Archive for the News Category

Ponderings on the 40th Anniversary of the Moonwalk

Posted in News, Personal on July 22, 2009 by sharizellers
Downloaded from FoxNews.com

Downloaded from FoxNews.com

The ORIGINAL Moonwalk, that is.  Yes, here is where I get to admit to being somewhat of a space geek, NASA junkie, and all things related to men in rockets going to the moon.  I was watching the anniversary special on Discovery channel and realized that I still get so nostalgic about an event that I wasn’t even alive to see!  So, I give you a peek into my affection with  that which I’ve always loved and been proud of – our American experience and love affair – triumphant, rocky, and tragic at times – with the space program.

Growing up, my grandparents lived a “stones throw away” from Cape Canaveral in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  Before I came along, it’s been said that the astronauts even jaunted down to NSB to play and race cars (they liked their cars like they liked their rockets – fast as they could be).  My grandparents had a front row seat to all the goings on during the “Space Race”, the global rush to be the first to the moon.  This means they also got to see the painful sacrifices made, too.  Some folks thought we were crazy to do what we were doing and spend money on such a venture when there were people to protect during the cold war…hmmm.

Any way, I heard the stories, the newspaper clippings and we had the local souvenirs and paraphernalia that came with the craze that swept the nation but particularly the small, once sleepy beach side towns that were on the east coast of Florida – what soon became known as the “Space Coast”.  There were even special stamps issued to commemorate the different Apollo missions that my grandmother collected – I own them now that she has passed.  So, I got swept up, too even though the race had been won by the time I was born just two years later.

What started with the race to the moon soon culminated in another space-craze as I became an elementary school student.  This was the beginning of the Space Shuttle program.  A reusuable space vehicle that would be able to do so many experiments and even complete the dream of the International Space Station – a joint mission of several nations.  While I never really envisioned becoming an astronaut (some how I knew I was an artist, not a scientist or pilot-type), I was fascinated with this extension of the space program that I could now watch play out during my time.  When I first remember visiting the Kennedy Space Center in the bicentennial year of 1976, the Space Shuttle program was very close to launch – literally -only five years away.  The program was something out of science fiction at the time we heard about it!  And then on April 12, 1981, the first Shuttle launched.  Like many of America’s school children, it became an exciting ritual when another launch was announced and we got to pull TV’s into our classroom to watch each one – it was an event!  An event we eventually took for granted…

Downloaded from Nasa.gov

Downloaded from Nasa.gov

As I moved onto high school, the Space Shuttle program moved on, too.  Now, they were auditioning and interviewing for non-astronauts to become part of the Shuttle crew.  A school teacher was to go up on a mission and thousand (or millions?) of teachers applied for the position.  At our high school in Chamblee, GA, we championed our beloved art teacher, Mr. Dave Smiley, to be chosen to go on the mission. While he didn’t make it, we were still proud of the certificate he received in recognition and he hung it in his office.  Little did we know that later, we would be so glad he was not chosen.  As a nation, we suffered a loss that had not been experienced in 25 years.  It was not right.  It was painful and felt like failure. And we plugged onwards.

Then, as an adult, I was introduced to someone that worked at NASA.  I drove to Titusville several times to watch launches – daytime and evening.  This was post-911 and security prevented me from shooting the kind of images that I grew up seeing.  I had the knowledge and the equipment but just not the proximity I yearned for.  This is the price of freedom we pay.  I still enjoyed the entire event and the amazing effects that the shuttle contrail would leave in the sky for hours after launch.

At some point after Steven and I met, he mentioned that he had never seen a shuttle launch (or any launch for that matter) in person.  I, of course, dug out my film images that had been scanned and shared them with him. That led to a planning session (where he discovered that I knew waaaaay too much for a girl about when the shuttle launches each year, etc… ;o) ) and we decided to make the quick jaunt to the coast to see one of the last eleven launches of what we now know as the Space Shuttle.

