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CISA Taste the View

CISA Taste the View

I’m from Detroit. As a kid, I had no idea that food grew. I thought that it was made in magical food factories that delivered to stores. Moving to the suburbs, people were most interested in chemical fertilizer, spraying weeds, and flowers. Not vegetables. In fact, it was probably against code to grow food on your property.

Now, I live in the Valley. What valley you ask? The Pioneer Valley, whose soil is the envy of the world. I’ve been here now for a couple of years and I’ve learned about local farms, and food producers in general. There are dozens, even hundreds around here. I reached out to help, and I’ve been commissioned to photograph some of these places through a Local Hero Program by CISA. Farmers markets, pastry shops and cafés, fancy restaurants such as Bistro les Gras that source local ingredients, Smith College who uses local farmers, farm shares (By the way, I will hereforth always have a farm share. They are simply awesome.) dairy farms, cheese makers, and even raw wool at New England Felting Supply.

I decided  to go to the annual fundraiser, Taste the View. And I took some pictures. And ate. The bruschetta, the orange infused fennel and the kale/quinoa pan fried in lots and lots of garlic were my favorites. These are just a snippet of how very beautiful it is around here in Western Mass.

wedding venue northampton ma union station

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that’s Amore!

Wedding venue Northampton MA Union Station.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I wanted to re-iterate how very lovely Union Station is for holding an event or wedding. It’s the real deal, the original wonderful station for this original wonderful town. If you find yourself searching for a wedding venue Northampton MA this is one to consider.

Corey’s new there, and he organizes events. He’s professional and kind. You’ll very likely enjoy working with him.

The DJ for this wedding was also very nice, though his name escapes me. I think he said he’s on thumbtack.

Abbey Chappel at Mount Holyoke College is amazing as always. I do admit that that campus is superior to my alma mater’s, Smith. I do have a special love for Helen Hills Hills (sic) Chapel. But I digress.

Last but not least, the couple. Oh my goodness. Couldn’t have possibly been more lovely and nice to work with. The end of the night included an Italian music set. First, the noodle roni song, very festive. Then That’s Amore … the bride happened to be hugging her grandma, and when that song began, they held their embrace. The crowd noticed and formed a circle around them. It became an impromptu bride/grandmother dance. Just thinking about it gets me all teary-eyed. How people could not love photographing weddings, when things like this happen, is beyond me. These are the most important things to experience, and photograph. It’s what makes us human. I was close to both of my grandmother’s so this dance was especially sweet for me.

Speaking of sweets, I ate two cannolis (pictured) but could have easily gone for more. If you hire me, I make sure to put, “allowed to eat cannolis” in my contract.

Valley View Farm, a new Northampton wedding venue

Valley View Farm, Haydenville, MA

I am based in Northampton, and I photograph a lot of things, including weddings. There are a lot of lovely venues here, but it seems like the area is growing, and that there’s a need for more choices for couples.

I discovered a new venue, Valley View Farm two weeks ago.

It’s in Haydenville, just a few minutes from Northampton. I drove up a hill, and of course said to myself, “Oh that’s why they call it Valley View.” It’s a family run business. You’ll see pictures in this gallery, sprinkled in, of the couple, wife in a cool hat and on the golf cart, husband with a Paul Newman vibe pictured separately with his spouse, daughter and watering can. Kids — a boy and a girl, and employees, whom they appear to treat like family. You’ll see how warm and fuzzy the whole place is: an employee posed with the kids.

It’s hard to call the place new. It’s an old farm. What’s new is that the barns have been moved from other locations and reassembled. It feels like more than a barn wedding venue, because the grounds have several usable spaces: The farm house where people can get ready, and incidentally there’s a museum of furniture on the main level. On the wrap around front porch there’s an antique scale, pictured below and a highlight for me. There’s the main barn, with a place called Love Nest up a loft type stairwell with a big sliding door entrance. Inside Love Nest, you enter into a lush living room with deep velvets and haunting portraits in guilded frames. It offers natural light, though it’s dark —  really really wonderful place for pictures. And totally original to this region. A good place for bridal parties to congregate and prepare. There’s also an open barn, which the owners say they may protect from wind and rain in the future. This is a perfect place for ceremonies, offering valley views.

Horses graze near a red stable, fire pits blaze on the huge patio, and the barn carves a beautiful shape into whatever sky you may have the day of your wedding. It’s overall a great place.

Okay, enough is enough about the venue. The couple, and their adorable seven year old, in addition to friends and family were the true highlight of the day. That’s how it always is for weddings, and that is why after so many years I continue to photograph them. I loved working with them and getting to know them.

For food, they chose a food truck from Mission Cantina. They affectionately call the truck Tacotina. It was amazing. Such great Mexican food. Worth the drive for me from Northampton to Amherst every time.

Spinning was Chris from Cloud Nine Productions. Hope you like Motown, I do. He’s very kind and friendly and pictured below in a fuschia shirt.

 

 

New York City vacation

New York City Vacation

This February school vacation, we went to New York. Why would I go anywhere else? It’s very close to where I am, it’s a great city for kids, it’s a quiet week because New Yorkers are out of town and there are relatively (loose term) few tourists, and the weather was perfect. (40s to 60s). I went alone with the kids. Atlas, 6, had a little cold, but he was a trooper. We were in Brooklyn, near Prospect Park, so day one we went to the cute little zoo there. The highlight is the baby baboon and his mom. The baby kept trying to wander, and the mom just held onto his tail. Then the baby would just jump on her back and they’d go ambling around. Lots of other cute things happened in the baboon area. Like teenage baboons playing and jumping from branches and landing in ninja fashion. That occupied us for at least 30 minutes.

