Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Irish Stew

This is my first time making Irish Stew and my first time ever buying parsnips, tapioca, and lamb, the meat that's in most Irish stew recipes I found. I looked at quite a few recipes and there wasn't too much difference between them. There were a few variations in vegetables, spices, broths, and broth thickeners used. I didn't go with any one specific recipe. I took some of the ingredients from three different recipes and made my own, altering some of the amounts a bit.

1.5 lbs of boneless lamb, cubed
2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 C instant tapioca
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 C water
2 C beef broth

Brown cubed lamb in large skillet with hot oil and drain well.

Combine remaining ingredients in 3.5 to 4.5 quart Crock Pot

Stir in browned lamb, broth, and water

Cover. Cook on LO for 10-12 hours or on HI for 5-6 hours.

If you'd like a thicker broth, drain out 1.5 cups of broth and let it cool. Mix it with 3-4 tablespoons of flour or tapioca. Boil in a saucepan until it thickens. Add to stew and serve.

Irish Stew Prep

Irish Stew in the CrockPot

Is on Getty Images

I was sent an invitation through Flickr to start selling images with Getty. I have had a few images for sale on Alamy for a while but not much has come of that. I haven't really been very active on there either. They weren't accepting many of my images so it was a little frustrating. Since Getty has a partnership with Flickr it makes submitting images much easier.

I saw this blog post on the Flickr blog back in November stating Getty had a pool where you can submit photos to be considered as a contributer. Almost 2 months later I got the invite and they had selected 15 of my photos in my Flickr stream that they thought would make good stock photos. I don't know that I would agree with their selection on some of them though. They ended up not choosing any of the photos that I had submitted to the initial pool but the pics must have caught their eye since they went through my stream and chose others. Some of the photos they chose were from 2007 and really not as good as what I have posted in the last two years.

I have to fill out model and property releases for any photos that have recognizable people or buildings in them, even for self portraits. They are a bit of a pain to fill out and it will be a chore to get releases signed. I currently have 12 photos up for sale which is already more than I have on Alamy. I'm hoping the sales will be better too. I may pull my images off of Alamy and send some of those to Getty instead.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cookie Baking

Almost every year I make a batch of spritz cookies. I have been using Betty Crocker's Ultimate Spritz recipe. I usually separate the dough a few times and add different food colorings. I even added a little cocoa powder to some one year and they turned out pretty good. Mom used to make them every year when I was a kid too. It was fun making them then and still have fun making them now. I always have a hard time choosing which templates to use. I'm tempted to make two batches so I can make a few of each one, but never do.

I bought fresh cranberries this year for the first time and they were actually quite tasty. I made cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. I decided to buy another bag of cranberries and try some more recipes with them. I found a recipe for cranberry scones that sounded good and got good reviews on They weren't kidding, the dough is very sticky. I had never made scones before so wasn't sure what to expect. The recipe says to just dump the dough out on a floured surface and cut out circles using the top of a jar or a biscuit cutter. Not having a biscuit cutter, I used a jar. The recipe didn't really say anything about spreading out the dough or how thick it should be. So I had to guess on that. I just spread it out until it was about a half inch tall and then started cutting out circles. They turned out looking more like cookes than scones but that's ok. They taste like scones and they were nice and small. I still have a half a bag of cranberries left and trying to decide what else to make with them. I wonder how cranberry pancakes would turn out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Food Photography Workshop: Penny De Los Santos

This is my second food specific photography workshop, the first being with Lou Manna as blogged a couple of months ago. This is the first year I've really heard anything about food photography workshops in the area and we've had 2 in the last half of the year. I don't know if they've always been around and I just never heard about them or if this is a new thing that's going around. In any case I'm excited about learning more about photographing food.