This was last March and we got to see a pre-dawn launch of STS-123 at about 2:30 am, March 11, 2008.  A cloud bank rolled in right before launch that didn’t hinder the rocket but left us with not much to see after about 10 seconds or so.  I still love the effect – we should have video taped it now that I think of it!  It was still pretty amazing the way it lit up the clouds and then the clouds served as a giant diffuser casting an eerie glow all across the Indian River.

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Only seven Shuttle Launches to go before this part of our history is gone.  That’s right – they’ve developed a safer, more cost effective way of launching the Shuttle Orbiter into orbit around the Earth so there will not be the glorious, although be it dangerous, rocket launches.  Manned launches may be just a part of our history that we will experience in video and photos much like I enjoy watching the historical moonwalk today.

I want to go see at least one more launch.  This time I will rent a bigger lens. ;o)

Fall/Winter 2009 Special Packages!

Posted in Bridals, Engagements, News, Special Events, Weddings on June 30, 2009 by sharizellers

That’s right folks!  If you’ve been lurking, now’s the time to book us for your wedding!  I’ve just created some AWESOME packages that are packed with goodies at a great price.  Have you been dreaming of having a photobooth at your wedding?  Well, now you can have it included for FREE with any package!  We’ve also got some deals on albums – save even more on parents’ albums if you buy two.

These specials can be booked from now until December 31st however, your wedding can be any date.

REMEMBER:  There is a  BRIDAL REGISTRY for any products we offer!  This means your family and guests can purchase credits towards the wedding album of your dreams!  Register for canvas and print packages, too.

Click HERE for a downloadable PDF file of these offers.

And hurry! We only shoot ONE wedding per day so don’t lose your date.

Alicia & Al – an Engagement Session in Two Parts!

Posted in Engagements, News with tags , , , on May 19, 2009 by sharizellers

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Alicia and Al are two very special clients of mine.  So special that they got two engagement sessions!

Also, this blog post will be in two parts – fun, eh?!  Well, the reason why is there is a story behind me meeting this couple and ultimately my new partner-in-crime, Ms. Alicia Benson (soon to be Mrs. Przygocki).

A long time ago, at a bridal show not too far away (Cator-Woolford Gardens), I met a young bride looking for vendors for her 2009 wedding.  This was spring of ’07!  And since I NEVER ever turn away booking a date that’s far out, we set up a consultation meeting to talk about her wedding photography.  We met and it was like we were old friends.  We had so much in common and hit it off -stretching an initial consultation meeting into almost three hours!  At some point, Alicia made the comment that she wished she could do what I was doing and said, “Come and let me show you how.  I need help since my mother needs to retire – soon.”  And I’d like to say the rest is history but every day we are creating more history together.  She began learning to second shoot with me that summer and worked several dozen weddings over two seasons with me.  She was essential to helping us win the 2008 Allie Award for Anna & John’s wedding, too!

As of April 6, 2009, Alicia officially joined SZP full-time.  SO, I’d like to also introduce the second half of the company now! :o)  We are the dynamic duo that is Shari Zellers Photography!

Ahem, as an employee benefit, Alicia and Al get a lot of cool coverage for their wedding.  He he he….  But as a benefit to ME, I get a lot of input on their wedding photography!  LOL!  She basically has to do whatever I say for their photography – well, almost anything.  You get the picture?!  I’m so pysched!!!!!

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Alicia & Al’s first session took place last fall (yah, I know, I never blogged about it!) and we went to a favorite “fall session” location of mine, Emory’s Lullwater Park.  It’s gorgeous in the fall with lots of color and rolling hills of luscious landscape.

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Al is a Georgia Tech alumni so they brought some important props for fall. ;o)  These are taken on a new suspension bridge in the park!  I was so surprised the first time I saw this bridge as I’ve been shooting here for almost 10 years and this was brand new! Great location for some fun stuff!

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The new bridge also enables us to cross the creek a LOT easier than ever before. That means we can get to this cool ruins on the creek, too.

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My fun idea that I was so happy to do is the leaves!  I wanted to do a multi-frame shot of them throwing leaves in the air and then kissing as they came down all around them.  It took several takes but I LOVED the results!  You get more of the full effect in their slideshow you can watch by clicking HERE.

