Vel + Mike's Magical Chicago Winter Wedding | December 29, 2018

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What an amazing wedding this was!

Vel had dreamed of a magical winter wedding in Chicago and her dream came true!

The lovely couple, both graduates of Saint Louis University, had enough snow to make it seem like winter but not too much to cause any travel problems for their family and guests.

By the time the reception started, the snow was coming down and created a painterly backdrop for their elegant wedding.

The couple stayed at the historic The Blackstone Hotel on South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. They got prepared for the ceremony — which was a Catholic Mass — at Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Belmont in Chicago. Then they had a brief (given the chill and fading light) bridal and bridal party portrait session that was fun despite the cold, near The Wrigley Building (Vel’s favorite Chicago building).

The reception was made extra special by the live music of the Blue Water Kings.

At midnight the party ended and the next day, Vel and Mike jetted off for their Hawaiian honeymoon.

Reception Venue: The Blackstone Hotel, Chicago

Ceremony Location: Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Chicago

Our new home (and contact information)

Happy New Year!

As we get ready to turn the page on 2018 and get ready for 2019, it has been a truly life-altering year for us in both our family and our business!

After 17 years in California, Nicki and I moved the family to a small town just east of Madison WI called Lake Mills. It’s a quaint, and picturesque lake town that is 20 miles east of Madison and about 50 miles from Milwaukee (and only 2 1/2 hours away from Chicago). My life has come full circle — and we are thrilled.

It’s a move that brings us to the same town as my sister Mary, her husband Scott as well as their daughter Stefanie, her husband Jeremy and their two little girls. We wanted our kids to know their aunts, uncles and cousins and be able to head over on their bike. Living in the same town was important for that connection.

Plus we’re also 25 miles from my old hometown of Columbus, WI where my Mom and my older sister Peggy live.

Next year is full of exciting plans and dreams for family and our photography business.

We had our offer accepted on a lovely home in Lake Mills, just around the corner from Mary and Scott so that is going to be a big part of our January and February.

I’ll also continue my teaching and speaking on behalf of Sony and am excited about upcoming trips to NYC and Arizona in the first quarter of the year. Building an online community that supports wedding and portrait photographers and helps them grow as photographers and as business people is also on the horizon.

Wedding photography here in the Madison area (as well as Milwaukee and Chicago) is going to be a big part of the focus of my photography business in 2019.

It already got off to a superb start with a winter Chicago wedding at the historic and boutique Blackstone Hotel this past weekend. I will be sharing more of that work in the coming week.

Our new contact information is:

PO Box 548; Lake Mills, WI 53551

Phone is 920.728.6183

Email remains:

We hope your 2019 is healthy, happy and full of adventure!

Paul, Nicki (Kate and Sparky too!)

A Trip Around the Infield | Photographs with the Sony 400mm f2.8 G Master

This past Sunday Kate’s softball team played in a tournament in Irvine.

During warm-ups though, she caught a ball on her right hand — her throwing hand — and she was unable to play in the field. It was a deep bruise and very painful. It kept her from playing defense.

But she did bat twice.

The first time, she popped out to the catcher on the first pitch. She winced in pain and was in tears walking back to the dugout. More ice on the hand.

I didn’t think she would play again but she did bat during the team’s final at bat.

First attempt — a bunt —she laid one down but it went foul.

The second was a soft infield hit and she ran for first hard (as usual). A throwing error to first resulted in her getting safely to second. She then stole third and then came home on another teammate’s hit.

Unfortunately the team lost by one run but I was very proud of the way she gutted it out and made something happen by sheer hustle and determination.

Davis | Class of 2019 | Tesoro H.S.

These portraits are from a very recent session with Davis, who will be graduating in the spring from Tesoro H.S.

This session took place at Salt Creek Beach and we had an amazing shoot.

His Mom, Jennifer, was there and I also worked with my lighting assistant (in this case, my 12 year old daughter Kate!).

It’s always great to see young people like Davis who are going to make great contributions to our world — he is planning on attending Baylor and hopes to be a doctor.