Mar 31, 2011

Ok, i'm obsessed

This is a seriously overkill post, but I'm going ahead with it anyway. Remember the behind the scenes post a few days ago? Well, I almost forgot I shot that gorgeous bouquet in THREE different films. I thought this post would be a fun look at the nature of a few films - the Fuji Provia 100f, Kodak Portra 400NC (discontinued) and the Kodak Portra 400. Plus this bouquet was so insanely pretty it made my life easy. I'd liken it to a fashion photographer shooting an experienced, beautiful model. This bouquet could do no wrong (ok with the minor exception that it's hard to properly expose the super light pink flowers and the rest of the scene properly).

Just a note that I will sometimes do some in-scanner color adjustments but other than that, I don't touch much in Photoshop except cleaning the million specks of dust and maybe bumping the black levels a smidgen.

Below is the Provia, a slide film I tried for the first time this past weekend and gushed over in the last two posts. In print film, it's pretty hard to get harsh blown-out highlights, but you can see in these first two that there definitely are some blown out bits and there is little hope in recovering them. I love the overall dreamy feel of this film though. And if I didn't see the results with the Kodak, I would say I liked the colors here.

But then below, we have the ever lovely Portra NC and I can't get over the colors in this. I mean I don't even think they look this nice in real life. This film did something seriously magical here and I love the shades of green it brought out. This third picture just screams "spring," doesn't it? I'm sad this film is being replaced because I really do love the results I've gotten from it from the Contax as well as my 35mm.

I do, of course, give the new Portra (below) credit for being able to handle some extreme under- and overexposing. In these first two shots, I still had the camera rated for ISO 100 from the Provia (ah, rookie mistake!) and exposed properly for that, but scanned properly, they don't look too badly overexposed at all. The colors aren't as rich as they could be, but this probably would have looked horrendous on digital. And then the last few here were a bit underexposed. The color range is pretty crazy.

While I do like these deep jewel tones, overall the Portra NC feels most like my style. What do you guys think?

In a way I feel like I can't take full credit for these because really, the Contax, the film and the subject did all the work. :D

Mar 30, 2011

More provia, coffee + ice cream

Not much time for a long commentary tonight but here are a few more shots from that roll of Provia 100f. I get the sense that slide film looks more "filmy" in a way. And to answer a comment on the last post, you don't need a projector to view these. All you really need is some sort of lit white background to hold the slide against (a computer screen works just great). I scan them just like my normal negatives and tell my scanner that it's positive film so it knows what to do with them.

I love coming across the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck. That characteristic shade of mellow banana yellow is recognizable anywhere. Even though it was quite chilly that day, I rebelled against the weather with an affogato, choosing hazelnut ice cream for the base. Though, I quickly sought indoor warmth after that.

Love their stamped cups!

Mar 29, 2011

Abraço on fuji provia

Slide film is wicked cool. And it's extra cool on medium format because each exposure is a pretty sizable little picture ready to be viewed with the help of a lit white background. Note, by cool I mean 'awesome.' No one would seriously wonder which definition I meant, but I was chatting a certain someone earlier about how "cool" the Provia results were, and what followed went something like this:

J: As in high white balance temperature
Or in a good way?
A: X_X
J: That's a legitimate question!

So I figured I'd clarify.

I guess the problem with slide film is you have a lot less room to screw up. If you overexpose, that's no bueno. If you underexpose, that's no bueno either. There's much more freedom with print film. Oh yeah, and slide film costs more to develop. Oh well, I still think the results are neat and really want to try the Provia 400x (these results are from the Provia 100f). I've got some Astia in the Contax right now so I have that to look forward to for now.

I don't need to explain Abraço and my addiction, right? :)

Mar 28, 2011

"Not very good"

Dinner at Graffit (not to be confused with Graffiti) two weekends ago was OK for me, and "not very good" for Jimmy (mystery man's name revealed!). I had somewhat high hopes for the place because the menu looked promising and the descriptions really sounded great. Instead, we felt the dishes didn't quite live up to their descriptions and something was just off with the execution. I found myself taking a bite and thinking, "HUM interesting... " and not necessarily in that good way. I was also disappointed the tapas menu is not served in the dining room and only reserved for the bar area. Since this place is up there in the Upper West, I doubt we'll return.

