Monday, April 19, 2010

For posterity's sake...

I am very much a beginner with photography. I like to learn new things, and frequently, I pick them up quickly. And sometimes, I have these moments of frustration in which I just can't seem to catch up to where I feel I should be.

I suppose everyone has these moments, right? And in the spirit of trying to learn, I'm going to share a couple recent photographic mistakes.

I took a day trip to visit some family who live out on the country on a gorgeous bit of land that they've only made more gorgeous with all their additions. I wanted to photograph their new barn and I thought it would be pretty to have the wildflowers swaying in the breeze in the foreground. I got that a little bit, but had trouble getting a slow enough shutter speed without over-exposing. And here is my "d'oh!" moment... I had a polarizing filter in my bag. It might have even prettied the sky a bit for me, and it most certainly would have darkened things a bit to let me slow down the shutter speed more. It's not a terrible image, but it could have been better if I hadn't been in such a hurry.

I found this amazing, HUGE, Indian Paintbrush in their fields. It was perfect and I decided to try a downwards shot on it. Wouldn't it have been perfect if I'd actually shot a few more frames to actually get the blasted thing dead-on and not slightly off? It was windy, but I should have realized that any angle that got me off from dead centered would reduce the impact. Maybe next year I can try again...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Makeover in Progress...

Well, I redid my profiles on some of the websites I frequent, so I felt a new look was in order for my blog. I saw a cute blog recently and saw a little link at the top of her page to "The Cutest Blogs on the Block." I investigated and a whole new world opened up to me: I can download backgrounds and templates for Blogger beyond the ones that it provides for me!


So then I went nuts and wouldn't rest until I found just the right look for my blog. (Because I update it oh-so-much. It really deserved to look gorgeous. /sarcasm.) It still is a work in progress, but I think I've figured out what I can and can't do without taking a course in making style sheets myself. Hopefully, I'll faind some time to fine tune soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to share what I thought were the best websites with the most beautiful templates and backgrounds for blogger:

Hot Bliggity Blog ,
The Cutest Blog on the Block , and
Shabby Blogs
all have super-easy-to-install backgrounds. These won't change your current layout, they just update the basic look behind it.

Pyzam and
Simply Fabulous Blogs
have templates that you have to download and install using the "edit HTML" section under layout. Directions are readily available and it's not complicated, I promise. But you will want to save any layout widgits, etc, that you have because installing a new template will delete your current ones.

Have fun if you need to browse for a new style!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Suburban Woman

Inspired, I assume, by Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, I've started taking pictures of dishes I've cooked. I suppose it's all an attempt to make my life look more fabulous than it really is.

See, chopped garlic can look pretty snazzy with a shallow depth of field. I used it in this awesome shrimp dish the other night.

It was simple, easy and elegant, just my speed. It's called "Dirty Shrimp in Butter-Beer sauce," but the Harry Potter fan in me only heard "butterbeer" and decided it was an instant favorite before I even made it. Fortunately, it turned out pretty good, though by the time I finished taking pictures of it, it was served a little cold. (Sorry to my hubby.) And, even better, there was an unfinished bottle of beer from making the sauce that I got to enjoy with it. It was my first one in about two years, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Baked quesadillas are a weekly staple at my house. At least for my hubby. I've been making them so long that I've gotten a little tired of them--unless I take the time to make homemade salsa, which defeats the purpose of this being a quick and easy dish to put together at the last minute. I love a good homemade salsa... But the quesadillas. They're good. I just put a tortilla on a cookie sheet, sprinkle a thin layer of cheese, put on some fillins' (I usually do grilled chicken, green bell peppers and mushrooms, but this is a dish you can use whatever you have on hand. Just make sure the meat is already cooked. And I don't saute the veggies--I can't tell a difference if I do, so I don't bother.) Sprinkle another thin layer of cheese, put on another torrilla, pop in the oven for 10 minutes at 350. Hubby likes his a little soft, I like mine a little crunchy, so his comes out a little earlier, mine a little later. I then serve with salsa and sour cream (guac is good, too.)

These enchiladas are amazingly yummy, but my picture doesn't seem to express that, now does it? The cheese always makes a pretty swirliness on top and I though I'd try to capture that, but I think I need to get the inside of it a little better, or at least on a plate. Here, it just looks like a block of yellow. A shiny one, at that. Not very appetizing.

I guess this is just another challenge. Food photography ain't easy, my friends, but as I'm learning, life is not always about the destination , but the journey, and this is one of those things I'll have to work on.
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