Blessed

May 18th, I had the opportunity to photograph a wedding at St. Johns Catholic Church in Benton Harbor. Father Bill, a priest I had met several times was the officiant and the wedding ceremony he performed was personal, touching, amusing, loving and his words were simply perfect for a wedding. I’m not Catholic and Father Bill is the one I would like to perform my wedding ceremony (but that’s not legal, is it???).  Andrew was marrying the love of his life, a beautiful woman, Emily. I had seen them several times at parties and through my photo work for Tabor Hill Winery. Seldom have I seen such a beautiful loving couple as you could feel the joy between the two of them. That is not something seen often.

Another oddity about the wedding is that seldom have I had as much fun photographing a bridal party as all of them were just a hoot being together. Crazy, insane and laughing to bust a gut. We took photos on the streets in Benton Harbor, in the Arts District, the yacht basin and the pier in St. Joseph, some of my favorite places for photos.

Yesterday, while enjoying a beer at one of my favorite “haunts,” The Idler in South Haven, I received a call from Andrew who told me that Emily had passed away. How can someone so full of life, joy and love be gone? He called to ask that I print a couple of photos of her for the funeral. The bottom line is “I’ll do you whatever you want.” It’s more like—-“how can I help?” Today, I’m going to deliver the prints to Andrew’s parents. Her funeral is Thursday and who is going to be there? Father Bill who married them just 7 weeks ago.

Life is what you make it. Be joyful and grateful for every day. Fill your life with good people. The ugly ones,…..leave behind in the dust because they’re not worth your time. Love people and let them love you. Find joy in the little things of life. My father has said something all his life that when I was younger, annoyed me. As I get older, time has proven him more and more correct:  “when you have your health, you have everything.” Dad, you’re right and see,…..I do remember what you told me. See Dad, I do listen to you.

Back to Emily, I remember the joy that you shared with Andrew. Wedding days are always joyful but the two of you had something different, special; a joy that I could feel. One of my favorite photos is of she and her sister dancing on a picnic table. I was blessed to know this beautiful young woman who married a great guy.

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Weddings…what to do AND what NOT to do

Weddings are always memorable not only for the families but the photographer, some more so than others!!!

IMG_0235Memorable Moment #1

I was hired by a woman whose son was getting married 8 months down the road. She was from my area but now living three hours away. The wedding would be in her hometown overlooking Lake Michigan. We became good friends and spoke many times on the phone and met several times to plan the wedding photography. Everything was coordinated with the bride and groom as well as she and we left no stone unturned. What I did not know was the woman who hired me, mother of the groom, was dying of cancer and passed away a week before the wedding. Her son called 5 days before the wedding to tell me the news. Weddings are supposed to be emotional and joyful but this event had a very sad edge to it that was unshakeable. It still is. Oddly enough, the groom, her son, works for the cigarette industry.

Memorable Moment #2

It was going to be an August wedding on the beach. Because of the location, it was very casual and I was told I could wear shorts and short-sleeved dress shirt. I love the sun, the sand and the water but this day was HOT beyond description! It was sweltering!! It was 100-degrees and I was working by normal focused pace, doing what I love to do. I must have gone through a bottle of suntan lotion, three bottles of water and I was totally drenched by the time we finished photos on the beach. What I needed were five people carrying fans to cool me off and a constant umbrella to shade me!! They were, and are, a lovely couple and it was a joy to work with them but the day itself, I will never forget the heat. Luckily, time allowed that I could race home and take a shower before the reception.

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There are some photos that are perfect the second you snap the shutter

#3

this lovely couple wanted their wedding outside on the 17th of October. In Michigan, the month of October can be “iffy.” It could be the “last gasp of summer” or begin to feel like winter. On this day, it was a little rainy, a lot windy and a whole lotta cold. Nevertheless, she got her wish of a wedding outdoors, overlooking Lake Michigan. It really was pretty. I remember giving my coat to a guest in a dress and no coat at all. She wore my leather jacket to stay warm and I survived. It was still a beautiful wedding and she was happy. What else matters????

#4

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a photo I’ll never forget! And a great guy!

The wedding was held in my favorite location. It’s a magnificently restored building in St. Joseph and the natural light through the windows that make photography a breeze. A moment happened that I’ve not seen before or since: the groom was marrying a woman with a 6-year old daughter. Prior to being introduced as husband and wife, the groom got down on his knees to ask the daughter if he could marry her mother. Luckily, the little girl said “yes.” I was not aware that he was going to ask her. Caught off-guard, I still captured the moment (at this point, breathe a sigh of relief). 

