Aracena (Andalusia, Spain)

Spanish vegetables

Even though I only went to Spain with a half-empty carry-on, I came back with my luggage, and head, stuffed full. Not because of the in-flight oxygen, but from attending a food photography workshop with ace food photographer Tim Clinch. I’d met Tim a few years ago and he had been kind enough to try to give me some advice via Skype in my continuing quest to streamline the way I do things. Everyone who is everyone has told me that Lightroom would change/rock my world.

But when I open the editing program, my head goes into a tailspin. Partially it’s all those levers that promise to make your photos as top-notch as the pros, which are also so gosh-darn miniscule. (It’s like they designed them to purposely exclude anyone who has vision problems, as it’s a real challenge to hover my mouse over them to hit them precisely right.) I know there are all sorts of tutorials and books that promise to teach you everything you need to know.

Call me cranky, but I have enough things on my plate, like worrying about using “it’s” instead of “its” (can’t we just collectively decide to let them be interchangeable? – especially because my grammar-check keeps flagging the first “it’s” in this paragraph), and making sure I’ve got my photos tagged correctly; I goofed and posted a picture on my Facebook page that was incorrectly tagged, and after a visit to a lovely market, I came home and found a slew of less-than-pleasant words aimed in the direction of yours truly.

pastries

But now that I’m older and wiser – and believe me, after working in restaurant kitchens since I was 16, I’ve heard everything – I was happy to be able to just take a deep breath, and focus my efforts – and my trusty camera – on doing what makes me happy. And that was taking a trip to Andalusia to practice with a pro, and have some fun while we were at it. Because if it’s not fun – why do it?

Since everyone agrees that this Lightroom editing program is the best thing since sliced pan, off I went for a long weekend with Tim. I was also looking forward to learning from him how to see things differently, and taking pictures out of my comfort zone. So this post I’m kind of thinking of as my “homework.” There are a jumble of photos, sizes, styles and so forth. But what the heck.

jamón

And for sure, I’d rather be eating, tasting, and exploring new cities than going through technical manuals. So there.

(Although I did realize after I edited all the photos that I got the size wrong and had to rework ‘em. Can someone please advise me of when I will catch a break?)

arroz negro

The workshop was at Finca Buenvino, the country home of Sam and Jeannie Chesterton in the Sierra de Aracena, where they’ve lived for nearly thirty years.

Finca Buenvino

They were great hosts. Jeannie runs a no-nonsense kitchen, filled with beautiful dinnerware and serving pieces, and she kept us well-fed.

Sam kept the ham plates moving, and our sherry glasses full.

sherry

There was certainly no shortage of sherry and it’s something that’s rarely drank in France, or even in the states. But the wood-mellowed fortified wine made in the region has a particular affinity for the local foods, and I happy to taste as much as I could while I was there in restaurants, bars…and at home.

sherry cask

I thought my little aging casks at home were impressive. But someday, I will graduate to their level.

Pool in Spain

Jeannie made an amazing “black rice” (arroz negro) which she presented in the big paella pan with a big bowl of alli-olli. Tim hollered to me to get a move on as she was pulling it out of the oven and it was time to get a shot. Poor Jeannie had to stand there, hefting that big pan of seafood and rice, unless I got my backside in gear and took a photo. You can’t see it, but underneath that pan, she is actually kicking me to get me to hurry up and take a shot.

arroz negro

Although it was too cold to take a dip in the pool, it was the perfect place to practice taking pictures of glasses of sherry. And more glasses of sherry. And more glasses of sherry.

sherry

We also practiced taking “still life” style pictures around their country house.

onions

And while it was interesting, and the vegetables from their garden were magnificent, I’m not sure “still” photography is my metier. Eating ham and drinking sherry, however, I seem to have an impressive knack for. Always good to embrace your faults, as well as your strengths – right?

tortas de aceite

Another thing I developed a knack for was eating tortas de aciete with Seville oranges, which I mentioned in my previous post.

Ines Rosales

Considerate and thoughtful readers suggested I make my own since I didn’t pack any to bring home. But one important thing I learned about traveling over the past several years is that you (or I) don’t have to bring everything home. Or try to find it online and have it shipped.

jamón

Sometimes it’s better just to go somewhere, and be in the present and enjoy the local cuisine while you’re there. And bring them back as fond memories.

