Friday, September 28, 2007

Other places on the web...

In addition to launching the fancypants website, I also created a wedding website for me and Joel.

It is located at And this sounds a little bit like deja vu all over again, but I feel like I should point out that we are NOT That's not us. We are not that. That website features other people. Other people who like wearing football jerseys, apparently.

I also created a honeymoon registry for us, which you can access from If anyone else is considering making one of these, or if you're just curious about how they work, let me know. There are about 75 different ways to get ripped off out there, but I'm pretty confident that is fairly reliable.

We are algo going to register at Target, I think, and maybe a few things from Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn. Older folks seem to really want to give us traditional presents.

We've gotten a few things so far, mostly from Joel's mom's co-workers. Hooray for adventures in writing thank you notes to people I've never met and probably never will. Awk-ward! "Thanks so much for the treat bowl! When I'm 88 and need a place to display dusty candy, which- in my dementia- I will repeatedly force on my in-home health care aides, I'll definitely put it to good use."

Oh, snap. That was mean. And ungrateful. Joel said it first! Everyone look at Joel! Point and laugh! Point at laugh! See, now I'm thinking about not even posting this...


Tell me your worst wedding presents. Amuse me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

At Last!

Yes! Our big fancypants pro site is up and running!

Thank you so much for your feedback and ideas as we set this bad boy up. You guys are the best! Because you took the time to make suggestions, I want to respond to some of the comments you made and explain why we made some of the choices we did.

First, the main web address is

PLEASE NOTE: Our website is NOT, NOT, NOT located at m!lestone!, for reasons far to complicated and irritating to get into. That is not us. We are not that. We are .us! Dot Yoo Ess! US! Whee! (<---I've consumed a lot of caffeine for this project, can ya tell?)

Ahem. This link right here takes you to a joint splash page where you can choose "Weddings and Portraiture by Angie" or "Nature and Landscapes by Joel."

All your advice about not making people choose a photographer when they first get to the site was right on the money. But speaking of money... we wanted to save some. So we developed the website using a template with a dual portal option, which essentially gave us two fancypants sites for the price of one. Otherwise, we probably wouldn't have merged our work at all right now. Either way, I think it's pretty clear what you can expect from each of us, even if you do go to the joint splash page.

Which you don't have to do! Right now I'm advertised by word of mouth only. When someone inquires about a wedding/commitment ceremony/headshot/quinceanera/pet portrait session, I can cut and paste this link directly to my stuff, bypassing the joint splash page and any mention of Joel. Joel can do the same thing and direct you right to his work. (And if I do start to advertise online at theknot or similar, I can embed the link into the ad, so people click directly to me. It's not ideal, but it was worth it to save $600.)

Of course, I am counting on each and everyone of you to pimp me out to your friends and families (though no one beats Shannon in terms of pimping- one more booking and she gets a free toaster!). If you get confused about the whole dotcom vs .us thing (We're .us! That's us!), you can always send people here. They can then follow the shiny new links right there on the right, or you can give them my email address: MMMmm... pimpalicious.

Alright. Enough chatty-chatting. Go! See! Look! Listen! then come back and tell me if you like it. There are many, many photos there to see and enjoy. You may not have time to view them all, but a lot of you, your offspring, or your pets appear somewhere on the site in one or more galleries. Thanks for the feedback and support. You guys rock.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Trendy Bridal Stuff

My mom and dad got married in 1973. They had a very nice wedding. The men all wore white tuxes with tails. The bridesmaids wore empire-waisted purple dresses with a large white floral print with big white picture hats and flowers in matching baskets. It's all very Love Boat, to tell you the truth.

(This isn't from their wedding album, but it is the general idea.)

Several readers- okay, Michelle- have requested a post or two about wedding plans, bridesmaid dresses and the like. :) Wedding plans are movingly along nicely. I've gotten a lot of the hard stuff out of the way, and now we're starting to move toward more of the fun stuff. Wel, fun for me anyway.

My sister sent me a hilarious email when she has at this stage of planning about two and a half years ago. The Wall Street Journal ran an article about cookie cutter weddings, and the pull-out box of details listed trends "everyone" was doing, and the list described everything she was lanning to a T- from her Amsale blue sash dress to the shape of the tables at the reception to the flowers to the honeymoon destination. All I remember about the email was her exclaiming that her wedding! Needed! A! Theme! and her theme was going to be "unoriginality." Amanda had a lovely wedding- traditional but special to her and Tom.

