Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vagabond


Today's challenge was to photograph an interpretation of my favourite indulgence or guilty pleasure.

I've been bitten by the travel bug. Not a nibble or nip but a chomp! I'm full of wanderlust and while I have had the opportunity to travel a little here and there, I'm ready to make travelling not a hobby but rather make it my lifestyle. Inspired by the television show "Departures" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93Bl4zDenjg&feature=player_embedded) seeing the world and experiencing all it has to offer is the number one thing on my bucket list of things to do before I die. I love learning about cultures, religions and way of life and want to experience it first hand. I'd love to be able to experience the ruins of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka or endure the harsh temperatures of Russia in the winter (I'm sure the vodka would keep me warm) or hike through the Amazon rainforest or soak up the warm sun on the beaches of Rio De Janeiro in Brazil. Other places I'd love to see: Vietnam, Indonesia, Mongolia, Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, India, Chile, The Antarctic and Korea (both North and South).

Now if I could only find a pair of pants with pockets deep enough to hold all the money I'd need to accomplish this dream and I'd be all set!

Mags.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Let Your Backbone Slide


Symmetry can be calm and soothing. Today's challenge was to make a photo featuring symmetry, either in subject or composition.

Today I enjoyed my bi-monthly 45 minute massage therapy session and after working many long hours of late, my back, neck and shoulders really needed it. My massage therapist, Leslie, is awesome! What she may lack in stature, she sure makes up for with magical hands! I took this photo of a model human vertebrae while in the therapists office. I love the way the desk lamp (the only light source available in the room) was shining on the model and how it cast some interesting shadows really adding to the depth and dimension of the piece. 

For some strange reason, whenever I see vertebrae such as this or hear the word "backbone"...I always think of this old school hip hop song by Maestro Fresh Wes:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pzull7scV2Y

Mags.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Confusion and Clumsiness = Colourful Chaos


Today's challenge was to communicate chaos, disorganization or messiness in a photograph. Find some beauty in it.

Guess where this was taken? Did you say work? Ding! Ding! Ding! Give that man (or woman) a prize! Feeling over-tired, I wan't really paying attention and pulled out my drawer containing these push-pins all the way and ended up with the pins all over the floor, my desk, my lap and even into my cold cup of coffee. After sitting there for a few seconds feeling dumbfounded (have I mentioned how tired I am?), I grabbed the 'ole point and shoot and started snapping away at the colourful chaos that surrounded me. After a few minutes though, reality set in and I started cursing away as I had to clean up the prickly mess......

Mags.


Mirror Mirror On The Wall.....


Today's assignment was to use a mirror as part of a composition in a photograph today. Show yourself in the image if you'd like!

Over the past few weeks, I've been living, eating, breathing and, pretty soon, will be sleeping in the "beige cage" as I've been pulling some ridiculous 11, 12 and sometimes even 14 hour work days. I've lost touch with the outside world. I'm exhausted, and don't have the time when I get home to pull out the DSLR and shoot wonderful pictures. Thank darwin I always have my point and shoot with me at all times. I was able to capture a shot of my little "spy mirror" I've got hooked up on the top corner of my computer at work. As you can see, my desk was in total disarray at the time this shot was taken.....

Mags.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Camera Shy...


Today's challenge was to make a photograph of something that is soft, or a least looks like it.

I was trying to rack my brain and think of something creative to shoot, but alas, came up with nothing other than this photo of the cat. As you may recall from a previous post (http://365project.org/mags/365/2010-06-01) she is very difficult to shoot. She'll sit and taunt you with her oh-so-adorable looks, psychotic episodes and will playfully pose but when you grab the camera, she takes off like a bat out of hell. She definitely is not a ham in a cat suit when it comes to taking her picture. She was hiding under the table when suddenly something caught her attention outside...long enough for me to capture this quick shot.

Mags.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What's In Your Wallet?


Some carry a talisman, amulet, "lucky charm", or just a comforting thing in our pocket. What do you carry?

This little silver metal starfish was given to me by a friend a few years back. It's not something I carry in my pocket but rather in the change compartment of my wallet. While I don't believe it brings luck or good fortune my way, it is something that I do bring out from time to time when I am feeling anxious or at odds with things in life. I'll play with it in my fingertips while I work out some nervous tension or stress. Sometimes, I'll sit with it clasped in the palm of my hands while I sit quietly contemplating the solution to what's on my mind. It's message inscribed on the front is simple: Wishes. Sometimes when I've lost sight of my goal, or taken a slight turn off the path I've set for myself, I think of this and realize that with hard work, a plan and lots of dedication, I can obtain any of my wishes that I've put out there.

