One of the nicest things about coming home from Puerto Rico was that I had convinced my landlord to (finally!) take care of a lot of the problems with our bathroom while we were gone. In fact, he hired contractors to give us a complete renovation. We got a new bathtub, sink, toilet, lights….plus they had to tear apart and repair half the wall and reconstruct the floor. I’m so happy to go in there and use it now!

Now that the renovation is almost complete (just a little more paint and a couple of tiles to go), I’m thinking about how I’m going to decorate the new black wall in there. D. suggested framing some of my black and white photos, so I’m working on some from our trip and trying to decide.

Any ideas which I might use?

Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 9:11 am  Comments (4)  


Ever heard of a shy tomato?  Maybe it’s just a tomato waiting for it’s moment in sun (or the sauce, as it may be).

Sort of like me right now…Looking around through the lens of my camera, enveloped in my own little world…


Published in: on November 16, 2009 at 8:07 pm  Comments (1)  

Organic geometry

euphorb3 bw

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!

fern3 bw

leafy bw

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

Leaves and petals and thorns…. oh my!

fern4 bw

pitcher bw

cactus4 bw

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

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!

dennis throwing4

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

Walk in time


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.




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



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.




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

A different view


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.



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

Sunsets and Brownies


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:




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:


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.


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)  

Summertime, and the living is easy…


While I was in New York last weekend, I had the opportunity to go blueberry picking at this gorgeous vineyard and blueberry farm. My friend and I were probably there less than an hour, but we picked about 8 lbs!

I froze most of the blueberries for the winter, when fresh fruit is hard to come by. But some went straight into a pie with a few delicious red raspberries for flavor. The colors were just too pretty when I combined them – just had to snap a few shots with the new camera!


I rarely bake blueberry pie, so I had to look at quite a few recipes to decide how to do the filling. I fell back on an old standard cookbook for me – Moosewood’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest. It called for 3 tbls of flour for four cups of berries, 2 tbls of lemon and 1/4 cup of honey, plus a dash of cinnamon. The pie is still cooling on the stovetop, so I’m not sure how it tastes yet. But it sure looks delicious!


Published in: on August 14, 2009 at 6:04 am  Comments (2)