Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Getting you up to Speed

Wow, I had a friend ask me yesterday when was the last time I wrote a blog and I said it was just a few months ago... I had no idea it had been almost 2 years!

It makes sense though, so much has happened that it feels like just yesterday when I was writing about Dan getting engaged to Sammi.

Paia Gallery

We had also just opened our Paia gallery 10 days before the last post, which means that yesterday was our 2 year anniversary in Paia! Wow

There have been a few family changes too:

Dan & Sammi's Wedding

Dan and Sammi had a beautiful wedding and we all had a blast celebrating with them. Actually, their 1 year anniversary is May 15th! I guess I'll have to give Dan the day off... :)

 Mike & Jamie add 2

A few months after the wedding middle brother Mike and his wife Jamie had twin twin girls! Elle Kathleen and Harper Jud were born on July 15th about 3 months after big brother Jackson turned 2!

 John & Gwen add 1

Gwen and I welcomed our 3rd beautiful daughter, Mattie Reese on September 3rd. She's 8 months old now and about to crawl, amazing.

Dan & Sammi add their 1st

Then, on April 11th, Dan and Sammi welcomed Kenna Lou to their family. She's actually 1 month old today! She's so adorable and Dan and Sammi are awesome parents. It's fun to watch.

Kenna Lou is just a few days old
Kenna Lou is 1 Month Today!

Our mom went from 0 to 7 grand kids in 3 years and 6 are girls! Mike and I are crazy busy having so many young kids at the same time, we're hoping that the early sleepless years will be worth it when we have kids all around the same age. The question we all ask now is how many more and how fast Sammi and Dan will add more girls the family!

Cesere Brothers Adventures:


First we got to spend some time shooting at Jaws or Peahi as it's called here on Maui. We lucked out and had the biggest swell in 20 years! We spent some time in helicopters and on jet skis to try and get the shot for a collector who really wanted a large wave shot!

Mt. Peahi

Maui Avalanche


Our most recent adventure was to the Bahamas where we got to help shoot an episode of Awesome Planet with Philippe Cousteau. It was a lot of fun and we had plenty of time to shoot some interesting images for ourselves:



Hammer Time
Can't Touch This
What's Next:

We're headed to the Galapagos in July and can't wait to post some more trip info. I actually think we're going to shift the blog to more of a travel blog that we take more advantage of when we're on the road. So stay tuned..

That being said, it's also time to start thinking about our next trip. Where should we go? Who wants to come? Let us know!



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

'Dan got engaged, John had a second daughter & we started our First Gallery - when it rains it pours!


The Cesere family has had a wild and exciting six months!  

The biggest news is that Dan got engaged to his long time girlfriend Sammi.  The whole engagement was one of the coolest I've ever seen and it totally caught Sammi by surprise.   Dan really went all out to make it memorable and movie like and Gwen and I got to help with the details.

The whole proposal happened around Christmas time so Dan decided to do a "12 days of Christmas" theme, except all in one day.  So he had a mix of presents and fun events planned to keep them busy for a whole day.  The culmination of an amazing day found the two on a favorite bluff near Hookipa beach park where they could watch sunset.  While they came to this spot often, this night was a little different.  Dan had arranged for Gwen and I to get there early and find a secluded spot on the cliff where we could set up a candle lit dinner table complete with flowers and music.  It was very romantic and Sammi never expected the proposal.  It was a special evening that they will never forget!

Little Rae Rae
Gwen and I had our second daughter,  Rae Ella Cesere was born on March 22, 2014.  She is very healthy and so is her mom!  Parker loves her to death, it's so cute to watch.  She calls her "my baby" all the time, she's a great big sister already. 

I'm a big fan of the funny face pics.  This one of Rae is from a few weeks ago when she just started to show her personality.  It's official, she's a Cesere!

Parker loves her sister Rae!

Our Happy Gang

It's an amazing time in our little family.  It's also amazing at how well your body adapts to almost no sleep!  Uncle Dan has really been picking up the slack lately. It's also pretty lucky that we have Nana Cesere around too, we'd be lost without them both. 