Joel and I are planning a lot- and I mean, a LOT- of nontraditional things. From ceremony traditions we're making up ourselves to our entrance into the reception, it's pretty original stuff if I do say so myself. Heh. But I also find myself feeling very inclined toward details that are quite trendy at the moment. Like, these paper parasols and tea-length dresses with a colored ribbon around the waist and paper lanterns and chocolate + (insert accent color here) decor.

When I look back at my wedding album in 30 years, am I going to look at these things and hate myself for it, the way brides from the70s can't believe their bridesmaids actually wore short colored veils to match their peach dresses, and 80s brides cringe at their wicker thrones and poofy headpieces, and 90s brides despise butt bows?

Is the paper parasol the next generation of tacky? Probably. What do you think?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Work-y Work, Busy Bee

No time to update. Doing many tedious projects. Save-the-date cards more like Save-the-Date Minimedia kits of excruciating complexity. Fun to design, less fun to execute. Cat eats ribbon. Had to pull out four feet of ribbon like horrible gagging feline magic trick. Hate.

Fancypants website almost ready to launch. So pretty! So detailed! So sucking out lifeblood.

Out late last night with police officers and state liquor authority busting illegal dive bars. Received illuminating education re: local prostitution. Girls (not women, GIRLS) being bussed in from the Bronx due to surplus of johns. Right before my eyes. Got footage. Have found next big picture story project.

Covering funeral of murdered mailman in 9 hours.

Sleep. Sleeeep. Sleeeeep.

EDITED TO ADD: The funny commercial Michelle is talking about in the comments (the one that inspired the title of this post) is now up on YouTube. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

fill in the (_____)

So... Joel and I have a big announcement.

We just couldn't wait any longer, so this weekend, we decided to go ahead and take take the Next Big Step!

(please scroll down)

We're launching a joint photography website! Jeez, what did you think I was talking about? ;)

For my mother, who is probably shoving the defibrilator off her chest and reaching for a second cup of coffee, let me be absolutely clear: We did not elope. We're launching a fancypants photography business website. No eloping ocurred. None. No elope-y.

Har dee har.

It would be exceptionally shocking to Alissa if we HAD, since she drove up yesterday for a sleepover/wedding stationery-related scouting expedition here in the Land of Gracious Entertaining. (Why, yes, that dinner we had tonight where Joel stumbled out of the bedroom in a post-teaching-all-day haze to eat stuff I bought at the deli WAS our reception, didn't you know? :)

Anyway. Alissa and I spotted five nannies, two women whose thighs don't touch, and one woman wearing a sweater knotted over her shoulders on a 75-degree day, but- *DAMN* does Stepford ever rock the high-end paper party goods scene! Heh.

All of this is leading up to a request from all of you for suggestions and feedback. Here's how our new site will work. When you first load our website, you'll have a chance to choose between Joel's half of the site and mine.

His half will take you to galleries of his nature photography and a way to order prints and images online. Depending on how things go, it may also possibly feature text about a program he's dying to launch that will take inner-city high school students out west to see cool geological stuff they can't see around here, like the Grand Canyon and, you know, stars.

My half will take you to galleries for wedding photography, portraiture, pets, etc., as well as a bio page, interactive calendar, password-protected client proofing, and ability to order reprints online. (Sorry, Becky and Michelle, who painstakingly had to walk their parents and in-laws through the old method- mwah!)

At the moment, we're simply calling it (Will give proper URL once it goes live).


Question #1- What do you think of the name "Milestones Photography" instead? My work captures people's major life events. He drives many miles and takes a lot of pictures of stones. Get it? No? Too cheesy? Too obtuse? Just kind of hate it? What?

Question #2- We have a place to put a slogan/tagline type thing that describes our work. Other photographers' examples are like this: "Wedding and portrait photography in the Anywhere, USA area featuring photographers Anita Bath and Holden McGroyne."

