NOT JUST talking garden to plate. That and so much more! Going from feeling like dirt to feeling delicious. And then there is the creative process, going from the seed of an idea, to connecting my thoughts with my visuals. Sometimes a bit random but always getting back to deliciousness.
I am looking outside my kitchen window at all the fat and happy quail chowing down on my swiss chard and lettuce that I have worked so hard to grow from seed, and into my head pops up a recipe for something I have never had nor honestly not quite sure I would have the cahoonas to go about executing ( pun intended). Roasted Wild Quail drizzled with Pomegranate reduction sauce .
SO, for now I can not share the recipe with you…. nor post a taste bud inspiring photograph of the dish beautifully plated. . What I CAN post is lots of former beautiful veggies that I should have harvested before I missed the chance !
Ah yes. Abstract photos that connect the dots of my pain . I wonder if Alfred Hitchcock gardened and if that is how he came up the famous movie “The Birds”. And to all you folks out there who love having bird seed feeders to see birds close to your home…. start gardening. Nature’s bird seed. Do not get me wrong , I love the “concept” of having birds around . I love the sounds of birds chatting together. What I do not like is their total disregard for what I have been planning all week to harvest today for dinner! Fat juicy quail is sounding better and better all the time. … and no I am not a major carnivore.
Strange conversations happen during waxing sessions. Hard to explain the connection of dots that lead to this conversation today but I think it started with talking about dating > how rare anyone is going out to movies, dancing > how people do not dance anymore, what singles do on dates dinner , drinks etc and then ended up with her telling me about 16 year old clients telling her about going to proms and parents being very aware that the after parties involved alcohol consumption and parents being ok with the kids driving home at 3am knowing they had been drinking . Seriously? Wondering how ” normal” this is these days and if MADD has been replaced by SMFDD
( Stupid mothers for drunk driving ) ? Her description of these 16 years old are from very “successful ” homes. Not like drinking is new for teenagers.
So wondering if MADD is as out of date as dancing that is more like threesomes having sex with clothes on, or barely clothes on at pool parties.
Monday mornings are ( in my humble opinion ) easier for those folks who know EXACTLY , no doubt about it , when and where they have to be someplace, and to whom they need to satisfy in their activities of the day.
And then for many of us it is a matter of creating some kind of internal structure and external boundaries to keep our activities in alignment with our priorities.
It is not rocket science. I know I have to have reminders on this constantly. And when I see shadows and structure like this on my early morning walks… it appears to me symbolic of what my day needs to contain.
I was wondering, as my blogging continues what posts are of most interest to those who come here . The whole thing is an experiment to see how I can take my fusion cooking style and bring it into my blog site. SOOOOO, could you please take the time to check out the varied categories let me know what you would like to see and read more about . Thanks!
I love taking walks alone to be with my thoughts and nature. But other ways involve talks with dear friends who always leave me grateful I took the time out to be with them . Sadly it is often hard to schedule the walks to suit multiple schedules . So I have found some GREAT new walking companions. No I really do not get to share what is really up with me on these walks … but reality is I do not miss it or really need it cause when I finish my walks I ALWAYS feel it was time very well spent on multiple levels.
I am loving podcasts these days.
I prefer to keep them on my ipod and carry both that and my iphone when I walk cause…. well I do not like to get lost in trying to figure out why I have problems when I try to text, jot down notes to myself, photograph , and listen to podcast on same device while out walking . Yeah, real mindfullness training 🙂
Audio books are great too for keeping my mind stimulated but I am totally connecting with podcasts ( FREE through the I-tunes store) No I do not get any $ from referring you to these folks… although not a bad idea at all . I so want to connect with these folks and have a dialogue in person 🙂 So here are the folks that have been keeping me busy . Podcasting is exploding, but so far I have found these to never disappoint me and our timing for getting together never takes any effort in scheduling! Please note there is always great juice in these for my blogs too!
So if you want a great walk and talk ( really walk and listen ) ,really do not care if you are talking but want to fill your mind with great stuff while moving those big leg muscles… check these podcasts out. I also find them great company when doing mindless work around the house or garden 🙂 . Call it a variation of multi tasking .
And if you want please comment on what you think of which podcasts. I know I sure will be cause they inspire me to share more with you! Actually I have been known to be babbling about these podcasts while in person with real life walk and talk 🙂
PS if you want to let these folks know that I am available to be a guest on their podcasts…. I appreciate it.
