Karen E. Segrave

Architectural Exteriors | Coulson Oil | Arkansas Commercial Photographer

For the first half of this year, Coulson Oil was my lucky charm.

I worked with them very closely taking sunset architectural photos of a selected few gas stations around Arkansas to provide some of the artwork for their new corporate headquarters. You can read more on that project by going here.

After construction was completed, I was asked by Evo Business Environments to come out and photograph the interiors. You can see that project here.

The architect for Coulson Oil’s new corporate headquarters was Arkansas-based Fennell Purifoy Architects. Their design intent was to create a classic and modern office that looks forward to the company’s future with new technology and better workplace space planning to meet their needs.

The use of perforated metal sunscreens, clerestory day lighting of interior corridors, maximization of north and south exposures, aiong with the reduction of glass facing east and west are incorporated into the design.

Natural slate and exposed steel framing can be found throughout to provide a maintenance free exterior that will stand the test of time.

Four separate trips at sunrise and sunset were needed to achieve the various photo for Fennell Purifoy’s portfolio.


Tomatoes: Flavors of Summer

I am an unashamed lover of all things tomato. Well, except for tomato juice. That's just plain nasty.

But give me a vine ripe -- preferably home-grown beauty -- a salt shaker, and I have a meal that's perfect for any time of the day or night.

I typically plant three or four tomato plants each spring. I'd grow more, but my husband is allergic to them. Good! More for me. But honestly, the past two seasons have been dismal when it comes to my tomato harvest. Dismal is a generous term. It was downright pathetic. I successfully grew a whopping three, count 'em three, Purple Cherokees (my favorite) and five black cherry tomatoes.

I'm blaming an abnormally cool April that immediately went into a sweltering May with little rain and it stayed like that all summer long. Even with ample irrigation, my crop was pitiful.

According to Wikepedia, the tomato originated in western South America. While many people think it's a vegetable, genetically, it's a fruit. Tomatoes are the edible, often red, berry of the nightshade Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as a tomato plant. There are more than 3,000 varieties of heirloom or heritage tomatoes in active cultivation worldwide and more than 15,000 known varieties.

Fruit. Vegetable. Whatever you call it, they're downright delicious.

If you had a bumper crop, send some my way.


Tomato cucumber salad:

This simple salad could not be any easier to prepare. Dice up your favorite cherry tomatoes, add cucumbers (something we did grow in abundance this year), add cubed feta and your favorite herbs (fresh thyme and oregano, all home grown) and toss with Italian dressing (Good Seasons seen here) and salt and pepper to taste.

Tomato cucumber salad

Tomato cucumber salad

Slow-roasted Beefsteak Tomatoes

The secret to roasting tomatoes....low and slow. These beauties were roasted on a sheet pan in a 200-degree oven for about two hours. I don't really set a time. I usually eyeball them to tell when they're done. Cut beefsteak, or any large meaty variety, into wedges and arrange on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, your favorite herbs (thyme and oregano), drizzle with olive oil (go light) and a balsamic glaze. Once they're done, add more herbs.

The recipe possibilities for these are endless. After I pulled them from the over, I ate 10 standing over the pan.

Slow roasted tomatoes

Slow roasted tomatoes

Caprese

The only thing simpler than the tomato cucumber salad seen above is caprese: a salad of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. I sliced up red beefsteaks and yellow tomatoes and added fresh mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil and a balsamic glaze. Garnish with fresh basil.

The red tomatoes came courtesy of my brother-in-law who has a badass garden and grows hundreds of pounds of vegetables a year. The yellow variety compliments of my mother-in-law. The basil came from my garden. I also made four jars of pesto this year, but that's a blog post for next year.

Caprese

Caprese

Bruschetta

Some of the best bruschetta I've ever consumed was in Italy. Ever since then, I've been on a quest to find good bruschetta here in the states.

Bruschetta originates as an antipasto (starter dish) from consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt.

I took mine a step further and topped by adding herbed ricotta, roasted cherry tomatoes and topped with fresh herbs, olive oil, balsamic glaze and S&P (salt and pepper). I started with a good crusty, ciabatta. I sliced it on the diagonal and brushed with olive oil. After a few minutes of stove-top searing, I spread a nice thick layer of herbed ricotta followed with the roasted tomatoes and garnish as desired.

This is perfect starter for your next dinner party or even a light dinner all for yourself.

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

I broke my own rule on roasting for this dish. Instead of roasting low and slow, I opted for high and fast. I cranked the oven up to 500-degrees.

Using my $2.00 flea market, cast iron skillet, I added a variety of cherry tomatoes, peeled, whole clove garlic, fresh herbs and a generous amount olive oil. After only 10 minutes, I finished them under the broiler on high for a few extra minutes. The high heat causes the tomatoes to burst, releasing their juices and making it's own sauce.

Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

Once the tomatoes were done, I added a few more fresh herbs and served them atop thin spaghetti topped with shaved Parmesan and S&P to taste. You could also use angel hair if preferred.

Blistered Cherry Tomatoes with Thin Spaghetti

Blistered Cherry Tomatoes with Thin Spaghetti

Blistered Cherry Tomatoes with Thin Spaghetti

Blistered Cherry Tomatoes with Thin Spaghetti

Whatever tomatoes are leftover will keep in the fridge for a solid two weeks. If they last that long.

Honoring Educators | Milken Family Foundation | Editoral Photography

The joy and the excitement is real.

In the early months of the 2017-2018 school year, I once again worked and traveled with the Milken Family Foundation photographing the Milken Educator Awards honoring the best and brightest educators across the country.

Being an educator is often a challenging and thankless job with long hours and few accolades of just how important their roles are in students' lives. Many educators in cash-strapped school districts often spend their own money for basic classroom needs. But if you ask any educator, they cannot see themselves doing anything else. They truly love their work and their students.

For 30 years, the Milken Educator Awards honors excellence in the world of education -- in a very public way -- by recognizing top educators around the country with a $25,000 award with no restrictions. The Milken Educator Awards targets early-to-mid career education professionals for their achievements and, more significantly, for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future.

This past school year, I traveled with the team at the Milken Educator Awards to: Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, and South Carolina.

Let me tell you the joy and excitement, and utter shock, on the teachers faces is real and you can see it in the photos.

Every school year, I look forward to working with Milken Family Foundation and I hope to travel with them again for the 2018-2019 school year. We have fun, a lot of fun.

Congratulations to all the recipients.

Below are the highlights from the states and schools I visited.


Alabama

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Mississippi

Nebraska

New Mexico

Ohio

South Carolina