To quote that ubiquitous credit card commercial: What's in your wallet?

Mags.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Demolition Derby


Today we went to the Brampton Fall Festival where we saw various animals, antiques and crafts. The highlight of the day for many festival goers was the Demolition Derby. People waited in the stands for two hours prior to the start of the derby to secure good seats. There were prizes given for Best Decorated Car, Winner of the Figure 8 races and of course, Winner of the Demolition Derby.

Demolition Derby is a motorsport usually presented at county fairs and festivals. While rules vary from event to event, the typical demolition derby event consists of five or more drivers competing by deliberately ramming their vehicle into one another. The last driver whose vehicle is still operational is awarded the victory.

Mags


Friday, September 17, 2010

Take it or "Leaf" it....


Today's challenge was to showcase the beauty of living foliage. Make a photo of a single leaf or and entire "greenscape".

Taking a walk in the garden this evening made me realize two things:

1) Fall is just around the corner. The garden was once filled with big , beautiful blooms and has now transformed into an area of dead, dried up foliage.

2) It's getting dark earlier these days and there is the nip of fall in the air which means it will soon be time to focus on indoor shots instead of outdoor (unless freezing your butt off in the middle of winter is your idea of fun).

I managed to capture this shot of a beautiful variegated coleus . I loved the jewel-like colours that really stood out in the dying garden. Sadly, time will soon be up for these beauties as you can see the leaves are starting to fade and wilt. *Sigh* How many more days left until summer begins again?

Mags.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lunch of Champions


Preparing or eating food is a rhythmic part of life. Today's challenge was to make a photo of a meal you prepared or ate today.

Over the past week, I've been holed up in the Beige Cage toiling away non-stop for 12 hours straight. While a lot of work is being completed, there's still a crap load left to do. I manage to clear out (or at least get under control) my email only to be inundated with voicemail or a pile of paperwork. Ugh! Being busy sure makes the day go by quickly; however, it's not until 3 pm do I realize that I haven't eaten lunch. I've got a secret stash of cookies in my desk drawer for emergency purposes which I nibbled on (NOT all of the ones pictured here and they were eaten AFTER my apple) and washed it all down with a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte. Mmmmmmmmmm....lunch of champions!

Mags.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Glow


Hard shadows can emphasize texture and edges. Find a scene with lit with hard shadows today and make a photo.

This past week has been unbelievably hectic where I work and I've found myself pulling 12 hour days as of late. With school last night and the long work hours, I really haven't been able to come up with some stellar shots...this post is no different. Feeling the need to relax and unwind, I illuminated the living room by candlelight and decided to take the new toy out for a spin. While I'm still getting familiar with the new camera, I've been amazed at the difference between what I was using and what I am using now. I decided to post the photo of the candles softly glowing with the hard shadows cast on the bed of river rocks.

Mags.

Surprise!


Last night was the first night of my photography classes. I've only been shooting with a DSLR since I started this project back on May 1st of this year. I've really taken an interest in photography and have decided to see where this Photography program will lead me to.

Throughout the day, I was receiving random texts from my husband checking up to make sure that the camera was stored properly in the bag, making sure that I got to school ok with the camera, making sure that if I took the camera out of the bag to ensure that the neck strap was secure around my neck, have I taken a photo in class yet....etc. His "nagging" was really driving me around the bend! What was his deal? It's not like I've never left the house before with the camera! Half way during class, the teacher was explaining a symbol that was found on digital SLR's and being curious, I decided to check out my camera to see where it was located on mine. I opened up my bag to pull out my 'ole trusty Nikon D50 (please don't laugh....yes...it's dated but it's been a great beginner camera), when suddenly I noticed something weird. There were two camera's in the bag........the second being a Nikon D200!!!!! What the....??!!?? Turns out, he bought me a new camera as a back to school present! Sneaky guy had snuck the camera in my bag after I had gone to bed the night before. I was totally floored.

Sadly, I didn't get to use it in class last night, however, started goofing around with it as soon as I got home. This self portrait is of me with my new toy!

Mags.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Road Not Taken...


Today's challenge was to make a photograph of a path, sidewalk , trail or road and post it. Lead our eye through the scene......

