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Archive for the ‘Photo shoot’ Category

…why I don’t delete things off my hard drive (hardly ever).

I know, it is something that I need to work on, but I have a really hard time deleting even the most ‘blurry’, ‘blinking’, or ‘hard-to-distinguish-what-it-even-is’ photos…most of the time, they are in fact, just taking up space.  And I even had the grand idea of just going into Lightroom, selecting every image that has never seen a flag, star, or color code in its little existence, and pressing the delete key – and I’m not talking about the “remove from Lightroom” option.

But while I was in search for a particular food image on my hard drive, hoping that maybe just maybe I was crafty enough to include it on my travel drive, I came across an image I had never given a second glance…

(the one on the left)

It was one of the very first images taken during the photo shoot (isn’t that always the way?), so I’m sure I just dismissed it as a test shot.

But seeing it now, it really got me inspired.

So I went through a few more of the images, to see what else I’d been missing.

 

Now, you’re probably wondering – wait, what’s with the ballerina?!…

Yeah, I know – “Stick with food Charity”…this was a shoot I did years ago, back in school, in fact.

Pictured is Trista Kite, a (retired) ballerina – now dance instructor in the Seattle area.

 

Here are a two that made the cut, even during the first round of editing, still favorites of mine.

 

Why I had these images on my travel drive and not the food image I was searching for, I don’t know…just fate, I guess.

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Life has been pretty chaotic around these parts this last month or so…actually all summer really…but who’s taking score?…
I feel like I’ve been networking my little tail off, and meeting a LOT of great people in the process – it has been very enriching!
I almost feel weird leaving it all in the next two weeks…but I’m taking what I know and have learned, and I’m bringing it with me to Paris.  Yup, I’m going to Paris.

And, yes, you will get to hear all about my adventures, travels, and *fingers crossed* work, right here on this blog.
I give you permission to live vicariously through my “wide eyes”, in fact I encourage it!

But in an act of playing catch up – I present to you a few images that I took nearly a month ago now (back when Italian plums were just starting to fall off the trees from ripeness)
I worked with a gal named Sarah, who is looking to start her own business making yummy pastries and cookies. I was very happy to be there to taste test 🙂 I think she will do just fine.

Our theme for the shoot?…well, plums of course.

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And while we are on the subject of plums…and being really busy…

CharityPlums-11One of the people who has been keeping me busy this last month is, Lara Ferroni.  Man, can she crack the whip!…just kidding.

Quite the opposite, Lara is one of the most down-to-earth and fun people whom I’ve ever had the chance to work under.  She was so very generous with her time and equipment and insight and doughnuts…just everything. (not to mention her pup, Leo, such a teddy bear.  Leo is the best!)

I feel very honored that she took me under her wing like she did, and allowed me to be a part of her world for a better part of a month.  I learned so much, and even better yet, found out that I was already doing a lot of the things that she does on a regular basis.  It’s little things like that which help ease the mind, and make me feel as though “I’m going in the right direction”…

These last two plum images are from me playing in Lara’s studio, with her pretty 90mm tilt shift lens, and overwhelming supply of props(!)…I settled for simple, because that’s what I do.

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So, stay tuned – I may have one more post out before I head to ‘Paree’, and then it is all about the ‘little American girl in Paris’ for a few months.

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I was given a wonderful opportunity last June by the creative director of Culture Magazine, to shoot their centerfold cheese of the season called, Ewe Bloom.  The issue just came out this month, and I thought I would share a few extra images from the shoot, and tell you a little about my experience.  The detailed story about the cheese, written by Matthew Rubiner, will have to be read when you pick up your own copy of the magazine – found at most Barnes & Noble bookstores and a few fine cheese shops in the Seattle area.

I was still in Illinois at the time, and I was to shoot at two locations – Prairie Fruit Farm and Creamery, in Champaign, IL (which is where the cheese is made and based out of) about 80mi outside of Springfield, and a sheep farm in Arthur, IL, home of the most populated Amish community in Illinois (which is where the milk for the cheese comes from) about 63mi outside of Springfield.
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Arthur, IL is absolutely fascinating!  There are yield signs for horse-drawn carriages (and yes, horse-drawn carriages), old men with long beards and suspenders riding bikes, every person I talked to was very soft spoken and very helpful, all of the simplicities were amazing – the simple handmade clothes, hats and bonnets, all the way down to their farming equipment – most of which were horse-drawn as well.