I asked to be seated in the garden area to catch the wee bit of daylight left, but later the lighting was a mess, and these pictures required adjustments up the wazoo. (How did I ever get away with shooting in JPEG only?! Oh right, I did with horrible white balance and exposure on all my restaurant shots, ugh.) The white balance is still inconsistent in these but I did what I could.

Also, this cushioned seating (in the first picture) is deceptively uncomfortable - those buttons are intense and jabbed at me all night!

Out of the six appetizers we shared, I thought the pumpkin soup and fake truffles (some kind of falafel thing) were pretty tasty but the others were unmemorable. Ah well, I did want to like this place.

Mar 27, 2011


Yech, not much to post from this weekend. I'm feeling swamped with all sorts of work and falling behind on my goals, and it's making it hard to go out and really shoot for fun. I had been hoping to pay the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens a visit this weekend but not in this chilly weather! Below is the only real shooting I did today - this particular bouquet of calla lilies, tulips, hydrangeas, some other delicate pink thing (don't know its name), and ranunculuses is by far the prettiest I have ever seen, and I shot at least a roll and a half of film on it. I hope I'll have some film goods to share soon. In the meantime, here's a bit of a teaser.

Can't believe I had to bring out the winter boots again... I thought we were through with this dammit.

Mar 25, 2011

Kajitsu's hana menu

Ah, below is the reason for my absence from blogging yesterday. Four of us started dinner a little after 9 at Kajitsu, an austere and soothing little space in the East Village serving Shojin cuisine, and ended up closing the place down. Everything felt very healthy and wholesome. They do what they do very well, but as it is all vegetarian (and probably mostly vegan), it's probably not something I'll necessarily crave or put at the top of my list when hunger strikes.

Shots from the eight-course hana menu:

This place used beautiful glassware and exquisite dinnerware. I was definitely admiring the water glasses which are super light/thin and apparently imported from Japan.

I did appreciate that I was not painfully stuffed after this meal. I would happily take a vegetarian friend here.

Happy Friday, finally!

Mar 23, 2011

This weather can't make up its mind

So it was maybe 80 degrees last Friday and it's currently 34 and hailing and storming. Did it not just turn officially Spring a few days ago?? Did we not get enough snow this winter? Hmmmmm? Well, this picture from Portland that I have yet to share felt appropriate.

Click for a larger size. I love the amount of detail you can get on medium format film. I feel like you can almost see individual tree branches and monkey bars in the playground in the distance! I think I've only been sledding once in my entire life and it was on a flimsy "sled" that my friends and I fabricated out of the plastic lids of storage containers. It was still fun.

Mar 22, 2011

Hotel griffou

I've been slacking on posting dinners because I feel like it can get a bit redundant and it's not as exciting for me or you guys anymore... like it's just, "oh there's Alice being a fatass again." But I definitely wanted to share these shots from Hotel Griffou from a dinner a few weeks ago and a Sunday brunch a little over a week ago. The chef here is one of the nicest people you can meet and hasn't had a day off all year. I wish him great success. :)

Pictured below is a "Strange Love" cocktail, amuse (forgot what was in this soup; ah this is what happens when it takes me two weeks to get my act together), jonah crab salad, seared scallops, poached egg, halibut, tuna bolognese, lamb (shoulder?), lemon cheesecake, and chocolate hazelnut brioche pudding. A rich meal to say the least.

I then found myself back here a few days later with these girls for a very late brunch (well, maybe not by NYC standards). Below is just a sampling of what was consumed that afternoon - piri piri shrimp, shrimp turnovers, and cod fritters. My burger, which was topped with pork and eggs, was particularly decadent.

I skipped out on the Hotel Griffou lamb dinner last night (because I needed a break from eating out and because I'm just not a die-hard fan of lamb), but I heard I missed out on a great time! Clearly, I need to make more stomach space...

Mar 21, 2011

Sunday's venturings

Yesterday, we found ourselves veering off to the Lower East Side while walking from the East Village to the Financial District. I was hoping to pick up some free macarons from Macaron day but got turned off by the lines and distracted by other sweet things, like gelato. I've always wanted to try il laboratorio del gelato but for some reason or another, never got around to it. The Ludlow street location looks like a squeaky clean and shiny well... laboratory.

