Monday, February 28, 2011
So I just got back a few days ago from Las Vegas for the annual photographers pilgrimage to WPPI. As some of you may know, I have been involved with a tremendous organization for a while called Thirst Relief. I had the opportunity to go on a benefit trip to Tanzania, Africa with them in 2009, and it was literally a life-changing experience. Fast forward to this past fall, and they asked if I would spearhead the planning of their benefit shoot held during WPPI. I was honored and thrilled to be involved. While I'll talk more about the shoot as a whole in a later post, I learned a valuable lesson in photography and life in general.
We had a day shoot and a night shoot. These next two images came while David Beckstead was discussing some things. He is constantly looking for unique uses of light and shadow and compositions. The first shot is what I would consider "the safe shot". A video light was being shown through the metal grid at a bus stop.
Although I love a lot of elements in it, I was looking for something more dramatic. I wondered if it would be possible to shoot at an angle through the grid and capture both of their faces. What I came up with was something I never expected. Somehow the grid looks behind the couple although it is in front of them. To me this image adds a new level of impact. The way the light spreads into the frame, the grid creating lines, etc. Long story short, the lesson I learned was that sometimes it's best to slow down, trust your instincts, and look for new ways to shoot the same scene! Here was the image, I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
The Tasty Bite returns with a suggestion for a fantastic pizza. As Minneapolis wedding photographers, it seems like we are always in different areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Needless to say, we like to know of a few good places to grab a bite if we are out with clients, scouting a location, etc. Well, for our latest treat we didn't have to go far!
Recently we were really lucky to have Justin and Mary Marantz, wedding photographers extraordinaire form CT come speak at our PUG group. While getting ready for our meeting, the four of us were starved so we ordered a pizza from our awesome new next door neighbor, Psycho Suzi's. We typically get your classic style pizza but got one of their white-wine sauce pizzas and let me tell you it didn't disappoint! We have now tried two and I strongly suggest either one. They both had a fantastic taste and would go great together with a nice white wine!
The Sunny Buick: Fresh Basil, pine nuts, roasted garlic, provolone, mozzarella, and their tasty white-wine sauce.
The Suzi Quattro: Spinach, sun-dried tomato, roasted garlic, mozzarella, and white-wine garlic sauce.
If you get a chance, go check them out and be sure to stop by and say hi as our building is right next door!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Fall - Errr Winter Comfort Food
It's amazing what we learn about our friends, clients, and blog followers when former regular segments have been on break. One of those things, was that people like the Bits and Bites section, particularly the bites :). With that in mind, we will do our best to bring this back as a regular segment!
The other night I made some pork chops for Stacey and myself. With fall being one of my favorite times to cook, I wanted to bring some of those rich and hearty flavors to the table. I wanted to take your staple of pork chops and bring and even richer flavoral spin to it. I ended up making a sauce/ragout of roasted pecans, mushrooms, bacon, and wine. Although this was something I just came up with, I'll do my best to put it as a recipe if you would like to try it at home.
Hearty Pork Chops:
2 Thick Cut Porkchops
2-4 slices bacon (I prefer Applewood smoked)
1 Handful Pecans
4-6 mushrooms (button or cremini)
1-2 tablespoons butter
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bottle of a rich and robust red wine (Think Syrah, Zinfandel, or a blend)
Start by taking your handful of pecans and chopping them into smaller pieces. Move to a saute pan and saute them with a tablespoon or so of butter. Saute for a few minutes to coat the pecans and impart a rich roasted flavor. At this point cut your bacon into smaller pieces and fry in the same pan. After the bacon has the desired crispness, remove and drain the majority of the grease. Add your sliced mushrooms and saute until they start getting a bit soft. Add a cup of wine and reduce to about one half. Add your nuts and bacon and reduce a bit further. You are looking for a thicker consistency. While your wine ragut is reducing, season your pork chops with salt and pepper. Warm 1-2 tablespoons Olive Oil to a nice shimmer. Add your pork chops and brown on high heat for approximately 2 minutes. Flip and do the same to the other side for two minutes. At this point, lower your heat to low-medium and flip the pork back to the original side and cook covered for approximately 3 minutes. Flip and do the same. When your pork is finished, let rest under tented tin-foil for about five minutes.