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost



Sunday, September 12, 2010

Just Forking Around......


Today's challenge: Play with scale. Make a photo of something small that looks huge.

Not feeling really energetic today, I decided to look around the house to see what I could photograph. I was intrigued by the utensils (I know.....get a life) and decided to play around with the angles and shadows that they cast. I ended up taking just over 120 shots of cutlery. I know. This is exciting stuff! Not really feeling the fork pic? You might want to check out my blog http://magneticmags365.tumblr.com/ if you just feel like "spoon"ing....

Mags.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Alcohol: Pleasure or Poison?


Plastic or glass? Today's challenge was to make a photo of a bottle or grouping of bottles.

Drinking alcohol can do a lot of different things to our bodies. It can help us "loosen up" in social situations, can be enjoyed with a meal or quench our thirst on a hot day. People react differently to alcohol depending on their size, age, gender and experience with drinking. It is important however, to know the signs of alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning is a very serious and dangerous condition, in which alcohol depresses (as it is a depressant), the central nervous system and depresses involuntary actions – such as breathing and the gag reflex. There are varying degrees of alcohol poisoning. Vomiting can be considered a sign of mild alcohol poisoning. Alcohol is an irritant to the stomach, which is why bodies reject it if too much has been ingested. More critical signs of alcohol poisoning are mental confusion, stupor, and the inability to be roused, which are all things that can lead up to an eventual coma. Other signs are seizures, slow breathing and irregular breathing (which is considered fewer than 8 breaths per minute, and 10 seconds or more between breaths respectively), and hypothermia with blue-tinged or pale skin. 

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that things will get better before they get worse. Even if the person has stopped drinking and/or is passed out, alcohol continues to be released into the bloodstream after their last drink. If someone has alcohol poisoning, the best thing to do for them is to get medical attention as soon as possible. When a friend is vomiting, and cannot wake up, their life is in danger. It is important that you role them onto their side and assure that their airway is clear, and they have ample ability to clear their system of vomit.

Here are some steps if you encounter someone who is passed out and could be suffering from acute alcohol poisoning:

1. Try to wake the person

Can the person be woken up? Do they respond to their name being called? Pinch their skin – they should have a reaction. Alcohol is a depressant and it will numb the nerves, by pinching you can roughly gauge how far along in the “overdose” process they are. If they do not respond, they may need medical attention.

2. Turn the person on their side – do not leave them alone.

Turning them on their side ensures that if they vomit, their airway will not be blocked and they will not choke. Stay with them – only leave them if you have to get someone to help you. 

3. Check skin colour and temperature.

Is enough blood getting to the skin? A clear sign that you need to get help if the skin is pale or bluish in colour, or the skin is cold and clammy. These signs indicate that the person is not getting sufficient oxygen and they need immediate medical attention.

4. Check their breathing

Irregular breathing, with a few breaths and then nothing for awhile, is a sign that medical attention is necessary. If the person’s breathing is too slow or shallow – less than 8 breaths a minute, or more than 10 seconds between breaths – this is another sign that they need help. These are just some of the potential signs of acute alcohol poisoning. A person may have one or all of these signs. Use your instincts when assessing a situation. If you cannot wake the person up at all, it is a serious situation. If you are at all concerned, don’t hesitate to get help.

Mags.



Friday, September 10, 2010

Pucker Up, Baby!


Today's challenge was to make a photograph using strong verticle lines.

Technical difficulties have prevented me from posting something wonderful and interesting so I had to resort to using a photo I took two weeks ago while shopping with some friends. I didn't get to edit the photo so this is it....I've always loved M.A.C. cosmetics and in my younger wild and foolish days, would blow a good chunk of my paycheques on some M.A.C products ( the other part of my pay would go to clothes and weekend partying). I've always been drawn to displays of lipsticks ...the rows of lipstick colours ranging from just barely there nudes to va va voom reds and every colour in between just begging to be tested and ultimately purchased. Sadly, these days the M.A.C. "lipstick fund" is now substituted with the "grocery fund" , "mortgage fund" and "utility bill fund"... :-(

Mags.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Birds On A Wire


I was out on an assignment this evening trying to capture a photo of the front of a building (as per the daily shoot assignment). I decided to capture the municipal Hydro building as I really love the architecture and think it looks beautiful especially at night. While clicking away, I was distracted by a commotion across the street. I looked up into the dusk sky to see THOUSANDS of birds flying around in a large group. There were so many that it literally looked like a black cloud floating across the sky. Upon closer observation, I noticed the telephone wires and lamp posts were covered with birds as well. Feeling like I was in an Alfred Hitchcock movie, I attempted to capture this phenomenon. It was difficult to capture clear photos of the birds as they were very unpredictable and and would take off in a flash. I wanted to post this photo as it was one of my favourites. I loved the dark silhouettes of the birds against the sky.