(On the other hand, I often advise people to take things like chocolates home from their Paris trips, because sometimes when you’re traveling, you’re so overwhelmed and jet-lagged that you don’t always enjoy them as fully as they should or could be enjoyed. So good luck unraveling my conflicting advice!)

cork

Speaking of enjoying the local foodstuffs (ie: sherry) and remembering things (or not), I was interested to learn that some of the cork that is used to bottle wine is cultivated in the region.

cork

Cork has become a lot more scarce in recent years, which is why many winemakers are using screw tops, which are just fine – and in some cases, preferable – especially for wines meant to be drunk young. There is a lot of inferior cork and a bad cork can ruin wine. As a sommelier once told me, “Better to use a screw top than a bad cork.” The trees can only be partially harvested, so as you drive around or walk through the forests, you’ll pass lots of half-naked trees.

Spanish cheese

We took a trip to Aracena, a pretty small town, that like many towns in the region, had beautiful tilework on the walls, which were painted regularly to maintain their appearance. It was nice to see such a fine example of civic pride, in spite of the fact that the Spanish economy is facing some challenges at the moment.

Still, shopkeepers in Aracena were incredibly nice and generous. Twice when I made purchases, for amounts like €16,75 the vendor would say, “Let’s just make it €15″ …and hand me back a €5 note back from my €20. When I bought some cheese and ham to take home (guilty!) at Quesería Artesanal (Concordia, 18), the shop of Monte Robledos, the woman tossed in a jar of a housemade condiment to serve with the cheese.

cash register in Spain

It was also a great place to take pictures. Because not only are the locals happy to let you take a snap, but they’ll often stand and smile for you while you do it. And many asked if I wanted them to take something out of the case so I could see it, or get a better shot. I’m still shy about doing that (I once have an overly long discussion with a market vendor in Paris about whether or not I could take a picture of a bunch of carrots at his stand), but everything was “¡Sin problema!”

Aracena

One who doesn’t have a choice of whether or not he gets photographed is the matador in Aracena. Legend has it that if you touch his paquete, you will have good luck. Or perhaps the person who told me that was pulling my leg.

seville day 2-23

So I coerced another workshop participant to give it a gander and after a quick feel, he pulled his hand away, saying it felt kind of sticky. So perhaps touching it with your hand is a rather loose interpretation of how to profit from an encounter with the legend. (Or the person who told me about the legend was just being polite.) But in any case, aside from his prowess as a matador, it’s pretty obvious why he was a popular hombre in town. And he was not ashamed to let everyone else know.

Aracena

One thing you notice about Spain is that people are always eating, starting first thing in the morning. In Italy, there’s the 30 second breakfast of an espresso at the bar. The French have coffee and perhaps some bread with butter and jam. But the Spanish seem to dive right into the day, beginning with coffee and breakfast pastries, or as they do in Andulusia, go savory with – yup – jamón – otherwise known as pata negra, made from local pigs that forage and feast on wild acorns.

jamón - pata negra

It’s impossible to avoid the ham, which was a-ok with me, because I couldn’t get enough of it. Seriously, I could eat this ham morning, noon, and night. And in between meals, as the locals do as well.

jamón

In town, I was wowed by the butcher shop that had every conceivable kind of Spanish ham at insanely low prices. Unfortunately I only had a carry on. And that, coupled with my earlier statement about bringing things home, prevented me from taking home a leg.

jamón

Someone had gifted me one of these ham legs years ago in Paris. A visitor had left it at her hotel, asking the concierge to ship it home for her. He called me a few days later in a panic, saying that he wasn’t allowed to ship the ham back to the states, and that she said I could come and pick it up. So I scurried over to the hotel with my wheeled caddy, and gently guided the ham home. It took a while to go through it all. And at the time, I was living in a rather small apartment, so it wasn’t long before my whole place smelled like a pork curing/drying shed. But somehow, I managed to go through it. (Most friends who came over invariably ended up leaving with an admirable-sized paqueta of Spanish ham.)

Aracena

Walking around town, people were just lovely. Tim made sure we hit a local bakery, Cafeteria Rufino, where traditional treats were on offer.