2 Dash's Cinamon
3 Pinch's of Brown Sugar
1-2 tablespoons butter
Take a sauce pan 1/2 to 2/3 full of water and bring to a boil. Take your two Yams, peel and cut into 1 - 1.5 inch cubes. The more consistent the size the better they will cook. Add your cubed yams and boil until tender with a fork. Drain your water and return the yams to the pan, add 1-2 tablespoons butter and milk (the amount will depend on the size of yams and your desired level of creaminess). Blend using a hand blender to the desired thickness. At this point, I like to add a touch of cinnamon and brown sugar to taste.
Take plates and add your Yam Puree and rest your porkchop over the side. Take your Pecan, Bacon, Mushroom Ragut and pour over the top. Serve with some broccoli, snap peas, or asparagus for some added color.
Enjoy with the rest of your bottle of wine!
Monday, November 23, 2009
1) What are you thankful for - As we are approaching Thanksgiving, is there anything you are particularly thankful for this year? I am thankful to be blessed with a great family. Not only the family that Stacey and I have started, but both of our families. We will be going to my Dad's which has been a long standing tradition. It isn't anything fancy, but it is always inviting, warm, and brings back good memories. Plus Stacey makes a killer pie :). I am also very thankful for the support that we have been giving in moving further forward with our business. It was a big decision for Stacey and I to both go full time with the business, but it couldn't have made either of us more happy. How many people get to say they love what they do? We have also been blessed to have made some incredible relationships through our business that have been great and helped us more than they may ever know!
2) Tradition or Entertainment - There are a few things quintessentially American about Thanksgiving. What immediately comes to mind when you think about Thanksgiving? Well there's family, turkey, pumpkin pie, and football to name a few. In regards to football, what teams do you think of? The Cowboys and Lions of course. The question I have is, do you like tradition or would you prefer entertainment. So the Cowboys can provide both, but do we really need to watch another Lions game? So they had a very entertaining game this week, but overall, I would rather eat the whole bowl of cranberries!
3) H1N1 Hell - I took Lauren and Ian to get their H1N1 vaccines today and I swear it came close to making me contemplate a straight jacket and earplugs. First off you have to fill out the forms while the lobby is like a "Twilight" appearance at a high school. I have never seen so many people in a Doctor's office before. After trying to restrain Ian from thinking he is a light technician on Broadway, while filling out the host of Yes or No boxes you need to check, we made it to the hallway of screams. Nothing like a bunch of kids all there to get shots! Needless to say, I felt terrible having to physically restrain my children, but hopefully they won't hate me for it later.
4) MVP Minneapolis - Green Bay may like to think of itself as Titletown, but after this year we may be called MVP Minneapolis. Twins catcher, Joe Mauer, just won his first MVP award to go with his three batting championships. The question is will he be overshadowed by the possibility of Brett Favre winning his fourth? Watching these two athletes this year has been an absolute treat for a local sports fan!
5) The tasty bite, Thanksgiving wine selection - So you have the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and all the fixings, but what kind of wine do you bring or serve on Thanksgiving? Each family has it's own traditions when it comes to the holidays and may serve different dishes. Turkey is kind of basic, and should pair well with a variety of wines. I recently read a great piece of advice that suggested you think more about the side dishes when thinking of what wine to drink on Thanksgiving. Do you serve sweet potatoes or might you have a more southern influenced meal that includes collard or mustard greens? I'm going to offer my suggestion on a couple of wines that should work well for the "standard" Midwest Thanksgiving.
White: Sauvingon Blanc or something from the Alsace region. Either of these wines tend to be dry and crisp. The Alsace may have a bit more mineral or earthy bite to it which can work well with Thanksgiving dishes, while they both have some sweetness that provides a nice balance.
