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Posts Tagged ‘Better Living Through Coffee’

Wow, so the last time I’ve managed to post was May 2012, huh?…clearly I’m winning at this whole blogging thing?!  Well, goodness.

There’s so much that has happened in the last year+, and I hope to have the chance to share it all very soon.  But in an attempt to address my inspiration for writing in the first place (you can all thank her at the end), I’d like to keep to a single topic – my friend of 23 years, Amanda Waltman.

Image(and she can thank me later for using this image) 

I met Amanda in 2nd grade.  We became inseparable *almost instantly (*to be completely honest, like all of my great friendships, I did not like her at first…analyze that!)  When they were able to separate us, we were tying up the phone lines with our teeny bopper jabber about *whatever 7-16yr olds talk about (*boys, music groups, boys, tv talk shows, boys) for most of the day.  I think we hit the 8 hour mark once, maybe twice – and that is likely under estimating our mad skillz.  (Even now it’s hard to get off the phone with each other in under 20 minutes!?)  Our parents would even have us join in on family vacations, because that is essentially what we became; family.

So, it’s perhaps to no one’s surprise that we fell into the same career path. (I’m still a little taken aback by it, but it fits us).

After growing up together being gaga over the same boy bands and boy crushes, we started college with the same degree of concentration (photography) and worked together at the same portrait studio.  It wasn’t until then that we started to find a slight ‘Y’ in the road, and I found my photographic voice through food, while she kept at photographing babies and families.  Every once in a while we’d meet at that dip of the ‘Y’ to photograph pets together, but that’s mostly Amanda’s thing now – while I keep to cookbooks and other food related projects.

Rarely do we have the chance to go out shooting together anymore – our time is so limited with work, when our schedules do manage to align we’d rather sit with a cocktail and sushi, and jabber about *whatever 30yr olds talk about (*boys, tv shows, work, boys, family, work, boys).  But we finally made a plan to go out and take pictures – of each other.  Truth be told, we both were in dire need of some updated head shots (mine was from 2010 – and I’ve surprised at least one person with my very opposite of a pixie cut recently).

We decided to take a day trip to the beloved Port Townsend, and for late May in Seattle it turned out to be a beautiful day for pictures…perhaps too beautiful (‘Yay!’ for God’s diffusion panels aka clouds, or in our case, trees)

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(ferry ride, and a much-needed visit to one of my favorite coffee shops)

After some yummy salmon chowder and house made chai at Better Living Through Coffee (why didn’t I think to start that business in that exact location first!? – I’m not sure it get’s much better than that coffee shop…I digress) we headed to Fort Worden to find the magic light.  All the while jabbering away…if you couldn’t tell already, that is just what we do.

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We arrange a photo shoot like this every couple of years – she has always been my go-to headshot photographer, and somehow I end up being hers?  And every time she makes it so easy to turn the camera on her that I begin to wonder if I should be shooting more portraits…but I’m pretty sure that what you see is more Amanda’s skills than my own. (don’t be fooled)

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Without trying, this was actually a more significant process of taking pictures than we had originally planned.  You see – we both turn 30 this year.  Amanda did back in February, and had regretted its rapid approach for about 5 years…I, on the other hand, have been excited to dive into my 30’s for probably those exact same 5 years. (My birthday is at the end of this month)  So it quickly became apparent not only the history that we both hold as friends, but the milestone that we were both documenting of each other – a milestone that we have managed to witness, together, as friends/sisters.  Officially adults.  In the middle of our crazy, wonderful, freelancing careers that we worked hard side by side to create.  Still learning, still finding balance, but well on our way – with a support system that is above and beyond rare a find.

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Thanks for the new headshots, Panda!

Let’s go on another photo adventure again soon – maybe cap it off with some sushi?!

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Love,

C

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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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