Gettin’ Figgy With It

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While at the Gather retreat I picked up a new cookbook at Petals and Pop called Sunday Suppers by Karen Mordechai. The book is full of lovely photographs and recipes. One recipe attracted my attention – Fig Tart with Honey. I absolutely love figs so decided to give it a try this week. So I picked up some figs

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but before I sliced them up for the tart, I just had to play around a little bit with them. I’ve had these little heart shaped tart tins for years but this is the first time I’ve used them as a prop in a photograph. It won’t be the last!

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After this round of play, I did get the tart together.

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It was super easy to make. Basically you make the pastry shell and bake it.

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After the pastry shell cools, it is filled with a mixture of cream cheese, creme fraiche, lemon zest, and lemon juice. I found the filling a bit tart so added a tiny bit of Agave syrup to the filling as well.

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Then you slice the figs and layer them over the filling.

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And as a final touch, honey is drizzled on top

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Then it’s ready to serve! I had a lot of fun playing in the studio this week and I find that I particularly like working with food in my photography, though it can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, like trying to drizzle honey while taking pictures! Basically I placed the camera on a tripod, set the camera to rapid fire and with my cable release in one hand and the honey wand in the other, I went for it! Kinda proud of myself as I didn’t make too much of a mess while doing it!

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Oh, by the way – the tea towel in the pictures is also from Sunday Suppers. Thanks so much for stopping by. I am linking up with Kim’s Friday Finds today. Hope you have an opportunity to stop by there as well.

Have a great weekend!

xo

Posted in Cooking, Inspirational, photography | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

With Gratitude

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Taken w/ 35mm @ f/3.5, ISO 500 @ 1/400 second. Applied Kim Klassen’s ‘pinit10′ texture @ multiply 63%

Just a quick post to express my deepest gratitude to my family, friends, and friends in my online community for all of your kind comments, virtual hugs, and real prayers sent my way regarding my brother’s passing. Your kindness and compassion has touched me deeply. Bless you all.

xo

ps – hooking up with Kim’s Texture Tuesday. If you have a moment, please do stop by. Cheers!

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Be Still Homework – 3 Things

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Taken w/ 35mm @ f/4.0 ISO 800 @ 1/10 second.

This last week I was blessed with some quiet time. Brian was out of town on business for several days and I took advantage of the stillness to play with my camera. Before my brother passed on Thursday, I had been working on this week’s Be Still assignment – 3 things: a chair with or without a subject, next to a window, backlit. At first I was like “I don’t really have a window available that is big enough to accommodate a chair, it’s winter and there’s not enough daylight for a backlit shot, and my favorite – I don’t have a cool white chair like Kim!” But then I realized the studio has a sliding glass door which would certainly be big enough so I headed out there. Looking around I spotted an old wooden folding chair that I had completely forgotten I had so out it came. I started setting things up and then I saw it – beautiful natural light – even on this gray day. To capture it I did have to bump up my ISO and reduce my shutter speed, but there it was! I took lots of pictures, changing perspective and moving things around.

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Taken w/ 35mm @ f/4.0, ISO 800 @ 1/13 second.

But before I had a chance to process the images, news of my brother came through and I needed time to simply sit, eyes closed, and reflect on him and family. So, yesterday afternoon I decided to open Lightroom and see what I had done in the studio. I must say I’m pretty darn pleased and believe it or not these images didn’t need much processing at all, just a little white balance adjustment. I did try some presets on some of the images, but in the end I appreciated the natural look.

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Taken w/ 35mm @ f/4.0, ISO 800 @ 1/20 second.

So, the lesson I learned is the one I seem to need to learn over and over again – appreciate what I have. We in the Pacific Northwest are often complaining about the darkness of winter, but as you can see, we do have beautiful light, even in December. I’ve also complained about not having a big window, but, turns out I do. I just had to look at things differently – in this case a door is my window! And I may not have a cool white chair, I do have this old beat-up wooden folding chair that worked just fine. Appreciate what we have. I think I need to post that quote on my bathroom mirror!

