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