The Burnside35. I even love the name, especially since I am a Burns. Testing the newest Lensbaby lens has been wonderful. It surprises me, delights me, and keeps me thinking about how else I could use it. I’m not really a flower photographer, but seems I could be with the Burnside. These hellebores  came to life with that first click. I pushed the in-camera vignette as far as I could with this shot and am so pleased with the sharp focus along with the swirly, Petzval-like, dancing bokeh. The vignette is controlled with a secondary aperture and lets you dial in on how much vignetting you wish to see.

I knew right away from the heft of the lens that she is serious. Sort of like a grown-up Lensbaby. The focus is sharp and the edges have that slight creative blur. For someone who likes to shoot the ordinary in unusual ways, this lens fits the need.

It may sound crazy, but it tends to give images an elegant feel. She is sophisticated with a playful side and a distinct style which I find quite attractive. Had a great time with the Burnside Shortbread Shoot. By the time I was finished they were just called the “burnside shortbreads”.

The images tend to take on warmer tones which I really like. I think I’ll be keeping this lens on my camera for quite a while.

It’s a full frame 35mm f/2.8 lens that offers the Petzval-like bokeh. It has a solid metal housing and a smooth turning manual focus ring. The primary aperture has a range of f/2.8 to f/16. Then there is the “slider’ which controls an eight-bladed iris which shades the rest of the lens from peripheral light, forcing a vignette when stopped down. More time shooting and less time processing. Who doesn’t want that?


Spring is trying to grab our attention here. We have sunny days, but it is still cold in the mountains dipping down to 5* at night. Winter seems to realize that it forgot us and is trying to make up for lost time by dusting the cabin with snow. Here “down the hill” the Farmer’s Markets are coming to life with fresh produce and it is very welcome. We still see winter veggies but now they are mixed with bright spring greens. Plump peas are always a treat whether tossed in a salad or a stirfry.

Shelling peas reminds me of my mother. Of course I only have a small bowl to shell where she had a bushel to shell!

Grocery store celery is just not the same as the Farmer’s Market celery. I’ll admit I purchased this stalk of celery because it resembled a large bouquet and I wanted to shoot it. It is so nice to find greenery on the veggies just as colorful and healthy as the veggies! After it’s photoshoot, I declared celery an under appreciated vegetable. Then I had to scramble to find a use for it and googled Celery Soup. This light version is perfect for my lunches this week.

I don’t eat cabbage that often, but this one with the curly purple edges came home, too. I suppose everything this fresh tastes good!

Baby turnips, always a favorite – oven roasted!

The lettuces, radishes, and watercress were salads this week. Somehow shopping has turned into “first we shoot, then we eat”.  Thank you Hillview Farms – it was great to find your booth!

One of the artisan bakeries offered this Meyer Lemon/Rosemary Bread last weekend. Oh. My. Goodness. I knew it would make a lovely flatlay shot and put it off all day to keep from slicing into it. But when I did slice it, it was amazingly wonderful. I will need to try this with my sourdough starter. My rosemary is blooming like crazy already and I still have Meyer Lemons on the tree out back.

Clementine Coffee Roasters was there, so coffee beans were tucked into the basket, too. And that half eaten apple/cheddar scone was perfect with the Clementine Coffee.

I hope you have some fun markets in your area ~ check them out and get inspired! Then sign up for our Still Life/Food Photography Workshop and we can help you with composition, lighting, backdrops, editing, and tasting! You can find all the details here: Still Life/Food Photography Workshop

Happy Shooting and Eating!



Could winter possibly be over? The sun coming in through the windows warms things up nicely. If you follow my blog you know that there is “the kitchen that is not a kitchen”. It is where I have been shooting the Still Life Food images. Well, this is “the window that is not a window”. A week or so ago I purchased an old window pane and have been testing it out in different places in the house. I finally settled on an upstairs window where I can set this window on the existing window sill. I wanted a real sky on the other side of the glass – not a texture, not a backdrop, but a real view. So, while this may not be much of a view, it is looking down into the backyard with trees in the background. It suits me fine adding lots of light.

While I like shooting the darker, moodier Still Life Food images, this window is perfect for those lighter shoots for sunny days.

If you are inclined to join us for our first Still Life/Food Photography Workshop in April, we will be working with baked goods, fresh produce, flowers, lighting, backdrops, camera settings, shooting surfaces, props, and sunny widows. You can find the details here: Still Life/Food Photography Workshop  Marie and I look forward to welcoming you to the studio space which includes the prop room!

I do hope you have sunshine this week and that your snow shoveling days are dwindling! Daffodils are blooming here.



Hard to believe that Spring is in the air here. It seems early. I actually hate to think that winter is over already because we could certainly use more rain to get us through the dry summer months and we could use more snowpack up in the Sierras for the same reason. But Mother Nature peeks around corners as she sees fit. The warm, sunny days have brought tulips to the market. I was happy to find these, always looking for tulips as the season begins. Sort of an annual event to shoot tulips and come up with different ways to share them.

Hope you have some sunshine today and Mother Nature lends a hand in melting any snow that may still be hanging around.

And if you are interested, our Still Life/Food Photography Workshop will be April 20th, 21st, and 22nd. Just look under the header Teaching Schedule for more details. I’m sure there will be plenty of sunshine here by then! We would be happy to have you join in on the fun.


I just finished reading A Painted House by John  Grisham. I enjoyed this glimpse into the past of rural Arkansas. It almost paralleled the life my father had while growing up in the same area. He picked cotton, he enjoyed his mother’s biscuits, and he, too, moved north to Michigan to find work. No one could make biscuits like his mother. She put all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl and added cream, one tablespoon at a time. She would work that tablespoon of cream into a perfect biscuit and set it on the baking sheet. Then she would add one more tablespoon of cream and work up another biscuit. This would continue until she used all the dry ingredients. Obviously, she needed no recipe. And it was an amazing thing to watch when I was in the kitchen with her, although most times I did not wake up until I could smell the biscuits in the oven.

The shot, above, is set up in a corner of a room that I call “my studio”. I thought I’d use this back-story shot to show you a bit of what Marie and I can offer in our Still Life/Food Photography workshop in April. We are really excited to share what we have put together for you. No matter if you have a “studio” or a corner in your house, no matter if you have a fancy light or you use window light, no matter if you have a purchased backdrop or you use other things from around your house, we can show you how to work with what you have.

This is a flat lay shot looking straight down. The step ladder is needed to get a good view for this type of shooting, unless the items are on the floor. We have lots of ideas for you!

“The art of photography is knowing how much to exclude. You can’t photograph the whole world.” —Eliot Porter

We can help you zero in on the story you want to tell.

You can find the workshop details here: Still Life/Food Photography Workshop

If you have questions, feel free to ask. We would love to have you join us.