#5

go back to “Memorable Moment #1: the same night as the wedding, I began to download images onto an external hard drive. Have you ever had a moment when you realized your hard drive is dying and there is nothing you can do? I didn’t even have time to back up the images. I found a great computer wizard who found every image on the dead hard drive and $700 later (and a new hard drive) I had every image taken at their wedding. They were happy……I was relieved!!!! In case you’re wondering, now I keep files on multiple hard drives (BIG sigh of relief—part two!!)

I’ve been the photographer at weddings where the bride hated to be photographed (“So WHY did you hire me? Why am I here???”), I’ve photographed weddings where the mother of the bride said, “don’t photograph me!” (what the heck does one say to that???? Ok, I won’t). I’ve been the second shooter at a wedding where the primary photographer spent THREE hours photographing the couple on their wedding day. I wanted to scream, “would you let them enjoy their day!!!” but I just followed my orders and shut my mouth. That one incident alone has told me what NOT to do in photographing a wedding. Respect their time, their guests and their day. Luckily, I’ve not worked with the photographer since.

For me, weddings are a beautiful, exciting, joyful day. I’m lucky enough to capture those moments and do what I love. Every wedding has a moment that stays with me forever. Almost always good, sometimes strange, always memorable.

It’s the Pacific Ocean!!! (it’s not really, but it could be!)

If you’re getting married in southwest Michigan, here are some suggestions!

If you’re new to southwest Michigan and this will be a destination wedding, here’s a great description of what you’ll find ——

THE PACIFIC OCEAN!

True story: The Senior PGA was held here last year, and will be next year. Golfers came h ere from all over the world. I have a friend whose home overlooks the 7th hole who rented his home to a friend from Newport Beach, California. While I, personally, have never been to Newport Beach, I know where it is and in fact, I’ve been to Los Angeles and seen the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. When his friend arrived to play in the tournament, he saw the view of Lake Michigan from his rented home for the week, and said,

“This is the Pacific Ocean!”

The beauty of Lake Michigan is amazing, the sunsets are out of this world and the beaches are beautiful.

Places for your wedding ceremony?

1) How about a golf course? Lake Michigan Hills or Berrien Hills?

2) How about a wedding in nature? Sarrett Nature Center or Riverview Park (part of the city of St. Joseph)

3) A beautiful historic building? The Heritage Center. The building is beautiful and the natural light makes for beautiful photographs

4) The beach? Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor or Silver Beach in St. Joseph

5) A church? While this is not in southwest Michigan, it IS a breath-taking “building.” All right,…..what word do you use to describe a basilica? Get married at The Basilica of the Sacred Heart at University of Notre Dame! Just one look into the ceiling of the basilica will blow your mind.

in front of the Whirlpool fountain at Silver Beach

in front of the Whirlpool fountain at Silver Beach

Places for memorable photographs?

1) anywhere along the lake at sunset

2) the river in South Haven

3) one of the many marinas

4) the Arts District in Benton Harbor (even some of the alleys)

5) the vineyards in wine country in fall

6) one of the countless lakes in southwest Michigan

7) on a golf cart or a go-kart, on a motorcycle, in a classic car

8) “my very own secret spot” in New Buffalo at sunset (It’s actually a very public place but I don’t want too many people to know about it)

9) Grand Mere State Park

10) Main Street

11) the Whirlpool fountain

12) the alleys in Benton Harbor or St. Joe

_MG_0059……..and I haven’t even mentioned places I’ve found in northwest Indiana and Chicago for beautiful images!

I’ve had friends tell me how beautiful the beaches are in Florida (“25 miles of white, sugar sand”) or say how beautiful it is in California. All I have to do is remember what the golfer said about the view of Lake Michigan in Benton Harbor when he arrived to play golf:

“it’s the Pacific Ocean.”

We’ve got it pretty good around here. It may be dreary in February but April is right around the corner. Then it’s spectacular! For beautiful wedding photography, please drop me a note. You can view my wedding portfolio at www.crdes.com.

Thank you for reading my blog!

