National Culinary Review: Food Photography

Just saw the cover for this July’s issue of the National Culinary Review magazine and am loving how they used my shot of Tim Bando’s oysters at Grove Hill in Chagrin Falls. Chatted with writer Jody Shee for a really nice piece about food photography for chefs and restaurant operators for this issue. I love my job so very much…

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Ice Fishing

Two summers ago at the Edible Cleveland release party at Platform Beer, writer, Dan Scharf, and publisher, Noelle Celeste and I were talking about the Lake Erie Shores and Islands area and feeling all warm and cozy like winter would never actually arrive again. We decided that we should totally go ice fishing if Lake Erie ever froze again like it had the previous winter. Sounded like fun and it wasn’t entirely realistic to think that this would ever happen, so we agreed that, sure! that would be such a great story and a lot of fun.

A few months later, we were monitoring the thickening ice on Lake Erie and the crazy winter weather was happening again. And we were picking dates and researching guides and figuring out the casual unstructured process of flying from Erie-Ottawa International Airport to South Bass Island. Here’s the actual story that appeared in the Winter 2015 Edible Cleveland, written by Dan and photographed by me: http://ediblecleveland.com/stories/winter-2016/landing-fish-on-lake-erie

Ten of us met at the Orchard restaurant on Catawba Island, 90 miles west of Cleveland, for dinner on a Friday night in late February 2015. The group was made up of Dan and his (now) wife, Anne, my husband and two teenagers plus a friend, our longtime friend, avid outdoorsman John Hofstetter, and Fresh Fork Market‘s Trevor Clatterbuck and his partner, Allison. (As a little random aside, I’d like to mention that I really love ice cream. For example, my kids enjoy questions like, “If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be??” My reply is most likely going to be, “Ice cream.” So Anne is the kitchen manager at Mitchell’s Ice Cream in Ohio City and Trevor supplies the milk to Mason’s Creamery in Ohio City. So guess what these fine folks brought to share that night after dinner?? So many delicious ice creams that night!!!! That was the greatest.)

Early the next morning in the dark and below zero temps, we all headed to the airport and stared boarding the tiny planes 2 and 4 at a time for the 15 minute flight to the Put-in-Bay airport. The expected bus (no vomiting allowed, btw) met us and took us to our much vaunted guide, Bud Gehring, and off we went, down the ice ramp on snowmobiles and a mile west onto Lake Erie to Bud’s little shantytown where we’d spend the day.

It was a bit unsettling to me, being out there on top of the lake all day. Much of it was covered in deep snow, but in some spots it was just black ice looking down into the depths of the lake. I kind of hated that, but decided not to think about it. The ice was 32″ deep and wouldn’t thaw for a long time. We were theoretically safe, but still…

Now the narrative slows to a crawl. Not a lot happens on the ice for 8 hours. The shanties were warm on that 0? day, sometimes even too warm. The fish were decidedly not biting, except for a couple of whoppers hauled in through the little holes by Anne and my daughter, Laurel. It was novice girl fishing day for sure. I had focused too much on my equipment and the shots I wanted to get and didn’t plan well at all for food and drink. With a good supply of food and drink, it would’ve been a whole different story. That probably can be said for most situations.

But it was pretty great all around. Certainly unique and memorable! I’d definitely recommend to anyone to give it a try. I know that everyone in our group would do it again, but who knows when that lake will freeze next (probably in August…).

Cheers all!

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Fishing Lures

We have a tiered cake or cookie stand, or something, I’m not so great with the formal etiquette of serving, but it’s currently on a table in the front hall with¬† fishing lures dangling from each of its levels. Not just any old fishing lures, but really old fishing lures that belonged to my husband’s grandfather and father from Michigan. We’ve had them since we moved to Ohio 20-some years ago and they’re pretty cool. So cool, in fact, that I spent a blissful part of a slow Saturday afternoon testing out a new lens on them.