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Here is their save-the-date magnet I designed for them from this session.  I LOVE it!  I offer custom Save-the-Date designs to any couples that wish to order them from me!

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Alicia & Al – Part Two!!  CARNIV-AL!

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OK, maybe a little cheezy but it was a fun session after all?!  Steven joined us for this session and the four of us had so much freakin’ fun acting like little kids.  Ironically, the carnival we ended up at was made up entirely of “kiddie sized” rides – NOT made for adults!  Frankly, this generally just encouraged us to all be a little more immature…

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I think the hardest part of this session (aside from the size of the rides;o)) was deciding where to shoot.  Oh, and shooting and posing on moving objects like the Shake Shack below!

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I almost got a black eye trying to shoot them behind me on the roller coaster!  I quickly learned to just go wide and blind and hope for the best.  They turned out pretty dang good

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For me, my absolute favorites were on the carousel.  I had so much fun shooting this part since every time around was a new opportunity to get a different look – both from Alicia & Al and in the image capture.  A little shutter drag and you’ve got some great motion.  A couple of clowns thrown in and you’ve got an amazing engagement session at the carnival!

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We’ve just uploaded their carnival slideshow today so “STEP RIGHT UP” and watch it by clicking HERE!

Allie Award – AGAIN!!!! 2009 Best Event Photography!!!!

Posted in News, Personal, Special Events, Weddings with tags , , , , , on March 17, 2009 by sharizellers
Alicia, Me, & Steven with the Allie Award for Best Event Photography!

Alicia, Me, & Steven with the Allie Award for Best Event Photography!

I am so honored…and was almost speechless because I really wasn’t too sure this year how the decision would go.  Here, 7 years from the first time I entered the Allies in 2002, I have won my fourth Allie Award for Best Event Photography!  This is a local recognition by our peers in the special events industry in Atlanta.   We have VERY specific rules and guidelines which any one can see at the Allies web site, but to summarize we can choose an event in the last calendar year (Jan 1, 2008-Dec 31, 2008) and only ten photos from that event that depict the event’s activities, decor, participants, catering, venue and have a “Wow” factor.   We also must do a written, two-page description of the event, our responsibility, our challenges & obstacles, and our client’s goals and expectations and how those were met (whew!).

This year I chose to enter two entries since I am now a member of NACE (you are allowed an additional entry for each membership your company holds) so I entered Brittany & Chuck’s wedding at Lake Rabun and Deborah & Tony’s wedding at the Fox Theatre.  It was Deborah & Tony’s that got the nomination!  I called it “Rockin’ the Fox”!

Me accepting my Allie and slightly stunned by the outcome

Me accepting my Allie and slightly stunned by the outcome

This year was a record year for entries in the Photography category.  We had seven entries from six companies (two of the entries were from me) and four nominees resulted due to a tie.  When we are notified of the nominees, all we know is the company’s name that is nominated.  Only at the awards banquet during cocktail hour, will we see the actual entries and lay eyes for the first time on our competitions’ entries.  This time like always, I was pretty nervous.  I can be pretty hard on myself and my work and I didn’t have very high expectations once I saw who I was up against.

Big Band entertainment for the evening

Big Band entertainment for the evening

I saw that the nominees with me were Mike Moreland, the Zenith Design Group (?  that one had us scratching our heads?), and my good friends Anna & Spencer Clark.  I really respect both Mike and the Clark’s very much so it was a honor to be nominated with them!  Both of their entries were fabulous so in my mind, it was a complete toss up as to the outcome.

The glam girls, Dames Aflame as awards hostesses

The glam girls, Dames Aflame as awards hostesses

I was not even nervous when they got to our category – third in the program that night so fairly early, during salads!  I was genuinely expecting someone else to be announced….and then they said the magic words “Rockin’ the Fox….” and Alicia just SQUEALED and started clapping frantically…it took several seconds for it to register because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t aurally hallucinating!

