2016 in Review

For the past few years, I’ve looked back through my photographs and selected a few (this year many) that tell my story for the year.  It’s a great way to document some of the joys and beauty that fill your life.   My 2016 began with a trip in January to visit friends in Grand Cayman Islands.  For such a small island, there are lots of unique wildlife.  This Iguana was out by the pool…

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We went for a hike and this blue-throated Anole’s vibrant colors caught my eye!

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Not sure if this is an egret, a stork, or something else?

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One of the highlights was swimming with the Stingrays.

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I learned how to stand up (and paddle a little) on an inflatable paddle board…

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After returning to Ohio, we had a beautiful snow.  That’s our small shed.

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I didn’t have to endure the cold for too long because I took a small group (three people) to Central America for two weeks in February, through my Travel Spirit Meetup.  We visited Antigua, Guatemala.

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and Lake Atitlan, Guatemala…

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We then flew to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua and that’s me horseback riding on the beach.  I wanted to gallop and that I did!

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and we watched the surfers…

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We then moved on to Granada, Nicaragua for three nights…

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Next, we flew to Panama City, Panama…

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As a freelance photographer for Cincinnati Refined, I had 30 photo shoots this year.  The cool thing about working for them is that I can pitch ideas and if they like it, I’m given the assignment.  Here are a few of the shoots…

View of Northern Kentucky from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati…

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The Asian Food Fest at Washington Park in Cincinnati…

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Jazz in the Garden at the Taft Museum of Art

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Top of the Park restaurant/bar overlooking the Ohio River from Cincinnati…

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84.51 building in downtown Cincinnati…

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One of the dishes served at The Golden Lamb Restaurant in Lebanon, Ohio

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Kellie Pickler from American Idol at the Pink Ribbon Luncheon held at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

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Calysta Bevier (from America’s Got Talent)

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A welder (a somewhat unusual assignment for me, but fun)…

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Indoor water park at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio

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The Cincinnati Dinner Train experience.  One of the perks…my husband was able to join me for a free dinner/ride.

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Cincinnati Prime Restaurant Grand Re-Opening…

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Shawnee Lookout Park, North Bend, Ohio

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Horseback riding at Salt Creek Ranch in Metamora, Indiana (there’s the hubby on the right)

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Metamora, Indiana

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Shawnee State Park, West Portsmouth, Ohio

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Thanksgiving Day Race, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Sculpture Park, Hamilton, Ohio

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Through my own business, Sherry Lachelle Photography, I had quite a few real estate photos (here are three of them)…

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My third wedding reception for friends…

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A family photo shoot…

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Another family photo shoot, but the little boy stole the show…

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Senior Photos for my beautiful second cousin

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One of the most time-consuming and important accomplishments this year was starting a business in partnership with Urban Adventures, called “Cincinnati Urban Adventures“.  I give tours of Cincinnati.  This group of guys (most from the UK) were loads of fun!

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This is a wine tasting/foodie tour and I have a beer/tasting foodie tour also.

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My longest trip this year and a truly amazing experience was taking two people through eight countries back in June for a month.  We began in Bulgaria (three Cities)…

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Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

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We then headed to a variety of Cities in Romania.  Peles Castle was amazing!

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Bran Castle aka Count Dracula’s Castle in Romania

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These next photos are also in various Romanian cities…

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I took photos of at least three brides in different cities throughout Europe on this trip…

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Sibiu, Romania has its eyes on you!

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We then flew to Helsinki, Finland

Temppeliaukio Church aka Rock Church

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We took an over-night cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia and had 72 hours to see what we could.  The Hermitage Museum was amazing!

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Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

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Peterhof Park and Palace

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We took a bus to Tallinn, Estonia…

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A bus to Riga, Latvia…

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Another bus to Vilnius, Lithuania and one of the highlights was Trakai Castle…

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Next up, a bus to Warsaw, Poland…

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And then a train to Krakow, Poland…

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Where of course we went to Auschwitz.  Unbelievably sad and horrific…

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I took a long weekend /solo trip to Cleveland and Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio and got paid for my photographs.