Yemas

Yemas are probably the best known, which are essentially egg yolks and sugar cooked together. Although I have a pretty sizable sweet tooth, I had met my match. Another local treat is tocino de cielo, which literally translates to “bacon in the sky” and the flan-like custards are everywhere.

tocino de cielo

They are also pretty much solid pots of cooked egg yolks and sugar (there are a lot of egg yolk-based pastries in the region because egg whites were traditionally used for clarifying the sherry), and although I managed a few bites here and there, I found myself drawn more to the savory side of Seville and the region. My blown-out picture probably doesn’t help make them look more delectable either which I blame on the odd fluorescent lighting in the showcase, or more likely, my incompetence with the photo editing software.

pastries

One pastry I did like were these little cakes, soaked with sugar syrup and I think I detected perhaps a bit of liquor in there.

Pastries

When I asked the name, I was given some nebulous answers, followed by a snicker. (One person told me they were named after a popular cold medicine.) But whatever you call them, I found the bite-sized cakes rich, but moist and delicious, sort of the Spanish cousin to the French baba au rhum.

Araceno

As we were running out of time, we clicked away in the city before heading home, to hash it out in front of our computers.

squash

One thing I did pick up on the way out was a handful of knives. There is nothing like a visit to a Spanish hardware store and I recommend if you come to Spain, you skip the bullfights (unless I’ve tickled your need to check out the matadors) and hit the hardware stores. There were rows and racks of knives in every conceivable shape and size. I bought a butter knife for 60 centavos, a fabulous folding knife with a fork for tapas-eating on it, and one with a lovely curved blade, that stumped me. I also bought an add-on to my plane ticket so I could take on a checked bag on account of the knives.

Spanish knife

Since my Spanish is rudimentary, another guest from South America told me it was for, um, removing the parts of the male pig so that his hormones wouldn’t taint the taste of the pork. I’m not sure what I’m going to use it for. But maybe I’ll just keep it on my desk, so I can take an imaginary swipe at any adversaries when the mood hits.

cafe in Araceno

All in all, it was a great trip, which included a wonderful workshop and some fantastic Spanish cuisine. And I did end up bringing home (in my checked bag) a lomo (pork loin), some morsels of ham, and two wheels of cheese. I didn’t come home with any sherry or tortas de aceita, but did have a long, hand-written list of editing commands to learn, a list of items I need to get my hands on (including a bigger hard drive), a portable tapas fork, and a newfound fascination with matadors.

jamón


74 comments

  • Rainy morning here after a long week, but reading this brought a smile to my face.

    I never could remember it’s vs its until volunteering to teach English to immigrants shamed me into it. I now always think [his-> its], [he’s ->it’s]. The form and meanings mirror for a person and an object. But I also would never judge someone for using the wrong one :)

  • Love the visual trip through Andalusia, David! I totally understand what you mean when you say Tim’s workshop filled your head. I am still buzzing from mine over a year later. And yes, learning Lightroom with Tim completely changed my life! It used to do my head in too but now I use it so effortlessly I can’t understand why I didn’t use it before… And I think your “arty” photos look fab!

    • Tim was great. He’s so patient and was trying to teach us other ways of looking at things. I kind of just try to shoot what I see at the time, but it was nice to try other things out. My results were mixed, but that’s always the purpose of trying things out. I did have a lot of problems with Lightroom and I don’t understand a lot of it. It seems overly complicated (like, why do I have to scroll through several menu items from the top of the screen, then open a window, then go through some drop-down menus, just to export photos – or why the upload to Flickr function doesn’t work, like at all) however now that I’m home, I’m going to play around with it more and see if I can get the hang of it. I know there are books and tutorials, but I’ve got ham to eat! : )

  • gorgeous pictures, gorgeous food!

    i think the pictures have convinced us about lightroom!

  • What, you don’t think you can do still photography? The cut onions and knife photo is
    an extremely nice shot!

    Whenever I need to learn new software I go to Lynda.com — the tutorials are very clear and easy to use — they demystify everything software related.

    • Yes, people recommend the Lynda.com tutorials which are really good. And I guess I should just plan a day to sit and watch them and edit. Although I’d rather be taking picture and baking (!)

  • I love that last B&W shot. They’re all nice. Perhaps because the subject is exotic to me, but I enjoy your photos.
    I call removal of those parts of the animal “brain surgery” because in the horse world, it makes the horse so much more manageable. So you could call it your brain surgery knife.

    • Ha! Glad you liked the b & w shots. Tim had us playing around with them, and how they were something different to try.

  • Well if that isn’t just the cutest knife I’ve ever seen.

    Such a lovely post! Now I can’t shake the thought of visiting Andalusia..and soon!

