Plate to Page Writing and Photograpy Workshop
Meare Court Farm, Somerset UK
Three days in Somerset with the Plate to Page team and participants, left me brimming with renewed inspiration, knowledge, resources and friendships. The workshop, run by Meeta, Ilva, Jamie & Jeanne provided a wealth of information. To learn from women,who not only continually strive to master their crafts, but have also chosen to teach, share and mentor, was a gift… not to mention a lot of fun!
An idyllic setting, located just outside of Taunton in Somerset, provided an inspiring undertone for writing and photography. A large stone house accommodated fourteen lovely women and one brave man! Sharing rooms and bathrooms evoked an immediate feeling of community. After one first quiet meal, the ice broke and friendships quickly ensued.
The surroundings, smelling of sweet grass and farm animals… in a good way… was lovely to wake up to each morning.
And each morning started with a hearty breakfast of organic meusli’s, breads, crumpets, jams yogurts, meats,cheeses, coffee and tea.
Long days of acquiring new skills and reinforcing the old ones ended with a fantastic home cooked meal. Check out this beautiful leg of lamb from
And this Eton mess with raspberries… you will be seeing this again from me. Apologies for the messy bowl. There was no spot removing here. I’ve linked you to Nigella Lawson’s version for now.
The writing sessions, led by Jamie and Jeanne focused on various prompts to unlock our creativity. Emphasis was placed on the need to capture all the senses and encompass different points of view. We worked on catchy titles, opening lines, 30 word bylines and longer pieces to hook the reader of both blogs and magazines. Despite having taken writing classes in the past, I found both the new information and the review of what I had previously learned, worthwhile. My writing skills are themselves a WIP.
Meeta and Ilva headed up the visuals. I left the workshop armed with new photography skills that will require active practice and refining. I was pretty chuffed to shoot for the first time in manual and raw. Here’s a couple unedited afternoon shots. We walked, talked, and breathed our camera manuals. We learned about ISO’s, f-stops and aperture. These words are like a foreign language to me…we are slowly becoming friends but I’m required to review their meaning each time until we are life long companions. Yeah, I know…. get your sunglasses.
We learned and experimented with new tricks and techniques to manipulate light and direct the eye of the beholder to the desired focal point. We spent time with styling props and set ups.
More practice with my Nikon D80
Again, unedited… Trying to work on understanding settings and getting a good picture from the get go.
A day off the property took us to the family owned Brown and Forrest Smokery, where we sampled delectable smoked fish and meats and enjoyed a tour from the very passionate owner. His desire to prioritize the flavor of his high quality, raw products, whilst keeping the smokey flavor in the background, is seriously working.
You might have noticed with all these collages, I’m working out of the print to jpeg mode in Adobe Lightroom (or not… I honestly would not have had a clue before last weekend). We spent a session redefining our software skills in LR and in Adobe Photoshop. I’m also working with Photoshop Elements, a cheaper, abbreviated version of PS, after years of having a FULL version whose FULL potential I never FULLY tapped. At a point of needing to repurchase photoshop, personally, I couldn’t validate the cost….. yet. I’m only using LR in this post.
Our tour was followed by lunch at the Canal Inn…”the pub that thinks it’s a restaurant”
Classic pub cuisine has evoloved in recent years. Hence the term gastro-pub. My meal screamed local quality and taste. We were a ravenous bunch with our cameras and appetites. Like little ants infiltrating every crevice. Curious. Hungry.
We worked on taking photos in restaurants with low or various lighting… ambient light was it called?
Fresh green asparagus, poached duck egg, grain mustard spiked hollandaise; Filets of Sea Bass, chunky potatoes, light cream sauce, wilted spinach; Fresh berry tart, clotted cream, pate sucré, berry coulis.
A lot of information and knowledge transpired but we still managed to eat, drink and make merriment.
Now it’s time for me to digest… and get to work!
Check out these links for more Somerset workshop love and reviews:
Thanks again to everyone for a stupendous weekend. And thanks to Chloe and O for all your support