When Cammie from Epicure Catering reached out to me asking if I would be available to photograph this dinner it was truly an honor. The Birds of a Feather dinner began last year and the idea is to celebrate women in the food and beverage industry in Traverse City. So female chefs, servers, bartenders, designers, managers, and more come together to put on a multi-course menu for 60+ guests. The dinner was hosted at one of my very favorite TC spots, The Little Fleet. The menu featured a passed appetizer from Katy Viswat of 7 Monks, an appetizer course from Kristen Karam of K2 Edibles, a salad course from Becky Tranchell of Rose & Fern Cafe, the main course by the season 16 winner of Hell’s Kitchen, Kim Ryan, and the dessert course by Becca Snook of Alliance. Unique cocktails were created by a number of female bartenders, staff members, and owners of local restaurants. The design concept and decor came to life thanks to Darling Botanical and the entire event was supported by a number of other amazing hardworking women. A portion of the proceeds even went to the Women’s Resource Center. It was truly a pleasure to be a part of this event. Stay connected via a new FB group for Northern Michigan Women in Hospitality.
If you are really, really, lucky you will have a couple friends who have been there for your whole life. Who you played power rangers with. Who you spent months with in the summer living out of your bathing suits and throwing fishing lines over the side of old pontoon boats. They grew up with you and witnessed your adolescent shenanigans and still love you. They aggressively rooted for college sports with you. And then when everyone had graduated from college and moved onto other adventures, and moved long distances, there was always that phone call, that random text, that email, just checking in. I’m so so grateful to have a couple of these people in my life, and now we’re all “grown up” and either married or about to be married.
Even though we don’t always see each other as much as we might like, when we are together it’s pretty special. Last Summer we found one weekend that worked for all of our schedules. We went camping and made meals over the fire. We passed around bottles of beer and bubbly. We ate snacks on the beach and fell asleep in the sand. I almost got hit in the face with a frisbee - instead I ended up with a welt on my collarbone. We all laughed so hard we cried. We took a kayak out into Lake Michigan and the early Summer water was crystal clear. We watched the sunset and then made our way back to the fire. The best part? We were unplugged. If you only have a couple days out of the year to spend uninterrupted with some of your favorite people, I highly, highly, recommend doing something like this. Find a place where your phones don’t work - it will be great.
When my friend Julie became a mom she was looking for quick, healthy, meal options that didn’t contain any artificial sweeteners or additives. She began making smoothies and pretty soon the idea for her amazing company, The Purple Beet, was born. Now, alongside her husband Ryan and two sweet kiddos, Julie offers smoothie packages that contain only real ingredients. All you have to do is blend them with one cup of a liquid of your choice and that’s it. And there is no ice required because the packages come to you frozen! You can sign up for a smoothie subscription on the website! So when Julie asked me about collaborating with her I was super excited. I get to play with fruits and vegetables and sample 8 different smoothie flavors?! Yes please. We brainstormed the look we were going for, Julie & Ryan created a custom backdrop for this shoot, and then we spent hours carefully styling the ingredients that go into each smoothie recipe. It was so bright and colorful and I always love playing with food ;)
My friend Julie is building a really amazing business - with the help of her whole family ;) The Purple Beet is a company built to make sure you have quick, easy and healthy food options ready to go at a moments notice. I am especially excited about her new smoothie subscription service that allows you to select your favorite smoothie flavors and have them delivered to your door. Keep them in the freezer until you are ready to go. I can’t wait to make this a part of my routine and you should definitely check it out. We’ll be working with Julie and her family again in the coming months and I can’t wait to share more!
I had the great pleasure of collaborating with Taste the Local Difference and Happy's Tacos for this year's Guide to Local Food in Northern Michigan! Happy's Tacos creates their own hot sauces using locally grown peppers when available and the rainbow of colors created such a fun set to style and shoot. Here's a look behind the scenes.
The Gather Series is one of my favorite little slices of Summer. A lavender farm in Northern Michigan, a table full of smiling people, an amazing carefully crafted multi-course meal, and of course wine. Sweetwater Lavender Farm is a magical spot and I feel so lucky every time I get to hang out there. The fantastic vendors for this meal include: Petoskey Cheese, Bear Creek Organic Farm, D&M Design Co., S2S, The Bow Tie Baker. Soak in some Summer vibes....
These two are getting married in Northern Michigan next year, but live in Chicago, so we took advantage of our travel schedule to explore some of their favorite local spots! We began the session at The Oyster Bah, one of their favorite places to grab drinks and - of course - oysters. I absolutely loved this, because it's a meaningful location for them and gave us such a unique setting for photos! Cheers to Megan & Evan - can't wait for next year!!
