This weekend we are catching up with an old friend and reminiscing about good (and bad) times from many years gone by. We’re all testing our individual memories of a shared experience from our different perspectives and our different roles in those events that are now 15 years past. Each of our own memories keeps prompting new memories, especially as we try to remember names. Apparently my brain is not terribly well wired for remembering names.
Perhaps this is part of what I like about photography. A picture helps my memory work so much more effectively. Maybe I should start taking pictures of everyone I meet…
Saw this gerbera the other day as I was passing a flower shop and couldn’t resist picking it up. I love the vibrant colours and those petals look just like flames!
Here are some of my favourite photo posts from the week.
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Back to a more conventional photo today. I had to go with colour to show off the brilliant blue of St. Edmund’s Church in Big Valley. This is the same church that I’ve featured over the last two days. Just shows how much alternate compositions and post-processing can produce different moods.
After a little over two hours in the car, this was the first time I was able to let the girls out for a stretch. They spent about half an hour running around this church having enormous fun. No one ever said my kids were hard to entertain!
It turned out that the hardest thing with this photo was getting the colour right for posting. WordPress recommends using the sRGB colour profile. I may still be a bit of a newb when it comes to colour profiles as this shot turned a very disturbing purple when I first uploaded it. I’m still not sure I worked it out in the end. Maybe I should stick with black and white!
Processing notes: Primary editing was done using Viveza 2 in Photoshop. With Viveza I darkened the sky a bit, brightened the clouds and added structure to the wood siding on the church. Finally, I warmed it up just a touch with the Skylight filter in Color Efex. I reassigned the color profile in Photoshop.
On my road trip with my girls on Friday, we came across this house by the side of a railway track. It looked like it would completely fall over with the next train. Like many photographers, I love a good rundown building and this one qualified. I couldn’t get too close as there was a barbed wire fence surrounding the property with a big sign firmly stating “No Hunting No Trespassing Private Property”.
Honestly, I kind of felt like someone might be watching me. There were some buildings down the hill behind the house and I could just imagine someone was about to come striding out of one of the houses and come stomping up the hill to ask me what I thought I was doing. I ended up staying a little while and shooting it from different angles. The girls were trying very hard to be patient with me so I tried to keep the stop brief.
I processed this image as a black and white, but I’ve been posting a lot of B&W lately so, for variety, I chose a colour version for today’s blog.
Processing notes: The house was back-lit with all the crumbling housey goodness in dark shadows so I shot the exposures (in 1 stop increments) and combined them in Photomatix Pro. I wanted all the detail under the porch roof and even in the windows. In Photoshop I used the Viveza 2 plug-in to bring out detail in the snow, deepen the blue of the sky and enhance structure (texture) in the house and in the snow. I also used Viveza to slightly warm up the picture. Last step was to add the frame using Silver Efex 2.
Like yesterday, I’m revisiting a previous heritage site today, not because I’m running out of locations, but because I was very happy with how this shot turned out.
This is an HDR image from three exposures. As you can see by the sun in the top right of the image, the building was backlit so I used multiple exposures to allow me to retain detail and colour from the front of the building. I used a small aperture to get the star pattern in the sun shine and to get enough depth in the picture that the foreground tree and the building were both in focus.
The weather forecast for today promised cold and overcast with a strong chance of snow. While it didn’t get too warm, the skies over the Grand Canyon were graced with few clouds and lots of glorious sunshine.
We arrived at the canyon around 10am with the sunshine in tow. We’d been to virtually every lookout yesterday, but it was overcast at the time. Today we hit all those spots again and they were so much more stunning with the sunshine hitting the canyon.
I popped on a polarizing filter to darken the sky, reduce the haze, and bring out the colours in the canyon. When I rotated the filter in to place and saw just how effectively it eliminated the haze and clarified the view I almost gasped!
The canyon is so much more beautiful in the sunshine. At every viewpoint I was just jumping out of the car with a big grin on my face eager to see what I could shoot next. Here is a small sample from today. Once I’m back home, I’ll properly review the images and put together a more thorough posting with multiple pictures.
I learned how to make fudge 10 or 11 years ago. I have always had a serious sweet tooth (despite its recent waning) and fudge has been a definite favourite. A skiing trip to Whistler, BC (a long time ago!) is the first time I recall visiting the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. When my wife and I moved to Vancouver from Wellington, New Zealand a little over a decade ago, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory was back on my doorstep. But I decided it would be more fun to make my own.
Fudge is time consuming – this is a high-effort dessert. It takes time, a lot of attention and patience. Turnaround time on a batch of fudge is typically about three hours. It includes frequent stirring (until it comes to a boil), then frequent thermometer checking, then waiting for it to cool, then stirring again until just the right moment when you reckon it’s about to candy. Then you have to get it into the pan quickly. If you’re too slow (as I’ve sometimes been) you end up with a pot full of solidified fudge which you now have to chop out in chunks. Not pretty.
My go-to book for fudge recipes is Oh Fudge! by Lee Edwards Benning. It has more recipes than anyone (other than Lee apparently) would ever try and more varieties than I ever knew existed. My favourites are a chocolate, almond, sour cream fudge and triple-rich caramel fudge.
If you’re going to go to the effort to make fudge, you don’t just make a little bit, you make about a kilogram (or 2 pounds). That’s a lot of fudge to eat all by yourself. Of course, you could freeze it and dole it out over time or, better yet, you can share it with friends. I used to bring in batches of the stuff to work where I marveled at how quickly it disappeared!
My kids still love fudge, but it’s gone out of fashion a bit at our house. It’s just a bit too rich for me now. Thankfully, today I didn’t even have to make the fudge because I had some leftover from a batch I made before Christmas. These three little squares (below) are the last of the batch.
Technical details: ISO 100, 1/100s, f8.0 and f2.0, 100mm (with 20mm macro ring)
Photoshop mods: Levels to smooth out the whites, some saturation, lots of cropping and layers for the layout