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Lime, Basil, and Mandarin Salad

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Food and Light 2011

I have written the first sentence of this post at least 20 times in the last four days. There is so much to say about the Food and Light Workshop. Yes, I learned practical skills that I will take home and hopefully improve the photos for this blog. Those skills were the whole point of attending the workshop. Yet, somehow when I look back on those two days last week, it is not the skills I remember. Yes, I do remember them too (I don't want my instructors to panic).
What I really learned from this workshop is why I blog. I have always known that my favorite part of the process in creating a blog post is the photography. I love setting up the scene on my kitchen table and trying to find the light. The big thing I learned recently and it was reinforced is that back lighting and side lighting are beautiful for food photography. Somewhere a long time ago I had learned that back lighting was a bad thing and so I had always avoided it until recently. I was able to rent a Canon 60D camera from Pro-Photo Rental in Boulder. The workshop provided great instruction on how to use it, not to mention tons of props and fun food items to photograph donated from Robin Chocolates, Whole Foods Market Boulder, and Helliemae's Salt Caramels. I loved that I was there just to work on my photography. I wasn't thinking about what I was going to write about or how the recipe would turn out. It was just me and the camera, and for the first time in a long time I lost myself in that creative Zen I used to find when I was a painting. Hours felt like minutes and I tuned everything else out. It felt wonderful to be unleashed with great tools and instruction.
The second thing I realized is that the reason I blog is for the community. The food blogging community is a group of people that overall is so kind and sharing. People are willing to help each other out. There is nothing better than sitting down with a group of food bloggers and discussing all the geeky food related things we all love to talk about. Topics at lunch and dinner raged the gamut of favorite food bloggers to social media, and personal stories about children and dogs. We all had so many connections, so many stories to share. Learning how so many people from all corners of the globe were able to come together in this one place is probably the most fascinating part of the experience. I was nearly teary eyed (ok, I was teary eyed) when Diane shared the story of her journey to food photography. There is nothing I find more exciting than being around people who have a true passion for what they do.
In addition to the Food Blogger community, this space has also connected me to my local Fairbanks and Alaska community. I have "met" so many of you because of this blog. It would have taken me years, or maybe even longer to find the connections I have with so many of you. It is one of the things I realized in the last week. Although I am still humbled and a bit embarrassed when recognized at the Farmers Market or worst of all with my hair tied up and wearing a frumpy sweatshirt in Fred Meyer. I'm thrilled when you do approach and introduce yourselves and ask me what I am making with the stuff in my shopping cart. I'd just appreciate you not tell anyone else about my weakness for Lay's potato chips, thanks.
In the end I learned a lot about photography, but even more about myself. I can't thank the wonderful instructors enough for such a well planned and informative workshop. If you ever get an opportunity to take a workshop with any one of them, I highly recommend it. You can find them here:
Jen Yu- Use Real Butter
Matt Wright- Wright Food
Todd Porter and Diane Cu- White on Rice Couple


  1. while the recipes with a distinctly sub-Arctic flair are appreciated, it is your stunning photos and food stylings that I find most mesmerizing…thanks for sharing your work.

  2. Nicole: I'm an old classmate and life friend of your Mom's. I had chance to visit her a few weeks ago when I was in Mohawk. She told me about this web blog of yours..It's just remarkable. These photos need to be in the gourmet magazines!
    Patsy Gariepy Israel

  3. Next time you're at the Farmer's Market on a Saturday, stop by and introduce yourself. I'm right across from the food... of course. You don't have to dress up!
    Nice photos. I need to work on that for my jewelry and beads.
    xoxo Kim

  4. This is an excellent post. It is always a good thing to reflect on who and why we blog...

    Greetings. This is my first time on your blog, but you have a terrific one. I am always on the look out for new blogs, new ideas. I especially appreciate all the details you d0. Great photos makes it seem like anyone can replicate the recipe!

    I am asking, would you please consider posting a few of your favorite recipes on

    It is a tool for bloggers to see and to be seen. Your posts would fit in perfectly.

    in addition, all photos, recipe titles as well as your blog name would link directly back to your blog. Thus giving you new attention and potentially new readers.

    Or, if you just want to take a look at a lot of fellow food bloggers all in one place. A great learning experience to get ideas about how to establish your own blogging voice!

    Please take a look. If you have any ideas or questions, please do not hesitate to write


  5. You are so blessed to have attended the Food and Light workshop. Already, I see changes in your photos. What a great experience for you! And I totally hear you on trying to "find the light."

  6. These are beautiful photos. I've enjoyed hearing and reading so much about this workshop in Colorado. I would love to attend something like this.


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