Happy First Day of Fall!

Celebrate Fall – today is the Autumnal Equinox

Fall decorations with pumpkins and flint corn
Seasonal Pumpkins and Flint Corn

Fall is here and it’s the first day of the Autumnal Equinox. The weather is starting to change with cooler weather coming this weekend. Pumpkins and gourds are appearing at farm stands (and Halloween costumes have been in the stores for a month now – that is truly frightening!)

Celebrate the changing seasons with some cider and doughnuts, a walk in the woods to see the changing leaves or just soaking up the last rays of warm sunshine.

Check out my selection of Fall and Pumpkin images to find the perfect image for your graphic design needs.

See more Pumpkin images here

Hurricane Season is Here

Be Prepared with a Good First Aid Kit

First aid kit with orange safety helmet and first aid supplies.

Are you prepared with a good First Aid Kit for hurricane season and other natural and man-made disasters? You should have a first aid kit along with personal care items like change of clothing, medication, toiletries ready at a moments notice. Having a go-kit filled with essentials is the first step you can take to assure that you and your family are prepared for emergencies. Additional items include essentials like food and water for 3 – 7 days, basic tools, cell phone chargers, batteries and flash lights, a radio and don’t forget cash and copies of important paperwork.

You can assemble your go-kit to have ready for emergencies with a little bit of planning in case you and your family need to shelter in place or evacuate quickly.

Are you looking for more information on disaster preparedness? Check out these links:

https://www.ready.gov/kit

https://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/kit/disasters/

http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/be-red-cross-ready/get-a-kit

Peanuts – A Food Worth Celebrating!

Celebrate National Peanut Month

Royalty Free Content: Peanut Butter On Bread With Peanuts

Facts about peanuts:

  • You will need approximately 540 peanuts to make one 12 oz. jar of peanut butter.
  • U.S. law dictates that a product must contain at least 90% peanuts to be labeled as Peanut Butter.
  • Peanuts do not contain any cholesterol.
  • Archibutyrophobia is the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth.
  • Peanut Butter was considered a delicacy in the early 1900’s.
(source for facts: National Peanut Board)

Do you need Peanut or Peanut Butter images?

More peanut images can be found here.

The Peanut gets a lot of bad press these days with increasing focus on peanut allergies and the life-threatening health concerns they pose to those with this food allergy. But for those of us able to eat them it’s time to celebrate National Peanut Month.  And a lot of us can enjoy this protein-packed treat.  It’s estimated that only .06 to 1.1% of the population have an allergy to peanuts.

In 1941 the peanut was honored with just a week of celebration but by 1974 it was expanded to a full month.  Despite having a full month, peanut celebrations don’t seem to be all that prevalent or newsworthy but peanuts and peanut butter are still quietly celebrated all year round.  Each year, the average American will consume six pound of peanuts and products made with peanut butter.  I can confirm that I easily consume that amount in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in less than a year so I’m picking up the slack for someone.  According to the National Peanut Board, 4 of the top 10 candy bars made in the U.S. have peanut butter or peanuts as part of their recipes and two thirds of the snack nuts consumed in the U.S. are peanuts.

Some options for celebrating peanuts this month (or year round) include:

  • Make your own Peanut Butter.
  • Bake with peanut butter – try the classic Peanut Butter Cookie or a creamy Peanut Butter Cheesecake.
  • Enjoy a classic Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.
  • Let your inner Elvis come out with his favorite Fried Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich.
  • Try a favorite my grandmother would make for me – a Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich.

Valentine’s Day Is Almost Here

Stock Image: Reserved Restaurant Table
Valentine’s Day will be here before we know  it and this year it falls on a Friday – prime time for dining out with your loved one if you’re inclined to partake in that ritual.  Consider this your reminder and fair warning – Friday Night – Valentine’s Day – make your reservations now before it’s too late to get a reservation at your favorite restaurant!

