Bluegrass for Babies

On their day off, most chefs would prefer relaxing at home as opposed to slaving over a piping hot grill on a steamy summer day. But, entice them with the opportunity to hang with a group of their peers swapping “war stories”, outdoing each other with their extraordinary cooking prowess, and drinking cold beer, all while supporting an extremely worthwhile charity, and they’ll show up in droves.
Bluegrass for Babies is just such a cause.  Founded in 2009, the organization educates parents on how to raise healthy children by providing tools and resources based in both traditional and holistic practices. Year-round special events grounded in a love of bluegrass music provide much needed fundraising dollars which benefit the Perinatal Institute of Cincinnati Children’s.
For their Midsummer Harvest at Evendale’s pastoral Gorman Heritage Farm, Bluegrass for Babies gathered some of Cincinnati’s finest chefs, mixologists, and Gorman staff for an afternoon in the country full of good food, music, and farm education. Guests were welcomed in the garden by the sounds of Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers, as well as appetizers from Chefs Chase Blowers of Dutch’s and Daniel Wright of Abigail Street, and beverages from Molly Wellman and the boys from Mad Tree Brewery and Oakley Wines.
The lavish buffet lunch, served on white linen draped communal tables was the culmination of over a dozen of Cincinnati’s finest chefs, local farmers, and purveyors. Organizing and “wrangling” this enormous group of talent fell into the laps of Chef Jose Salazar and his wife Ann. After the guests had their fill, (with, as you can imagine, most going back two to three times) Dr. Louis Muglia, Director of the Center for the Prevention of Preterm Birth at Cincinnati Children’s, shared details on the ground-breaking developments of his organization. Guests asked questions and left very well sated indeed. If they’re like us, they went home and took a much needed nap.
Written by Ilene Ross
Photography ©Gina Weathersby

Taking a walk ~ with Abby Artemisia

You may be noticing that the leaves are off the trees in this post, and yet it is almost the middle of June outside. That’s because Ilene and I worked on this story ~ that appeared in CityBeat’s April Green Edition ~
back in February, but we had a few more images from the day that we wanted to share on our blog. Be sure to read Ilene’s full story {here} as she is, among wearing many other culinary hats, also a contributing writer for CityBeat’s food column.
Her article is on outdoor edibles and our guide on this brisk winter morning was the wonderful Abby Artemisia, a botanist, herbalist, native plant specialist, who feels that her life’s purpose is ‘to connect or reconnect people with nature to create healing for humanity and the Earth and to empower people with their own health naturally.’

We accompanied Abby on a walk through College Hill’s LaBoiteaux Woods learning the finer points of foraging edibles.
Admittedly, I am pretty new to this and was surprised at how much of what we saw was edible and/or medicinal. The most important rule to walk away with is unless you KNOW what you are foraging, DON’T eat it.
Be sure to read all of Abby’s rules in the article, another of which is to, of course, RESPECT MOTHER NATURE.
She leads a “Friday Frolic in the Forest” walk in LaBoiteaux Woods weekly. For more information, contact Abby directly at

Thank you, Abby, for sharing your knowledge, wisdom, and a few tasty treats from the ground with us on that brisk winter morning.

Spicebush buds (above, right).


Multiflora Rosehips (left) and more Spicebush (right).

Mellein (left side), Chickweed (top right and bottom middle), Woodmint growing on a tree root (bottom right).

Abby’s pin….a Lotus flower;)

513{eats} (fabulous) contributing media designer, Eric Hintz, just happened to tag along on one of Abby’s Walk’s in the Forest. This is what he saw….{just click on the image below}

{Wrap up} of a Food Photography Workshop

For months I had ideas of a workshop churning in my head followed by months of making lists of what to cover, how to cover it, what to bring, where to hold it, what to serve at it, my expectations, the attendees expectations…
There is so much that goes into preparing to teach and share not just through talking, but through hands on and doing.  It was so important to me that every single person leave the workshop having done one or all of:
overcoming a fear, learning something (of value) new, pushing themselves out of their comfort zones, understanding the importance of the fundamentals, the art and the design aspects of photography, of their story, of their journey and how it makes their work authentic, of creating community through working together, being open and sharing, putting the elements into action by looking at their subjects with new eyes, and by having been empowered and inspired to keep practicing, creating and learning on their own. I wanted to provide an environment where everyone would be relaxed and open to sharing and growing. I wanted to be an open book in every way.
No walls, no big secrets (there are none.)
Those were my goals.

