Wow, what a week. Last week we traveled to sunny Andalucía, Spain, to La Sierra de Aracena for a week-long getaway and food photography workshop (this Autumn has been the season of workshops for me – first Amsterdam, and now Spain!) with Tim Clinch. We stayed at Finca Buenvino, a gorgeous countryside B&B run by Sam and Jeannie Chesterton, who provided such great company, food, and hospitality. And spending five days learning from Tim was amazing – not only was he an excellent instructor but also a charismatic tour guide of some of the best that the area around Aracena has to offer. Suffice it to say, it was both an extremely relaxing and transformative week for me, and I think this experience will affect my entire outlook on how I approach photography from here on out.
But first, let’s talk about this amazing tortilla that Jeannie whipped up for lunch for us on the first day!
Every once in a while… I like to take a little course to improve my food photography… and travel to a new place as well…
Actually, it has been well over two years since I last took a course related to Food Photography – back in 2011 I joined Meeta, Ilva, Jamie, and Jeanne for the first Plate to Page (P2P) workshop in Weimar Germany. Since then I had also gotten to know Simone, a fellow participant at P2P, and so was thrilled to hear when she and Meeta, along with Sandy announced a Food Photography workshop in the countryside of Almere, Netherlands. As you likely know, I am totally in love with photographing food and place, and welcome any opportunity to improve my craft, especially if it is in the presence of friends new and old
When I was younger, I hated waiting (ok, I still do – I was born with a serious deficiency in patience). Every event in life felt like one slow tedious step to the next – must pass this test to get this grade, must advance through this year to get to this college, must do these things to get this degree, must get this degree to go back to school… and before you know it, a significant chunk of life has passed you by while you were so busy impatiently preparing for the next step. Having a vision and a plan is great – and for the most part, even something to be encouraged. As society we view aimless wandering as a detriment, and taking too long to accomplish a goal is indirectly punished by loss of opportunities and time. If we were all robots, this would be fine, however I think the human mind – the soul – needs a little bit of freedom (and fun!) in order to thrive.
[Baby girl decided to add some thoughts of her own to my post:] sxc xssww1ZZ
Sometimes I was lucky enough to recognize those precious carefree moments in action – the ones where life just felt so alive, so real, where I felt comfortable and confident enough to actually let go and just be my true self, free of any insecurities or second guessing. Sometimes they consisted of a fun weekend out on the lake with friends, a backpacking trip along an empty beach exploring the nothingness with a childlike wonder at the complexity and sheer amazement of our natural world, or that romantic meal where I first realized I was falling in love with my husband. But what I have noticed as I have gotten older, is that the planning and structure of life tries very hard to thwart such moments. We worry about money, about jobs, about the future – we talk with friends and family who worry with us, and all of a sudden somehow it seems all of life is about waiting/hoping for something to occur again. We look back on those fun and free moments, and sadly just think fondly on them realizing that after all this worrying and planning we simply don’t have the energy to break out of our current paradigms on life.
But it is a tough balance, no?
How do you move yourself back into the present, embracing our time in this world as it comes, while still maintaining some sense of security for the future? How do you do one aspect of life without ending up regretting not doing enough of the other?
I’m not much of a soda person (I am from the northeast, it’s called soda). I personally haven’t purchased a cola type soda in well over a decade. Typically, at home, if I want something soda-like, I’ll pour some juice in a glass and dilute it with sparkling water et voilà, “soda” – it doesn’t even need sugar. However, I do have one weakness when it comes to bubbly beverages – ginger ale.
For me, ginger ale is the ultimate summer drink. Spicy, sweet, and tangy, after long sun-shiney days out by the lake, it seems to be the perfect respite from the afternoon heat (yes, Switzerland does actually have heat in the Summer). Ipod and (now) walking baby in hand, we take a trip to the lakeshore and look out across the way admiring the view (check out my profile on VSCO grid for more mobile switzerland pics!)
Often when I think of adventure, I think of a trip up to the mountains – feeling on top of the world with the entire landscape below, sun and wind in your face, and if you close your eyes and clear your mind you can convince yourself you might even be floating up there. Watching the world we know look so small as we climb higher and higher, it’s such a glorious thing to try to comprehend the enormity of it all.
But not every adventure has to be quite so glamorous. In fact, at home in my kitchen, I’ve been taking myself on a bit of an adventure as well – a choux adventure.
Every morning, I like to sit and relish my morning espresso. I open up my laptop, and flip through my favorite food blogs looking for inspiring recipes, reading stories, and seeing the gorgeous artwork that the world has created over the past few days. For years, I have relied on Google Reader to deliver my favorite posts from the blogosphere to my computer, and it has been as much a part of my morning ritual as my coffee. I’m sad to have to say goodbye to Google Reader this week (did you know Google Reader is going the way of the dinosaurs on July 1?), after such a long relationship.
If you currently read Jenn Cuisine through Google Reader, it’s time to look for a new way to get your favorite blog feeds – some services like Feedly boast being able to migrate feeds from Google Reader seamlessly. Personally, I’m finding my email program the best source for reliably getting feeds I don’t want to miss out on. As an alternative to having to search for a new RSS reader, you can always subscribe to Jenn Cuisine by email, and then posts will go straight to your inbox.
But as with everything in life, change can be good. Having to change readers has forced me to go through and do a thorough spring cleaning of which feeds I read, and subsequently I’ve also discovered many new blogs in the process. My morning ritual might change a little too, and that’s not all bad either. Actually, it already has changed – after over two years of being caffeine free, I have slowly recently started enjoying a “real” coffee here and there. And oh man have I missed that in my morning! Even better, it means I can enjoy coffee when I am out exploring the alpine wonderland that is Switzerland, such as on a rainy boat ride on Lake Luzern on our way to the iconic Pilatus mountain. And even rainy in the fog, the magical beauty of Suisse still shines through.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a licensed medical professional NOR am I a certified nutritionist. This site is NOT meant to be used in place of medical advice. You are responsible for your own consumption of foods. Consult a licensed medical professional before making any dietary changes. Contact manufacturer to inquire about allergy risks in specific food products.