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Planning your wedding with your photographer

If you’re a bride planning her wedding, don’t be afraid to call a photographer and ask questions. It’s an interview process and you and the photographer have to “fit,” meaning you have to trust the photographer, their style, their sense of humor and love of their craft. Sit down with the photographer and ask about their style of shooting. Look at the photos in the portfolio but also listen to the photographer about how they go about shootin_MG_0649g your wedding day. It’s more than the images in their portfolio. Every bride should stick within her budget for a wedding but photography is more than just about price. Think of it this way: you’ve planned your wedding for a year, two years, or longer. You planned every detail: your dress, the church, reception, food, guest list, invitations, the cake…..the list seems endless. Hire a photographer who will work with you to provide what YOU want. Don’t fit yourself into a photographer’s “package.” That’s like trying to fit into a size 4 dress when you’re a size 6—it doesn’t work! The photographer should work with you to meet your needs; that’s what I try to do.

When I talk with a bride, I like to know what they like and don’t like in photographs. Do you like black and white images? Do you want images on the beach or other settings? How many guests and how large a family will be there? Tell me  about your dress (style, color) and how many in the bridal party? Will people travel a long distance to get to the wedding? One of the easiest ways to see what a bride likes is to view her Pinterest page (hopefully, she has one). Because of the beautiful beaches in southwest Michigan, most brides like to have photos at the beach, the pier, or the bluff. Other fun places for amazing, memorable photos are in the vineyards of the wineries or in the Arts District of Benton Harbor or golf courses like Harbor Shores or Berrien Hills. There are some beautiful farms to have images taken. After the wedding, try to allow an hour-and-a-half to two hours for images of the bride and groom. For some brides, that isn’t important that’s just fine. Then I spend my time focusing on what IS important to the bride. Do you, as the bride, like artsy, creative images or prefer more standard documentary-style images? To describe my style, I happen to love photographing people and I love architecture. The lines of a building can draw me in to stare at a beautiful building. I love to mix people with huge pieces of structure.

It’s not that I am a chameleon trying to please everyone but I need to know what the bride likes and wants to be able to deliver. Asking questions makes all the difference in a relationship on one of the most important days of your life.

One of the comments I have heard repeatedly from women married a year or two ago is how long they have to wait for their images or for an album. I know a bride who has waited two years for her wedding album! Are you, as a photographer, that busy that you can’t deliver in a reasonable time? No, I just think it’s lousy and poor service by the photographer. I try to deliver my images within a couple weeks. There are much longer steps in creating an album but that might take a month, maybe two. It’s all about making the wedding day easy for the bride and groom and providing excellent service to them. Being on time (or earlier) on their wedding day. Being prepared. Having all my equipment in the best condition. Delivering images before the couple thinks they’ll receive them. I try to be organized on a wedding day in order to be spontaneous. While I can’t be in three places at once, I try to be.

Photographing a wedding is fun because it’s all about people. Photographing people makes life fun and interesting for me.

Weddings keep me young

The south end of Silver Beach

The south end of Silver Beach

I’m not talking about ME getting married and it keeps me young. Photographing weddings keeps me young. Whew!

Why I love to photograph weddings–

They keep me young at heart. I’m capturing the images of usually a young couple in their 20’s and maybe 30’s who have all the hopes and dreams of 50+ years together. They’re young and innocent and in love. They want to build a life together, have children and grow old together. I’m lucky enough to capture stage one of their life together, their wedding day. More often than not, the bride is all anxious and the mother is nervous. He, the groom, is much more relaxed and casual. I typically concentrate on the bride, bridesmaids and preparation though equal time must be afforded the groom.

As is always the case, I custom my services to meet the budget and needs and desires of the couple for photographs. Typically, I start my wedding day photography about 2 hours before the ceremony spending time with the bride and her side of the family in their preparation. Natural light would be my favorite style of shooting, if possible. I’ll spend an hour with the bride then move to the groom’s side for “preparation” images. More and more, wedding ceremonies are outdoors at a park, along the beach or pavilion. Church weddings are still the norm but almost half of the weddings I photograph are in a contemporary setting.

TWO PHOTOGRAPHERS: While I normally work by myself, I will often hire a second shooter for the wedding ceremony. While I am on the floor level, the second photographer can be in the balcony or the organ loft and get some great angles of photographs. One time, my second shooter sat in the bell tower to photograph a wedding. Nicole,….very gutsy of you!

Consider having two photographers for your wedding.

For the formal images after the wedding, because of where we live, the most requested location would be the beach but more and more, the unique architecture of the Arts District in Benton Harbor come into play. Being a huge fan of architecture, some beautiful images can be created from brick and “graffitied” walls. For me, allow two hours and we can get some beautiful and distinctive images for a wedding albums that you’ll treasure forever.

