kate and I once had an epic road trip from Montana to Connecticut-3,000 miles of National Parks, too much eating at Subway, and falling in love with the undulating fields of Iowa- but now we’re lucky if we can drive 30 minutes north with our two infant girls. In fact, my email last week to Kate was titled “Road Trip (not the kind we used to go on).”  Though not as famed as the official restaurant on the property (what a place for an event!), the Cafe serves up lots of fresh produce from the 80 acre farm, as well as sandwiches, hot tea, scones, and other deliciousness.  For those of you New Yorkers, they also have a great tiny restaurant in the Village for a fancy night out.  We also shopped around their farmers market, where I snapped away at the gorgeous colors of deep purple beets and fresh wildflowers, and explored some of the verdant greenhouses.

Eventually, we held a portrait shoot with Kate and her daughter Eleanor.  Kate was a great sport- tossing E up in the air again and again to get that perfect laugh in mid-air. Eleanor, only one day shy of her 1/2 birthday, was really hamming it up for the camera.  I just love capturing these mom/daughter moments- I think too often the moms are the ones behind the camera- and life goes by too quickly to miss recording these proud smiles, funny expressions, and serious love!

Here are a few of my favorite snaps.  What is your favorite fall day trip or getaway?

Fall Country Wedding- Kevin and Kathy- Far Hills, NJ


Kathy and Kevin picked the perfect date to marry- 9.10.11!  Two weeks after Hurricane Irene blew through the Tri-State area, her mark remained with downed trees, flooding, and massive power outages in the state of New Jersey.  The bride and groom had their own whirlwind week leading up the wedding.  They moved their family of six into a new house (the site of the wedding), which was under a strict construction deadline.  Despite the power outages, the landscapers and construction crew worked wonders and transformed the property in the nick of time.

Kevin and Kathy’s new home is located just off of a gorgeous winding country road.  Complete with weathered fences, lush green fields, and ancient trees that gently bend over dirt roads, the setting is what photographers dream of! Their outdoor ceremony was filled with sweet moments like Kathy’s son walking her down the aisle, some tears during the vows, and their two Labrador retrievers wandering in and out of the ceremony and reception.   Following the ceremony, I whisked the newlyweds down the road to catch the afternoon light and shoot couple portraits under a stunning old tree. We also captured a few shots on their new front porch—symbolic of many new beginnings for the couple.

The wedding included beautiful reminders of the beginning of autumn, with hay bale lined walkways, rustic wooden chairs, and rainbows of mums.  The reception was a blast to photograph- especially when the groomsmen used their ties to create a limbo contest!  How can you go wrong when the evening ends with lots of dancing, delicious cupcakes, and homemade s’mores?  Special thanks to my second shooter for the day, Suzie St.Pierre, who captured many fabulous moments and details. Congrats Kevin and Kathy- it was a pleasure to work with you and your amazing families.