Last weekend, I held my first multi-day Farm to Table food photography workshop on Whidbey Island.
While I teach day-long workshops regularly, and I have co-taught multi-day classes a number of times, this was the first one I've done on my own. And, for many reasons, this workshop holds an incredibly special place in my heart.
As I have mentioned time and again on this blog, Whidbey Island is one of Joe's and my favorite places in the world. We got married there 9 years ago and we make a regular point of visiting. We love the beaches, the tiny towns, all the wide open spaces. Our dog adores the off-leash beach in every season, and there is nothing more happy-making than watching her leap and play in the water.
So, needless to say, I was thrilled to find 2 Whidbey farms who were willing and excited to have visiting students photograph their land. I was also extremely happy to be able to hold the workshop on the very same property where Joe and I got married.
Over nine years later, it is even more beautiful now! See for yourself...
Below is the house we stayed in, the gardens, and the attached barn that served as our workshop space for the food-photography component.
There are tree-frogs that hang out all day in the dahlias! They were a big hit with everyone.
There were 10 students that signed up for the class. Amazingly, only one of them was from Washington, (and happens to be one of the owners of the fabulous Skagit River Ranch!) The other students came all the way from Canada, Taiwan, Colorado, California, Ohio, and Oregon.
I really cannot say enough good things about this group. They were AWESOME.
There was so much diversity, so many great conversations, so much laughing and collaborating and helping one another-- I could not have asked for anything better.
Also, I flew my brother in from Florida to manage the kitchen and prepare the meals alongside Joe. The two of them rocked it! This group was well-fed.
After weeks and weeks of beautiful sunny weather, our day for visiting the farms was rainy and foggy. While at first it was a bit daunting, it could not have worked out any better. The misty weather made for the most beautiful and moody photography.
On top of that, the farmers at both locations we visited were so gracious and welcoming. Thank you, Georgie, Loren, and Patti!
Here are some of my photos from Willowood....
And here are some from Quail's Run...
The next day, we headed off to the Bayview Farmers Market, where both Willowood and Quail's Run sell their veggies.
After 2 days of overcast weather, on the last morning we woke up to a gorgeous sunrise.
A perfect ending to the weekend.
A huge thank you to David Liao for taking this group photo.
In the car on the way to the ferry, my brother and I were talking about how ending the weekend felt similar to the ending of my wedding weekend years ago. At both events, there was such a sense of community and connection and it was a little sad to see it end. Overall, though, my overriding emotion is one of gratitude-- that I had this experience with this particular group of people.
I wouldn't have changed a thing.
I am in the planning stages for next year's Farm to Table workshop (which will probably be in May), and we'll definitely be returning to Whidbey.
Stay tuned for details.
UPDATE: The 2013 dates have been set! The workshop will be May 23-26, 2013. Go HERE to register.