Transylvanian Tales: Main

I’m debuting now a series of photos (one per week mostly) on which I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. These photos will not be accompanied by much text, hopefully you’ll find that they speak for themselves. Transylvanian Tales will be a new category/submenu I’ll be posting in and -will, as the title suggests, contain images portraying my beloved Transylvania/Szeklerland in particular. At a recent visit home, I’ve had a luck to accompany my father up in the mountains to some solitary, almost forgotten villages, where, it may seem to a well-travelled eye, time stood by, where life flows slowly in its undisturbed, natural way, without any wordly disturbances, where basics are still much appreciated, and simpleness is sufficient to lead a calm, precious life. A lot of these villages are quite deserted also, its inhabitants being mostly elderly people, but surprisingly, there are some which show the handiwork of  fresh, young life too, nurturing a hope for the future…. Quite a lot of the houses, gardens, agricultural buildings, and infields, appear to be desolate, delapidated, but even so they show so much character, have so much soul, that one cannot but feel proud of what there’d been once and hope that there will be….

To convey all of what I’ve written about above, I used Lomo Effect (Photoshop Elements 11) with the following images, some of them with, some of them without vignette. I found this way of editing most appropriate for the ‘time stood by’ feeling. As if out of a movie…. Hope you’ll like the results.

The Flag (lomo effect)

The Szekler Flag/A székely zászló

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The Snail… and The Whorl

Last week, I entered this shot of a snail into a competition on Composition (in Photography). This final image you can see here has been cropped following the rule of thirds, placing the snail on one of the intersecting points on a visible/imaginary grid. I was really quite happy with this shot of mine and had high hopes of being one of the five winners of tickets to the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London (26th April – 12th May 2013). Unfortunately, I wasn’t successful… But you can check out the winning images here, as well as other images entered in the competition.

Snail (edited colour, rule of third, watermarked)

How do you like this image? And how about this next one of a rose (also cropped in so that the viewer’s attention is focused on the amazing whorl) ?

The Whorl, From Close (selective colour, crop, watermarked)

New Recipe, New Food Shot

I quite like seafood, so when I saw a recipe for spaghetti and mussels and beans (which I also quite like), I decided to make it. I have never bought or cooked live mussels, but this time was to be my first. I was a bit nervous about having to clean them, wasn’t sure if I knew how to do it properly, but eventually I quite enjoyed the process of scrubbing and de-bearding. And the meal that resulted was… very tasty. Recommend it!

Spaghetti with Mussels (edited)

Spaghetti with Mussels and White Beans

Find the recipe here.

Report on Nikon Training

Thank you wiolakk for pointing out that it’d be welcome if I gave a short report on how my training course, mentioned in one of my earlier posts, went on Tuesday.

In one word, it was kind of like a ‘revelation’. I’ve had my camera for over a year and a half now, but knew I wasn’t intirely familiar with its capabilities. I’ve overtaken this training to get myself more confident in my camera use, to learn/see my camera’s full potential, to meet other Nikon enthusiasts. And to my great content, the course ticked all these boxes for me. It dissected the technicalities of using a Nikon D5100, going through what all the buttons on the camera do, what the menu contains/features and controls, how photos can be improved in camera. I’ve never used the i (info) button before and now I know I will, from now on, always. Great shortcut to menu items/camera settings information! Also, I’ve learned about Metering, which for me was a big big question mark, AF basics, Picture Control, Active D Lighting, White Balance. There was a lot of information condensed in those hours (10.30am – 5pm), but these are the ones that stood out for me most.

Until now, I’ve only shot in and used JPEG. I was aware of RAW, but it was just a bit too ‘scary’ for me. From now on, following this course, I gained confidence in starting to shoot in RAW now. Because RAW provides highest possible image quality from captured data.

So hopefully, in the near future, you’ll all notice an improvement in the quality of my photos that I’m posting. 😉

But just to make sure, I have another course lined up, an online one on digital photography, that I’m going to try take in the next couple of months or so.

P.S. I’m attaching these two images I’ve taken at the training. Nothing special about them, except that these are my very first images shot in RAW & the very first time I was using Spot Metering.

CSC_0135

CSC_0137

Chocolate Mousse (in Egg Shells)

Continuing with some more food photography, this time I asked my mother to prepare a recipe I found in a UK magazine. Can be served in stylish ramekins/cups or as we did, for Easter, in eggshells.

What do you think?

Chocolate Mousse in Egg Shells (edited colour)

Chocolate Mousse in Egg Shells Take 2 (edited colour)

Serves 4-6 Preparation time: 15 mins plus time to chill.

Ingredients:

3 free range eggs, separated
200g (6 1/2oz) dark chocolate, chopped
185ml (6fl oz) double cream
2tbsp caster sugar

Method:

1. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of hot water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and gradually add the beaten yolks, mixing until smooth. Fold through the cream and stir until combined.
2. Whisk the egg whites with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and whisk briefly. Fold a little of the egg white mixture into the mousse to slacken it, then quickly and lightly fold in the remainder. Continue mixing until there are no streaks or pockets of egg white.
3. Pour the mixture equally into four ramekins or cups (or 12 egg shells), cover with cling film and chill in the refrigerator until firm.

For the eggshells
:

Place 12 empty eggshells in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 3 mins. Remove from the water and transfer to a rack to dry.

Enjoy!

Diptych, Triptych, Polyptych

When wiolakk gave a positive comment on my post Faces of a Child, she used a word I did not know until then: triptych. I became intrigued, so I looked it up. According to Oxford Dictionaries, a triptych is ‘a set of three associated artistic, literary, or musical works intended to be appreciated together…’ In the case of my post, it would be a photographic triptych, ‘a common style used in modern commercial artwork. The photographs usually arranged with a plain border between them. The work may consist of separate images that are variants on a theme, or may be one larger image split into three.’ (Source: wikipedia) There can also be diptych-es (two images) or polyptych-es (several images).

I really like what triptych-es represent, how they convey different angles of the same theme or object, how they tell a story, how they capture several close-knit moments in time, as opposed to one. I tried to create and experiment with this newly found form of art. Here’s some examples.

Still Life -A Diptych

Still Life (diptych)

Still Life -A Triptych

Still Life (triptych)

Still Life with Rose -A Triptych

Still Life with Rose (triptych)