Oh, and the photo of the building front I was supposed to capture? Check it out here:http://magneticmags365.tumblr.com/. It's titled "Night Lights"

Mags.



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Get Around......


How did you get around today? The challenge for today was to make a photograph of your transportation and post it.

I'm always on the go and today was no different. I used several different modes of transportation...a car, public transportation (how ghetto) ,some might say on a broomstick, and I wheeled around the office on my ugly, uncomfortable desk chair. By far; however, the most fashionable (albeit tiring after awhile) method was on my own two feet. Sporting my snake skin Steve Madden stilettos today, I decided to showcase this method of transportation. Yes, ok...you're on to me...it's just another way for me to show off my love of stiletto shoes......


Mags.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Juxtapose...


My sincere apologies for such a lame-assed picture today. I've been awake since 3 a.m. and have been suffering with a mild bout of insomnia over the past few nights. I was lazy in my photography today and for that I feel bad. Feeling tired and a little grumpy at having to return to work after a long (but crappy-weathered) weekend, I was greeted by a beautiful sunrise as I left my house this morning. In fact, the beautiful colours seemed to lure me into a better mood. I took a few shots of the sunrise as I was driving into work. This one seemed to work the best as I was stopped at a red light. I really like how the beauty of nature found in the sunrise and the bird sitting on the light post in the back juxtaposes the ugliness found in the man-made technology of the traffic light, telephone poles and electrical wires.

Mags.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Larger Than Life


Today's challenge was to make a bright, cheery photo outdoors.

This was a challenge since it was a craptacular overcast and drizzly day. I headed to the local community park to take photos of the bright, over-sized flowers and butterflies found in the water park area. Thankfully, the park was deserted and I was able to snap away without having parents think I'm some creeper takin' photos of their kids (sidenote: Does anyone else encounter this? How do you get around this? It seems to be a touchy subject and I'm not sure how to deal with it other than avoiding these areas.......but I digress). I loved how the bright orange colour in the flower and butterfly really stand out against the dull grey sky......I had a hard time choosing a photo and I decided to post some of the other contenders on my blog: http://magneticmags365.tumblr.com/ .

Mags.



Sunday, September 5, 2010

Healthy Hand Washing


A person's hands can tell a story. Today's challenge was to take a picture of someone's hands.

I am a self-proclaimed germaphobe. When out and about, I sanitize my shopping cart prior to touching the handle, I don't touch railings, or god forbid...door knobs and handles. And I always carry hand sanitizer in my purse. While I don't think I have OCD, I do wash my hands frequently throughout the day. I am appalled at the number of people who don't wash their hands regularly, especially after using the bathroom. I thought that perhaps people don't know how it's properly done so I put together the 11 simple steps to healthy (and hygienic) hand washing:

1) Remove jewellery and wet hand and wrists with warm water.

2) Use 1 or 2 squirts of liquid or foam soap

3) Lather soap and scrub hand well, palm to palm.

4) Scrub in between and around fingers.

5) Scrub back of each hand with palm of other hand.

6) Scrub fingertips of each hand in opposite palm.

7) Scrub each thumb clasped in opposite hand.

8) Scrub each wrist clasped in opposite hand.

9) Rinse throughly under running water.

10) Pat hands dry with a clean towel.

11) Turn off water using the same towel.

It is recommended to wash your hands for at least 15 seconds (or, the length of time it takes you to sing the alphabet or the Happy Birthday song at a normal, NOT fast, pace). Regular and proper hand washing is perhaps one of the best ways to preventing illnesses such as colds and flu. :-)

Mags.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Colourful Indoor Water Fun....



Water sustains life. Colour enhances life. Today's challenge was to make a photo combining colour and water.

