Reen Fitz Photography

Lifestyle Photographer: Hudson Valley / Westchester County, New York

Tag: Events

Let’s Dance!

Well I certainly kicked off Spring 2018 right! I got to photograph 2 events all about dancing!- Backstage at the Rivertown Dance Academy Festival, and at the Rockin’ Rave at Westchester Children’s Museum!

First, let’s take a look Backstage at the Rivertown Dance Academy Festival!

At this shoot, I arrived well before showtime to capture the final preparations that go into putting on a great show. From warm-ups, to hair and make-up, and even a group hug and pep talk moments before the curtains open (pictured left of center, above). And when the curtain finally opened and the show began, I was able to captured a backstage view of some of the performances!

A bit about RDA, from their website:

Rivertown Dance Academy was founded on the belief that everyone, regardless of ability to pay, should have the opportunity to pursue high-quality and comprehensive dance education. Rivertown Dance Academy is accessible in location, literature, and in ability to provide need-based financial aid. 

If you are interested in learning more about RDA or taking a class, check out RivertownDanceAcademy.org

A few weeks later, I had the absolute pleasure of photographing the light and sound dance party known as the “Rockin Rave” at the Westchester Children’s Museum in Rye!

This party was geared toward the older kids, and featured colorful lights, dancing, prizes, and lots of yummy food options (including the donut wall, pictured in the center)! The music had kids and parents dancing the night away!

Located right on the boardwalk at Rye Beach, WCM is a place for hands-on learning, offering children opportunities to build, climb, and experience STEAM education in action. I can’t think of a better place for parents to bring their kids this summer- beautiful beach views, an exciting learning experience, and great parties? Seriously, where was this when I was a kid???

To learn more about WCM (and plan your visit!) check out DiscoverWCM.org

These were both extremely fun, new experiences in event photography for me. I love trying new things like this! It challenges me, keeps me on my toes, and expands my comfort zone, which is a wonderful feeling.

Take a peek at some more from these events on my Flickr!

Out of Hibernation!

Oh hey there! Excuse me while I emerge from my hibernation, save up all the daylight, and embrace the first signs of Spring! Isn’t it such a magical time of year? All of nature is just a big glittering message: “The cold is over! We made it! Let’s play!”

 

Although the weather has been playing some tricks on us this year…if you can recall a time not long before the last 3 BIG snow/wind/rain storms (not even counting the intermittent flurries), we had a real, honest-to-goodness 70 degree day! Where did that go?

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to the last few weeks…

Celebrating another new Mrs. Fitzgerald! It was fun capturing the moments at this bridal shower, and the wedding is going to be a BLAST! (but I won’t be photographing…I’ll be taking that night off, thank you very much!)

 

And taking relaxing photo walks, adjusting my eyes to the bright and beautiful sunlight.

I have been spending a lot of time reading, painting, and doing some creative writing. Exploring my other favorite creative outlets helps keep me inspired to dream up new experimental shoots for the Spring and Summer. Unfortunately, I’ve already had to postpone one of these due to the un-spring-like snow on the ground. But I am so sure that these shoots will be well worth the wait! I get so excited about trying new techniques and creating something entirely new and different. Learning and growing are wonderful, wonderful things.

One of the books I read this winter was ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. Here are some words of wisdom from it that you can take with you:

“It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster’s shell that makes the pearl, not pearl-making seminars with other oysters.”

YES.

See you next time!
-Reen

Walkabout 2.0 – Ossining!

I was so delighted to be asked to photograph 2 events for Walkabout last weekend! The first event was the Ossining Matters 5k, supporting the Ossining school district- where the re-establishment of Walkabout is officially beginning in September 2018! The second event was a community outreach/alumni reunion event in Ossining’s Market Square.

The original Walkabout was a senior-year (and occasionally junior-year) high school experience for selected students in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties. Some students came in as high achievers seeking an extra challenge, others were disinterested in school altogether, but still had a hunger for knowledge (Raising my hand). No matter where the students came from, Walkabout offered unique challenges that truly prepared them for adulthood. To learn more about the Walkabout Program, check out Walkabout.org

Ready to run!

The original Walkabout program ran for 36 years. Fortunately, an effort by alumni and staff to restart the program has finally come to fruition thanks to the Ossining School District! This year, Ossining students are being given the chance to start shaping their Walkabout experience, and then September 2018 officially begins the next phase of Walkabout at OHS!

The starting line in downtown Ossining

For this event, we started at sunrise. Marc and I are both Walkabout alumni, and we were so happy to help out with the events. Marc worked a Walkabout water table on the 5k route and the raffle table at the community outreach event, while I documented the day in photos. We were part of a team of alumni who gathered early on a Saturday morning to do what they do- photograph, film, talk to people, or just be examples of the wonderful, smart, helpful humans that Walkabout churns out. (Speaking of, remember Gardiner Liquid Mercantile? Owned by Gable Erenzo, a Walkabout graduate!)

Marc at the raffle table

We really had such a fantastic time getting involved, connecting with alumni, and just getting to spend the day in the heart of the city that Walkabout will be reborn in. We know that it will have an incredibly positive impact on OHS students and in turn, the whole community. I just can’t wait to start meeting “Walkabout 2.0” alums at reunions!

