Bekka Palmer

Summer Photography Course

Photography, New York CityBekka Palmer

This summer, I will be teaching a photography intensive course in Brooklyn. Details below.

In this course you will learn from start to finish a professional photography process which you can repeat over and over again to get professional level photos on your own. We will start with taking photos on manual which gives you control over your images to importing, organizing, backing up, color-correcting, retouching and exporting. The course spans several weeks and gives you the chance to practice between classes. You will walk out with an advanced set of skills, it’s up to you to continue your practice to gain more experience. The class includes time in a classroom setting and time practicing taking photographs together.

June 29

Classroom: Camera setup, manual settings and importing
Practical: Spend time outside shooting on manual
Goal: Comfort with manual settings and importing photos.

July 13

Practical: Photographing people
Classroom: Lightroom basics
Goal: Master talking to real people and using Lightroom for color-correction.

July 27

Practical: Shooting still life
Classroom: Going from Lightroom to Photoshop for retouching.
Goal: Proficient in arranging a still life and retouching blemishes, trash, etc.

Add-on Class August 3

Classroom: Advanced Photoshop techniques
Goal: Proficient in more advanced retouching techniques such as combining multiple photos, masking, cloning.


Dates: June 29, July 13, July 27, 2017 6:30 - 9 pm
Cost: $1250
Add-on Advanced Class: August 3, $300
Requirements: Must bring your own DSLR, memory card and lens Rental information available Must bring your own laptop with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop installed (you can get a trial version)

Payment is due in full to reserve your space, class is limited to 6 participants. 

Check out the Workshops tab in the shop to reserve and for more dates.

Joshua Tree

Getaways, Photography, WritingBekka Palmer

I had one terrible day in January: Inauguration day. I had been sick for weeks and the overwhelming anxiety of a new presidency finally became too much. I stayed in bed with a migraine all day. The following weeks became a blur of heartbreak and uneasiness. The news worsened each day. I needed to escape, at least for a moment.

One longish plane ride and a short car ride later, I was facing the outside of a geodesic dome. It came with the promise of interstellar travel, if you are just willing to open your mind. I walked through the door and closed my eyes.

It was transporting... sort of. I definitely went to another world, but maybe not an interstellar one. It's a place where the trees don't make sense. You know they are trees even though they don't really look like trees. A place with seemingly zero water supply, but somehow, against all odds, life has found a way. The plants are in abundance, just not the kind you see on a regular basis: cacti, Suessical trees, long grasses, succulents.

Clambering over rocks, we found a place to rest. Let our souls soak up the sun. It had been months since the sunlight hit my skin and warmed me from the outside in. My worries melted away and I found I really had traveled to another planet. One not so far from here, but also not easy to get to. The most difficult kind of travel doesn't involve turbulent flights or winding bus routes, but instead an open mind.

We were welcomed with open arms, but only briefly. We were discouraged from staying too long. The real world is still moving forward and it needs you to move with it.

To return, you have to go back through the door you came from. It seems futile walking into place so briefly and then backtracking your way home. While, physically, you end up right where you started, you never forget what you saw on the other side of that door, in a parallel universe.

I returned home to politics, bills, emails. After seeing the other side, the determination of life in the desert, regular life did not seem so insurmountable as before. I returned without complaint, and with a new set of eyes.

When it all seems so hopeless, I just close my eyes and think of the Suessical trees. How they found a way despite harsh conditions, and realize, we will make it too. We just have to find another way. Things aren't going to be as they were, but they certainly don't have to be so bad. It's time to put panic and complaint aside and do something positive for this world. Because as far as I know, it's the only one we have. There is no place for me on the other side, only this one.

Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn

Made by Hand, New York CityBekka Palmer

You may or may not know that I will be participating in Renegade Craft Fair on December 10th and 11th in Industry City.

I have been working hard to make nearly 100 necklaces like the ones in my online shop, plus a few new colors and some one-of-a-kind items, too.

I would love to see you there in a few weeks.

When: December 10th & 11th 11am - 6pm
Where: Industry City 233 37th Street Brooklyn, NY 11232
Visit the Renegade website for more information!

Election 2016 Part I: Tuesday

Writing, PoliticsBekka Palmer

I walked down Clinton Street in Brooklyn Tuesday morning, confident that we would be making history that day. "This is a day I will never forget," I thought.

