I’m on Instagram!

instagram-montage

So I’m a little embarrassed that I haven’t updated this blog in, ahem, almost 3 years to the day! What can I say?  I’m a harried mom of two young kids, and when they aren’t keeping me busy, and my domestic chores (I do a LOT of cooking) don’t have me overrun, then I spend the rest of my time working on a community website for gluten-free living (www.stuffed-pepper.com).

However, I’m still a mean photographer and photography is still my passion, which is why I’ve still held on this blog, with the hopes of getting back to it writing about what I do, one day.  I still happily do shoots, whenever someone calls me to.  So if you’re looking for a photographer, I’m happy to oblige. I currently specialize in product photography and food photography, although I’m most passionate about abstract photographic art that you can hang on your walls. You can check out my galleries at http://www.hkimagery.com and hkimagery.photoshelter.com.

And if you still want more, follow me on Instagram! There you will see photos that hit me spur of the moment, and usually have to do with food. They are all taken with my iPhone, with natural light, and with pretty much no food styling. Heck, I’m not getting paid, so I shoot on the run! But if you like what you see, I can do a lot more  when I have the time to pay attention to detail. 🙂 Hire me, and you’ll see!

P.S. Seeing the images in the previous two posts on this blog, compared to my current Instagram stream, I’m proud to see that my food photography skills have progressed since I first tried on the new genre 3 years ago.

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Yum! (Part 2): Restaurant Photography

pork coloradito at Taco Milagro

Last month, I wrote about how I started my new Gluten-Free Foodie blog, and with that a new genre — food photography. Well last week I had the opportunity to test out my new genre on location. I was really excited to do my first restaurant review and bring my studio lights to Taco Milagro to capture their tasty dishes.  I love the challenge of being on location and needing to use whatever is available for subject, background, etc. to capture the image.

I am an expert now at breaking down and setting up my studio; at tweaking lighting ratios, angles and distances. I have always had the eye for composition, with or without studio lights. AND I love good food and the challenge of making food look good in a photograph (not always easy). The first dish arrived, and everything was going along swimmingly. And then I drew a crowd. The manager and his children, waitstaff, food preparers, and restaurant patrons were all as interested in the shoot as I was, and just wanted to see how things were going. But slowly, as I subconsiously realized that expectations were being placed on me, I got the jitters. And for probably a second, maybe two, I felt a twinge of panic that these pictures were not going to turn out well. There was something in the lighting that  wasn’t right. There was something in the composition that bugged me. And I started to lose my focus. I mean the images would turn out ok. They wouldn’t be horrible. But they would not meet my high standard of quality.

Well of course, I could not let that happen. So I took a deep breath. I tried to pretend that there was no crowd. Just myself, my assistant, my equipment and Radiohead playing in the background. And then I got through it. The manager was eager to bring the second dish out, but I was not ready. I did what it took to get a shot that I was satisfied with. And only then did I start in on dish number two. By the time the pièce de résistance came out, I was able to capture the above picture with almost no tweaking because I was totally “in the zone” and everything just fell into place. I just love how the color of the sauce matches the color of the background and how the creamy white swirls are echoed by the wrought iron motif in the background. This was not planned. If it were, it could not have been planned better.

Every photo shoot is a learning experience, and if nothing else, I learned to overcome my fear of drawing attention, with the confidence that I will get the job done right.

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Yum! (my latest genre, food photography)

beef burguignon

I have just launched a new blog called Gluten-Free Foodie, because I have been gluten-free for nearly a decade and have noticed that the culinary world around me has changed drastically in the last year. The number of gluten-free options available to me now is staggering… and also exciting. Not only is this blog near and dear to my heart, because I live gluten-free every day and have lots to share with others who suffer from this.  But I now have a new genre of photography to add to my portfolio — food photography!

A foodie at heart, I have always drooled over the pages of great cooking magazines, where the images of food are so well done, you just want to reach in and grab the photo itself to eat! Probably the only cash-register line weakness that I have, is a new cooking magazine with excellent photography. But how do I begin to capture this same quality in my food photography images? Well I knew that lighting was key, but the only resources that I was able to come up with on the topic of  food photography was all about the styling of the food… an art in itself, of course. There were no books on the topic of food photography, and especially food photography lighting, at my local library, nor on Amazon. A google search didn’t help me much either.  But before diving in and experimenting with my lights on my own, I consulted one other source, my favorite source for Lighting 101, the Strobist blog by  David Hobby .

