Carpe Diem

I had the pleasure photographing Ryan and Amy’s engagement pictures last evening at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.  It was overwhelming to say the least.  The place is so beautiful and the possibilities are endless!  Ryan and I have been teaching together for the past three years.  I’d say he’s sorta like my “work little brother”  instead of “work husband.” 🙂

He teaches U.S. History and his room is right next door to mine.  I always tease and say that I teach next door to a game show host because he is so loud.  Seriously, I don’t know where he gets all of his energy from.  Do you remember Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poet’s Society?  Yeah, he’s that guy.   One day he was really on fire and my students were bugging me to go next door and tell him to settle down.  I told them I’d go over there and “get to bottom of things.”  I tiptoed up to his room and peaked through the window of his door.  There he stood on top of the students’ desks yelling.  His students were huddled down in the corners of his room and underneath tables.  He noticed me and said, “Oh, hello Mrs. Lesko!  I’m teaching the students all about guerrilla warfare.”  Then he yelled, “Ready? Aim. Fire!”  The student’s all jumped up simultaneously and threw wads of paper at him.  I reported back to my class and told them to be patient because they were going to have a lot of fun in history that day.  He’s one of those teachers the students will remember long after they leave middle school.  I’m really looking forward to watching (and photographing) Ryan and Amy as they tie the knot next month with my awesome second shooter, Vanessa.  I already know its going to be a lot of fun!

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The Secret Garden

While I’ve never read The Secret Garden myself, I do know that the story involves mystery, magic, and a beautiful garden.  This scenic spot called The Fabyan Forest Preserve is located in Geneva, and its no secret.  Its a favorite among runners, cyclists, fishermen and photographers.  I’m sure you can see why!  Every time I walk around the grounds and see its many old elements that are so special and unique, I am always reminded of The Secret Garden.  It truly is unlike any place I have ever been to.  When I walk through the grounds, I am surrounded by so much beauty, I almost feel like I’ve stepped into another time in history.

The Fabyan Forest Preserve was once a large estate owned by George and Nelle Fabyan.  They came to the area in the early 1900’s, bought a farmhouse, and over time acquired more than 300 more acres of land.  Situated along the Fox River, the Fabyans later referred to their land as the “Riverbank.”  By 1940, the Fabyans had passed away, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County purchased a majority of the land and turned it into a preserve.  It is now a showplace to a stunning Japanese koi garden, worn sculptures, stone and concrete foundations, and cages (yes cages!) for the various wild animals the Fabyans brought to the Riverbank (  If you haven’t been there, taking a trip there is something you should add to your summer wish list.  You can even have a family picnic; just be sure to bring some bug spray!

I really enjoyed getting to know this family.  The youngest of the crew feel asleep in the car on the way to the session, so he had to be woken up.  I thought, “Oh no.  This might be a rough one.”  However, it only took him a few minutes to get his barrings, and once he was fully awake he was ready to go.  Really, all three kids were a pleasure to work with. Photographing a beautiful family in a place that is equally as beautiful is a perfect summer night for me!









You’re off to great places! Today is your day!

It hard to believe this beautiful young lady was in my classroom as a sixth grader many years ago.  She was a sweet and bright student with so much ahead of her.  Her uncanny ability to remember dates is something I’ll always remember about her.  For some crazy reason, she remembers my birthday and reminds her mother to text me a happy birthday each year.  It blows my mind every time!  I wish her all the best as she pursues her dream to become an elementary teacher at San Diego State.  Its serious business and I know she’ll be great!  Best wishes Lillie!  Your mom has already booked a date to have your college graduation pictures taken.  I’m thinking beaches with sunsets for your next session! 😉

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