New York, we love you.

As good 'ol Frank put it:

New York, New York
I want to wake up in that city 
That never sleeps


These little town blues
They have all melted away
I am about to make a brand new start of it
Right there in old New York

(I'm pretty sure that's Tess's new life theme song after this trip...she was so kind to sing it to me each morning at the top of her lungs as we woke for each new day's adventure. I preferred to wake to Jay-Z "Empire State of Mind" over Tess's serenade).

What's NYC have to do with anything, you might ask? Well, Tess and I decided we need to step up our game in this industry and invest in furthering our education in preparation for next year's wedding season (and the rest of our careers). Fortunately, we've started a business that is sort of blossoming in a very natural way for us. We've experienced a wonderful, busy first year in business just by being ourselves, putting in A LOT of elbow grease, taking care of our clients, and providing them with images that we would hope to receive from photographers.

Nonetheless, we know great opportunities and success rarely just continually fall in your lap so we decided to take a more pro-active approach to our Love•n•Joy biz. (I hope that you don't take that last line as boastful by any means. My idea of success is someone liking a photo I took enough to proudly display it in public via their living room wall or facebook! And I consider a great opportunity to be esteemed photographers asking us to join them to cover events, etc.) We have decided to do what we can to break away from comfortable mediocrity and challenge ourselves on an entirely new level.

I suppose each individual must define what success means to them before striving for it? Well, we know that for us, success is doing what we love most and that is bringing happiness to others through photography. It's pretty straight forward and it becomes addictive. We would be wise to include mastering our craft in technical terms as an integral part of being successful. Above all, we want to stay true to ourselves and our personal style. This is where I'll interject my favorite Dr. Seuss quote: "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you."

What is the first step in achieving this goal? By listening to others who have obtained tremendous levels of greatness in this industry; true leaders and innovative masters of photography who have been there, done that, and continue to push the boundaries of this business. It's always so different reading about these people and their successes in magazines, or on reputable websites, etc. You always find yourself thinking, "Yes! That's exactly where I want to be in a few years! But how did they do it? They must have 'known someone' or had some kind of 'in' that has propelled them to the top this quickly..." This theory is usually dismantled as soon as you experience their presence or aura in person. They exude determination and an unrelenting spirit. Then it all makes sense!

Which brings me back to my point...New York City. We learned of the PDN Photoplus International Conference & Expo from following up on some of the most well-respected names in the photography industry (okay, stalking their blogs and subscribing to RSS feeds helps...). Usually, these fellow photogs are up to amazing adventures that we could only dream of undergoing. But, alas! We noticed a common underlying theme with their updates/posts...they would be speaking at this world renown conference at the end of the month in NYC! The conference prices were reasonable compared to most and we decided it was time to hold off on a new lens in place of biting the bullet and booking this educating, yet a fabulously good time, sort of trip to the Big Apple.

The conference lasted Thurs - Saturday and we each signed up for 5 (2-3 hour) seminars plus access to the expo tradeshow room, where we were completely overwhelmed and inundated with photography equipment and accessories you had no idea existed nor did you realize you desperately NEEDED until visiting the show. Please click here to see what kind of crazy schtuff is really out there! Wow. If you scroll down while in that link, you'll see one of the ginormous Canon lenses we got to try out. Can you imagine your wedding photographer bringing that guy along? We could probably shoot your wedding from another church down the street!

Some of the seminar speakers we had the pleasure of listening to were Jasmine Star, Catherine Hall, National Geographic photographer Gerd Ludwig, Michael Grecco, Elizabeth Messina, and more. Not all of the photogs specialized in Wedding Photography, so it was really enlightening to hear about the other facets of the industry, especially the stories of where their travels have taken them through photojournalism for magazines and commercial work. I like the way Catherine Hall summed up her journey in photography..."The only person who can truly limit you and what you're capable YOU!" Isn't that always the case? The common denominator we identified in all these great photographers was an unrelenting belief and trust in oneself even when they had bouts of self-doubt or others told them they couldn't do it. They each made resolute decisions to accept failures and keep taking risks. Their complete and utter passion for documenting history through imagery, preserving memory through the language of photography, and genuine curiosity for each of their subjects was very inspiring. Some of the wedding photography images, especially ones from Elizabeth Messina and Catherine Hall, were so stunning and beautiful I almost cried a little bit during their slideshow presentations. Now that is a great photographer! Evoking such powerful emotion through each photograph that it immediately makes you consider your own relationships with loved ones. They were so tenderly captured with an honest, quiet humility. This is what it's all about at the end of the day.

Enough rambling! In short...we have been INSPIRED! Bring on 2011. We're ready for ya! :)

And now a little glimpse from our trip in NYC. We seriously walked the whole city over a few times accidentally but we saw it all.

( with Jasmine Star...she's adorable!)
View from our hotel, The New Yorker...
Tess striking a pose in Times Square
This is truly the city that never sleeps! We were shopping in Times Square at 1 a.m.! Where else can you do that? And more importantly, why not in Colorado??
Traveling is one of my favorite things in the world...and with that enjoyment comes sampling the city's best food! Tess and I had dinner at an NYC landmark... America's First Pizzeria, Lombardi's. Delicious. However, Marco's Coal Fired Pizza on Larimer Street in Denver is still our favorite! (try the Abruzzo and Nutella pizza and you'll know what we mean)
(below) Bryant Park at night...Fashion Week anyone? Also, we saw a couple weddings going on there during the evenings. What an amazing venue! They had the ice skating rink open while we were there also. Perfect romantic date night!
We spent the majority of our time riding the subway...usually in the wrong direction. Then we'd look, completely astonished, as eight year old children boarded and knew exactly where they were headed.
Ha...more food. I think I might start a new blog on just food. This was delish falafels at a cute place called Hummus. If you couldn't guess it, the hummus was AWESOME. I think I'll come back to NYC just to eat more food! They have the best of everything. Fo real.
And, naturally, we had to squeeze in a photo shoot in Central Park while in NYC! We will share a separate post on this shortly... Thanks to Karina & Brett for being so garsh darn cute! an Empire State of Mind?
If you're looking for good people watching, apart from airports, I would recommend Central Park.
(below) We got to meet up with a college friend, Matt Foster! You're welcome for posting this lovely shot! :)
(below) Tess, myself, and Karina, the best nyc tourguide.
We happened to be in town for Halloween and decided to join the city's festivities. Yes, we know we're ridiculous. But we have a good time. I know...sweet costumes, right?
Shot from Roosevelt Island looking towards Manhattan. Thanks to Jake & Justin for taking us out on the town! 
Tess, myself, Justin (Ghostbuster), and Jake (Johnny Cash)This is the part it got crazy...we decided to stop in on a warehouse costume party in Brooklyn. Not use to the party scene, Brooklyn style. And this is the part where the photojournalist in Tess broke loose!
Now concluding the longest blog post ever. Thank you for your time and interest :)
-Stay classy, NYC.

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