Monday, March 22, 2010

This Photographer Will Work for Food.

Subtitle for this blog post: Abby is reminded that she has the greatest job evar.

A few months back a new Italian Specialty food store/restaurant opened up around the corner from us in Watertown.  Literally, around the corner.  I had shyed away from going in because I'm clearly not cool enough, cultured enough or sophisticated enough to take up oxygen in an upscale food store like that.  Eventually my curiosity overcame my shyness and I decided to pop in and take a look around....

What I found was not a stuffy, pretentious food shop like I had imagined in my head, but a warm, inviting little store with an incredibly friendly staff who welcomed me upon entrance, inquired if I needed anything, but otherwise let me just poke around on my own.  (Side note, this is one of my favorite things about living in Watertown--friendly people! Customer service! Huzzah!)  I spied, in their prepared foods case, a dish of Tiramisu that looked like no other Tiramisu I've ever looked so--soft, dense--not like usual Tiramisu which retains it's shape in a stiff little square.  The woman who helped me said that the way the owner makes it is more like a pudding.  I was skeptical because I'm not a huge fan of pudding, but I asked for a taste.

Oh. My. God. Seriously. Omigod. And I believe that was the exact phrase that I not just said, but shouted, loudly upon the spoon touching my tongue (This is why I don't go into fancy stores...I'm obnoxious).  And as I cried out in amazement and surprise and deliciousness, the owner, Ana, happened to come out from the back room and SHOUT back at me "That's what I like to HEAR!!" And we got to chatting....

So, do you have a website? Nope not yet. Ah, well, I'm a photographer, and I love this shop--I'd love to do some work for you if you need it? Absolutely! How about we exchange a quick photo shoot for dinner for you and your friends? Um...OKAY.

Friday I went in and spent a couple hours drooling over her food  photographing Ana in her shop preparing food, and of course, 10 or so of her dishes.  Having grown up in Nebraska I'm not terribly well versed in the ways of traditional Italian food, so I was pleasantly amazed to see all of these beautiful dishes she kept bringing out to me: stuffed cabbage leaves, chard wraps, blood orange salad...did you know that meatballs were never eaten with sauce until they came to America? I didn't! And that's how Ana prepares and serves her meatballs (which you will see below): instead of swimming in sauce, they are served as is, warm and with a shot of fresh lemon juice. Beautiful!

What follows is a sampling of Ana in action, her cozy store, and her beautiful food:

Drunken Pears: Pears cooked with clove and poached in red wine (we had some of these at dinner and they were incredible!)

stuffed tomatoes
Traditional Meatballs
Chicken Breast Stuffed with spinach and prosciutto (we had this with our dinner and it was fantastic!) 
Chard Wraps: Chard wrapped around walnuts, prosciutto and gorgonzola. Holy Hell.
Stuffed Cabbage leaves.  Not sure what's in these but they looked amazing.
Fennel Salad with bacon.  This salad looked SO yummy but unfortunately fennel is one food that I just really really can't do.  Pity--it looked delicious!
Wonderful, cozy rustic details around the shop...
Blood oranges with red onion and olives.
So Pretty!
Homemade fresh pasta!
That's right. Ana whipping cream by hand.  This lady does it all. 
And she makes it look so easy!

And so began, what I hope to be, a long lasting friendship between Lorenz Photography, and La Romangoli and Son....

How was dinner? Wonderful.  Simply wonderful.  Ana prepared for us a traditional Lasagna, a vegetarian Lasagna and an eggplant parm.  Everything was so fresh and clearly made with love.  It was by far the best lasagna I've ever had--and what's great was, it wasn't amazing because it was done in an unusual or fancy way.  The exact opposite--it was simple, rustic lasagna, made with fresh ingredients and perfectly made pasta.  It was simple, and done right.

If you are located in the Boston area, La Romangoli and Son is WELL worth the trip to Watertown (the 71 drops of literally in front of the shop).  If nothing else, come out here, poke around, chat with Ana and her friendly staff, and just take some of that Tiramisu with you.....

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Oh. Mah. Gahd.

Okay, before we do anything, I must insist that the following post be accompanied by the below music.  Because it pretty much says it all. Please press play now.