So I am standing in the checkout line at Sprouts and doing my usual scanning of mags. And there it is King Arthur has their own beautiful book / mag of recipes with photos of baked goods that have got me all hot and buttered. This is scary . I am lusting over baked goods. Well in a foodie way if you know what I mean. It was a tad embarrassing. Understand I have no problem completely ignoring the bakery section of the store. You know the area where you expect to be bombarded by the enticing aromas wafting from full fledged gluten heaven. Now too often I find 50 shades of overpriced gluten free marketing, and 100 ways to leave your love of staying on the gluten free band wagon. The attempts to seduce me into ignore my better judgement are silly, I am strong willed. Actually I think this store has intentionally, or mistakenly not done well with olfactory marketing.) But I digress.
SO I am standing in the check out line and I am thinking to myself :
#1, and the most dominant thought – I really really really really want my own home baked challah with a generous slab of organic butter that has been humanely produced by grass fed cows. And I want it RIGHT NOW! I want the sensation of the warm whole wheat crusty outside and yeasty warm inside colliding with crush of the sesame seeds on the top crust and the ooozing of the butter. And I want it NOW. HMMMM I had promised myself that I was not going to take the time to get myself into this baking project this shabbat and I was so happy I took a break since before Passover.
#2 thought , well really I think #4 but oh well…. who ever came up with the nutritional wisdom that wheat being produced these days is nasty horrible stuff …. should be given nobel prize or shot ( just joking kind of).
#3 thought… King Arthur marketing…. brilliant.
Scary scary scary … hot home made bread! I remember my dad calling it the staff of life. Now I almost feel like I am smoking cigarettes when I indulge in bread . So, I am in the check out line and it is now my turn. I am holding strong. I am not going to say what I want to say ” I forgot 4 things could you wait while I run and restock my post Passover pantry.” No not doing that.
SO I go home knowing that in the freezer are 4 of the 6 Challah rolls I bought from Levi Catering last week. They are wonderful white flour traditonal type of challah. They are what they are. Wonderful when reheated in the oven to taste fresh baked. That will be fine . We will be fine and not able to over consume. Ha ! Self control should be my middle name. GRRRRR.
#4 but did not really have this thought till I got home and went to review my recipe and post it here….
OOOPS, I go to pull out my challah recipes. They should all be together. Those that I printed out from varied sites to use as reference and then there are my personal notes …. oh my scribbled notes from all the challahs I have created and tested and changed and tried again . Understand I am not known for being a baker. One of my favorite challah tasters has eaten her own words when she told me she thought I was a great cook but baking is so different and I can not approach it the same way. How can I say this in a nice not self deprecating way…. I am not much of a follower. Directions ? We don’t need no stinking directions ! Hmmmm , digressing again. AND /BUT after reviewing every whole wheat challah recipe I could find …. I made mine own . It evolved and seemed to make the most sense to me as a former photographic darkroom chemist. Only saying that cause yes I did have to measure liquids , ok ?
Tooting my own horn my husband who is always happy to tell me what I have not done perfectly is always saying this is the best whole wheat challah he has ever had.
So I am ready to finally put the recipe in the computer and share it with the world.
GRRRRR…What happened? 2 words: Passover, clean up . That leads to the #4 thought…. EHHHH I cannot find the recipe notes anywhere!!!
So for now. Until I find my notes. I will not be baking. I will not be sharing the recipe. I will not be going back to the store to buy the ingredients… and most importantly ….. I can honestly say I am going to avoid that check out line closest to the bakery where King Arthur is hanging out taunting me, teasing me, and just flat out being trouble.
Sigh. I think I am going to go eat a sweet potato now. Lathered with grass fed organic butter and celtic salt and let this gnawing gluten craving pass.
First, the photo above is ironically one of the last photos of the day. But what is important about it is my first time with a GoPro Hero 3 ( yep I confess I am a late adopter on too many things that involve new tools.) My friend Neil graciously let me borrow it for the day to test it. HMMM without a view finder,or anything to attach it to me while hiking the test changed focus ( sorry can not help myself ) . I wondered what quality still photo I could expect. Well I still have not gotten through the manual to see if I could have gotten a larger file but the jpegs that came out of the camera were only 2.4 MB… so these are smaller than my iphone 5s which are running around 3.6 and being they are not Raw files that I prefer I do not have big expectations on how I can tweak them. BUT /AND they both satisfy the the purpose of getting a small image into LR to make nice for you to see here 🙂 With that said I would be happy to have anyone who is really well versed in shooting still and video on both formats chirp in and comment . And that most likely would be my friend Frank who is the GoPro master.