Me & Mark Brickman of BakersMan, Inc

Me & Mark's Allies

Me & Mark's Allie

I am also so glad that of course (of COURSE) my good friend, Mark Brickman of Baker’s Man Inc won yet again (what’s this, the sixth time Mark?  I lose track…!) for Best Cake Presentation.  I’ve said many times right here on this blog, he’s the BEST for a reason!

You might notice they misspelled my name on the award – I’m supposed to get a new one this week.  I get my name misspelled a lot so it wasn’t a big deal to me when I saw it that way on the nominations. But now I know better – I should have told them right away!

Alicia, Anna & Spencer Clark at our table

Alicia, Anna & Spencer Clark at our table

I also want to congratulate my other good friends over at Spectrum Entertainment for winning their FIRST Allie for Best Entertainment on a Shoestring!  Congrats guys!  You’re the best DJ friends a gal can have! ;o)

And to all the other Allie winners…AND nominees, congratulations!  We’ll see you next year, too!

Here are the images I used in my entry, “Rockin’ the Fox” of Deborah & Tony’s wedding:

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Our New Photobooth!!!!!!

Posted in Families, News, Special Events, Weddings with tags , , on March 14, 2009 by sharizellers

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OHMYGOSH!!! This is so much fun and we are so excited to offer this to all our clients this year…..TA DAAAAAA!

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Shari Zellers Photography now has a Photobooth!

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We are bringing this to EVERY WEDDING that wants a Photobooth  – yes, and completely free of charge!

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I was asked several times last year if we offered such a service and alas, all I could say was that I knew there were services to rent photobooths.  It seemed an ambitious effort to make one (I’ve seen some that my colleagues had built) and I wasn’t sure where to begin…

That is until I went to LA for Pictage PartnerCon and stayed with my good friend Paul Manke.  He and his partner Jimmy had built a free-standing remote operated camera “box” from IKEA and installed a camera with remote, a continuous light source, and a video screen so guests can not only “line up” their shot but see the photo right after it’s taken!  So, I snapped some shots of their set up and returned home with a gleam in my eye and went to work assembling all the parts.

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It has three basic parts that we bring:  A) The camera box – a 5′ free standing enclosed shelf unit which contains the camera itself, the light, the video and remote for taking the photos. B) The backdrop which hangs from our portable backdrop stand.  We currently have black, red, silver, purple and royal blue backdrops. Custom colors available, too!  and C) the Bench with props included!

Now, our photo booth does not print out however, the images will be posted on each wedding web site along with the couple’s other wedding day images in a folder we’ll simply call “Photobooth”!  This way everyone that wants a copy can order one (2-4-1 in the first month!) and they won’t be lost or damaged at the wedding!

Also, all the images from the Photobooth will be included in the couple’s final collection – in their proof book or DVD of digital files, too!

Check out these hilarious shots from our last two weddings!  Can’t you just imagine you and your guests having this much fun!?

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Alissa & Chris @ Park Tavern!

Posted in News, Weddings with tags , , , , , , , on March 5, 2009 by sharizellers

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Our first wedding of 2009 was an amazing day!  Start off with an incredibly fun, cute couple – add a dash of beautiful weather at a wonderful Atlanta location, stir gently with a helpful and friendly family and wedding party and Voila!  You’ve got the recipe for a fabulous first wedding of the New Year!

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Alissa and Chris are such great clients to work with and always seem up for whatever I suggest. ;o) We had a lot of fun shooting their engagement session at Atlantic Station so it’s no wonder I was really looking forward to their wedding day.  We started out with some shots of Alissa and her bridesmaids getting ready at a midtown hotel.  One of my favorite moments was the first time Alissa’s grandmother saw her that day.  She met Alissa out in the hallway and I got this great first look shot – what an expression!  Just love her grandma’s reaction to seeing her granddaughter for the first time on her wedding day…makes me all goosebumpy!010sapoznik012409_0166

And as I mentioned, the weather was gorgeous for January!  Both their ceremony and reception were held in the Piedmont Room of Park Tavern.  We set Chris up just outside to have Alissa come up to him for their “first look” and to have a few moments alone.  We were then able to go out on the lawn at Piedmont Park and shoot plenty of fun shots of the wedding party and of Alissa & Chris.

