2012 Charleston Wine and Food Festival

 (Kathryn Wagner)

Words by Jessica Raymond

Considering that residents and visitors alike, adorned in rainboots and rain jackets, were eager to get out of the downpour, the weather did not affect the energetic crowd that gathered at the 2012 Food and Wine Festival culinary village in Marion Square on Saturday, March 3rd. Although nationally recognized products and brands were present, the focus remained on the talent located in Charleston, with local chefs and restaurants providing tastes of some of their best dishes in the tasting tents located in the village.

Middleton Place served a catfish stew, comprised of fingerling potatoes, fennel, leeks, and herbed tomatoes, providing a bit of a “pick me up” for the nasty weather. Grill 225, Charleston’s prime steak restaurant, provided sliders, featuring their famous prime beef, along with dressed arugula. Mercato, a destination to savour authentic italian dishes, dished out servings of chickpeas served in a savory sauce, with bacon. Graze provided an updated version of a classic dish, combining decadent macaroni and cheese with crispy lobster.

For those wanting to drink their dinner, plenty of local drink specialists were there to quench the palate. Cocktail Club, a part of the renowned Indigo Group, served tastes of their antipasto martini, containing their house infused roasted rep pepper and black peppercorn vodka, olive juice, muddled basil, lemon, white baslamic and lillet rouge. This spicy delight was garnished with an olive and a smoked salt and flower-pepper rim.  A southern favorite, Palmetto Brewery, was also present to let fans and newcomers, with Chris Winn serving up tastes of some of their favorite beers. Palmetto Brewing Company is a landmark in the South Carolina brewing industry, according to Winn.

“The first batch was created in 1994, and it was the first production brewery in South Carolina since prohibition began in 1933.”

With 42,000 cases of beer sold and business growing by 17% last year, Palmetto Brewing Company is truly providing competition for other craft brewers, and is quickly becoming a staple beer provider in Charleston, South Carolina.

This year’s festival brought together some of the most promising culinary talent, not only in Charleston, but from around the country. Guests were able to sample and taste new food, beers, and wines, along with meeting and chatting with some of culinary cuisine’s most famous faces. The only thing missing from this delicious extravaganza was Charleston’s typically beautiful weather, which is just another reason to come back next year.

The Great Oysterpoint Runoff

The Great Oysterpoint Runoff

I had a blast shooting The Great Oysterpoint Runoff for the Charleston Waterkeeper organization this past week. Charleston Waterkeeper is a non-profit deadicated to the mission of clean swimmable, fishable and drinkable waterways for all in the Lowcountry. The Great Oysterpoint Runoff  was held “To encourage the public and clean water enthusiasts to discover, learn about, and celebrate the many ways to have fun on, in, or by Charleston’s waterways – all while enjoying the rare opportunity to play around on Colonial Lake. The event also aims to educate local residents about stormwater runoff, the most common cause of water pollution throughout the nation.” This event is part of the Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Event Series and was sponsored by the good folks at Keen Footwear. There was music, food trucks, and of course oysters.  If you live near Charleston’s waterways, please consider supporting thier mission,  volunteering, or purchasing a print from the event. A great day out on Colonial Lake was had by all!

 (Kathryn Wagner)

Crushing on Virginia Wine with President Jefferson

“I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man’s milk, & restorative cordial.”
– Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Poplar Forest, August 17, 1811[1]

As a native Virginian, a travel story on Virginia wines is something that begins to truly come alive, visually, when you pair the modern wine industry with the vast history that surrounds the Monticello American Viticulture Area. One cannot experience the fruits of Virginia wine without paying homage to President Jefferson and his innovations to the Old Dominion’s beverage choices. When touring the central Virginia countryside by car, it is easy for one to imagine the early days of viticulture. Sampling Chardonnay, the regions most popular grape, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, and Cabernet Franc is surely one of the easiest – and most enjoyable – ways to learn about wine.