Red: Pinot Noir can be an excellent option particularly for those of you who love dark meat. A well done Pinot is going to provide wonderful fruit flavors while balancing it with earthy undertones. If you are looking for something fruitier, try a Beaujolai Nouveau. Either one has long been a Thanksgiving favorite!
Looking to bring something new to the table, try an Albarino. While being Spain's most popular white, this exhibits a lot of the crispness that the Sauvingon Blanc or Alsace provides, yet is unique and something your guests may not have tried before.
Last but not least, if you know you like something else, drink that! Bon Appetite and have a fantastic Thanksgiving!
Monday, November 16, 2009
So you were all beginning to think that the "Bits and Bites" section bit it, didn't you. Oh, it's alright you won't hurt our feelings if you thinks so :). What if we told you it just took a bit of a hiatus and had a little too much tequila while we were in Mexico. Well like any good thing, it's going to take a little more than that to put and end to it. Now that we are all back on track, here we go with this week's "Bits and Bites"!
1) Is sushi addictive - Ok, I admit this might be better reserved for "The Tasty Bite", but I have a sushi craving at the moment so it's going number 1 with a bullet. Stacey and I have been tossing this question around and need to know your thoughts, IS SUSHI ADDICTIVE? We are in great debate whether it is the wasabi served with sushi that forces us back time and again or the glorious rolls themselves. At any rate, if anyone could send me a number nine roll right about now, it would bring a smile to my face :).
2) Language barrier, or not - So we recently shot a destination wedding in Cancun, Mexico and finished everything off with a day after session in Valladolid. It is an original Spanish Colonial town about an hour or so west of Cancun. It was very cool and exactly what we were looking for. Our day started off with a terrible time parking, and ended an absolutely great experience. One of the fun (but unexpected) things that happened was lunch...yes, lunch:) We wandered into this quaint little restaurant for what was going to be a Corona and small snack. Somehow we ended up ordering everything listed on the Specials menu!. It didn't matter though because we had a blast, and really enjoyed the authentic spread that was presented. I have been wondering though if it was a language barrier issue or just a smooth waiter?
3) Valladolid - Stacey and I have decided that we could easily spend a whole weekend just shooting around this town. It had the greatest colored walls and unbelievable textures! It seems like a lot of destination wedding photographers shoot a day after session on the beach when in Mexico. Matt and Tonia were having a beach wedding, so they were already going to get those pictures. With that in mind, we wanted something that felt more like authentic Mexico, not to mention we were in the mood for a little adventure. Insert a rental car, an hour and a half drive, some awe-inspiring speed bumps and a bus load full of Italian tourists. It was a memorable experience to say the least. We hope Matt and Tonia enjoyed our little get away as much as we did! Here is a peek of Valladolid in one of the images Stacey took. Stay tuned for more! If you ever get the opportunity, you should really check it out. It is very near Chichen Itza.
4) Is "Wedding Photojournalism" dead - This was a question I came across on a photography forum the other day. I found it a fascinating question, as this was the mother of all buzzwords about 4-5 years ago. Somehow every wedding photographer under the sun was a photojournalist, and now we are wondering if it is dead. The rationale was that with the advent of video in still cameras, you can technically pull out a frame from the video vs. capturing what Henri Cartier-Bresson dubbed as the decisive moment. Personally I think it sounds like a TON of editing and a way to become lazy while shooting vs. keeping sharp with your instincts. Beyond that, I do notice a shift in wedding photography styles. I think you do see less photojournalism in images now then a few years ago. What is fun, is that you can take on whatever kind of style you want, and as long as you believe in it, there are going to be people who will appreciate your work!
5) The tasty bite, a Staja Studios suggestion - Many of you may already know this, but I just recently discovered it. Granite City offers customers a "Growler" of beer. If you haven't heard, a growler is 1/2 of a gallon. It cost $25 dollars to buy the growler (which comes full), and then you can get it refilled for $10. The great part is that on Tuesday's and Thursday's you can get it filled for $5. There is no better time to get one than now, as their Octoberfest is still on tap.
We hope you enjoyed this installment of Bits and Bites. Bon Appetite and Enjoy!