at the risk of offending a few people i love dearly, it simply must be said. brittany staddon is hands down, leaps and bounds, unarguably the greatest photographer i have ever met. ever. brittany and i worked together at a camera store in calgary a bunch of years ago. she was fresh out of high school and quiet, but her photographs said every single thing her vocal chords did not. beautiful, jaw-dropping, breath-taking things. brittany is extraordinary (!!) at capturing the most perfect of moments. i can't even tell you how many times i have looked at one of her images and had butterflies and goosebumps all at once (but to give you a general idea, its pretty much every time.) she is kind-hearted, genuine, so witty and beautiful. oh yeah, and did i mention she is also a bit of a genius? the biomedical science degree kind, so like, actually a real genius.
...yeah, i know.
when i asked brittany to be part of this series, i also asked if she had a couple of images i could include with her introduction. as with everyone, i offer to pick my favourite photographs on their behalf as a surprise. in hindsight, it was totally stupid of me to offer this to brittany. i literally spent three hours looking through her website, only to realize what an impossible feat it is to actually narrow down my favourites to only a few. so i picked 8. and i could have picked 83.
what makes your heart happy?
When I am with Sam and my pup, Schroeder. Sam is my fiance who lives in Austin, Texas so although we get to see each other relatively often for being in a long distance relationship there is nothing that makes me more content then having him by my side. When we are just doing our work and have some music going accompanied by Schroeder snoring in between us. That is my happy place.
(editors note: here is the sweetest little love story/ post about sam and brittany and their engagement. *heart eye emojis everywhere!*)
your all time favourite recipe
Okay so this is a pretty big deal. For as long as I can remember my mum has made her Dutch Almond Butter Cake recipe. It's mildly legendary in her circles. Every Christmas she makes dozens of them and gives them as gifts. It's one of my favourite things about the holidays. Until very recently the recipe was a well guarded secret. There are similar ones online but just how she makes hers... well it is divinity in food form. I asked her if I could share it on your blog and she said yes. So here we are. With much love from my mum Donna.
Dutch Almond Butter Cake
(makes 4 cakes)
:: Ingredients ::
1 lb. Butter, softened to room temp.
4 cups white sugar
5 tsp. pure almond extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Dash of salt
For topping you will need:
1 large egg, egg white only
1-100gm. Pkg. Sliced natural almonds
:: Method ::
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Prepare 3-8inch and 1-9inch round pans (or 4-8inch pans) by cutting out 4 waxed paper rounds to fit flat in bottom of each pan. Put softened butter into large mixing bowl. Scrape the bit of excess butter from the foil wrapper off with a spatula and then use this small amount to lightly butter the bottom of the four pans. Once lightly buttered, place the wax paper round in the bottom of each pan and set aside.
In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder and dash of salt and set aside
Cream the butter well using electric mixer. Add the sugar and beat well.
Add the four eggs and again beat well
Add the 5 tsp. of almond extract and blend into butter mixture
Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, blending well with the electric mixer until well combined. (You may need to add the last of the flour by hand as the mixture becomes very sticky and thick)
Once combined I use a knife and just divide the dough into four parts and place each portion in a prepared pan. Pack the dough evenly into pans spreading out to edges. (I usually start with a knife and then use my finger tips to finish patting it down and smoothing the dough surface.)
Use a fork to gently stir up one separated egg white in a small bowl, then pour on to the cake surfaces dividing it among the four cakes. By tilting the pans first, then using the back of a teaspoon spread the egg white over the entire surface of each cake
Dividing the 100 gm of sliced almonds, sprinkle onto the four cake surfaces
Finally they are ready to bake!!
Place in preheated 350 degree oven (I put two cakes on each of the two middle oven racks –I avoid the bottom rack in my oven as I find the bottoms brown up too much) and bake for 30-35 minutes. (I tend to rotate cakes half way through just to even out any tendency of uneven browning.) The tops should be lightly golden when done
Remove from oven and place pans on cooling racks. I leave them for just 5 minutes and then using a square of waxed paper and another cake rack placed on top of the pan I invert and the cake comes out of the pan, remove the wax paper round by peeling off (the bottom surface of the cake should be lightly golden/brown) and then using another square of wax paper and a cake rack placed on the cake bottom to invert so that cake is right side up. Leave to cool completely. Repeat this with remaining three cakes so all cool completely out of pans and in upright position. Once thoroughly cooled I discard the wax paper each is sitting on and wrap each completely in saran wrap and then place in a Ziploc bag for freezing or for frig storage. I think they are best served at room temperature cut in wedges and a little Callebaut chocolate drizzled on the top adds a few more calories that we just might want!
your all time favourite photograph
I was recently given the slide collection of my great grandfather, Bill, and my grandpa, Bruce. Thousands upon thousands of slides. I am scanning each one in and putting my favourites on Tumblr as well as a Facebook page. One in particular stood out. I believe it is my great grandfather in one of the greenhouses my grandpa owned. The colours have faded so I converted it to black and white but the use of lines and the subject and light and shadow - I find it fascinating.
something in your home that you adore
I have come to discover I have a bit of an Ariel complex. I collect the most random objects. A photo of a handsome man from a market in Buenos Aires, a world map marquee light for above my coffee table, Amish couple figurines, antique cameras, RCMP tins. Just randomosity.
But there is one in particular. I call him my boyfriend. I figure I am down a boyfriend and up a fiance so there is room for a boyfriend. I live above an antique store and frequent there often. One time this
framed drawing caught my attention. An elderly gentleman with his pipe. A rough sketch with so much soul. I couldn't afford it and would instead visit him every few days hoping he wouldn't be sold. Then
there was a day I went in and was told there was a sale. Perfection. He was mine.
There is so much mystery behind it. According to the sticker on the back it was framed in Rotterdam. Just above it there is very fine light handwriting that reads "Forget all about it" underlined. Ah the
something on your wish list
My favourite photographer, Emmanual Smague has a book and prints. I can't decide which I want more but his work fascinates me and is a constant inspiration. I'd love to have a print of this.
something totally random about yourself
I sneeze when exposed to bright sunlight. For serious. It's a thing.
how people can connect with you.
Welp. I have a lot of projects.
Wedding photographer at brittanyesther.com
Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/BrittanyEstherPhotography
My personal work is at wanderinghomebody.com
Or you can shoot me an email or text whenever you are in Canmore and we can go for tea or coffee. I love meeting old and new friends :)
thank you so so much, brittany! this whole post made me smile for DAYS and i am happy to have been able to spend time digging through your archives - remember exactly why i love what you do so greatly!