Virgin Gorda Rocks

On a recent trip to Virgin Gorda, I was fortunate to have an entire day to spend within The Baths and Devil’s Bay. I had a great time photographing and studying the unique granite rock formations that dominate this coastal landscape. The granite boulders are attributed to the island’s volcanic origins. I have been to Virgin Gorda before and had a blast photographing everyone interacting with the landscape, though this was the first time I had the luxury of an entire day to explore.  Above is a mini-fine-art study of the fascinating shapes and forms that can be found there. Definitely a unique destination within the British Virgin Islands.

Portfolio Revamp on www.kathrynwagner.com

Just a quick note to highlight a recent revamp done to my portfolio website. On www.kathrynwagner.com you can now easily find a collection of images organized by subject matter, which highlights what I love to work on with both commercial and editorial clients. The  links to the stories are still present on the blog for those who have bookmarked, but in the future look to this blog for more of these story projects in their entirety.

I am thinking that this format will be best for both clients and the interested fellow creative, providing a bright line for content to follow within the blog, and a highlight reel of sorts for the portfolio website.

President Monroe’s Ash Lawn Highland

The Gardens of President Monroe’s Ash Lawn Highland – Images by Kathryn Wagner
“Our country may be likened to a new house. We lack many things, but we possess the most precious of all – liberty!”  – President James Monroe
Ash Lawn Highland was the estate of President James Monroe. President Monroe and his family lived in what was then called ‘Ash Lawn’ from 1799 – 1823. The extensive gardens are maintained with historical accuracy to convey an immersive experience to visitors. Today a museum and working agricultural farm can be found alongside the beautiful property that is Ash Lawn Highland. I really enjoyed spending time there exploring the traditional layout of the gardens, and seeing the livestock kept on the property. The gardens are impeccably maintained and a must-see this fall, especially if you are in the area.

 (Kathryn Wagner)

New gallery up on the website: St. John Carnival

St. John Carnival, U.S. Virgin Islands – Images by Kathryn Wagner
 (Kathryn Wagner)

Image of the week, July 19th 2010: Caribbean Carnival Fireworks

 (Kathryn Wagner)

St. John recently celebrated Carnival throughout the streets of town. A carnival village is set up every year in Cruz Bay. West Indian food and drink is served to the beat of Caribbean music heard during nightly concerts. The festivities concluded with a show of fireworks, usually done near the Fourth of July, and held this year on the Fifth of July. This is one of my favorite times of year in the West Indies and this year was no exception. I had a wonderful time capturing this exuberant celebration.

Rebranding: Asolare Restaurant, Virgin Islands

Asolare Restaurant, St. John Virgin Islands – Images by Kathryn Wagner

I am happy to share with you a set of images I recently produced and photographed for Asolare Restaurant in Cruz Bay, St. John. The restaurant was doing a branding redesign and subsequent online marketing campaign to highlight new ownership and a new chef/management team. I was enthusiastic to highlight the beautiful (and delicious!) asian style cuisine they feature. I love shooting food, as it is wonderful to work with restauranteurs and collaborate with the creativity of chefs. Evan Neal-Pishko has been the chef of Asolare restaurant since October of last year, and his team has been doing a wonderful job of emphasizing local ingredients with asian flair. The shoot was fun, and the images were integrated within the website design by Level9 Studios, as well as in online marketing and social media. I look forward to more projects such as this in 2010.

 (Kathryn Wagner)

New photographic series up on the website: Virgin Fresh, an island beekeeping initiative

Virgin Fresh: An island beekeeping initiative – Images by Kathryn Wagner
This past winter I was fortuante to document an island wide beekeeping initiative on St. John. I was interested in the effort and the class because it attempts to tackle a unique problem to the islands: what can you do in a rural area with little land for agriculture? Tourism is definitely the island’s mainstay industry, but beekeeping is a small, yet unique solution, to the lack of local goods available. Bee hives do not require a large amount of land and they have a highly diversified portfolio of potential end products. Thus an interested bee farmer could have many hive on just one acre of land and host their own small industry in their backyard. The class was ten weeks long, and highly attended by many interested locals, who have gone on to begin raising their own hives. My hopes are with the many beekeepers that local honey, candles and beauty products – not to mention a new industry –  will soon become available as a result of a beekeeper’s efforts.

 (Kathryn Wagner)