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I had the distinguished honor to work with the Art Culinaire team last fall, which in turn put my camera and I along side 3 very accomplished chefs.

The issue was just released earlier this month, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite photos from the assignment.

This will be a short photo story of these 3 unique individuals, and the diverse environments in which they work.

Blaine Wetzel; Willows Inn/Lummi Island, Wa:

Blaine in the kitchen.

Blaine foraging along the shores of Lummi Island.

Smoked Tequila Oysters (to die for!).

King crab and the beginning ‘snacks’.

Halibut “chop” and Grilled celery root w/ horseradish mousse and chestnuts.

The smokehouse.

Organic grains with pickled mushrooms, and Blaine in the kitchen (once again).

Jason Franey; Canlis/Seattle, Wa:

Jason and his crew, in the kitchen.

A breakfast ‘style’ dish “Smoked” salmon with maple syrup on the left, and a Froie gras and rabbit torchon with pine ash dish on the right.

Jason and his crew on the roof of Canlis overlooking South Lake Union.

Matt Dillon; Sitka + Spruce, Corson Building/Vashon Island, Wa:

Matt Dillon and his piggy friend.

Whole beets in spiced brown butter with pickled rose petals.

Matt in his home kitchen.

Smelt with grated beets.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

~Charity

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2012 has started off with a BANG!  I have found myself in a new ‘home’ also known to many as a studio.  It’s a cozy little place.  There’s a full kitchen, props galore, a coffee pot (all necessary staples to keep one sane and productive) and cocktails….lots and LOTS of cocktails.

Outside of the normal cocktail consumption on a shoot (kidding) the abundance of said alcoholic mixtures is because I am shooting a cocktail cookbook written by Mark Sexauer.  It has been a crazy fun experience thus far (just a few more days in the studio before it’s a wrap), and I’ve learned a TON about angles, glassware, ingredients, my tripod, and well – cocktails.

By the time we are finished, we (Mark, Kimberly Swedelius, and myself) will have created, styled, conceptualized, and lit close to 100 aphrodisiac delights.

And yes, we do drink them afterward.  😉

(or at least taste them.)

Here’s a little behind the scenes action that I have documented with my phone over the last few…well…months.

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Kimberly working her magic…

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Textures, textures, textures!

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The styling table…

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…and building the shot.

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More sneak peeks to come!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful winter season ~

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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I realized this morning that I had all sorts of things I could update you all on!

So much in fact, that I will probably have to break it up a bit.  Yay, blog posts!

First things first – I have to send a little love to the wonderful people at Culture Magazine!  I absolutely LOVE shooting for them, and I’m blessed that there is so much exciting cheese stuff happening in the Seattle area to have the chance to work with them so often.

Their summer issue is out right now, and they have a whole feature about places to go in Seattle for the cheese connoisseur.

I had the pleasure of photographing some great cheesemongers, chefs, and even a goat farmer/activist!…love my job!

You will have to pick up the latest issue to get the full scoop, but here are some of my favorite shots from the assignment (some you won’t find in the magazine).

John Sundstrom working in his kitchen at Lark on Capitol Hill.

…and some of the dishes he created for me (purple potato and smoked trout on the right; prosciutto, young truffled peaches, and sharp cheese on the left.)

The pizza oven at Delancey in Ballard

…finishing touches of the much-sought-after Delancey pizza pie.

Poco Wine Bar on Capitol Hill and Delancey in Ballard

A baby goat, barely 24hrs old – SO lovable!

It may have thrown you off a bit when I included the term ‘goat activist’, but that is kind of what Jennie Grant is – she is the creator of an organization called, The Goat Justice League.  Her and other goat-loving Seattle residents, work to make it legal to own goats within the city limits of Seattle.  So, like chickens and bees, you can also have your very own ‘herd’ of goats in your yard!  It is all about sustainability, and the love of animals.

With her goat, Snowflake, she is able to produce milk and cheese for her family and friends.  I tried the milk – it was quite delicious!

I will have a feature in Culture’s up-coming Autumn issue too, which I am working on this month – I can’t wait to share those images with you in the fall!

And speaking of culture, in the non-cheese sense – I will be throwing myself into some culture next month when I travel to Oaxaca, Mexico for two weeks!  I’m joining Witness for Peace, an organization working to support and sustain local economies and social justice in Latin America and the Caribbean.  A group of us will be going on a delegation to learn from local small-scale farmers and activists about the roots of migration and how the present free trade policy affects their economy – advocating for fair trade and human rights.  Not only am I excited to learn more about these issues, but I’m excited to have the opportunity to document the experience and share it with all of you!  This trip is a volunteer effort, and is certainly not a vacation – so raising funds is necessary to make it a success!  If you are interested in supporting me, my photography, and the work of Witness for Peace, I would appreciate any and all contributions!  You can pledge your support here, and please stick around for photos as I share with you a piece of Mexico in months to come!

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Evening view from my room in Paris.

