The weekend is here at last, enjoy!
Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Great story about a guy who collected un-developed rolls of film from cameras in thrift stores. Eventually he got them all developed and posted some of them onto his website. Some of them were taken by photographically-minded folks, but a lot of them are just oddball snapshots. The oddballs are my favorites, like this one and this one.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Apparently the proprietors of the Courtyard building have decided to remove the ivy that once covered the walls of this interesting place:
For pics of the ivy in its glory day, check out Granny J’s post here.
in images anyway.
One of the pitfalls of a new camera is that I end up taking more photos.
A LOT more photos.
Between getting the camera (last Thursday) and this morning I have taken around 700 exposures, and now I am paying for it.
Downloading, sorting, selecting, editing, exporting, uploading, and posting has suddenly become a Herculean task.
And for the moment it is all a bit overwhelming.
But I’m still really excited about the new gear.
I know that I will eventually get all of these suckers processed and out the door. I can see the end at the light of the tunnel.
Until then I will just have to tone it down a bit, and give myself a little breathing room. :)
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Me and DaNece are driving through Kirkland when she says to turn around… she saw something cool.
I didn’t see anything, but I trust her judgment so i flipped a yuey and drove down into a wash to find some shade. We ate a quick lunch, and then ducked under a barbed wire fence. What we found astounded us both.
It started innocuously enough. An old car stuck in an embankment:
Certainly not something that I see every day, but a nice photography subject nonetheless. But then we looked down the side of the wash and saw a long line of vehicles, all in disrepair, and all classics by the look of it.
This one had a lot of dirt inside, but hadn’t yet been taken over by the earth:
This one was a little more on it’s way, being half-filled with rubble:
We both agreed that this was one of our favorites. It had a trea growing out from the rusted-out floor:
Hard to get the doors open on this guy:
Some cars you could see only bits and pieces of. Like this half sticking out of the ground:
Mostly taken over:
And some seemed untouched, such as this truck-front pointed sky-ward:
Definitely a great place to play with HDR, and all but a few of my shots took advantage of it. It was very neatto look around for a while, before heading back onto the open road:
Friday, February 20, 2009
Played with the 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 lens this morning at the coffee shop, our morning-time retreat. Here are the results:
And a shot of the neighboring building, Hotel Vendome:
Everybody have a great weekend!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The UPS packages have stopped coming. For now at least. And as I sit here with a whole plethora of new material belongings I hear my dad’s voice cautioning me to save my money. I never was very good at listening to common sense.
So I took a big chunk of my tax refund and spent it needlessly during these hard economic times. And I’m about as giddy as a schoolgirl about it. :)
So what the heck was in the multitude of boxes that arrived with my name on them?
Camera gear!! Oh yeah. I did.
A new Nikon D90 to be more specific. With some goodies. Okay, maybe I should say lots of goodies. So of course the first thing I had to do tonight was go out and start snapping away. And boy am I impressed.
I’m loving the depth of field on the 50mm 1.8 lens, and the D90’s ISO performance is AMAZING compared to the G9!!
Take this photo for instance. It’s noisy, sure. But this is at ISO 6400!!! The G9 would look like this at ISO400! Talk about a difference:
Of course there were shots of DaNece, since she makes such a lovely subject:
While we were out we even ran into Rich as he left the office:
We sat and chatted for a bit before deciding to head on home.
And once there I was able to make the dogs my guinea pigs of photography. With my new flash to boot. Lola looks a bit dazed:
Scrappy just looks like he wants the ball (as usual):
Of course, no new camera would be complete without flashing me a few times, so I handed the rig over to D and had her fire off a few rounds in my direction:
All in all I am just tickled pink at the new purchase, and I’m sure I will be submitting all of you readers to more learning-curve photos for the next few days.
All D90 photos from the day (all shot with the 50mm f/1.8 so far).
Go to the sixth folder of pictures on your computer, and pick the sixth pic. That’s it (I hope!). Then tag six others.