The biggest news for the business is that we opened our first gallery!  Dan and I decided a little over a year ago to start looking for a space that would work for us.  We almost opened a space on front street, but in the end we fell in love with a spot in Paia town.  We couldn't be happier. 
Paia is an awesome town with so many great restaurants and just a great mellow feel.  It's perfect for us and our new shop!  Next time you're visiting Maui make sure you take some time to swing by the new place!

You should see some of the work Dan put into the place.  He made a table and a bar/counter top that look amazing.  He also distressed some wood for some extra wall texture, it makes the place feel almost like a fancy ski lodge.  Maybe that's just some New Hampshire/Vermont memories sneaking back in.  Either way, it looks pretty cool and you should definitely stop by.

Another exciting thing is that we also just upgraded our website.  We included a new section for the new gallery, but our favorite new section is for the "Featured Customer Photo."  Which is going to be a section all about you and what our work looks like on your walls.  We've posted a few already, so send us your images and join the wall.

The new site also has a section for diving with us.  So we're really going to try and get some trips going again.  Although, I'm sure adding the new gallery will keep us from leaving in the next few months.  Big dive trips need more time to plan anyway, especially since you'll need to clear up some time at work so that you can come with us.  So send an email letting us know where you would like us to take you or where you think we should go.

Thanks for reading.  We look forward to hearing from  you or seeing you again soon!

Aloha - John

Monday, December 2, 2013

Great Whites


Thanks for checking in with us.

As promised, this blog will be about business (mostly.)

Gwen and I found out that kid # 2 is going to be another girl!!  Pretty exciting stuff.

OK, seriously - back to business...  Cesere Brothers Photography has had a great year.  People from all over the world continue to collect our work and a repeatedly add to their collections.  We're so thankful for all of you!  Plus, we get to see a lot of you who come back each year to visit which is always fun. 

This year we got to work with a few new productions companies, one of which was shooting commercials for Apple.  Anytime we can get put in the same category as Apple it feels like we're doing something right.  The bigger production we worked on with them hasn't been released yet and we don't really know when it will be - we're hoping it'll be a Superbowl commercial.  Just kidding, although it would be cool.  On another shoot with Apple we got to work for a day at the Carthaginian and shoot some underwater scenes for a quick video montage they were putting together for an iPad commercial.  Here's the link (don't forget to watch the video too):

Apple iPad Ad
Apple iPad Ad

We will keep you posted on when the next ad/commercial comes out from Apple.  We're pretty excited about the next one, it should be pretty cool.

This year we also got to be on the cover of the local Maui No Ka Oi magazine again, plus we got to shoot a bunch of pictures for the issues main article about snorkeling around Maui.  It's always fun to work with the nice people at Maui No Ka Oi.  Here is a link to some of that work:

Maui No Ka Oi Cover
Maui No Ka Oi Cover

Great White Sharks:

This year Dan and I decided to check Great White Sharks off our bucket list.  We planned a live aboard trip to Guadalupe Island off of Mexico to try out luck at swimming with these monsters.  We had a few extra days at the beginning of our trip so we decided to call up an old friend and do some diving off Catalina Island in California. 

If you haven't dove in California you are missing out!  The kelp forests are simply amazing.  If you get the chance we HIGHLY recommend calling up our friend Jerry Lewis, who owns the Magician Dive boat in San Pedro, and get out to Catalina and see some kelp!  Jerry and his crew/freinds are awesome at what they do and they make the trip so much fun.  We had some of the best charter food we've ever had.  Honestly, we thought Maui had high standards for tour operators - the Magician makes Maui look like a J.V. team.

Keep in mind that diving in California is a lot different that Maui.  In California there is no such thing as guided dives, the boat simply gets you to the reef and explains the dive sit and let's you go for it.  We love that but we also understand that it's not for everyone.  We also had the good fortune of meeting up with another good friend, Lori Sherrill, who helped show us the sites underwater.  Did I mention that Lori is a course director for PADI and works for Sports Chalet in Southern California, so she totally knew everything about the dives we did.  So I guess we were a bit spoiled on our Catalina trip, but it was very awesome and we will definitely be going back to visit Jerry and Lori again soon!

