My heart is in upstate New York. As you probably already know from my many social media updates last week, I was lucky enough to spend a luxurious few days in a renovated barn, atop a hill, overlooking miles upon miles of fall foliage, while learning from some of the most talented photographers I know. I don’t really have to tell you what a dream it was… minus one little caveat.
The day I left, I was struck by a brutal allergic reaction. Not the life threatening, throat-closing kind of allergic reaction, but the horribly-swollen-unbearably-itchy-don’t-even-recognize-myself-in-the-mirror-for-three-days allergic reaction. And those three days? Those were the days of the workshop. I’ve always been sensitive to things like poison ivy, but this… this was worse. I wasn’t going to let it stop me from enjoying the heck out of my time there, though, even though The Husband suggested I print out a photograph of myself and wear it like a mask so people would know what I really look like. (Yeah, it was bad. On the bright side, I feel a whole lot better about all my little imperfections now that my face is back to normal. Smooth skin, I missed you!)
Okay, weird tangents aside, let’s talk about this workshop. It was hosted by two of my favorite food stylists / photographers / bloggers, Eva of Adventures in Cooking, and Carey of Reclaiming Provincial. Watching these ladies do what they do was a joy, and I do believe I heard them talking about holding more workshops in the future, so you should definitely keep your eyes and ears open for that. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss, especially if you can do it without a miserable rash all over your face.
The location was a food photographer’s paradise. Natural wood floors and walls, beautiful light, a gorgeous kitchen… did I mention the wood burning pizza oven? Yeah, not kidding. The only thing better than all that was the food itself. Every meal was prepared from scratch by Carey and Eva, and let me tell you, they are just as good in the kitchen as they are behind their cameras. I haven’t eaten that well in… possibly ever. Baked pear musli, mushroom and thyme risotto, savory beet burgers, flatbread pizzas, this kabocha squash curry which I totally need to make now… every bite was delicious. Our evening dinners together were my favorite part of the entire workshop, usually accompanied by a short lesson in photography, and then a relaxed meal that went on for hours as we sat and talked. There were nine of us in total, including Summer of O & O Eats and Samantha of Sweet Remedy, and sharing all those meals together made fast friends of all of us.
Besides blogging, Carey also moonlights as a food stylist for Eating Well Magazine. Watching her work her magic was one of the most valuable things I took away from our weekend together. Carey and Eva both have a very distinctive style, which I love, and getting even a tiny glimpse into how they think was really eye opening.
Also, there were giant cleavers hanging in the barn, which I just couldn’t resist using. Sure, a giant hunk of meat would have been more appropriate, but all we had were these dainty little apples, so… *whack*.
(Thank you, Summer, for swinging that cleaver a gazillion times!)
An expedition to the nearby round barn farmers market, where we picked up some fresh veggies, and the view from my instagram. (In case you just can’t get enough, you can see more of the photos everyone was sharing from the workshop by searching the hashtag: #autumnupstateworkshop2014)
I think it goes without saying that this was an experience that will stick with me for a long, long time. Besides all the feasting and photographing, I got to meet some truly awesome people, which was worth the trip all on its own. (I cannot tell you how good it feels to be in a room full of people taking pictures of food, and not getting any weird looks for it — these are my people!) Plus, I came away with tons of fresh ideas and inspiration, which will hopefully translate into better photos around here in the future!
(Also, I know it’s been a while since you’ve seen a recipe around here, but I promise you I have some tasty things in the works! It took another week after the workshop for my rash to finally clear up, and in the meantime my body decided it needed lots and lots of sleep in order to not get sick. I am SUPER excited about some of the recipes I’ve been dreaming up in that time, though, so stay tuned!)