Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

July 6, 2011

Morning and Afternoon

Blooms are busting out again here in my little corner of suburbia, and I thought I’d share them with you in a slightly different way.  I took some of these pictures around 5:00 in the afternoon yesterday and some of them this morning around 9:00.  I was curious to see how the light at different times of the day affected the color and look of the blooms.

It is turning out to be a banner year for hydrangea (Yay!!!!!).  I have two different varieties planted in my yard – forgive me for not knowing the names.
hydrangea

Purple hydrangea, 5pm

hydrangea

Purple hydrangea, 9 am.

hydrangea

Blue hydrangea, 5pm

 hydrangea

Blue hydrangea, 9 am

bee balm beginning to bloom

Bee balm, 5pm

bee balm

Bee balm, 9 am

Any thoughts on which you like better?  I think the morning light shows a “truer” view of the color.  I didn’t retouch any of these shots – all SOOC.

While I was playing, I tried the nifty-fifty on a few shots:
hydrangea

Hydrangea again – f4.5 with 50mm lens

fuchsia

Fuchsia – f3.2 with 50 mm

I mentioned in my Fireworks post, that I purchased a shutter release cable.  That seemed like a good excuse to bring the extension tubes out to play, no?

hydrangea macro

just-opening hydrangea with extension tubes
bee balm macro

Bee balm with extension tubes – kind of alienlike isn’t it?  Maybe it is really a triffid, Gerry!

Oh!  And it is assignment time over at Scott’s place again!  Click here to read about this month’s challenge to show scale (no not slimy alien scale! 😉 ) in your photos.

July 5, 2011

Mixed Berry Pie

Filed under: Recipes — Karma @ 10:29 am
Tags: , , , ,

Fresh raspberries

Remember all the strawberries Sarah and I picked last week?  The raspberries in my backyard have been ripening too.  Sarah goes outside faithfully each day and picks about this amount of berries at a time.  I started to wonder about what I could make with them.  Serendipitously, I received an email from Fine Cooking Magazine with a wonderful looking pie recipe and, on Twitter, I started noticing the hashtag #pieday popping up with some of the folks I follow.  Turns out it is also an event on Facebook. Today, July 5th, is #pieday.   I made this lovely recipe on Saturday, with a small adjustment. 

Click here to see Fine Cooking’s recipe.  The weather has been warm and wonderful (pretty much) here for the last few days.  I really wanted to make this pie, but I really didn’t want to roll out pie crust.  The rest of the recipe seemed simple and straightforward, so I looked for a short cut.  I noticed it was calling for a shortbread pastry recipe for the crust.  I thought, what about a shortbread cookie recipe?  I was thinking about a nice, easy, crumb recipe that you just press into the pie pan.  I found that here.  This worked fine BUT it was more buttery than I expected and it didn’t fill the whole pie pan.  Because of the butter content, it sort of melted down the side of the pan and formed a big cookie at the bottom of the pie plate…
cookie pie crust

…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Next, the fresh raspberries are sprinkled on top of the baked crust:
filling the pie crust

Blueberries get cooked with sugar and cornstarch to form a deep purple goo:

 hot berry pie filling

…and the strawberries are tossed in at the end.  Pour the hot berry goo on top of the raspberries in the pie crust:
pie filling

and refrigerate for 4 hours.  Final step is topping with whipped cream (yes, I whipped my own this time Scott) and sprinkling with berries:
finished pie

It was delicious and a perfect red, white and blue, Fourth of July weekend treat.

July 4, 2011

First Fireworks Try with the Rebel

Ever since I bought my first DSLR last summer (can you believe it has been almost a year already?), I’ve been wanting to try to take some fireworks pictures.  Since I bought it a week after July 4th last year, this weekend was my first opportunity.  I remembered that Scott did a blog post with some advice on how to take fireworks photos, which was great since I had no idea where to start.  I emailed Scott and he kindly found the link for me and invited me to ask questions if I had any – which I did!  I ended up purchasing a shutter release cable, and I am glad that I did. 

 I hadn’t been to a near-by town’s fireworks in many years, so I asked a few people for viewing and parking advice.  It turned out I couldn’t park exactly where was suggested, but we found a big open field which turned out to be a great spot for viewing.  My two daughters and older daughter’s boyfriend came along for the ride.  We had time to spare waiting for the show.  I tried to get a cute shot of three teenagers plugged in to their electronics while they waited:

 Waiting for the fireworks

I already had the camera on the tripod so I was trying to sneakily take the picture with no flash.  On “P” mode the camera selected a 13 sec. shutter speed, so I wasn’t so sneaky afterall!  I ended up with a ghostly vision of Meghan looking up from her iPod as if to say, “Really, Mother?”

Meghan was definitely in the spirit of the holiday though:
Patriotic toes

After the first firework went off, I did my best to position my camera for the part of the sky where the fireworks were coming up (over a stand of trees from our view) and focus for that general area.  I left the focus on manual so AF wasn’t trying to constantly adjust, set the shutter for Bulb and the aperture to f16, and connected my shutter release cable.  I remembered Scott saying to open the shutter when you hear the launching boom and hold it open for several seconds to catch several explosions.  I think I did most of mine at 3 to 5 seconds.  I couldn’t remember what Scott said to do when we got to the finale, so I ended up with WAY blown out shots when I tried.  I think my reaction time, thought process and instincts are still a little slow in the world of DSLR’s but I am mostly happy with my results for the Rebel’s first try at fireworks.  Here’s a little slide show of 16 (out of 138!) of my favorites:

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Happy Independence Day everyone!

July 2, 2011

STRAWBERRIES!

Filed under: Recipes — Karma @ 10:28 am
Tags: , , ,

IMG_5120

This past Wednesday, my younger daughter and I went strawberry picking at a local farm.  I wasn’t sure we’d still be able to pick since I thought the peak season was probably done, but we had no trouble filling this large tray.  I’d say we picked somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 pounds.  It was a great deal – an end of the season special.  They gave us the tray and said fill it as much as we could for $15. 

Beautiful and fresh, there is nothing like a just-picked strawberry:
IMG_5122

By Wednesday night, however, some of those berries were starting to smell not-so-fresh.  Probably one of the dangers of end-of-the-season picking.  I enlisted the help of both my girls, and we set to work “processing.”  I picked through the tray and set aside two containers of the biggest, firmest berries to keep for fresh eating.  Then, we took the rest and hulled and sliced.  I ended up with 3 containers of berries that I needed to decide how to use. 

Last night we had this again, and yesterday I decided to try jam making.  Do you remember when I made grape jelly in the fall?  It was quite the messy and complicated process.  I am happy to report that strawberry jam is much easier!

Mash the berries:
IMG_5135

(5 mashed cups – used up probably 10 fresh cups?)

Add 7 cups of sugar and one box of Sure Jell. Cook to a rolling boil.
IMG_5137

Fill 4 pint jars with wicked hot strawberry goo:
IMG_5138

Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool for 24 hours:
IMG_5139

I think that nifty-fifty lens did a lovely job with the late afternoon light on these jars, didn’t it?

24 hours later will be this afternoon, so I still haven’t tried my jam.  I’ll be happy to provide you with an update later.

  I’ve got one more container of sliced berries in the fridge – I’ve got another strawberry recipe I’m hoping to get to today that should help use some of them up.  I hope that you are enjoying your Fourth of July weekend and eating something delicious too.

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