Riley-July 2011

As I am running over two years behind on posting to this site, I am tempted to skip postings I should have made.  However, I will not.  There are several important events that should be documented here.  Once, if I catch up, more current postings will resume.

Ben’s Portrait

Ben celebrated his 6th birthday in March, and I did not get around to making his six-year old portrait until this week!  He and I can share the blame.  On several occasions, I wanted to photograph him, but he either was unwilling, had just eaten something messy, needed a haircut or …well you get the idea.  In short, it was two months late, but there will finally be an updated photo on the wall of “my baby.”

Genealogy and photography

My 85 year old father is a life-long genealogist and has been working hard to compile all his research on his family history into a book for publication.  Recently I agreed to assist him in organizing and scanning many of the photographs he has collected for eventual inclusion in his book.  Looking at old family photographs as a child first kindled my interest in photography.  It is magical to gaze at a photograph of an ancestor never met.  As a father I document my own family with copious photographs and I wonder at times about who might be viewing my photographs 30 or 80 or 100 years in the future.  As a photographer I wonder who years from now will be looking at photographs I create for clients of weddings and other family events.  In most cases the names of the people behind the camera of family photographs are forgotten, but the images can continue to resonate across generations.  Perhaps I am over sentimental, but that to me is the true gift of photography. 

The following photograph churned up these thoughts for me:

 It is a photograph of my great-grandfather’s family taken around 1885 in Mansfield, Ohio, the city I grew up in.  My grandfather, William, is the boy on the left; he was born in 1878 and died in 1970, with-in a year of my birth.  On the back of the photograph is information about the photographer:

His name was Theodore. H. Campbell.  According to Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900: A Biographical Dictionary

 By Mary Sayre Haverstock, Jeannette Mahoney Vance as found on, Mr. Campbell was “active from 1883 to 1889 or later in Mansfield (Richland), where he was the partner of Albert N. Camp.  During the late 1890s he worked in Van Wert”, Ohio.  It would take a lot more work to discover what happened to Mr. Campbell.  I imagine Mr. Campbell was compensated for his work, but nonetheless I am grateful he made the photograph.  I am grateful to my great-grandparents for making the time to sit for a family photograph.  I am also grateful to members of the intervening generations for preserving this photograph.  I will now return it along with a digital copy to safe keeping where it will wait to be enjoyed, I hope, by other descendants of my great-grandfather, perhaps another 120 years in the future.

When was the last time you made photographs of your family and are they well preserved in an album, frame or on a back-up DVD or hard drive?

Laura and Rich

Allison Britton has been keeping me busy assisting her photographing the weddings of many wonderful couples.   Earlier in April, I had the pleasure of assisting her at Laura and Rich’s wedding in Virginia.  The weather this spring has been great and this day was no exception; the rain held of until after dark.  The ceremony was held at the historic Aquia Church.


Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont proved a lovely setting for the reception.  And what a fun reception it was! Laura, her family and friends were joined by Rich’s family and friends, most of whom travelled all the way from England to attend.




Allison and I were joined by Jamie from Borrowed Blue Photography, who gave me some fresh ideas and perspectives on wedding photography.  Thanks Jamie!

I wish Laura and Rich all the best in their new lives together.

Peaceful Dawn

I recently spent some time with my god-daughter, Jane.  Her given Chinese name translates to “peaceful dawn.”  Her name suits perfectly her delightful, sparkling personality.

Everybody Wins! DC Gala

On Tuesday evening, Everybody Wins! DC held their 13th Annual Gala at the Washington Hilton.  This is a fabulous organization with a committed staff and many devoted, dedicated volunteers.  I was honored to be asked to create photographs of the evening.  The evening began with a reception and a silent auction.  Bob Levy was the Master of Ceremonies during the awards dinner and live auction.  He is pictured below with Everybody Wins! Executive Director Mary Salander.           The NOVA Winds String Quartet provided music during the reception.  An awards dinner and live auction followed.        


During dinner, guests were entertained by student singers from Thomson Elementary School and The Compassionates.     It was heartwarming to see so many people supporting the valuable work of Everybody Wins! DC.  Congratulations to all on a great Gala.  

ESP Photoshoot

Last weekend I joined a group of amazing photographers at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.  We were joined by a great makeup artist (Nicole) and some wonderful models who suffered mightily in the cold weather.  Here are some of my favorite images that I made that weekend.   

               Many thanks to Allison Britton for organizing and including me in this fabulous event. 



We recently adopted a wonderful, four-year old, yellow, lab named Bailey.  We adopted him from  He is a sweet and gentle boy who has fit beautifully into our lives.  He gets along well with our 8 year old chocolate lab and our children. (This photograph was taken with the new Pentax DA* 50-135 lens on my K10D.)


Each year I take a photograph of my children near their birthday, frame the photograph, and hang it in the kitchen.  Each boy has a wall with one photograph from each year of his life.  We enjoy seeing their development and comparing each at a similar age.  In the above photograph of my youngest, he was sitting on our couch with his back to the window.  I used a reflector to fill his face with the sunlight from the window.  Comments and/or critiques always welcome.