Rain, Rain Go Away!

justleavesIt seems as though it has been raining here forever but it did stop the other day just long enough for me to take a couple of photos of the fall leaves under gray overcast skies. The world has no pressing need for photos of leaves but taking photos of the leaves makes me feel good so I take them anyway.

Tomorrow is Halloween and the current weather report promises mostly dry conditions and cool temperatures. I am happily off of work tomorrow and looking forward to taking some street photos of people out having fun and enjoying life. I’ll be charging all my flash and camera batteries tonight.

I’m impatiently waiting for my new flash triggers to arrive so I can test them out. I’ll have to try to come up with something creative to do with them when they finally arrive. There is a long list of other things I would like to have for my photography kit but none of that really matters as much as the person taking the photographs. I actually rather enjoy the challenge of creating an image using just an old box camera or Polaroid.

My flickr.com pro account is expiring in a few days and I keep getting renewal notices. I have mixed feelings about spending any money on a flickr account right now. I can’t see where I am going to miss out on much by not having a pro account. I also have a www.photo.net account which I don’t do much with anymore because I am over the limit for the free account and most of my contacts over there seem to have moved on to other things. There are good resources on both sites but most of those resources can be accessed from a guest account. It has become pretty hard to get noticed on most of the photography websites these days due to the massive volume of user uploads. If you have a decent base of fans and contacts it is probably worth it to continue maintaining a presence on those sites.

It has occurred to me that I may be having a serious case of lazy and have become disconnected from whatever is going on in the world. On the other hand it may be a good thing to get out from under the influence of popular thought about what is currently good or trendy. I may just go out in the dark and feel my way around until I come up with something of my own to do without the worry of pleasing anyone else. The chances of success are pretty slim either way.

Dining Out

bolognese

We had this Bolognese con Tagliatelle pasta the other night over at ~scape restaurant. Chef Eric put a different twist on traditional bolognese by tossing the pasta in parmesan cream sauce. It is so rich that you could split it with another person, be perfectly happy and no one would think any less of you. On the other hand, you might prefer to take the surplus home to eat quietly on the couch while you watch an old black & white Federico Fellini movie such as “La dolce vita.” Good food and decadence seem to go well together.

It has been a pretty good week around here for people who like food. On Sunday afternoon we went to the “Top Chef” competition sponsored by Metropolis and ALIVE magazine. Six of the best chefs in town (or should I say the six best chefs in town) came together to grill gourmet mini-burgers outdoors on a perfect fall afternoon. Well at least it was perfect from my perspective. I wasn’t the one slaving away over a hot grill trying to keep up with a demanding crowd of hungry burger munching carnivores.

It was hard to pick a clear winner since I have never met a burger I didn’t like. It was sort of like a gunfight where the bullets from each gunslinger collide in mid-air and fall harmlessly to the ground. All the burgers were unbelievably good. I wish that I had gotten some better photos of the burgers but it was quite a feeding frenzy and I had to run downtown for work right after we ate so I didn’t get a chance to hang out and talk to the chefs.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

pumpkincakesI have not talked about food for a while or taken any food photos lately so I thought I would change gears and toss in a recipe for some cupcakes we made the other day. I got to operate the whisk and added a couple of sprinkles and that is about the extent of my contribution to the project.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

2 cups flour

1-teaspoon baking soda

1-teaspoon baking powder

1-teaspoon salt

1-teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg (double)

¼ teaspoon allspice

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup melted butter (cooled)

4 large eggs, beaten

1 can pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in small bowl

Wisk sugar, eggs and butter together in large bowl, then add dry ingredients.

Add pumpkin puree and whisk

Fill cupcake liners ½

Bake 20-25 minutes (until tops spring back when pushed)

Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool

Cream Cheese Icing

8 ounces cream cheese

½ cup butter

3 cups powdered sugar

1-teaspoon vanilla

Beat butter and cheese, add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

Frost the cooled cupcakes and add orange colored sprinkles or chopped nuts as desired.

Chasing Alice

Down the rabbit hole...
Down the rabbit hole...

It’s the middle of October and I’m currently thinking about all things make-believe. Halloween will soon be here and I am planning to spend most of the day taking photos around my neighborhood. First there is a dog parade, then a kid’s parade and finally an adult costume party after dark. It’s usually a blast and only a couple of blocks from home.

The other day I got a call asking if I would like to take some photos of a building that use to house a steel foundry. The building is being torn down (right now) so the question required some fairly quick thinking (or lack of thinking) on my part. I went over for a few hours on Saturday to scope it out and discovered that they are pretty far along from the look of things. I was still able to find some subjects that I found interesting and got several good action shots of the iron workers cutting up large chunks of steel into smaller chunks of steel that would fit on a trailer to be hauled away for scrap.

I may go back again if there is anything left standing by next Tuesday which is the first chance I will have. I’m not sure what else there is to photograph at the foundry but maybe the light will be different or I will be in a different frame of mind. The weather report is for clear skies and warm temperatures which is also perfect for one last kayak outing. I hate to pass that up but maybe we will get lucky and have two good days of weaher in a row.

I also need to find some time to work out a few lighting details for taking portrait photos of people in costumes. I need something better to carry my lighting gear in when going on location. The foundry had a fine covering of sooty sand and dust inside and coal black mud made out of the same stuff on the outside. You wouldn’t want to set anything down without taking some plastic to put down first. I got plenty dirty just walking around. I need that Pelican case!

I took some location photos last week that turned out to be a disaster because something was triggering my el cheapo radio triggers and causing the flash to go off at random. Then the other day when I was taking demolition photos one of the receivers fell on the ground and split open, spilling the battery out on the ground. If it had been any darker I never would have found the think in the three inches of black sooty casting sand I was standing in.

I’m hoping to order a better set of radio remotes next week. They are still the bargain variety but operate on a different frequency which is supposed to make them more reliable and have greater range. The bad news is that they will not show up for two weeks, too late to be of any use at the events I am going to this month. The old set of triggers is about toast and I can’t afford the more expensive Pocket Wizards right now. I’m hoping to buy two transmitters and four receivers to give myself at least one spare of each and with two transmitters, I will be able to fire the camera and the flashes at the same time on different channels. I’m not sure why I would want to do that right now but there must be some reason. Anyway spares are a good idea, especially with budget equipment.

I also had some visitors today but that story will have to wait. It involves men in suits and a parrot.

Head In The Clouds…

cloudgateWell maybe not in the clouds but somewhere close. After being sick for a week, I’m beginning to feel human again… and just in time to go back to work.

I spent a few days in Washington DC and Annapolis Maryland while I was on vacation this week. I came home to one day of beautiful weather followed by a day of constant rain.

I’m still in sleep mode, or trying to sleep mode. I guess I am a little more rested than when the week started but I don’t feel like I got much accomplished, at least nothing of lasting significance. In life we seem to spend a lot of time running around and not getting anything done. I took a bunch of photos while I was out of town but nothing seemed to stick. I guess I was just off my game and not feeling so great.  Maybe in a few weeks I will have a different perspective on things. In the meantime I decided to move everything from my laptop to the backup drive so I will use that as an excuse to make a fresh start (at something).