Big DUH!  Why didn’t I just go there first? I found one entry on lighting for food photography, and that was all I needed.  I never would have thought to light from above and behind! That saved me a lot of time. He didn’t mention in his blog entry about using a second source of light, but I did use a second one to fill in shadows in the front.

I only hit one snag in trying to get the above picture the way I wanted it. The gravy reflected the light so that you couldn’t tell it was gravy….it just looked white and shiny (not very appealing). However, some experimentation with the angle of incidences quickly resolved this. Detailed placement of the mushrooms and pearl onions, and some fresh thyme leaves from my garden, and voila!:  beef bourguingon, good enough to eat!

Please spread the word to any of your gluten intolerant friends about my new blog. I hope to make this a great resource for those who suffer from the same affliction as me. Otherwise, if you know of any food magazines, restaurants, or chefs look for promotion through photography… please send them my way!  🙂

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Greetings from Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky-Mountain-elk

This has been an action-packed summer, which is why I have not had much time for blogging. I apologize for some of the long silences. However, the kids are starting school soon (a few days a week), and I have hired some extra help for the days when the kids are not in school. This is all in the hopes of having time to start my business up again.  Please spread the word… hk imagery is for hire!!!

In the meantime, please enjoy this image of an elk in the Rocky Mountain National Park, which I visited last week with the family. It almost looks like he is saying hi!  🙂

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Bloedel Reserve

I decided to post a few more images from Bloedel Reserve. If you ever in the Seattle area, a trip to Bainbridge Island and the Reserve are well worth a day trip. The forest and gardens are lovely…a path through the forest

…the moss beds are an inviting place for a nap…. (i don’t know if we are allowed to do this, but my son couldn’t resist)…

a bed of moss perfect for taking a nap

..and the over-sized pine cones were amazing (my son is pointing to the pine cones to show relative size).

oversized pine cones

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Holy oxalis, Robin!

oxalis ground cover in Bainbridge, Washington

I just returned from a trip to the Pacific Northwest, where we were blessed with a break from the Houston heat, at least for a couple of days, until even the greater Seattle area experienced at least one 90 degree day!  While there, we visited the lovely Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, which, with its tall trees and luscious gardens, offered some shade and respite from the heat.

I LOVED the use of oxalis as a ground cover in much of the forest. Here in Houston, oxalis is considered a pesky weed, despite the fact that its flowers do make a nice picture when shot with a macro:

oxalis flowers in Houston, Texas

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Luke’s Easter portrait session

Of course, I couldn’t post pictures of Ava on Easter, without sharing the best images of Luke’s photo session as well. He is also a master at facial expression. Must have to do with constantly having a camera shoved in your face from a young age! 🙂

boy with easter basket

a boy with a painted egg and easter basket

a boy with an easter basket and a mischevious look

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a spoon & a plastic egg, what more could I hope for?

a portrait of a baby on easter

Here Ava looks quite happy, her eyes are a little more open than in the shot that I posted last Tuesday, and both of her socks are now off (as opposed to one on and one off)…. but the other two images are just so expressive in their own rights…if you had to choose just one of these three Easter pictures of Ava, which one would you choose?

So I have finally manually moved all of my blog entries from my old site to this one. I hope I will not lose any loyal readers in the transition. WordPress is a little better for me, administratively. I can choose my own categories to file photos under and I can put more than one image into the same blog entry if I want. I am also able to use my own domain name on the blog. Thanks so much for following my blog.

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One sock on, one sock off

baby ava reaches into her easter basket

Here, Ava looks so innocent and wondrous. I love her expression. But at first I hated that I did not take off the one sock. For consistency in the image. In retrospect, however, I decided that I like it there. I have had a constant battle since the moment that she was born keeping both socks on her feet at any one time! And if I ever have two on at a time, I am very lucky if they match each other! So in the end, the one sock helps to express who she is.

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Ava expresses joy at the contents of her Easter basket

Ava expresses joy at the contents of her easter basket

Ok. So I am a little behind at posting this image from two months ago. Its a little difficult sometimes trying to launch a photography career while also taking care of a three-year-old and one-year-old. But I still wanted to share this picture with you because I just love the expression of shear joy on Ava’s face. I have several other shots of her from this session that I also really love, which I will share with you over the next few days. But this is the one where she looks the happiest.

I posted this yesterday on my old blog site. I am in the process of (manually) transferring over the old blog to this one. I find wordpress to be much better administratively than the one I was using before. Maybe I will pick up a few more readers as well!  In the meantime, I may have a couple of double postings at both blog sites, until everything is transferred over.

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