This is also probably the first time since last August that I've used the 24-70 for personal work. It's a fantastic lens but doesn't get a lot of love from me, because it's heavy, large, and slow (erm, though that last point is arguable).

Yet another distraction from macarons was the super cool "Single Fare 2: Please Swipe Again" exhibit at Sloan Fine Art. I first learned of the exhibit from the ever-so talented Jelaine, whose charming little Buddha painting was the first one we saw there. Below is just a quick glimpse of some of the highlights.

A good number were already sold by the time we went! I can see why, though, as some were really outstanding with an amazing level of detail in them. Anyway, it was great to see this ubiquitous object inspire all these artworks.

So, no macarons, but still not a horribly shabby Sunday afternoon.

Mar 20, 2011

His and hers ii

Hello! Firstly, let me thank all of you for your kind comments on my last post. I was seriously overwhelmed! Your support and well-wishes mean a great deal to me and I am so happy to have you all aboard for this adventure. I admit that I do definitely get terrified once in a while about not getting to where I want to be, but I just need to remind myself to take baby steps, dream big and keep the big picture in mind.

Secondly, in the last "his and hers" post I did, I ended wondering if I should make a series out of it and received enthusiastic responses, so here is the next episode. This is a more his-focused post, because my look was lackadaisical at best. This would be a great excuse to go shopping, but I've gone and spent all my money on letterpress business cards. Oops.

I call this the warm and fuzzy grey suit. He usually likes to pair it with purple. I'm giving you a peek at some suspender action this time too.

I got a good 6+ inches of hair chopped off on Saturday at a great cute little salon in the East Village - Lovemore & Do. My hair grows so fast that even though I'll usually feel slightly remorseful after a dramatic haircut, I get over it pretty quickly. It's a bit shorter in the back and longer on one side than the other, totally a new look for me.

Nothing special to see here. Wearing a combination of Zara (linen shirt), J.Crew (cargo pants!), H&M (the flower pin), Rosegold (booties), and his Seiko watch. :)

Mar 17, 2011

Some happy news... and more flowers

I am really excited to share with you guys something that has been in the works since January. For the past few months, I've had the great pleasure of working with the amazing Joy of Oh Joy! as she designed a logo for me for my photography business (crazy just saying that out loud). Oh yes, this shit is getting serious. My to-do list is growing every day, my startup costs are rising at frightening speed, but I love it all and am completely dedicated to making this succeed. And you know what? Failure is just not an option.

So what does this really mean for me right now? Well, ok so not THAT much of my day-to-day is actually changing. Of course I'm still working my full-time day job, so this means sneaking in every opportunity I can to shoot for others and make my portfolio more well-rounded. I'm getting business cards made and will hopefully soon have set up a legit website with my best work. I know this isn't groundbreaking stuff and many of you might not make such a big deal out of a logo, but to me, this signals a giant step towards my goal of becoming a REAL food/lifestyle photographer.

Without further ado, I present...

I am still amazed at how detailed the steps were to creating something like this and I couldn't be happier with the results. And finally, to layer on some cheese, I hope this will be the start of a beautiful and unpredictable journey. :)

And to leave this post, I know you guys are probably sick of ranunculus shots, but I simply could not resist. No matter what happens, I'm going to keep shooting for myself and well, that will just unavoidably involve things like this.

Now, where's my champagne to pop??

Mar 16, 2011


A few straggler Contax shots from a trip to the Greenmarket back in February:

I think winter is probably the least interesting time to go to the Greenmarket - I'll have to revisit when spring really kicks in.

Short post because I am still reeling from the ten-course meal I just had at Degustation (which has been blogged a good three times already!).

Mar 15, 2011

Speedy and deft hands at bite club

I have always wanted to shoot a behind the scenes look at a restaurant's workings and I recently got to do sort of that at dear old Bite Club. Bite Club is no stranger to this blog (just see here, here, and here!) so I was thrilled to be afforded a look from the kitchen's perspective during my fourth visit at the Mama Mia dinner. Thanks Daniel and Alicia for feeding me so well!