With the weather being cold and yucky today, I needed to figure out a creative way to combine colour and water together in an indoor environment. Rooting through my kitchen cabinets, I came across some bottles of food colouring and began to experiment by adding a drop or two into a container of water. I realized I needed to move fast as the food colouring sank quickly to the bottom. I played around with different shots stirring the food colour until the water became solid colours of blue, yellow and red. I even took it one step further by combing the primary colours into solid secondary colours ( orange, purple and green). I eventually settled for this shot. I liked the way the movement of the food colouring in the water took on a ribbon-like appearance.

Mags.



Friday, September 3, 2010

Cheap, Cheerful and Cherished


Today's challenge was to make a photograph of the least expensive thing that I cherish.

As I've mentioned in a few of my earlier entries...I love me some bling. I've definitely got champagne taste but live on a beer budget. This shot is of one of the many blingy, chunky pieces I own that I absolutely love. A friend once called it my "Wonder Woman" bracelet and I'm proud to say it's one of my favourite pieces I own. The price tag? A whopping $18!

Mags.



Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hideously Beautiful


Today's challenge was to make a beautiful photograph of something commonly thought of as ugly.

I decided to take a photo of this ugly gargoyle that is actual an incense burner. Not really a fan of the incense but had to light one up in order to obtain the smoking action.

The history of a gargoyle is quite interesting. According to Wikipedia, in architecture, a gargoyle is a carved stone grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building. Preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls is important because running water erodes the mortar between the stone blocks. Architects often used multiple gargoyles on buildings to divide the flow of rainwater off the roof to minimize the potential damage from a rainstorm. A trough is cut in the back of the gargoyle and rainwater typically exits through the open mouth. Gargoyles are usually an elongated fantastic animal because the length of the gargoyle determines how far water is thrown from the wall. 


The term originates from the French gargouille, originally "throat" or "gullet" and similar words derived from the root gar, "to swallow", which represented the gurgling sound of water (e.g., Spanish garganta, "throat"; Spanish gárgola, "gargoyle"). It is also connected to the French verb gargariser, which means "to gargle." The Italian word for gargoyle is doccione o gronda sporgente, an architecturally precise phrase which means "protruding gutter." The German word for gargoyle is Wasserspeier, which means "water spitter." The Dutch word for gargoyle is waterspuwer, which means "water spitter" or "water vomiter." A building that has gargoyles on it is "gargoyled."


A grotesque figure is a sculpture that does not work as a waterspout and serves only an ornamental or artistic function. These are also usually called gargoyles in layman's terminology,] although the field of architecture usually preserves the distinction between gargoyles (functional waterspouts) and non-waterspout grotesques.

Gargoyles are said to scare off and protect from any evil or harmful spirits.

Mags.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

O(bsessive) S(ink) D(isorder)


Today's challenge was to make a monochromatic photo.

Those who know me well know that I am plagued with a form of OCD...I've labeled it as "Obsessive Sink Disorder". Nothing drives me around the bend more than a dirty kitchen sink. It started off as a 21 day challenge to see if I could ensure my sink was clean and empty every night before I went to bed. That was over 6 years ago and I'm still going strong except now it's gone a little overboard. I've successfully trained the other half to put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher--do not leave them in the sink. Anytime water is run in the sink, a dishcloth is used afterwards to mop up any water drops...immediately. My nightly cleaning kitchen sink cleaning routine consists of rinsing the sink, cleaning the sink with a non-abrasive scouring pad and cleaner (like Vim), rinse thoroughly, dry with a dishtowel until completely dried followed by a spritz of windex wiped dry with clean paper towel. I follow this routine religiously. So you can imagine my horror when I came home tonight and found this in my sink............

Mags.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Seasonal Suffering......


I'm a mess! I'm drugged up, feeling woozy, have a scratchy palette, watery eyes, runny nose and am itching all over! Not the vision of beauty that most of you may think I am! Yes folks....it's that time of year....ALLERGIES! From now until the first hardy frost I'll be a snotty mess. Some days are not as bad as others; however, if it's humid, breezy and the pollen is flyin' you know it's not a good day. While the main culprit is ragweed, other weeds can trigger reactions. I was in a farmer's field / weed field this evening trying to capture a weather shot. I ended up focusing on my archenemy: a weed field and ended up really liking this gnarly beast. After quite a few shots, I could feel the allergy symptoms kicking in--uncontrollable sneezing, , scratching my leg until it bled and my eyes closing up. I knew it was time to call it a day.......

Mags.


Monday, August 30, 2010

In The Gutter....




Today's daily challenge was to make a photograph featuring a diagonal line of series of diagonal lines.