Hot Mulled Cider

Sit Back An Relax For Just A Little While

Stock Image: Hot Mulled Cider

Thanksgiving is upon us here in the U.S. and with the holiday coming at the very end of November this year the Christmas shopping season is shorter than usual.  Just 4 short weeks, just 4 shopping weekends, between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Minimize your stress by making a shopping list, take advantage of Black Friday weekend sales online and Cyber-Monday sales too.  Don’t forget to pick up a few stock photos while you’re at it.  You’ll find over 170,000 images across the Symbiostock member sites.

Pictured here is one of my latest Christmas images featuring a decorated Christmas tree and gifts in the background and two mugs of hot mulled cider.  Won’t you sit down to relax with me for a few minutes to enjoy the cider and tell me your favorite way to enjoy a bit of relaxation during the holidays?

More Christmas images can be seen here.

Fresh Artisan Bread

A Favorite Comfort Food

Fresh baked artisan bread with it’s enticing aroma is a favorite comfort food for many people.  For some it brings back memories of mothers or grandmothers baking in the kitchen, for others it’s a culinary indulgence dipped in olive oil infused with herbs or slathered with rich dairy butter.

Fresh bread, whether it’s homemade or purchased at your local bakery, adds a special touch to an ordinary meal and can easily be counted as one food that is universally enjoyed by almost  everyone.  Around the world you’ll find many variations from crusty French breads to rich Brioche or Challah breads, traditional Irish Soda breads to Indian Puri and Asian Naan breads.

While many people are passionate about breads they also create health havoc for people with Celiac disease or wheat allergies.  Wheat is considered in the United States to be one of the “big eight” allergens and many foods contain traces of wheat causing those with allergies and Celiac disease to be vigilant in their quest to avoid wheat and gluten.

Stock images such as this rustic artisan boule from a recent photo shoot can be used to illustrate a variety of concepts such as Homemade, Baking, Regional Cultures, Old World, Health and Diet, Food Allergies or Celiac disease just to name a few.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

A Healthy Snack You Can Make At Home

Stock Image: Orange Pumpkins With Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Toasted pumpkin seeds surrounded by tiny pumpkins and colorful Autumn leaves have been a favorite theme in my images over the past few years. I’ve found my pumpkin seed images used in a variety of online articles covering a variety of topics from the health benefits of pumpkin seeds to tasty health snacks.  I decided this year to update my portfolio with some fresh new photos.  Seen here is one of my favorites from a recent shoot.  More of my new images and old favorites in my Autumn portfolio can be found here.

Pumpkin seeds are high in calories but they are packed full of health benefits too.  They are an excellent source of protein and bring along vitamins and essential minerals to contribute to a healthy diet.  Here’s an easy recipe if you’d like to try making your own toasted pumpkin seeds at home.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Rinse the pumpkin seeds, removing any excess pulp.  Dry seeds on a paper towel until completely dry.

When dry, place the seeds in a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil. 

Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or lightly oil with olive oil.

Spread pumpkin seeds on the baking pan in a single layer and sprinkle with salt if desired

Place in oven and roast for about 20 – 25 minutes.  Stir and turn pumpkin seeds every 10 minutes.  Remove when seeds are a light golden brown.

For a flavorful twist, coat with a variety of spices and toppings.  Drop the salt and coat with cinnamon and sugar or brown sugar and nutmeg for a bit of sweetness.  Add garlic powder, curry powder or cumin for a spicy treat or try a savory blend of Italian seasonings, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and olive oil.

Eeeekkk! Halloween Is Here

Happy Halloween!

Stock Image: Surprised Jack-O-Lantern

Halloween is right around the corner and  here in my neck of the woods it seems like more and more homeowners are going all out with lights, cobwebs, giant spiders and ghouls decorating their homes for Halloween.  Of course you need some traditional Jack-O-Lanterns to greet the young children that will be coming around to trick or treat on Halloween.

Check out my latest Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns and autumn pumpkin images here

Last of the Autumn Harvest

Homegrown Tomatoes Are The Best!

