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Niagara-on-the-Lake

I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary with my wife, Keziah, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. The town is beautiful and very well-appointed with exquisite dining, shops, and activities. We stayed at the Pillar and Post and couldn’t have enjoyed our stay more! :)

The area is very picturesque, especially in the fall. If I had an opportunity to photograph a wedding in Niagara-on-the-Lake, I would jump at it! There are so many wonderful locations for wedding photography in Niagara-on-the-Lake, in fact, when we arrived there was a wedding photographer taking photos at the Pillar and Post, and we later saw the same wedding photographer taking wedding photos near the “Hall of Trees.” :)

Here are some photos from our trip!

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Drops of Jupiter.

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Well, I missed the Perseids meteor shower which was apparently Tuesday morning at 2am.

But, I did happen to take a couple photographs of Jupiter and the Moon. In the picture below, Jupiter can be seen as the brightest object, other than the Moon itself, in the top-left corner of the photo.

It’s hard to tell, but the planet had an orange-ish glow. It appears more white in the picture though. :)

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Some New Friends and Some New Gear.

I met with my latest wedding couple, Kevin and Brittany, today at Starbucks to meet Brittany for the first time and to go over some great ideas that they both had for their wedding in June of 2009.

I can tell already their wedding will be fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to photographing their wedding next year!

Earlier today, I took delivery of some new photography gear that I will use immediately this upcoming weekend for my family portrait photography shoot in Webster. I purchased a new polarizing filter, UV filter, and some nifty cinch straps that will allow me to attach my tripod to my gear bag. I also picked up a new petal-style lens hood for my 17-85mm lens.

The lens filters were made by an Italian company, Hoya, and they are all multi-coated to reduce reflection, light scatter, and flare. :) The only downside is they’re about twice as expense as non-multi-coated photographic lens filters. :(

But, you can’t compensate for a fine piece of glass. ;)

I took a few snapshots of before and after pictures with the polarizer, the difference is remarkable!

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Many Prayers Answered!

Today was an absolutely brilliant day, aside from a brief shower early in the afternoon which blew through rather quickly. After dodging that potential bullet, I made excellent use of the daylight and decided I would string up my hammock and conquer my third and final relaxation technique outside. Gorgeous in the sun!

Though I finished my last relaxation session as well as the adjoining lab report, I didn’t feel as productive today as I did on Saturday. Eh, you work hard you play hard, right? Not that I’m “playing” today, but I’m definitely taking the day much slower than yesterday. I kind of this routine I’m in lately where I will work really hard and cross off a great deal from my “To Do” list, and then downshift the following day(s) to a much slower pace.

I feel if I manage my time properly, I can achieve a reasonable balance between work, play, and personal stress level. If I work too fast for too long, I burn out. If I work too slowly, my agenda fills up faster than I can work it down. Therefore, a good balance is to work hard to achieve the goals I set, and then reward myself with slower paced days enjoying some leisure time. I intend to bring this ideal more into practice in the very near future. :)

It really all boils down to effective time management and responsible use of one’s time to achieve reasonably set and attainable goals. Hey, I like that quote! :)

On a much more personal note, many prayers were answered today when I learned that there had been an arrest made in the murder of my schoolmate, Lindsay Graygo! Absolute exuberance filled my heart when I read of this in an e-mail sent to me by another one of the members on the committee to raise funds for the scholarship in Lindsay’s honour. I can’t think of a better way to put a cap on a day, or weekend for that matter, than for positive and uplifting news to be discovered! :)

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Entrepreneur Traits.

[Sigh] Well, I’ve arrived at the second to last week of my stress management class, and the last week of journal entries! I’m excited, not because the journal entries are expiring, but because I’m nearing the end of a short-term goal for the summer – much to be celebrated and excited about!

Speaking of summer, yesterday was the first official day of summer, though it sure felt more like Spring. Today was much warmer and I spent a fair amount of my waking hours outdoors finishing up some more woodworking projects.