My six others:
And here is mine, a failed door chain at an old rest stop:
I, like most people who blog about food, am constantly trying to make all of my dinner shots look appealing. I struggle to find interesting angles, decent lighting, and anything else I can do to make my meals look more like art than food.
And that limits me. There are plenty of food posts that never got written because none of the pictures turned out. They all looked flat, they didn’t glisten ‘just so’, or they looked like a wookiee threw up on a plate.
What I’m coming to terms with is that not all of my food shots NEED to look like Elise’s. I don’t think I will honestly ever have the knack for photographing food that she does. The reality of it is that I just don’t have the patience. When I cook, it is to eat, not to be pretty. I rarely bother with that ‘garnish’ stuff. If it doesn’t add to the flavor, why put it on there? It will all disappear down my gullet in under ten minutes generally, so why spend more time making it pretty and photographing than I spend eating?
So here is my first attempt to rebel against common sense. This is my first truly Ugly Food post that would have otherwise never seen the light of day!
When I imagine wookiee vomit, this is what pops into my mind:
Ugly Scrambled Eggs
FIRST of all, go watch this video. I never realized how crappy my scrambled eggs were until last night. I used a few of the ideas in Gordon’s video, though of course I bastardized the hell out of it, and this came out as the best bits of egg I have ever put in my mouth.
This meal was born of desperation. Home from the gym, didn’t want to spend a lot of time cooking. Super hungry and looking for something decently healthy. All of this stuff is what was on hand in the fridge so improvise as you please.
- 3 eggs
- 5 or 6 small white button mushrooms. cleaned and sliced
- 1 shallot. sliced
- 1 clove of fresh garlic. minced
- about 1/4-1/2 cup of spinach. cleaned, rinsed, and chopped
- a tablespoon of crème frescia (I only had sour cream)
- some olive oil or butter
- bread for toast
- salt, pepper, sugar, paprika to taste
How to make this ugly duckling:
- heat up a pan on medium, toss your shallots in with some olive oil or butter
- cook shallots until translucent, then add garlic and mushrooms, and more butter if necessary. I like a dash of sugar to help bring out the flavors, as well as a small bit of salt and pepper.
- once mushrooms are mostly cooked toss in the spinach and allow to wilt
- crack three eggs into the pan and stir constantly, removing from heat off and on (Yeah, go watch that video, I can’t even explain it)
- once the eggs are starting to set up taste and add salt/pepper as necessary. Continue stirring
- toast your bread to your liking (remembering that all toasters lie about how done your toast will really be)
- Once the eggs are cooked all the way through, toss in a tablespoon of sour cream/crème frescia, and stir your heart out.
Enjoy the heck out of it, but don’t put pictures of it on the internet because it aint going to win the beauty contest.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Yep, after months of repair to the Large Hadron Collider due to some leaking helium (used to cool parts of the machine) the machine will be turned back on sometime in June.
So we are getting another chance to destroy the world, hooray! And if that happens, it will all be Tom Hanks’ fault.
Since Monday was a holiday (apparently) DaNece and I decided to head out for a little camping on Sunday. We didn’t want to deal with the cold that we are seeing up here in Prescott, or the snow, so we headed south to lower elevations.
Since we are planning on camping again in a few weeks with Sadira, we settled on the area north of Wickenberg, figuring we could scope it out to make sure that temperatures were acceptable for a longer trip.
We drove around for a bit before finding a gate onto public land with some mountains behind it. We putzed slowly down the dirt road, and came to an old ranch house. Of course we had to stop to take some photos:
Behind the house was an expansive cattle pond:
Once done with taking photos of the surroundings we rolled out slowly down the road again, seriously enjoying all the desert scenery.
Eventually we found a spot that we liked for camping, nestled at the base of a small hill. We parked the truck and setup the tent on the leeward side. Then we climbed the nearby hill to get a view of the terrain.
You see that little spot of yellow (click for bigger image), that is camp. We were surrounded by a whole lot of nothing, and we were loving it.