Stock Image: Plum Tomatoes On A Pewter Plate

You can’t beat the flavor of vine ripened homegrown tomatoes.  This year I had a bumper crop with plenty of heirloom slicing tomatoes (perfect for sandwiches or salads) and my favorite Super Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes.  I look forward to the ripening of the Super Sweets all summer long and take delight in snacking on them when they begin to ripen in late August.

My Plum Tomatoes thrived in a new garden area prepped with organic mulch from the compost pile.  I’m coming down to the last of the autumn harvest on these tasty fruit, or vegetable, depending on where you side in the fruit / vegetable debate.  Botanically, tomatoes are a fruit but for culinary purposes they are generally considered to be a vegetable.

Several years ago I was fortunate to learn the secrets of making fresh tomato sauce from my husband’s Italian grandmother.  Today, at 96 years old, she still makes a pot of sauce every Sunday.  I’ll be trying to squeeze out one more small batch from the harvest this year if the remaining tomatoes cooperate by ripening together, otherwise we’ll be having tomato, mozzarella and basil salad for dinner – either way a culinary delight.

Of course I couldn’t let the opportunity to photograph a few of the tomatoes and some fresh Thyme pass me by.  Search out some of my other pictures of plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, beans and cucumbers from the garden in the Food / Drink category of my portfolio.

Christmas in July

Are you starting to feel that Christmas spirit?

Royalty Free Content: Reserved Christmas Table Setting

Summer sun, heat waves and record temperatures have settled in across much of the countryside in the United States and most of us are thinking about weekends at the beach but advertising and graphic designers have turned their thoughts to the winter months.

July is typically when autumn and winter images start to see an increase in downloads as designers start working on client projects in preparation for a holiday season that seems to start earlier and earlier each year.  Advertising and store displays that used to appear after the Thanksgiving holiday are now showing up right after Halloween.

Early planning will help lessen the stress of looming deadlines as the holidays approach.  We can help reduce those stress levels with our Christmas, Channukah and Winter themed images.  New images will be added over the next few months so be sure to bookmark the page and stop back often.

Pumpkins Are Ready For Harvest

Harvest autumn profits with seasonal images

Royalty Free Content: Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Spilling From A Yellow Bowl

Pumpkins in the field are still growing on the vine but it’s not too early to make plans for harvesting profits with seasonal images of pumpkins, gourds, squash and pumpkin seeds.  Early July showed a marked increase in downloads on my top selling pumpkin photos as designers fulfilled needs for autumn themed projects.  You’ll find a selection of autumn images in traditional colors of red, yellow and orange in our Autumn gallery.  More images to come, so keep checking back to see what’s new.

Photographer’s Choice

A new category – Photographer’s Choice

Royalty Free Content: Red Pomegranate On A Pewter Plate

In almost every series there seems to be that one image, the one that speaks to me, the one that stands out as the favorite.  I’ve added a new category to share those images with you – Photographer’s Choice.

There is no set criteria for images chosen for the collection.  A variety of elements come into play – concept, composition and lighting have a role and sometimes the props and styling fall into place in a way that just seems right.

This is one of my latest favorites.  I was exploring a new direction, working with some new props (aged round wood cutting board, old pewter plates and goblets), trying to get a darker, moodier look with softer lighting and subtle highlights.  This one achieved the results I wanted and stood out as my favorite.

I’ll be adding more of my favorites to the gallery so I hope you’ll be a regular visitor.  You can see my current group of favorites shown here in my Photographer’s Choice gallery.

 

A peek at a new series – Eggs

I’ve been having fun collecting new props over the past several months and recently had the opportunity to put some to use, adding to an earlier series that focused on eggs out of the shell, ready for cooking.  These new images focus on whole eggs as an ingredient highlighted by vintage props.

Royalty Free Content: Fresh Eggs In A Wire Basket

The Fire King mixing bowl in milk glass with a pink rim sitting in the background was a favorite find at an antique market.  I like the vintage look and I expect you’ll be seeing it in a variety of upcoming images.   Here’s a peek at the first of the new series.  Watch for the rest of the photos to be added soon.

More Egg Images can be found here, on my site, and on the extended Symbiostock Network.