Posts Tagged ‘personal’

Sisterhood Stories – Breathe

When this year started I wished for less, not more.  Less stress, less worries, less clutter.  I wanted to get my yoga routine back and even meditate more.  It turns out, that I now work even more hours, so finding the time to reconnect with my inner zen self is harder than expected.  I do need the extra hours ( and money, of course) but between work, kids and all the extra-curricular activities, some days, I get ten minutes in the bathtub without interruption and that’s my me time.  It’s a good me time, but I was craving, and still am, for more.

I am thankful for the apps on my phone that allow quick, guided yoga and mediation routines.  Three minutes?  I’ll take that!  Breathe in, breathe out, get it over with and head to the laundry room.  They do provide a quick fix, a little pause in the day, but I need more commitment, and I’m not able to give it at ten p.m.  I’m asleep on the couch before that!

I do hope that spring brings me new energy and focus, so I can go back to my peaceful self.  I know, come summer, I’ll have plenty of time, but I need to catch my breath now.  I’m not in any kind of distressed state, don’t worry.  Just finding it hard to achieve peace and quiet at the moment.  My mind is still full of projects, only they get written down in a notebook and set aside for later.  Taking photos also require a lot of planning.  Fetch the props on the first day, take the pictures on the next, edit, someday soon.

So, this post serves as a reminder to myself, I must find more than three minutes, every single day.  Breathe in, breathe out, fall asleep.  Maybe tomorrow! 🙂

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This post is part of our Sisterhood Stories blog circle, please visit the next blog by clicking the button below.  Don’t forget to leave some love along the way xox

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It takes more than two minutes

Fine art, still life, and even food photography is often discredited by others in the industry.  They tend to believe it’s easy, and that these photographs don’t require a lot of time, planning or attention.  Well, I tend to disagree.

Take this cherry photo, how much time did I spend on it?

I may not have travelled around the globe for it or waited until the planets aligned to get it.  I didn’t spend weeks sending emails back and forth and an evening selling my services.  But it took time.

I went to the grocery store and saw the beautiful, ripe, plump cherries, inspiration hit.  Now what?

I start by doing some research.  Yes. I checked what I had already done with cherries in the past, don’t want to repeat the same compositions over and over again don’t we?  Then, I check what others have done, it serves as much as inspiration as to validate your ideas.  And you want to make sure you don’t end up with the same compositions.  Cherries in a teacup? Everyone did it.  I did it too.  But what can I do so mine’s different?  Tricky.  And time consuming.

Now that I have my ideas (many ideas), might as well make the most of these cherries and shoot lots of different images.

Okay, time to grab my props.  If you’re a thrift shop addict like me, you may have a large selection on hand.  If not?  Find some, empty your cupboards, go shopping.  Time’s a wastin’…

Haven’t used these props in a while, they need to be dusted and washed before using.  Tick, tock…

Got everything? If you shoot in natural light most of the time like me, find your best light.  Mine’s outside, in the shadow by the vegetable patch.   If you need to set up lighting gear, it’s time. Test your light, adjust…

Set up what you need, backdrops, linens, props, etc.

Now shoot away!  Click, click!

Done?  Took you more than three seconds  to build a decent, nicely composed, properly exposed series didn’t it ? One you will be proud to show.

Think you’re done already?  You’re wrong!  You need to put everything back.  Your shot involved food?  Props need to be cleaned yet again.

And there’s the editing, of course.  So how much time did it took?  A whole morning.  Sure, I have many images now (and they’re not all edited yet), but it did take time.  And it is a process, a more complex process than it looks like.

Fine art photography isn’t a snapshot dump.  It’s art.  It’s creative.  It requires time, knowledge, skill and passion.  It’s beautiful and worth pursuing.  It’s photography, just as any other type of photography.

Harvest time recipes

Since my garden is literally loaded with herbs, tomatoes and other yummy veggies, I decided it was time to cook so nothing would go to waste.  After all, I can’t eat that many tomatoes on the same day!  So I started by doing some Basil Pesto, then I moved on to Tomato Sauce and then I baked a Lemon and Zucchini loaf (Recipe found on Pinterest, slightly modified).  And of course I documented the process with photos.

Here are the recipes, please note that I’m not good at measures, and that for Pesto or Tomato Sauce, I improvise depending on how much I harvested.  But the basic ingredients and process stays the same, so I’ll share anyway.

