Made by you and I

We are raising ourselves out from the mud: Lotus

Your body will tell you if you’ve put something wrong into your mouth. I’ve been working on these lotus photographs for a few days. I’ve been practicing different techniques to mould their mood, hand painting each each detail within each photo. Unlike food there is no primal way to know if they’re, well, palatable. So do let me know what you think . Remember, I’ve only been taking photographs since April.

I took these photos at the pond adjacent to the Hachimangu Shrine, in Kamakura. The clouds were just about to burst when I took the first three. It was a sudden, heavy downpour. I waited with camera and tripod under a large wooden awning with other tourists, all sitting silent as the rain pat, pat, pat the giant lotus leaves before us. The pink or white flowers swayed. Turtles broke the surface of the water and within minutes the rain stopped. The air smelled green, the pond looked bright and clean. The walkways glistened keeping us above the mud as we were all back on the path winding round the louts pond.

 

Note: I’m not sure why, but comments aren’t coming up on my pages. I’ll have to work on this.

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A walk in the woods

I started this blog almost six months ago. A few months after I purchased the Nikon and two weeks ago I started using Lightroom. I am very happy with my progress. I envisioned a cooking blog, but in photography I’m finding my voice.

As you may have notice I’m redoing my blog. If you click on the menu bar up top you’ll (eventually) get photo links to all the pages I have, broken down by category. I need to go in and edit each post to finish it. I hope to have it done by Monday. In the meantime, if you can give me some feed back on font size, (page) loading times, and anything which might annoy you, I’d appreciate it.

Tonight I’m posting some pics of a walk through the woods and an abandoned building I came across. I set up my tripod, put neutral density filters over the lens, and took 30 – 60 second exposures. I did some tweaking to affect the mood in Lightroom. Then I re-edited the color scheme to change one into black and white. Tell me what you think. What I’m noticing is that the long exposures give the photos a painterly quality, which I enjoy looking at and thinking on.   Buddha in the woods-6 Buddha in the woods-7 Buddha in the woods-8

Self portrait: The Distance Between Us

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madebyyouandi.comJuly 13, 2014ISO 10017 mm-3     I invite you to think on the title. By distance I mean to draw your attention to that space between the camera and the subject, the subject and the entrance. I hope that if you notice those gaps you’ll think on the space between where you are siting and where I am posting this. I took several shots but chose this one because the flair and the doors were in alignment along the axis. I cut the flair in half to show two halves of the same thing. The emblem on the door (the Imperial crest) is also a duplicate as are the yellow lights in the distance and decorations hanging from the entrance. In the distance you’ll notice the ‘tori’, another gate to play off the gate at the center of the photo. Duplicity. What you can’t know by looking at the photo is the subject is not me, but a stand in for me. And in a way I as the photographer am the stand in for you the viewer at this event. So the title, The Distance Between You And Me is meant to be ironic in that we are one and the same.

matsuri

Yasukuni Shrine summer festival
Yasukuni Shrine summer festival

Yasukuni Shrine summer festival. Taken at a slow shutter speed, it’s hard to see but she is bouncing a tiny paper toy attached to her finger.

Tomato Tart Tatin with goats cheese, fresh herbs and a Bloody Mary Granita

I don’t reblog enough.

This post is inspiring in many ways. The narrative, the photography, the recipe. A lot of work went into making this. I hope you check it out.

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© www.ice-cream-magazine.com  bloody mary granita tomato granita  © www.ice-cream-magazine.com

The wedding of a widowed osteopath marrying a biochemist. He being a first timer, an amateur ventriloquist, an amputee. Creepy Church, begat an organist, a burly lass with a grimacing face, huge bouffant hair, who wore wall to wall tartan. She entered the Church carrying a large, purple velvet goat, her music case, quite obviously?

“Conspicuously absent isn’t he?” “Oh, where’s the Groom.” “There’s a wildly held belief that the Groom should be in attendance” said a loud buffoon. Another hooray heckler boomed “There’s been a misunderstanding the Groom will not be attending today’s wedding”. “He’s swiveled on his heels, sorry heel and legged it” ironically chortled another of the Am-Dram set.

The Bride, wearing an unflattering meringue-of-a-frock, arrived to the theme music from Mission Impossible, accompanied by anticipated, yet unbridled laughter. The flush faced groom popped up, grabbing the air like badly manipulated marionette from his assumed position…

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An ode to unprocessed photographs

For my friend M.R.

For my friend M.R.

This image comes directly from my camera sans processing.

This is from Yokohama Bay. The sun had just gone down. I had a dark neutral density filter over my 12mm to increase the exposure to 30 seconds in order to bring in the best light and remove the people meandering about. This is the result. Regrettably I forgot to bring my extra battery and had to stop just two images after — it was perfect light and a full moon.

I am enjoying Lightroom for the creative control I have over my images. However with clear light, time, and a tripod processing is unnecessary.

Enjoy your weekend.

Out of darkness

Out of darkness
Out of darkness

Out of darkness

On the way home from work after the rains I glanced down and saw  a rolly polly blindly make its way up a large wet brick. I reversed my lens and shot until it found its way into the soil just inches away. When I looked at the images in Lightroom I saw a creature poised between light and dark pulling its way up and saw in that a metaphor. I hope you like the image of something so small making its way up into the light inspiring.