The interesting challenge about photographing an assignment in an Amish community, is that you are not allowed to photograph the people (their faces must not be recognizable).  It is against their rules.  Luckily, I was there to document the sheep, the farm, and one of the employees of Prairie Farm (who is not Amish) – but I certainly got a few nervous looks.  The idea of photographing them though, became a very interesting thing to contemplate.  I drove home that evening trying to come up with book ideas on how to photograph the Amish in a way that was not against the rules, yet still told their story.  I have a few ideas bouncing around, that I might pursue later on.  I think it could be a really beautiful piece.  I was very moved by their lifestyle – it’s quiet breathtaking.

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Filling up on sheep’s milk.

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The next day, I made my way to Prairie Fruit Farm and Creamery.  A small farm on the outskirts of downtown Champaign, where they grow fruit of all kinds (on trees and bushes), harvest honey, and have goats-o-plenty.  It is owned by a lovely husband/wife team – Wes and Leslie – who both have a part in making the cheeses that they produce.  If you are ever in the Champaign area you should visit them at the local farmers market, or better yet, join them for one of their ‘dinners on the farm‘ – where you can enjoy all of the luscious local treats in a 4-5 course meal created by their chef Alisa DeMarco (yep, they have a certified kitchen too).

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Who knew making cheese was such a long process?!…okay, probably everyone did.  I honestly didn’t know it would take so long.  The image above of Wes pouring the milk into the cauldron was at 7am, the image of Leslie below cutting the curds was taken at around 2:30pm…and that is just the start.  They then have to pour the curds into molding containers, let them rest, and then flip them a handful of times (it helps them drain all the excess fluid as the cheese curds combine together).  And even after that, they are put in a small, temperature regulated room where they age to perfection…I did not wait that long…I’m pretty sure I’d still be there if I did that 🙂

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What was fun about the waiting process – was what we got to do while we waited – test cheese.  There was a “dinner at the farm” meal that coming weekend, and they were hoping to premiere some new kinds of cheeses that they had been experimenting with.  Two of which had a paprika dusting on top, and one was a raw sheep’s milk – Leslie was cooing over that one.  They were all quite tasty.  I love my job!

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well…okay, we didn’t test cheese during the ENTIRE waiting process.  I had plenty of time to take in all of the sites and sounds of the farm…and sun (there was actually an extreme weather warning that day, due to the heat…and I didn’t put on sunscreen that morning – I’ll just leave it at that).  They had two sweet little kitties on the farm, this little guy was a stray that adopted them a while back – very sweet, and very blind.

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and of course the goats – you can’t deny the goats!  They were very hot that day, and they let you know all about it.

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and behold! The final product – Ewe Bloom cheese, herb and original.

You can actually become apart of Culture’s centerfold cheese club, and try some yourself!

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Have a look at the new Culture Magazine Autumn issue, it’s pretty fantastic! – even one of my all time favorite food photographers, Matt Armendariz, photographed a piece for the issue…I’m honored to be in the same pages as his work.

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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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A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking a sneak peek into the inner-workings of a wonderful bakery in Sodo/Georgetown, called Alaska Silk Pie Co.  They were building the wedding cake for a wedding I was to shoot a few days later, and the couple thought it might be fun for me to capture some behind the scenes images of their cake in progress.

That was all well and good, but what ended up grabbing my attention more were the other special treats being turned around in the kitchen!  Little chocolate pyramids, and miniature chocolate-porter cakes – yes please!

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with Alaska Silk Pies (as I was until just a few weeks ago), Phyllis, the owner, has a very special/secret recipe when it comes to how she creates these decadent works of art.  The texture can only be described as a creamier/lighter style of cheese cake.  Very rich, and almost truffle like.  As far as I can tell, she is the only person who knows just what goes into her infamous treats.

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The wedding cake had two different flavors, chocolate and key lime.

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And now about those other little treats…

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Gluing chocolate onto chocolate WITH chocolate!?!…I am in favor.

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Alaska Silk Pie Co. –  seriously, you need to try these desserts!

I highly recommend the chocolate!  It was heavenly!

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It was pretty toasty around here last week – 100+ degrees doesn’t happen in Seattle very often.  I was really missing our crappy air conditioner in Springfield, as it would have made life a little more comfortable.

So, what better way to pass the time, then to photograph things that melt quickly?!…yeah, let’s just say, it was a good thing that the effect I was going for was a nice puddle of dessert…

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This last one is in direct sunlight/100+ afternoon heat – it didn’t last long.

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Needless to say, I inhaled these suckers as soon as I put my camera down…or at least, I had what was left of them.

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