Feast Portland 2017

Every year in Portland, for one weekend in September, all of the best food vendors in Oregon come together in one place. The festival is called Feast and it’s put on by Bon Appetit magazine. (Can we please have one in Seattle????) This is my second time going to the festival and it’s so much fun. It takes over one entire city block and numerous places all over the city.

I went to the Grand Tasting which is usually their main event on Saturday. It includes over 80 different food & wine vendors from all over Oregon. My favorite, hands down, was the Salt & Straw  Gramercy Tavern’s  cheddar apple pie ice cream.  It was definitely to die for. Who would think that cheddar fudge and deep fried apple pie, topped with caramel magic shell would go so well together? The other surprising thing I ate was the antelope tartare from Nicky Farms. I tried this after I heard someone say, “This is the best thing I have ever eaten.” And it was pretty close. The drinking chocolate from Ranger Chocolates  was also insanely good. I loved the shaved ice by Wailua Shave Ice and was really happy that they had a non alcoholic version, as a non-drinker. About half of the items at the event are wine or alcoholic.

I also got to hang out with and meet Jess from the Seattle Dessert Blog Seattle Dessert Geek, which was really fun and she gave me some great tips for next year. Also, the past few years the photography related events have sold out really fast, so I am going to make sure that I get tickets for those events really early. I also met a lot of other food bloggers and press, it must have been because I was taking photos. Not as many was I would have liked of course!

The other event I went to on Sunday was the Because Breakfast event. These events are called the “Fun Size” events. And I don’t think it is because the items are bite sized, since all items are, but I think it is because they limit the amount of tickets sold. I went to the Brunch Village the last time I attended, which was amazing, but also super crowded and the lines were very long. It was already sold out by the time I got my tickets. At the Because Breakfast event, it was so much more mellow, not at all crowded, small lines if any, and all the food was amazing. I kept hearing from people how much more they liked it than Brunch Village. I was really happy of course that General Porpoise donuts were there, because I LOVE them, especially the vanilla cream filled ones. Stumptown coffee was there of course, and they were promoting their new sparkling coffee drinks. I also really enjoyed the savory crepes from Suzette and the savory pancakes from Micheal Scelfo from Waypoint, who must have been a guest chef all the way from Cambridge. Petunias was at both events and amazing because they are a gluten free AND vegan bakery.

All in all it was really fun. Next year I will, as I mentioned, get my tickets early, and perhaps even apply for a press pass, which would allow me to enter events early. I was encouraged to do so my some of the people I met there. I hope you enjoyed the photos!

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Still Life with Rachel Grunig

So I am almost caught up in my blog posts! I photographed with food & prop stylist Rachel Grunig a little bit ago, and I just love working with her. I love all of the textures and colors in the overhead shoot with the plumcots and the lushness of the urban jungle shot.  I hope you enjoyed the photos!

On another note, this summer certainly feels like it has been a time of change and growth for me. I have been doing a lot of test shoots, with more still lifes and shooting interiors as well. I have a few jobs this up coming weekend with brand new clients. And I have been practicing shooting portraits. I definitely have been trying to learn more and do more than what I am used to. I have been assisting with other food photographers, and that has been a great learning experience. I also have been shooting a lot for Amazon Restaurants and my schedule changes day to day. As my friends know, I am kind of a control freak, so there has had to be a lot of letting go. Change is definitely uncomfortable for me, but of course with anything, practice makes things easier, and that is what I am finding all the time. I absolutely love this video where Ira Glass talks about the creative process and how what makes new things easier is doing it more! You should watch it if you haven’t.

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Beachy Breezy Tablescape

I did a shoot a few weeks ago with my friend Liz Hererra and it turned out so, so cute. I had wanted to try doing a tablescape and this is one of the things that she does so well. I can’t believe she pulled this all together in only a few days. I am absolutely in love with the images! I am glad that I have been trying to shoot a few more things other than food lately. I really enjoy shooting food, but I have been wanting to learn more and try new things at the same time.

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Issaquah Interiors Shoot

A few weeks ago I got to photograph this beautiful home for HomeAway. I had photographed hotels quite a while ago with Amazon Destinations when it was around and have been really enjoying photographing more interiors again. I definitely enjoyed learning on this photo shoot (which I DID, a LOT).  This home was super dreamy and beautiful. I felt so lucky to be there and doing this as a job. Could you imagine staying there? It had 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a sauna, a Jacuzzi tub, a giant movie screen, and a hot tub.  I also photographed another interior remodel for M.O.I. Designs two weeks ago and had a blast. I am still working on my backlog of posts, which is great but hopefully by this weekend I will be done. Phew!

 

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Blackberry Basil Shaved Ice

I had been talking about doing a shoot with my dear friend Anne who is a wonderful cook and baker. Since she had recently been to Kauai for her honeymoon and also had a shave ice maker, she suggested the shaved ice idea. I actually didn’t even know what it was even though I have been to Hawaii a few times. I don’t know how I somehow missed this. It’s essentially shaved ice with syrup either over ice cream or with sweetened condensed milk on top.

I came across this cool and really refreshing recipe for Blackberry Basil Shaved Ice and we topped it with the sweetened condensed milk. Since blackberries are in season in WA we actually went and picked some locally, and I picked up a few others for the garnishes at the market. Anne made the syrup and shaved ice and it was delicious! I did make the basil sugar but thought that the picture for this was prettier without, though it definitely added a little something extra to the shave ice. I would highly recommend trying this, it’s a really great recipe from Kayla. We had the benefit of a shave ice machine though, so that part was really easy, and cut out a step for us.

