Baking, Shopping and Eating, Oh My.

December was full of fun with lots of time to enjoy my family, my friends and even myself—I may have enjoyed a few too many sweets though. Here are a few of the highlights.

December Highs
How about baking to my heart’s content? Yes sir! From cinnamon rolls to peppernuts. Peppernuts? They are these fun little crunchy gingersnap-like cookies that are as addictive as movie popcorn. In German we call them Pfeffernüsse. I employed the boys to help in making them as it can be quite a chore rolling them out, cutting and putting 30-40 on a small baking sheet.

Kyle Dreier - December 2012 Highs

Also December is when we make Apfelkuchen—a long time Molzen/Dreier tradition. It’s a small round doughnut-like pastry made in a specialized cast iron pan. Family lore is that when our family came to America the matriarch hid her pan under her dress because she didn’t have money to pay the customs. Knowing my family I think she likely just didn’t want to pay.

Kyle Dreier - December 2012 Highs

Other highs? Fun times in the studio with clients and crew—see also silly antler on heads. Catching up on some reading. Window shopping with Amy. Fun Christmas socks. Testing photo techniques with grapefruit. Launching rockets with our nephew. Christmas concert with my folks. Candle light service with in-laws. Impromptu dinner outings with friends…a rare luxury.

December’s Low
It was on a Friday afternoon and I was casually checking in via Twitter and learned of the shootings in Newtown, CT. My heart sank. The unimaginable. Even at this moment it’s sobering. I am changed in how I relate with my boys because of it. We all sat down and talked about it a bit and their questions was “why?” All I could say is that’s the same question everyone is asking. My heart goes to everyone in Newtown.

December was a month of much gratitude, appreciation and reflection. It can be an emotional month, and it was for me. I’m thankful for the people in my life…my wife and kids, my extended family, friends, co-workers, clients…it’s all good.

– Kyle

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January 2013 Desktop Calendar

Happy New Year!

Here’s a free desktop calendar image (AKA shameless Kyle Dreier self-promotion).

2013 January Desktop Image

1. Download Here.
2. (on Mac) go to  > System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver
3. Click the ” + ” button
4. Find the downloaded image on your computer and “Choose
5. Close Preferences by clicking on the red dot in the upper left corner.

I hope you enjoy, and have a great beginning to 2013!


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Christmas Present and Past

Last year right around this time we were shooting a Christmas themed story featuring Nashville baker Mary Carter and her chocolate chip peppermint cookies for Relish Magazine. Needless to say, they were planning ahead…a full year ahead. Now, this Christmas the story just published in the inaugural launch of their new Relish Magazine iPad app. BTW, the app is a fun way to look at the magazine—very nice layout.

Mary Carter Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies

Relish iPad App

This was a fun shoot. Food stylist Teresa Blackburn and I always have fun working together. Add art director Tom Davis and editor Jill Melton and it’s a party! …so nice to have a successful and enjoyable collaborative effort. Thanks, too, to Liz and Rory for all their assistance.

– Kyle

ps. I get a lot of questions about my surfaces. That blue surface in the background…it’s an old door I picked up back in 1995 on a little adventure. Some people have skeletons in their closet…I have doors.

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Where did November Go? Highs & Lows

Apparently I missed the memo about November having come and gone. How does a month go by so fast? November kept us busy for sure with our regular clients and some new projects mixed in. Oh, and I think Thanksgiving was in November, too. Here are a few highs and lows.

After weeks of planning we spent a very productive day in the studio working on a new personal series I’m calling “Marionettes” …until I come up with something more clever to title it. I’ll have more to share in a future post, but you’ll see some behind the scenes (BTS) shots below.

Aside from work, one of my highs was blocking out a couple of days to bake pies. I’m selfish that way. I need my baking time. I rarely get to (or make time to) just spend uninterupted time in the kitchen baking. And, if you know me, I like pies. Well, I like cakes, too. Pies, cakes and brownies. Oh, and don’t forget cookies. But pies have always been somewhat of a passion of mine…thanks to my Grandma Dreier’s inspiration and instruction.

Side note: I actually attempted (with some success) a four-layer cake…complete with buttercream frosting and eggnog cream filling…to celebrate my parents’ 52nd wedding anniversary.

Other personal highs…
Going with Amy and the boys to the Franklin Theatre–a restored historic theater here in Franklin–to see the movie Brave. I liked it. Another high, having family in town for Thanksgiving–all seated at a sixteen foot long table.

November Highs and Lows

Well, the only thing that comes to mind as a low this month was having my long anticipated hang-time with my bud J.Mac interupted. He and I were on our way to grab some coffee and were in a car accident. Thankfully no one was seriously injured but it did mean sitting in an ambulance to get checked out instead of sitting in the coffee shop catching up with each other. I guess we made a memory. We did manage to eventually get some hangtime over coffee. I’m so thankful everyone was OK. The experience reminds me to pause and appreciate my wife and boys with a kiss or hug each time I leave the house.

What will December bring? We’ll, since December is already almost half over I can tell you it has been filled with many highs so far. I’ll share more come January.


