Sunday, July 3, 2011

My hunting: Jilted for a summer fling with photography

This has been an odd summer: I haven't gone hunting even once since turkey season, despite the perpetual open season on pigs, pigeons and jack rabbits.

Instead, I'm traveling around with Hank on his "Hunt, Gather, Cook" book tour.

It's a pretty unusual tour: Rather than sitting around doing a lot of old-fashioned readings at book stores, Hank has organized a series of dinners at restaurants all over the country - meals prepared by like-minded chefs, with wild-food menus inspired by Hank's book. The latest was with Chef (and duck-hunting buddy) Sheamus Feeley - shown here with Hank - at Farmstead in Napa.

We would, of course, be happy to go hunting as part of this tour, but it's summer, so most of the side activities have involved foraging. The hunting will start this fall. When I'm teaching, and not able to join Hank - wah!

But I've taken advantage of our unusual summer by using it as an opportunity to work on my photography, and in the process, document all of Hank's book tour adventures. It's been a great stretch for my brain, forcing me to grapple with the challenges of action photography and difficult lighting, breaking out of my easy and highly controlled routine of photographing plates of food for Hank's blog.

To check out the food and people at the restaurant events, click here. There's a separate photo set for each restaurant, and there's an option for viewing each set as a slideshow, which is how I prefer to view the photos. (There are controls for the slideshow in the upper right-hand corner - if the photos look blurry, just uncheck the "embiggen" option.)

Then there's the nature photography. Hank and I went out foraging Friday with Dan Klein and Mirra Fine of Perennial Plate, and I went a little wild with the macro lens:

My favorite photos are the ones of the ants, particularly the one that got all weird and arty for reasons I can't quite comprehend. You can click on the images below to see them full-sized.

Of course, I'm still hoping to go hunting this summer. I haven't gotten a pig in several years now, and it's about time.

But in all honesty, I'm enjoying the change of pace. Sometimes it's good just to roll with what life hands you.

© Holly A. Heyser 2011


NorCal Cazadora said...

Because I know people will ask: The set-up I used on Friday was a Nikon D300s with a Nikkor 60mm macro lens, and occasionally a diffuser umbrella. I got many of those shots - particularly the bug shots - by getting about an inch away from the subjects.

Shewee woman said...

Holly, great article and an inspiration to get out there with my camera. I'm so glad to hear you are taking the time to tour with Hank, what a great experience that must be. Your photos do capture the event with feeling. When is he going to do an eastern tour, like PA?

As far as a hog hunt goes, I just experienced my first with the Guru Huntress (Nancy Jo Adams) in Alabama. Three friends and myself drove down from PA. It was a great time, and I realized that hunting for me is a social thing. Sharing the excitement, the thrill, and the stories. So, have fun with Hank, because when his tour is over (or you go back to school) you will miss all the fun, BUT the hunting will always be there.

Some day I hope to hunt with you, but until then, keep snapping those photos, they're fantastic!

NorCal Cazadora said...

October 5, Pittsburgh! Click here and scroll down. I definitely won't be with him at that one, though. I'm joining him once in the fall, when he hits the Twin Cities - we lived there for a couple years and have lots of friends there.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Although I miss your hunting posts, I can't help but be glad you're spending time behind the camera. I've always loved your photos, both here and on HAGC. They always look like what they're supposed to be, in real life, not studio life. Beautiful, appetizing, but genuine.

OK, the ant's not so appetizing. But it's everything else.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Thanks, Tamar! I probably could squeeze in some hunting here and there, but I've learned over the past few years that it's a bad idea to cram every free moment with activities - I feel so much better when my mind has a little idle time.

Blessed said...

that first ant photo is incredible - love your work!

NorCal Cazadora said...

Thanks, Blessed! I'm a little obsessed with ants right now, and I love being able to get a good shot of them.

SimplyOutdoors said...

I agree. The first ant photo is awesome!

I love hunting, and everything that is involved with it, but it's nice to do some different things occasionally. It keeps us well-rounded.

The pigs will wait. Just enjoy the time!