Of course it was shortly after that picture was taken that I managed to drop my camera… right onto a rock… cracking the screen… again. Yeah, for real. All I could do was laugh, and stop taking pictures.
We finished our little hike and then headed back to our little home to start gather firewood. With all that nothing I was worried that firewood would be scarce, but I was pleasantly surprised. There was dead joshua tree bits, plenty of dead cactus, and some dead shrubs which all made for fine burning. Then it was just a matter of digging a firepit, cooking up some burgers, and sitting back to relax.
Bed time came early, as it often does when camping, and our new tent did absolutely awesome, and was big enough for two people, and two dogs to sleep comfortably.
We woke up to a nice 40 degree temperature. Just cool enough to make the fire appreciated, without freezing our butts off. I slept with my bag mostly unzipped throughout the night.
Breakfast consisted of a ham steak cooked over the campfire (on sticks! which really excited me), and little else. We packed it up and headed home to finish the weekend up.
A great camping trip, and we are definitely looking forward to going again with Sadira!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Just another typical meal in our household:
All ingredients were just what we had on hand, you can tweak as you please:
- 1 Kielbasa cut into ~1/4 inch thick slices. I always prefer the smoked pork variety, but DaNece has a weird aversion to anything other than 100% beef… If you can’t seem to find it at the store, just look for ‘smoked sausage’, that should treat you all right.
- about 10 red potatoes cut into eighths (or gold, or idaho, whatever your preference is)
- 1/2 orange bell pepper sliced (you can use whatever pepper you have handy)
- about 1/3 bunch of spinach washed, drained, dried and chopped
- 1 shallot sliced (1/3 of a finely died sweet onion would work just as well)
- 1 can of corn
- some sugar
- some salt/pepper
- misc. spices
- everything nice (okay, this is optional)
How to make it:
- Boil water. We threw the potatoes right in at the beginning so they would cook faster.
- Heat up two pans. One to super-duper hot, and one to medium.
- Toss the kielbasa into the super duper hot pan. I generally have to work in two or three batches to keep the pan temperature up when cooking the sausage. I also generally keep a grease lid over the pan as the sausage is fatty and will spit and sputter. Flipping to keep from burning.
- Toss the shallot into the medium heat pan with some olive oil or butter. Cook until translucent, stirring occasionally.
- Once the kielbasa is browned on both sides remove it to a paper towel covered plate to drain grease. Cover with more paper towel.
- Once translucent, add spinach to shallot pan (if you have some minced garlic now would be a good time to add that as well). Allow to spinach to wilt and cook. Personally I add a pinch or two of sugar to the spinach to remove the bite off of it, but cook it how you like it. A little salt and pepper goes a long way in here as well.
- Once the potatoes are fork-tender, remove from water, add a tablespoon or three of butter, a splash of milk, some salt/pepper, and mix your heart out! Adjust to personal preference.
- Add spinach/shallot mixture to potatoes and stir.
- Heat up corn in microwave or on stove-top. Whichever you prefer.
- Re-heat spinach pan with a little dab of oil to high heat while you plate the rest of the meal. Once hot, toss in the sliced bell pepper with a touch of salt and sugar. Cook to taste. I like mine crisp and not too sweet. The acid in the pepper really cuts through the thick sausage taste well.
Great meal, done fast, and we didn’t have to make any special trips to the store. :)
Some updates, and some new ones.
- Hawaiian Grille (W. Sheldon Street): I’ve been back here a few times, and was not nearly so impressed as the first time around. It seems like they have lowered their prices a bit which is great, but the food lacks anything that made it stand out.
- 129 1/2 (N. Cortez street): Has started doing lunch!!! Been in once so far and will definitely be going back again. Service was good, prices were a bit higher than most lunch joints around town, but the food was also a higher caliber than most joints. When we went it was pretty empty, but I’m guessing it will begin filling up for lunch once people realize lunch is going on there. As usual, great ambiance, though there is no Jazz band for lunch. Go for dinner if you are looking for the music.
