An Unconventional Christmas Dinner

My family is traditional when it comes to holiday dinners. We usually do a combination of turkey, ham, and Cornish hen along with dressing, greens of some variety (collards, turnips, mustard), macaroni and cheese (except for one year when it was somehow forgotten! Like, what??), candied yams, cranberry sauce, and sweet potato pie.

Who doesn’t love this kind of dinner? It’s always a treat and something I look forward to all year, but with Thanksgiving and Christmas so close together, I’ve always craved something a little different once Christmas rolls around.

So imagine my excitement when it was decided that this year instead of the traditional dinner, we would have a fish fry and a seafood boil! 😋

Most of the cooking took place out on the patio, and even though it was 47 degrees outside, I grabbed my camera, my gloves, and my coat and headed outside to photograph the progress of what promised to be a delicious dinner!

We started with the corn, crawfish, sausage, potatoes (which are submerged in the pot), and shrimp (added last).

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Corn, sausage, potatoes (submerged), and crawfish are ready to eat.
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The seafood boil is ready!
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Overhead view of the cooking seafood boil.

Meanwhile, we boiled the crab legs in a separate pot!

And lastly, we fried the catfish fillets, catfish nuggets, tilapia, and shrimp.

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Smoke rises from the pan as we prepare to add more fish to the fry.
A rectangular pan that contains seasoned uncooked tilapia and catfish.
Seasoned catfish, tilapia, and catfish fillets ready to be fried.
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I held my iPhone tight as I took this overhead photo of bubbling fish grease!

 

Lifting a tilapia fillet from the fish fry.
Taking the fish from the hot crease.
A catfish fillet is removed from the pan.
Fried catfish fresh from the pan.

The entire family agreed that this is one of the best holiday meals we’ve ever had! Dinner was cooked just right, was warm enough for the unseasonably chilly Christmas Day, and was bountiful enough for everyone to go back for seconds and even thirds!

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Traditional plates were much too conservative for this kind of dinner!

Dinner was too big for traditional plates, so we all ate out of pans like these (no shame here!) with little dishes on the side for garlic butter. I’m telling you, it was delicious!

This seemed to be such a big hit, I’m sure we’ll do it again for another family holiday!
I can’t wait to see how we continue to get creative with our dinners together!

What’s was your favorite holiday dinner over the holidays?

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Daily Prompt: Relocate

 

 

How to relocate:

  1. Make the decision– This is the hardest part. If you’re doing it for a job, the decision is more logical and objective, but if it’s for love the decision is probably more subjective and the decision will come from the heart. Fuzzies or grizzlies. Your choice.
  2. Do the pre-work– This will include the very fun part of packing all of your stuff/selling all of your stuff/donating all/most of your stuff and deciding how to get it to your new destination. This will probably be the most physical of your labors during the whole ordeal.
  3. Relocate– Go on. The decision has been made now and there’s probably no turning back (well maybe, but it’ll cost ya). Move forward through the doubt and go into the unknown. Weather the discomfort or the excitement. Second-guess your choice or romanticize your decision. I did both. This will probably be the most mental of your labors.
  4. Arrive– yup! The choice has been made! You’re here now! Now what?
  5. Do the post-work– Are you moved in? Are you adjusting? Are you experiencing some discomfort? growth? nostalgia? Are you feeling the sacrifice, the trade-off? How does it feel? How did you think you’d feel back when you were in phase #4 romanticizing and/or second-guessing your decision? What a nice contrast from past to present. Then and now. This is human nature. This is relocation. No one told you that “relocation” is actually a rollercoaster in the theme park that is life. Yay. (This will probably be the most emotional of your labors).
  6. Consequence–[/ˈkänsikwəns/] v. meaning to go through the inevitable motions of a recently made decision. It is a noun that encompasses every single feeling you did or didn’t anticipate. It is an adjective because it describes your life now, however transitional. As in its traditional meaning, it is unforgiving but consequence is also a giver of opportunity. Now it is the catalyst for whatever change or decision you want to make next. A blank slate or a different slate, at least.

Congratulations! You’ve completed the steps in relocation, and now you have the chance to start anew!

Mobile photo of a black and white aerial map and two shoes.
Partial view of an aerial map of Atlanta, GA in 1949 courtesy of #weloveatl

 

via Daily Prompt: Relocate

Glowing Moments

Not everything shines.

Our phones, our watches, our accessories, our computer screens, the traffic lights, the tv screen…they all shine. With how distracted we are by the various devices that rule our lives make our lives easier, we may gloss over some fleeting moments of beauty, ignoring their merit on the spectrum.

The unconventional beauty is in the glow.

It’s the moon; it’s the unfamiliar face you see; it’s the thing you just learned about yourself that makes you happy! Some things, ideas, and people have an allure all their own. Maybe it caught your attention on second thought, beneath the surface, or idiosyncratically– and that’s ok. Some things strike you like that.

Stay open to those glowing moments.

Early morning sunlight glows on the ground of a parking deck.
You can find glow in the most unsuspecting places.

 

 

Fun with Hannah’s Professional Photos

So it’s been awhile!

Major life changes have been in effect for me…new job, new city—everything is a transition these days. The saying goes that for everything there is a season. So as we enter autumn and the leaves change, so I too must adjust to the new things going on in my life!

Having said that, I just want to make a special shout out to a friend of mine that is and has been so very patient with me. She’s also been very supportive of my endeavors and understanding of the transitions I’ve been making while eagerly (and very patiently) awaiting the subject of this blog post.