Feeling a bit under the weather with seasonal allergies today, I really wasn't in the mood to be photographing much. I came across this sewer cover and was instantly attracted to it because of the diagonal lines and, with a few adjustments, really highlighted the lines to make them the focal point of the photo. Little did I know, one can be arrested for taking photos of sewers. I came across an article about a man in the UK who was arrested for allegedly taking such a picture......check it out: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x54hqTVtM78&feature=player_embedded

Crazy!

Mags.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Absolut Chill


Today's challenge is to make a photograph of something cold.

This is a macro shot of one of my favourite vodkas taken straight out of the freezer. I'm not a fan of using ice cubes in my "adult beverages" as I find it dilutes the drink and, depending on how long the ice cubes have been in the freezer, can leave a funny taste. For these reasons, I store my glass vodka bottles in the freezer so that the cold alcohol keeps the beverage cold without diluting it.



Mags.

The Distillery District


Today turned out to be a beautiful day and I spent some time in the City this evening with some friends in the Distillery District and ate a wonderful meal on the patio at The Boiler House.

The Distillery District is a National Historic Site with an incredible rich history. The site was once The Gooderham and Worts Distillery, and represents the largest and best preserved collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America. The Distillery is now a small district that houses interesting boutiques, chic restaurants and is juxtaposed with modern condos popping up everywhere.

In 1886, the chimney of The Boiler House dominated the young Toronto skyline. It reminded everyone for miles around of the tremendous industry that was The Gooderham and Worts Distillery, at the time the largest in the world. Today, like the buildings themselves, the 156-foot chimney is completely refurbished. It's an architectural gem that every night is lit by its spotlight, announcing to all that this is still the source of The Distillery's energy ... albeit now, the people kind!

In 2003 the building was transformed into an award-winning restaurant by architects Mackay Wong. They retained all the major structural elements and used only recycled and historically appropriate materials to complete it. For example, the 22 foot high bar is made from 115 year old fir, recycled on site.

The successful conversion of the Boiler House from power plant, to award-winning restaurant, has been noted and praised by both architectural and food critics.

Mags.



Friday, August 27, 2010

Taking The Plunge....



Today's challenge was to make a photograph of something metallic putting the emphasis on texture and light. This is a shot of the plunger of my French press.

A french press, also known as a press pot, coffee press, coffee plunger, cafietere or cafetiere a piston, is a simple coffee brewing device invented in France during the 1850's.

A French press requires coffee of a coarser grind than does a drip brew coffee filter, as finer grounds will seep through the press filter and into the coffee. Coffee is brewed by placing the coffee and water together, stirring it and leaving to brew for a few minutes, then depressing the plunger to trap the coffee grounds at the bottom of the beaker.

Because the coffee grounds remain in direct contact with the brewing water and the grounds are filtered from the water via a mesh instead of a paper filter, coffee brewed with the French press captures more of the coffee's flavour and essential oils, which would become trapped in a traditional drip brew machine's paper filters. French pressed coffee is usually stronger and thicker and has more sediment than drip-brewed coffee. Because the used grounds remain in the drink after brewing, French pressed coffee left to stand can become bitter. For a 1⁄2-litre French press the contents are considered spoiled after around 20 minutes.

Mags.



Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ornamental Orchids


Today's challenge was to make a photograph with soft light and to try to almost totally eliminate shadows on the subject.

I recently travelled to Costa Rica where I fell in love with the lush vegetation. Costa Rica has an astonishing number of plants, and people are drawn from all over the world to see the beautiful flowers that grow there. Of special interest to many are the numerous variety of Orchids. In fact, the National flower, Cattleya Skinneri (known locally as the "guaria morada" ), is a species of Orchid. 

The best time of the year for orchids in Costa Rica in the wild is just as the rainy season is starting up with the first scant rains. Many of the orchids in nature are triggered into their blooming cycle at that time. There are more than 1300 recognized species of orchids in Costa Rica. Some are small, some large, many are quite showy. Many have amazing scents or perfumes, along with a few that smell truly unpleasant. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Costa Rica, bring your nose along. You will be intrigued at the variety of odors the various orchid species can emit.

I purchased this unique hand-carved vase made of Mango wood in the small town of Lafortuna. Sadly, I couldn't bring a REAL orchid back with me so I just placed a "faux" one in the vase until a nice real one can be found.

Mags.