I can’t stop scrolling through Maya’s Instagram, alaskafromscratch, centered around her creative culinary palate and beautiful landscapes from Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. You’re missing out if you aren’t taking a second to ogle her delicious collaborations between nature and food. See what Maya had to tell What Weekly about her work:
Tell us about your Instagram.
Mostly Alaska and food, with a touch of family life mixed in. iPhone 5 only. My follower base surged over the summer of 2013 when I was selected as a suggested user by Instagram and featured on Tech Hive
When and why did you decide to start your Instagram?
My husband and I were very early adopters to Instagram, with personal accounts. A while later, when I became a food blogger and my personal account began filling up with food, I decided it was time to create the @alaskafromscratch account. It was a great decision.
What inspires you?
It’s impossible to live in Alaska and not be inspired. The light here is like nowhere else. The same is true of the scenery and the wildlife. It makes for great photography, amazing moments to capture every time you step out your door. I’m also inspired by beautiful food, naturally lit. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive – some of my favorite food photos are ingredients standing alone – simple, real food caught by the light.
Your Instagram has an interesting mix between baking and the scenery of Alaska, and the food & nature always seem to coordinate with each other. Is that on purpose?
Thank you for noticing that. For me, this happens rather naturally. The food I make is seasonal and often, local. Both these things are also true of the scenery. What’s going on outside the kitchen window inspires what happens inside the kitchen.
Since you and your family moved to Alaska, what is your favorite culinary discovery?
I’ve always loved seafood, but the ability to bring fresh, wild-caught salmon and halibut, for example, directly from the beach to the table, is a great culinary privilege. There’s truly nothing like it.
On your blog you say that you’re “in the business of cultivating and documenting food memories.” Can you pick a photo and explain the memory behind it?
This Nutella S’more over a campfire was shot on a remote beach across Kachemak Bay, only accessible by boat, where we have camped with our family and 25 of our friends for three summers in a row. When I look at this photo, I remember the feeling of the kids just getting out of school for the summer, I can smell the campfire mixed with cold saltwater and dense forest, and I can hear the cry of bald eagles soaring overhead, the waves crashing on the pebbled beach, and the sound of boats sloshing at anchor. Food memories are amazing things.
Which of your recipes are you most proud of?
It’s not so much one or two recipes, but really the whole collection of recipes and what it represents. It takes courage to put yourself out there – food and taste and the memories/motivations that accompany them are very personal things. And it requires commitment to see it through, to keep developing and growing along with your readers. I’m proud of those things and the community that surrounds the food and the photos as a result.
What are you favorite subjects to shoot in Alaska?
It’s very difficult to pick favorites. Ice, snow, frost, glaciers. The changing of seasons. Wildlife like moose, bears, eagles, and salmon. All the things that make life in Alaska unique and therefore, compelling.
Pick one of your favorite photos. Tell us why you captured it.
In Alaska, there are times of the year when the air temperature is colder than the water temperature, which causes steam to rise off the water. I took this shot of the mouth of the Kenai River, where it meets Cook Inlet, when the steam was rising and the sunlight was hitting it. It is one of my favorite photos of 2013.
What’s your favorite part of Instagram?
The way in which Instagram makes a better photographer out of us all, and creates a vibrant, active, growing global community around beautiful photos. I am inspired daily, by the photography, creativity, and perspective of other Instagrammers. I can catch glimpses of real life on every corner of the globe, every day. It’s pretty incredible when you think about it. I may live way up in the corner of the world here in Alaska, but Instagram makes it feel much less isolated. Also, Instagram helps us appreciate and capture all the little things of life that many of us were missing before.
Your Instagram says that all your photos are exclusively shot with your iPhone. What are your favorite apps to help shoot, and why do you love them?
I am a bit of an Instagram purist, that is to say, I most often use just my iPhone 5 and Instagram for photo editing/enhancement. I very rarely use other apps. That said, I use PicFrame for making collages (usually to feature other Instagrammers and share the love) and will occasionally use Afterlight or Mextures if I really want to play around with a photo. When I do, I hashtag it so that my followers know what app I used.
What advice do you have for someone else starting and Instagram, planning to shoot exclusively with iPhone?
Natural light is the way to go. Take photos of the things that make your life interesting and unique. Then, select filters that make the photo look its best and that also truly capture the feeling/mood of the moment. Follow friends, family, and established Instagrammers whose photos inspire you and engage in the greater Instagram community. It’s worth it.
Maya is a food blogger, mother and wife currently residing in Alaska.
Her food blog can be found here.