I am not too familiar with the park, and I loved it this week. But I can only imagine how amazing it would be in Spring, Summer and Fall.

We spent a lot of time in Bryant Park. Why, because that’s where my 15 year old was spending a lot of time. (Don’t ask why.) We watched jugglers, ping pong players, ice skaters. Atlas went on the carousel and read books. They have a reading area for kids there. We both had colds so we didn’t partake in too many activities other than that. We spent a lot of time at Kinokuniya, a mostly Japanese bookstore. It also has lots of stationery, paper and gift items from Japan. One of those places that isn’t too too crowded and you think to yourself, “I sure do hope this really cool place stays open.”

And, there was the new 43,000 square foot Whole Foods……. which could be better organized. It took us a few tries to figure out how it all works.  I know people who work around there who can’t stand the layout and refuse to eat there. C-.

I also took Atlas to our neighborhood on the Upper East East East Side, with the amazing secret Carl Schurz Park, and beautiful Promenade along the East River. Having stayed in Brooklyn, I can say that my neighborhood wins in convenience, beauty and peace and quiet. It’s also missing the overpriced band-aid retail establishments that are adhered over former working class neighborhoods in Brooklyn. In short, it seems to have changed less, which is a good thing. Not heartbreaking to see an affordable neighborhood gone bad, like in Brooklyn. Gentrification certainly did happen on the Upper East in areas, but earlier and not as badly as in Brooklyn.  It’s still “affordable.” The fancy areas were always fancy.

It’s even easier to get downtown and around from the UES, relative to Brooklyn. Believe me, I did it from Brooklyn with a very easily bored child all week long.  On the UES, you have the the Select Bus, the new 2nd Avenue subway, and the 6 train that is hands down the most reliable line in town.

It’s luxurious, compact, and super convenient.

You get Central Park and the Museums and even the Upper West Side is walkable.

In Brooklyn, people are tempted to have cars and get Costco Memberships. (I have friends there who do that.) On the Upper East, there’s none of that. (Unless you are an incorrigible car person and enjoy the thrill of alternate side parking — what a waste.) To top it off, there are great, new protected bike lanes, which mostly benefit delivery people. (I boycotted getting delivery orders a long time ago because of how dangerous is was for cyclist delivery people.) Lastly, there is the proximity to Harlem. You can walk there. With a shopping cart if you want. And you can get your suburban fix there: There’s a Costco, Target, Old Navy and Aldi. Most importantly, you are near the Heart of the city. Harlem.

Yes, it goes without saying that you get less space on the Upper East Side than pretty much anywhere in Brooklyn. Small spaces are the thing now, right?

We visited the new-ish Whitney. Emile had been there. I did a professional headshot of someone there and on the extended Highline. We had been on the Highline during Christmastime. This time was much less crowded. Even when it was overcrowded, the Highline is one of my favorite things about NYC. Such a cool perspective. I would love to be able to walk around the entire city among flora, looking at buildings at eye level, without a care in the world about a car or bus.

Atlas played in mulitple playgrounds, including the one on Bleecker Street, and around Brooklyn. We brought his Spaldeen and we played inside handball courts. Emile’s favorite neighborhood is the West Village. He says, “It’s so pretty, like Northampton, only bigger!” Sort of.

Speaking of, it’s always fun to come back to the beauty of Western Mass. I had met with some clients at Woodstar Café yesterday, and on the way home (walking) I picked up some bread from The Hungry Ghost Bread that we ate with soup for lunch. Now I know why so many of my friends from Brooklyn are moving out here. It’s a relief to live in a place that bans plastic bags, has municipal composting, a recycling center, bike kitchens, and bike trails. I share a car and only have one about 3 days per week and on those days I drive less than 5 -10 miles, if that. I can get groceries, work, meet clients, all on bike. I can even walk on a trail along a creek to get to the downtown.

Emile is obsessed with Copenhagen (He did a report and made a beautiful pop up map with watercolors.) and the bike lanes there. He dreams of a NYC that looks like that. With the Highline, and the Citibikes, and the bike lanes, it’s getting closer every year, and not a minute too soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Mission to the Moon?

Mission to the moon?

Companies in the field of manufacturing and production have no idea how horrible their websites look and they have no idea how much they need your photography to bring them into the spotlight. At least that’s what the Chief Operating Officer of my biggest client told me regarding Industrial photography.

He competes with companies worldwide, for contracts with organizations like NASA, and he’s one of the few who takes the time and effort to make sure that his ideas are translated beautifully in visual terms. He even has a hallway in his building with historical photos from the beginnings of his company to the present. He has such passion for his products and how they are improving technology and innovation. Before taking the pictures, he gets me coffee and cookies. We just talk. He tries his best to explain to me what the machines do, and how they will serve the greater good. I nod my head, less because I understand what he’s describing and more because I appreciate that he’s taking the time to describe it. Over the years, we’ve become friends.

Whatever your beliefs about nuclear energy and mining, there’s an idea that getting back to the moon, and mining Helium 3 from the moon will help us create a safe nuclear energy.

One would think that I spread myself too thin with all the different types of photography that I do. Industrial photography is among my favorite, if not my favorite. Taking pictures of widgets and machines and factories and factory people is strangely intriguing, I love the challenge: getting up on high ladders, solving lighting problems, zooming in and finding beauty in manufacturing, wearing a hard hat. The people working in the factories aren’t used to photographers coming in. They’re very welcoming.

  • Industrial Photographer Western Mass