They day started off...with the door bell.  Then things got good. Really good:

That's right folks. My new 27" iMac. This thing is not f-ing around.  I don't even know where to begin.  I have never felt like such a grown-up or a professional. I'm so excited to have this amazing machine at my disposal for all my creative/professional work. And yes some screwing around too.

So yeah, 27" high def screen with a mighty MAGIC mouse!! This awesome little wireless mouse with no rolly ball thingy for just run your fingers around on the surface and it scrolls! Up, down, back, forth to, fro, round and round...the possibilities are endless!

Needless to say the house has been full of screeches today.  Like "CALEB!! OHMAGAD! THERE'S A LITTLE VIDEO ABOUT HOW THE MOUSE WORKS!" and "Caleb! OHMAGAD! It automatically transferred the WiFi network AND password!" and "CALEB!! OHMAGAD! It transferred EVERYTHING from my old MacBook!! EVERYTHING is HERE!!" That's right...for the last few days, I've been chewing my nails about getting all my programs and files transferred over to my new iMac. But oh worries with Mac.  It just does it all for you.  Just connect the computers with FireWire or ethernet, and away it goes.  Took about an hour, and then poof--everything was there. My FireFox with ALL my bookmarks, all my documents, but most importantly to me--it reinstalled my Lightroom, and my Lightroom Catalog.  No transferring, no reregistering.  It's just...there.  I told Caleb that it's like the concierge at the Four Seasons: "Oh! You need all your Firefox bookmarks? I'll take care of that for you need your catalog transferred, my pleasure!" I feel so special!

I would like to thank my dear 13" MacBook, for all your hard work and loyal service over the last 3 1/2 years.  I've cranked SO much work through you, and you have almost never failed me--well except for when the battery croaked, but even then Apple gave me a new one for free :) You can now retire from professional work, and live out the rest of your days as my lappy...cozied up with me on the couch, looking up meaningless trivia on IMDB, reading Jezebel for hours and G-chatting.  That's the dream...

So, yeah, now if you'll excuse me, I've got some hard core photographering to do here. WAHOO!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Vendor Spot Light: Artists for Humanity in the South End, Boston

Calling all urban brides!! Last July I had the pleasure of photographing Sena and Jovan's colorful, spirited, BEAUTIFUL wedding at the amazing Artists for Humanity in the South End.  This venue was a dream: white walls creating lots of beautiful soft light, but covered in art! So much art!  No need to worry about bringing in outside decorations because your wedding is decorated with the original art work of all these talented young Boston teenagers. So so so cool. It was great because the day of Sena's wedding it was oh, say, 95 degrees outside and WAY sunny, so photographing outside would have been problematic, to say the least--but this place has seemingly endless space and places for us to shoot--we found this huge open gallery space on the 4th or 5th floor (where they were already setting up the cocktail hour!), that was huge and open, and covered in art.  Perfect.  We did all the group photos up there, and then I shooed everyone away to do some pictures with just Sena and Jovan.  I had so much to work with inside it didn't even occur to me to do more outside.  I can't wait to work here again!

Here are some of my favorite shots that I feel highlight the venue:

Oh and I forgot to mention one of the most fun parts: that huge glass industrial door that you saw in the first few pictures opened up for the ceremony: so after a hot hot July day, the air cooled off, they opened up the door, and the party spilled out onto the terrace outside the building.  SO FUN.  I wasn't there for this part, but Sena told me that later in the night after we had left, it started raining, and everyone was dancing in the rain...I can't imagine a more spectacular celebration! 

To all photographers reading this: this place is a photographers DREAM to shoot in.  As I mentioned the place is mostly white with HUGE windows everywhere, creating this incredible soft ambient light for every picture.  I think I shot at about 400 or 800 ISO for most of the day and only used flash during the reception when it got dark--and even then, with all the white walls bouncing was a cinch. I love venues in which I can really take advantage of the natural light because then I just get to focus on the subject matter and the actual photographing, and not worrying about if my flashes are set up right, if they will see each other etc...I just can't be bothered.

Anyone out there getting married here? Call me. Hire me. Please.