I finally finished all the bedroom baseboard trim!! What an odyssey that had been – almost a 7 month project! I actually felt incredibly satisfied once I stood back and admired the finished bedroom. Whoever said much pleasure is derived from the simplest of things was spot on.

My overall happiness carried into the early evening when I decided I would do my neighbour a favour and mow his lawn, since he was out of town. It definitely feels good when you’re doing good. And, the 15 minutes that it took me to mow and edge his lawn seemed effortless to boot. I really didn’t even realize how fast I had completed the work until I was putting away my mower and trimmer!

I had made a list of things I wanted to accomplish for the day, and I got a fair amount of them done, leaving just a few things for Sunday. ‘Twas a very productive but relaxing day! I’m definitely recognizing how I’m happier and more satisfied when I’m productive than when I sit around and wittle away my hours on meaningless tasks.

I wonder if that’s a personality trait of all business people and/or entrepreneurs… :)

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Occupation: Learner.

I worked mainly on preparing my NY sales tax return for the 1Q08 today.

Random thought, but if it’s one thing I’ve learned about me, it’s that when I get bored, I check out mentally. I need intellectual stimulation to survive. Not so much stuff to do, but I need stuff to learn. I crave knowledge!

I’ve often said that if I were ever to come into a large windfall of cash, that I would consider becoming a full-time student. Think about that – learning, full-time. And, always learning something completely new and different. I know that’s not a dream job to some, but to me it would be fantastic! How could one ever become bored with an infinite amount of knowledge to attain? If I got tired of learning one subject, I’d invest my time in another!

That’s when I know it’s time for me to move on from one thing to the next, when it become routine. I’m not saying that I don’t like routine, I just don’t like feeling as though my mind is being subjected to repetitive tasks. That is one of the main reasons that many of my friends have said I would make a good lawyer – there is always something to be researched or learned or discovered. :)

Tomorrow, I’m meeting my friend Craig for breakfast at Bruegger’s, it’s great that we’ve gotten back in the habit of getting together for breakfast at least once a week to solve the world’s problems. :) It’s really a great way to not only start the day, but to also kick start the weekend. I’ve completed not only my personal journal, but also 2 out of my 3 relaxation technique lab reports, leaving just my final report for the weekend. I feel very on top of things and as though I can take on anything!! :)

If it’s nice this weekend, I’d like to devote some time to researching some cutting edge wedding photography techniques – something that’s really new and exciting and different! That’s one way I try and set myself apart from the other Rochester, New York wedding photographers – I’m always learning and trying new ways of photographing weddings in the Rochester area!

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A Delicious Meal.

I actually got home a little early and decided that I wanted to make a nice dinner, since I was in such a good mood! Maybe my meditation from Monday night helped clear some clogged passageways. :) After looking around to see what ingredients I had to work with, I thought I would make some fresh basil pesto pasta with home made garlic bread. Just writing about it now has induced a Pavlovian response!

Unfortunately, I had not the basil that one would need to create basil pesto. Ah, ha, fortunately though my wife was at Wegmans and was able to pick up not only the basil plants I needed but also a loaf a fresh, crusty bread. I’ve never made garlic bread by scratch, only the frozen kind. So, this would be somewhat of an experiment.

I took the bread and cut it length-wise, then cut individual pieces, buttered them and pressed a few slices of garlic into them. I then put them on the bottom rack of the oven and broiled them until the tops were browned, flipped them over and browned the other sides. Perfect!!

Meanwhile, I had prepared the pesto, getting the consistency juusssssssssst right. And, cooked the pasta til it was absolutely perfect. The meal really was fantastic, if I don’t say so myself. :) If I had thought about it then, I would have asked for my wife to purchase some strawberries for desert – oh well. :)

Overall, a fantastic night with a hearty meal and some wonderful company! :) Tomorrow, I’m going to explore my 2nd stress management relaxation technique. I’m not certain what it’s going to be yet, but I skimmed through some of my options and the one that I’m most interested in is mental imagery. I’m looking forward to trying that out or another one, if it should peak my curiosity. :)

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Flooded.

panera_flood While I was at Panera Bread with a friend of mine, a pretty hefty storm blew through and completely flooded the parking lot! The power of water is an amazing thing. In about 15 minutes there was probably 8-10 inches of rain water flooding the huge parking lot! I started to think about an old schoolmate, Jamie, in Iowa who has had to deal with much larger flood waters. I can’t imagine what that is like – to be in a flood plain with water as deep as 7 feet. Crazy.

