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Archive for the ‘Odd jobs’ Category

One more Top 10 list for you to soak in… :: Seattle Food and Travel Photographer

Wow! What a whirlwind of a year?!  Plenty to catch you up on, as it seems I never took the time to sit and write in 2011 – so I thought, why not pick 10 things that happened and rank them accordingly?  Play a fun little game of catch up!?…I don’t blame you if you skim through the whole thing…it’s a doozy!

Here you have it:

“My Top 10 Favorite Moments of 2011”

#10:  Isaac Marion; Seattle-based Author of “Warm Bodies”  aka  …a little something different.

Over this past year I’ve worked on a handful of assignments for an iPad publication called, The Daily, they’ve sent me on some great adventures, but this one was pretty unique from what I’ve grown accustomed to shoot.  Strictly a portrait session, I was assigned to capture author, Isaac Marion and the RV that he called home – it was a fun/interesting/enlightening change of pace.  I’m sure it helped that Isaac was an easygoing gentleman and Baleen* (his RV) was a bad-ass homestead; making the shoot remarkably painless.  You should check out his book, “Warm Bodies”, which has impressively been made into a film (coming to theaters summer of 2012).

{*Note: the link attached to Baleen is a really silly video that I helped Isaac make about his blue whale of a home.  – updated note – he no longer resides in Baleen.}

#9:  Doe Bay Fest; music, nature…aka Seattle migrates to an island.

Otter Cove :: Doe Bay Resort

I was able to take a little time off this summer, and brought my camera along, of course.  Two of those adventures are included in my Top 10 list because they brought inspiration in ways that can only be found when ‘playing’.  Making #9 is the 4th annual music festival at the Doe Bay Resort on Orcas Island – the music festival to forever ruin all other music festival experiences.  Combine a line-up of brilliant local musicians, a Pacific Northwest summer on the most beautiful San Juan Island (in my humble opinion), and a crowd of 1000 Seattle artists (musicians, photographers, writers…baristas)…you get a community setting that is nearly too good to be a reality.  Camping, bonfires, music floating into the air during the wee hours of the morning, beautiful vegetarian meals at the resort’s cafe, a community vegetable garden, and everyone taking the time to smile and say ‘hello’…it was beautiful.  From start to finish it was a long weekend to cherish – even while we waited for the ferry to take us home, Sam Anderson (the cellist from Hey Marseilles) played Bach on his cello, the notes wafting into the sea as only a few of us sat close enough to listen.  There must be some way that I can live in a world like that always…

Kelli Schaefer & friends finish out her outstanding set.

Misty morning on Otter Cove

#8:  Local Faire; mini adventures…aka seeing my city in new ways.

The Sitting Room :: Monorail & EMP

It tends to go without saying that you often overlook the things that surround you on a daily basis, so it was an interesting challenge to play the role of ‘Seattle tourist’ on a number of occasions this year.  I’m still baffled by the number of ferry rides that I’ve taken in the last 12 months!? (silly, but true.)

Recently I heard the line “it’s like having a key to the city” and that is exactly what having a camera/assignment is like.  I felt honored to be given the key so many times in 2011.

Top Pot doughnuts

The Coterie Room

Sitka & Spruce + Calf & Kid cheese class

Beecher’s cheese

Victrola Coffee Roasters


#7:  Port Townsend; mini escape…aka the first time I seriously considered buying a house.

I have no interest in settling down anytime soon, but Port Townsend is tempting – has been for a while now.  I took a weekend trip there with my dear friend, Stephanie, and we found that we have a mutual daydream to one day move to this quiet little town by the bay.  Upon arriving we were greeted by a busking bluegrass band alongside people dancing on the sidewalk to their music, we sat down to a happy hour of wine and freshly shucked oysters harvested that morning, took in the local coffee shops, attended a jazz festival, visited their lovely co-op, and of course strolled the beautiful coastline.  We spotted a few homes for sale while we were driving around and tried to reason with ourselves why buying a house right now would not be a good idea.

#6:  An Incredible Feast; Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance…aka ‘hanging out with the cool kids’

I was asked to photograph the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance’s annual event/fundraiser this year – which meant I got to hang out with all the cool kids in the Seattle food community.  Farmers, fisherman, chefs, and those that dedicate their time/energy to the local bounty that makes up our neighborhood markets – it was a fun night, a delicious meal, and a group of people who I’m honored to be acquainted with.

Each table was represented by a farm and a celebrity chef that would incorporate the local faire onto the tasting plates.

For the first time the event was held at Swanson’s Nursery – it was pretty much perfect.

#5:  MacaronsLilli-Pilli…aka the pretty little treats return.