Dennis’s grandfather would’ve used these in Pontiac, Portage, Pine, and West Twin lakes in Michigan, and used to take Dennis camping and fishing when he was just a little guy in the 70s. It’s really pretty great that his parents saved them for him and that we can enjoy them in a different way now. We’d never use them to fish with as we aren’t any better at fishing than we are with serving etiquette.

Once again, the lures will have their day in the sun. They’re ready for their peely-eyed, chipped and corroded close-ups.

 

 

Cheers, everyone!

K.

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Poppies

I’ve been neglecting the photos that I take for fun this year. That’s gotta change! Just now looked at some photos of the poppies that I took in May. The most gorgeous flowers, poppies. And to think that I nearly yanked them all out when we moved in because I thought they were weeds… Not good.

I present: one spring evening in Ohio with poppies.

Cheers, everyone!

k.

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Raising Lambs for the Geauga County Fair with Lily and Zane

Last summer, Edible Cleveland publisher Noelle Celeste mentioned a possible story on the Geauga County Fair and its Junior Fair Livestock Auction for this summer’s issue. She wanted to cover the fair from the perspective of one of the many NE Ohio kids who raise animals each year, knowing that they will be auctioned off, slaughtered, and eaten. We talked about raising animals ethically and responsibly and exploring what that meant to them.

The only issue was finding the kid. Neither Noelle nor I knew anyone involved in 4H, so we decided to ask around and see who we could find. That afternoon, I took my dogs to see our vet, Dr. Pam Chipps, in Novelty and noticed 4H photos of kids with hogs and cattle above the reception desk. I asked about them, and wouldn’t you know it, Dr. Chipps’ own kids, Lily and Zane, were raising lambs for the fair and were exactly the kids we were looking for!! Seeing as the fair was going to start just days later, it was a pretty good stroke of luck. Lily was immediately keen to participate and Zane agreed, if a bit reluctantly.

I spent the next week with the family, nearly every day, at their home in Geauga County and at the fairgrounds, documenting preparations and learning what all goes into raising a lamb for auction. A heck of a lot! You can read all about it in the new Edible Cleveland, in Kathy Ames Carr’s interview with Lily. It was certainly a new experience for me and a lot of fun. Included here are some outtakes from the story in the magazine. After a week of shooting, there are just so many! And the family was just the greatest to work with. It couldn’t have gone better.

Once again, I really have to say that through my work with Edible, it seems like I’m always getting to know good, hard-working people whose efforts make our community a better place in some big or small way. It’s such a totally excellent privilege.

A few more photos now. Thanks for reading! Anyone up for splitting a lamb with me this year?? Let me know. K.

 

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Grrrrrr Says the Tibby — Puppy in a Box

Almost 11 years ago my awesome brother Ben brought us a naughty little puppy in a box from Chicago. She turned out to be the best one of us all and has made our lives better every day since then. We lost her this week and will miss her forever.

Tibby had cancer and half of her foot amputated when she was two and then some chemo. It didn’t reappear till last spring, right around this time, and for that we’re pretty grateful.

Even after some close calls last May and the loss of one of her hind legs, she had another whole year to enjoy every moment of every day, which is what she was all about. No need for yoga class for the Tibby Doodle. She was all about living in the moment and celebrating the good things even when everything was not good. And everything has been not good for some time now. Yet no complaints from her — just a waggy tail and a big doggie smile.

Even on three legs, she hiked the trails and rivers of Ohio and the city of Chicago, and she made friends every single place she went. She adored seeing her friend Dr. Pam Chipps nearly every week since last fall, as she had more and more tumors removed.

Even on her last very short little walk in her favorite South Chagrin Reservation, just minutes before her life ended, she made two puppy friends and two people friends. A cheerier and more fearless soul I’ve never met.

