I’ve learned a lot about food photography in the past few months. I’ve attended two separate workshops on opposite sides of the country and worked with some incredibly talented people. I’ve made wonderful new friends. And I feel like I’m finally ready to do something I have procrastinated for the longest time: upgrading my camera equipment. But before getting into all of that, I want to share my experience at First We Eat, the amazing food photography retreat I attended which was hosted by Eva Kosmos of Adventures in Cooking and Carey Nershi of Reclaiming Provincial.
I was so honored when Eva and Carey invited me to attend the event as their guest. It was a memorable weekend that was more of a retreat than a workshop, even though I learned so much from the two of them. The location was picturesque, the food was absolutely amazing, and I feel like I had a chance to really connect with the other attendees. In addition to learning about food photography and styling, we learned various cheesemaking techniques and spent time at the beach. The pace was laid back enough that we were all able to get to know one another. Also, I could sometimes escape for periods of time to recharge, which is often not the case when I go to events. As an introvert, recharge time is really crucial for me and I was so appreciative. I was able to take time for myself without missing out on learning or bonding. It was relaxing and lovely. I miss everyone (especially my roommate Renée, who assisted at the event and did an amazing job).
Thanks to all of the wonderful companies who sponsored the retreat:
Luna Moss | Repeat Press | Sequoia Grove Winery | Bennington Potters | Heirloomed Collection | Vermont Farm Table | New England Cheesemaking Supply | Nershi Woodworks | Alma Chocolate | 1Canoe2 | Treehouse Chocolate Co. | Simon Pearce | Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company | Jasper Hill Farm | Grafton Village Cheese | Kite Hill | Vermont Creamery
I was initially mortified to realize that I had one of the worst cameras at the retreat and probably left with some of the weakest images. After I had time to reflect on the situation, I came to realize that in its own way… it was a good thing. Let me explain.
I’ve tried to understand for the longest time why I would need a full frame camera and nicer lenses when I’ve been perfectly happy with my photos. It’s true that I often get bored with my styling and my setups, but I saw that as simply a lack of creativity on my end. New props are certainly cheaper than a high end camera body and an assortment of prime lenses. I never saw any proof that the investment would be worth it until I attended these workshops and held the cameras, tried the lenses and saw the limitations of my own equipment next to my peers.
The lesson was twofold for me. It wasn’t just about why it’s time for me to upgrade my camera gear. I also realized that it’s absolutely useless to invest thousands of dollars in high end equipment if you don’t know how to use it. To be completely blunt, I can get better shots with my reasonably priced Nikon D7000 and inexpensive 40mm lens than many photographers get using equipment that probably costs 4x as much money, because they didn’t take time to master their gear. I think it makes much more sense to start with entry level equipment and grow. Now that I’ve maxed out the limits of my current camera and lens and feel ready to upgrade, I’m excited. Unfortunately, it’s probably going to be several more months before I can actually afford to take the plunge. But it’s time.
- 3 cups radishes (approximately 2 bunches)
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted brown butter (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Clean the radishes, removing the greens, and slice in half. Place in a medium sized bowl and toss with the olive oil. Spread cut side down in a single layer on the prepared sheet and sprinkle with the kosher salt. Roast under tender with just a bit of bite, 15-20 minutes.
- Place the roasted radishes on a serving plate and drizzle with brown butter. Top with parley and black pepper. Season with additional salt if desired.