I'm kicking around different ideas, but I can't tell if they're any good. One of the ways I describe my work as a photojournalist is "showing people the world they see around them every day in a way they've never seen it before" and taking pictures of ordinary, everyday things and revealing the extraordinary. By extension, this little side business of my mine documents once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings in a photojournalist style, so I'm thinking of taglines like:

"Out-of-the-ordinary images of life's extraordinary moments."

"Life's priceless moments captured in extraordinary photographs."

"Your world, as you've never seen it before." (with accompanying photographs of blissful wedding couples or an adult thumb wrapped in a newborn's fist)

That last line works for Joel's purposes, too, since the rainbow he caught over Yosemite Falls at dawn is not one of *your* life's extraordinary moments, persay. (It definitely wasn't one of mine; I stupidly picked THAT morning to sleep in- !@#$%)

So. Feedback.

MyLastName-HisLastName Photography vs. Milestones Photography. Slogans. Please discuss.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dancing with the (YouTube) Stars.

On Friday, Joel got to meet Matt of and do the silly dance with him (and a bunch of other people) in Central Park. Matt, you may remember, is famous on YouTube for doing his silly dance in front recognizable landmarks all over the world. He's the reason, more or less, that, we were dancing like jackasses in front of that buffalo in Grand Teton National Park.


Matt was filming a new segment for his next video, in which Joel will appear. Hey, sometimes being the short guy has its perks. I had to work, so Joel improvised. Here "we" are, dancing with Matt. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Okay, so I'm thinking some more about this. I talked to my mom, who shared that there were a few moments of silence at her school and throughout the day, but... um, yeah. You know what never really occurred to me before? I mean.. Yeah, it did, but it's sinking in in a new way tonight.

Every town around here lost people on 9/11. Lots and lots of people. So every town has a memorial. Most of them are made out of twisted steel from Ground Zero. Every high school has one. Every town hall. Most parks. They are completely and totally ubiquitous. Other towns around the country? Not so much. I know there are, of course, memorials at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa., but I'm really in the thick of it here.

So if the pledge of allegience, a prayer, one verse of "America the Beautiful," and reading the names of people from my county who perished (followed punch 'n' cookies) seems completely inadequate to commemorate the sheer scope and loss of the tragedy, and 24-hour coverage reminding people minute by minute of the worst experience of their lives feels overwrought at best and exploitative at worst... what is an appropriate tribute? How can we commemorate 9/11 with dignity? How can we achieve that balance?

I can show up. I can be with my coverage communities in good times and in bad. I can reflect their pain back to them in photographs. I can say, "This happened. This matters. You have been seen and heard in your grief and in your anger, and you are not alone."

But you know what? My most meaningful tributes to the lives lost can't be scheduled for every second week of September. They can't be planned at all.

A few weeks ago, we covered a scandal at a local mosque. It was the sort of scandal that could happen in any organization, any religion. The president of the mosque made some bad budgeting choices. Then, he refused to disclose financial records, which made members of the Islamic society angry. Then he fired the imam- the pastor, if you will- without consulting the executive board. To round out his astonishingly bad choices, he changed the locks without telling anyone, including the teachers and counselors who run a summer day camp for children at the house of worship.

The day camp folks showed up, and found that they have no way to get into the air-conditioned classrooms, let alone bathrooms for the dozens of kids whose parents were counting on the day camp for childcare. The mosque remained locked through Friday, Islam's day of worship.

This is where I come in. I went out to Friday services with a reporter. We photographed women and children carrying signs and umbrellas, while the men prayed and heard a sermon in the parking lot. It was pouring rain. Since the regular iman had been fired, a leader from another mosque filled in for Friday services.

It seems important to note that different mosques serve different communities with different ideologies. Just as Greek Orthodox Christian churches largely serve families of Greek heritage, and Southern Baptist Churches differ from Metropolitan Community Churches in terms of conservatism and politics. It's the same with mosques. The locked mosque mostly serves families of Middle Eastern heritage. The imam who was filling in comes from an Islamic Center rooted in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and draws from the legacy of Malcom X.

As my colleague and I start to film, photograph and interview, the rain really picks up. I watch the reporter, my friend, a practicing Hindu who wears the most fantastic saris to the annual company holiday party, gratefully accept a plastic poncho from one of the Muslim women. I think about places in the world where Hindus and Muslim clash in ways that make the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland look like bosom buddies.