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Love this shot of the groomsmen!

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The beautiful florals that day are provided by Monique of Blossoms Atlanta.  The glass bowls looked so sparkly in the late afternoon sun streaming in the ballroom.  I also loved the arch that was used for the altar piece.  It was draped with dozens of crystal strands that picked up the sunlight so beautifully.  This was such a magical room that day!

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Their sunset ceremony was officiated by an dear friend of mine, Rev. Richard Prigmore of All Faith Weddings.  It was wonderful to see him again!  We must have done at least 100 weddings together over the last 10 years! The one comical moment during their ceremony that didn’t even register on me at first (I concentrate so hard on shooting that the content sometimes escapes me!) was during the candle lighting ceremony.  Apparently, Alissa & Chris’ mothers had already lit the unity candle!  It was still a beautiful moment, though.

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At the reception, I was happy to see their cake by my other good friend, Mark Brickman of Bakers Man!  Yum!!!!!!  I LOVE his cakes – they look wonderful and taste oh so even better!

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This was definitely a wedding for working with favorite vendors of mine as up next for our entertainment was Mr. Lou Guzzo of Spectrum Entertainment. Lou kept the dance floor hoppin’ all night long – and I do mean HOPPIN”!!!!!!!!!  Just take a look at this shot of one of Chris’ groomsmen!!!!  He looks like he’s pulling a Chris Angel!  How amazing is that?!?!?!

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Finally, I am SOOOOOO excited to post about this new offer from SZP…..DRUMROLL PLEASE……..!

WE HAVE A PHOTOBOOTH NOW!

The SZP Photobooth made it’s official debut at Alissa & Chris’s wedding and if I do say so, it was a HUGE hit!  I mean we had EVERYBODY go and take photos in the booth.  Here is one of my favorites of the night – mostly because it’s our bride and groom ;o)  I am going to do a special post tomorrow just about the new photobooth offering because there is a very very special offer coming to celebrate this new gift to our clients!

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Ah, this was so much fun to shoot this wedding!  Have fun watching their wedding day slideshow HERE.

New DVD’s and Packaging!

Posted in News on March 3, 2009 by sharizellers

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I am sorta geeky about this so I apologize in advance but I’m terribly excited about our new DVD’s and new packaging, too!  😉  Late last year, I began to get fed up with two aspects of making/giving DVD’s to our clients and favorite vendors – the labels to stick to the DVD’s would sometimes make the discs stick in some computer drives AND the plastic cases I was ordering always arrived with multiple damages and got damaged when I shipped them also!

After discussing this with my colleagues, one of my friends told me about a DVD printer from Epson that would print direct to DVD’s on a SILVER DVD!  It was the extrememly affordable Epson R280 and the silver DVD’s are made by several manufacturers.  The one pictured I got from Fuji.  The images printed on the new DVD’s have such depth and great color. The image almost looks 3 dimensional!

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I took these photos pretty quick today with my ancient 10D and old Sigma lens so it may not show off how sharp these are.  These are the discs I just printed for the Tejani Goddess Party vendors and they look gorgeous in person!  The jewelry almost sparkles!

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The other part of our presentation is the case of course.  Not only do these aluminum cases look sharp and sexy (silver DVD’s in silver CASE!), they are durable!  Not a single one was damaged in shipping so all the cases arrived to us in perfect condition! One more significant bonus is that the spindle inside can hold up to 5 discs!  In the past, I would either have to give a double DVD case or two cases since often we are giving clients their images from mulitple sessions – engagement, bridal, rehearsal dinner and of course, the wedding day. This would usually mean at least two discs and now they can be delivered in one sturdy, handsome case!

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Last but not least, I love the window view of the DVD itself.  Peek a boo!  Here is a look through the open door of the case.

Now my next goal is to find DVD’s that are printable all the way to the hub.  I didn’t realize that this would have a blank donut in the center of these discs…Oh well, these will work for a while!