Some background story to this post: I am very grateful that after more than 2 years of being out of an activity I love so much I have slowly built up the capability to hike again and testing the waters of carrying some camera gear again. It has not come easy . I must say it was quite depressing to go for a 15 minute walk in my hood to find my back was in too much pain to walk more.My treasured hikes with or without camera gear were, needless to say too painful to do and in another way and bluntly probably as painful,my fragile ego was having little identity crisis. Ok, that may be more information than maybe I should be sharing but for any of you who know what it is like to loose any kind of your mojo… it is tough stuff.
So I have already digressed from the purpose of this blog entry.
This past Sunday I was hiking with a small group of my hiking buddies . We drove down to Tucson to the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area where we set out for Seven Falls. This is approximately a 7.5 mile round trip hike, and by the time we got started on our hike on Sunday April 19…. it was already very sunny ( no kidding it is Arizona) and kinda hot ( all relative really it is not summer!) Seems like my body does not deal with hiking in heat as well as it used to. If if ever did.
When I finally arrived to the “destination” of the Falls I was very hot, tired, shaky, and honestly worn down . Of course it would have helped if I had a good night sleep the night before . Oh well. After trying to relax a few minutes , snack on some salty nuts and dried fruit and inhale yet more water I was reminded how unfortunately pressured on time we were to get back to Phoenix. Hmmm, thus I internalized tension with little shooting time… I barely had time to review the entire scene when I found a little shady nook I wanted to explore trying to focus mentally and physically on for a photo . I was way too shaky and short of time to explore the upper level of the “Falls” . I write “Falls” that way and not Falls because I do not call dribbles real falls! ( again I digress)
So there was a sweet young college age looking Asian couple sitting where I wanted to be and they invited me to join them in their quiet space on a very well worn by the water, slippery rock . We all sat silently as if in partnership with the calming of the space. I used the rock wall behind me to help my arm brace my monopod as I kept searching for a photo that best represented the meditative feeling that I truly wanted internally and in my image. I have been shooting these zen like water photos whenever and where ever I have found them for many decades… but with a tripod. I like to shoot them at 1/8 to 1/15 of a second. But here I was without tripod . Hey remember taking this hike was huge accomplishment for me and I had chosen not to bring my little Canon G9 ( which had depressingly become my go to hiking surrogate camera for a while ), nor did I want to use the iphone I had with me ( honestly had forgotten about it ) , or the Go Pro that I had borrowed that day from one of my hiking buddies that was there . I wanted to shoot a “real ” photo. I had shlepped my Nikon D700 and resolved I would only bring my 60 macro with polarizer filter and a monopod that could multi task as a walking stick. I resolved to do whatever I could. Of course I knew that camera and lens was an issue for my neck and back depending upon how I was wearing it or carrying it and all day long I was CONSTANTLY readjusting my body and holding patterns.
I could hear my Physical Therapist Elizabeth as if she were standing next to me. “You keep doing things that work against all the progress we are trying to make ! You have a lifetime of muscle imbalances that have taken their toll on top of everything else that your back and neck has gone through. ” ( ok so I digressed again )
So more back story (pun intended) WOW, it was in the 90’s that I had done this same 7.5 mile hike alone. I am not talking about long extended back packing like in the story WILD. It was a day hike but…. carrying my own water, along with rented 4×5 view camera with multiple lenses , heavy 4×5 tripod and a pack of negatives in their glass holders . I wanted so much to create beautiful 4×5 landscape imagery. FYI I do not now , nor did then have a good back packing size body . There are specific recommendations made by the back packing gurus as to how much weight a person should carry in relation to their body mass. ( HMM, another time for that topic!)