Let’s start with Basil Pesto!

INGREDIENTS:

-Basil, as much as you have. You can also use other herbs to fill.  I sometimes add oregano or thyme.  As long as Basil is what you have most.  Other herbs can serve as filler or for adding a touch of flavor.  It takes a good amount of herbs if you are planning to make a lot of pesto.

-Extra-virgin Olive oil.

-Pine nuts (or walnuts,  almonds,  any one will do).   A handful.  Pine nuts are expensive and I use walnuts most of the time,  tastes just as good!

-Fresh Parmigiano cheese,  1/4 of a cup.

-Garlic.   I’d say a clove of garlic for about 2 cups of fresh herbs.

-Juice of half a lemon and zest.

-Salt, fresh ground black pepper.

In the food processor,  add your basil and a little bit of olive oil.  Pulse a bit,  so it’s shredded.  Add all the other ingredients,  and pulse again until the nuts are finely chopped.  While doing it,  constantly add a fine stream of oil so it doesn’t go into clumps.  Add oil and pulse until it has the texture you are looking for.  I like to have some tiny chunky bits of garlic and nuts in it.  You may want to have it creamier,  you decide!

That’s all there is to it actually.  Put in small containers or jars.  Freeze what you won’t be using in the next days.  Ice cube trays can be handy too.  Freeze them and put the cubes in a ziploc freezer bag,  use only the amount you will need.

 

Tomato Sauce

 

INGREDIENTS:

-Fresh ripe tomatoes,  as many as you have.  Italian tomatoes have less seeds, but all I had at this time were big fat tomatoes.  They taste just as good!

-Herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary).  To taste,  it all depends on how big of a batch you are making.  I use fresh herbs since my garden has plenty,  so if you use fresh herbs,  add them at the end,  just before removing the sauce from the heat, the taste of fresh herbs is finer and the herbs will lose it if you cook them too much.  If you are using dried herbs,  add them at the start.

-Salt, fresh ground black pepper, to taste.

-Sugar, two or three teaspoons, to counter acidity.

-Red wine,  just a little, it all depends on how much sauce you are making.

-Garlic, again, to taste.

-Extra-virgin Olive oil.  To slightly cover the bottom of your pan.

Start by peeling your tomatoes. How do you peel a tomato you ask?  Make a mark with a knife at the bottom of the tomato,  not deep,  just a scarring.  Plunge them in boiling water for around 10 seconds.  It may take just a bit more if you have huge tomatoes.  But not much.  You want to make the skin peel on the mark edges so you can tear it away from there, but you don’t want to cook the tomatoes. Otherwise they will be too soft to peel.  Remove the skin and quarter them.  Remove most of the water and seeds,  then dice them.

In your pan,  heat the oil slowly, adding the garlic to it.  If you heat your oil too fast the garlic will burn,  go slowly so the garlic infuses the oil.  We’re making sauce not steak 🙂
When the garlic has softened,  add your tomatoes.  If you are using dried herbs, add them.   Add your sugar,  salt, pepper and red wine.   Let it simmer,  covered,  until the tomatoes become purée.  When you can easily squish them with a wooden spoon and it’s got that sauce texture you are looking for,  it’s ready.   Adjust seasoning (If you are using fresh herbs add them now).

Let it cool down and put in jars.

Lemon & Zucchini loaf, recipe from NancyCreative.

Found this recipe on Pinterest and it has everything I was looking for.  Before, when making zucchini loaf,  I would use a basic banana bread recipe and simply switch the bananas for zucchini.  But this one has lemon in it also,  and I love lemon cake!!

So I will just post the photos and direct you to the original post for this recipe.  I did make some changes to it,  I used brown sugar.   And I was more generous on the lemon juice.  I also added lemon zest in the glaze,  only because I think it looks prettier.  The recipe uses Buttermilk, read the comments on the original post if you don’t have buttermilk, there are many ways to replace it!

Find the recipe here: http://nancycreative.com/2012/03/25/lemon-zucchini-loaf-with-lemon-glaze/

So that’s it!  All of my weekend cooking shared with you all!  I need to add that I rewarded myself with Caramel à la Fleur de sel 🙂  Will post photos and share my recipe soon…