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The Rock n Rock Hall of Fame in Cleveland

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Cuyahoga National Park

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Later in the summer, just for fun, at Serpentine Wall along the Ohio River in Cincinnati…

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Fountain Square at night, Cincinnati

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A car show

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Canoeing at Green Acres Canoe in Harrison, Ohio (and got paid for this one)

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A Bengals football game.  We had nose bleed seats, but I had my zoom lens…

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Of course there were family get-togethers.  My son and his girlfriend at our home for a Bengals watching party/bon-fire etc.

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and at a holiday party…

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Jake trying to catch frogs in the Koi Pond…

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Kate walking the tight-rope…

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My husband and I spent a week in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, Florida area in mid-December…

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I read or listened to almost 50 books.  A few of my favorites, in no particular order, were: Flowers for Algernon, A tree grows in Brooklyn, The invisible bridge, The red umbrella, My name is Lucy Barton, The Shoemaker’s Wife, These is my words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, Lilac Girls, Me talk pretty one day, Salt to the Sea, Someone knows my name, and Plainsong.

In between, I prepared new and old recipes, hiked, biked, ran a 5-K fundraiser, went motorcycling, lots of girls’ nights out, and dinners/parties with my husband.  The older you get, the more you want to squeeze in!

I hope next year is as good as this one was!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Spring Cleaning and Home Decor

Spring cleaning is something I think most people enjoy doing if they have the time.  It makes your living space so much “cleaner”!  I began mine in March with cleaning the carpets.  I’ve had a service come out to do it for me a few times in the past, but it doesn’t take that much time to do it yourself and is definitely less expensive.  In the past few weeks I’ve weeded the gardens, power washed the deck, patio and house, planted flowers, painted the lawn furniture, and minimized a few things from my clothes closet.  Back in November, my husband and I put up a tile back splash in our kitchen.  It was tedious, but I think it looks nice.  (ignore the missing light switch cover…I forgot to put it back on before I took the pic)

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I’ve shopped at loads of stores in the past couple of weeks looking for bedding, pillows, lamps, throw rugs, wall art, and decor for our bedroom.  I had a dark comforter on the bed and this new comforter has brightened the space up significantly.  We also bought a new mattress from a company called Casper and love it!  We had a Tempurpedic, but it needed replacing.  I also purchased new pillows from a company called My Pillow and love them also.  I would prefer to have a blue couch or purchase a cover, but it’s out of the budget for now.

In late fall I painted all thirteen doors (both sides!) on our main level white.  They were painted a poopy brown by the previous owners in an attempt to match the stained woodwork.  My husband didn’t want me to paint the woodwork because it goes with the style of the home.  I’m beginning to get used to the contrast. Continue reading

Niederman Family Farm Holiday Light Display

It’s almost that time of year again…Christmas!  Time to be with family and continue old traditions or begin new ones.  Last night I was on assignment with Cincinnati Refined to take photos of the Neiderman Family Farm Holiday Light Display in Liberty Township, Ohio.  If you live in the area, I highly recommend a visit.  It’s free, but donations are appreciated.

You begin the 5 block walk (configured in a square) here…

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Bible verses are displayed with colorful holiday lights!

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The manger scene is beautiful…

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Adventures on a Tiny Island in Ohio

Lake Erie has a tiny two by four mile island — “Put-in-Bay“, known as Ohio’s premier summer-time party spot, located only 20 minutes by ferry from mainland.  Every year my friends and I organize a long weekend away that usually includes relaxation, hiking, good food, fun, and a hot tub!  We enjoyed our trip to Put-in-Bay so much last year, we decided to return for this year’s annual get-away.

This shot was taken early Saturday morning just as the sun was rising…

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Friday morning we drove from Cincinnati and caught the 12:30pm Miller Ferry ride (during high season they conveniently leave every 30 minutes) to the island.  We left our car parked (it’s free) in their lot and carried our bags on board.

