Aug 31, 2011

Things might get a little quiet around here...

Tomorrow is moving day and the only thing I've packed are my ridiculous amount of magazines and coffee table books. EEK. I'll probably be digging myself out of boxes for the next few days (er, weeks) so things will probably slow down on the blog. We're not moving far at all (I mean how could we give up our proximity to Abraço?), but I am excited to have a real office space, with french doors no less! I think in the past five years of my life, I've moved something like 8-9 times. I dream of the day I can settle in a place for more than two years.

Doesn't this side of the box look like a giant sad face?

All right, excuse me while I go attempt to wrap up my ridiculous mug/cup collection.

Aug 29, 2011

9th street community garden

The community garden on 9th and Ave C is easily my favorite garden in the city. (Unfortunately, the mosquitoes love it too.) I first came across it in October of last year and shared it in this post, which at the time, was one of my favorite posts to put together.

Well, here it is again in black and white film (35mm). I'm amazed the focus on these is OK because I'm really terrible at focusing with my Minolta. I squint and hope for the best.

The garden is still quite lovely without color. Looks like my next reasonable step would be to shoot it in color film. :)

Aug 28, 2011

Rare sight

A mostly empty Broadway looking into Soho this morning.

I hope everyone weathered the storm all right. We were pretty lucky. Looking forward to the city getting back up and running again.

Aug 26, 2011

The creative little garden

Took J's new toy (the still sold-out Fuji x100 - Craigslist and fredmiranda are probably your best option) out for a test spin today. There's no beating the sleek vintage design of this. So far it's been quite a little gem. The 35mm focal length will take a little getting used to, but I think I've just fallen too comfortable with the 50mm and even 85mm.

These were shot in RAW and gently processed. Overall, the white balance and colors are very nice straight out of the camera. I'm sure I'll have much more to say about this camera as we get more use out of it! Since it IS his camera, maybe J should write up the review himself. :) (Although let's not kid ourselves - I predict I'll be greedily using it at least twice as much as he will...)

The Creative Little Garden is a small space on 6th Street between Ave A and B. It's filled with these cute little birdhouses and feeders. One thing I love about the East Village is I'm always happening upon these community gardens and where there's a garden, there are photos to be made.

Aug 25, 2011

Summer ain't over yet

Two more corn recipes shot for Nadia's blog.

Sweet corn and maple cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting. Why yes, these are as good as they look. :) My chronic sweet tooth thanks Nadia.

Fettuccine with fresh corn, clams and bacon. See the recipe here.

In related news, I'll be taking part in the brilliant William Brinson's food photography workshop next month. I am definitely excited. I take a lot of restaurant and event food photos where I have little control over the light and composition. When it comes to shooting food at home, I am surprisingly more at a loss for what to do. Hopefully the workshop will inspire me to cook more too... heh. Maybe. Wishful thinking.

Aug 24, 2011

Her future

Spent all day making a wedding lookbook/pricing guide and didn't get a chance to leave the house today. I had wanted to share this cute little community garden I came across yesterday while shooting a test roll on the new (old) EOS 3 I picked up, but as it turned out, the focus calibration was completely off on that camera (major womp womp). I had planned on heading out there again with my new 50mm f1.2 (OH YES I DID), but a few fights with Adobe Illustrator left me pooped, and the day flew by.

I went through some archives and came across this shot from a June 2009 wedding where I was a second shooter. I definitely wasn't as technically astute then as I am now but this picture still grabbed my attention.

A gathering of bridesmaids as the flower girl looked on. She was so terribly cute.

Aug 23, 2011

Miss erin

A portrait session with the lovely Erin at the South Street Seaport yesterday when the weather couldn't have been better! This girl is all about smiles - every time she tried to make a serious face, I started cracking up and we lost the picture. Still, I had a lot of fun and Erin was very cooperative with my million background changes and my requests like, "Hey can you lay down [on these nasty steps with mysterious gunk on them] here?"

Also, this girl manages to look GOOD in her jump shot.