  • The great thing about Lynda.com is that the tutorials are organized to easily be viewed according to topic, so you can find an easy solution to whatever problem you are having. I took software courses, but Lynda.com is where I go to really understand how to use software. Start with the basics and learn just what you need in order to use the software, and you can keep going back to it. Another way to get help is to google a problem you are having with your software. There’s always someone out there who has had the same problem and shares the solution on the internet.

  • Ah, all these posts are making me so hungry, and they make me want to jump on a plane straight back to Andalucia!!

    Rosie xx

  • ohhh, that ham! ::swoon:: There is nothing like true jamón pata negra, but you’re right, you have to be in Spain to get the real thing(although the lady at our local tapas bar goes to Spain specially to get it)

  • Tim is so talented! It must have been an incredible week. I’ve looked at Lightroom a few times, but find it totally confusing. Having a tutor must have been a huge help, even if it was just to get you started.

    And I cannot believe the price of the ham!

  • David, You have a very good eye. I love your photos. And, love Aracena and love ham. I will have to look into Tim’s workshop.

  • This post made my day…made me hungry as well for that ham..

  • You have the life of all lives David! Even my vegetarian heart swoons over that ham!

  • Lovely in depth write up and a real flavour of the region. Being in Mallorca, I do love all Spanish references anyway…but I very nearly did this workshop and great to read that you got so much out of it.
    My favourite shot also the B&W near the end…thanks for taking time to share the experience.

  • “an imaginary swipe at any adversaries” had me laughing. Great post.

  • Photographer here.
    1. you do still life photography all the time. that’s what food photography is. :)

    2. Regarding the blown out picture/fluorescent light issue, that’s the beauty of shooting digitally! You can change the white balance, either in camera (best) or in post-production. It can make a world of difference in your work. (If you’d like some help with that, let me know.)

    3. Had you not said anything, none of us would have been the wiser. They’re lovely images.

    • Thanks! I just think some people are good at composing food and taking a picture, and others – well, that’s not their (our?) forte. I’ve working with amazing photographers who can do that & it was interesting to try. And Tim was very encouraging, so I’ll likely take future pictures with his tips in mind. Re: The photo that is blown-out. I was told that that kind of picture is one of the hardest to correct because you’re dealing with the worst kind of lighting. I tried to give it some tweaks, but it’s not as enticing and the real thing.

  • Love this post! Funny, as I kept scrolling and reading I thought the images were getting progressively stronger…maybe it was just the excess saliva that was making me dizzy.

  • What a great post, David. It kind of reminded me of your “Sweet Life” book. While I like (and yes – own) your recipe books, would you consider a follow-up to “Sweet Life” that takes us on some of your other trips? Israel, Spain, NY, your tour group trips – etc.?

    • Would be fun to do a book about other places and travels and foods, but that’s what I like to do here on the blog. Doing a book is a 2-year commitment with a bunch of behind-the-scenes work (writing, editing, etc) so I’m going to stick to writing about travels here. Glad you liked the post on Spain!

  • I’ve castrated more boar hogs that I care to remember and done it with a single edge razor blade, but I can honestly say that knife scares the daylights out of my. All I can picture is that thing completely severing my thumb from my hand! Surely they were teasing you.

    • There is actually a large knife the same shape that’s used for the same purpose. I didn’t think I needed the larger one (and actually, I don’t really need the smaller one, either…) but I liked the shape. Not sure what I’ll use it for, but I’m keeping it handy anyways ; )

  • David, I have always loved your photos…before the class! You capture the essence of the moment.

  • It’s = contraction for “it is.”

    Its = something belongs to “it.”

    Simple.

    I wish I had some tortas de aceite but not the yemas. Spaniards are egg-yolk mad.

    • Learning a new language (French) has taught me more about the English language than I ever considered – although it still irks me that I always stumble over the spelling of the word “accommodation”…and that British English is different from American English, and I’m never sure when writing from Europe if it’s better to put the period on the outside of the parenthesis or not.

      This post has 2274 (!) words in it, including HTML characters/code, so hopefully I managed to avoid too many goofs. But multiply that times 3 posts a week and it’s inevitable that of those 6000+ words, one is going to go astray. : )

  • the small syrup-soaked cakes are called piononos!

    • Thanks! I was trying to remember what they were called, and saw a sign in one bakery, but when I asked my friends, they came up with another name that was somewhat less-flattering. I did like them a lot, although they were rather rich.

