Friday, January 20, 2017

When God Closes One Door, He Opens Another

Some of you know what has been going on the in Cimino household these last few months but many do not. They say when God closes one door, He opens another. While it’s kind of scary taking a leap of faith, as the saying from one of my favorite movies “Grumpy Old Men” goes, “the only things in this life that you really regret are the risks you didn’t take.” Here's to new beginnings!

From my husband's photography Facebook page:

Time to make this official announcement. Most of you know the history of my photographic journey, but for those of you that do not, here is a brief story.

My love for photography started the year I took Mr. Artino's photography class at West Geauga High School. I shot film for years with my Dad after taking that class and we even had a complete B&W and color darkroom in our basement. With access to a full darkroom, I shot a LOT of film over the next few years. I served my country in the United States Marine Corps in the 90's and got married in 1999, then I bought my first digital camera and took pictures any chance I could. However, because of my career in IT and the demands of working nearly 24/7, I was only able to do photography on the side; landscape pictures here, senior portraits and family pictures there. Fast forward to November 2012 when I started Paul Cimino Photography and started doing high school senior portraits. For the next four years, I used almost all of my vacation time taking photography trips and scheduling other photo shoots when I could fit them in.

In October of last year, I took a photography trip to West Virginia and did some serious soul searching around my current career, my overall happiness, and what I really wanted out of life. While in Dolly Sods watching the sun rise one morning and taking pictures with a group of people, I realized that was where I was happiest; in the field, taking pictures, helping others take pictures, and being outside capturing God's amazing creation. That feeling was reinforced when some of those people would ask me where some good places were for sunrises and sunsets (I guess I looked like the guy that knew that stuff) and then running into them later at those locations. They were so excited about the pictures they were getting and thanked me for sharing those locations with them. It was then I decided to follow my dream and become a professional photographer full time. This is what I had always wanted to do anyway. This is what makes me happy.

In November, I expanded my photography capabilities by receiving my FAA remote pilot's license so I can now offer commercial aerial photos and video as well. For me, this offers a new and unique perspective and really opens up the possibilities to capture things in a different way. Plus, how cool is it to get images and video with a drone?

I am still available for IT consulting as I grow this business, I just believe it is my calling in life to be a professional photographer and that is the path I have decided to pursue.

Thank you to all of my followers over the years, I hope you continue to enjoy and share the images I post. I really enjoy sharing my work with everyone. is my portrait, image sales, and workshop website. is the commercial website showcasing the business to business part of my company - aerial, commercial real estate, race photos, construction progress, etc.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A different kind of 21st milestone...

Rick and me in 1995
Angel anniversary #21. It's hard to believe it's been 21 years since I've seen your handsome face, felt one of your amazing hugs, or even just something as simple as hearing the sound of your voice, Rick. I am so thankful you were home the weekend before a senseless act of violence and rage from a woman who said if she couldn't have you, no one could, took your life. I didn't know that weekend would be the last for all the things I mentioned or that I would be living the rest of my life without my little brother in it but I am so thankful for that weekend and thankful I got to tell you I love you one last time.

They say time heals all wounds. It really doesn't. I believe the quote from Rose Kennedy sums it up perfectly: “It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” There is not a moment that goes by that I don't miss you terribly and even as I type this, the tears flow just about as much now as they did that dreadful morning at 2 am when I learned what she had done and that you finally got to see the stars for the first time. What makes me smile though, is seeing how your friends still love and cherish you to this very day. Every time I hear the song from Shinedown "How Did You Love", I can't help but think of you. The way you loved you them (and of course, your family) still shows 21 years later because they still love you right back and haven't forgotten about you. And you loved life too and it showed. Anyone who knew you would agree. No matter what was going on, you had an amazing outlook and spirit and when someone you cared about was down, you did everything you could to make them smile. I can't help but smile when I see you in my sons and our nephews; perhaps in a gesture or mannerism, a smile, a look, a laugh, or just one of their hugs. Or when I look up at the stars and think about what an awesome thrill it must have been for you to finally see them. You may be gone from this Earth but you live in the hearts and lives of those who were blessed to have known you and for that, you are never truly gone. Your presence is felt in so many ways.

On Earth, someone's 21st year is a milestone and a celebration of coming of age. I don't feel much like celebrating today (although don’t be surprised if I do a shot of Jager or two in your memory). I suppose every day in heaven is a celebration though and while it's sad for some of us here on Earth that a few others have joined in the celebration over the past year, how wonderful is it to know that this life is not the end and we will all be reunited again one day. It's that hope that makes living each day without you a little easier to bear.

I love and miss you always, Slick, and look forward to the day I will see you again. PS Give Papa D and my two grand babies a hug and kiss for me.

"The ultimate healing we will be home free."
Rick and my parents Christmas 1995. Who knew that a few short weeks
later, Rick would see the stars for the first time. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

A sister remembered...

kris stefanac, sister in pink, cancer, breast cancer

"When you die, that doesn’t mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live. 

So live. 

Fight like hell, and when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let someone else fight for you." 

~ ESPN’s Stuart Scott

Any time I see this quote, I can’t help but think of my dear friend and sister-in-pink, Kris Stefanac. It was three years ago today she earned her angel wings and to this day, to say she lost her battle with breast cancer has never sat well with me. Kris was not a loser, she was anything but. She fought her battle with grace and beauty every step of the way and when God decided her time on Earth was done, she won… because of her faith, she is now in heaven with her loved ones and is waiting for those of us who believe to join her.

In life, she was my inspiration and in death, she still continues to inspire me. In life, she was a teacher (thanks to her, I learned how to defend myself the BJJ way), a friend, a sister-in-pink and in Christ, a role model, and through her own battle, she taught me that despite whatever negatives life throws your way, look at the positives and be happy for them, thank God for them, and live your life to the fullest. I’ll never forget the conversation we had when she came to visit me after my surgery. She knew God put cancer in her life for a reason and allowed our paths to cross because He knew I would need her and that one day, He would use me and what I went through to help someone else. I'm sure there were times she was bitter about her situation but wow, what a thing to say. It's just a testimony of the kind of person Kris was and how she was able to find something good in a not-so-good situation and the kind of person I strive to be.

In death, she has continued to be an inspiration. It was in her honor and memory that I ran my first 5K in June 2014, The Gathering Place's Race for the Place 5K, and it's because of that race, I found a love for running. And now, whether it be a race or a casual run around the neighborhood, there's not a moment that goes by that I don't think about her, miss her, and thank God He brought her into my life. Part of her is with me always and I am a better person for knowing her.

Happy Angel Anniversary, my dear friend and sister, Kris. I love you and miss you and look forward to the day I will see your beautiful face once again. 

PS. Give Papa D and my brother a hug for me.
race for the place 5k, just keep swimming, runcle, kris stefanac
Race shirt I designed for my first 5K which I ran in honor and memory of Kris.