VIDEO: I am occasionally asked about video for your wedding and I offer those services as well. If you’re going to have a videographer for your wedding, I think these three elements of your day are the most important for a video memory of your wedding:  the ceremony, the entrance into your reception and first dances.

While, I’m sure videographers would disagree with me, those are the moments video can capture better than still images. And yes, I offer video and editing services.

THE GUESTS: Another favorite part of weddings for me is meeting the people. I have met people from all over the country at weddings in southwest Michigan. We’re very lucky this is becoming a “destination place” for weddings. There are many reasons but some would be:  Lake Michigan, we’re promoting ourselves more and events like the Senior PGA certainly help publicize southwest Michigan, Whirlpool has brought thousands of people to southwest Michigan from all over the world. Our name is spreading and that’s a very good thing!

FEEL FREE TO WRITE ME:  and ask about wedding prices. I’d love to meet with you and talk over a cup of coffee about what you wish in your photography and it’s always great to talk and exchange ideas. Call me, I would love to photograph your wedding.

You can view my wedding portfolio at www.crdes.com. The web site for complete wedding images and other events is www.rizzophotos.com

Muscle cars and Motown

Martin Short, photographed by Gregg Rizzo

Martin Short. Christopher Lloyd. Melissa Manchester. And I’ve captured thousands of images in between. For a year of incredible change in my life, it’s a damn good year and I’m very blessed. I met and photographed Martin Short in March, Christopher Lloyd was in May at a world premiere movie and Melissa Manchester was at a benefit for an art center. I’m very blessed to do what I do.

Being a fanatic of music from Tony Bennett, Queen, Michael Buble, and Steve Tyrell, I grew up across the state from the “music machine” of Motown. As I wrote in an earlier blog, Detroit IS the Motor City with Henry Ford, Lee Iacooca, and Alfred P. Sloan receiving their “due” for building making Detroit the gem of American Industrialization. In the 60’s, teens cruised Woodward Avenue in Detroit in their Ford Mustang Cobra Mach I, Dodge Charger and Olds Cutlass 442, the muscle cars of the 60’s that were sleek, shiny and fast. Think of the scenes in “American Graffiti” and you’ll know what Woodward Avenue in Detroit was all about. Their car radios were tuned to CKLW (“the Big 8″) and WKNR (“Keener 13″) who ruled the radio waves with the music of Motown. The man who never received the recognition of putting Detroit on the map was and is Berry Gordy. Founded in the 60’s, Motown was a fantastic “machine” of music founded by Gordy with artists like Diana Ross & the Supremes, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, Four Tops, Jackson 5, “Little” Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson. Besides, 110, #1 hits from 1962-1972, Motown did something else:  the music made history by tearing down racial barriers that so badly needed to be destroyed. Dr. Martin Luther King crossed picket lines and marched for equality. Smokey Robinson sang and integrated audiences with his music.

Legendary Motown studio musician, Tony Newton, photographed by Gregg Rizzo

This is all leading up to one of the most interesting people I’ve had the pleasure to photograph this year, legendary Motown studio musician and bassist, Tony Newton. Behind-the-scenes musicians have always interested me; those are the people we never see or hear about. Newton has been in the Motown Machine since 1964 touring with Smokey Robinson, Martha & the Vandella’s (“Heatwave”) and the Spinners. He’s toured with Michael Jackson and recorded the soundtrack to “Officer & a Gentleman,” played with the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, as well as the Mama’s & Papa’s, a pretty diverse group of people.

One of my on-going projects is to work with a dear friend and event planner of Chaos RED Events, Laurie Pagogna, and I was told to “report” (not really) to The Livery for a special one-of-a-kind performance with Marcus Robinson, a great local blue guitarist and his band. In the house, on bass, was Tony Newton, a long-time friend of Marcus’ and their friendship dates back to their days in Los Angeles in the 70’s. Though you and I have heard him perform on records, we didn’t know who played the bass line on songs . Tony played bass with the Jackson 5 on “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Here’s the link to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K76kGhxHnvk. In

Tony Newton, photographed by Gregg Rizzo

addition, you’ll recognize this 1970’s number-one hit from Smokey Robinson & the Miracles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2E_RSJAhYU. There are hundred’s songs we heard growing up and Newton was the bass player. This year, I was lucky enough to photograph him.