Here is a smattering of what went on that night:

The crazy mass plating practically happens faster than my shutter speed can handle. ;)

Mar 14, 2011

They are too cute for words

My friends, that is. I would shoot them all the time if they let me and if I got to see them more often! Love these girls so much and a reunion this past weekend was exactly what I needed after a rough week.

Silly, smiley, stylish.

I shot them with the last fuji-roid exposure in the Contax (M, we missed you!) but I realized my polaroid back has some major focusing issues. A few other shots confirmed this. Boo, what is it with me and cameras with focusing problems?!

Well, they're still cute, out of focus and all. I'm looking forward to the next reunion already.

Mar 13, 2011

Signs of spring

New York was quite beautiful this weekend, especially on Saturday. Today was chillier, but still, I think we can finally put away our winter boots and parkas. It's about damn time!

Quick update tonight because I've had no time this weekend to do anything on my growing March to-do list, and it's back to the grind tomorrow. Though, I'm excited that there will still be light around 7pm now. More shootin' time. :)

Mar 11, 2011

A picture will do

I've been on edge all day from a host of things, both small-scale and large, including obviously the frightening news stories and pictures from Japan. I'll let a picture take the place of words today and hope for the weekend to restore some balance and peace to all.

The tree, Portland, ME.

Mar 10, 2011

Old and new favorites

I know I've waxed poetic about my favorite flowers many times now but each time I get a bouquet of ranunculus I just cannot NOT shoot them. This bouquet is extra-special because of the lovely slightly pink/purple calla lilies. Before I knew what ranunculus were (I know, can you imagine such a dark time??), calla lilies were my fave because they were so minimal and their shape so elegant. It's funny that ranunculus are like the opposite - super bulbous and very intricately layered.

Had a bit of fun with the processing to really try to bring out a pink and green feeling. I'm being extra strange right now and admiring the flowers in my pictures when the real live things are just a few feet away from me. Whatever works... :D

I missed blogging yesterday due to a unexpectedly long but wonderful dinner at Hotel Griffou. We were in great company and you know how time just stealthily whizzes by when that's the case! If I'm feeling ambitious, I may get that post up tonight too.

Mar 8, 2011

His and hers

As many of you have noted, "my man" (sorry I can't help but chuckle at this phrase) is often seen in the bokeh of my photos wearing a suit and always, always a pocket square. Well, that's pretty much what he wears 95% of the time, weekends included. What can I say? The guy likes his suits. I can't even begin to get into how picky he is about them. It's funny because my favorite suits of his are the generic so-so material, modern ones from stores like H&M (you know, stuff guys in this century actually wear), whereas he prefers his fancy shmancy three-piece bespoke suits from some guy in England who only makes like one or two trips to the states every year to fit his clients here. Maybe I'm just envious because when we go out like this, he gets way more attention than I do (heh heh).

Anyway, I thought it'd be fun to post his outfit detail from this past weekend. These were haphazardly shot as an afterthought so they definitely don't do his clothes justice!

It shouldn't come as a surprise that there are suspenders hiding under that vest there. I voted for no-tie otherwise that'd be in here too. I won't even broach the topic of shoes this time...

I say those shots were an afterthought, because he was actually shooting me for the most part that afternoon. We used the 85mm on all of these. The lens is nice for these kind of full body shots because you get better bokeh than on the 50; however, there is some NASTY spherochromatism (color fringing if you will) with this lens that is pretty obvious on the larger sized photos. Glowing green bokeh? Ugh, no thanks.

Posing to not look short always poses a huge challenge. Perhaps I need to bust out the 4.5+ inch heels next time. This one is probably my favorite from the set.

As I was putting together this post, this lightbulb went off and I was like, "HEY THIS COULD BE A SERIES." Mayybe? :)

Mar 7, 2011

Down by the sea

Another Portland megapost here (I told you I shot seven rolls of film!). Had the sun not been so high and harsh, these would be a lot more my style and I probably would have gone through even more film, but alas, I shot most of these around f/8 and prayed for no nasty blown out highlights. We went to Portland Head Light for these below shots, but the museum was closed and it was freezing and crazy windy. We were literally running back to the car to reload film when we could, because it was too cold to do it outside!

