Tag Archives: photography

exciting news!

Hello Friends! Remember me mentioning how busy I’ve been lately? Well, I am here to tell you the main reason… I’ve launched a photography company, Andrea Hubbell Photography! I’d love to share my portfolio with you, and hope you’ll subscribe to the AHPhoto blog I’ve started as part of my new website. You can also follow me on Twitter, if you’d like, for photography-specific tweets.

No worries, Bella Eats isn’t going anywhere! In fact, we are in the midst of a big website and branding overhaul that will be revealed in the next two months. I even have a lovely lime and blackberry tart to share with you very soon… (see if you can find an image of it in my portfolio!)

Until then, I’d like to entice you over to the AHPhoto blog with a few teaser images of our recent trip to Chincoteague. Consider it an [almost] Wordless Wednesday.

And don’t forget, if you’re interested in winning tickets to The Festy or the Brew Ridge Trail Music Festival, leave a comment here by the end-of-day (eastern time) this Friday, the 13th!

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NYC, and capture

I learned a little something about myself last weekend. When immersed in a city I adore, surrounded by bustling people, towering buildings, a cacophony of sounds and a myriad of smells both good and bad…I am not a very good photographer. Or, perhaps better stated, when distracted by new experiences I tend to forget that I am a photographer. Don’t be mistaken, Brian and I lugged camera equipment all over the West Village, Meat Packing District, Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO, gave ourselves sore necks and shoulders and stressed ourselves out on the subway thinking about the amount of money strapped to our bodies in the form of photo gear, but returned with an embarrassingly low amount of shots.

I seem to have a hard time peeling my eyes from the sky, the street, the architecture and the bakery windows to step behind the camera and look through the lens. And its not just New York City, the same can be said of Boston and New Orleans, both cities that Brian and I love but for which we have very little documentation of our visits. I’m trying to decide if this is such a bad thing, since a lack of photographs is typically the result of the two of us having a very good time. Whether it be good company, good food or good surroundings, if we’re in the middle of a good experience, I lack the ability to stop and capture the moment. Clearly, I need to learn how to multi-task.

The sparse amount of quality pictures in this post is quite the opposite of what I envisioned as we packed up our gear, debating which lenses to take and worrying about memory card space. Upon our return and my download of images, I seriously contemplated just forgetting about a Bella Eats: NYC segment, but it saddened me to not, in some way, acknowledge the amazing time we had, as short and busy as it was. Bella Eats, while providing a space from which to share recipes, photographs and stories with you all, my readers, has also become a bit of a journal for me – a place to document my adventures in the kitchen, to witness my growth as a photographer, to work on my voice as a writer and to record revelations I have about various aspects of my life. Such as the fact that my camera needs to become a part of my daily routine, and that I should be documenting more than just food.

And so, in an attempt to challenge myself as a photographer and to give myself yet another creative outlet (can you ever have too many?!?) I’ve started a little photo journal over at tumblr. My plan is to post at least one photo each day, with whatever camera is available to me, along with whatever it is that I am thinking as I take the shot. My hope is to raise my awareness of the moments that make up my life, both big and small, and to document as many of them as I can without taking away from the moment itself. Because I am never without my iPhone, most photos will be taken with it and perhaps doctored with an app like ShakeItPhoto, or BestCamera. This exercise is about developing my eye, not my skills, and so I prefer the low-tech (can you call the iPhone low-tech?) non-pressure of snapping a photo and immediately uploading it, rather than fussing with camera settings and editing software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

The journal is called capture, and you can check it out here if you’d like. It is not about food, although since food encompasses a large part of my life there will surely be some appearances by dishes and drinks that have an impact on me, both good and bad. It is a personal project, so the moments captured will likely only mean something to me and perhaps the person that I share them with, but may not appeal to a larger audience. However, because I was inspired by the lovely Becka of Studio222Photography to start this journal, I thought that it was only appropriate that I share mine with all of you, and hope that some of you may be inspired to start your own.