This last shot was taken with the Hoya circular polarizer - perfecto for this kind of angled-through-the-window shot!

Aug 22, 2011

Revisiting a favorite

It's been a while, but here's a write-up from Jimmy.

Degustation has been my favorite restaurant in the city for years. It naturally has a spot in our regular restaurant rotation. The food is best described as “modern Spanish”. It’s not obnoxiously avant garde, but definitely not conservative, and very well-executed. Service is extremely proficient; unexpectedly so given how casual the restaurant is, with all the diners seated at a bar facing the open kitchen rather than at tables.

We went with a 10-course tasting menu. At $80, it’s a very good deal in its category in the city. There had also been some changes in the kitchen, and we were interested in seeing how things had changed since we’d last been. The results were quite good; none of the dishes we had were anything that we would have been surprised to see on previous visits, but in aggregate the dishes leaned much more toward the interesting end.

The differences in the food were evident from the very beginning. The first course featured a fine little croquette and a miniature Spanish tortilla with the egg still runny, both familiar to us. The oreo-looking bit at the left, though? That was actually a savory cookie with black olive and monkfish. It used to be a nibble of fried fish skin that was just as strange but not nearly as good. The foam in the second course hid an oyster, but also gin gelée, giving it the flavor of a gin fizz; a perfect pairing for me, though less so for Alice.

Other highlights in the meal included an egg course that unexpectedly featured sunchoke puree instead of egg, giving a lovely burst of unexpected flavor. The fish course was a wonderfully fatty piece of sturgeon accompanied by tapioca pearls (like caviar, get it?), the most rich and delicious piece fish I’ve had in ages.

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise, then, that this is a restaurant we go to frequently. It’s the perfect mix of casual environment, accomplished food, polished service, and easy walking distance from our apartment. I had to go grab some junk food while writing this, because thinking about the meal was making my mouth water too much. On the strength of this meal, I’d rate Degustation as one of the most overperforming restaurants in the city right now; the ambience is casual enough, but the food is grown-up, creative, and interesting in a way that far too few other restaurants in New York are any more.

-Thanks, J!

Aug 19, 2011

Happy friday

Celebrating this gal's birthday tonight. She so pretty. :D

Taken last night at Barolo. Four of us got together for drinks and nibbles and it was a great time. I finally met Ilenia after much online interaction, and she is such a sweetheart. She's also the photo assistant for the illustrious Jamie Beck - what a dream job, eh?

Well I see lots of bubbly in my future (i.e., tonight). And my calendar looks BLANK for the weekend. I can't remember the last time it's been like that, and I'm pretty thrilled.

Aug 18, 2011

Pre-ceremony | t & m

Some detail shots from T & M's lovely wedding in Somerville, NJ a few weekends ago.

I realized that the only way to really shoot in those crazy backlit hotel rooms is to overexpose at least two stops. This was my first full wedding alone. (Poor J assisted and "second shot" on my good old Rebel. Hehe. Some day I better be able to afford a real second shooter. Not that J did a bad job or anything! It would just be cool to be able to pay someone who wants to shoot weddings. :)) It was overall a great experience and I hope there will be many more to come.

Aug 17, 2011

Scenes from tompkins square park

Tompkins Square Park is just a stone's throw away and it's got the cutest dog run. I actually don't go to this park very much despite its proximity. Many times I find myself there to finish off a roll of film, because it's right across the street from my local film lab. That was precisely the case here - I took these on my old school Minolta x370s with Kodak Tri-X 400. Black and white film is a PAIN to scan properly. I scanned these myself and they're kind of weird looking? I tried my best to adjust in-scanner, but eh...

The park does have its charms though.

Aug 16, 2011

Fun with jen and the 50mm f1.2

Some good times with the always adorable and very talented Jen Sosa in Williamsburg today. She let me use her 50mm f1.2 and I was instantly smitten. I will be running to buy this lens. Everyone knows the 50mm f1.4 has some finicky focusing. Mine has been really rebellious lately, and in dark restaurants, it never wants to autofocus anymore. Clearly it's time for an upgrade...

