I’m writing from the airport, on the final leg home of my annual NYC trip. I had a wonderful time presenting a program at the Jacob Javitz center. The tradeshow (Photo East) was full of eager photographers who were excited to learn.

In addition to teaching, I had a great time in the city. Having spent several of my younger years there, it’s always wonderful to go back. This time I saw Meatloaf in concert and went to a musical called “The 80’s Prom.” This was really fun because you are actually at a prom that is set in 1989. It was a riot! To finish off the weekend, I saw “Spamalot” (a Monty Python spoof) on Broadway. I really love the theater. It’s such a great tool for inspiration—the colors, music and costumes always get me jazzed about trying new ideas.

I have to admit, I really didn’t want to leave the studio because we are smack in the middle of our holiday rush. However, the few days away really got me excited to get back and enjoy the next few busy months.

Well, that is if I make it back! I am in Minneapolis on a layover, not really watching the time. I looked at my watch and believing I was still on NYC time, I ran like a crazy person through the terminal thinking I was late. As I ran full force to the gate, sweat dripping down my face, I saw that the boarding door was closed. In a panic, I ran straight to the desk and started begging the man behind the counter to PLEASE let me on the plane. He looked at me and said, “I will—in about an hour when we board.”

Boy, do I feel dumb.


On the road again

This past week the Sam & Dave show once again hit the road. This time we were off to Nebraska to speak for the PPN. We flew into Omaha and drove about two hours to Grand Island. The reception we received upon arrival was wonderful. We were greeted at the door and helped with our things. After a tour, we decided that we had better start working on the show, as we needed to update a bit.

Our presentation was well received. The audience seemed eager to learn and kept us busy with great questions. It was a wonderful visit. We were very sorry that we had to leave early for the airport and missed the karaoke party. Although maybe for the sake of the audience, that was a good thing.

Behind the scenes . . .

This past Saturday Expressions Photography hosted our 4th annual Halloween Charity event. It’s always a frightfully good time. As always, we were out for blood, and The Children’s Hospital came and collected blood donations for their patients. We also collected over two tons of canned food for the Food Bank of the Rockies. We’re told our event collects more food in one day than other organizations collect in a week.

It’s always a blast to decorate the studio, and it’s wonderful to know our efforts benefit such worthwhile organizations. We go all out converting the studio into a Halloween wonderland with a spooky cemetery, haunted mansion and a pumpkin patch.

Clients love to come to this event. For the price of some canned goods or a $5 donation, they get a 4×5 portrait of their children on our haunted house porch set. Braver souls tour our haunted studio, and we always build a beautiful pumpkin patch where our more timid guests may bring their own camera and snap away.

Race for the Cure

Since 2005 I have had the privilege of working with the Denver affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I have assisted them by creating images to use in marketing materials and have been on hand to record the yearly Race for the Cure.

This year, the Race for the Cure was held on October 22nd. Despite the gray clouds and cool temperatures, the mood at the Pepsi Center where the race was organized was almost jubilant. And how could it not be? The thousands of courageous women who made up the sea of pink were inspiring. The power of their beautiful spirits was enough to dispel any gloom created by the weather.

This year there were over 66 thousand participants in the race. I will always remember the emotional experience of standing by the bridge at Auraria Parkway and seeing wave after wave of humanity running for the same goal.

It is an honor to participate with the awesome folks who combine their efforts to fight against breast cancer, and getting to know many of the survivors has been a blessing. I would like to challenge you to get involved next year in this amazing event. You’ll never forget it.

A final thought . . .
One of the pleasures of being a portrait photographer is also one of the sorrows. As a portrait artist, I photograph important moments and milestones in my clients’ lives—pregnancies, new life and special celebrations. But I also am called upon to take last portraits, beautiful images of mothers and fathers and children who will leave behind grieving loved ones. I’m always in awe that families entrust me with this significant task. In recent years, I have had a number of women who suffer with breast cancer come to Expressions for their last portrait. The bravery and dignity of these women touched my heart, and I knew I had to get involved in the cause to erase this gruesome disease.


The Stateside Version of Pingyao

This regularly scheduled blog is being hijacked by an anonymous member of Sam’s posse.

Sam thinks she leaves behind a well-oiled machine, so please don’t burst her bubble and tell her about the chaos that reigns when she blows out of town. She’s so thoughtful—she leaves each of us a detailed list of tasks to keep us busy while she’s gone. Mine was longer than Santa’s naughty and nice list, but I digress.

So while we were scrambling in our Dickens-like workroom (okay—that’s a bit of an exaggeration) to complete our to-do lists, our fearless leader was hobnobbing with the international jet set, eating Chinese food till she exploded and being amazed by incredible art.

But believe it or not, by the time she returned, the studio was once again ship shape, clients were catered to, sets were changed, schedules were planned and most of our to-do lists were completed.

It’s always more fun when Sam’s in town. So we’re back to normal now, except everyone knows normal is just a high-level concept. Especially around here.

Wordzilla (an anonymous member of the Expressions rabble)

From Here to There and Back Again

Amazing. Extraordinary. Marvelous. Breathtaking. Awe-inspiring. Exciting. Overwhelming. Those are just some of the words to describe my September trip to the Peoples Republic of China.

I traveled to the other side of the world to attend the Pingyao Arts Festival. Pingyao, an ancient city in north China’s Shanxi Province has hosted the international photography festival since 2001. This year more than 8,000 works of photographic art was exhibited at the weeklong, one-of-a-kind event. I was there as a representative of the Professional Photographers of America, among photographers from over 40 countries who participated in the festival.

At times I felt I should pinch myself. The art, the culture and the people were incredible. The creative energy was fantastic. I was honored to be able to present a class to international photography students and was interviewed by Chinese media. You can only imagine what it was like for me to work with an interpreter. LOL.

While I was there, I discovered the universal language of a warm smile and an open heart.