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And now, a few highlights from our trip to NYC.  Again, this is mostly for our own reference and to highlight some of the places we recommend others visiting the city to see.  It is not an exhibit of extraordinary photography skills.  🙂

View from our hotel room, straight down into Ground Zero.  Sobering to see, but fascinating to watch the construction from 33 stories above. This was a fantastic place to stay if you’re planning on concentrating your time in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, as we were.

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Magnolia Bakery in the West Village. A quaint little space crowded with baked goods on every available surface and so many people – behind the counter, in front of the counter, on the sidewalk outside and filling the park across the street – that you get flustered and order the first thing you can focus your eyes on. As you stand in line, wondering what it is that you just ordered, you are comforted by the fact that every single sweet they make is delicious, so whatever it is you’ve just requested will be great no matter what…

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A visit to Chelsea Market in the Meat Packing District, so that we could try and spot some Food Network stars (filmed upstairs) and get a sticky bun from Amy’s Bread.  We drooled over olive oils, dried pastas and cured meats at Buon Italia, and wished we lived in the Village so that we could take home some milk, yogurt or cheese from Ronnybrook Milk Bar.

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The wedding Saturday was at the Brooklyn Historic Society, a lovely setting that fit the bride (one of my most creative girlfriends from high school) and groom perfectly.  After the beautiful ceremony, we all ate, drank and danced the night away.  I was lucky enough to reconnect with two other girlfriends from high school, which means that, surrounded by good company, we have very few photos to share of the evening.

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The desserts were catered by Baked in Brooklyn, a bakery I’ve been following from a distance for a few years.  Sadly, we didn’t make it there to visit, but the wedding desserts were absolutely amazing and I highly recommend a visit to the bakery to try them for yourself.

A bakery in Brooklyn that we did visit was Almondine.  Oh my.  Rated by NY Magazine as New York City’s Best Bakery, the tiny shop on Water Street did not disappoint.  We were there when it opened, standing on the front steps with a handful of locals waiting anxiously for the doors to be unlocked.  Our first round through the line (yes, we went through twice) yielded the best croissant of my life (almond) and a raisin croissant for Brian.  With round two, Brian brought a chocolate croissant (pictured below) and a slice of mushroom, broccoli tomato quiche to the table.  The croissants were as light as air and the quiche was creamy and rich.  My only recommendation?  Buy extras, and fly them home with you.  I promise you’ll be wanting seconds the next day.

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And don’t miss Jacques Torres across the street.

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Also, while in Brooklyn, I rekindled my love for bridges…

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…and the Flea Markets that happen underneath them.  Again, I was surrounded by shiny (and not-so-shiny) objects, so other than this shot, and the fabulous necklace I bought from artist Jessica DeCarlo, I have no evidence of the Brooklyn Flea.  But if you’re ever in DUMBO on a Sunday morning, take my advice and wander over to the underside of the Brooklyn Bridge.  You won’t be disappointed.

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Thank you all for your NYC recommendations!  I only wish we’d had more time to spend, and look forward to our next trip.  That’s the beauty of having a blog, I’ll have your recommendations and this post to reference for our next visit!

I’ll be back in a couple of days with a meal perfect for the summer-to-fall transition.  In the meantime, you can follow me on twitter or capture.

on photography…

I get lots of comments, compliments and questions about my food photography.  To this I say, THANK YOU!  Photography is a passion of mine and there is nothing more flattering than having others notice your passion and comment positively about it.  

My interest in photography began when I was a little girl.  I grew up with a father who was an amateur photographer and always had a camera in his hand. We even had a dark room in our house.  I got my first camera when I was 10-ish, and was always the girl documenting all events with my friends in middle school and high school.  I took a class to learn more about manual photography and developing and even started a photography business with a good friend our senior year.  

I rebelled against digital cameras for years, still prefering to take all of my social photos and architecture model shots with my Minolta SLR camera.  I finally gave in and my father gave me my first digital camera my second year of college, a Kodak 3 mega-pixel point-and-shoot.  It was used for my social shots out with friends, but for my detailed architecture photos nothing beat the SLR…I was still hooked on film.