- Fujiyama’s (Frontier Village): Another restaurant that doesn’t impress like it once did. Not sure if it is just the poor economic conditions, but it seems like the food keeps getting more flavorless every time we go here.
- Nita’s (Frontier Village: Tragedy! Nita’s has closed their doors, and now I have nowhere to turn for awesome sandwiches. :( Truly sad.
- El Gato Azul (W. Goodwin St.): Another restaurant by Barry, and another hit!
Those of you who have been in town for a while will recognize this building as the old Nick’s Feed Your Face. I’m not sure why it took us so long to get over here (they have been open for 2 or 3 years now…) but we did finally make it the the blue cat for dinner and were very impressed. We ended up ordering a dinner meal instead of just tapas so the price was a bit high, but well worth it. I had some lamb that rocked, and DaNece had a chorizo steak which was delightful. We plan on going back for some lunch in the near future.
Seating is limited due to the space, but they also have an outdoor seating section. I’m guessing it gets pretty cold out there right now though. The service was very friendly. Made us feel like we were old regulars.
- Rooster’s (S. Montezuma St): A new restaurant / cafe in town. I’ve been in a half-dozen times and always walk away fairly happy. The layout of the restaurant seems odd and not very conductive to a restaurant setting.
The service is generally mediocre, the waitresses don’t seem happy to be there or giddy to help, but the food comes out pretty quick and is always pretty tasty. I like their ruben and the tuna melt. French dip is okay, though not the best in town. Price is decent for what you get, plus they serve espresso, which is always a bonus to me, though I wouldn’t go there just for the coffee.
Not the first place I turn to, but not a bad choice either.
- Buddie’s (Sheldon St.): These guys went out of business before I could even get a chance to review them. Occupying the same space as spaghetti western used to, the food was not very high quality, the service was bad, and the layout of this space is always going to stink as a restaurant. Prices were cheap as all get out (as long as you didn’t want fries or anything). Probably for the best that they called it quits.
- Iron Springs Cafe (Iron Springs rd): Seems like I should have already reviewed this place, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Great food, great service, awesome building. This is one of the places that tourists generally don’t get to because it is a little out of the way. All the food has a hint of spice, but not enough to overwhelm most palettes. Prices are a bit on the high side, and they are only open four days a week which makes it kind of a hastle to eat here. When you do though you are in for a treat. I’ve never eaten something here I didn’t like.
- Bare Bones BBQ (Whiskey Row): Occupying the same space that Pearl’s place used to be in (Pearl’s moved to PV), and apparently still owned by the same folks. Me and DaNece were pretty jazzed to try this place because we were fond of Pearl’s. The service was a little disappointing, the waitress being more concerned about sending text messages than checking up on us. Food wise… I’d say mediocre. We shared a pulled pork platter with their original sauce. It was a bit spicy for DaNece, and lacked any kind of stand out flavor for me. The best part of the meal was the mashed potatoes which were pretty good. And finding the bathroom… It’s like a maze getting back to the porcelain, which I thought was really fun, but I’m weird that way. Price for the food is good, and it may appeal to some eaters.
Both of us agreed that we would rather go right around the corner to the Firehouse Kitchen for our BBQ needs in the future.
- Papa’s Italian (White Spar Rd.): I hadn’t been here since high school, mostly because it is a little out of the way. But one night we decided to go ahead give it a whirl, and we were pleasantly surprised. I had some chicken in a wine and caper sauce with spaghetti noodles and it was delicious. DaNece had stuffed shells (I believe) and said that they were good as well (she is a picky Italian though, so ‘good’ means pretty tasty in my book). The atmosphere is nice, with a fairly laid back ambiance, personable and friendly staff, and nice lack of pretentiousness.
That’s all I can think of right now. We’ve had to tone down our eating-out habits a bit lately, so I haven’t gotten to hit as many of my favorites as I would like.
For those of you who are unaware, there are some bad fires running their way through Victoria Australia.
As we humans are wont to finding inspiring stories during tragic times, here comes a story of how one firefighter saved a Koala bear who was affected by the fires.