I feel as if I have crossed over to the dark side. I have to install Windows 8 on my brand new Retina Display Macbook Pro because Intuit’s Quickbooks for the Mac is only a junior version and I need the PC version of Quickbooks in order to communicate with Famous Mo’s accountant and to perform the types of entries that Intuit apparently believes Macintosh users don’t need. What a disappointment. This is a sad day for me 🙁
Kyle Martin and the Billy Joel tribute band, Joel, appeared at Famous Mo’s last night to a sellout, standing room only crowd. It was a fun and fabulous evening of entertainment. Here is Kyle, playing his harmonica at the start of “Piano Man.” Later, I found the box to his harmonica setting on a chair in the Green Room and was intrigued but didn’t get a chance to ask him about it. Next time! They’re coming back to Mo’s later this year.
My life has been a whirlwind lately and I sometimes feel as if it is spinning out of control. When I took this shot of Bobo this morning while I was giving her a spray bath, I knew immediately that it depicts how I feel sometimes now and how I see my life. The rest of the shots show Bobo’s exuberance while bathing. I have neglected her lately and I was happy to share a little joy with her today. The head spinning shots are always my favorites.
I am finding food photography to be exceedingly difficult but I have to do it. I need to take appetizing photos of the food we serve at Famous Mo’s to post on our website and for the education of our staff and for promotional purposes, but it is not easy. I am also finding that food styling is actually more difficult than food photography. I decided to practice some food photography this evening before I ate what I prepared to photograph but the food styling is lacking. It is not something that we serve at Famous Mo’s but it IS something that I have prepared many times before: a recipe called Caprese Eggs “Benedict.” A traditional Eggs Benedict is poached eggs served atop a toasted English muffin with ham and Hollandaise sauce. This is a vegetarian version, poached eggs served on toasted Ciabatta bread with melted smoked Mozzarella, baby spinach and sliced basil, topped with a garlicky tomato gravy. It is delicious, relatively easy, and, I think, an unusual entrée for dinner. By the time I ate it this evening, though, it had cooled considerably and in this photo, it is not easy to identify the food subject. Most food that is photographed is never eaten. In this experiment, I broke the egg yolk and let it ooze down the edge of the toasted Ciabatta but I realized too late that the melting smoked Mozzarella cheese isn’t in evidence at all. I’m not sure what is my favorite part of this dish but the smoked Mozzarella is right up there. Of course the basil, spinach, oozing egg yolk, and tomato gravy each contribute their own wonderfulness to the savory flavor of this dish.
This morning, the exquisite photo of a water drop on a willow branch by a fellow photography blogger, Blue Girl Photography inspired me to pick up my camera and take some shots of the blue star creeper that competes (with my approval) with the grass in the backyard. The few flowers remaining of what was a few years ago a lush carpet of blue stars were sprinkled with water drops so I found myself sprawling on the damp grass in my bathrobe, my camera at a snail’s eye view, shooting the stars (pun intended). This shot was my favorite and it is cropped.
It is all I can do to keep myself from reshooting this scene because I just realized that I forgot to reset the ISO to 100 after shooting Bobo inside last night. The ISO is set to 320, well outside my comfort zone, even though I’m finding myself often using 1000 and up when I shoot inside at Mo’s. Fortunately, there doesn’t seem to be too much noise or I’d be back out there again, despite the rapidly changing light. What is wrong with me????
Focal Length 70mm
I find it fascinating that a shallow depth of field can obliterate cage bars. I first learned this when I took an on-line photography class and for one of my assignments, I visited the Folsom zoo and took photos through the bars, featuring the animals while obscuring the cage bars. This evening, I was sitting at my kitchen table visiting with a friend, drinking a lovely red wine blend called Hot To Trot from 14 Hands Winery in Washington State, when I realized how lax I have become about my blog lately and that once again, I failed to take a photo today. My favorite subject, Bobo, was sitting dejectedly in the cage door opening feeling ignored, and she looked so cute I decided I’d take a photo. In this shot, one of the solid cage bars between the lens and Bobo bisects her eyeball but through the wonders of photography and a wide open lens those bars magically disappear and do not detract from the shot.
. . . That I’d like to eat you up! And yes, people, you can eat this Reuben up if you come to Famous Mo’s. It is this week’s special…and one of my all-time favorite sandwiches. I had one for lunch today and it was sooooooooooo yummy…. Since this is the only thing I photographed today and since I didn’t take a single photograph yesterday, or post anything either, I’m going with the Reuben. Mangia, mangia!
You’d think that after all this time (Day 109 of year 3!!!!) I’d get it right. My dear friend, photography cohort, and college roommate, Melinda, and her husband Lonnie, found their way to Rocklin from Benicia and joined me at Famous Mo’s Coffeehouse & Theater for lunch. I was excited to show off my new restaurant and my newly found barista skills to them. How hard could it be to take a “snapshot” of them enjoying their lunches? Well, obviously, hard enough. I don’t know what I was thinking but I managed to focus on Lonnie instead of making sure they were both in focus because I had the aperture wide open to let in more light. That was my first mistake. It would have been a great shot, one I would have loved to use on our website—and may still do so—afterall, Lonnie is featured on my photo wall at Mo’s, his hand shown toasting with a glass of wine. The face behind the toast! I liked this shot after a quick glance at the LCD screen on my D800. I’m going to have to pay closer attention to details.
