Friday, November 28, 2014

Holga Love --- Old School

If you knew me back in college (Brooks, holla), you have probably seen these images before. I was lucky enough to have a few end up in the permanent collection at Brooks' permanent collection-Gallery 22. However, shortly after I graduated, I took some really bad advice from some people in the industry and removed my fine art work from my professional website. "It doesn't flow", they said. "You have to show people you are really good at one or two commercial things, and that's it", others said. In hindsight I say that it was bad advice because I can't tell you how many art directors, editors, clients, and other photography enthusiasts have specifically asked if I do any fine art work and mentioned how much they value seeing a commercial photographer's creative side.

So, after hearing this request for the tenth time, I dug out all my old negatives, borrowed a flatbed scanner, and have been held up in my apartment re-scanning those images to go back up on my website and eventually to be sold as prints on Etsy and Alamy. Hopefully the undertaking is worth it. Hopefully you find your own truth and meaning in these images the way that I find my own in them.

They are perfectly imperfect to me. I spend so much time trying to make things perfect in the commercial world, and I love my Holga because it encourages happy accidents, mistakes, and sheer luck. Shooting film with this little plastic camera (that most people stop and ask me if it is a freaking Fisher Price toy) is the most freeing and rewarding thing I can do for my photography soul. It gives me so much joy to just let go and let things happen. To go back to the basics. To have extremely few controls over my camera, and just make the most of it. Because it's just a giant metaphor for life in my eyes. We have very little control over the cards we are dealt, but we can still use them to create something beautiful.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Holga Love --- Wisconsin Style

Okay, I lied. One more post about Wisconsin. This time its through the eyes of my favorite thing: a plastic toy film camera called a Holga.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Osthoff Lake Resort and Spa

The last leg of the trip was a scenic drive from central Wisconsin over to Elkhart Lake, a small resort town located toward the east side of the state. While my stay was short, this little town and the Osthoff Resort itself was nothing short of magical. The scenery, the colors, the charm. Everything was picture perfect, and I cannot wait to come back.

The Aspira Spa

This is the kind of spa you'd expect to find in big name resort towns like Palm Springs, Miami, and Sedona. But this hidden gem is tucked away unassumingly in Wisconsin. The facilities, range of treatments, and staff are all top notch. I was thoroughly impressed and lucky enough to enjoy a cranberry inspired pedicure and a divine back massage. You can find out more about this wonderful slice of Heaven here.

Osthoff Resort

Postcard, anyone? This resort has so much history behind it which only adds to its charm. Not to mention it is lake front and the perfect place to take a memorable nature walk. And although I don't have a picture of it, the beds in the room were how everyone hopes their vacation bed would feel.

Star trails at Elkhart Lake

This night was the ultimate set up for star trails: clear skies, no wind, barely any light pollution, and only a sliver of a moon in the night sky. These may not be my favorite star trail images I've ever created in a technical sense, but I definitely created my favorite memories of the trip while doing these star trails. Let's just say it involved a group of new friends, a golf course, and a really bad bottle of cranberry wine.

Thank you so very much to the generosity of the infamous and wonderful Lola of the Osthoff Resort, the Aspira Spa for letting me capture images of your wonderful services when it is normally not allowed, and Geiger PR for making it all happen in the first place!

Monday, November 10, 2014

L'ecole de la Maison Cooking School

Our group was lucky enough to experience a French cooking class at the L'ecole de la Maison inside of the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The cooking theme? Cranberries of course.

The highlight for me was learning how to make those fancy Parmesan crisps molded into cool shapes. I had no idea it was so easy! The school was nice enough to give us the complete recipes for every dish we made, however I just sprinkled a few throughout the post.

Bon appetit!

Fennel, Cranberry and Orange Salad with Parmesan Crisp
fennel fronds
fennel, fine julienne

Fennel mixed with dried cranberries

Parmesan- Walnut Crisp
2 cups       Parmesan Reggiano, finely shredded
To Taste    black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 cup      finely chopped walnuts
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. prepare sheet pan with parchment paper, brush lightly with olive oil
3. use a ring cutter or cookie cutter as a template to evenly divide the cheese into (12) 4 inch circles
4. bake to a rich golden color (5-7 mins)
5. remove from oven and quickly remove from the pan with spatula and mold on rolling pin or other item to shape as desired
6. cool completely before removing
Here's how to make those fancy shaped Parmesan crisps!

Finished dish

Fougasse (bread) with Cranberry, Rosemary, and Walnuts

 Rainbow Swiss Chard with Cranberries and Toasted Pine Nuts
Separating the chard leaves from the stems

Salmon En Papillote with Tarragon Mustard Butter and Cranberry Apple Compote

Tarragon and Mustard Butter
4 oz. butter, unsalted, softened
3 T   fresh tarragon, chopped
1 T   chives, sliced
1 T   fennel fronds
3 T   whole grain mustard

Topping the salmon fillets with the tarragon butter

Wrap the salmon inside a heart shaped parchment pouch to cook in
Apple Cranberry Compote
3 each    apple, peeled, cored, and diced small
4 oz        fresh cranberries
1 cup      dry white or rose wine
4 T         maple syrup
1/2 cup  water
pinch     sea salt

Finished salmon en papillote plated with swiss chard and cheddar polent

 Crepe Suzettes with Cranberries

Boil fresh cranberries until they burst and gel

Flambe crepes with cognac and Grand Marnier

Thank you so much to Chef, his assistants, the lovely Lola, and Geiger PR for making this experience possible!

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