My First Greek Wedding

Meet Dan and Fani.  We had an engagement session last winter downtown in Pittsburgh's Market Square and PPG Place (where Dan proposed) and I knew they were going to be so much fun!  Dan and I always talk hockey, and he was at the opening of a new hockey store the morning of his wedding, hah.  Fani and her family are from Crete, Greece and they had many friends and family members travel in to Pittsburgh for the nuptials.

There are so many Greeks traditions I learned about.  Before Fani's father put her shoes on her, she wrote the names of the unmarried women on the bottom of one of the shoes.  The name most worn off at the end of the night would be the next to find their partner!  (Fani even included my name in the mix, hahah!)  Honey and nuts were fed to the newlyweds at the beginning of the reception by the brides mother, it symbolizes having a sweet life together.  Music was played by family friends and Fani's Uncle as the guests danced the night away!  Money was also thrown to show appreciation for the musicians.  The bride dance called the Horos tis Nifis takes place at the reception, the bride starts dancing and everyone gets a chance to dance with her holding the handkerchief in her right hand. Everyone takes turns during this throughout the night.  Some of the other Cretan dances were the Sirtos, Sousta, Malebiziotis and Pentozali.  Both Fani and Dan's families were on the dance floor the entire night!  This bridal party was also a blast and so much fun to take photos of.

I am so happy to get their preview up before they head off to Greece for their honeymoon tomorrow!! Congrats again Dan and Fani, thank you for being so amazing :) Safe travels!!

 The Mothers of the Groom and Bride :) One of my favorite from that night!!

This was the third wedding where I had friend and fellow photographer Ryan Zarichnak helping out.  (He will be launching his website/blog soon so I will be sure to post his information when that is available!)  He is a great person to work with and I could not have shot this wedding myself!  Thank you Ry!!!!  At the end of the night as we were saying our goodbyes, the brides father pulled me into the crowd to learn some Greek dancing.  Ryan got this open mouthed laughing shot of me as I tried to pick up the moves. You can see the groom Dan in the bottom left trying to capture the action as well, hahaha.  Thanks again Ryan :)

Wedding Gown: David Bridal
Rings: Esken Jewelers
Flowers: Dee's Florals
Videographer: Brandon Keenan of KVT Productions (He was great to work with!!)
Church: All Saints Greek Orthodox Church
Reception: Hilton Garden Inn South Pointe  


Behind the Scenes of Work Hard Play Hard

As promised, here are some behind the scenes shots from Wiz Khalifa's Work Hard Play Hard music video! The bar scenes were shot in Pittsburgh's own Bar 11 in the South Side on Bradish & 11th Street. If you have not been there before, it's a crazy unique spot you do not want to miss out on! A discoball helmet, drums, candy necklaces, toys and glow in the dark name tags... Thursday, June 21st is the infamous "Summer Solstice Party" (also known as the "Rain Party,") that is featured in the music video. Get your bathing suits out and hit up Bar 11 for the time of your life, honestly. I hope you enjoy the behind the scene look below :) #TGOD!

I forgot to mention, they blow fire and light the bar on fire as well! 


Director Bill Paladino with Wiz Khalifa when the video wrapped.


Work Hard, Play Hard

The Work Hard, Play Hard video for Wiz Khalifa was shot at a few locations in Pittsburgh and I had the pleasure of being set photographer.  A lot the crew was on the Black and Yellow set as well so it was great working together again. This was such a fun video to be a part of. Congrats to everyone for their hard work!!! Ill be posting behind the scenes photos later in the week as well :) TGOD.


You can watch Work Hard, Play Hard HERE.



Trevor Gillies No Longer Gives Me Nightmares

I sat down in the bleachers of Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with the Bridgeport Soundtigers left wing enforcer, Trevor Gillies to talk about fighting, leadership and family before his season ended this year. The Soundtigers are the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders.  I'll have to admit, I was intimidated. Being from Pittsburgh I had the vision of him taunting Pittsburgh Penguin Eric Tangradi from the runway while he lay concussed on the ice. (Gillies received a 9 game suspension from this incident.) As soon as the interview began his animated, genuine and easy going attitude immediately made me comfortable. 

It's no surprise Gilles has 8 years of boxing experience under his belt, but in the past 5 he has been honing his fighting skills with Mixed Martial Arts coach Chris Elms in Augusta Georgia. Elms has A BJJ Brown Belt, Judo Black Belt and is also the former I.S.C.F. middleweight MMA champion. “Being from the south he didn’t know a lot about hockey fighting,” said Gillies. “But we took things that will work from martial arts and incorporated them into hockey.” Gillies noted that there is more of a science behind it now and that he isn’t just “chuckin em” like he was when he was younger. “If you watch my fights I’m more of a technician. I’m more prepared with blocking and cross grabs amongst other things…  but, I don’t want to give it all away here,” he joked.

He may not want to give it all away, but Gillies has shared some tips with his teammates in Bridgeport, like Steve Oleksy, Blair Riley, and Brett Gallant. "There’s a lot of tough dudes in this league but not as many as there once were. We’re kind of a dying breed and hopefully we can keep it around," said Gillies. "Even for the really skilled guys, fighting is never a bad thing to learn. They need to know how to defend themselves. We need them in the line up and we don’t want them getting hurt." 

As one of the oldest on the team at 33, Gillies took on a “big brother” role that he’s already familiar with, growing up the eldest in his family. “We have so many leaders on the team just not the captain and the assistants. Even though I'm not in the line up every night, the guys know that Im there for them. The main thing is just being a piece of the puzzle, as long as at the end of the year, if you have a puzzle and all the pieces add up, that’s when you win a championship. That’s part of being a good teammate.”

Gillies may be known for his fighting and that badass handlebar mustache, but off the ice he’s a family man. Wanting to give his kids a “home base,” this was the first in over 9 years that his family, wife Danielle, stepson Phoenix, 11, and daughter Danni Ryan, 4 weren’t with him during the season. “I get labeled all different kind of things.  But I think you judge a man by what kind of dad he is. I take great pride in trying to be the best dad I can. This year has been rough without them around, but we’ve got Skype and phone calls.” said Gillies. 

Gillies heads home to his family this summer as an unrestricted free agent.

While I didn't have the nerve to bring up that crazy game in February vs the Pittsburgh Penguins, I can say I will no longer have nightmares of Trevor Gillies beating down my home team. I have learned there is more to the man than just his brutish persona on the ice.



Seasons end for Bridgeport

I traveled out to Hartford Connecticut on Sunday to shoot game 3 of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers vs Connecticut Whale 2012 Calder Cup Playoff series. Whale defeated the Sound Tigers Thursday and Saturday at Webster Bank Arena making this game the deciding factor for whether or not the series would continue to a game 4 and potentially 5. Fans were on the edge of their seats as the game went into overtime. Kevin Poulin made 50 saves this game but that proved not to be enough. The Whale's Cam Talbot's 44 saves lead the team to their 3rd straight win and a spot in the AHL Eastern Conference Semi Finals. Sound Tigers goals were scored by Justin DiBenedetto, David Ullstrom, and Rhett Rakhshani. 

I would like to thank the entire organization for a great season. I can't wait to be back next year!