Organic geometry

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My assignment last week was finding the geometric shapes in organic objects, for which I talked my way into a greenhouse where I used to work in college. Cacti and interesting patterns galore. I think this may be my favorite assignment so far – I loved getting up close and personal with the plants and making miniature landscapes out of a few leaves.

Many of the plants I photographed were the very same ones I pruned, carefully replanted and researched while I was conducting an inventory of the building in 2002. Many still had little labels in my own handwriting. It was fun to see which have grown and which are in bloom. A little like visiting old friends!

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Published in: on October 25, 2009 at 8:14 am  Comments (3)  

Leaves and petals and thorns…. oh my!

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Published in: on October 22, 2009 at 9:21 pm  Comments (4)  

Cat-tastrophe

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Yes, the lame pun title is well-deserved.

You see, since the weather turned cold my littlest cat has made the top of my radio her favorite place to curl up and sleep. Several times now, D. or I have heard mysterious voices from the living room in the night – only to find that she’s turned on the radio and set the dial to some weird channel in between classical music and religious talk shows (maybe that’s what cats like to listen to at 3 a.m.?)

This past Sunday, both D. and I got up extra early and left for our weekend shifts at work. Not too long after, D. got several frantic calls from our landlord, demanding to know what in the world were doing that was so loud, it was waking up all our neighbors.

Uh-oh.

D. caught a cab home as fast as he could and he said he could hear the noise from outside the building! Apparently she turned on the radio to complete white noise, then sat on the volume button until it reached 100 percent. You can imagine that all the cats were hiding when he came in, or there would have been hell to pay!

Now we have to unplug the radio every time we go out. Darn cat. Why can’t she be like the other one, and just make photocopies on the copy machine when she’s bored? Now, if only we could teach the third one to wash the dishes…..

Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 10:10 pm  Comments (5)  

Captured Moments

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Even D. has not escaped my prying lens. I captured a few shots as he was working on the wheel a couple weeks ago, and I think they look gorgeous in black and white. I love the smooth look of the clay against the rough textures of towel and brick wall.

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I also loved working with the editing tools in photoshop to pull out the deep blacks and bump up highlights – it brings every photo into this magical graphic world, where everything looks a little more sharp and dramatic. I could easily spend all afternoon on this!

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Published in: on October 15, 2009 at 10:38 am  Comments (2)  

Walk in time

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Some of the outdoor shots of the church came out better, since there was a lot more light to work with.

I loved how everything about this building seemed ancient and worn, like I was stepping back into another century. But it was a real piece of work to capture that on film (or in pixels, strictly speaking). I had to use the frame of my shots to edit out cars, phone wires and other signs of the modern world. I am all the more impressed by professional photographers – it’s amazing how difficult it is to capture what my imagination sees on the actual image.

But, as with all things, I’m sure practice will help.

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Published in: on October 13, 2009 at 10:59 pm  Comments (2)  

Exploring

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This week, I took my camera down to an old local church building and talked them into unlocking the main sanctuary for me. It’s an amazing room but has been abandoned for decades. The walls are starting to crumble, the stained glass is punctured with holes and cobwebs hang off the carved wood pews. I felt like the explorer of some ancient ruins, sneaking around and trying to capture a shot of a beam of  light piercing the dust.

Unfortunately, it was very dark. So dark that most my photos are too blurry to show. But I guess it was a case-in-point lesson on shutter speeds, and now I know that I seriously have to start traveling with my tripod.

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Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 10:57 pm  Comments (3)  

Getting abstract

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And what would a photography lesson be without a little black and white action?

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Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 10:46 pm  Comments (2)  

A different view

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Doing my photography homework makes for some strange experiences! Last week I went wandering through one of Philadelphia’s major tourist sites with a big camera strapped around me. But while most the folks there were taking pictures in front of the Betsy Ross House, or posing with a poorly paid actor in revolutionary get-up, I was twisting myself into a pretzel to get nice shots of wood fencing or drain pipes.

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Published in: on October 7, 2009 at 10:32 pm  Comments (6)  

Sunsets and Brownies

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To complete my photography homework this week, I went wandering off into the Tinicum Wildlife Refuge after work on Sunday. Despite my work clothes and not-so-sensible shoes, I trekked down a path to this beautiful wooden bridge suspended across a small wetlands. I got there just as the sun was setting over the water and all the blue herons were coming out to fish. It was pretty damn incredible.

I wish I was a better photographer with a real zoom lens, because I really couldn’t do it justice. Still, here’s a glimpse:

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Also, thanks to several people who requested the brownie recipe. I’m happy to share! It was actually a combination of TWO recipes from two different cookbooks. The first recipe called for oats in the base, and I didn’t have any. So I borrowed a walnut crust from another book, and added the fudge and chocolate layers from the original. Hopefully it’ll make sense:

Base

1/2 c walnuts

1/3 c granulated sugar

1/4 c flour

6 tbls unsalted butter

In a food processor, grind with walnuts with the sugar. Add butter and flour and process until it becomes course crumbs (or do it with your fingers). Pat it into a greased baking dish and bake for 25 minutes at 350F.

Middle

1/4 c granulated sugar

1/4 c butter, melted

1 1-oz square unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2/3 c flour

1/4 c milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

For the middle layer, combine granulated sugar, butter and chocolate; add egg and beat well. Separately, combine flour, baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. Add to chocolate mixture alternately with a mixture of milk and vanilla. Spread over the walnut layer and continue baking for 25 minutes. Cool and frost with fudge frosting (below).

Fudge Frosting

In a small saucepan (I do it in a glass bowl in the microwave) melt 1 oz unsweetened chocolate and 2 tbls butter, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Blend in hot water (a couple tablespoons) to make an almost pourable consistency. Frost brownies and dot with halved walnuts – the frosting will set very quickly!

Published in: on October 6, 2009 at 10:29 pm  Comments (4)  

Chocolate and sparkles

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Ack! I know I’ve been totally negligent in my blogging duties! I’ve been caught up in all kinds of dubious activities (like work, classes, relationships and baking tasty pastries!). I’ve also been taking a cool photography class and I hope to show off my mad skillz soon.

For now, check out this tasty shot of cupcakes from my studio’s bake sale last week (no, I didn’t bake these. The walnut-fudge-chocolate-ganache-topped brownies I made sold out too fast for pictures!) Everything was delicious, and we made some nice $$$ to help teach art to kids in underserved schools.

Published in: on October 5, 2009 at 8:57 pm  Comments (4)