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Once on the island, having reserved a golf cart (the preferred method of transport on the island) through Miller Marina, we were able to fit six women and all of our stuff on it!  Yes…it was only for the weekend!

Miller Marina in Put-in-Bay offers public transient dockage with a private club atmosphere and family friendly setting. It is located one block West of downtown Put-in-Bay, close to island attractions, yet far enough away from all the distractions. Miller Marina offers grills and picnic area, pavilion, modern restrooms/showers, WiFi and golf carts are available for rental.
 

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We stayed at the Island Club Condos aka Put-in-Bay Condos at a beautiful end unit with a view of the pool and Lake Erie to the left.  Our two-bedroom/two-bath condo was perfect!

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Put-in-Bay’s split personality ensures that everyone has an unforgettable time…think Gatlinburg and Key West on steroids! While exploring the island with your fun mobile, make frequent stops for shopping, dining at one of the colorful outdoor cafes while listening to live music, and cooling off at a swim-up bar with a frozen tropical beverage in hand. When or if your senses become overloaded from the people watching and intoxicating excitement, hop back on your cart to experience the other side of Put-in-Bay, where you’ll find serene and tranquil spots to gaze at the sailboats gliding by on the glistening blue lake.

When we weren’t out exploring, you could usually find us out on the patio enjoying nature…

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Farm Life in Rural Ohio

I arrived to my Cousin Steve’s farm late on Tuesday evening after spending the afternoon exploring the gorgeous Amish countryside in Holmes County, Ohio.  His farm is in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, almost 1 1/2 hrs. Southwest of Holmes County, on the way back to Cincinnati.  I’ve only visited once before, a few years ago, so I was looking forward to it!  As we brought my overnight bag into his home, the setting sun caught my eye, glowing gold behind bottles on his kitchen windowsill…

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Steve took me on a tour of his place.  His cute bunny rabbits…

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His friendly horse…

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and inquisitive cow…

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Five Hours with the Amish

Monday afternoon I decided last-minute to take a 3 1/2 hr. drive Northeast of Cincinnati to Holmes County, Ohio to visit the Amish countryside.  On the road by 11am Tuesday, the drive took me past rolling pastureland, through small Midwestern towns, with names like Utica and Stillwell.  Listening to an audiobook on tape, I would alternate my attention from the book to the passing scenery.  I was excited to finally have a peek into the somewhat guarded and secretive life of the Amish.  I spotted my first Amish horse and buggy in Danville, about 30 minutes from my first stop in Millersburg.  When I finally arrived at the Chamber of Commerce in Millersburg to pick up some information, the excitement was building.  My route was to travel 7 miles on to Berlin, 4 miles to Walnut Creek, 6 miles to Sugarcreek, 8 miles to Farmerstown, and 4 miles to Charm.

I had read that the Amish don’t like having their photograph taken, so when I saw this gentleman coming down the road in Farmerstown, I jumped out of my car, pointing to my camera as I gestured my question.  He shook his head “yes”.

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This couple was passing my vehicle on a back country road in Charm.  The outside corners of their lips are turned upward in a small smile….

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I couldn’t have picked a nicer summer day to be taking my tour.  The sky was a brilliant blue with puffy white clouds and a light breeze brought scents of freshly cut grass and wildflowers through my open car windows.  A couple of times my eyes pricked with happy tears for the beauty I was bearing witness to.

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Everywhere I looked, well-tended farms sat on hillsides or in the valleys surrounded by green and blue.  The only sound within these peaceful communities was the clip clop of the horses’ hooves making contact with the road as they transported the Amish to and fro…

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Ash Cave and Cedar Falls

The weather forecast for Day two of our Hocking Hills hiking adventure predicted rain late in the day, so unlike the previous day, we left our rain coats, umbrellas, and waterproof camera bags back at the cabin, because we started out early.  Mistake!  While taking in the amazing scenery at Ash Cave it began to pour rain.  Fortunately for me, I was lagging behind taking photographs, under the shelter of Ash Cave, while my girlfriends were caught in the deluge.  Not a bad place to get stuck for 10 minutes!