Here is the link to Jerry's boat - The Magician:  It is totally worth the trip, plus the cost will blow you away (especially if you're used to Maui prices.)

So once we finished up in Catalina and got comfortable in the cold water again, we were off to Guadalupe to see the Great Whites.  Here is the video we made from the trip:

It was an awesome trip!  Getting to see Mikey and Great Whites all at the same time was the best.  We hope that Mike will come with us on our trips from now on.  It's really hard to explain how it makes you feel to see a Great White for the first time so you really need to go see for yourself.  

We went out with Islander Charters, which was pretty good.  The crew was great, especially the chef and on a live aboard trip the chef is pretty important.  The boat wasn't fancy at all, so if we go with the girls or kids next time we would probably choose a nicer boat but for three boys it was perfect. 

Our only real complaint was that the crew was really proud of their safety record and that ended up effecting our photography chances.   I know it sounds stupid to be upset for a good safety record, but common we're not picking daisies we're diving with Great Whites - it's supposed to be dangerous.  On the last day, which was the ride back to California, the crew was telling us how they had this great safety record and that they've never had a shark touch the cages.  They even told us that they saw us hanging out of the cages trying to get shots so they purposely moved the bait away from us to keep us safe.  Lame.  We were all disappointed after that conversation.  I think we all wanted to be in the cage when a shark tried to bite through it or at least got stuck in the window trying to get in to get us.  I guess we'll have to try again someday. 

All in all it was a Great experience and we got some pretty cool images.  Here is a link to our "Latest Works" section of our website so that you can see all of our new images:

Latest Works
Now we are getting ready for another Whale Season and another busy Art season.  We can't wait to get this next year going and see what it holds for us.  It seems like Cesere Brothers Photography keeps expanding and getting more fun at the same time.  We're excited to plan our next trip and go on our next adventure.

Thanks for following along and keeping in touch.  Let's plan a trip together again soon!

Aloha & Mahalo,


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quick Kids Update

Aloha to All!

Thank you so much for reading and staying in touch.  I'll begin with my usual apology for not writing more often - thank you guys for all the reminders to get on it!

The last post was in July of '12, so there has been a lot going on as you might imagine.

Parker Rose Cesere - October 8, 2012
Gwen gave birth to Parker Rose on October 8, 2012 who is a very healthy little girl.  Parker is now just over 1 year old, time flies...  Gwen has been an amazing mom which is something that is pretty special to watch.  I can remember when people would try to explain to us what it's like to have kids and how your life changes and that we wouldn't really understand until it happened - well I think we understand now.  It's the most difficult wonderful change in the world and we can't wait for the next one!  Speaking of the next one... Gwen is pregnant with # 2 already!!  April 4th is the due date for precious # 2 and we can't wait.  We're getting way to much rest/sleep now so why not add another diaper to change!  Just kidding, it's going to be awesome.

Some of you might have seen this, but we made a quick/funny video about Parker learning to crawl a few months ago, see what you think:

We're also lucky to have Grandma Cesere living out here on Maui with us, which has helped a ton.  Plus Dan has been an awesome Uncle.  We're just lucky to have such great family around.  Gwen's family visits often from the mainland too, which really helps Dan and I continue to travel for new pictures!

Jackson Paul Cesere - March 22, 2012
Speaking of great family - brother Mike and his wife Jamie had a baby boy on March 22, 2012.  He's such a cutie, we all were lucky enough to fly out to NY to meet him a while back.  We had a great whirlwind trip on the East Coast introducing Parker to the rest of our family and meeting little Jackson Paul Cesere.

It's amazing being a Dad.  It's pretty awesome to be an Uncle too, it is cool to see my bothers have kids and become great Dad's too.  (No pressure Dan - we'll see if he reads this post)

Jackson - "Jax"
I'll keep this post short and focused on the kids.  We have a million pictures and video's if you really want to see more all you have to do is ask.  :)

I'll update with some work related posts soon, we've been very busy there too.   We just wanted to share a bit about the kids quickly.

Aloha & Mahalo,

John & Dan

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Two Dreams Come True!