Since this was only my second one, I found myself comparing Penny to Lou a lot and found they do things almost totally opposite each other. Here are a few of the differences I noticed. Penny uses natural light, Lou likes to shoot in studios with lights. Penny hand holds her camera, Lou uses a tripod. Penny uses auto white balance, Lou uses custom white balance. Penny likes to step back and get all the food in the shot, Lou likes to get in close. Penny doesn't alter food to make it inedible, Lou adds inedible things to food to make it look pretty. Penny and Lou are both very successful food photographers. It just goes to show you there is no one right way to do things and there are lots of different styles out there. I think it's great to hear from two people with completely different styles, it makes you see things differently. I see my style being closer to Penny's, but I do like to use lighting equipment if I'm at home and I sometimes like to get close-ups, but I like to eat my food after I take a picture of it.

I got to Springhill in West Seattle right about on time at 10:00 AM and saw Robyn as I was parking so we walked in together. The place was already packed with people. There was coffee, tea, and mini Trophy Cupcakes, my favorite cupcakes in Seattle. I recognized a couple of other people that I had met before at Lou Manna's workshops and Brenda, who I know from the Seattle Flickr Meetup group was there too.

I really liked the layout of this workshop. It began with a fairly short slide show presentation with some samples of Penny's work along with some photography tips. The very first thing I noticed about Penny's work is that she likes to get shots of the food from directly on top. I noticed it right away because it's not something I usually do. In fact I don't think there's a single food photo on my Flickr stream taken from that angle. The majority of my shots are taken at a 45 degree angle. I just thought food wouldn't look right from that angle because you don't really get the depth. But Penny's shots looked really good from that angle. We had several "assignments" throughout the workshop.

Assignment #1: Angles
We were to shoot a bowl of butter leaf lettuce salad shooting it in 3 different angles. Straight on, 45 degree angle, and from above. We broke out into 6 teams of 5 and each team got a salad and we took turns shooting it from all different angles. Here's my favs from each. It was no surprise to me that I liked the 45 degree angle shot the best out of the ones I took, but I haven't given up on the overhead shots, I will keep trying to get some good ones. After shooting, everyone rushed back to their seats to enjoy their salads with the rest of their team and loaded their pics onto their laptops to hand to Penny to view on the screen. Unfortunately our teams' salad disappeared so we didn't get to try it. My computer is old and dog slow and I didn't bring a thumb drive so didn't have time to get any pics to her. I am seriously considering getting a Mac Book next year. Out of 30 people I think only 8 or so got to her after each assignment. That's probably a good thing because we were pretty short on time. Not only did she critique them but she let people in the class also comment on them.
salad triptych

Assignment #2: Controlling light
Penny only uses natural light so there was no talk about using on or off camera flashes. Instead she talked about different ways to control natural light using diffusers to soften harsh light and reflectors to bounce light to brighten up shadows. Brenda brought some of her small round diffusers and reflectors. For some reason I totally forgot to bring mine. I just have one fairly large one but could use some of those small ones. I wouldn't want to bring mine into a restaurant but the small ones that you can buy would be perfect. Brenda shared hers with everyone and Penny also brought some for people to use as well. Several dishes were set out for us to shoot. This time there was quite a variety of things to shoot oysters, clams, scallops, tartare, foie gras, ravioli, and toast. At this point the groups pretty much split up and everyone scattered around. Some people went outside and diffused the harsh sun light and others stayed inside and did a combination of reflecting and diffusing the light coming into the large windows of Springhill. This time I tried to get done shooting in time to get a few pics to Penny. I borrowed Brenda's thumb drive and was trying to put some pics on it but the crap laptop was taking forever to just to install the thumbnail device that I didn't get a chance to put any pics on it. grrr. I also missed out on eating any of the food that we shot because I was too busy trying to get pics ready. grr! I did however get a couple of nice shots from above during this assignment!
Shootin Outside
Duck Ravioli Oysters on the Rocks