The guest imam speaks to my camera about the injustice of locking people out of God's house, sounding for all the world like Louis Farrakhan. I stop the interview briefly to allow an elderly man pass us after finishing his Friday prayers. The elderly man nods and acknowledges us in a traditional way: "Salaam aleykum" ("peace be with you") and I respond in kind ""Wa-aleykum a salaam" ("and also with you"). The guest imam seems surprised. He blesses me and calls me, poster girl for chubby white women everywhere, a sister. Me! Chubby white woman! I'm touched.

I pull a red bandanna out of my camera bag to wipe the rain from my gear, a bandanna given to me by the mother of Welles Crowther. Welles died on 9/11 after saving numerous lives in the World Trade Center. (I've written about him before. You can also watch this). He held a red bandanna over his mouth and nose to protect himself from the smoke as he helped injured people to safety. He was a volunteer firefighter who used his training six years ago today. His body was found with FDNY firefighters in what was a command center in the South Tower. They made him an honorary FDNY firefighter after his death.

As I wipe the wetness from my cameras, I think about Welles' sacrifice. I do this whenever I use the bandanna. It's a talisman for me, a token I reach for before approaching grieving families, but I've also used it to hold back my hair and mop up Diet Coke in my car.

Just then, a fire engine screeches down the street, stopping at a warehouse nearby. (An automatic smoke detector was on the fritz. False alarm.) A militant black man has just asked Allah to bless me. I see my Hindu co-worker smiling warmly and thanking a Muslim woman, their matching nose rings glinting in the rain. I marvel at the pluralism in my community, at the connections across cultures, at the tolerance in action.. I tuck the bandanna back into my bag and whisper, "Thanks, Welles." As the fire engine's siren blares, I imagine I hear a response in its whine: You're welcome.

And THAT'S how I commemorate 9/11.

Now... Who wants some punch 'n' cookies? :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Really Freakin' Depressing

Well, I'm just about to hang up the camera strap after a long day of contributing to International "Media Reminding People of the Worst Experience of Their Lives" Day.


Even though I hate that the coverage brings the pain back all over again... The fact that time and distance means that 9/11 commemorations are now something routinely followed by small talk, lukewarm punch, and stale cookies feels wrong, too.

I guess I feel like punch 'n' cookies is just the beginning of a downward slide toward meaningless gestures of remembrance. Thirty years from now, journalists who haven't been born yet will be eyeing the gray-haired folks, trying to discern who might be an actual survivor in the thinning crowd. Fifty years from now, very old men in firefighters' dress uniforms will be crowing about patriotism and unity and how "We Musn't Forget" as high schoolers in itchy marching band uniforms fidget their way through underattended memorial services. A hundred years from now, Patriots Day (or whatever it will be called) will probably be marked by a day off school and holiday sales at the mall.

It all makes me feel a little nauseous, but maybe that's just apple juice 'n' chocolate chip cookie I feel churning in my stomach.

I am a MACHINE. Rah!

I'm bustin' through the editing these days like it's my JOB... oh, um, yeah...

Take that, Final Cut Pro, with your hard-to-learn softwarey trickiness! Victory is MINE, fool! Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Here is the video of Tanii's shower. Enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2007

On a lighter note...

Eric and Tanii are in the final countdown to the arrival of their firstborn! You can see a slideshow of the shower pictures here.

EDITED TO ADD: That link actually takes you to the baby shower photos now. Sorry about that!

Please be patient through the first ten photos or so, since the detail shots of things like the favors, etc are all grouped together in the beginning. Usually I sprinkle those around, but it's already 2:30 a.m....

Since we definitely need a little laughter in my house, I also wanted to link to this hilarious article on Overjoyed By Giant Uterine Parasite. I was telling Tanii all about it, and it just might be funny enough to make her water break. 90 degree Indian summer days and the the third trimester- not a good combination. Discuss. :)

Congratulations, you guys!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Prayers, please

So you know I never do this.

But the prayers? They are needed.

