Monthly Archives: December 2011

I have to admit I started out compiling my favorite portrait images of 2011, but I got distracted by the food photos and so I decided to give them their own post. They are my favorite, after all. There were so many highlights for 2011, and I have so many of these images that I love to keep looking at. Many of these shots I was hired to take at fabulous restaurants and cafes like The Black Forest Cafe, A&E Roastery, and the Pavilion at the Hilton Garden Inn, and they became my favorites. Others I simply discovered in a serendipitous moment during a rare dinner out with my husband, at a table next to a window with lovely natural light, where great memories and photos can be made.  There is no magic formula, only beautiful window light.  2011 was not filled with nearly enough dinners out.  It is one of the true pleasures and anticipations of my life, and one of those things that there is simply not enough of, being so infrequent. Ah well, that’s what they make cameras for. So the memories last longer. 🙂

Here’s to 2012 and lots more great food to eat and take photos of!

And I can’t recap 2011 without mentioning the absolute foodie highlight of the whole year for me: The 2011 Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge (<–click there for the link back to one of my favorite posts of the year).  I had such a great time this year, and cannot wait for this year’s event.  Take two things that I am unabashedly passionate about: food photography + tacos, and you have one happy chick running around downtown Manchester.

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As a photographer, I love to take photos of kitschy things….. and this one takes the cake. This “vintage” Santa has freaked me out for the ten years that I’ve lived here. Maybe it’s retro, or nostalgic, but this Santa who always poses at the edge of Elm St. at the Easter Seals Christmas tree lot, is a holiday staple here. I’ve always had a strangely horrified reaction to this Santa, like, “Really!!!!??” He’s pretty creepy.  In fact, it bugged me so much that I actually made two attempts at photographing him this December. The first day was so warm and sunny that he had a big shadow straight across his face, which actually added to the insane smeared-lipstick clown expression that he has. Another time the light was much better so that’s what I worked with. Either way, he’s still “freaky Santa” to me.

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  • Derek via Facebook - Wooo. That IS freaky. How old is it?ReplyCancel

  • Martha via Facebook - hey Erika, this freaky santa used to be in Amherst at an auto garage for awhile. One year it met with a windy accident and for awhile it was in the side yard with his top half sitting on the ground next to his bottom. Then one year it disappeared, and reappeared in Manchester. That Santa gets around!ReplyCancel

  • via Facebook - Ha! that’s fantastic, Martha! It’s great to hear more of his history–sounds like he’s had an interesting one. Anybody else know more about this Santa?ReplyCancel

  • Karen via Facebook - That Santa has always creeped me out too!ReplyCancel

  • Barbara via Facebook - Now that could turn you against Christmas!ReplyCancel

It’s no secret that photographs hit us the hardest in a sentimental kind of way. But what’s funny about it is that you don’ t always know which photo is going to become a favorite.  I stumbled across this photo of Parker, taken one year ago when he was just about 18 months old.  I remember the exact day that I took this picture of him, on our deck in the weak sunlight on a really chilly November day.  Specifically I remember his sweet crazy blond hair sticking out everywhere….. hair that I actually cut off about 2 days later. So just days before his very first haircut, I had accidently managed to capture this precious image of him, still babylike in his facial features and expression.  This is a memory that became vastly more important and sentimental to me a year later, than it was at the time.  I decided to have it made into a 16×24 canvas, because it’s a portrait of him I will be able to look at every single day in my home and never get tired of it.  Canvas is a supremely lovely and engaging way to display your favorite image.

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The Pavilion is located in the Hilton Garden Inn, in downtown Manchester’s beautiful millyard area. Executive Chef Jason Jette, Sous Chef Vlad, and the team create such impressively stylish dishes that are so beyond anything you typically think of “hotel food.”  When they started bringing out the dishes to photograph, I was kind of in jaw-dropping awe at each one, because everything that came out was bigger and more beautiful than the last.  It is truly modern and creative food.

It was the kind of food that is so much fun to photograph. Each plate was an artistic creation of color, texture, height, and garnishes. No way was I able to shoot this food with the cold, impersonal tripod. Halfway through the very first dish I ripped my camera off the tripod and hand-held the rest of the shots in the session. I really, really hate using a tripod, as much as I try. I prefer to move my body with each shot to find all the little angles and nuances that bring out the most delicious details of the food.

It was a quiet Monday afternoon, luckily sunny out, and they let me use a beautiful little corner next to the bar, with windows on two sides. Could not have asked for a better place to do food shots. Of course I would have been perfectly happy in the broom closet if that was the only available spot. 🙂   As you can see, the food is unbelievable. If I were a guest at the Hilton I would absolutely be dining there for dinner, and in fact my husband and I have planned our next meal out there, being just 10 minutes away. 🙂 Really this experience was such a thrill for me and I was so excited to work with them on this project. Below are just a few of my own favorites.

Row 1: New York Sirloin, Cobb Salad, Pavilion Burger
Row 2: Atlantic Salmon, Rhode Island Style Fried Calamari, Penne Primavera
Row 3:  Pork Chop, New England Crabcake, Dessert

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This weekend I took my 4-year old son to the village to check out the big Christmas tree in the town square, which just had its official tree lighting on Friday.  When we got there, the tree had not been turned on yet, so we parked the car and walked up one side of Main St. to the bridge and down the other, snapping pictures of all the cute little storefronts with their holiday lights in the windows. Goffstown is looking quite festive! And luckily, when we got back to the square, the big tree was shining brightly so we were able to get pictures of that too. A nice little venture!

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  • Sandi Wilhelm Wilson via Facebook - Cute decorations on all the stores… Nice job making a memory!! <3ReplyCancel

  • Susan Wilhelm Carlson via Facebook - It’s times like this that I miss New England. A few of the stores look like they could have come out of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. So quaint. The only thing missing is the snow…but that is coming, I’m sure. A light dusting for Christmas…just enough to make things white… I’m sure Drew was taking it all in.ReplyCancel

  • Candace D - I especially love the pic of the town hall. The color of the sky in the background is so pretty. Everything looks so dreamy!ReplyCancel

  • Local Haunt | Goffstown’s Giant Pumpkin Regatta » New Hampshire Food & Lifestyle Photographer - […] can also find Goffstown Village dressed for a different season–Goffstown at Christmas. And finally, be sure to follow the path through the blog circle by visiting the next blog: Meg […]ReplyCancel

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