My kids are now 17 and nearly 15 and they barely remember life without her. She started out almost as another sibling to fight with; she stole their hats and mittens and nipped at their behinds as they played in the leaves. She instigated a lot of squabbles and for the first year at least, they tattled on her like she was a kid. This was definitely exasperating back then, but of course now it’s all quite hilarious.

Tibby the Great, you were the very, very best. The most sassy and smartest dog we’ve ever known. We thank you for sharing your incredible spirit with us. We’ll love you forever and we’ll see you on the other side.

 

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Impermanence

A couple of months ago, my dear friend and former professor, Dan Levin, and I met over coffee and cold-pressed juice at Starbucks on Chagrin. Dan was in the process of curating a show at Heights Arts and had come across some new images that they felt should be included. The show’s title,¬† Impermanence, was meant to describe the way our cities change over time, and used a process called rephotographic survey to document the current state of spaces as compared with what they looked like many years ago. Dan had come across some old images taken in and around the city at the Cleveland Public Library and devised an assignment for one of his classes at Cuyahoga Community College. This got him thinking that more exploration and discussion could be a good thing and so the show was born.

I came into the picture when Dan was made aware of a bound book of photos sent to Heights Arts marketing director, Mary Ryan, 20 years ago. The photos are of her home in Shaker Heights, taken many years previously and sent by the son of the original owner (who must be quite thoughtful!). As in the city shots, I set up my shots to duplicate the perspective of the originals as closely as possible.

It’s fascinating to see both how the space has changed and how it has remained the same. Refrigerators are much larger now, for instance, partially blocking the view of the kitchen that could plainly be seen before. It’s probably obvious, but I will mention that the historical images are on the left of each of these diptychs.

Certainly the most interesting aspect of this project was to imagine all of the days in the lives of all of the people that had lived in the spaces that I photographed. My other interior was looking out the large kitchen window of a carriage house built in the 1800s in Cleveland Heights. Not even visible from the road, this little cottage has housed horses and certainly many different people, though its current occupant has lived there for over a decade and the two of us had the most delightful morning of tea, butter cookies, and conversation after I finished shooting.

The inclusion of these interior shots with the others being cityscapes or public building interiors added a new dimension to the show, taking viewers into the more intimate residential spaces where people lived and still live their lives from day to day. It was truly a joy spending time with each of the people that I met working on this project and I’m so grateful to them for letting me into their homes.

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A Spent Bloom, a Bit of Sparkle

Playing with a new lens that I bought last week. I’ve always wanted a proper macro lens and finally invested in one as I have a couple of new clients whose images will really benefit from it. Haven’t yet had a lot of time with it, but I did like these few results.

Cheers, all!

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NLOI Signing Day in Cleveland

Just finished posting to the Ginn Academy blog and thought I’d share a few of these joyful photos here as well. Yesterday was National Letter of Intent Signing Day, in case you somehow saw absolutely zero news reports throughout the day. Ginn is part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, so we had our own celebration with our THIRTEEN boys before we headed to the district ceremony. Thirteen of our boys signed their letters to play football on scholarship at schools all over the country. Thirteen is a lot from one school.

I personally just adore Signing Day. It was one of the first events that I attended when I started working with the folks at Ginn. I barely knew anyone, yet still sat there surrounded by these joyful grateful people feeling so proud of the kids. It’s just pure happiness and that’s awesome to see. And lucky you, I’m going to share that happiness here. Soak it up and then send some good energy out to the next batch of kids working hard right now to achieve this next year.

 

And then Coach Chinchar and Coach Stretar folded up all the jerseys and that was that.

Congratulations to all of these kids! The odds are not in their favor and they’re succeeding anyway. That’s just one of the greatest things I know.

 

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Bird Fight

Just finally looking through some of the too many photos I took over Christmas holiday on Grand Cayman. This is what’s pretty great about being on holiday — you notice bird fights and might even happen to have a camera handy and can just stand in the warm sand and take photos of the strange thing happening straight above.

 

And off they flew…

Cheers!

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