Pondering Pie Week

There’s no better time for pie than summer. Well, summer and fall. Make that summer, fall and spring, …and winter, too. Yes, for me pie is welcome year-round…it deserves equal rights. Long live pies! Long live pies!! …sorry…got carried away there. Where was I? Oh, yes, Pie. Anytime. Good. (Just so you know, I’m not opposed to pumpkin pie in May or April or any other month.) But today, being that summer is well upon us with record temperatures here in Tennessee my mind is particularly fixated on summer-esque pies—like apple pie and cherry pie.

Apple Pie

One summer after my junior year at Baylor I lived with my Grandma Dreier in Hesston, Kansas. It had been a tough year at school for me but for my Grandmother she was about to embark on her first summer without my Grandpa Dreier, and summer without Grandpa meant the days of fishing, gardening and visiting local community events wouldn’t be the same for her. So, it was just the two of us for the summer. While the usual G. O. U. S. (garden of unusual size) wasn’t going to make a showing this year the cherry tree in the back was going forward without Grandpa with its annual production—and producing it was.

Grandma Dreier was a pie maker. Not professionally (that distinction would be for Aunt Joan) but she approached her pies with great intention and dedication. Before the holidays in anticipation of the whole family coming (eighteen or so of us) she would do a trial run on baking her pies. She was all about making sure she still had it—and had it she did—making the perfect crust and filling, baking to perfection and then testing the results, and that’s where I exercised my talent—eating. Yes, I was often the beneficiary of these pie trials as I would arrive days before the rest of the family.

Cherry Pie

But, back to summer with Grandma Dreier…she taught me how to make pies. I had a pretty good working knowledge as my mom is a great pie maker as well, but being in-residence with a pie maker of Grandma’s caliber was a bit like learning by emersion. I have very fond memories of learning the hints and tips she had acquired over the years of her making pies.

Now, this week with the 4th of July here already and with NPR declaring this “Pie Week” I’m happy to say that pie is still very much a part of my life…both personally and professionally. Just last week food stylist Teresa Blackburn and I had our own pie happening in preparing a number of pie photographs for a retail packaging client. We ended up with a little extra time to do some personal work with the beautiful pies she had created.

Cherry Pie

When asked “What’s the best time for pie?” my answer is “Now!” And, when asked what my favorite kind of pie is, I can only respond with an enthusiastic “Yes, please!” The only question left to be answered is… with all this talk of pie does cake get jealous? Cake shall get its fair turn. Soon. Very soon.


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Southfork Ranch and Food Photography

What’s a guy like me doing speaking at a women’s photography conference? Well, I’ll be talking about food photography, of course. I get to return to Dallas and spend the day with a fabulous group of speakers at the prestigious Southfork Ranch—where JR got shot in the 1980’s TV show “Dallas.”

I Heart Faces Photography Conference for Women is a day-long event on October 6 with sessions from business practices to photo editing to crafting—all encouraging attendees to Dream Big.

I’ll be leading a session aptly named “Delicious Lighting” where we’ll explore how to see and control light to make great food photography. We’ll talk tools and tricks—and I’ll even sneak in a few food styling techniques as well.

Registration begins May 18. Visit workshop.iheartfaces.com to get more info.

It’ll be fun. I look forward to seeing you there…I’ll be the guy wearing cowboy boots.


ps. I Heart Faces is “an award winning photography website with weekly photo challenges, tutorials, tips & lots of fun! We welcome all levels of photographers, bloggers and moms with cameras.

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Banana Split Art

Food Stylist Whitney Kemp and I embarked on another food art adventure with this Jackson Pollock inspired banana split. Hershey’s Chocolate, Strawberry and Caramel Syrups offered some fun surprises and colors…and they played amazingly well together.

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - 1

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - 2

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - 3

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - 4

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - 5

Here are a couple of details images from the banana split art.

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - Detail 1

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - Detail 2

You can see our earlier Jackson Pollock inspired Hot Dog art where ketchup and mustard provide some interesting interactions.

Stay tuned for what comes next—no one knows, not even Whitney or me.

– Kyle

ps. See more of Whitney’s food styling work here.

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Sunny Side Up and More Bacon

I’m a huge fan of breakfast for dinner. Given the opportunity I like to monopolize the kitchen and transform into a short-order cook. I wish I had a cape. I’m not sure how my kids will one day descibe their dad whipping up french toast, waffles, pancakes, eggs, bacon…and serving it up for dinner. Let me clarify, not all of those at once—that’s simply the spectrum of possibilities.

All the options are great, but there’s something comforting to me about a straightforward eggs and bacon breakfast…er,uh…dinner. Oh heck, breakfast for lunch is good, too. Let’s not get too rigid about when we can have this dynamic combo.

So, herein are a couple of images I did as a part of a new look I’ve been developing. I’m not going to get into the technical aspects of these images but will say that I am enjoying some of the surprises that emerge in the shadows. That reminds me of something a friend of mine (who is a gaffer) said once “We don’t make light, we make shadows.” Yes, I agree. It’s the shadows that make things interesting. On set, we call it “drama” and often ask for more.

So, here’s to more drama! …and breakfast for dinner!

Eggs and Bacon in Pan

Eggs and Bacon on Plate

What about you? What’s for dinner?

– Kyle

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Food to be Tied

A couple of weeks ago we had a break in our schedule allowing us time to do some personal work…time to raid my twine collection. I don’t know exactly what started all my tying up food with twine but it’s certainly turned into a bit of a direction for me.

Initially I thought the food pairings were the first of my tied food but then I remembered the tying madness started much earlier—around 2008 with some still life images I did where I took objects that don’t necessarily go together—dried roses, old drill bits, rusty railroad spikes, fresh asparagus—and tied them all up with twine. That was then.

So, here are a few images—food objects not only tied but also hanging.

Garlic Tomato Still LIfe

Pizza Still Life

If you’re a psychologist maybe you can help me understand what my “tied food” means. As far as I can tell, it simply means I like random things tied with twine. But who knows, maybe there’s more to it than that. Feel free to speculate.

– Kyle

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When in Brussels, or Elsewhere

When I was growing up my mom made Brussel sprouts now and then. (Nope, I didn’t grow up in Brussel—I grew up in Dallas, Texas.) Sitting around the dinner table and being expected to eat these cabbage-like oddities felt more like punishment than anything, but over time I developed a taste for them—I think if for nothing else because they offer such a different experience.

Brussel Sprouts

Even today I enjoy them now and then to break up the meal-time monotony. Laure (our caterer) prepares Brussel sprouts for us on occasion and there’s never any left over. (Our crew certainly likes to eat…maybe I’m working them too hard.)

Brussel Sprouts

I think Brussel sprouts simply don’t get enough well deserved attention. They’re really healthy when prepared right and they have great flavor. Admittedly, I’m a little weird–I like to dissect mine as I eat them. They’re just so interesting.


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