After about 30 minutes, the skies had cleared and the sun was beaming down. Craig and I watched as all that water disappeared into the storm drains – which was pretty neat because the water made a little tornado-esque vortex as it drained. Neat-oh!

Later tonight, when I got home, I decided to tackle my first relaxation technique for this week – meditation! It was a little weird at first, and took me a while to get settled in, but once I did it felt really good. I have to write a small lab report about it, so I’m not going to repeat information. But, it felt good – not only to cross it off my list of things to do, but physically, it was rejuvenating. :)

I think after photographing an engagement session or taking wedding photos, I might implement a little meditation time afterward to refresh and rejuvenate my mind! The next time I’m hired as a wedding photographer, I’m going to try and work in some meditation time. Shooting weddings is very much a non-stop job – I concentrate on delivering the best and most creative wedding photos possible, that it’s simply difficult for me to slow down. :)

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Master Grill Chef Ryan.

Well, last night was an amazing time at the Chase Challenge, where I took some excellent photographs. I actually ended up neither running or walking, but instead I took over 300 photos and grilling for my wife’s company, Lenel, at their tent.

Until last night, I had never really grilled for more than 4 people, but last night I ended up grilling for 30 people! I was slightly apprehensive about grilling for so many people (well, many as far as I’m concerned), but it was a lot of fun – many thanks to the Lenel team!

There was a brief period of time where demand outpaced my supply of burgers, but only for a few minutes. After that passed, I had a moment to relax, enjoy a sampling of my own cooking, and looked around to see many happy, smiling, and satisfied individuals. Now, I don’t claim to know anything about the food service industry (I’m much more in tune with photography :) ), but I can’t think of a better reward or compliment than to see every plate clean and folks coming back for seconds. :)

Turns out, I’m not only good at eating food, I’m also quite handy in a pinch for a grill-chef. :)

Ahhhhhhhhhh. [Big stretch]

I’m all caught up with my accounting class, so I’ll be able to spend some time relaxing on Sunday before moving forward a few clicks to the next stage of my stress management class. I’d like to keep about a week or two ahead of the schedule so I can adequately respond to any “bumps” in the road.

Happy grillin’!

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Do West-Coasters Get SAD?

Today is the Chase Corporate Challenge at RIT and I’m excited because I’ll be getting out of work a little early to join the other 11,000 participants at this year’s race. Though, I’m on the fence if I’ll run, walk, or just hang back with my wife and help her out at her company’s tent. :)

I’m going to bring my camera and see if I can’t pop of a few shots before the race starts. If I end up not running, I’ll take a few pictures of the race start and of the first hundred finishers and my wife’s team’s picture too!

Portrait photography is something that I’m starting to really enjoy, along with wedding photography and fine art photography. There are so many beautiful locations in Rochester, New York and really in Upstate, New York in general. Photographing weddings in Rochester is truly exceptional!

It is beautiful outside! Something that I’ve noticed is that I’m much happier when the weather is very sunny and warm. I started reading forward into my Stress Management text, to get a jump start on things and not fall behind, and in the chapter the text refers to SAD, a phenomenon that occurs when people do not get enough sunshine – such as in the arctic circle. While I definitely do not suffer from SAD, it was interesting to read about the link between weather and personal health altogether.

There’s a consensus that folks on the West coast are a lot happier than us East coast folks, maybe there’s a correlation there. Can sunshine make one warm on the inside too?

Anywho – I’m excited for the weekend, as I’ll be photographing a wedding in Keuka Lake, New York which will kick start the wedding photography season in Rochester, New York. ;)

I’ll post some of the wedding photos later on in the weekend. It’s gorgeous outside – warm, sunny, and 70º!