Assignment #3: Editing the Food
In this assignment we were asked to take photos of the food using props like silverware, napkins, cups, etc. At this time we were also able to watch the chefs plate the food we were going to shoot. I think I spent more time shooting the plating than the actual food. This time I didn't rush trying to get my shots on the computer. I was hungry not having eaten breakfast and only eating a mini cupcake all day and didn't want to miss out on getting food this time. I managed to get a morsel of beef and duck before it disapeared. You got to be quick cuz once people start eating off the plates the food goes fast. The trout plate was my favorite to shoot. It was beautifully presented.
Plating Trout Pan Fried Rainbow Trout

This concluded the workshop, which actually went about an hour longer than scheduled. I learned a lot and I'm sure my food photography will improve as a result. The biggest thing I took away from the class was to shoot different angles, even if you don't want to. You may be surprised at the results. I know I will shoot more from on top of the food. It probably won't become my favorite angle to shoot from, but it will be included in my shooting angles from now on.

Many thanks to all that helped put this together and look forward to more events like this in the future.
organizer: Seattle Bon Vivant
photographer: Penny De Los Santos
food prep: Chef Mark Fuller and staff at Springhill restaurant
cupcakes: Trophy Cupcakes
coffee: Victrola Coffee
projector/screen: Glazer's Camera

Also a big thanks to Twitter! Without it, this workshop would not have happened.

If you want to check out more of my photos from the workshop, you can find them in a set on Flickr.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Chicken Posole

This post is well over due. This is a dish mom used to make and I've never tried making it myself until now.

A lot of recipes call for canned hominy rather than getting the dried kind but mom always used dry so that's how I made mine. You can usually find it in the Mexican section of the grocery store. You can used canned though I don't think I've had it. I have heard that the canned hominy has a waxy texture and doesn't taste as good. Using dried hominy takes longer because it requires you to soak it in water overnight much like you would with beans.

1 pkg dried hominy, soaked overnight
1 pkg dried ancho chiles (3-4 chiles)
3 tbsp chile powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves minced
3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
2 quarts chicken broth
2 tbsp olive oil
cilantro to garnish
salt & pepper

1. Drain posole and put in large stock pot. Add chicken broth, chopped onion, minced garlic. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 3.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. While posole is simmering, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and cook until no longer pink and juices run clear, about 20 minutes. Remove from skillet, drain, and cool. When completely cooled, shred chicken with a fork and set aside.

3. While posole is simmering, soak chilies in hot water for 1 hour. Remove stems and seeds. Puree with a couple of tablespoons of the water to puree.

4. After posole has been simmering for 3.5 hours, add shredded chicken, chile powder, cayenne pepper, and cumin. Add more water or chicken broth if needed.

5. Push the ancho chile puree through a strainer into the pot.
Chicken Posole Stages
The color of the broth will change several colors throughout the process.

6. Add salt & pepper to taste and stir occasionally as it simmers for 1 hour.

7. I like to garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with tortilla chips or corn tortilla quesadillas.

Chicken Posole Served

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grand Cru Wine Bar

I met up with a couple of foodie friends, Brenda and Nurit for happy hour. We decided on meeting at a wine bar in Bellevue none of us have been to called Grand Cru. They have a half price wine and apps happy hour all day on Monday and Tuesday nights. Even at half price the wines start at $8 a glass and go up to $17. The apps were more reasonably priced and started at $3.

I ran into Brenda in the parking garage and we took the elevator up to street level. Just outside the elevator was a door to Grand Cru with a sign to go around. We proceeded out the door and around the corner to another door which was locked. We continued around another corner to door #3 which finally let us in. We sat up at the bar to have a glass of wine while we waited for Nurit. The bar counter was uncomfortably high and shortly after Nurit arrived we moved ourselves to a more comfortable table.

They ended up being out of at least two of wines we were interested in on the happy hour menu as well as one of the appetizers, the black truffle oil popcorn. Nurit joked saying they can just bring us the Truffle Oil but they didn't seem to think that was as funny as the rest of us did. We ordered a couple of the Crustini Trios, Mushroom Ricotta Crépe, Pappardelle Pasta, a cheese plate and a couple of $1 tacos. I didn't try the crépe since I'm not a fan of mushrooms. Though the company was good, unfortunately the food wasn't very impressive. The tacos were probably the best thing we tried. We weren't offered a regular menu and didn't think of asking for one till it was a little too late. It felt dark and uninviting. The decor was mostly black and silver, very modern and industrial looking.