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You Remind Me of Someone I Know

Every so often I run across someone that has a shared interest or similar wit or even a similar creative thought now and then. (I know, it can be a little disconcerting knowing there might be someone else out there like me.) There are different connection points—someone who has a passion for typography (Maynard), ideas about how to raise boys (Catherine) or the kind of bass guitar…or parachute pants…we sported in high school (you know who you are…Tony).

But beyond these sometimes singular, sometimes random connection points with friends and colleagues there is this odd vortex where I’m working with someone and there’s something else happening—more than just a similar idea or passion. It’s more than just coincidence. It’s more than just “Oh, I like this and so do you.” It’s more like long lost twins being reunited and finding out they drive the same car, shop at the same store, have the same inexplicable buying sprees of random items.

How is it that two people can be armed with very little information about a particular project, days and weeks go by, and upon convening to discuss ones thoughts we come with not only similar ideas but similar purchases and in some instances saying the same thing in tandem…Jinx!. It can be chilling at times but it’s so fun to have a doppelgänger.

“A what?” you may be asking. A doppelgänger. It’s a fun word to say and it has a few meanings (some kinda dark and creepy) but one definition I think describes my experience with this kind of person is “a glimpse of one’s self in peripheral vision”. I’m saying this is a positive…if not then I’m making it out to be a positive for my own satisfaction. (And it’s German, so of course I’m gonna like it.)

So, who is my doppelgänger? Well, I have a few to varying degrees but in the past few months there have been enough doppelgänger-moments between me and food stylist Teresa Blackburn that I felt compelled to at least acknowledge our doppelgänger-ness here and now.

Teresa is an artist, a thinker, a tinkerer, a reader, a writer, a friend, a giver… I could go on and on with her positive attributes. We connect on so many of these (except that giver thing…I’m the selfish one). We always have fun working together, chatting about life and business, sharing fun ideas and, more often than not, finding ourselves on the same mental track. She was the first to label our doppelgänger-esque relationship as that—Doppelgängers.

We’ve had some personal projects we’ve done together over the past few years. We started a little something a number of months ago based on an inspiration from a vintage ice cream freezer of hers, and what happened after that was just short of something worth documenting on A&E’s Hoarders. I forget the final count but let’s just say we now have a comprehensive inventory of vintage ice cream freezers between the two of us. This is just one instance of our doppelgänger-ing.

How it started…

Where it went…

And started to get out of control…

A portion of the hoarding…

The guilty…

Yes, I could go on and on, but as I try and finish my thoughts here (I should probably just let Teresa do it for me) I’ll say this…it’s fun working with people and connecting on levels where the inexplicable alikeness happens. Not to sound to deep or weird, but I think we—you and me and everyone else—are created to be connected and encouraged by others who are, in some way, a glimpse of ourselves in peripheral vision.

– Kyle

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October’s Highs and Lows

Here we are already a week into November and I’m just now looking back to my highs and lows from October. Where did October go? With as busy as September was I was thinking October would be nice and laid back. Turns out, October was hoppin’ as well. Here are a few highlights.

There were many highs for October. It started with a trip to Dallas to speak at the I Heart Faces Photography Conference where 200 women gathered to learn, share and encourage each other in the ways of photography. While most of the attendees’ primary focus was portrait photography, I lead a breakout session on how to light for food photography. It was a fun group and the venue was iconic…Southfork Ranch. Amy and I enjoyed getting back to Dallas and hitting a few of our favorite restaurants and catching up with friends. (see snapshots below)

Dallas Highlights

Back in Nashville my schedule included a mix of work for new and old clients with a balance of projects in studio as well as out on location. We even had a couple of outdoor shoots…taking advantage of the wonderful fall colors here in Nashville.

October felt a little like “workshop month”. I lead a mini-workshop (“Delicious Lighting”) at The Skillery in Nashville. We had about twenty people attend and my task was to give them a few food photography tips for making food look delicious with just $10 worth of lights (and a plunger) from Home Depot. Leading sessions like this reminds me of how much I enjoy teaching…as long as it’s not a full semester.

Probably the most exciting part of my October was working with a number of people on pre-production for a personal series we actually started shooting on November 1. We spent about two weeks working on sets, props and wrangling talent and crew. You’ll have to wait until November’s high/lows to get the full story.

You know, I’m usually a very critical person…making for no shortage of lows. I’m just wired that way—always finding something to be improved upon. I’d like to think it’s a constructive way of seeing things…or at least I try to keep it that way. But now I’m sitting here trying to think of a low for October and can’t come up with one. Sure, there are things that I desire and wish for but nothing that qualifies as a “low”. Clients have been great. I’ve been happy with the images we’re producing. My workflow is…uh…working. Our crew has been great. Sure, I’m having to address the usual things in our business like copyright infringement and equipment repairs but that’s just part of the territory. Maybe next month something bad but real exciting will happen for me to share. Or not.

On a personal note, one of our highs for our family was kayaking the Harpeth River. The boys did great and we all had a really good time…particularly stopping on a small island and working on our rock skipping skills.

That’s it for now. I hope you have a great November.


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