Of all the macarons that I’ve experienced since I’ve been home from Paris, Rhiannon Devine’s have made me the most homesick for my little apartment in the 20th arr.  She takes great care in her technique, and I absolutely love how she experiments with flavors and color.  They are the perfect little treat!  I met her while working at the Bellevue Farmers Market, and was in awe of her dedication to keeping her ingredients seasonal, local, fair trade, and as best she can – organic.  I was thrilled when she asked me to come into her kitchen and document her process, we even had the chance to re-vamp her website – www.lilli-pilli.com.  At just a year old, Lilli-Pilli has a bright future up ahead.  I’m so excited to see what 2012 has in store for her and her magnificent little treats!

#4:  Covers; Edible Seattle and then some…aka surreal moments in the grocery store and people recognizing me on airplanes.

This wasn’t my first image to make it on a cover of a magazine, but something about this instance was slightly more significant than others.  Perhaps it was because it was being presented among my Seattle peers, or maybe it was because I had no clue I was shooting for the cover…true story.  Or perhaps it was my run in at the grocery store that made this cover experience so strangely unique?  It’s not everyday that when I buy a magazine with my groceries the gal ringing me up stops, looks at the magazine cover, and says “Isn’t this cover just so great!? My co-workers and I have just been going crazy over how beautiful it is!”…at which point I awkwardly laugh and say, “oh wow, really? I shot that.  Thanks!?”.  This then proceeded into a moment I didn’t think you could experience as a food photographer – her announcing to everyone around her that I took the photo, trying to find her co-worker that she said, “would love to meet you”, announcing that she was ‘star-struck’…fumbling…it was a moment.  It was a good moment.  A moment that you never expect to happen, and a feeling that once it’s over you know you need to tuck it into your ‘once in a lifetime’ pocket.

Right up there with the feature I contributed to Delta Sky Magazine on the San Juan Islands.  I have had spreads before, but never one that included a contributor photo and info section at the beginning of the magazine.  Nothing is more surreal than having a passing acquaintance approach me and say ‘Hey! I was on a plane coming back from China and I saw your picture and realized – wait!? I know that girl!?’

Neat.

#3:  Farms; Farms, Farms, Farms…aka FARMS! Yay!

It’s no secret my love of farms, especially cheese farms.  Having worked with Culture Magazine for so many years, I feel like I’m almost obligated to say that?!  Joking aside, I do find myself at a lot of farms that produce cheese, to the point where my friends call me the ‘cheese photographer’.  I’m okay with that.  This year, I’ve managed to visit a handful of farms (cheese or no cheese), and it truly is a pleasure to meet the farm crew, roll in the dirt with the animals, and take in the richness of life that encompasses the farmland.  The photos you see here are of Yarmuth Farm, a goat farm in Darrington, Washington.  Owned by Louise Yarmuth and her husband, they (with the help of a dedicated farm staff) raise, milk, and produce a delectable selection of cheeses that are sold in shops like, the Calf and Kid in Melrose Market.  I went up to visit Yarmuth Farm with Sheri LeVigne, the owner of Calf and Kid, while working on her 2012 Cheese Calendar. (Yeah…this is why I’m called the ‘cheese photographer’).  We had a grand time taking a tour of the farm, seeing the up-coming cheese experiments in the cellar, and getting chewed on by goats.

#2:  The Willows InnChef Blaine Wetzel…aka best culinary team around? (quite possibly)

A bit of a ‘sneak peek’ here (Thank you, Franz for the permission to share!) – I just recently finished a Seattle feature for the industry magazine, Art Culinaire, (due to come out this February) that literally had me pinching myself, I couldn’t believe the beauty of the experience.  There’s plenty to be said about the 3 chefs that I had the honor to photograph, all were a pleasure to work with, all made beautiful and delicious dishes…but Chef Blaine Wetzel and his crew at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island stood out.  Never had I witnessed so many ingredients being foraged to make the meals at a restaurant.  The team would head out with baskets under their arms making a trip to the beach or to the rose garden to gather what they needed for prep that evening.  Humble to a fault, Blaine and his team are some of the most easy-going, down to earth guys I’ve ever worked alongside.  With the inside jokes, weekly culinary experiments, and a mutual respect all around, it made me want to move in and find my niche within the crew (I can wash dishes with the best of ’em!).  At the end of the shoot, Blaine made a point to invite us out for an oyster bake on the beach – moon hanging low in the sky, bon fire at our feet, stories being passed across the flames, and the Willows Inn culinary team making a meal out of  a six-pack of beer and 120 oysters paired with tequila sauce…Everyone’s day should end like that.

#1:  The San Juan Islands; Delta Sky Magazine…aka the beginning of something great.

