Farmer’s Market Photography Class

Apparently, most people (aka people with 9-5ish type jobs) have hobbies…or things they are interested in that have nothing to do with their career!  After working 80+ hours/week for the past 3 years, this concept, understandably, is a little foreign to me.  Yes, I do enjoy cooking, baking and blogging. Some might consider these “hobbies,” but I never quite had the time (or money) to explore this much outside the comfort of my own home.  In fact, my lack of time for hobbies/a social life got a little awkward when I went on a few first dates. The conversation often went something like this:

Boy: “So what do you do for fun?”
Me: “Well I’m pretty busy with work and saving lives, but I like to cook and bake when I can and I also have a baking blog.”
Boy: “Oh cool, what else do you do?”
Me: “Well….I guess I go to the gym occasionally?”
Boy: “What else?”
Me: “Ummmmm, I sleep every once in a while…”
Boy: “But you must have other things you like to do outside of work?  Hiking? Skiing? Going to concerts? You should come with me to this workout group that meets every morning at 6AM…maybe on slow day like a Friday?”
Me:  “Beep, beep, beep” (fakes “stat” page, stage exit right)

In an effort to have something to answer to first date questions like this…and to make the most of my time off (I mean research) I’ve been trying to develop some hobbies, mainly photography.  As you have seen on my blog (hopefully), I’ve had a mildly successful introductory foray into photography through photographing food porn for my blog.  However, I wanted to a) learn how to use the many functions on my DSLR camera and b) expand my subject matter a bit.  So this past weekend I took two photography classes at the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE):

Intermediate Photography with Chris Padgett

and

Farmer’s Market Photography with Brian Samuels

The first class was a technical class on how to use your camera and get the most out of all of its functions.  I definitely learned a few key things that will help my photography going forward.  In the second class, I got to apply what I learned with Chris, by going on a field trip of sorts with Brian and a group of eager new photographers to the SOWA market in the South End.  The market, bustling with food and fresh produce vendors, consumers, pets, arts and crafts and antiques, was the perfect place to work on composition and creativity.  It was a gorgeous day and if you’re going to be that sketchy person with a camera peeping out of the bushes (or tomatoes, gourds or flowers), it’s best to have a group with you!

Below are some of my favorites from the day.

Gorgeous purple radishes at a local farm vendor.

 

Some more local produce.  It’s fun to experiment with post-production editing.  I’ve been using the snapseed app on my iphone for much of my editing (I can instantly send photos from my camera to my iphone via wifi).  Color splash is another fun app that allows you to focus on one (or two) colorful objects to really highlight it, like the carrots above.

The market is also full of interesting people to (stealthfully) photograph.

Don’t forget to stop by Union Square Donuts for delicious fresh donuts in a variety of flavors (like brown butter hazelnut pictured above).  The wait in line is worth it!

There are a variety of non-produce items sold as well.

And finally, some more beautiful produce!

Edible Exposure: Food and Photography Class

I think I’ve missed my calling: food photography (aka food pornographer).  As I mentioned in my last post, my research fellowship has given me quite a bit of free time that I have been filling with both old (cooking/baking/eating) and new (photography) hobbies.  In my quest to completely fill my free time with something meaningful, I turned the to Boston Center for Adult Education’s (BCAE) fall curriculum of food related classes.  I had taken a few classes at their old location on Commonwealth Ave. but had not had the time to try out a class at their gorgeous new space on Arlington St.  I was excited to see that they had a “celebrity chef” series with well-known Boston area chefs taking charge of the classes.  I was of course immediately drawn to the class entitled Edible Exposure: Food and Photography with Michael Scelfo.  Not only did I want to learn more about food and photography, but Michael Scelfo is the owner and chef at one of my favorite local restaurants, Alden and Harlow, nominated for one of Bon Appetit’s best new restaurants of 2014.  I immediately signed up and was lucky to get a spot in this intimate class for 12.

The class started on a Tuesday evening at 6PM and we were greeted by representatives from 90+ Cellars wine who immediately poured us glasses of wine, picked especially for this dinner.  Once we were settled in (and slightly more relaxed), Michael gave a brief overview of food photography.  The class was geared towards using an iPhone (or smart phone) and various iPhone apps to edit the photos.  I, of course, couldn’t resist bringing my new “toy” (Nikon D5300) but learned a lot about different apps that can be used to edit the photos. I was pretty impressed that he does all the photography and editing that he posts on social media himself (Twitter: @mscelfo, @aldenharlow; Instagram: @mscelfo, @aldenharlow)- he takes some amazing food photos!

He then introduced his 2 sous chefs that he brought along to make our dinner that night.

On the menu:

I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t actually get to make any of the dishes (or at least get the recipes!), but it would have been an ambitious feat for a 3 hour class.  Plus, how can you complain about a private dinner and photography lesson (with wine) from Michael Scelfo?

The first dish was the spicy shishito peppers…and spicy they were!  Normally 1 in 10 peppers are spicy but I got “lucky” and at least 75% of mine were hot!!!!  For this photo with lots of shades of green, he showed us how to improve it’s appearance by turning down the “warmth” feature in Instagram. Decreasing the warmth brought in more blue tones to deepen the green color.

The next course was the charred broccoli with squash hummus.

This may have been my favorite dish of the night.  (My next mission will be to try to recreate that hummus!)  With this dish, he showed us how to use the app “color splash” which allows you to highlight one or two colors in a photo while leaving the rest black and white to really emphasize the main focus of the photo (in this case the food).

(photo courtesy of Michael Scelfo)

The final dish was the trenne pasta (a triangle shaped penne type pasta), a new menu item at Alden and Harlow.  The pasta was perfectly cooked and paired with guanciale, cherry tomatoes and finally anchovy crumbs for a texture contrast and umami type flavor.  This dish was full of color and therefore perfect for photos.  After taking photos of this final course, he showed us how to use the app “pic frame” to create a collage of the night’s dishes (see above).

Overall, this was a super fun (and tasty) class full of great food and helpful photo tips.  I can’t wait to try them out for my blog photos…and to return to Alden and Harlow for the amazing food!