The Next Giveaway: Let’s Cooking

“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.” – Craig Claiborne

Lets Cooking Cover

I can’t believe we are already into the second week of the new year. Not only has this week gone by with the frenetic energy of first love, but with it has come the 2014 event season. It might sound premature, but in looking ahead I see about 40 event on the calendar this year already. In fact, I had to go old school yesterday and buy an agenda, the Google calendar on my phone just isn’t going to cut it. While I scramble to shoehorn double-booked events, I’d love to start the year off with something a little more celebratory. I want to give you something.

While the Burgoo, Food For Comfort Cookbook giveaway didn’t draw the number of entries I would have hoped for, I am at it again. If you’ve been following along, you might recall that I had a second cookbook release this fall for a project that was shot almost two years ago. Let’s Cooking is a collection of Japanese-style home cooking recipes, which I can tell you are much simpler to prepare than they look. Let’s Cooking is a bit of a how to manual going beyond what most of us recognize as our Japanese fan favourites. Apparently Japanese food is more than just Sushi!

Since getting a test copy of the book last year, we have tried a number of dishes including what has become an easy favourite, the Okonomiyaki which invites infinite variations depending on what we have in the fridge, or what might have been left over from last night’s BBQ. From rice and noodles to elegant and whimsical Kanten Let’s Cooking is a primer for a style of cooking and food that couldn’t be more different than the food many of us grew up with but has become a staple for many of us on the West Coast.

So warm up what ever camera you have close and share your food experiences with me for a chance to win a signed copy of Hana Dethlefsen’s Let’s Cooking.

What I would like to see:

Your original work featuring food, cooking, or the social nature of a shared dinner table. I would like to see your photo with a short caption describing it’s creation and something about why it is significant to you. Top photos will be shared on this blog with credit and attribution with the winner being selected mid February. Please include your watermark if possible. Due to the constraints of international shipping the winner will be selected from North American-based entries.

I am excited to see and share your quality images, but most of all I want to see something beyond a glossy magazine style photo. That said, if your photo shares a story and is evocative and engaging I am not concerned if it was shot with your iPhone, compact or Pro DSLR. I care less about your technique of capture and more about the evocative nature of the content. Show us food that makes us hungry, show us a scene we’d be eager to be a part of.

I don’t want to see your whole portfolio, entries are limited to three images at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi at 1024 pixels on the long side.

What I don’t want to see:

Previously published photos will not be considered nor will photos submitted under false pretenses; I want to see your work, not the work of others with your name on it. Any work I deem in violation of copyright will be disqualified immediately and will be shared with the creating photographer where identifiable.

The Fine Print:

I reserve the right to change or alter contest terms based on the number and quality of entries. If I only receive one entry, I won’t be sending out the cookbook, but rather trying again in a couple of months.  I am the sole judge and jury and I can be whimsical and subjective. Contest closes on February 15, 2014

Submit your images to me at Rob@RobShaer.com

Food - Let's Cooking Cookbook 2011
Food – Let’s Cooking Cookbook 2011

Hana Dethlefsen FEEDback Project Participate Gallery-4

 

 

The Burgoo Food For Comfort Cookbook Giveaway Winners!

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations” -Oscar Wilde

Thanks to everyone who submitted their food photos; I have declared a winner (winner, chicken dinner)! I received some pretty nice submissions and others who’s spirit was in the right place but who’s technique could use a little work. In the end I appreciate everyone who took the time to send me a photo, or three and hope that you’ll participate in the next giveaway coming soon in the new year. In the end the winning photo offered the most complete mise en scene, that is to say the right combination of light, composition and content. Congratulations to Steffani Cameron in Victoria who submitted a nicely composed image of Oven baked “chips” with halibut en papillotte on a bed of kale & leek with mayo dip.

food for comfort Stephanie Cameron 1

And in case you were interested there a couple honorable mentions:

food for comfort Adrienne Denham

Thanks to Adrienne Denham, Simon Whitehead & son Bryn for this team effort to capture and submit this photo of Bryn and what’s left of his first experience with cherries.

Shannon Penway Food For Comfort

Nice work Shannon Penway! Looks delicious, can I invite you for dinner, and can you bring this apple tart?

Food For Comfort Skinners Bean Dip

Getting right into the spirit of it is Tom Skinner and his pic of a recipe taken from the prize in question; Tuscan Bean dip with home made beer and bread.

Thanks to Margaret Buttner in Vancouver for her enthusiastic submissioning, Michael Payne in Dallas, Andrew Tang for his capture of his Brother-in-law’s lovely and meaty roast creation, BCBR’s own Colin Wilson for his pics of pizza and waffles, you’re welcome to stay with us anytime (as long as you bring your waffle maker!) Whistler’s Tara Colpitts @Whis_Foodie; follow her on Twitter. Thank’s to my father-in-Law, Dr. Kenneth Carty for capturing the spirit of the season in his photo of volunteers preparing meals for Out Of The Cold and finally to Phil Mowatt who’s Butter Chicken Lasagna is Tippie Approved. Finally to Bill Carty, who contests no meal is complete without three dozen sausages!

