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In September 2011 the brilliant marketing folks at Travel Oregon put together a media trip that was truly one-of-a-kind. They gathered about 40-50 food and travel bloggers from North America for a weekend designed to showcase the best activities that Oregon had to offer, from river rafting to salmon-fishing, and kept us well-fed and libated by the amazing community of food artisans and restaurateurs in Portland. I spent a morning hanging out with one of these businesses, Salt & Straw – the ground zero of innovative ice-cream flavors like Pear and Blue Cheese or Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper – and you can read about my chat with Kim and Tyler over on the Etsy blog. It was fun to hypothesize ice-cream flavors (there’s a Basil Mojito sorbet idea I have yet to play with), and seek out perfect photo opportunities on my visit. I’m especially fond of this one as it best encapsulates my motivations in photography: to explore the relationships forged over food experiences and waiting for the right moment to express it all.

Read more about that Travel Oregon weekend here, and of course, a visit to one of Salt & Straw’s many scoop shops is a must-do if you’re ever in Portland.

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Besides photography, the Ashtanga yoga practice has, over time, grown to be the other big interest in my life, and for a long time I’ve been looking for the best way to bridge the two in a personal project. The opportunity arrived last November when I had the idea to photograph a group of yoga friends in silhouette, to capture the forms that we make with our bodies every morning.

I took my first Ashtanga yoga class in November 2009 in Palo Alto, and five years (and a few months) later, the ritual of rolling out my mat and moving along with the breath is now a permanent fixture of my daily routine. That in itself is remarkable, given that I’m really good at giving excuses for avoiding things that make me uncomfortable. This practice has taught me tons about courage, discipline and the value of effort in any undertaking worth doing. But most of all, it’s taught (and is still teaching) me the art of remaining at ease in uncomfortable situations, and how to hold that ease with a certain degree of equanimity.

And so it was that I got to spend a Saturday afternoon with friends making these portraits which I’m excited to share here and on my portfolio. Enjoy.

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We do our fair share of travel over here, and in this TSA world, it’s pretty exhausting, stressful and ridden with bad food. Having access to a quiet space to recharge and breathe before or in-between flights, makes a huge difference to the travel experience. Try taking a shower on a layover between two 10-hour flights and notice how it counters the discombobulating nature of plane travel. As an American Express card member, I was pretty excited to take a sneak peak at their newest Centurion Lounge at SFO, opening November 6. It’s the first time I’m hearing of a card company having its own lounge at an airport, and in typical Amex fashion, they know a thing or two about service. I don’t usually augment Instagram snaps from a media event with a blog post, but last night’s experience was so darn fine I really had to tell you about it.

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After a vigorous Tortilla competition, the subsequent cook-offs for Txipirones en su Tinta (Squid cooked in its Ink) and Bacalao a la Vizcaina (Basque-style Salted Cod) were quieter affairs, receiving over 50 entries each, largely due to the higher costs of ingredients. For a large cazuela that serves 18 people, it averages about 200 euros (US$259) for the Txipirones and 400 euros (US$518) for the Bacalao. I was invited to guest judge the Txipirones cooking contest and, for the Bacalao cook-off, got to spend a morning documenting two teams cooking side-by-side. Read More >>

  • Travel Basque Country

    We can’t wait to have you back next time — and will be sure to add bacalao a pil pil to the agenda. Great photos and story!ReplyCancel

  • So many peppers. Looks like you had a blast!ReplyCancel

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In a serendipitous turn of events, I got to end my summer with two weeks in Europe at the end of August. This included a short stint in Bilbao, Spain, for one of the Basque Country’s biggest annual fiestas: Aste Nagusia (literally, “The Principal Week”). I was there at the invitation of my friends Margaret and Javi, the power couple behind Travel Basque Country, an online resource for information and custom tours to the Basque region in Northern Spain.

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