Gentl and Hyers Workshop in Lummi Island

Last weekend, I had the privilege to attend a travel and food photography workshop led by Gentl and Hyers in partnership with Marine Area 7 owner Jim Henkens, food blogger Aran Goyoaga, and Deborah Williamson of James Restaurant. Just a small group of attendees with all backgrounds came together on Lummi Island, just off the coast from Bellingham, WA to shoot, learn, make new friends, and create.

We were so lucky to arrive when the smoke from the Canadian fires cleared for our weekend. Our time started at Nettles Farm, a short drive from Jim's house where most of the workshop took place. Riley, the owner of Nettles Farm, allowed us to photograph him and his farm. Each morning, we also got to pick our own produce and eggs grown on the farm. His chickens are fed with high quality feed and you can definitely taste it in the eggs!

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The hosts foraged some various herbs, hops and tomatoes for us to use to cook and also photograph.

The hosts foraged some various herbs, hops and tomatoes for us to use to cook and also photograph.

Wild blackberries were in season!

Wild blackberries were in season!

Marty (Hyers) led us on a walk around the island after a morning inside the house. It was so great to learn about their approach on a travel story. Andrea and Marty shared so many great behind the scenes stories about their experience shooting on location in addition to client work in studio.

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These beautiful tomatoes were freshly picked from Nettles Farm and we got to enjoy them that night during our beach dinners. Aran and Deborah prepared such beautiful and delicious dishes! Jim bought salmon freshly caught that day off a boat nearby his beach. He also caught and steamed the crab for our dinner. Every part of the fish was used, whether it was smoked or used for stock for the next day's soup.

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Jim collects and sells beautiful dishes and other home items that he travels the world to find. We got to use these items in a styling exercise of various items we either foraged or caught that day.

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I have been wanting to attend a workshop led by Gentl and Hyers for years. I am so fortunate I was able to attend. It was such a great trip to learn from veterans in the food and travel photographer industry. I left the workshop with my heart and belly full! Keep being curious and collaborate!

From Modena to Venice (Italy - Part 4)

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Modena, Italy

Our month long trip was reaching our final week in Italy. After our time in Tuscany, we spent our last days with our Skoda rental car driving up to Modena which is in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. We were fortunate enough to enjoy an amazing 12 course tasting menu at the amazing Osteria Francescana led by the great Chef Massimo Bottura, which was voted world's best restaurant in 2016 and is a three star Michelin restaurant. When I first watched the first season and episode of Netflix's Chef's Table, I was blown away by the cinematography and story telling of this docuseries. I was so drawn by Chef Massimo's story and especially his wife as his business partner who influenced and inspired him to push the artistic and traditional norms of Italian cuisine.

We only spent one night in Modena and greatly enjoyed exploring the Mercato Albinelli where fruit, cheese, meat, seafood and also food vendors sold such delicious items. It's definitely worth walking through the market to people watch or to buy items to cook a meal.

Insalata di Mare

Insalata di Mare

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Chocolate with Cherry Ganache

Chocolate with Cherry Ganache

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The crunchy part of lasagne

The crunchy part of lasagne

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Venezia (Venice)

Having spent most of our time in the countryside or smaller towns, Venice was bustling full of tourists. I had come to Venice years ago with my family where we visited every museum and landmark. This time around, we tried to make our experience something unique. A family friend who was born and raised in Venice, offered us his apartment which was located in Canareggio, which is located on the north side of Venice. The neighborhood was still full of locals, but close by the major streets where tourists explored. A few mornings, we woke up prior to sunrise to go explore some landmarks before the crowds got crazy. I would highly suggest this if you are an early bird. We walked through the city where you took in the sites and architecture of the buildings with such ease! Also, as a photographer, the light was just amazing. 

Another great early morning activity is the fish market, which is located close to the Rialto Bridge. Many vendors sell freshly caught seafood at this market. We bought some gambaretti rossi (red shrimp) and cozze di mare (mussels). It's always helpful to learn some key words in Italian especially when your at the market and also understanding kilos and grams.

We really enjoyed a pre dinner wine and cichetti (small tapas-like bites) along a quiet canal-side wine bar called Vino VeroAlso, a great lunch spot is Osteria La Zucca which has some delicious vegetarian dishes. I would recommend a reservation since they fill up!

Gondolas on Grand Canal - Venice
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La Zucca  for lunch

La Zucca for lunch

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View from Rialto Bridge

View from Rialto Bridge

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Burano Island

Burano is about an hour vapretto (water bus) ride from Fondamente Nove which is located on the north side of Venice. Known for its brightly colored fishermen's houses and its casual eateries serving seafood from the lagoon, Burano is also a quaint and quieter place to explore. We enjoyed a meal at the small restaurant called Al Fureghin, where we were welcomed by the owner MicheleYou must try the seafood dishes!

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Burano
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Sunrise view from Ponte dell'Academia

Sunrise view from Ponte dell'Academia