Brooklyn Cookin’ (second of a three-part series)

Our first day at the markets behind us, we met on Saturday morning at the home of Ariel Hyatt in Brooklyn. (See the first post in the series here.) Ariel’s brownstone has a spacious and well equipped kitchen on the ground floor, and a large, open space upstairs for the photographers. The cooks brought their own knives and started out learning knife sharpening. Meanwhile the photographers discussed the finer points of composition and some technical aspects of photography.

When the activity got going in the kitchen, the photographers joined the cooks for some action shots of the preparation. The cooks had multiple dishes going at the same time, and the kitchen was full of spirit and color. We worked entirely with available light from the overhead fixtures and daylight through the windows. When the soup was finished, we created a small set near a window in a corner of the kitchen, styled it simply with available items, and each photographer made his/her own shots. Throughout the entire workshop we shot the food au naturel without any food styling techniques. Workshop instructors Photographer Chris Marquardt and Chef Mark Tafoya gave us insightful feedback throughout the day.

After a brunch of chilled cucumber and mint soup, spinach quiche, Vietnamese spring rolls, and blueberry crostata, the teams regrouped to start preparing and photographing dinner. For this we went into the back yard to shoot the grilling action and the plated food with available (and extremely hot) sunlight. The result was flank steak and spinach pinwheels, trout wrapped with prosciutto, quinoa with kale and garlic, and roasted corn and mango salsa.

The day ended with all of us satisfied and more exhausted than the day before.

Chef Mark demonstrates the proper way to trim a crust for the quiche.


Photographer Mark patiently drips spoonful after spoonful of chilled cucumber mint soup while I shoot enough frames in burst mode to catch a beautiful form.


The finished chilled cucumber mint soup didn’t last long after we were done shooting. It was delicious!


Lora helps Chef Mark pour the egg mixture into the spinach quiche.


Tenley expertly sprinkles sugar over the blueberry crostata just before it goes into the oven.


Lora is proud of her accomplishment. Arranging the spring rolls so beautifully was no easy task. Our overnight assignment was to edit all our photos from the day down to one favorite to present. It wasn’t easy, especially since there were two distinctly different types of photos: action shots and food shots. I loved this one that combined both.


We photographed an arrangement of the spring rolls in the early afternoon light of the kitchen window. The adjustable Venetian blind made a great light modifier.


Our backyard grilling photo shoot.


Dinner. We were much happier than the fish!

>> Stay tuned for my final post in the series on day 3 of Brooklyn Cookin’!

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