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We ran into a photographer who was kind enough to take our photograph before the rain.  Even Evan (the dog) posed for the camera…

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The 1/2 mile trail at Cedar Falls leads to the waterfall….

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The sloped forest hillside afforded beautiful photography opportunities…

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Our cabin’s location (only a few miles from Cedar Falls) made it convenient to head back there for lunch before our afternoon hiking at the stunning Rock House, which I’ll save for tomorrow!

 

Hocking Hills Autumn Splendor

A quick two-day mid-week trip to Hocking Hills State Park for hiking followed by soaking in a hot tub with girlfriends was just what the doctor ordered!  Located in Southeastern Ohio, 2 1/2 hours from Cincinnati, the rugged cliffs, breathtaking gorges, cascading waterfalls, and flourishing forests of Hocking Hills State Park, afford visitors a pristine outdoor wonderland.  Our first hike was to Old Man’s Cave.  The well-marked one mile round trip trail, includes both man-made and natural steps.  The view from inside the mouth of the wide cave looks down onto a small stream and stone bridge…

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Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year to visit this park…

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Beautiful Woman

I had the opportunity yesterday to photograph a beautiful woman.  Her name is Carrie Kondor and she was referred to me by the Yoga instructor that I recently took photos for.  Carrie is starting her own business.  She teaches meditation, yoga, and some type of healing; wherein while the person is lying down, she beats a drum to open their chakras.  She reminds me of a cross between Carly Simon and Seane Corn (whom she admires).

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Doesn’t she have a great smile…so full of life!

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She arrived with a variety of outfits and colorful scarves…

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The Search for Autumn

My latest assignment for Cincinnati Refined was to find the most colorful “leaf popping” streets within selected Cincinnati neighborhoods, so off I went, on a 40 mile journey and was amazed that I only found a few colorful trees!  It seems that Autumn is arriving late.  This was the most vibrant tree…

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A peek at a bit more of “the” tree…

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On the way home, this bean field and sky shouted for me to stop…

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So…I’ll be going out again next week hunting for Autumn!

Foggy Morning

I woke before dawn and made my morning coffee.  Peering out the window, everything was encased in fog.  I hastily threw on a jacket over my pajamas, grabbed my tripod and camera, and wandered down the lane in my house slippers to capture the beauty.

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Do you have a favorite?

Unwind and uncork a bottle at these 3 Local Wineries

Meranda-Nixon Winery

If you’re lucky, like I was, when you arrive at the Meranda-Nixon Winery, you’ll be greeted by one of the proprietors’ friendly dogs.  You may even see one of their beautiful horses as you gaze at the lush vineyards.

Vineyards at Meranda-Nixon Winery

Horse at Meranda-Nixon Winery

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Western & Southern Open Fashion Show

The Western and Southern Open Fashion Show, sponsored by Cincy Chic, was a fun event to photograph for Cincinnati Refined!  I continue to have “firsts” as I work assignments for Cincinnati Refined as I’ve never photographed a fashion show before.  A couple of the models were definitely uncomfortable and insecure and it showed, but I think it’s important to push ourselves to do things that we’re not comfortable with, so we grow and develop our skills and potential to their fullest!

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Western & Southern Open

The Western & Southern Open is being held August 9 – 17, 2014, here in Cincinnati, Ohio and I was on assignment today.  It was my first experience taking tennis photographs and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It’s been a long day.  I began by leaving my home at 7:30am and returned after noon.  The remainder of the day (until 8:30pm) I’ve spent editing photos.  I think I did fairly well for my first time.

After researching the players, I decided to photograph the match between Ben Becker from Germany and Malek Jaziri from Tunisia

Ben Becker (Image: Sherry Lachelle Photography)

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