Strain Review: PyramidZ by FLORACAL FARMS powered by Seed Junky Genetics

Summer is here and the strawberries are making life juicy. Want to try something great? Eat a big bite of strawberry in between tokes of cannabis. The tartness of the fruit gets your salivary glands going and helps to keep you from getting cottonmouth.

These FloraCal Farms flowers are delicious, dark beautiful buds full of trichomes and THC. The bud structure is springy, the buds don’t crumble. This is a quality phenotype grown expertly by a premium farm.

The strawberries are from Amor Organics, and are huge juicy chunks of Watsonville sunlight turned into fruit.

The PyramidZ smoke is wet and fruity itself. You don’t need to eat strawberries in between tokes of this bud. The sour grape fruit punch flavor is smooth and juicy.

Totally Tepeque: Molé Enchiladas and Pozole

Molé Enchiladas

California is my home. I am a native Californian. I choose to live in California because I love it and one of my favorite things about this huge, wild and beautiful state is its cultural diversity. Food is one of the pillars that makes a culture rich and Mexican food is one of the world’s great cuisines. Families develop recipes over time and we are lucky enough to experience some of this passion for flavor in Mexican Restaurants. Recently, I had some delicious food at at Taqueria Tepeque.

Not on the menu item alert!

Tepeque is a small city in Michoacan near the border of Jalisco, directly west of Mexico City. Inside Taqueria Tepeque the design lends a strong feel of authenticity. If you are looking for a cultural experience in Capitola, these Molé Enchiladas are it! The chocolate in the sauce gives it a sweet rich flavor and feel that is not to be missed. You won’t find these on the menu, though, so you have to ask for them, but they’re happy to make them.

Insanely delicious Pozole

Finding a place with good Mexican soup immediately improves your quality of life. I love cooking at home, but there are certain dishes that you just have to experience in the setting of a restaurant. This bowl of Pozole is one of those. Saturday morning’s are perfect for Pozole, but anytime will work for me.

Now I’m hungry again

Pozole is a stew made with hominy and pork. It’s more than that, though. It’s a connection to the ancient past, to pre-Columbian Mexico. It is a magical bowl of meaning made by humans out of simple ingredients bound together with passionate love of family, flavor and food. You can find the menu for Taqueria Tepeque, HERE: MENU

4 Fun Reasons Why I Enjoyed Shooting the Hanloh Pad Thai Meal Kit

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1. The ease. You ever feel that sense of flow when everything is just kind of happening gracefully and you don’t even need to push, there is just a beautiful controlled forward movement? It’s like riding a skateboard down a hill with a gentle incline and smooth surface, you can go as fast as you want or just cruise and enjoy the feeling of effortlessness.

 

It’s been a little like that for me at times lately with my photography. I’ve been embracing the opportunity to work on studio lighting and creating still life compositions with products and food at home. The result of that work is that sense of fluidity that allows me to work fast and get great results.

 

Now, I don’t want to give the illusion that this flow has come easily. It hasn’t. I’ve worked my ass off numerous times and for a long time to get where I am in my abilities. I know what feels good to me, so I can pretty reliably say when I am on or off and the results always follow that feeling.

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For me, an important part of the process of shooting food is appetite. You have to be hungry. That’s why I work out so hard, doing my 700 pushups and squats and hiking or biking tons of miles. A lot of photography is sitting at a computer, so it’s super important for me to be as physically active as possible. You don’t often think of fitness and photography in the same context, but for me it is critical that they go together.

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Well, when I received the text to shoot the meal kit, I was hungry as could be from working out, so I was all primed to go. For those who don’t know, Hanloh is a Thai food pop-up here in Santa Cruz and they always have delicious authentic flavors. I was excited to see what this Pad Thai kit would create.

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2. The aura. The variety of color texture and form inside this meal kit made a beautiful subject to shoot. As soon as I opened the box, I could tell that it was going to be fun. Sometimes things just have that kind of magical presence to them and good marketers always try to create it for the consumer. It comes from the combination of an authentic and powerful cultural object and an enthusiastic appreciator.

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It’s like when a kid sees a skateboard or an electric guitar for the first time. That thing kind of hums and glows with this magical aura and that is exactly how the ingredients appeared to me. I also feel that way about wine and beer. To me, those drinks are almost more beautiful to look at than to taste.

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What makes something pleasing to look at? Where is the source of beauty? While I have studied these questions for thousands of hours, the experience is the only thing that really makes sense. We don’t know why we like things, but we’re lucky we do.

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3. The people. All of my work is motivated by people I respect, and this was no exception. The beer is from my sister’s brewery Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing. Through working with Emily (the best community builder I have ever known) I met Lalita Kaewswang, who is the woman behind Hanloh. An intensely smart culinary artist, Lalita is passionate about her craft, and that always inspires me.

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The other people who motivate me are the people of Santa Cruz. This is the community I know best and care about most and it is the small businesses, the surfers, the entrepreneurs, the brewers, the naturalists, the teachers, the yoginis, the musicians and all the other brilliant and beautiful kinds of folk in this town. If Portland is where the dream of the 90s still exists, Santa Cruz is where the dream of the 60s was born and where its best parts still thrive. We support our own, here. We shop local.  That’s how we maintain our unique character. It’s the people who are working hard every day to provide the people of Santa Cruz with the culture they enjoy who inspire me.

 

4. The food. Like I said earlier, I work out a lot and that makes me very very hungry. Well, let’s just say that none of this food went to waste, lol.

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It was a pleasure to shoot this meal kit for Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing and Hanloh Thai Food. Thanks for reading my blog and for looking at the photos and I hope you get a chance to try the food and beers!

You can order your meal kit, HERE: https://scmbrew.square.site

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Color Theory and Food Photography

Working with color and composition in food and product photography.

Do you need to photograph some food or products for your marketing purposes? There are some tried and true methods I use to get mouthwatering images easy on the eyes, but I also like to research methods and to keep learning new things, so I stay inspired and varied in my creative output.

One YouTuber who I really like for tips and tricks related to food photography is The Bite Shot. Joanie Simon approaches food photography as an artist and has wonderful ideas that produce great results. I watched her video “Using Color Theory in Food Photography.” In this video, she talks about Josef Albers, of the BAUHAUS movement, and refers so some ideas in his book “The Interaction of Color.”

I had some bags of Big Pete’s Treats Lemon Cookies to photograph with some cut up lemons, so I decided to do some shots using a purple paper to give the image some design elements. It’s a very basic idea that complementary colors are pleasing to the eye, but Albers via Simon helps us to understand why this technique works. When you overlay two colors the color of the ground is subtracted from the color on top, causing the color to move in that direction in the way it looks. If I had used a green paper or orange paper it would have affected the appearance of the yellow. Since there is no purple in yellow, the yellow retains its hue even on top of a colorful ground.

The thing about color is that it is an endless way to experiment with your photography. Being intentional with color helps to understand how it works.

Try to create a photograph with two colors only. How did you balance the colors? What was the mood you were going for? Try different color combinations and see how it changes the way we read color.

Also, check out my latest podcast “Massage the Messenger,” HERE: http://bit.ly/Massage_the_Messenger