When coming up with this list there was no doubt in my mind what was going to be #1.  Back in May, I went on a 3-day/3-night adventure island hopping the San Juans, ‘capturing the magic’ for Delta Sky Magazine…welcome to this little photographer’s dream come true.  I was given the liberty to scout what I thought best described the feeling of the Islands, and was given access to some of the top destinations on Orcas and San Juan Island. (thanks, camera.)  I got to tromp through farms, chase orca whales, hang with a harbor seal named ‘Popey’, say ‘hello’ to a camel and a herd of llamas, comb through a low tide with a young family, photograph and eat amazing food, and stay at two of the most distinctly charming Inns on the Islands (Turtleback Farm Inn on Orcas and The Island Inn 123 West on San Juan).  If there was any one thing that I could be assigned to do for the rest of my photo career…this would be it.  Send me out to ‘find the magic.’

It has been a tremendous year!  Thanks to all who contributed to my many adventures in 2011 – without you, my camera and I are pretty insignificant.

And if you have read this far, well then, you’re probably related to me. (Much love.)

Cheers to a new and highly anticipated year – 2012!

Take care,
Charity

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As I had mentioned in my last blog entry… I was headed to Oaxaca, Mexico for two weeks in July.

Well, I’m back now, and I will say this – my experience was good, INTENSE, but good.

A group of us went on this delegation with an organization called, Witness for Peace, where we focused on the topic of migration.  A very deep and unmistakably raw point of interest that has so many layers it’s hard to piece them all together.  I am working on a more in-depth, long-winded post about the trip on my Sustainable Plate blog that I encourage you all to read (I hope to have it up in the next few days – it has been incredibly difficult to write).

But for now, I’ll go ahead and share some of my favorite images from the trip:

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Well, this week has gone in such a unique direction, I might as well get it all out at once!

Two Sundays ago, one of my most dearest friends, Jessica, accepted a ring from one of her dearest friends (and boyfriend), Mark.  Jessica’s standing joke now is that she will think fondly of her last boyfriend, for he gave her a ring…

I’ve known these two since high school, that is, wow, 10 years now!  Jessica and I became so close in our Junior year people at our school thought that we were sisters, or at the very least, cousins.  Even Jessica’s mom would get asked if we were her twin daughters in department stores….it’s the red hair, and for a while there I’m pretty sure we had the same haircut…what can I say? We are close!

Jessica “met” Mark in high school too, they were working at the same music shop, and started “dating” briefly, I remember they went to Homecoming together one year.  And since then, they’ve stayed really close, witnessing each others strengths and weaknesses, good relationships and bad, growing into the people that they are today.  They started dating again earlier this spring.

If there was anyone that I could choose for Jessica to spend the rest of her life with, I would have chosen Mark.  Of all the men in her life, he was always close by.  I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.

*side note: I say they “met” in high school, because they were actually in the same kindergarten class together – so truthfully, they met in kindergarten…this is like my dream love story!

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I offered to photograph their engagement session, as a way to say “I love you both!”

These two are some of my all-time favorite people.

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Jessica loves to ride carousels.  Her birthday is in mid-December, and every year she goes downtown to ride the “Christmas” carousel at Westlake center – so riding a carousel seemed very fitting. _MG_2219

“Jessica and Mark sitting in a tree – K-I-S-S-I-N-G…”

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This next shot is one of my favorites from the day…

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Look! FooD!!!…no, I didn’t make them do this – this was completely their idea.  The story goes that this beer brought them together, and not in the way that you might be thinking(!).  Their mutual love and admiration for this certain beer, Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar, somehow set off that spark, that push that made them realize what they were looking for was right in front of them.

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I’m so flipping happy for these two!  I can not wait for their special day, I wouldn’t miss it for the world – and I mean that, I’m flying back from Paris just to be a part of it all.

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Last night, I joined a group of about 40+ Flickrites at EMP/Seattle Center for an evening of light-weight strobe lighting and gussied up models.  There were umbrellas EVERYWHERE!

I knew going into it that what I was about to participate in wasn’t really my ‘thing’ – give me the sun and maybe a white card or two and I’m a happy girl.  But I thought this posed a challenge to the normal ‘sun kissed’ photos – not to mention there would be models at my disposal – another unique, “I don’t normally shoot people”, out of my element sort of experiment.

I’m always amazed by how pleased I am when I do have people in the shot.  When shooting food it is always about trying to find the life on the plate, where with people, all you have to do is tell them where to sit/stand and life is just blaring through the lens.  I understand why people like to shoot portraits – it is quite magical.

Well, trying to stay true to my passion and craft, I brought a prop along with me.  I first thought cupcakes, but then I remembered where we were shooting (near the fun forest theme park), so I opted for pink cotton candy instead.  A food photographer can’t shoot without food!

It was a lot of fun.

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Last Thursday I was given a very ‘unusual’ privilege.  Now, I say ‘unusual’ only because it’s something I never thought I’d document with my camera.

But I suppose I should have seen it coming, as the BF is a reporter at the Illinois state capital building.

Enter stage right, Charity Burggraaf, press pass wearing – politics watching – snap happy photojournalist – for a day, maybe two.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you…Springfield.

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