Looking back over that checklist list, photos, emails and conversations afterwards, and my memory of the day, my favorite parts from the workshop would read like this:

  • FIRST & FOREMOST, the creative, intelligent, attentive, determined, collaborative woman who joined in, listened, watched, learned, and put into practice what they learned. Their warmth, smiles, participation, head nods and mere presence were inspiring as a group and (also) to me, far more than they are most likely aware.
  • The absolutely PERFECT setting for this workshop. Many thanks to Marti Heard, of 915 Monmouth Street, for generously letting us use her light filled, textured/weathered/colorful/eclectic/gorgeous studio as our setting. Honestly, I could not have asked for more. The mere atmosphere paired beautifully with the style of rustic, textural undertones of natural light food photography I lean towards and was teaching.
  • Renee Schuler and all the crew at eat well celebrations and feasts for catering the workshop with their fabulous spreads, big smiles and extra styled dishes to photograph.
  • My beautiful shutter sister, crazy talented photographer, and friend Peggy Joseph, who shared with us both her expertise and artful eye, and joined us for the hands on shooting all afternoon.

Below are some images from our day ~ from a few iphone and camera picts to images Peggy was sweet enough to document from the afternoon~while everyone was busy practicing and creating;)

It was fun to see all the vessels, fabrics, surfaces, props, and food set out on the enormous antique wooden printer’s table. Lots and lots of choices to be made be everyone, a little later on.

The morning was spent going over all the elements involved in creating an image from both a technical and artistic point of view. We picked everything apart and looked at them individually to understand how, why, and when they worked into telling a story.

The afternoon was time to apply what we covered {with assignments.}
I was so impressed with how these women pushed themselves and explored so many of the concepts we discussed earlier. Taking time to carefully consider light, props, angles, compositions, etc.
It’s much easier to dive in, but to create an environment and voice to an image, takes discipline, patience, and thought.

Did I mention how beautiful the light was? Floor to ceiling front banks of windows across the whole front span of the studio mixed with to die for textures and colour everywhere. Have I already said THANK YOU?!

As everyone uploaded their images and started making selections and adjustments, I was so impressed to see the imagery and parts to their stories they had been working on. In the short time we were together, I could see a part of each of their personalities coming through in their stories/images…which, in my opinion, is the only element that makes each of our work unique.

I’ve also been excited to see how everyone ended up putting their ‘stories’ together ‘visually’ on their blogs, as we discussed the importance of laying the images out in a story form as well.
I’ll come back and add everyone’s links as they finish up.
Vanessa of Nessy Designs was the first to get her post up. Here is a beautiful image and example of integrating imagery and text ~ you can see so many more of her images from the workshop on her blog.

Thank you, again, Mary Ann, Judy, Karyn, Ileana, Amy, Jamie, Vanessa, and Jill for coming out, being open, sharing with all, and spending the day together learning!
xo Gina

*The studio at 915 Monmouth houses 5 fabulously creative women ~Marti’s Floral Design, five dot design, CINCY EVENT PLANNING, jmm Photography, and CINCI MAKEUP AND the studio is regularly offered as an event space.
I can not recommend it enough.
Please contact Marti Heard at for more information.
*If you would like to be added to the email list for future workshops and events, send me an email at gina

Networking with Your Peers and Sharing a {Seattle Workshop}

While in Seattle this past September, I met up with a fellow food photographer. A fabulously creative food photographer named Clare Barboza. You can browse her work and quickly understand what I mean. One of the first things I noticed, is that she, like me, loves to tell a story. There are all kinds of ways to get there, and I was drawn to her particular way. We exchanged a few emails here and there and when I knew I would be in her home town, I was hoping to meet up in person. My visit came at a busy time for Clare, but she made space and we did, in fact, meet up for a wonderful visit at the yummy Macrina Bakery.
Some wonder why I, or anyone, might want to ‘be friendly’ with someone in the very same profession as myself. Aren’t they the competition? Won’t they try and take your clients away? Won’t they try and get all of your secrets? Fair questions…if you’re a fear driven ‘island’ type of person. I’m not. I’m of the ‘let’s all play together’ type of person. My feeling is that our professional life (as well as life in general) is richer through connecting and sharing (not to mention fun) with honesty and integrity. If you are running your business from a place of authenticity, ten people may very well do or offer the same product or service, but there will be a difference between each and that authentic difference is what will attract their like minded market/clients. Therein lies the beauty of connecting.  We grow, learn and are inspired through relationships. Here’s to sharing, collaborating, networking and making new friends.