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a beautiful weekend.

xo

Posted in Inspirational, photography | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Finding the Christmas Spirit

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I have a confession to make. It’s been years since I’ve felt the Christmas spirit. I’ve gone through the motions; decorating the house, listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, baking cookies, getting together with family and friends. And though all of it has been lovely, I did not feel the spirit move within me. Now I’m not a religious person, but I am a spiritual one so I do believe in a higher power, something larger than ourselves. But it has been difficult to feel that when I see Christmas marketed for it’s retail value or watch people on the news trample over one another to get “the deal” at some big box store. Clearly something is missing here. But then, this week something happened.

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My brother Ted passed away this week. He had been fighting a losing battle with cancer and spent his last days in the hospital trying to manage the pain. Thankfully my sister Darlene was able to be there at his side. And though most of us could not be there, we did send him letters via email, which sis read to him. But she did more than that. She gave each of us a gift also. She sent all the letters out so that we could read what everyone wrote. As I read each one, my heart filled with joy. These messages spoke of Ted’s kindness, his generous heart, his beautiful smile, and his creative spirit. He was an inspiration to each of us on so many levels. Those loving words of my family for Ted has reawakened the Christmas spirit in me. After all, the spirit of the season is really all about love and family.

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From now on I will think of Christmas as Ted’s day, with his love and light shining through each of us.

May the spirit move within you this holiday season and keep with you all of your days.

xo

ps – linking up with Kim Klassen’s Friday Finds. Hope you’ll have a chance to go there as well.

Posted in holiday, Inspirational | Tagged | 9 Comments

Gather – Under the Pier

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This Friday finds me lingering over memories of our Gather retreat. I held on to this last post in an effort to hold this experience close to me just a little longer. On our last day, after the Petals and Pop shopping experience, a group of us went to the pier at Seal Beach. Now I grew up in the area so Seal Beach holds dear memories of my childhood and it was great to revisit this place as an adult. The beach itself is always teaming with people enjoying the water, waves, sand, and seagulls. The pier also offers a fun perspective,

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but most interesting to me this time was the view under the pier. So much going on there.

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There were bits of a fence with rusted wire barely holding it together, as well as some shadow play

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I quickly discovered that the pier’s underbelly is home to some of the bird life in the area

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Families have been raised here

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Surfers also use the place to store their towels while out riding the waves

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It was grand to be a part of the life force coursing through the pilings

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The other day I pulled out the shoes I had on that day and some sand fell out.

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It made me smile and so here I am on Friday, thinking about Gather once more.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I’ll be linking up with Kim’s Friday Finds today. Hope you have a moment to stop by.

xo

Posted in Inspirational, photography | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Picked Clean

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My Be Still homework assignment for last week was ‘square, top down, 2 sides, empty space’ and I instantly thought of photographing the remains of our turkey leftovers. Though we went to my sister and brother-in-law’s for the big day, Brian & I also cooked a much smaller turkey for ourselves on Saturday… for the leftovers of course!

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Besides having the roasted turkey, we made turkey soup, turkey enchiladas, and several turkey sandwiches.

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It was all delicious and makes me wonder (as I do every year) why we don’t have turkey more often!

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Seems like it is a meal that keeps on giving!

Really only the top image fit the ‘rules’ of my homework assignment. The rest have been for my own pleasure. I’m particularly fond of the vintage sugar sack used as a towel in these images. Found it on eBay – a set of two for $11. I don’t often go to eBay looking for something but was certainly quite kiddy when I saw them and ecstatic when I won the bid! The plate is from Anthropologie and the fork belonged to my grandmother. Final note on the background – I was inspired by a magazine cover I saw so decided to recreate it on canvas. Acrylic colors used were Titan Buff, Van Dyke Brown, and Raw Sienna.

So, if you had turkey, what did you do with your leftovers?

