Alone at the Taj by Stuck in Customs on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
This was a very nice and scary-mysterious man. When he looked at me he twisted his head around like a puppy trying to cast an ancient spell on me. No puppy has ever done that to me, so you can imagine my confusion.

We sat around and watched the sunset at the Taj together and I asked if I could take his picture. After I while I rubbed my House-like stubble since it has been a few days since I shaved. I asked him if he liked my beard. He gave a grunt in response that was either a laugh or a grunt of general disgust at the state of my beard.

I usually don’t use my flash, but this case called for a bit of fill light. I aimed my SB-800 straight into the air and used the white card off the top to reflect, while setting the EV to -2/3, so as to not over-power his face. As for the other settings, the exposure bias was -2 EV, shutter speed 1/125, focal length at 31mm, and the ap at f/4. The background is HDR, as are his robes. As with many of my photos, that does not mean those bits are 100% HDR! These are probably on the scale of 10-25% HDR in this case.
So much of my work is landscape and architecture-related. So I rarely use the flash in those conditions. I think using natural light is the way to go, and, as you know by now, with HDR, you can eek out every little morsel of light that is bouncing around the scene. However, I still carry my flash almost everywhere because I do very much enjoy taking photos of people.

from my daily photo blog at



Got Bored so I made #TheTaj a chocolate cake with vanilla cream frosting and chocolate and candy covered strawberries #KitchenNerd #Berlin

The Golden Day of Brunching: Easter Sunday

Ok ladies and gents. To my darling readers who have any sense, this post will ring immaterial for you all, as you called and e-mailed your little bunny tails off about two weeks ago to ensure your spot at the best Easter brunch tables in Boston. To the rest of my poor little chickens, pray that church runs long and the cancellations roll in, because these are the restaurants you do not want to miss this April 5th:

1. Mistral

Yes, I realize this is my second post on Columbus Hospitality Group’s decadent French restaurant, but really, can you blame me? Lucky for us all, their mouth-watering brunch is indeed available almost every Sunday of the year. Melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon buns? Check. Artisanal cheese plates? Check. Graham cracker-crusted french toast and LEMON POPPYSEED PANCAKES WITH BLUEBERRIES AND WHIPPED RICOTTA?!? CHECK AND CHECK! My goodness I can hardly express the divinity of it all. And yes, they are extra divine on Easter. Of course.

2. The Taj Rooftop

There are many, many things I love about The Taj, which incidentally used to be a fabulous old Ritz-Carlton before it moved over to Avery Street (a major blunder in my books over which I’m still bitter). Afternoon Tea in the French Room is one. Lunch in the beautifully vintage cafe overlooking Newbury Street is another. But let’s talk Easter Brunch on the Rooftop. Though I still believe the decor leaves something to be gained (Hello, strange, squishy checkered floor), there is simply no arguing that they roll out a fabulously over-the-top brunch spread, complete with chilled seafood towers, antipasti filled ice sculptures, carving stations, and hundreds of decedent mini-desserts for the taking. Coupled with the best view of Boston Common and those pretty little Swan boats, not many places make for a more perfect occasion.

3. Top of the Hub

If Boston is lucky enough to get a beautiful spring day, there are fewer places that will provide such a spectacular view of the city. In combination with a cleverly themed prix-fix menu (think duck brioche and rosemary prime rib), this Boston restaurant in the clouds steals my number three spot on the list. Though it’s been sometime since I dined there for Easter brunch (April 2013), I haven’t forgotten the artistry of the plating, or the fabulous Easter day outfits. Because let’s be real, phenomenal people watching earns a high spot on my criteria list.

So there you have it my dear friends. Stay tuned for an update to this list - for I am proud to announce that I will finally be dining at Cafe Fleuri for Easter Brunch this April 5th. And yes, I am prepared to give up the #1 spot on this list, should the experience align with expectations. How very exciting!