Today’s Archive Image – Oceanside Dining

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf

Todays Archive Image Maui Dinning-1

It’s definitely winter in Vancouver. I know this, not only because the temperature and the 1 cm of snow on the ground, but also because the number of photos I am seeing from Hawaii. It’s possible I’m just noticing these pics more, but it’s also possible that everyone I know has been to Hawaii in the last few weeks, or is planning on going in the weeks ahead. Talk about feeling sorry for one’s self! I could definitely use some aloha right now, not to mention fish tacos from Lelani’s and a couple sleeves of Long Board Lager.

This is a pic from a shoot on Maui several years ago, just down Kanapali beach from Lelani’s at Whaler’s Village. It was one of those ‘quick shots’ the client was hoping for, but turned into six people staring into the setting sun trying to get the shot before mother nature turned her lights off. I had the Executive Chef holding a speedlight and the Director of Sales and Marketing holding a reflector while everyone else was watched impatiently.

Sometimes you just have make it work and make use of every set of hands possible. For most of us client work is a collaborative effort, with many stakeholders weighing in, and sometimes busying someone’s hands is a great way to get someone onside. It reinforces that collaborative effort and helps create a sense of ownership by those involved.

Don’t forget about the Burgoo Cookbook Giveaway. Send me your food photos for a chance to win Burgoo Bistro’s Food For Comfort Cookbook.

Project Update: Let’s Cooking Cookbook

“Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements.” ~Marcel Boulestin

Lets Cooking Cover

It’s fair to admit that there are times when even I, a great observer of the world, can not see the forest for the trees. I say this with my tongue in my cheek as I’ve come out of my busiest event season, maybe ever, and into the quiet season. This transition can be difficult, it can feel like a sudden and unexpected train stop. This is the time of year when some of us have to dig deep for the discipline to make our soft deadlines, to make the necessary software updates, to review the year past and start planning for the year ahead. It is a time for housekeeping and review, and if you feel stuck at home while others are away on assignment, it can be difficult to swap the camera for the computer.

But it turns out Autumn 2013 has been pretty good, and has offered a lot more than simply hunkering down with new external drives, and software updates. The first great thing to arrive this fall was Burgoo’s Food For Comfort Cookbook, which I had in hand at the end of October after waiting ‘patiently’ for months. It is important to consider how long the process for these type of projects can take, especially if you might be used to seeing your work in print or online, a few days or hours after shooting it.

On the heals of Food for Comfort, Hana Dethlefsen’s Let’s Cooking: Japanese Cooking at Home Vol. 1 was the next great thing to land in my expectant hands. And if the Burgoo project felt protracted, Let’s Cooking took waiting patiently to a whole new level. In fairness Let’s Cooking was a very different type of project. It is a small book filled with big ideas financed by good will pot luck dinners. The principal photography was produced two years ago with the idea that if circumstances worked out, there would be a book somewhere down the road. Circumstances worked out and after a very successful summer crowd funding campaign an initial print run of 500 copies was produced with plans in the works for 500 more in the new year.

Hana describes Japanese food as more than just sushi, or chicken karage, and while these are popular, it is the shared meal that is most significant to Japanese food. It is the mixture of colour, texture and flavour that makes Japanese food delicious, healthy and beautiful. While Let’s Cooking isn’t available in wide release, if you are interested please get in touch with Hana through her website: Let’s Cooking.

I have an extra copy which I hope to be able to giveaway in the new year with a contest similar to this month’s Food For Comfort giveaway.

Hana Dethlefsen FEEDback Project

Hana Dethlefsen FEEDback Project

Hana Dethlefsen FEEDback Project

Hana Dethlefsen FEEDback Project

The Burgoo Food For Comfort Cookbook Giveaway.

There is a first for everything.

BurgooFrontCover_Web

While I am still hashing out the rules of engagement, I have bought a copy of Burgoo Bistro’s Food For Comfort cookbook to give away on my blog. Any suggestions? If you’ve read my blog in the past couple of weeks you’ll know this is a project that I shot earlier this year and has just been made available through a couple on line retailers, Costco and at Burgoo locations in Vancouver, BC. By all accounts it sounds like Food For Comfort has been selling well and this is pretty exciting to me and everyone else involved. I am particularly proud of this work and would love to be able to share it with you.

Given this is a work of food photography, perhaps a little photo contest is in order, something else to consider, since there are only three or four regular readers of my blog, your chances of winning look pretty good! I would love to see your food photos!

What I would like to see:

Your original work featuring food, cooking, or the social nature of a shared dinner table. I would like to see your photo with a short caption describing it’s creation and something about why it is significant to you. Top photos will be shared on this blog with credit and attribution with the winner being selected between Christmas and New Years. Please include your watermark if possible. Due to the constraints of international shipping the winner will be selected from North American-based entries.