Blackberry + Basil Shaved Ice
Author: Kayla Diercks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • SHAVED ICE
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 TB sugar
  • BLACKBERRY + BASIL SYRUP
  • 6 oz blackberries
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 5-6 basil leaves / roughly torn
  • BASIL SUGAR
  • 1 TB fresh basil / very finely chopped
  • 1 TB sugar
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized sauce pan, heat water and sugar over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once the sugar water solution has cooled, transfer to a loaf pan or 8 x 8 pan. Freeze for 2 hours.
  2. After two hours, remove pan from freezer and scrape with a fork to form ice crystals. Return to freezer and continue to freeze and scrape every 2 hours until frozen through.
  3. In a small sauce pan, combine blackberries, sugar, lime juice, and lime zest. Heat berry sauce over medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook until sauce comes to a simmer, let simmer for one minute. Remove from heat, stir in torn basil leaves, and let steep for 10 minutes.
  4. Pour blackberry sauce through a fine mesh strainer and transfer into a small bowl or jar. Refrigerate until chilled.
  5. When ready to serve, make basil sugar by combining 1 TB finely chopped basil with 1 TB sugar. Remove shaved ice from freezer and scrape again using a fork. Scoop ice into individual bowls and pour blackberry sauce over shaved ice using a spoon or jar with a pour spout (add water to syrup, one tsp at a time, to reach desired pouring consistency, if needed). Top with basil sugar and garnish with basil leaves and blackberries.

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Hot Dogs & Lemonade

A few weeks ago I worked on a shoot with Quinn Poer which was super fun! We were introduced by mutual friends and I thought it would be great to get together for a test shoot. She had the hotdog & lemonade idea and I thought it was fantastic. She did make the cutest hotdogs and drinks. 🙂 I tried to capitalize on the super hot sun we were having that day to create some extra harsh shadows in some of the shots. I felt like it was the epitome of summer. I definitely hope we get to work together on a project again.

 

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Summer Vacation

Well it’s been about a month since I last posted anything, but I have a ton to post now! I have been doing a lot of shoots recently both tests (unpaid collaborations with stylists) and paid projects that I will be posting about soon. I have been recently doing a lot of interior shoots, so I will be sharing some of those as well. I really like being able to go out and see different homes, and always have. I worked for an interior designer while I was getting my BA, and I loved it. It’s like being able to sneak into someone else’s life and see how they live. It is really fascinating to me and can make for some cool imagery!

As far as my family vacation goes, I went out to my folks last month for a week, while my brother and his family were in town and then we drove out to Ocean Shores & Pacific Beach. I originally wasn’t going to take pictures but decided to after the 2nd half of the trip. Which is why there are actually so few. Haha We spent 4 nights at first in Shelton and then drove out to Ocean Shores to camp. My brother stayed in the cute town of Seabrook, which is kind of amazing. It’s this little village of vacation homes and cottages. There are restaurants, a spa, a gym, and totally catered to having little children. Definitely worth checking out.

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Westport, WA

I went to Westport camping a few weeks ago with a friend of mine, and it was so beautiful. I only wish I had taken more photos in town with my camera, I got plenty with my phone. I didn’t really sleep that well while I was there, which I am super sensitive to and I don’t think as clearly with not enough sleep. The campground had put down these gravel squares that they wanted us to pitch our tents on, which were super uncomfortable.  It was only with some pleading that they let me move my tent. Haha

We did get to go to Little Richards House of Doughnuts, and I swear it was the best maple bar I have ever had. They were almost completely sold out by the time we got there. We also went for a nice walk along the dunes and ate at one of the strangest restaurants I have ever eaten out.  Next time we will check out one of the restaurants along the water and maybe take a surfing lesson! We had a few dogs with us at the time, which made it a little hard to go surfing.  We also visited this cool lighthouse.

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Interior Shoot with M.O.I. Designs

I had been thinking a lot about ways to expand my photography from just food, and I felt like shooting interiors would be the perfect addition! I had photographed some interiors while I was in school, and not quite sure why I never did more of it, since I really enjoyed it. I had also worked for an interior design company while I was getting my BA and for several years after I graduated school. It’s part of why I love food photography so much, the set up, the props, and the attention to small details.

I emailed Desirae Wilkerson, who owns M.O.I Designs in West Seattle, to see if she wanted to work together on a project. We had known each other for a long time, well before either of us were a photographer and interior designer. To my excitement she had a project coming up the next week. I love it when things happen like that. So I did some research and talked to some fellow photographers on some tips & tricks for interior lighting and shooting. Here are a few of the finished images. Isn’t this space so cute?? I had a lot of fun on this shoot and I definitely want to do more. Hope you enjoyed them! I think it went pretty well for my first interior shoot. 🙂 And you should definitely check out Desirae’s website, her interior design has such a fresh, clean, bright modern touch to it! Really pretty work.

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Spring Photo Shoot

I had the absolute pleasure of working with Alisha Dooley last weekend, who did all the styling on this test shoot. It’s funny because we actually know each other from a past life, just growing up in Seattle and going to shows, we have a lot of mutual friends and had spent time around each other quite a bit in the past. When she emailed me a few months ago about testing, I was really excited about it! She has been styling now for about 7 years and wouldn’t you know, look how cute these images turned out!

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