But this Sunday I was actually humbled by the memory of myown past! Amazed at how strong I HAD built myself up to be back then. I had created the HABIT and COMMITMENT to deliberately workout regularly for this purpose specifically. I also had younger hormones. I was consistent in my training physically probably more than photographically ! But honestly the hike was no fun back then. I had looked around me and watched as people were frolicking in the water and enjoying each other’s company. I was lonely, tired but determined. When I reviewed the film after the shoot I came to an epiphany. That was not what I belonged doing nor wanted to be doing. I did nothing with the photos. So what if I got there . I did not feel the love in the images. I doubt I threw them out. They are there in my filing cabinets of film that have not been touched for years,decades. Dare I spend the time trying to figure out where they are ? I would love to see them now for one particular reason. Climate change. I am pretty sure the “Falls”” looked different then.
So here I was in 2015 and I was trying to get a digital image to create something in my digital world. Early afternoon sucks for shooting landscapes. Nothing has changed that in relationship to photography. Basic photo concept. But rules are made to be broken, and I honestly have lots of history of not following rules. And digital processing has made cheating too easy. Do we really have to be on location at the crack of dawn anymore? Hey there are filters , right ? Ugh.
Trying to focus. Tired. Shaky. I wanted a nap. I wanted to create a zen like photo but was not feeling very zen like. I needed to meditate. I needed to check out. I needed my nappy. I was shooting variations of the scene with varied exposures with the complete digital mindless approach to photography…. take lots of shots and work it later in processing. And hope I got something worthwhile.
Honestly. What has happened to me ?
SO there I was finally starting to really see beauty and flow and composition, getting my compositional groove on , but I am still feeling shaky. Trying to brace my arm against the rock wall to make my monopod and me more of a tripod, when I hear
” Linda , what exposure are you using with all that harsh light and shadow .”
I ignored my hiking companion’s question. But the second time it was asked, I LET my train of thought shift. Why ? Well I was not alone. I had CHOSEN to hike with others. To be social. SO….I move away from my spot and go into teaching mode, helping mode. Ugh. I was trying to be nice! Monopods do not stand on their own 🙂 I was on a mono pod. I lost my train of thought. I had not completed my image. I lost my focus.
When I reviewed my images the next day in Lightroom my shooting process was obvious to me. The image with the composition I liked the most was the one I was interrupted on . But I had not given it the time it needed to shoot several times in hopes one would not show the rocks moving from camera / operator shake. I allowed this person’s desire to make their images better more important than my being in my own zone.
What I needed was a better way of not loosing my focus ( literally and figuratively) before I offered to give a little mini class. Rocket science . No. Just reality check for myself.
SO the take away…
1) When you know you need to not be disturbed because you do not have the mental bandwidth to recoop after an interruption … find a way of politely saying.” I will talk to you after I finish” and hope you are not too flit brained to have that interaction derail you ( or them) and then be sure to get back to the person if it matters to you to do that.
2) When you are seeing someone photographing (or fill in the blank as to doing anything else quietly on their own) . PLEASE be considerate and wait till they are obviously done to request advice or distract them with questions about anything or if you know them well find a way of disturbing them without disturbing them. Good luck with that. Ha, I am sounding like Miss Manners here.
2 days after hike:
1) My neck hurts from carrying the camera too much of the day around my neck either cross my chest or hanging from either shoulder. … so when will I stop? I hear my PT’s voice. FYI , looking at the images,was worth it?
2) So I tried using photoshop’s filter > shake reduction on the image that had the composition I really liked and that I ended my shooting with .
I have always gone by the “old ” digital adage “garbage in garbage out ” when people think software like Photoshop, can fix everything. Matters . What do you want? How bad you want it? What is your idea of awesome? How good is your skill set with post processing and how much time do you want to give to make the image sing. Kind of like lots of things in life!
So to complete this blog about patience, and pixels and photography I have included 3 versions of the photo that had the composition I like with the horrid lighting and the moving rocks. By no means am I saying these are art. I would not choose to blow these up . I am only sharing them in light ( pun intended ) of sharing as a teacher. There is just so far the photoshop filter will go with their deshake filter and HDR filters are not the be all end all. And this was not the kind of shot you could take 3 exposures and really work them with merging in HDR either. Not exactly garbage in garbage out but … well pixels are in the eye of the beholder.
You know all those “awesome” photos you see on facebook etc. by anyone and everyone with a phone/ point and shoot/ any camera. Have you ever wondered what they would look like as print larger than 4×6? Yep, I am so old school.
Photo with PS deshake filter then HDR filter … just wondering . There ended up being some very weird pixally jagged dewatanabees. (technical term for caca).