My darling friend Liz came to visit me from Richmond this week. It’s been literally years since we’ve seen each other. There are few people I know who share nearly the same combination of interests I have, and Liz is one of them. She’s a talented portrait photographer, enthusiastic cook, and avid crafter. After spending several days discovering new crafty shops and eating our way around Manhattan, she left me feeling inspired and energized in a way that I haven’t felt in quite some time. These photos are the result of this recharged creative energy. I’ve had my fancy little camera for a couple of years now, but other than taking some slightly-better-than-point-and-shoot vacation photos, I have no idea how to use the thing. Liz gave me some suggestions on where to start experimenting, settings wise, and reassured me that my north-facing apartment did indeed have enough natural light to take decent pictures. So I started simply, with a pig (clearly, I do mean pig, not big) bowl of clementines that was sitting on the counter, just to play with the camera settings, trying to figure out what they all mean and how they work together. I think I actually made some progress! I was able to get the second shot, of a clementine old-fashioned, in only 6 or so tries! Normally, my strategy is to take about 9 million shots of the same thing, from the same angle, changing random settings with each one. This creates a nightmare for organizing and posting. Who wants to sit at the computer and sort through 100 photos of the same thing (after taking those 100 photos) while the subject (generally something delicious) is sitting there getting cold (or watered down, or soggy, or melty). Now I can enjoy my cocktail in peace.