When things get tough, you need to bring in the heavy artillery
Last week was pretty much a write off for me. My computer woes did not end with my last post. Two brand new hard drives later and several trips to the Richmond Apple Store lugging around that 27″ iMac, and a long call with the Apple Care people and… phew… finally. Good to go. While all of that was going on… a big yellow puppy, who shall remain nameless, decided to chew up the power cable for my iPad! We had words. Loud ones. And he spent some time in his kennel thinking about what he’d done. He got demoted from VP of Technology to working the phones doing technical support. If you called here and only heard heavy panting (or snoring) and the occasional “woof”, you were talking to Sam.
As frustrating as it all was, I know if the same thing had happened to my Dell, it would have been pure torture getting it sorted out, whereas Apple made it as painless as possible, given the circumstances.
The most painful part of the whole process was the multiple accidents on the highway every time I drove out to Richmond. I missed one genius appointment on one trip and on another, I barely made it in the store before they shut the doors for the night. A twenty minute trip turned into an hour both times.
On that particular night, I was driving into a gorgeous pink and orange sunset when we came to a crashing halt. I was at the end of my rope and just wanted to do a head bang into the steering wheel. Nothing was going right. Nothing. And then off in the distance I could see all the police and ambulance lights flashing and I realized ummmm… yeah… it could be worse.
So I decided there was really nothing I could do about my situation and that if I got to the Apple Store after they closed, my world would not end. And I sat on the East-West connector in stand still traffic, cranked the stereo while the sun set in all it’s pink glory in front of me, and watched the planes coming in to land at YVR and the farmers out in their cranberry fields harvesting to the last bits of daylight with the mountains in the background. And I figured I’m pretty luck to live here. Have you ever watched cranberries being harvested? It’s so beautiful… fields turned into giant seas of red.
This is a recipe that I have had for years. I have no idea where it came from. It’s in a little notebook that I started to keep my grade 8 home ec class recipes in. I had legible printing back then, apparently! But oddly enough, I don’t remember making these in home ec.
- 1¼ cup butter
- 2 cups sugar (white or brown will work)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- ¾ cup cocoa
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- cream the butter and sugar together till fluffy
- add eggs and vanilla and mix well
- sift or whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt
- add chocolate chips and stir in gently
- drop onto a greased cookie sheet (or use a silpat or parchment paper) by the tablespoon
- bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes
Food Photography Tips
The images were a change of pace for me and all of these photos were taken almost three weeks ago. I find cookies one of the most difficult things to photograph from a creative perspective. It’s hard to do something interesting with them without a lot of planning and thought and plain old inspiration.
I’ve also had a bit of a split personality lately, vacillating between light and dark. I knew I wanted to do something with autumn leaves, but at the time I shot these, there were precious few fall colours around. Sam and I actually took a walk with the purpose of collecting leaves. And Christina from Teenie Cakes did me a lovely favour and it came with some raffia that I knew would be great for what I had in mind. I didn’t totally execute it the way I’d hoped, but I came close enough!
Image 1 f/8.0, 50mm, 1/40, ISO500, no exposure compensation
Shot from overhead with a higher f-stop to keep the whole image in focus. I had two reflectors (see photos below) and the window behind me for all the whiteground photos (white background). Post processing was contrast and clarity adjustments and sharpening
Image 2 f/14, 50mm, 1/40, ISO2000, no exposure compensation
Also shot with a high f-stop to keep the image in focus (and a high ISO used so I could try and get away with it hand held – I didn’t have the space or tripod height to manage it differently). Post was a small crop, a little burning to the butter and its wrapper to tone down some of the brightness, some contrast and clarity adjustments and sharpening
Image 3 f/4.5, 100mm, 1/125, ISO500, no exposure compensation
I shifted to my macro lens for this and this is still a heavily cropped photo (the uncropped version was nice too but I really wanted to focus on the cocoa smudges on the little silver bowl. The rest was a manual white balance adjustment, contrast and clarity adjustments and sharpening
Image 4 f/3.5, 100mm, 1/250, ISO500, no exposure compensation
Image 5 f/8.0, 100mm, 1/60, ISO1000, no exposure compensation
Both of the last two images were again, standard contrast, clarity and sharpening. I did a small white balance adjustment on 4 and a small exposure adjustment on 5.
Here’s a few images of the setup of the baked cookies along with all my props. Very glamourous as you can tell, but at the same time, a lot of work goes into it and it’s proof that you CAN do it in a small kitchen with less than the most professional gear.