The wine was good, though I thought they could have had some more inexpensive wine options for happy hour. We saw a flyer advertising free dinners on Wednesdays. You only have to pay for gratuity. This seemed a little strange and sounded like they are getting desperate for customers. I don't have plans to revisit Grand Cru anytime soon even if the meal is free.
Grand Cru Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 23, 2009

Photobooth with Pocket Wizards

Mark and I set up a photobooth in my living room for the 2nd Annual Wine & Cheese Party at my place last month. Before I proceed I should explain what a photobooth is.

Traditionally, a photobooth is a box about the size of a phone booth with a curtain on one side, maybe that's where the name photobooth came from. You enter this box, close the curtain, and give it some money and it takes a series of pictures and then processes and spits them out.

Today, people use the term to define a studio type setup usually with a backdrop of some kind with a flash. Using a remote trigger to fire the flash and trigger the shutter, you can take photos of yourself without anyone behind the camera. This is what we set up in my living room using a yellow backdrop and WL 1600 studio strobe shot through a 47" Octabox. To the right is a pic of Jeremy using the photobooth.

Since we hadn't done this before we had a little trouble initially getting it to work using Pocket Wizard Plus II's. We thought we would need one PW attached to flash, one attached to camera, and one in the subjects hand to trigger with. We set them all to the same channel but it just would not work. Finaly, thanks to Jeremy, he showed us how to do it but instead of 3 Pocket Wizards we needed 4. doh! We needed an additional PW.

4 Pocket Wizard setup:
1. PW for subject to trigger on channel 1
2. PW cabled to camera's remote trigger port on channel 1
3. PW on camera's hot shoe on channel 2
4. PW connected to flash on channel 2

Wow that is a lot of PW's for a setup! It worked and that's all that mattered at the time, but I kept thinking there had to be a way to do this with 3.

We had a Pocket Wizard meetup with Mark Wallace of Snap Factory this weekend and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to see if there was any way to do this setup with 3 PW's. I actually hadn't thought about asking about this until we were just about to walk out the door. Mark assured us you can do it with 3 and he assisted with setting it up right then and there to show us. Sure enough it worked with 3! We were so excited it could be done with 3. So this is how it's done.

3 Pocket Wizard setup (Relay Mode):
1. PW for subject to trigger on channel 1
2. PW on camera's hot shoe and cabled to camera's remote trigger port on channel 1
3. PW connected to flash on channel 2

In order to use relay mode of the pocket wizards the PW attached to the flash must be one channel higher than the other PW's. So you could use channels 2 and 3 or 3 and 4 of you want. Transmit mode on the PW's should be set to BOTH.

Here are a few shots taken with this setup. They were triggered by various people and not necessarily by those in the pic.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

E-P1 First Look

I received the E-P1 on Oct 28th and have had about a week to get familiar with it. There are a few features I have yet to try like the art filters and video. I have a feeling I won't be using the art filters all that much but I will check them out at some point.

E-P1 Front E-P1 Back

I planned to take it out for the first time that evening to a Seattle/Tacoma PUG meeting. I had a little less than 2 hours to get the battery charged before I had to leave, which was not very likely. I charged it as much as I could before I left the house and plugged it into my car. I was afraid after going from charging inside to the car that it would start the charging process all over again but I was pleasantly surprised when the charge was completed about 20 minutes after I left the house.

I ordered a Lumix 20mm F1.7 pancake lens a few days prior but it wasn't due to deliver until the following day so the only lens I had to use was the 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 kit zoom lens that came with the camera. Also on order were adapters so I can use my digital four thirds lenses and OM film lenses as well as an extra battery.