Blues guitarist, Marcus Robinson, photographed by Gregg Rizzo

Today, he’s working with symphonies all over the world and recording funk fusion albums. Tony Newton, one of those musicians with the rock-solid bass line and we never knew him. It wasn’t in the liner notes and always behind the scenes. But he gave us a beat we could dance to forever.

Motown bassist, Tony Newton, photographed by Gregg Rizzo

Gospel, Jazz and a whole lotta country

Once again, the weekend was filled with photographing musicians. One of the venues was challenging for the lack of stage lighting. The other was hilarious: there were so many teen-aged girls at a country music concert, you would have thought Justin Bieber was performing!

Char Jones

Friday, it was gospel and jazz with an amazing performer, Char Jones. She was the creator of a show I photographed in February, “Women with Heart-Rock!” She’s been a gospel singer for over 30 years conducting the choir and singing every Sunday morning at her father’s church in Benton Harbor. Now, she’s caught the bug of performing and is ready to break-out on her own. She has the power of Mariah Carey (the early years) and the grace of Cee Cee Winans. Char held “church” at a local brewpub, The Livery, in the Benton Harbor Arts District backed by jazz pianist, Jean Prosper and two others. The lighting is way too low so it’s a real challenge to shoot without flash. If you don’t mind, one rule of photographing entertainers, please don’t use a flash. It’s distracting to everyone! All right, annoying! Luckily, the camera I now use is a a Canon 5D Mark III with an ISO range up to 25,600. The photos from Friday were taken at 1/50th of a second at f1.8 at an ISO of 8,000  The 5D is an amazing camera! Char Jones is an amazing vocalist!

Around southwest Michigan, the third weekend in July was always reserved for the Venetian Festival. Rock concerts on Friday and Saturday, and a country music show on Sunday. The city of St. Joseph decided to cancel funding of the festival so for the first time in 25 years, it was disbanded. The country

Country singer-songwriter, Lee Brice

show took it’s place on Saturday to a packed house featuring country music singer, Lee Brice. As I said earlier, I never knew country music was as big a hit with teenaged girls, and at least for Lee, that’s a good thing. There must have been a couple hundred girls ready to storm the stage. I remarked to the security guard at the edge of the stage how I thought we were at a Justin Bieber concert. All right, “the Bieb” has a few thousand……….

Lee Brice

The crowd at the Lee Brice concert (plus my friends Michelle and Christen)

Old standards, smooth jazz and the Music Man

This was the weekend of nothing but music and photography in one form or another. It started with an old friend performing the great American songbook at The Acorn Theatre in Three Oaks, MI. Then driving through pouring rain to get to an outdoor concert, “Smooth Jazz at Sunset,” and I finished the weekend sitting in the blazing sun to photograph a performance of Meredith Wilson’s, “The Music Man.”

Pianist David Lahm with Bunny Fisher

The Acorn Theatre is a local gem in southern Berrien County where you’ll find performances of opera to 60’s rock & roll and everything in between. Saturday night, it was jazz singer Bunny Fisher performing the great American songbook with David Lahm at the piano. If you’re from New York City, you’ll probably know David as the house pianist at The Village Gate. His mother was lyricist, Dorothy Fields. With composer Jimmy McHugh, she wrote several early hits, such as “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “I’m in the Mood for Love.” She’s also responsible for the lyrics to “Sweet Charity” and “Annie Get Your Gun.” So it’s no surprise that when I said to David I was leaving to photograph a smooth jazz performance, he grimaced with displeasure.

There are 365 days to a year and “Smooth Jazz at Sunset” qualifies as my favorite day of the year. FORGET Christmas, birthdays and New Year’s Eve (please!!!),

Smooth jazz saxophonist, Nelson Rangell

“Smooth Jazz at Sunset” is THE event of the year in southwest Michigan. It’s not the music or the performers, it’s the atmosphere. Everyone in town is there and it’s huge, terrific party. It’s at the Silver Beach Pavilion along the river. You have the sunset, the water, sailboats, music, food and Tabor Hill wine. The best part is—I get to photograph it! In past years, the performers have been Rick Braun, Mindi Abair, Brian Culbertson or Richard Elliott. This year it was saxophonist, Nelson Rangell. The pavilion is packed with 3,000 fans. We could be in Chicago, Milwaukee or any major city, but better….it’s St. Joseph, Michigan.