So, here is my big mistake today. I love the composition and the expressions. I hate the focus and the aperture.
Focal Length 36mm
Today, I took some shots of Luger, a 9 month old German Shepherd puppy rescued six months ago by a Roseville police officer and now owned by Dan, owner of TDS Guns located down the street from Famous Mo’s and who is now a Famous Mo’s regular customer. Luger was almost put down as being too aggressive until Dan, a volunteer with a local German Shepherd rescue group, came to Luger’s aid. Luger is a sweetheart and is not remotely aggreesive. Look how adorable he is, posing at the gun shop.
Tomorrow morning, a contingent from Famous Mo’s is heading over to the KMAX television studio set of “Good Day Sacramento” to present some of Mo’s soon-to-be-famous small plates and appetizers. Today was a practice makes perfect day to make sure the food looked as good as it tastes and I took photos to post on our website and for our kitchen crew to use as a guide for plating. Our signature dish, Herb Stuffed Mo’Shrooms, and the salmon crostini with dilled cream cheese made the cut along with our roast beef crostini with pesto, arugula, and Parmigiano Reggiano, and our artisan cheese plate with fresh fruit and smoked almonds.
After seeing the magnificence of my new wide angle lens, I wish I’d had it for the Grand Canyon shoot and I am a bit disappointed that I took so many of my shots at 70mm instead of 24mm. That fact notwithstanding, this morning when I a glanced at just a few of my Grand Canyon shots, most of which I have yet to review, I was awestruck with this shot of a snow storm over the canyon that I took the evening of the second day of shooting there. The sunset was behind me, reflecting on the clouds. How much more spectacular it might have been at 24mm and my heart flutters to think of it at 18mm.
My new wide angle lens will take some getting used to but I love it already. Late this afternoon, I drove up to photograph the Auburn Courthouse. I gasped when I looked through the viewfinder while I was standing at the bottom of the steps leading up to the courthouse. The view with a wide angle lens is unsettling at first because it is not what you see with your eyes. It takes in so much more. I have some experimenting to do!
Focal Length 15mm
Focal Length 14m
Focal Length 24mm
Focal Length 24mm
It started out innocently enough: Go to Action Camera to:
1) get my sensor cleaned;
2) ask them to unscrew my cross-threaded filters, one a polarizing filter and one a UV filter, that I managed to cross thread on one of my Grand Canyon shoots while my fingers were too numb to press the shutter release, let alone screw one delicate filter onto another; and
I got my sensor cleaned; they were unable to separate those filters; but, they were happy to share their inventory with me.
The browsing part is what got me into trouble. “May I look at a D600? A D7100? The new 18-35mm lens? Oh, wait, how about letting me see the 14-24mm f/2.8?” With the last of a family inheritance burning a hole in my pocket, I couldn’t resist that wide angle, almost fish-eye, lens. All of the guys on my Grand Canyon photo shoot had one. I lusted after it. And, now I own it! I got home too late to try anything that would make this wide angle lens shine but I had to put it on and take some shots. My Betty Boop rose was the best candidate for a photo at almost 7:30 this evening. Oh, yeah. Good glass! I cropped this shot so the wide angle-ness isn’t shown here but tomorrow I plan to go a-landscaping!
Today I visited Vaneli’s Handcrafted Coffees to pick up an order and when I walked by the warehouse where the coffee beans are stored, I noticed that the main door was up about 3 feet and empty burlap coffee bean bags were hanging to block the breeze. It was noon so the light was harsh but I really liked the display. When I downloaded the photos though, I decided that a collage would be most interesting.
It was windy today. Very windy. I was at Costco waiting for them to fix a tire so I spent some time wandering around the nature preserve behind the Costco, photographing the poppies. It was a real challenge to get any shots in focus because of the high winds. But I set the shutter speed to 1/2000 and got a few that I liked. The few that I like remind me of impressionist paintings. I don’t know if van Gogh painted poppies in the field but I think if he did, they might look like this.
Focal Length 55mm
My Dutch iris, like my roses, suffer from benign neglect but they produce year after year without so much as a kernel of fertilizer and only the water they get from rain and the occasional sprinkle when the sprinklers are working properly. At this time every year they reward me with a brief appearance. I clipped a bunch when I got home this evening and posed one in front of a very old mirror. The original photograph shows a nicely focused iris reflected in the mirror. A little tweaking of clarity and shadows in Adobe Lightroom resulted in this image from the same photo. Tweaking brought out more reflections around the edges of the iris in the mirror and it turned the ancient mirror’s flaws from eroding silver into fascinating bokeh.
Focal Length 70mm
This is the original photograph without clarity or shadow adjustments.
I will buy: “Ripe strawberries, ripe!” Who Will Buy? is a song from “Oliver!” one of my all time favorite musicals. I was privileged to see the original London cast performing it in San Francisco at the Curran Theater in 1962 before it went on Broadway. It remains the most memorable stage production I have had the privilege to enjoy. This morning when I drove by my “go-to” strawberry farm on the way home from the gym, that song came to mind when I saw they were open so I pulled in. They haven’t been open because of road construction in front of their farm. I was saddened to learn that this will be the last year of wonderful strawberries and other fresh produce at Granny May’s Strawberry Farm. Development is forcing them out.
I took a little time this morning to set up my shot and I used a reflector to even out the lighting.
Focal Length 70mm