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Hot Off the Press Three local personalities capture their passion in words, photos, and drawings in newly published works
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The Lakes of Desolation: A photographic survey of the lakes of Desolation Wilderness

Perhaps you have seen his Instagram @lakesofdesolation that boasts over 5,000 followers; but did you know that Mike Mullen, who grew up in Tahoe City and now lives in San Francisco, recently came out with a self-published book that takes readers, or, more accurately, viewers, on a photographic journey of the lakes of Desolation Wilderness? Well, now you know, and you should do yourself a favor and go to Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City and pick up a copy — they have already had to be restocked since selling out the first day they hit the shop’s shelves. Of course, you can go to Mullen’s website and order a copy, but keep in mind that when you purchase it at Alpenglow, you also get to take home a 9 x 13 inch print of a photo from the book of Velma Lakes with Dick’s Peak in the background.

The concept for the book is simple, and we love that! The softcover and 5 x 8 inch design makes this $25-publication worth every penny. The main text — apart from the names and photo dates printed along with each photo of the 87 lakes featured — comes in the preface where Mullen describes the method to his madness. He discusses how the initial concept for this photographic journey came about, a brief history of the wilderness area, and how hiking in Desolation makes him feel.

Mullen only photographed named lakes, and includes a note about their names, but hints at a future edition where he also documents the unnamed lakes of Desolation.

“It is my hope that this collection of photographs captures some of the essence of what this experience has been for me,” Mullen writes in his book, “and can bring a part of that experience to those who view them.” ~ Ally Gravina/Moonshine Ink

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling

John Muir Laws is a writer, artist, naturalist, and educator. His book The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling brings his passions to life and teaches with step by step processes.

In collaboration with Emilie Lygren he created a journaling technique that combines nature writing and drawing. “Nature journaling leads to knowledge derived from personal experience,” Laws explains.

Inviting us to think differently about nature, Laws’ approach is very zen and requires you to stay in the moment — this may be hard if you are not used to drawing nature. To keep a nature journal is to observe and record, not just through drawing, but through writing as well. Using arrows, numbering, and labeling in your drawing is just the half of it. Thankfully, Laws gives prompts for patient, more detailed observation such as “I notice …, I wonder …, It reminds me of …” He explains that using curiosity as a skill is essential for your nature journal, and he encourages us to spend time with children and to ask questions. Laws even provides directive on how to diagram a birdsong.

Projects that focus one’s awareness are essential to nature journaling. It is about choosing your subject and making discoveries. “Be clear about your goals. Journal to observe the world more deeply, to remember what you see, and to enhance your curiosity about the world,” Laws says. “Live richly in this moment. It will never come again. Give up the goal of the pretty picture, it will come on its own.”

He also gives us the techniques to get that pretty picture by recommending materials, explaining line detail, value, color contrasts, and temperatures. With step-by-step processes for his techniques he teaches how to master the art of speed drawing since nature doesn’t always sit still.

This book is an excellent guide to get you into your own nature journaling. Especially for where we live. ~ Andrea Bartunek/Moonshine Ink

Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique

Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique cookbook brings to life many creative dishes. With vivid photographs and a deep look into Wolfdale’s beginning and inspirations, this cookbook is unlike any other. To fully understand Cuisine Unique you need to know Douglas Dale’s backstory. He grew up in an Italian/Irish family in Buffalo, N.Y., and consequently was exposed to a variety of international foods as a child. His obsession with serving people food came at a young age, as early as kindergarten, when he helped his teacher serve cookies to his class. After that, being able to yield positive feedback on something delicious became a life goal.

Dale has had an extensive culinary arts education. Studying in Japan during college allowed Dale to stay at a small temple called Temple Mineji where he learned the importance of each individual part of a meal, including dinnerware.

After Japan and college, Dale found himself in Boston under the tutelage of Hiroshi Hayashi at a restaurant called The Seventh Inn. It was his culinary boot camp. Hayashi eventually helped Dale with the opening of Wolfdale’s, a restaurant that originally started as Dale’s sister- and brother-in-law’s restaurant on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. He bought them out years later and reopened in Tahoe City.

A lot of the recipes you find in his cookbook are inspired by Dale’s days in Japan. His Cuisine Unique certainly lives up to its title, and you will find recipes inspired by many different cultures as the author takes a “no-culinary-rules approach to cooking in California,” and you can see how truly diverse his dishes are in this cookbook. Each recipe has a small anecdote about its inspiration or background to further engage the reader.

“Food is the way to your dreams and goals, the way to self-fulfillment,” Dale says. So, keep on eating and cooking with these wonderful recipes. ~ Andrea Bartunek/Moonshine Ink

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February 14, 2019