Latest Posts

5 Great tips for photo equipment storage

As professional photographers for the last 10 years, we have come up with a few good storage ideas for our photography equipment.   We live near the ocean, where there is a lot of moisture in the air, so proper storage is extremely important.

These are my favorite equipment storage tips.

  • We store each camera body and lens in it’s own separate plastic airtight box.  If there is fungus on one lens, you don’t want it spreading to the others. The boxes are labeled so that we always store the lens in the same box, and we can tell if a lens is missing. We use Snapware because it is airtight, inexpensive, and comes in a variety of sizes.  All our batteries and cards are also stored this way.

  • We have a large Snapware box where we often store one camera body, lens, battery and card so it is ready to assemble and use at a moment’s notice.

  • When we are on an assignment our empty cards are in one card case (the green one in the picture) and the used ones are in a distinctly different case that is watertight and shock resistant.  We don’t want to mix up the cards, and the ones with photos are much more valuable.

One last note:  Any storage system only works if you actually use it.  So we take apart the cameras after each shoot and put everything away (or, at least, we try to).

Villefranche sur mer France

Villefranche sur Mer in the South of France

CAMERA AND LENS DETAILS LISTED ON THIS BLOG IN THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN

Cookies in a Jar – Oatmeal walnut

It’s not hard to make your own cookie mix, and you can use any of your favorite recipes.  Just mix the dry ingredients together ahead of time.  Then later add the butter, eggs and vanilla, and bake.

The cookie mix makes a nice gift when you package it in a canister with a ribbon and label… and, of course, instructions.

Photos by Tony Fitzgerald Photography

 

https://tonyfitzgeraldphotography.com/2018/07/18/on-the-quest-for-the-perfect-pie/

On the quest for the perfect pie

I am always on the quest for the perfect pie – the holy grail of baking.

We have three blueberry bushes that were loaded with berries, perfectly ripe, so it was time to give it another try.  I used 4 inch quiche pans to make tarts for the experiments – making several small pies.

Cook’s Illustrated has an incredible recipe for the pie dough that they call “Foolproof Pie Dough for a Single-Crust Pie.  It uses vodka, which makes the dough easier to roll out.  But as good as the recipe is, I can’t resist tinkering a bit, and that’s where the problems start.  I insist on making it with only butter – no lard or shortening.  What can I say – butter just tastes better.  In the past, I have been able to make the change with a few other adjustments and make a perfect free form tart – a tart that I would put up against any.

This time, I wanted to make a perfect pie, complete with decorations.  But butter spreads, making decorations difficult.  So the experimenting began.  I froze the flour, the vodka, and the butter pieces, and then added 1/2 tsp of vinegar and 1/8 tsp of baking powder (my Grandmother’s secret weapon).  Then I refrigerated the dough whenever it got too soft.  It worked well enough that I was able to cut out decorations for the top, freezing them for a few minutes before putting them on the pie.

The result was fair.  Not the gorgeous pie decorations I have seen on Lokokitchen, but a place to start.

 

 

 

 

 

And the answer is… glass jars

We started several projects this week.  After reading a simple method for sprouting in the “Bar Tartine, techniques and recipes” cookbook, we decided to sprout some lentils.

We needed a clean, non reactive container that we could put cheese cloth over in order to quickly rinse the sprouts.  The answer was a glass jar.

Later, I was organizing the pantry, and decided I wanted all the containers to be uniform, not expensive, easy to move around, easy to clean, easy to find for sale in bulk, and clear, so I could tell what was in it.  Again, it ended up that the answer was a common glass jar.  I tried several other containers – cute ceramic jars, plastic flour containers.  But, who knew, it was the common canning jar that would work best?  Oh, I guess my Grandmother knew, since she always used them, but other than her, who would have guessed?  The 32 oz size was really useful for all the different grains we have, and the 32 oz wide mouth for the various flours.

Then I wanted to protect the bird seed from any critters that might get too interested, and it was a glass jar that worked.

And when we made our own vinegar from left over wine, it had to be stored in a nonreactive container covered with cheesecloth.  Yes, you guessed it … a glass jar.

A better Thai basil fried rice

We set about to make the best Thai basil fried rice.  Knowing that a dish is only as good as the individual ingredients, we wanted to used the best Asian sauces and the freshest ingredients.  We have tried a lot of Asian sauces, and there is definitely a difference between the brands – and these are some of our favorites.

Jasmine rice, fried on a wok using a Big Kahuna outdoor burner.  The outdoor burner has a much higher temperature and allows the rice to get that authentic wok fried flavor.  The rice was dried overnight and then fried using peanut oil with a sauce made of Lee Kum Kee premium oyster sauce, Kwong Hung Seng thin soy sauce, Three crabs fish sauce, Panthai chili paste with soya bean oil (Nam Prik Pao), and organic sugar. Then yellow onion, red bell pepper, thai basil, carrots, green onion, jalapeno, was fried separately and mixed with the rice.

The Chicken was dry brined with Tom Douglas’s chicken “rub-with-love”, then cooked indirectly on the Weber grill and smoked with cherry wood.

Served on baby romaine lettuce with thai basil, cilantro leaves and garlic flower from our garden.

(tip: links have been included to the some of the ingredients which will show the actual brands)

 

Beet salad with rose petals and cilantro flowers

Beet salad with rose petals and cilantro flowers

 

Heirloom beets drizzled with rosewater then topped with Saint Andre french cheese, broccoli sprouts, cilantro flowers, rose petals, and a french vinaigrette dressing.  It’s amazing what you can make after a visit to the local farmer’s market.  We were inspired by the photo on the cover of Yotam Ottolenghi’s book “Plenty More“.

beet salad (1 of 3)

Beet salad with rose petals and cilantro flowers

 

Photos by Tony Fitzgerald Photography

 

Celebration of Spring – crostini with fresh peas

Crostini with fresh pea puree then topped with pea tendrils and flowers from the garden. Drizzle with a really great olive oil and sprinkle with fleur de sel and you have the perfect spring time appetizer.  The puree was made by sauteing garlic in olive oil and then adding frozen petite peas – no need to defrost.  After a minute or two of cooking they were tossed into the food processor.  The frozen peas were just as good as the fresh, and a whole lot quicker.