We've been a bit absent from the blog for a while! That tends to happen as we wrap up our wedding season and move into a different phase of our work... this Winter we have stayed pretty dang busy though! We're communicating with 2017 and 2018 clients, wrapping up our remaining videography projects of 2016, creating new pieces of artwork, painting and organizing our home/office/studio spaces, generally scheming about the future, and working on editorial projects! For this particular project in the February issue of Traverse Magazine, I had the great opportunity to photograph dishes by Chef Myles Anton of Trattoria Stella (which just happened to be named the most romantic restaurant in Michigan by USA Today). I wanted to share the magazine spreads as well as a few outtakes. There's nothing like cooking in cast iron in the cold months - yum.
One of the reasons I am so inspired by living in Northern Michigan is the sense of possibility. There is a freedom here to make big dreams happen, to live the lifestyle you want. Our friends Kalin and Matt have taken huge steps to do exactly that. To build the life they want for themselves. With no previous farming experience, but lots of research, support from each other and their community, love for Northern Michigan, and big dreams, they bought a beautiful piece of land just outside of downtown Petoskey. This past Saturday they planted their first field of lavender with three different varieties and Sweetwater Lavender Farm was born. Instead of hiding their dreams from the world, they turned this first day of planting into a Planting Party, inviting friends and neighbors to help out for as much, or as little time as they chose. In return, they provided breakfast, lunch, beer, bubbly, and gift favors of lavender bath salts. It was so amazing to see so many people come together to spend a day outdoors lending a hand to help two very deserving, awesome people. At the beginning of the day Michael and I focused on shooting video and time lapse of the majority of the field being planted. We will share that footage later, but below are some stills I took later in the evening as the light turned golden and Kalin and Matt were able to put the last few plants in the ground. Afterwards, a number of close friends stuck around to hang out, play lawn games, and eat dinner by the campfire. I'm so happy to call Kalin and Matt friends and I can't wait to watch all of this beautiful lavender grow over the years! Cheers!
If you want to learn more about Sweetwater Lavender Farm, I would highly recommend following Kalin's blog and Facebook page. Here is one of my absolute favorite posts. And, Brides! Kalin is an amazing floral designer! Her studio for Stems & Sprigs, is also located on the property and she does amazing work.
Oh we are livin' it up in Northern Michigan these days. We have to savor every last drop of warm weather while we savor our wine, whiskey, beer and margaritas. Our friends at The Little Fleet asked us to do a relaxed summer shoot (you can check out our winter one, here). We had a ton of fun photographing one of our absolute favorite hang out spots - at any time of year! If you are in TC, The Little Fleet is a must visit. Cheers! And special thanks to our awesome friends who came out and allowed us to photograph them!
On Easter this year I headed up to Northport to visit Idyll Farms with my friend Carla and her kids. Cats were roaming the farm, chickens approached us with a curious interest and we were even allowed to pet a very new baby goat. On the drive back to Traverse, the ice was leaving the bay and everything was starting to turn just a touch greener. That evening Mike and I enjoyed an amazing happy hour spread including prosciutto, triple cream brie and dried cherries. Now a few weeks have past and there is even more sun. Yes, Spring has sprung and we are looking forward to everything this new season has in store. Enjoy your Sunday folks!
Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE photographing bars? Especially THIS one. Mike and I love The Little Fleet. They always have something fun going on, whether it's the food trucks, live music, DJ's, sparklers at midnight on New Year's, Indian takeout food from The Cook's House, arts and crafts events, and the list goes on & on... So I was super excited when they asked me to help them create new images of their space. For this shoot, we focused on the interior of the bar and cocktails, but come summertime you can expect more shots of the awesome indoor/outdoor concept and all the fantastic food truck eats!
A year ago we started working with Paddle Hard Brewing, helping them create and refine a logo, produce a video for their Indiegogo fundraising campaign, and photograph the build out in progress. Paddle Hard is officially open for business and has been featured on MyNorth.com.
Here is the link to the article! Check it out and head on over to Paddle Hard Brewing for great eats and beer! More photos from the finished space are in the works, so stay tuned.
Playing a little catch up here on the blog! Rachel of Sincerely Ginger Weddings and Events asked me to photograph her summer intern dinner in Suttons Bay at 9 Bean Rows. Fabulous ladies, amazing food, gorgeous night, so so fun. If you are in need of a planner I would highly recommend Rachel. If you would like to see Rachel's post about the evening, check it out here.
Last week I worked with Meagan of McLain Designs to photograph a recent kitchen remodeling project. The owner wanted to retain some of the older features of the kitchen, including the 20+ year old cabinets, but update the counters, cooktop and backsplash. Meagan also designed a very cool kitchen island with a removable butcher block insert. You will likely see more of these projects here in the future, stay tuned!