I hope that you are doing well!  We're glad that you keep tuning in to read our blogs, emails and to watch our videos.  We are lucky to have such great friends and family.  We have had an exciting few months.  Let me try and share some of it with you.  

The first and most exciting news is that Gwen is seven months pregnant with a little girl!  Little baby Cesere is due October 21st! We can’t wait!  It seems our baby girl already enjoys swimming too.  Each time Gwen jumps in the water the baby starts doing back flips and rolls around as if she is swimming along side us. 
It's been almost 4 years of waiting and it is finally happening.  It's so hard to pick names, we've got a few ideas but we probably won't nail anything down until we see her little face.  We've already plastered her room with images of fish, octopus, jellyfish, turtles and whales as you might have imagined.

As if it wasn't hard enough to wait a few more months for the stork to show up, our cousin Amy just had her baby girl last week!  The good news is that we get to watch her and Jarett figure out how to be Mommy and Daddy first and we can take notes.  Little Celia Jean Fry is probably the cutest baby I have ever seen.  Gwen and I can't seem to put her down and even Dan softens up a ton around baby Celia.  She is the first Maui baby in our family so she will always have a special place in all of our hearts.

Celia Jean Fry - Born July 16th 2012
The next big news is that we went on a last minute photo trip to Tahiti!  We litterally put a trip together in two days because Gwen said "if you guys want to go somewhere, go now before the baby gets here and go while my Mom is here so I’m not home alone!”  So two days later we left for two weeks.

Tahiti - Tuamotu Islands
We searched all over the web for the best place to visit in late June early July and for some reason we kept coming back to Tahiti.  We really wanted to go someplace with shallow reefs, tons of fish, very clear water and small islands with palm trees near the water.  Our friends and our research led us to the lagoons in the Tuamotu Island Atolls which are North East of the main island of Tahiti. 

We decided to go to some of the remote islands outside Bora Bora and Morea. We ended up on three smaller islands called Manihi, Rangiroa and Fakarava.  I am pretty sure I can speak for Dan when I say they were some of the most beautiful places we have ever seen.

Manihi and Rangiroa were great.  Manihi had some of the nicest people we met on the whole trip.  Most of the people we encountered hardly spoke English and we speak zero French or Polynesian but that still didn't keep us all from hanging out and being instant friends.  We even got invited to play a soccer game with all the locals in the center of town on the first night.  Then each day as we rode bikes through town everyone would stop to say hello.  

We will never forget Rangiroa because of the dolphin encounters; we saw several large bottlenose dolphins on each dive.  Most of the time they would come right up close as if they wanted to be touched.  It was pretty cool.  Even though it was a bit out of season, we also saw a Great Hammerhead and it was huge (possibly 16-18 feet long), which was amazing.

 Generally the diving in the Tuamotu islands revolves around the strong currents that the tide changes bring.  Without going into crazy detail, each island basically has one area to dive with many little dive spots in that area.  The area is always the "pass," which is how the ocean moves in and out of the lagoon in each Atoll.  The Atolls have such large lagoons and such small passes that the current can really rip!  Any idea what kind of animal loves a ripping current?     SHARKS!!! 

To be honest, we had no idea that we chose some of the sharkiest waters in the world.  We truly went for the shallow waters, pretty reefs and amazing island scenery, but we were not upset when we stuck our heads in the water and saw sharks on every dive and every snorkel.  The Tuamotu islands are amazing!

 We had some amazing “pass” dives in Manihi and Rangiroa but Fakarava was easily our favorite stop.  Luckily we had planned to stay in Fakarava longer than the other two islands because it was the most remote and was supposed to have the prettiest corals and clearest water – it did not disappoint.

The morning of our first two dives in Fakarava we noticed a large amount of sharks and Marbled groupers.  

At first we thought it was just normal for the area because of what we had witnessed in our first week of diving.  However, each dive we started to notice the groupers were piling up by the hundreds.  On the second day, after getting swarmed by 30+ sharks and thousands of Marbled groupers we had to ask the dive guide what was going on...