  • What is it about Lightroom so many photographers like? I use Apple’s Aperture which seems to work just fine. I took a food photo class this summer at Maine Media and now I feel like no photo is good enough. Sometimes maybe it’s better not to know your shortcomings! All you shots make me look very forward to an upcoming trip to Spain.

  • @david – yes it’s the “different way of looking at things” that I have taken with me from Tim’s workshop. I’m still not the best photographer but at least I am putting some more thought into it all. Re: Lightroom, I use very very few of the functions (and not the Flickr one!) – I think Tim really just showed us a few quick and easy things to to to help boost the pictures. But it’s worth taking some time (after you have eaten the ham, of course!) – your pictures are already so beautiful though, I guess it’s not really that necessary for you! Happy weekend!

  • Great photos. Great food.

  • I love that you created an amazing weekend for yourself, but truth be told, your pics have always been awesome. I hope you were wise enough to come home with saffron..Spain’s is the best!

  • Thanks for the “virtual” vacation! The “trip” to Spain was wonderful! I’m sharing this with friends who have cork trees there and also raise patas negras. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  • Lovely post, as usual.
    I note that Christine included a brief it’s/its tutorial.
    I remember the distinction by reminding myself that the only time the word takes an apostrophe is when you use it as a contraction of of the two words “it is.” That way, there’s only one thing to remember:)

  • I’ve always loved your photography. Of course, this series is gorgeous. Can you give us a few tips?

    • It’s hard to tell people how to take pictures because what works for one person, might not be right for another. I think it’s always good to show readers what you think is interesting about the dish – is it the herbs on the salad, the process of mixing the chocolate into the batter, or the sign from the butcher shop with the hams? I take pictures as I go and feel they are part of the story. So I keep that in mind as I’m cooking or baking something, or visiting somewhere. Every picture in this post has a story attached to it that I experienced when I took it, and taking pictures is really storytelling.

      A few tips are: Get a dslr camera (I use the cheapest one!), shoot in natural light whenever possible (it can take a while to find the “sweet spot” in your apt or house, or outside), practice a lot (it’s so easy to delete these days with digital photography..), practice shooting things from different angles, and sometimes the process is often just as interesting – or more interesting – to show than the finished result, in some cases. Also look at photographs you like that draw you in, and see what compels you about them. You don’t need (and shouldn’t) copy anyone’s style. But most people (artists, photographers, etc) are inspired by others, so feel free to look to others for inspiration, as you find your own style.

      I did a post on Food Photography Gear as well as an interview with my friend Matt Armendariz, who is a really terrific food photographer, that you might want to check out.

  • I just wanted to thank you for your recent posts about your visit to Spain. They’ve been so appropriate for me as my new baby, a Spanish Water Dog, arrived just three weeks ago from Andalusia and I’ve loved following your adventures which have given me great insight into her homeland. She is just 4 months old, but timing is everything. She’s learning to be a Colorado girl, but I love knowing where she came from. She’s not too interested in your blog, though, but I’ll remember for her!

  • We think “it’s” okay if your “it’s” aren’t the right “it’s.”.! Or your theirs are not there, etc. I love your blogs and the fact that you put so much work into them. As for any grammar mishaps… heck, we all no what yew meant to say!

  • A professional photographer told me to use my iPad and an app called Aviary. It is so easy to take fantastic pictures. You can also buy an attachment for your iPad that will fit an ordinary camera tripod. I also use an app Camera+ because the grid lines help.
    This is so easy as I could never learn Photoshop. I would email a picture, but didn’t see a way to do it.
    Thanks for all your work.

  • There’s a book whose title is something like, “Why We Love Some Animals Called Pets, Wear Others Called Leather, And Eat Others Called Dinner.” I find it very intriguing that a lot of people have pigs as pets, while others, like you David, can eat them all day and all night. It certainly shows that all non-human animals are interchangeable in any of the categories, depending on where one finds one’s self. Perhaps in another country one would find dogs or cats delectable, as many do in, for example, Korea.

  • In a workshop you are always trying to do something new. This means you are not doing your best work. That comes later when you get back to real life! Anyway, your photos are always fab!

  • As always, a most enjoyable post. Your blog is filled with fun, laughter, and knowledge and I’ve relished each and every one of them. Those picky grammar and spelling police can just take a hike – you are the best!