Before going to the meeting we stopped at a couple of wine stores. First stop was the Wine Outlet in SODO. My first shot with the Olympus E-3 was also taken at a wine store. Probably just a coincidence. :) I hadn't been to the Wine Outlet before, it was smaller than I thought it would be but they had some good wine specials and the layout and decor of the store was unique. Even without racks of wine there was no question it was a wine store and the manager working was friendly and helpful. We ended up purchasing 8 bottles to help fill up a wine rack we are building which may be another blog post when finished. We also made a stop at Esquin and got a couple more bottles to bring to the PUG meeting.

I took a few shots at the store in aperature priority using auto ISO and color balance and from the lcd it looked like I was getting some pretty good results. I didn't know at the time what ISO it was shooting at. It was only after I got home to process the photos that I noticed it was shooting at ISO 1600. I was beyond impressed at the minimal noise in the photos. Even my E-3 has quite a bit at that level. Some of the photos were taken as slow as 1/15 of a second and even at that rate the photos were sharp so the image stabilization must be doing a good job. The color of the photos was also spot on. Here are a few of the results taken at the wide end of the zoom lens.

E-P1 First Shot
Wine Outlet: 15mm, 1/30, F3.6, ISO 1600

Wine Outlet SODO
Wine Outlet: 14mm, 1/15, F4, ISO 1600

Esquin: 14mm, 1/50, F14, ISO 1600

I also took a few photos at the PUG meeting. The ISO somehow switched from auto to 125 so these were all taken at ISO 125 which means the shutter speed was very slow. I'm sure I would have gotten some much better results had I been on a higher ISO. If the camera is on and it bumps around it seems to be easy to accidentally change the camera settings so that's one that that you should be careful of with this camera. Always check your settings.

Seattle/Tacoma PUG - long exposure
Seattle/Tacoma PUG: 14mm, 1 second, F4.5, ISO 125

Seattle/Tacoma PUG
Seattle/Tacoma PUG: 14mm, 1/2, F4, ISO 125

Seattle/Tacoma PUG
Seattle/Tacoma PUG: 14mm, .8, F4, ISO 125

Overall I think it's a great camera. Very impressive image quality especially for the size. I don't think it's small enough for me to use it as a carry around camera, unless I get a larger purse. I will still use my Olympus Touch for that. I think it's the perfect camera for low light and will definitely bring it to restaurants and bars instead of my bulky E-3. The size/weight is great for a digital SLR. The body is smaller and 4 oz. lighter than my Olympus OM film body.

The two biggest complaints people have had about the camera is the missing viewfinder and flash. I don't miss the in body flash at all. I rarely ever use it on my cameras. It has a hot shoe so you can still use an external flash and/or remote trigger a flash with a remote trigger, like pocket wizards. I do however miss having a viewfinder. I have put the camera up to my face more than once already. The viewfinder is nice and clear though but it would be nice if it swiveled. If these are features you really want, you may want to hold off buying an E-P1 and wait and see if the E-P2 has any of these features added on. If I were buying one myself, I would have waited for the E-P2 but if Olympus wants to give me one I would certainly take it and put it to good use.

One warning to anyone who has or is planning on buying this camera. The auto focus out of the box is absolutely horrible. I'm kind of glad I got to experience it though to see how much the firmware update helps and it does indeed help, a lot. I had a really hard time focusing most of that first night but have not had any issues since updating the firmware. I didn't have time to update it before I left because you need a charged battery to do so.

Stay tuned for more blog posts and pics from me with this camera.

Friday, October 30, 2009

How I got my E-P1

Most people would think 6 Olympus cameras is probably enough or more than enough. I'm a moderator over at the Olympus E-System Community Flickr group so I read a lot of the dicussions there. There was quite a lot of discussions about the new E-P1 and tried to avoid them as much as possible because I didn't want to be tempted into getting another camera. "6 is enough" I kept telling myself. It was working for the first few months. I really honestly didn't have too much interest in this new camera. A few more months went by and I started seeing some of the images and videos this little camera was producing and started to become intrigued. I still had no plan to buy one, but I started at least becoming interested in it and reading and watching videos about it. The more I watched and read the more I wanted. I decided I wasn't going to get the E-P1. If I was going to get an E-P I would wait to see what the E-P2 had to offer since there are many rumors that one will be out possibly by the end of the year. So I had to be patient.