It turns out that once a year at the first full moon of July that thousands and thousands of the Marbled groupers in the area come to this one spot in the pass to spawn for one hour!  We just happened to plan our week in Fakarava perfectly around this once a year event.  The other divers had planned for this trip for a year and came from all over the world.  Quite an impressive group of divers had assembled, a group that included famous underwater cinematographers, marine biologists and a few lucky photographers!
The night before the big dive felt like Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to come,  we could hardly sleep the night before the big dive!

We were up before  sun rise, so we took early morning sky photo's while we waited for the current to be moving in the right direction.  Then, we sat waiting on the edge of the boat holding our cameras and imagining what we were about to jump into.  

We dive a lot, and have seen a lot, but nothing to date prepared us for what we were about to see...  We back rolled into the water off the little boat and started to sink to about 100ft.  As we descended we noticed that so many of these Marbled groupers had come to the area that it was almost impossible to see the actual reef and sand.  They were piled on top of each other and created a 3 foot layer of grouper soup on the bottom.  They all stayed in tight groups and all at the same depth as the hundreds of sharks circled above.  It was like everyone had a pre-arranged layer that was like a safe zone, the groupers got the first 3 feet, the sharks got the next 10 feet, then the rest of the fish took up the upper layers followed by a surface layer of spinner dolphins.  It was so full of animals that it was hard for Dan and I to see each other when we were 10 feet apart!  Oh yeah, and the visibility was over 150ft when you actually had a clear line of sight.  Which you didn't.

We weren't sure what to do at first so we hovered in the shark layer and just watched for a minute.  A female grouper would swim a foot above the group with one male who seemed to be rubbing bellies with her.  Together they would spray out eggs and sperm all over the place, instantly two to 6 more males would shoot up and add their sperm to the collection.  The visibility would quickly drop and become murky all around the area and at the very same time when the water was murky and the groupers were preoccupied with spawning, sharks would come flying through the murk with mouth wide open hoping to grab a grouper or two.  The sharks didn't care who or what ended up in their mouth, so you had to keep your head on a swivel or get the heck out of that layer of the water.

For the first few minutes it was hard to shoot a picture or take some video because the scene overwhelmed us.  The few other divers that were with us decided to stay about 20 feet off the bottom and just watch the madness.  Dan and I decided to sink to the bottom and hang with the groupers so that we could get as close as possible to the action.  Eventually we found our place and we started shooting in the middle of feeding sharks and spawning groupers.  There was so much sperm, eggs, blood and guts in the water that it was hard to really get any images or video that is worth showing, but it was an amazing adrenalin rush.  You would hear the slight snapping sound of the groupers spawning inches from your head and then turn just in time to see shark teeth zip through the murk by your head.  Seconds later it would happen on the other side of your face, then on top of your head, then on your camera.  Groupers would swim through your legs, under your arms, between you and the camera and sharks would almost hit you every other second.

What made it really special is that it was all natural, no feeding, no cages and barely any humans at all.  By the end of the dive it the spawning was slowing and the groupers were beginning to leave and the madness was over.  The 3D guy was swimming just a few feet from us and we all looked at each other and smiled.  Apparently he had been coming to this spot for this one-hour a year for 10 years and this was one of the best he had seen!

I've already written way too much so I'll try and stop now, but WOW was that a cool experience.  I feel like I’m leaving so much out too.  Needless to say we are energized to start going on more trips.  We've got to wait until October and see what the new babies needs are, but you can bet we'll be planning another trip soon and you don't want to miss it!  We’re thinking Tiger Beach in the Bahamas…

Here's a quick video from the trip.  They don't let us post it here very large, so make sure to click on full screen or watch it on YouTube to see it larger. (Once you've hit play, those options show up on the bottom right of the video screen.)

We also have lots of new pictures to go through so we'll be posting them on our website under the "Latest Works" tab.  We'de love to hear your thoughts, so stay in touch.  

I've got some more to share about this trip, so I'll try and write again next week...  Here's a teaser:

Remember to Follow Your Dreams and always keep in touch!

Talk soon - John

p.s. - Please post comments or send emails, we love feedback and questions.  The easiest way to get in touch with us is on our new business Facebook Page.  It's called "Cesere Brothers Fine Art Photography."  Make sure to go "like" the page and talk to us through there or just leave a comment below.