  • David, You have always had wonderful photos. The one in this post of the onions made me gasp – beautiful, frame-able, artistic. Of course, it’s your sense of humor that always brings me back. BTW, its ok with me if you spell it’s any way you want.

  • wow the veggie picture is so colorful…. nice

  • Just delightful!!! Beautiful pictures! I learn so much from this blog! All those links just lead to more fantastic discoveries of such talented people, lovely places, fascinating foods, and neat, neat information… Just fun! And FUNNY!! OMG! FUNNY!! I just laugh so much when I read your stuff David! I hate to see the post come to an end. And then when it does, I sort of take a pause because I feel so fortunate and thankful that you’ve shared so much with us all. You invite us into your life in such a lovely way — so balanced… so generous… so honest… and with such genuine sincerity and humility. Just delightful!! Thank you…

  • What a wonderful trip you’re having!! I’m so enjoying all of your posts, and pictures are extraordinary. Gotta say, the paquete on the matador is quite striking! So fun of you to cup him for that turista pic!

  • David, I am here in the USA, and I still never know where to put the period, the exclamation point, or the question mark–inside or outside the parentheses! (How do you cook AND take pictures?)–(for example)! Thank you for another wonderful trip via your blog.

  • We are an Australian couple who like to include ourselves amongst your many faithful followers. We have always enjoyed both your comentary and your photography.
    We enjoyed this article so much that during our annual 3 month holiday in France next year we will do the previously unthinkable and exit France so as to pay a brief visit to Andalucia.

  • Came back to clarify that the prices on that board are for cerdo (pork), _not_ ham! That’s why they look cheap. Although the hams in the photo above it at 18 euros/kg look pretty good value!

  • David , I really love reading about your European food adventures! Some of the places you write about and some , the way you write about them,just make me want to visit!
    Thank you and keep up the good work!

  • Thanks for reporting on our local treasures, David. You missed the porcini by about 36 hours! Still picking, drying, preserving in oil, and serving for breakfast and tapas.

    By the way, Veronica (Above) the prices on the board are for various cuts of Iberian Pork, including cheeks, ribs, liver etc.

  • These photos seem more polished..are more subtle somehow
    They look very professional.
    Love the eggy yellow flans.

  • I would love to improve my photo skills too. And so it adds to the list of things to accomplish in this life! I do enjoy reading about all of your endeavors, though.
    Spain trip- fabulous! It too is on the ever expanding list. I just hope I have a life long enough to get to all these things.
    I do know what you mean about bringing stuff home, though. I still have a piece of chestnut leaf wrapped goat cheese from the adorable cheese guys on Rue Montorgueil in Paris- they were great putting a tiny parcel into sous vide for me. Usually the food I want to bring back is the stuff I gorged on while away and would love to have access to at another time (ie like the apricot tart that i would do anything for). But alas that stuff rarely travels well.
    Regarding the yolks- growing up there was the ever present “beaten egg” treat of an egg yolk beaten with sugar till it resembled a creamy custard that was an easy treat when there was nothing else to raid in the pantry to satisfy a sweet tooth. I can still remember that sweet almost crunchy confection- yes, I must go to Spain to compare :-)

  • Arguably the loveliest series of food photographs together! Strangely, here in Orgiva (Andalucia) you rarely get jamon as a tapa. It’s more common to see people – normally Spaniards – order a tostada con queso y jamon for breakfast. Regards

  • I purchased some orange-flavored tortas at a market here in Kansas City out of curiosity – I think they’re the same brand you photographed. Surely they’re available in Paris too. They were crispy & delicious. Thank you for again allowing me to “visit” a foreign city without the airfare. Your photos have always been terrific IMO.

  • My, but this is a delight from beginning to end. Your photographs are beautiful – and as for Lightroom – there’s one steep learning curve for a person.

    Thank you for the introduction to TIm Clinch. I was unfamiliar with him. He is truly gifted.

  • Lightroom was invented by professional food photographers as a sick prank to torture food bloggers.

  • David, I love your photo of the green stacked-up chairs. That’s a good one.
    Re: piononos, there is a street in Macon, Georgia, called Pio Nono. Here’s the story behind the name: http://www.41nbc.com/blogs/brandon/4269-celebrating-pio-nonos-birthday

  • It is, it’ its’ SOB< SOB, David, I'm next door to Seville!!!!! ………, so would have loved to meet you as I still have not made it over to Paris.