 

Stock, generic recipe (with sous vide pictures)

Warm your home during the cooler days, or fill a pot with the bight, crisp flavors of summer by making homemade stocks. Anything you make from it will be enhanced.  stock sous vide (1 of 1)-2

Myself, I enjoy the day long process of tending a near boiling pot, of skimming, of straining and adding then straining again; but the Modernists have popularized two other methods for producing stock faster with less effort:

Those made with a pressure cooker and
Those made sealed in a plastic bag then cooked in a hot water bath (sous vide).

Whatever the means, the method is the same.

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Step one: Balance

Stocks use a portion of bones to meat. The bones add gelatin, minerals, and a particular flavor — and body, the mouthfeel of the stock. Many argue that you can make a very good stock with bones alone. I agree. However, using science, the Modernists have been attempting to prove that flavor comes solely from the meat. One classic ratio is 3 parts bone to one part meat.

Stocks also need mirepoix, a chop of onions, carrots, celery. The classic balance is 2 parts onion for one part each celery and carrot, but let taste be your guide. How much flavor is in each ingredient? Are the onions pungent, or sweet? Are the carrots and celery bland, sweet, or flavorful? Either way, rough chop them and set them aside.

Many good stocks use a bouquet garni, most commonly with thyme, parsley stems, and a bay leaf. A few cloves of garlic and/or tomato paste are sometimes part of the flavor profile as well.

 

stock sous vide (1 of 1)-3Step two: Brown or white?

Broadly speaking you can add all of your ingredients to the pot raw or you can add them to the pot after browning them from light golden to deep brown. Kitchen wisdom is the browner the bones, meat, vegetables going in, the more flavorful the end product. Typically chicken stocks are made white and used for sauces, or browned and made for soups. Beef and pork stocks are almost always browned to bring out the flavors in the meat.

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Step three: Cook under the boil

When making stock you do not want the water in the pot to move. Typically the water is between 80 – 95 degrees Celsius, or just below the boiling point. In sous vide it’s even lower; in a pressure cooker much higher (the high pressure prevents bubbles from moving what’s in the pot). When water boils the air moves everything in the pot. Eventually the water will become cloudy and the flavors will boil out, producing much less flavorful, unattractive stock. As a rule, when you see bubbles in the pot, turn down the heat.

How long to cook? That depends on whether you’re using bones. Bones add gelatin. When concentrated the gelatin adds a very specific mouthfeel to soups. That sensation in the mouth is called body. To maximize body you must boil bones preferably with either chicken feet, pigs trotters, or cow hooves — all available through the butcher. Typically you blanch them, then add them to a pot of cold water. Bring it up to the simmer — or just below the boil — and let them cook from 3 – 9 hours. The longer you boil them, the more gelatin you extract into you stock.

In my experience, the vegetables I can purchase are much less flavorful than those I grew up with as a boy. To make up for that lack of flavor I prepare two to three portions of vegetables (yes, three times what’s needed) and simmer them with the bones in stages. Placing a colander in the pot makes removing each batch easy, or you can remove them with a strainer. Either way, every three hours I replace the vegetables. I add the meat to that last batch of vegetables and cook the final two to three hours.

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Step four: Strain, cool, de-fat

When the stock is ready strain it through the finest strainer you have and let the stock cool to room temperature, the refrigerate overnight. A stock with body will set like jello with a layer of fat at the top. With less to no body the fat will still float to the top. Remove it. In my experience, it has no flavor and so I throw it away.

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Sarson Ka Saag

NAPP - Lightroom 5 Killer Tips by Scott Kelby

Day two of Lightroom. More than the editing tool I’m finding that the catalog function is extremely useful. After importing the photos you can add key words and then create folders to filter through key words. The initial set up is gong to take time, but once it’s done it’ll be easy to find my photos. Does anyone have any suggestions on improving this image? I was thinking the increase the exposure, but the whites might blow out.

I need to do a recipe. Coming soon one of my favorite Indian foods Sarson Ka Saag, also known as a curry of mustard greens.

NAPP - Lightroom 5 Killer Tips by Scott Kelby

A delicious bite of curry made from mustard greens

Sarson ka saag with a slight change in the lighting. I don't know which I like better.

Same image with a slight change in the lighting. I don’t know which I like better.

The Fox, part one

(The first in a series.) This is the first act of an outdoor play. This character is the fox god Inari. The audience was filled with small children. The progression shows the character as he transformed into the awesome god he represents before he reaches down to those brave young people to be blessed. (You can click on them for full size versions.)
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Kids with guns

Guns are illegal here in Japan. As an island nation, they’re difficult to smuggle in. Gun death is nothing you hear about in the news. Though I’ve seen toy guns in hobby stores before this was the first time to ever see children playing with them. Oh, Japan, you have no idea what you’re doing, do you?

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My home, my office, my personal space

My home, my office, my personal space I loved this. Parked in lush area of the city an hour before dusk this man is taking a break from work to read the evening edition of the newspaper. Where he puts his shoes tells you his attitude about his work and this time he’s spending.

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