I spent the day answering questions from voters and reporting polling place incidents. The messages began to feel like a chant:

"Where do I vote?" 
"What should I bring?"
"Can I get a ride?" 

All of them answered with glee. "At least I am helping," I thought. Knowing that if she lost and I sat idly by, my guilt would be too much to handle.

There were hundreds of us there supporting the cause. Our day was punctuated by the tap tap of keyboards and the ding ding of the phones. 

I stayed until my vision became blurred. It was dark when I walked out of the campaign office. As I walked down the hall someone yelled, "You are a hero!" and I felt like it. It was still early and few states had reported. I walked back the way I came. Feeling a sense of pride and confidence that we had put in the work and now it was time to reap the rewards.

We went to dinner, my eyes were glued to my phone. Refresh, refresh, refresh. A large knot was forming in my stomach. By 11pm I knew our chances were slim, and I knew when it was over I didn't want to be at the bar. I crawled into bed with my laptop on my stomach and my phone in my hand. Refresh, refresh, refresh.

I woke up to darkness at 3am and looked at my phone. The race had been called. I sobbed for hours, Brian telling me, "It's going to be okay."  "It's not," I thought. I didn't sleep again that night, the knot in my stomach grew tighter.

As I rode my bike to work Wednesday morning, I looked at the children walking to school. I saw a Muslim girl. I felt as though we failed her. I failed her. "This is a day I will never forget," I thought. 

// Part II coming tomorrow plus a long list of things you can and should do now

What to eat in Chinatown, NYC

New York CityBekka Palmer

Chinatown is by far one of my favorite food destinations in New York City. It is packed with amazing food in the tiniest hole-in-the-wall places. While this list is in no way comprehensive, these are the places I find myself going back to time-and-time again. Several of these restaurants are cash only, so plan for that if you head there.

Address: 199 Grand Street
Specialty: Malaysian
Not to miss dish: Roti Canai or Roti Prata

Pho Grand
Address: 277C Grand Street
Specialty: Vietnamese
Not to miss dish: Pho, duh! 

Jing Fong
Address: 20 Elizabeth Street
Specialty: Dim Sum
Good-to-know: $3 dim sum plates on weekdays.

69 Bayard WK Restaurant (aka 69)
Address: 69 Bayard Street
Specialty: Chinese
What to order: Noodle anything

Shanghai Asian Manor
Address: 21 Mott Street
Specialty: Shanghai style
Not to miss dish: Soup dumplings and rice cakes

Wo Hop
Address: 17 Mott Street
Specialty: Cantonese
What to order: Fish Kew

Golden Unicorn
Address: 18 E Broadway
Specialty: Dim sum
What to order: All dim sum is amazing, but my favorite dish is a shrimp noodle roll

Lam Zhou
Address: 144 E Broadway
Specialty: Hand-pulled noodles
Not to miss dishes: Beef noodle soup, minced pork noodle and pork chive dumplings
Good-to-know: They sell frozen dumplings in bags of 50, get a bag and boil them at home for a quick dinner.


Getaways, Writing, PhotographyBekka Palmer

It's only Monday and Saturday already feels like a distant dream.

We took another trip upstate. The trees were even more vivid than before. 

We slipped past the gate and walked for hours along a tree lined path. It was magical, like we walked through the wardrobe and into Narnia. I was seeing the world through new eyes.

I could feel the trees preparing for winter. I pulled on an extra layer and wool socks. "We are preparing too," I thought.

We stopped, we listened. The rain hit the carpet of leaves on the ground. I looked up enchanted by the rain falling on my face.

I looked at the trees still holding onto their leaves and I yelled at them, "It's time to let go. Let go of summer, it's time to move forward. Summer will be back next year." A message more for myself than for them.

I talked about what happens to trees now. On the outside they look barren, but on the inside, they are preparing. Getting ready, saving up for spring. They need time to recharge, they can't live forever in summer. 

We talked about our impending birthdays, a sure sign that life is moving along. I asked Brian what he wanted. He said, "You don't have to get me anything or do anything, you are enough."

We walked back the way we came. Retracing our steps and climbing back out of the wardrobe, out of Narnia, and into the real world. We walked out different people than when we entered.

But there was no wardrobe and no magic. We are just moving forward, and that is enough.