The digital SLR has come a long way since then, and I am now lucky enough to own a Canon EOS 5D.  It has completely sold me on digital, although I still dream about picking up a vintage Polaroid camera sometime, just for fun.  I have several lenses for the DSLR, but for my food shots I typically use a Sigma 35-70mm.  We also have a Canon Digital Elph SD850 that I use when I am away from the house.  It takes great shots and is much more portable than the DSLR.

I’ve compiled a few tips that I keep in mind when photographing food for the blog.  But to start,  I AM NOT AN EXPERT!  I simply have a love for photography and several years of practice.  There are many other sites out there that could give much more technical how-to’s than I ever could, and I recommend that you do some research if you are truly passionate about learning more.  A couple of sites that I’ve enjoyed looking at:

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practice practice practice!  

I know you’ve probably heard it 1000 times, but that is truly how I learned about light and composition.  You have to experiment with different settings on your camera and different lighting configurations in your home to figure out what works best for you.  Photography educators recommend keeping a journal, although with the digital age I don’t know if its necessary anymore since most cameras store information about camera settings used for particular shots. But if you’re like me and learn through recordation, start a journal.  Try different settings and record each small change you make, noting which pictures use which settings.  There are no excuses to not practice and experiment now that everybody has digital cameras…there’s no waste!

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composition.

I’m very careful with setting up my photos when I take them.  I probably take 20 different photos for every 1 that turns out how I want it.  I try to keep the background simple, focusing on the food and keeping clutter out of the shot.  Try lots of different angles to get the perfect one that will showcase exactly what you want to show.

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Whole-dish shots aren’t always necessary.  Sometimes a picture of just a portion of the dish is enough.

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Color and texture are important.  Boring-looking food will mean boring photographs.  A sprig of fennel or parsley, a dash of ground pepper or a drizzle of dressing can take a photo a long way.

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Prep shots are fun too, and help to bring some variety to the blog.

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dates

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light.

Daylight is always best.  I love the weekends when I can take my photos during the day.  During the week I have to take a lot of my shots in the dark and I have some pretty sophisticated equipment that helps me out.  For a point-and-shoot camera, (which are great!  I have one that I use often) the best bet is to keep the flash off because you don’t have much control over it.  Bring in lamps that you can use over your food.  You want to try and light the food evenly so you don’t get any major shadows (which will happen with the flash from a point-and-shoot).  If you want to experiment with the flash on your camera, try putting a piece of white posterboard on the opposite side of your camera and flash, to help bounce light back onto the opposite side of your food.  This should help with the harsh shadows.

This shot was taken with just the daylight from my window.

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The night before I took this shot with just the light from my dining room lamp…not pretty.

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Now I have an external hot shoe flash for my DSLR camera that is directional, meaning that I can point it away from the subject of my photographs and bounce light off of the ceiling or a wall for better lighting.   It makes evening shots much easier for me…

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photoshop.

I try to use Photoshop as little as possible, but I do use it.  My camera takes huge photos, so I have to reduce every one that I take.  I also will “auto level” the shots not taken in daylight or when I’m not happy with the general color.  This usually helps, but can’t completely make up for not having the right lighting when you actually take the picture.  I always try to compose my pictures when I take them so that I don’t have to crop them in photoshop when I’m done.  The less time I have to spend on each shot the better.

Here is an example of a shot before and after “auto-leveling” in Photoshop.

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inspiration.

Look at other great photographers and practice trying to emulate the things they do.  Don’t copy their backdrops, props or styles, but you can learn a lot from looking at the different angles and compositions of other artists’ photographs.  Check out some of the “visual inspiration” blogs and websites listed on my blog.  Some of the mouth-watering food photography that I aspire to?

I hope this was helpful!  Feedback is always welcome…if you have any tips that you would like to mention, please comment!