I had to take the cliché tourist-binocular shot!

We then walked along some path around that lighthouse park. Here we were greeted by several energetic and fluffy dogs, and everyone walking by would say hi (as NY-ers, we were so not accustomed to this kind of friendliness). The trees reminded me of the sort you would find in an Ansel Adams collection and I went a little overboard shooting them (what you see here is just a sample of the many tree shots I took).

How nice would it be to have a little seasonal home here tucked away from the main path but with that view of that lighthouse!

I'm just about done sharing Portland pictures but I will save THE tree for another post.

Mar 6, 2011

Nights when i REALLY wish i had six stomachs

A night at Rich's probably leaves that sentiment with most of the diners involved. If you recall, the first time was ridiculous and now that I'm comparing the pictures/courses, it seems that this dinner even outdid that one. It's like every two courses could be a dinner in themselves, but no no, this food here was all for ONE person (not to mention I lost count of how many wine bottles were open)!

Bear with me as I try to list some of the highlights as best as I remember. The cauliflower soup with curry, cinnamon, sunchoke and crispy fennel topping had me thinking I would die happy. The polenta with truffle butter and a topping of multiple mushrooms was just so smooth and perfect, I was scraping my bowls clean at that point (licking it might have been a tad inappropriate but the thought crossed my mind). The rest of dinner went by almost in a blur with homemade chips + creme fraiche and two different caviars, razor clams, "squid" carbonara, porgy fish smoked with applewood, and Rich's take on veal oscar.

Of course he would serve no less than three desserts. Per my request, he made THE egg from Le Bernardin, even though it's super tedious. I got a second wind at this point and scraped my egg clean. Good god that was just everything I'd want in a dessert. After that came coffee panna cotta with a sunflower seed brittle and finally some panko-crusted manchego cheese (lightly fried) and blue cheese stuffed apple turnovers.

Hungry yet? :D

Five+ hours later, five of us squeezed wearily in a cab from Staten Island back to the city. Man oh man. I think I need to find a real way to physically expand my stomach before I can return for another dinner. Many many thanks Rich, for having us again, and especially for making the egg!!

Mar 4, 2011

Lobster for breakfast? no prob!

Well, this is hearty comfort food at its best - coffee crumb cake and lobster eggs benedict for breakfast. We were served this our first morning at the Inn in Portland. This is the blessing and curse part about B&Bs, great homemade breakfast in the mornings (here, served by a pleasant + plump southern lady no less) BUT you gotta get your ass out of bed early enough to enjoy it. The second morning's breakfast fare was no less scrumptious, consisting of some cake again AND sausage AND french toast croissant stuffed with strawberries.

Luckily, we seemed to value food over sleeping in... oh, priorities.

Have a great weekend, all!

Mar 3, 2011

Buildings and skies

A nice modest reminder for those tough days. I was so pleasantly surprised to find this bit of writing, I didn't think too much about composing this shot. Ah well, they can't all be winners.

It's been a trying week, but every day, I look forward to this little blog and all your wonderful comments. Thank you guys and hugs for all. :)

Mar 2, 2011

So quiet here

Walking the streets of Portland a) would have been 100000x more pleasant if it weren't some crazy degrees below freezing, b) " " if the sidewalks weren't covered in a full layer of ice (I'm not kidding when I say you could probably ice skate your way to your destination) and c) was an eerily quiet experience so SO unlike those that this city provides. Well ok yes, this wasn't the heart of the city, so there was not a soul in sight here.

Cute little place, isn't it?

Working my way through sharing my film Portland shots!

Mar 1, 2011

How do you like your eggs?

I like mine unfertilized... (womp womp) AND hard boiled with soy sauce, spices and tea leaves! I could probably eat a dangerous amount of these guys. I've never tried making them myself but I can almost always count on my mom to have these when I'm home long enough for a breakfast. Though really, I could snack on these at any time of day.

The fun part is when the shell comes off perfectly (you know how there's that super thin layer under the shell which if you grab with the shell, leaves the egg clean and smooth?) to reveal a beautifully marbled egg that is just the right amount of saltiness with hints of other spices. Yum.