Jon and Kyle, 2 photo/videographer alums joining forces to film alumni testimonials

Walkabout staff and alumni from all years (yes, even some who graduated in the 70’s!) often come together for reunions, hikes, and just to show support at events like this. It’s incredible to think that a high school experience can create such a diverse community that is always ready to help each other out.

Some of the companies and organizations that Walkabout students have worked at

To see more photos from these events, check out my Flickr!

And to connect with me and get some sweet eye-candy directly to your feed, follow along on Facebook and Instagram! See you there!

Honoring Ireland’s Gold Medal Team

I recently had the pleasure of photographing an event at The Rambling House in The Bronx, celebrating the Irish Jr. National Baseball Team’s gold medal victory in the 18 and Under European Baseball Championship, which was held in Zurich, Switzerland in July.

I had really enjoyed watching the games from home via live stream, so it was great to see the team, the coaches, and their families coming together for one last celebration honoring not only their victory, but the entire experience of playing on a European national baseball team.

The team was largely made up of high school students from the Irish communities of The Bronx and Yonkers. Coach Gary O’Connor was presented with a well-deserved Appreciation Award, for helping to recruit a number of eligible and talented Irish-American players to the team.

Check out The Baseball United Foundation to learn more about their mission to share the game of baseball around the world, and how you can help too!

In the Footsteps of Ansel

This week, I lent my photography to a cause near and dear to my heart. The gorgeous reptiles in my recent Instagram photos live in Pace University Environmental Center’s Nature Museum in Pleasantville, NY. It was officially named “The Marty McGuire Nature Museum”, in memory of a former student/naturalist, after renovations in 2011. In addition to a beautiful array of reptiles, the museum is also home to prairie dogs, chinchillas, and an Eastern Screech Owl. Most, if not all, of the animals in the museum were surrendered by previous owners.

Pace’s Marty McGuire Nature Museum

It was recently proposed that the museum and all of it’s animals and teaching space be eliminated and converted into space “to store portable field equipment” (Source: The Pace Chronicle). This greatly saddens me, and I am not alone. At all. When word of the proposal got out, students started petitioning, and that petition now has over 550 names on it.

The Environmental Center includes not only an indoor museum, but also an outdoor farm area, and a variety of hawks, owls, and falcons. The center welcomes students of all majors, as well as the public, to come and learn about the animals and the environment. It is a rare gem in Westchester County, and it’s impact on environmental education as a whole reaches far beyond the Pace campus. My husband and I worked at the Center for several years, beginning in high school (it’s where we met!), and we still continue to go back and visit.

Morrocan Uromastyx

Losing the Museum, which is half of the Environmental Center, would be terrible in itself, but would ultimately put the whole center and all of its animals at risk for eventually being cut by the University.
I hope that sharing these photos brings attention to this issue and what could be lost if the University follows through with this idea. If you would like to add your name to the petition, you can do so here: Save the Environmental Center Museum

Thank you!

 

A note on the title: For anyone unfamiliar with the photography of Ansel Adams (you would probably recognize his work, if you don’t recognize the name), he is a legendary landscape photographer and naturalist. Beginning in the 1920’s, his photos of the natural landscapes of the United States served to share their beauty with people who may otherwise have never seen them. He used his skill of photography to say “Look at what we have. This is what we stand to lose.”

Baseball in Ireland, Fall Fest in Yonkers

 

This past weekend, my husband and I helped out the Baseball United Foundation and Support Irish Baseball by working their table at the McLean Ave. Fall Festival in Yonkers!

It was a lot of fun, and we got to chat with some great people about Ireland, and the baseball and little league programs there. The Baseball United Foundation was founded by my brother, John, to help develop the game of baseball in countries where it is played, but proper equipment and coaching may be hard to find.


If you would like to help support the development of baseball in Ireland, check out: SupportIrishBaseball.org

The whole fair was a blast. We were lucky enough to be set up right next to JP Clarke’s Saloon and their biergarten! There were also rides, beautiful art (like the bottle lamp pictured, by Anna Fugazzi)…

Yummy creations by Anna Artuso’s Bakery and live music by the Tommy Flynn Band!

Check out more photos from this fun fall festival on my Flickr!

Monster Parties: So Cute It’s Scary!

I recently photographed a first birthday party, and I had so much fun capturing the celebration! Here are a few of my favorite shots.

I loved all of the monster-themed details, like this adorable card box:

And really, how cute is this tier cake??

The face-painting process:

The birthday boy taking a moment to reflect on his first year…

Making monster faces!

And finally, definitely one of my favorite shots of the day, the whole family getting in on the Cake-Smash fun!

“Maureen photographed our son’s first birthday party. She worked covertly in the background and was great at getting even the youngest and most timid kids to smile and engage. Her portraits are amazing, using the natural light. She captured many special moments that will be lasting memories for our family!”  –Rachael S. Hartsdale, NY

Lots more fun stuff to come~ Stay connected on Facebook and Instagram!