One of Joel's students, a young man he is particularly close to who was really refocusing his goals under Joel's mentorship, was seriously injured during football practice. His neck is broken. He's in ICU. He is currently paralyzed from the neck down, though he has regained sensation in the lower half of his body. The paralysis may not be permanent once swelling around the broken vertebrae subsides. This could literally be his body's way of saying, "Dude, whatever just happened? WAS BAD. I highly suggest you NOT MOVE for a few days until we figure this out." His injury sounds similar in many ways to the accident Stephen had in 10th grade when he fell from some scenery, though he never experienced the paralysis.

I suppose there is some comfort in knowing that of all the ways that young men in Queens wind up in the hospital, this was truly an accident. Without a doubt, the trajectory of his life has changed, and there's a hard road ahead. I've never seen Joel upset in quite this way, but there's a sense of steely peace in knowing that there are very real, concrete ways he can help this young man- tutoring, etc.

And as we sit together on the couch at 1 a.m., my phone rings. It's Kelly. For those of you who have been following her dog Asia's story on her blog, I'm sad to say the news is not good. At the moment, Asia is under the care of a wonderful veternarian. I've said before that because dogs show us their unconditional love without words, that perhaps they can know we love them, too, even when we can't be there with them to say it. Love to you, puppygirl. Love. Love. Love.

Faith makes all things possible. It doesn't make them easy.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Girls Just Wanna Have Fuh-un

So I'm slogging my way out of the oppressive, hate-filled process of data recovery !@#$%- ahem- to tell you I HAVE been having a little fun. Or Fuh-un, as Cindy Lauper would say. It's been all about the girls lately! :)

I give you... Melanie! Who is FIVE! (I really wish YouTube let you choose the frame grab, because I would have chosen a shot of the birthday girl, but alas, it does not).

The rest of the party photos are here.

As of yesterday, she is also an official kindergardner. She really changed this summer. Aside from shooting up about 3 inches, she just seems... a little older, a little wiser, maybe? She has also entered the phase of life where she's discovered the gift that is a Best Friend.

Wendy Shenberger was the banner-carrier of that particular title from MY first day of kindergarten until 7th grade. If you're out there in cyberspace somewhere, these two little girls reminded me of us. We did have fun, didn't we?

Then there's Lauri, Andrea and Lucy. I drove down for Lauri and Mike's engagement party and a short engagement photo session. They're a great couple. They have so much fun together, AND they let me take them to a total stranger's house, knock on their door and ask if we can jump on their trampoline. Such good sports. :)

You can see the rest of the photos here.

And then I have to hit you with some gratuitous baby cuteness, because Lucy? Is, like, 17 different kinds of awesome.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

News Flash

I have two shocking things to tell you.

1.) I take a lot of pictures, and

2.) You have never electronically deleted anything in your life ever.

I have dozens of anal-retentive ways of archiving all my photos, but my be-all, end-all super easy, every image sorted by holiday, client, event, nature trip, "get to it in 3o seconds or less" system is on an external hard drive.

Which just died. Hate.

I have other versions of almost everything on backup CDs, in the archive at work, on two different online services and in a safety deposit box. However, there are a several dozen images that I am particularly fond of that weren't backed up on anything but the backup drive. And I want them back.


It costs upwards of $700 to have a data recovery service restore the drive. I thought briefly about putting out a message on Craiglist- free wedding photography for any Western Digital Data Recovery Partner employee willing to quietly restore my drive in their cubicle. $700 isn't not worth it for the 150 photos I want to get back. BAAAACK.

So I bought an affordable data recovery program. It found- I am not making this up- 93,680 photos. It renames them as it restores them, so I have no way of knowing which image is which, nor can I search for files with helpful terms like "Life in Stepford." If I look at 100 images a day, it will take me 3 years just to LOOK at them all. It also found every image I have ever clicked on online, every AOL news story photo, every flickr image, every blogger profile photo, every forward/back button on a website that was made from an image of an arrow that was created in PhotoShop. EVERYTHING. EVER.

I am sort of clicking around at random, hoping to hit paydirt or find a method to the madness of chronology to the files. But this program restored a picture of my chiropractor's newborn baby. Kid starts pre-K on Tuesday.

In short, none of us have never deleted anything permanently ever, and I have shot over 600 GB worth of pictures. That's like 1.21 jiggawatts in photo terms. My laptop? Is Doc Brown's DeLorian.

"They found me. I don't know how, but they found me. Run for it, Marty!"