Silver Beach Pavilion, St. Joseph, MI

On Sunday, the weather couldn’t be changed (just try to) and the performance had to go on so the Southwest Michigan Symphony with a local theatre company performed “The Music Man.” A great show, well-performed, with great music…..and 100 degree heat! If it weren’t for the costume manager who had a bottle of Coppertone, I might look like a lobster today. She saved my life!

Whether it’s standards from great songwriters, Smooth Jazz at Sunset or the symphony, it doesn’t much better than living on Lake Michigan!

“Harold Hill” and “The Music Man”

The “art” of golf

“Weeping Willow” representing his 18th major, at The Masters. This sits along the 18th tee box and the once-polluted Paw Paw River

For 40 years, the land sat empty with the shells of former factories. There was Malleable Steel, Modern Plastics, New Products, Superior Steel, Remington Rand, Whirlpool factories and all of them left, leaving Benton Harbor to die the slow death like other “rust belt” cities. If you think of Detroit, Gary, Indiana, and Pittsburgh, you’ll get the idea of the inner city dying and everyone fleeing to the suburbs. That happened here. The decay in all these cities began in 1970 with the recession, the automotive crisis and the movement of jobs overseas. Some are beginning to recover including my hometown of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

It was once the center of commerce for southwest Michigan with two theatres, city blocks of filled downtown stores like the S&H Green Stamp store, three car dealerships a Woolworth’s and a Sears store. Including in the mix was the world’s largest open-air non-citrus fruit market. After all, southwest Michigan is the center of agriculture in the midwest. Today, all of those are a “ghost of times past” and replaced by the new North American headquarters of Whirlpool, additional Whirlpool offices, a growing and thriving arts district, old storefronts are becoming apartments and condo’s. Earlier this year, an empty brick building on Main Street became “Studio 376″ for one-night and six area businessmen threw a party for 1500 attendees during the Senior PGA. It will become 8 apartments and retail space fitting of Grand Rapids, Michigan and Chicago.

Everyone was excited when the rumor of a New York Times reporter was coming to town. The article was in the Sunday New York Times magazine with a caption of “they’ve taken away the factories (and the jobs) and built a golf course.” To that writer, I’d like to say “you had your mind made up before you wrote the piece. They’re not building factories in the rust belt anymore (fool!).” The article was a piece of crap but the photos were excellent. The idea of building a golf course in this resort area began in the early 80’s with the CEO of Whirlpool, Jack Sparks. Harbor Shores was born and constructed started by removing 110,000 TONS of manufacturing waste. The property where Harbor Shores sits was an EPA

“Hibiscus” for his 17th major, the 1980 PGA Championship at Oak Hill

Superfund site. Now it’s 18 holes of golf filled with art and much of the course is a nature preserve. Each hole of the course is dedicated to a particular plant life species. There is a wide variation of landscapes from now navigable rivers, prairies, wetlands and woodlands. Ten years ago, you wouldn’t want to stand next to the Paw Paw River which runs through the course. Now people kayak and canoe along the Paw Paw River.

The course designer, Jack Nicklaus, won 18 major championships in his career. There are 18 tee markers made of corten steel and glass designed by Jerry Catania and Josh Andres; beautiful pieces of art where heavy industry once stood.

“Lily” honoring his fourth major at the 1965 Masters

“Rose Pink” celebrating Nicklaus’ second majors win at The Masters in 1963

Please note that this author does not play golf and I have no interest in playing. I simply admire the creation and far-sighted thinking of these people. After decades of planning, the course is finished and was the host to the 2012 Senior PGA along with defending champ, Tom Watson. Though the PGA will never release figures, rumor has it that it was the most-attended PGA event in the last five years. Harbor Shores is a work of art.

A destination wedding

The bride and groom live in Evansville, Indiana. Her family lives in northern Indiana and his is from Detroit, Ohio and Chicago. So where was the destination for the ceremony? Southwest Michigan. With the sun, the sand, the beach and the sunsets, it’s definitely one of the prettiest spots in the country and I happen to live there.

One day last fall, I received a call from the groom’s mom to ask if I would photograph her son’s wedding in June, 2012. We worked out all the details and planned the wedding photography. Without a doubt, it was one of the most detailed and highly-organized wedding shoots of my life but it was valuable and beautiful. Brandon and Heather are a beautiful couple and I wish them a beautiful life together.

in front of the Whirlpool fountain at Silver Beach

The south end of Silver Beach

at the entrance to the Boulevard Inn