Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Photography 101

I love taking photos, but must admit that I'm something of a technical moron.  Most buttons on my Nikon D3100 have never been used and I have no idea what they are for.  I have decided to change all of that and give myself tutorials (there are plenty of good ones online) and actually read the damned instruction booklet that came with my camera, in hopes of teaching this old dog some new tricks.  Whereas, I have been happy to keep the camera set in the default position in the past, I'm now going to try and use some of the other buttons.

One little project I tried was to put the camera into the Aperture-priority auto mode.  Sounds like a mouthful huh? By doing this, I can control the size of the aperture that lets light in, and thus, keep one object in focus while the surrounding background has a nice fuzzy, out-of-focus look.

Geranium blossoms
Missourian Gooseberries
Succulent flowers
I realize I have along way to go and have much to learn, but every journey starts with a single step.  Or so they say.

Dinner Party for DBP

Last weekend we had some friends over for dinner to help our dear friend, DBP, celebrate her birthday.  It was meant to be a cocktail party, but because we had a total of eight guests, we decided to go all-out and make it a dinner party.  The day started off grey and damp, so we didn't think we would be able to enjoy drinks in the garden, but, lo and behold, the clouds dispersed  and the sun came out! We had bubbles and cheese and crackers in the garden after all.

LP brought guacamole-stuffed JalapeƱos that had been barbecued, so they were soft and smokey. I had one then had a case of the hiccups, which happens when I eat spicy food, much to everyone else's delight.

CC set a wonderful table, as usual, and was at the local farmer's market early, to get the best flowers, in this case, peonies.

We had Vichyssoise to start, something I have rediscovered recently.  My mother used to make it many years ago, and it's simple but elegant.

For the main course, we had Caesar salad, Quinoa salad, Asparagus with orange sauce and spicy, yoghurt-marinated Chicken breasts. The yoghurt helps to keep the chicken moist and any combination of spices work well. I liked the addition of turmeric to give it some colour, as I find chicken can look so blah.

For dessert, CC made his famous sponge cake and served it with lemon curd and stewed rhubarb. Much wine was consumed and there was a LOT of laughter, just how a dinner party should be.

Origami fun

I have been making Origami pieces, off and on, for some time now, and have recently taken to carrying  some paper with me for the long bus commute home.  The other week, I folded the following standards…
Origami paper waiting to be folded.
Classic Crane.
Turtle, a favourite.
Spinning Top - made with three pieces of paper.
I also like to troll Origami websites to come up with some new ideas, and recently found one that detailed how to make a Pinwheel Cube out of six pieces of paper.  The components are all made the same way and then are assembled by sliding the pointy ends into the pockets. I used six pieces of paper that were black on one side and white on the other, as I liked the contrast and Art Deco look…

I also like to follow some Origami enthusiasts on Instagram, and found one contributor who made cranes.  Interestingly, he also hand-paints the paper or draws doodles or makes cuts in the wings.  This got me thinking because I love to make ornate, paper snowflakes at Christmas, so I decided to give it a try.  I folded the crane in plain, white paper first, marked the wings in pencil, unfolded the crane, then made some cuts with scissors and refolded it.  I was quite happy with the result…

I decided to try a similar method with an Origami Star Box, and loved the result…

I still consider myself something of a beginner, but am always striving to try new things in an attempt to make it more interesting and challenging.