Thanks so much for stopping by. There will be a new homework assignment posted for me to study so I’d better get to it! Cheers,

xo

Posted in Cooking, holiday, Inspirational, photography | Tagged | 8 Comments

Playing Squash

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Applied Kim Klassen ‘pumpkin grunge’ texture, soft light @ 39%

It all started while I was on vacation. My friend Barbara Hurst sent me a link to Leigh Beisch’s site. Leigh is a professional photographer and her images are just beautiful – you can check her out HERE. In addition to still life work, she also has a couple of videos posted, which are fun. One in particular held my attention. It was her and her staff working in her studio and one of the shots she was working on was this butternut squash. I didn’t mention it to Barb right away, but I really wanted to have a go with doing a squash shot like that. Little did I know that Barb had the same idea. But it wasn’t until we discovered that we each had bought the same white with blue polka dot tea towel at Petals and Pop that we decided to have a little squash play together. Our only “rule” was to be sure and include the tea towel in our images. So we are both posting our shots today. The shot up top is close to the set up that Leigh had in her video. After that was out of my system, I started playing around with perspective.

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Then I rearranged things a bit and added a spoon.

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Ultimately the one below wound up being my favorite. Placing the elements on a chopping board and shooting down, then reducing the amount of seeds in the image to three. The simplicity of it appeals to me.

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Many thanks Barb for sending me the Leigh’s link and for wanting to ‘play squash’ with me!

I’m gonna pop on over to Barb’s site now and check out her squash. Care to join me HERE?

Oh, since the first image has a Kim Klassen texture on it, I’m also linking up with her Texture Tuesday. If you have time, I hope you can swing by there as well.

Cheers!

xo

Posted in Inspirational, photography | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Giving Thanks with Family

Happy holidays! Can you believe it is December already! At the beginning of the year I told myself I was going to take it slow and really enjoy the year. I really have enjoyed the year but it still has gone too quickly.

Just a quick post this time. Wanted to share a video I made of our Thanksgiving Day. All the footage was shot with my iPhone and edited in iMovie on my iPad. Unbelievable what can be done on these devices, don’t you think?

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!

xo

Posted in holiday, Inspirational, iPhoneography | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Homework – Butter & Eggs

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This assignment was presented a couple of weeks ago, but I was on vacation so this is my first opportunity to work on this. I was thinking about it though and many ideas floated through my mind so thought I’d share my different concepts. I started with the composition above. Actually the first few shots did not include the milk bottle or the cloth tea towel. I do like those additions.

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Whenever I shoot, I like to try different views. I like the simplicity of the one above. But then I got a little carried away as I tried out different props.

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Somehow the picture above and the picture below were better in my mind! In the end I find both a little too busy for my taste. My eye keeps wandering around the image without knowing where to land!

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Then I thought of pastry making in the style where the flour, butter, and eggs are mixed together on the surface.

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I’m liking the above shot because I think the vintage knife adds an additional element of interest. But in the end, my personal favorite is this one below.

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So there you have it, my Butter & Eggs assignment. This brings me current in class, which is a good thing cause a new lesson will be posted next week. In the meantime my friend Barb & I have a little play we want to do together using butternut squash. Stay tuned!

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a fantastic weekend!

xo

Posted in Cooking, Inspirational, photography | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

And Then We Shopped!

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This Friday finds me basking in the memories of the Gather California retreat. On our second day together we went to Seal Beach and explored the most beautiful flower shop, Petals and Pop. The owner, Theresa Anderson, was such a delight. She was sweet, kind, and energetic. She graciously allowed us to take photographs, and let me tell you, everywhere we turned there was a lovely vignette to behold. There were beautiful vases nestled into greens and seasonal fruit.

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There were intriguing dried things like this item below. I’m thinking it is a coconut that’s been cut in half and allowed to dry. It makes a wonderful little bowl, don’t you think? I may have to buy a coconut and try this!

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This grouping of little whisk brooms look like they are dancing.

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Isn’t this the most beautiful watering can you’ve ever seen?

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Now that I’ve seen this, I’m thinking pomegranates look better dried. I really need to do this too!

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Many pairs of these Japanese scissors were sold that day. Such a perfect still life prop!

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And of course there were flowers. So beautiful and fragrant.

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I’m thinking we helped make her day fun & profitable!

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If you are in the Seal Beach area, I hope you will take a moment to stop into Petals and Pop and say hi to Theresa. You will be glad you did.

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Thank you so much for stopping by. I’m linking up with Friday Finds today. See you there.

xo

Posted in Inspirational, photography | Tagged , , | 12 Comments