All of these were shot wide open.

Thanks to Jen for this last shot. I was playing with the 45mm TS-E on her camera. Yet another lens that is creeping to the top of my "must-have" list. Ooh boy. And here I was thinking I had all the equipment I really "needed" for this business.

Aug 15, 2011

The corn days of summer

Last week, I had the lovely opportunity to shoot some photos for a fellow food-lover's blog. Nadia is multi-talented when it comes to food and it was great to watch her make a number of corn-focused recipes (that she wrote, of course) in that afternoon. I've recently been obsessing over corn desserts after having a corn panna cotta at Hotel Griffou, a sweet treat that Nadia made that day (I won't give it away - you'll have to wait for that post!), and homemade roasted corn ice cream a few nights ago.

You can pop on over to the first post in the corn recipe series - corn prep. Thanks for having me, Nadia!

Aug 14, 2011

Fries in my salad

A few Fridays ago, Linda, Ashley, Amanda, and I dined at Westville East for some laid-back affordable good eats. It was a surprisingly nice evening, so we opted to eat outside. I had also just picked up the 35mm f1.4 lens that I rented for the weekend, so I was eager to give it a test run. I must say, while I DID like the lens a lot and how fast it focused, I'm not sure the 35mm focal length is all that useful to me. Maybe this is because I already own the 24-70mm and can use that just fine in f2.8 conditions. Or maybe I just don't know how useful it could be without using it in some more situations. (Forgive me Jackie, but I didn't quite fall in love with it the way I had expected to. I suppose my wallet can sigh some relief for now. :P)

We all shared a platter of sides (definitely the way to go here) and then each had a salad*. Portions are sizable here.

Aw, they so cute.

*Hey, it's summer, OK? And mine happened to contain fried shrimp and fries. Surely you'd expect nothing less from me.

Aug 11, 2011

Running around...

... Like a headless chicken these past few days. As many of you have heard me bitching and moaning about over on twitter, apartment hunting in NY is the worst. I know a lot of it is out of my control, but I can't help but have vivid nightmares about it nearly every night.

I'll leave you with this calming picture of a finished cappuccino at La Colombe. I've always loved the La Colombe in Philadelphia but this was my first time at the SoHo location here (meeting fellow blogger Kelly!). I loved the tiger maple wood tables there. Give me a pretty wooden table and a cup of coffee and things start perking up.

I'm off to de-stress a bit with some tequila at what's fast becoming my favorite bar, Mayahuel. Bad idea or horrible idea? :P

Aug 10, 2011

Film + the high line (part ii)

A few more shots from that day on The High Line. Yeah, I was being a bit of a creeper, as you'll see. All shot on Kodak Portra 400.

14th Street bokeh shot of the city... everyone's gotta do it! Every time. :P

Aug 9, 2011

Scenes and plates from the kitchen at hotel griffou

Hotel Griffou is one of the few restaurants in our weekly rotation. Chef Santos is a kind friend and we all can't help but love the guy. He let me inside the kitchen the other night and I wanted to share this intimate look at what they're doing over there. The menu changes all the time, and they hold themed monthly tastings - all of which are a great deal.

Please click the image for a larger version. As expected, it was a challenge to shoot in a harshly lit kitchen with lots of things going on. I chose close-crops for these so you just get the good snippets. If you're in the area (well, even if you're not in the area), do stop by!

As a side note, I just discovered how to best use Smart Sharpen in Photoshop for my web-sized images, and I'm kinda floored by the difference it makes. All along, I kept looking at the sharp images on other blogs and I'd scratch my head wondering why mine didn't have that certain extra crisp look. I kept thinking my camera or lens was the culprit! Now I know...

Aug 8, 2011

Catching up

This post isn't for the squeamish, but I am crazy behind on editing and thought I'd share these anyway. A few weeks ago, Nicole Franzen and I met up in Brooklyn, because it was getting ridiculous that we hadn't met up in person yet, despite all our online interaction. I love a good excuse to go to the Blue Bottle there, where I almost always get the New Orleans Iced Coffee. That time, I tried an adorable s'mores sandwich too.