I am excited to see and share your quality images, but most of all I want to see something beyond a glossy magazine style photo. That said, if your photo shares a story and is evocative and engaging I am not concerned if it was shot with your iPhone, compact or Pro DSLR. I care less about your technique of capture and more about the evocative nature of the content. Show us food that makes us hungry, show us a scene we’d be eager to be a part of.

I don’t want to see your whole portfolio, entries are limited to three images at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi at 1024 pixels on the long side.

What I don’t want to see:

Previously published photos will not be considered nor will photos submitted under false pretenses; I want to see your work, not the work of others with your name on it. Any work I deem in violation of copyright will be disqualified immediately and will be shared with the creating photographer where identifiable.

The Fine Print:

I reserve the right to change or alter contest terms based on the number and quality of entries. If I only receive one entry, I won’t be sending out the cookbook, but rather trying again in a couple of months. In no way is this contest affiliated or endorsed by Burgoo Bistro. I am the sole judge and jury and I can be whimsical and subjective. Contest closes on December 24, 2013.

Submit your images to me at Rob@RobShaer.com

Burgoo; Food For Comfort Cookbook
Burgoo; Food For Comfort Cookbook

 

Recent Work – Burgoo: Food For Comfort Cookbook

“First we eat with our eyes.” – Attribution unknown

BurgooFrontCover_Web

Back in January I was asked to sit in on a conversation between a client and a creative director regarding a book project that had fallen off my radar months before. It was the first conversation of many that led to more than a dozen individual shoots including location and studio-style work featuring the spaces and the food of Burgoo Bistro. Burgoo is four neighbourhood restaurants with a reputation for rich and satisfying comfort food. Soup, stews, salads and grilled cheese sandwiches washed down with Imperial pints of their signature beer, Burgoo Brew.

I am very excited, after months of work, and months more of waiting, to have a copy in my hands and to be able to share some of this work with those who have been patiently waiting with me. Having come from a background in photojournalism my approach to photography has always been fast and light. Even when I was photographing hotels, my colleagues and I traveled pretty light compared to others in the industry who traveled with case after case filled with every imaginable piece of gear. We traveled solo with a basic kit and laptop and we accomplished some pretty incredible work relative to the amount of equipment we traveled with.

When I say studio, I am stretching the truth a bit. All the work in Food For Comfort was shot on location. Most of the food photography was produced on a boardroom table in a space shared with the company’s test kitchen. The ephemeral shots, or atmosphere photos were shot in one of Burgoo’s four locations around Vancouver. Unlike my days traveling, I took more of maximist approach to this project. Surrounding the boardroom table, were stands of strobe lights, softboxes, cables & cords and a camera tethered to my iMac which I had brought in for each of the food shoots.

It was my first time shooting tethered with content arriving on the screen a few moments after capture without the benefit of any image selection or corrections. The plus side, and it was a huge plus, was though there were four of us on ‘set’, each with a distinct perspective, we were all able to recognize without negotiation that we had arrived at the right image and it was time to move to the next dish.

I remain super stoked about having this book in my hands, and I think it will take a while before the novelty of having it wears off. Though it is Burgoo’s book, it feels a little like mine and I am proud to be able to share it.

Burgoo: Food for Comfort is available at Burgoo locations in addition to online at:

Burgoo at Chapters

Gooey Grillers Page

Today’s Archive Images: Let’s Cooking, the FEEDBack Project

ParticipATE Pantry-4

My friend Hana is now in possession of a few test prints of her cook book ‘Let’s Cooking’ featuring photos by me! I can’t wait to see my copy.  In preparing for an upcoming project I have been looking through older food related work and pouring over my favourite cook books with a renewed attention to styling, lighting and content. Food & Drink are right up there with those things I consider to be the best things in life. Photographing food poses unique challenges and when done right it is an exercise of passion, of love and of respect. I believe that the preparation of food can be a great gift to a loved one, and failing ability to serve a favourite friend a plate of something made by hand, hopefully a photo, as carefully crafted as any plate of food, will suffice. Unless you’re really hungry then a photo is a poor substitute for your favourite bowl of noodles.

These are a couple of my favourite images from the ‘Let’s Cooking’ project, about which you can read more here:

letscooking.ca

Hana Dethlefsen FEEDback Project

Hana Dethlefsen FEEDback Project

Today’s Archive Image: Brooklyn’s Fort Reno Provisions 2012


Any photographer I can think of will agree the diversity of the work is one of the reasons why we stick to it. It is the people we meet, work with and feature in our work. It is compelling subject matter and it is the explorations of our passions. I’ve been lucky, I’ve traveled extensively over the years for clients near and far and last January I had the rare opportunity to produce some content for a good friend in New York who had, with partners, opened a new restaurant in an old neighbourhood in Brooklyn. I’ve long since posted a gallery but in revisiting the work recently I decided I wanted to share another look with you.

If you know me, you know food and drink are among my great passions and in keeping with that, it was a great pleasure to work with people and a staff who hold both in such high regard.

 

You can see more images and more of Fort Reno Provisions here: Fort Reno Provisions