Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Holiday Gift To You

Flourless Coconut-Pecan Macaroons


  • 4 cups (approx. 10 ounces) sweetened bakers coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups (approx. 8 ounces) coasely chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag semi-sweet dark chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, place oven racks in center & top third of oven. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly butter surface.

2) Combine coconut & pecans in a large mixing bowl, mix well and set aside.

3) Combine sugar, egg whites, corn syrup, vanilla & almond extracts and salt in a saucepan (thick bottomed ones work best for even heat distribution). Stirring constantly, heat over low heat just until mixture is hot to the touch. Pour miixture over coconut & pecans & mix well.

4) Using a clean table spoon, drop rounded scoops of mixture onto prepared baking sheets, spacing roughly 2 inches apart, Bake until golden brown (15-18 minutes). Transfer to cooling racks.

5) In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips until a pudding-like consistency, then dip the tops of each macaroon in chocolate.

Macaroons can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.

Enjoy & a very Merry Christmas to all!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

When It All Comes Together

There are many factors that fall outside your control when producing an assignment... weather, tight budgets, unfamiliar talent, unfamiliar locations... 

When the pieces all fall into place and the shoot comes together in such a way that gorgeous images are the result... when you can feel it with each pressing of the shutter button, it's like floating on air! 

Many thanks to Michael, Nina, casting agent Cynthia, commissioning client & resort guest traffic controller Scott, assistant Niki for the opportunity and assistance in a somewhat complicated poolside shoot. Could not have produced results like these without your exemplary efforts to the cause. Mahalo!

It's been a busy, creative & productive week yielding good results. I sense the recent move to the new studio has ushered in a brand new era of creativity & efficiency to end the year. May the coming year allow the pace & creative juices to continue.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blade(s) Runner

View From Room 4814

Thus far, the holiday spirit has managed to elude me. With the past 8 months of studio & office construction now wrapped up, save for the building and painting of a set of steps, attentions have been fully focused on working through the wave of assignments suddenly flooding in. There has been no time to deck a hall or trim a tree. Holiday shopping has been put on hold until at least next week... so, I offer all apologies now should your gifts arrive a little late this year.

Just returned from another two day stint on the Big Island where we photographed restaurant & retail outlets. The day prior to departure spent doing the same in the south shore resort area of Wailea. A straight thru, 10 hour marathon of post processing immediately ensued, occupying all of monday. Now invoiced & ready for delivery. 

The travel was not without incident. While checking baggage at the airport, photo ID was dropped on a bag. Attendant quickly whisked said bag from the scale before I could retrieve ID, tossing both onto the conveyor belt. A futile (so it seemed at the time) search for lost ID ensued, panic set in. Without ID, I could neither board the plane nor pick up reserved rental vehicle at destination. Panic worsened as time slipped away, flight boarding call was announced and lost ID remained lost. I finally insisted that baggage be retrieved and my check-in canceled, planning at this point to slink away in defeat. Attendant retrieved bags and... there it was... the ID, sitting on top of the tripod/stand bag. Quickly reinstating the check-in cancelled just minutes before, it was a dash through security checks and a sprint to the boarding gate, just before the doors closed. Crisis averted!

Big Island location was decked in holly upon my arrival. As the work to be produced was intended for more than seasonal use, all holiday bling had to be removed, hidden or otherwise obscured from view.

Took note that both airports were extremely busy, unusual for this time of year, just before the holiday season, when the islands are usually quiet & slow for the two weeks prior to the Christmas tourist onslaught. Most hotels in Wailea currently running at near capacity and it seemed the same on the Big Island. The view of Hapuna Beach from my room revealed an unusual number of visitors enjoying the early morning stretch of sand as soon as the sun had cleared the volcano. 

Yesterday morning spent behind the microphone fulfilling customary on-air music host duties, followed by a clandestine parking lot meeting where where large slabs of exotic woods needed for props for another assignment where exchanged. Then it was off to scout for another shoot scheduled for mid-next week.

Returning to the new studio just after mid-day, it was time to set up & photograph two sets of exotic, very high-end, custom cutlery made by a local craftsman. So amazingly sharp were the blades of these knives that, quite accidentally, a bit of blood was spilled in the process of setting up the still life. This may have inadvertently appeased the lower gods as the set came together quickly... the second frame committed to pixels was the keeper. It can now be said that we are willing to give blood for our clients!

Casting now completed for the resort lifestyle shoot later this week. In between now & then, another two gigs to shoot, edit & deliver...

By the end of next week, I should be able to begin wrapping my head around the idea that Christmas will be only a few days away. At this time, I remain clueless as to what & how to gift friends & family. There have been a few furtive hints from friends that my world-famous, flour-free pecan macaroons might be appreciated. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Had the pleasure of spending several hours yesterday lighting, photographing and retouching suspending monofilament line from this lovely hand-crafted classical guitar by local luthier John Decker and his latest enterprise guitarmasterworks. As soon as I unlocked it's protective case, I could see that this superbly crafted instrument would be a challenge with it's rich Ziricote sides hand-polished to a mirror-like  finish. A large 6ft. softbox placed left-front and feathered to barely rake across the spruce top provided the main light. Large black cutters were used to prevent spill from the softbox onto the black paper sweep. An Arri 350W Tungsten Focusing Fresnel provided the background light while another 650W Fresnel place behind and to the left of the guitar provided just enough of a rim light to give the guitar a little separation from the dark background. A third Fresnel, this time a 2K was placed high, behind & to the right of the guitar, lighting the neck, headstock and tuning pegs. Several sheets of white foamcore to the right side of the body provided fill and a relatively clean reflection to the dark wood grain of the body. Monofilament line suspended from an overhead boom and carefully looped thru the top set of tuning pegs kept the guitar upright, it's base resting on a small piece of black velvet. The monofilament line was later removed from the final images using Photoshop.

Afterwards, I got to tune up this fine guitar and take it for a test drive... it plays and sounds just as good as it looks, with deep, resonate bass-tones.

The opportunity to work meticulously and meditatively in the still relatively new studio on this still-life was a welcome break to the activity of the last month... activity comprised mostly of shooting kids - kids in winter blizzards, kids flying kites in remote areas of the island, kids running on beach paths, kids learning about dance & theater, kids in art classes... kids, kids & more kids. 

Friday, we're off to Wailea to spend a day shooting lifestyle & architectural images for the Tommy Bahama Company, saturday & sunday it's off the the Big Island again to shoot more TB. Next week, it's editorial portraits of a leading local fashion designer, lifestyle shoots for another national resort company - a project we are currently in the middle of casting. 

After all of that, I'll be busy editing & retouching right up until Christmas Eve, that evening to be spent in the customary heavy metal fashion Brit Guitar-God mate & crew.

I also just realized that Christmas Day, this year, falls on Tuesday, meaning I will spend four hours that morning flogging Christmas music on the airwaves at 91.5 FM Manao Radio. To that end, I've been searching the intertubes for some of the newest, hippest, indie carols I can find... so far, I've turned up some real treasures. Tune in if you can from 6am-10am Central Pacific Time. You can get the live streaming anywhere in the world by clicking HERE.