We then headed to the piers in Williamsburg where we saw a few men fishing. Yes - fishing in the East River. We got lucky and witnessed them catching this pretty sizable striped bass. These shots were taken in less than ideal conditions at f/4.0, 1/4000s on Kodak Portra 400.

Yum yum.

Aug 5, 2011

The high line's second phase

The second phase of The High Line runs from about 20th to 30th street and has some neat things going on for it. I schlepped over there one late afternoon to finish off a roll in the Contax. I seriously counted more film cameras than digital up there! I guess it just attracts that kind of photographer. I especially love the views from above and down the streets.

Just having a little fun with this artist tape I found via Ez's post here. I only wish The High Line weren't so damn far from me. It's a great place to just plop down and people-watch or read. I ended up loading another roll and taking another dozen shots or so, so I expect I'll have a second part to this post.

Hope your weekends are great!

Aug 4, 2011

Looks can be deceiving

Would you believe this below shot was taken at a five-second exposure? We don't get very much light in this apartment (the next one hopefully won't disappoint in the light category!), so this was taken with this silly set-up. Then I shot tethered for a bit to humor J who was really into tethered shooting. (Though I must admit, shooting tethered was fun and useful for fixing little things like the focus being slightly off.)

50mm | ISO 100 | f/8.0 | 5.0 sec

Please excuse the horrendous "styling." This was only for experimental kicks, and to show off some our Greenmarket goods. Gosh, those donut peaches were ridiculous. So... peachy. I don't know how else to describe 'em, but they taste like a couple of normal peaches concentrated together. Sadly, those dahlias are now a dried mass in the trash. It's so sad how these cut flowers from the Greenmarket never last.

Below is just a closer up look at the detail. Pretty frickin' sharp for a five-second exposure, eh?

Aug 3, 2011

The rest of the afternoon

Before Linda and I left Brooklyn yesterday, we satiated ourselves with a cookie from the Prime Meats Delicat-essen & Provisions store. After making it back on familiar ground, we walked a bit through the West Village (hey Ashley, recognize those steps? :P).

In the next few hours, iced coffee was had, along with a taco from Calexico and my favorite frozen yogurt from an unexpected cafe (the forty carrots at Bloomingdales). I was glad to have a buddy to help me take one of these "small" cups down. Not that I usually have any problem with that.

Aug 2, 2011

That saucy aussie

I had the pleasure of spending the day with Linda, who has already made her rounds in SF, and now we get her fun and spunk in NYC. We had plans of hitting up the Brooklyn Bridge before the light got too harsh, but we just couldn't beat the sun. Linda, I commend you for getting me up at 6:45 AM this morning! I will seriously have to try this early rising thing more often. :P

After walking across the bridge, we made our way to Carroll Gardens, a neighborhood that I hadn't explored yet (let's face it - the only place in Brooklyn I know how to get to without getting lost is Blue Bottle). Very cute eateries here (including our first stop at Smith Canteen). Definitely filing this area under places I'd want to live outside of Manhattan.

Part one of our adventures below.

The light in Prime Meats was to die for. Thanks to Cindy for the rec! The best part about getting an early start was that it was barely noon by the time we finished lunch. The rest of our day was spent eating more and window shopping. Pictures to come.

Aug 1, 2011

For a casual date night

The heat of summer is really killing my his and her look series. July has come and gone without a single outfit post, so I thought I'd kick off August with one! This is more or less what we'd wear on a cooler night to go out for drinks or a late dinner.

J and I definitely need to take some pointers from The Sartorialist... both in terms of being behind the camera and in front of it. I found myself slouching in 95% of the shots and I'm horrendous at directing J how to pose. And how come I still look short in 4+ inch heels? Yech. The curse of short legs!

This is not a fashion blog. For good reason. :P