Hannah just completed her Master’s degree at Savannah College of Art and Design in Luxury and Fashion Management while simultaneously launching and regularly updating her website and news media hub, NewsMacarons.com.

I’ve been honored to witness her journey and see the progression of her projects, so when she asked me to take some professional photos of her earlier this summer, I jumped at the opportunity!

I knew from the beginning that the photos would be destined for her website, LinkedIn, and various social media pages, so we opted to use our friend Thomas’ library and home office as the backdrop where fashion and art books are on display to complement Hannah’s background in design, fancy for fashion, and love for books. Hannah’s naturally photogenic (even though she might argue that she’s not, don’t believe her!), so the photos were a breeze to take. My favorites are the few candid photos captured in those rest and in-between moments.

 

I experimented with black and white edits and some other color editing that I stumbled across almost by accident. I hurried to create a Lightroom preset for what I call “the glossy edits” which have a somewhat saturated look and a polished finish.

 

Towards the end of our photo session, I suggested that we take some photos outside since it was already overcast and perfect lighting for portraits. The soft light offered us some gorgeous photos with the signature Spanish moss and trees in the background (something Hannah wanted to feature in her photos since she was leaving Savannah to move back to Michigan).

 

Lastly, the tail-end (pun intended) of our session included a few photos with her and her dogs, Pip and Panda— a rambunctious pair that seemed too excited to sit still for a traditional, poised family photo. 😉 🐼🐶

Hannah, Pip, &amp

As much as I enjoyed the actual photoshoot with Hannah, I find that I’m beginning to enjoy the post-processing more and more! It helps that I upgraded to a faster machine and now keep my photos on an external hard drive, but experimenting with different techniques (both on purpose and by accident) is fun!

The good thing about editing is that there’s always more to learn, so we’ll see where the future takes me in the way of discovering new post-processing techniques.

In the meantime, I’m not going to lie— I’m relishing in these beautiful photos!

& Then There Was Flash

In photography, natural light is king, in-camera flash is public enemy number one, and off-camera flash is your bffl (best friend fo’ life). These are facts.

The benefits of having an off-camera flash are evident the first time you master taking a photo with one; It’s like striking gold! Manifesting a clear picture with little noise and exposure in all the right places is literally perfection! 👌

After finding some good resources on Pinterest one night (and taking a few experimental photos of my living room), I decided to look for a workshop or a class where I could properly learn and develop the fill flash technique.

At a workshop in Marietta, GA, I used off-camera flash along with some other photo gear I’ve never used before (but will probably one day buy) to make some creative and interesting portraits!

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“These photos were taken with flash?” you ask. You bet! The light is amazing, right? 🙂

It’s just the right amount of flash power– not too much and not too little. It takes some practice to master this technique (I still don’t have it down completely), but I can already tell that it’s one of those things that, as you get more familiar with it, becomes second nature.

I got a little creative toward the end of the class and took some photos using more dramatic and directional light.

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Maybe you can tell already, but I like my photos to be a little underexposed (hence why I adore the look of the photos above). A little drama keeps the frame interesting! 😉

You can check out Atlanta School of Photography’s website here. They have awesome workshops and ongoing classes in all areas and genres of photography!

My First Gig

For my first paid gig, I had the privilege of shooting some editorial work for a group of artists in the Savannah area collectively known as the No Name Gang.

My roommate at the time knew someone who was looking for a photographer to shoot editorial photos. She also knew that I was itching to practice creative portraits. Before I knew it, I was put in contact and immediately started scoping out cool locations to shoot.

We used the mustard colored wall of a convenience store on Montgomery as a backdrop for Dot’s portraits. Their PR person suggested that the texture would create an interesting backdrop. I do agree that it photographed really well, and Dot was such a natural in front of the camera that many of her poses didn’t have to be coached. She seemed to do what came naturally.

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Then we ventured over to an old milk factory turned graffiti and art complex in the Starland District. Belon took her best photos here amongst the color, art, and words of several artists who have used this space as their canvas. She embraced the location, using the environment to her benefit somehow knowing (without ever asking to peek at my LCD screen) that the photos were turning out just great!

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The following week, I took photos of the guys in the group in the same location.

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If you know Savannah well then you recognize this colorful hexagonal wall. I’ve seen many photographers stop here to use the background in their photos or videos. Despite the pictures below (which I desaturated in post-production), the wall is actually very vibrant.

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This photoshoot taught me the importance of having a shot list (which I thought I didn’t need at the time 😐), how to manage a big group for a photo shoot (a little bit overwhelming 😅), how to shoot in little to no light situations (flash photography is your friend!), as well as some pretty valuable editing lessons in post-production (content-aware, thanks Adobe! 🙏).

It also helped me push past my boundaries as an introvert, which is essential as a portrait photographer. All the best photographs are outside of your comfort zone anyway!

You can check out No Name Gang’s facebook page here.

 

 

Iphoneography

All Hail The iPhone 7! Cue the music, please!

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Bagpiper at Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

Since the debut of the faux-bokeh, dual-camera having, and better than ever iPhone 7 camera, I’d like to enter into the time capsule of basic camera phone pictures some of the best photos from my obsolete iPhone 6. What? Apple is ushering in a new era, and while I’m not lamenting “the death of the SLR” ( I mean, really?), I’d still like to stake my case in the #iphoneography world before ante-iPhone 7 pictures disappear into the abyss. Continue reading “Iphoneography”