I have spent my whole life around water, growing up on a lake in Northern Michigan and learning to scuba dive at age 13. But until I moved to California, I had never seen the Pacific Ocean. There is definitely something different about the Pacific in Northern California. The cold water, and the dramatic way the land just kind of ends, dropping off into a huge expanse. There are also interesting areas where the ocean meets the land, and merges with freshwater. Tomales Bay is one of those places, and it happens to be a great place to farm oysters. I could never get behind the whole raw oyster thing as a kid - even though my dad loved them - but as an adult living in the bay area and working at Fish. restaurant, it was only normal that I give them another shot. Needless to say, by the time Mike and I moved back to Michigan I had developed a love of oysters - raw, barbecued, and fried - and I know they will be some of the first things on my plate during our next visit.
Before we left, I worked on a piece in Edible Marin & Wine Country with writer Maria Finn to tell the story of Hog Island Oyster Company and their efforts to raise awareness about water quality and ocean acidification. The company is truly one to admire; family owned, with a huge fan base, and an expanding garden to supply the need for greens at their oyster bar in the SF ferry building and Napa restaurant. For their 30th anniversary they released limited edition oyster shucking knives, t-shirts, and a special Hog Island Oyster Wine. Continuing to do great things, John Finger and Terry Sawyer lead the way, aided by their children, wives, and good friends to build a business that celebrates a truly regional cuisine and advocates for sustainability and environmental stewardship. Cheers to Hog Island - Live to Shuck, Shuck to Live.
To read Maria's article online, check out the link here.
I've had the pleasure of working with Francesco Torre since my days at Fish. Restaurant in Sausalito. Francesco opened his restaurant, Canneti Roadhouse Italiana, in Forestville, CA with so much heart and hard work. Canneti prides itself on using the freshest local ingredients available to create a unique blend of Tuscan and Californian cuisine. Each dish is so thoughtfully crafted, delicious, and visually beautiful. This was a fantastic project to work on - in addition to photographing the restaurant, I also built Canneti's website. Check it out to learn more, and if you find yourself in Northern California make sure you stop in.
"Canneti is the name of a road I used to walk to go from my parents' house to elementary school. I had a dream for a very long time, and when I moved to California years ago, I named that dream Canneti. Here it is alive with its custom made rustic tables and stools, refinished wood counters and a Tuscan Country flair. My cucina is a mix of many experiences, from a Relais & Chateaux two Michelin starred restaurant to a simple Tuscan Trattoria, a Louisiana Church BBQ to Long Island country style. As Canneti came to life, I made the decision to offer just what I experienced myself in the first place. So you will find just Tuscan and local wines in the wine list, and you will hear a true story behind every dish and decor decision".
The Summer 2013 issue of Edible Marin and Wine Country just came out, and I had the pleasure of photographing Justin Everett of Cavallo Point. In this issue, Justin has been featured as the Chef for the "Escoffier Questionnaire". I have more work in this issue, that I will be posting about very soon! In the meantime, you can read the digital version of this issue here.
At the end of March, Mike and I headed to Fayetteville, GA, right outside Atlanta, to visit my aunt and her family. My parents drove down from Michigan - bringing numerous pounds of Kowalski kielbasa with them - and together we had a crazy weekend that I have dubbed Kielbasa Fest 2013. A healthy amount of family and an unhealthy amount of food and alcohol. Night One - beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, and salad with an apple bread pudding concoction for dessert. Night Two - kielbasa, kraut, and cheesy potatoes. Day Three: homemade pierogi. Ok and I can't forget Aunt Gloria's ambrosia salad... as she was making it, she claimed that she would be the only one eating it, but in reality everyone found themselves digging in after the drinking started. We even filled a couple pierogi with it to create a bizarre dessert pierogi when we ran out of regular filling. The majority of the weekend was spent outside on the back deck with music playing.
I shot one roll of Ilford HP5 Plus on my Pentax K1000 - unfortunately I ran out of film by the time we got to the pierogi-making, so I am hoping to recreate a bit of that for you this summer. I don't know what it is, but I am loving shooting film. I think shooting film is also rejuvenating my excitement for photographing family events, and all of the normal, everyday moments that sometimes you can take for granted. There was even something serendipitous about picking up the film... as the woman behind the counter found my film she said, "oh, Mee-hall-eek, that's a Polish name!".
I am so excited to officially post my first cover! I have already posted this on facebook and instagram, but a couple shots need to make it to the blog as well. I have more work inside the magazine, which you can check out here. Iphone and Ipad apps are now available for Edible as well. Additional dairy farming work is in my portfolio here. And, special thanks to Gibson Thomas of Edible and Valley Ford Cheese Company!
A little shout out to my family for being my biggest fans, and especially my Aunt Alison who has always loved cows.
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