Then Lou Manna, an Olympus Visionary, came to town to give a food photography workshop that I had signed up for. I would have taken the workshop whether he was an Olympus Visionary or not, that was just a bonus. I've always been interested in food photography and have never attended any workshops based on food photography so thought it would be fun and a good learning experience. I was right. The workshop was a pretty big production and there was not much time to converse with Lou during the workshop but did get an opportunity to hang out with him and a couple other people in a more relaxed setting. Lou was walking around with an E-P1 in his hand. It was the first time I had seen one in person. He let me take a few shots with it and I was colored impressed. Just the weight of it was crazy light. I was expecting it to be more the weight of the old film cameras but it's actually much lighter. It was getting harder to be patient.

Another month goes by. I started a discussion on the E-system Community group asking people to post their blogs. There's a lot of blogs I've been following but none were really Olympus users so I wanted to see what was out there and start following some. Posts there have a tendency to go way off topic. Eventually it somehow led to discussions about xbox and PS3 and twitter accounts. So, I added a few new people to my twitter list, one of which was @sl33stak. Last Thursday he sent the following tweet: "Tomorrow is the big day,Who wins an E-P1 from Olympus?Follow @getolympus Tweet why ya want one use the #ep1 hash tag 4 a chance to win one!" I've seen these before. Scott Bourne is always giving away camera gear. I never win those but it doesn't stop me from trying. So I tweeted: "@getolympus The #EP1 is calling my name it wants to join my big Olympus family." I'm not sure how long this contest was going on but I only found out about it the day before they were to announce the winner. Around 2:30 on Friday I started getting DM's from @getolympus and on Wednesday I had a package from FedEx with a shiny new silver E-P1 with zoom lens. I started ordering a few things for my new baby last weekend. Panasonic Lumix 20mm F1.7 which arrived yesterday and adapters so I can use my OM and digital Zuiko lenses which should arrive next week.

It's here!

Thanks for tweeting @sl33stak I owe you one!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Trader Joe's comes to Redmond, WA

I discovered on Monday that a new Trader Joe's opened on Redmond Way last Friday. This was exciting news. I have only been to one a few times and would go more if there was one more conveniently located to me and now there is! I work in Redmond Town Center so it's not far away so have no excuse not to go. I talked my fellow vanpooler into leaving work a half hour early on Tuesday to go check it out on the way home. I loaded up on some snacks and lunch goodies for work. Below is a photo of the goods. I also got some coffee candy for my vanpoolers. I've already tried out a few of the items: Trek Mix Bars, Indian Fare soup, Wasabi WOW trailmix, and the coffee candy and it's all good.

I had expected to see a ton of people there since it had only been open for a few days. It was surprisingly not as busy as I had expected but it was still busy. Each line had about 4 people in it. At least with a smaller place like Trader Joe's people don't usually buy as much stuff at once so the lines went pretty fast. Will definitely be back again.

Trader Joe's Goodies

Thursday, October 08, 2009

R&L Home of Good BBQ

R&L Home of Good BBQ doesn't have the most unique or creative name for a restaurant and I'm not even sure what the R&L portion of the name stands for. Don't let the name fool you though. The food is actually pretty darn good. I stopped by here for a bite to eat before heading to Scott Bourne's presentation on previsualization at the library a few blocks from here.

I had to drive around the block to find a parking spot. I was greeted by a few cheerful people that seemed like family. I made my order at the counter and waited at a booth until they called me up for my food which didn't take too long. I paid when I picked up the food which was served on a tray along with two slices of white bread. I chose the cole slaw for my side item to go with the pork rib plate. The other options were potato salad, beans and corn bread. There were also 3 choices of sauce: mild, medium and hot. I went with the medium as recommended by a few reviews I read and thought it was the perfect choice. It was spicy but not too spicy. The meat of the ribs fell off the bone easily and were nice and tender. If you get the ribs I would recommend asking for a couple of extra napkins. They can be messy. Someone came by my table often to make sure I was doing ok.