Morning view from my room in Seattle.

Well, I’ve returned to the states.

And with this return comes a lot of reflection, a lot of plans/ideas, and a lot of images.

I have plenty to share about my travels, so I’ll be working backwards for a little while.  Hopefully next week this blog will get a bit more exciting.

Until then, have a great weekend!

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I was given a very unique and privileged opportunity earlier this week that I said ‘yes’ to without even an ounce of hesitation.

Keren Brown, creator of FoodPortunity, and known around the blogosphere as “FranticFoodie”, has out done herself yet again with a Food Photography Workshop in Seattle, called “FoodSnap!”.  It is the first of its kind in these parts, and I’m proud to say that I was asked to be a part of it.  I will be standing along side Lou Manna (man of the hour), Lara Ferroni, and Rina Jordan, in Kathryn Barnard’s studio!  It will be a true honor.

I can not wait to spend a day in the studio filled with food photographers and stylists, sharing our skills and techniques with one another!  What a treat!

Here is the Press Release:

Keren Brown Media and Foodista Present

FoodSnap!

SEATTLE, WA  (August 29, 2009) – Seattle’s first of it’s kind all-day workshop for food photography, titled FoodSnap! will take place September 18th at the historic Georgetown Ballroom (inside the former Rainier Brewery) at 5890 Airport Way S.

The event, organized by Keren Brown Media and Foodista.com, will feature New York food photographer Lou Manna, (LouTheMan.com), the Olympus Visionary and New York Times photojournalist, commercial photographer, educator and author of Digital Food Photography. Lou is an associate professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York and a consultant in the Food Studies Program at New York University. He also teaches digital food photography workshops in his studio, and accepts students for private, hands-on classes.

Lou will lead the workshop with the assistance of food photographer and blogger Lara Ferroni (platesandpacks.com) as well as Seattle’s top food photographers and stylists, Rina Jordan (rinajordanphotography.com), Charity Burggraaf (charitylynne.com )and others.

The location, known as Georgetown Studios, is an ideal venue for photography and is often rented for commercials and advertising shoots. It is owned by Kathryn Barnard (kathrynbarnardphoto.com), a professional photographer whose work has been featured in top publications such as Seattle Magazine, NW Home and Garden and Ladies Home Journal.

FoodSnap! is open to anyone interested in food photography. The target audience of FoodSnap! is food bloggers, food-related social media, food companies and food photographers. Cost is $159 which includes all fees for registration before September 4st. (Price will be $180 thereafter.) Attendance is limited to 75 participants.

Tickets can be purchased at BrownPaperTickets

The sponsors, whose products will be used in the displays to be photographed, include Emily’s Chocolates, Frost Doughnuts, Fooducopia, Wink Cupcakes Teaosophy and Red Ticking.

Kathy Casey will be serving a Foodsnap Gelee signature cocktail that will be used as photo inspiration as well.

The organizers will host a photography contest immediately after the event, providing participants with the incentive to upload pictures taken at the event and further enhancing the visibility of the photos and food products.

Please check website periodically for details on contest and where to upload pictures to be reviewed.

The Mayflower Park Hotel is offering a special rate for out-of-town participants, $139 plus tax for a classic guest room.

Media: To request an interview with Lou Manna, please email :kerenlovestocook@gmail.com

SCHEDULE for FoodSnap!

No Experience Required
http://www.foodista.com/foodsnap



GeorgetownStudios

5890 Airport Way S.

Hours: 10 am -5 pm

MORNING

Lou Manna will review and critique each participant’s food blog or photographs. He will show his own blog, Digitalfoodphotos , and social network site DigitalFoodPhotography .

Following that he will use a Power Point presentation to provide an overview of the basics of digital food photography and tricks of the trade. He will review the different features found on most digital cameras, highlighting how they can be used correctly to photograph in any situation.

LUNCH BREAK- lunch will be provided

AFTERNOON

The afternoon will be dedicated to hands-on practice.

Groups of participants will have the opportunity to try their hand at food photography with the help of Lou Manna and Washington State’s own food photographers and stylists.

Lou will demonstrate how to work with each specific light source, how to use mirrors, diffusers and small white cards to create mouth-watering photographs with a simple point and shoot camera.

Participants will utilize new skills learned in the workshop to shoot each set up while Lou and his associates offer individual guidance to optimize each participant’s photographic techniques.

I’m not sure if tickets are still available – they went on sale yesterday afternoon, and from what I understand they were looking pretty slim this morning.  But if you are reading this, and are interested, go to http://foodista.com/foodsnap and see if you can snag a ticket before they are gone!


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I’m back, and ready to play!

It’s so nice to be back where the air smells like water, and the water tastes like sugar.

The city feels small to me now, the people seem harmless at best, it’s quieter than I remember it.

But there is a sushi restaurant on almost every block, and coffee shops you can actually hang out at – which makes me a happy girl!

Hello Seattle, you’ve been missed.

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