    In spite of the previous comments, THANKS so much for your fab reporting on Andalucia. The photos are looking great. AND THE BAKERY that I have never been to, WOW, I will be there next week as Puerto de Santa Maria is almost next door!

    Puerto is in the Sherry TRIANGLE of Puerto, Jerez de la Frontera and San Lucar de Barameda. When you return for your JAMON let me know.

    Happy Trails and thanks again for your wonderful reporting. Hasta Pronto.

  • Lovely post David. I spent time with Tim in Gascony, a couple years ago, and what I learned from him was life changing with regards to shooting and editing. I had hoped to make it to this workshop in Spain – damn job got in the way – and now after reading about all the wonderfulness, I am really sad I missed it. Not to mention the chance to meet you as I have heard nothing but lovely things from both Tim and Kate Hill.

  • Great post, but the biggest laugh I got from it was the suggestion that you’re no good at still lifes. (Still lives?) Yeah, right! I found that first sherry glass photo literally mesmerising – I stared at it for ages (partly because it was so lovely, and partly because I was trying to work out why your photos are so much better than mine). Thank you for your constant inspiration!

  • LOVELY pictures! Those desserts – especially the ones in the box – are very tempting. And that skipping little boy is adorable. Good shot. : )

    • It was funny because when I took that picture on the little boy, I saw him running across the courtyard near us, so very quickly grabbed my camera because he was moving so fast, and snapped a shot. I only have about .5 seconds to take the picture. When I got back and I was reviewing my photos with Tim, I said that I wish he didn’t have that post behind him. Tim looked at me, and said, “Well, it’s there. There’s nothing you can do about it.”

      (I suppose someone with very advanced editing skills could have moved it, but he was right.)

  • I was thinking that the scenery looked familiar – and then I realised that I was lucky enough to have visited there a few years ago! Amazing Jamon Iberico from the local pigs – I don’t think our hosts expected us to eat as much as we did, but it melted in the mouth. And I did bring a big stash back… couldn’t help myself!

  • Any photography tips you got certainly paid off, your pictures are beautiful and that paella…..! Fabulous.

  • Always a good read from your blog. You are so funny. :)

  • Just a quick tutorial on jamon, since I noticed you used “pata negra”:
    -pata negra (black foot) refers to jamon that comes from a type of Iberic small black pig that has black hooves. Jamon from these is called Jamon Iberico. This is a general category.
    This is further broken down, depending on the diet of the pig:
    Jamon Iberico de CEBO means the pigs are raised on feed.
    Jamon Iberico de RECEBO means first they eat acorns, running around the mountains, and then are fattened up with feed later.
    Jamon Iberico de BELLOTA means their diet is all acorn, plus the grass they also munch on, when running around the mountains.

    To further complicate things, aging times also vary. Generally, a year is normal, 18 months good and 24 to 36 very good.

    Prices for Jamon de Bellota aged 36 months would be very high. It is for special occasions and meant to be eaten in small portions. It is otherworldly.

    Jamon Serrano comes from white pigs, but can also be a good everyday jamon, depending on its ageing.

    Asking for a taste before buying is perfectly acceptable.

    Loved your Spain entries! and of course the rest of your posts….thanks.

  • Although I don’t eat any pork product, I still enjoyed your post today and that is a big deal! You have a relatable narration that is endearing. Well, I don’t know why you are torturing yourself with this new software, after all. Martha Stewart said :who are these bloggers? they are not experts. Booo

  • Hi David,

    Thanks for a wonderful conversation … photography, food and Spain. I’ve also been struggling with Lightroom, but so many people swear by it. Please let us know how your practice goes. And I vote for the onion photo. It’s really beautiful.

    Cheers …

  • David, I loved reading about your experience with Sam & Jeannie and Tim’s workshop – I arrived the week afterwards, and also had a fantastic experience. Your photos capture everything I remember about my own trip so well, I especially love that last shot of all the Paletillas hanging up. Hope you are enjoying Lightroom!

  • I feel the same about Lightroom. I just don’t get it. It’s just not as intuitive at all.

    I actually looked into going to that very same workshop but had such a hard time getting answers to specific questions (numerous emails went unanswered) that I gave up and ended up going to Puglia instead. Perhaps I will try again another time, it sounds like you found it worthwhile.

    PS-If you haven’t been, Puglia is fantastic!