So, having said all this, I’d love to share with you a farm to table workshop that my friend and fellow food photographer Clare Barboza is holding on the majestically beautiful Whidbey Island, WA this May 23-26. Let me just say…what a treat it will be and how I WISH I WERE ABLE TO ATTEND!
If you are lucky enough to go, and it came from this post, please be sure to tell Clare hello from me!
Here is her blog post link with all the information as well as the registration link.
Clare has given this workshop several times now, so you can look through her blog and see the amazing imagery from the farms and markets that will be visited. Here are a few of Clare’s photos to get you started:

photos ©Clare Barboza


Food Photography Workshop

Remember when I told you that there would be exciting things in store for this year? I gave a few teasers a little while back and holding workshops was one of them. Well, it’s no longer a teaser. It’s happening and I couldn’t be more excited!
This past year has been filled with some pretty incredible experiences, among them, shooting and producing four 513{eats} magazines, editorial assignments for other magazines, and hanging out in the very best of kitchens watching, learning, shooting and of course, tasting the finished dishes.
My goal through all of it, was to tell visual stories about people and food in a beautiful, engaging and enticing manner. Through this workshop, I’m happy to share my thoughts and approaches with you.

Natural Light Food Photography Workshop ~ on May 11th

This will be the first in a series of photography and photography/cooking workshops. Each will have a different overall theme/topic- such as field trips, foraging, farms and chefs…all with an eye on telling visual stories. I will share more about those a little further down the road.

For now, let me tell you about this first workshop…
**Although this workshop is called Food Photography Workshop {the basics} – this is NOT a Photography 101 class. I know some pretty amazing photographers who offer that course and I would be more than happy to pass their names and information on to anyone looking for/needing that before joining in on this workshop.
 To enroll in this digital natural light food photography workshop, you need to already have an understanding of your own camera and it’s manual functions. You do not need to be a professional photographer or own the latest, most expensive camera equipment to take this workshop. This workshop is perfect for anyone (food bloggers, food writers, hobbyists, amateurs) wanting to learn to improve the quality of their images and/or how to approach, set up, style and make beautiful images of food using natural light in the simplest of settings. I create many of my food images in the dining room of my own home with simple props and basic equipment, and you can too. 
My goal for this {basics} workshop is to share with you my approach along with the components of creating beautiful photographs of food that you can take with you, continue to practice with and use to create enticing images to grab your reader’s/client’s attention on your own websites, blogs or personal projects. Let’s be honest, it’s the visuals that grab your audiences attention before anything else, so strive to make engaging imagery to hold your reader’s/client’s attention so that they keep coming back for more.

You will need to bring your digital camera and it’s manual, extra charged batteries (just in case), additional lenses (if any), a tripod (very helpful, if you have one), a laptop (with all necessary cords) with your editing software, and cards/card reader as this is a hands on workshop. You will be shooting and uploading your images.

Topics we will cover:

What makes a good {food} photograph:
Slideshow of imagery for discussion.
The thought process behind a food shoot – purpose/theme/color palette/mood
Choosing backgrounds, props and styling simply (and the importance of not over-styling)
How to see and find light as well as understanding the differences in the qualities of light.
Ways to light your food.
How to manipulate light with simple and affordable materials.
How your manual settings play an important role in the artistic choices you make in creating an image as well as understanding when and why to make certain choices.
Camera Angles
Hands on shooting with foods/props and specific exercises to practice.
There will be beautiful foods for you to photograph along with plenty of props on hand for use to practice some of what we will cover.
Post Production:
I’ll walk you through some of my basic editing as well as share some examples on how I marry imagery and design for interest and impact.
You will upload and choose your favorite images and we’ll share with a show and tell of everyone’s images from the day.
I’m here to share with you and you’re here because you want to learn, so don’t be shy. Ask away, I’ll do my very best to answer anything and everything to the best of my ability.

Marti Heard of Marti’s Floral Design has graciously opened up her uber creative, colorful, and beautifully styled studio at 915 Monmouth for this workshop. You can take a peek at the studio right here.  You will immediately see a plethora of fabulous surfaces as well as beautiful light that will be available for us.
I’m also so excited that eat well celebrations and feasts will be catering our lunch as well as a light breakfast offering while we’re getting settled in. There will be no shortage of beautiful, delicious food. Thank you Chef Renee Schuler!
** If you have special dietary needs or severe food allergies, you may want to consider bringing your own snacks and lunch, just to be on the safe side. Regardless, please let me know.
Seats are limited. Full workshop fee is due at time of booking and reserves your spot.
Please know the workshop fee is non-refundable. If something comes up and you must cancel, you will be responsible for finding someone to replace your seat. Should there be a wait list, I will also help with finding a replacement.

Email me at with any questions.

Date: May 11, 2013
Time: 9:00am-4pm
Location: 915 Monmouth, Newport, Kentucky
Cost: $295 per person SOLD OUT


***If you’d like to be put on the email list to be notified of upcoming workshops, just send me an email at
Thank you!

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