It might be the best BBQ I've had in Seattle. I'd like to go back and try the pulled pork.
R & L Home of Good Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Food Photography Weekend Marathon Day 3: Seattle Food Photography Meetup

I've been a member of the Seattle Food Styling and Photography Meetup for a few months now but we haven't been able to attend any of the meetups until the September one. They meet once a month, usually at Jason Truesdell's place.

The only member I recognized from the group was Kate Hailey and she seems to be a pretty regular member so we were sure to at least know one person at the meetup. We brought a single light setup to the meetup with an Apollo Mini Softbox and Kate brought a two light setup with umbrella's. It was probably their biggest meetup to date with about 8 people. We brought pocket wizards and let people use our lighting setup if they wanted. Unfortunately or fortunately our pocket wizards were also triggering Kate's lighting setup since hers were set up as slaves.

Jason made a few great dishes for us to photograph and other people brought things as well. We made a stop at Costco and found some kiwi which made for a good photography subject.

Will definitely go to another meetup when we can. More photos can be found from the meetup in my Flickr Set.

Food Shooters

Berry Cups


Carrot Cake

Friday, October 02, 2009

Food Photography Weekend Marathon Day 2: Rover's & Dumplings

Another Lou Manna workshop was held the day after FoodSnap at Rover's restaurant in Seattle. I've never heard of it and I'm not sure why. It's on Madison, but tucked away from the main street. It's small, but charming with a main dining area and a smaller area probably used for private parties. We had the entire restaurant to ourselves. We used the smaller room for our teaching session and were brought out a variety of foods to practice what we learned. Lou encouraged us to use our P&S's to take photos but there were still quite a few DSLR's. I took pics with both my P&S and DSLR. I used the P&S for more wide angle shots and the P&S for the closeups with my 50mm macro.
Food Shooters

We then had the opportunity to go into the kitchen and watch the chefs prepare our first course meal for lunch, a red and yellow heirloom tomato soup. It had to be the prettiest soup I've ever seen and it tasted as good as it looked.

I wasn't really that hungry until I saw the soup being prepared, it made my mouth water. There were 3 tables laid out for us in the dining room. I got a seat near the window to get the best light for my photos. I didn't use a flash on any of the shots and usually don't when I'm in a restaurant. Below are the photos I took of our 3 Course Lunch that was included in the price of the workshop. Thanks to Lacey's blog post of the event I was able to document the name of the soup and the wine pairings. I've been trying to get a hold of the menu list and will update the names of the dishes when/if I get them.

1st Course: Chilled Tomato Soup, Albacore Tuna Confit, Goat Cheese Caille and Basil Oil paired with a glass of Chateau St. Michelle Viognier
First Course - red and yellow heirloom tomato soup

2nd Course: Duck Breast, Fingerling Potato Rissole, Grilled Squash and Thyme Sauce paired with a Bordeaux blend
There was a high percentage of Merlot in this wine which I'm not a fan of. It's too dry for me. I tasted it before taking a bite of the meal and wasn't too impressed. I took a bite of the duck and then a drink of the wine and wow the flavor of the wine really exploded. It went perfectly with the duck.
Second Course - Duck

3rd Course: Chocolate Pot de Crème paired with Muscato di Asti
The bowl of chocolate had a gelled berry topping that made for some great reflections of the whipped cream.
Third Course - Chocolate Dessert

A big thanks to Rover's and The Chef in the Hat and Keren Brown for organizing. More photos from the workshop can be found in my Flickr Set

Later that night we went to Susan's for a night of making/eating dumplings/pot stickers. I didn't take too many photos but I put this collage together of Kevin and Monica making the potstickers.

Making Dumplings

Rover's on Urbanspoon