Tuesday’s Tree – ep. 1

Green’s energy abounds

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re aware that I am a lover of trees and obsessed with a particular tree: the Yoga Tree.  Her strong beauty and vivid poses never cease to impress me, so I like to give her as much coverage as I can.  So how about a Tuesday’s Tree topic?

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Surveying the field

Of course, we’re starting with the Yoga Tree, but today from an angle that I don’t feature very often: a low view looking into the field that she keeps an ever-watchful eye on.

This image was from a beautiful July morning, when the sky was particular interesting as clouds were not lighted uniformly yet.  The scene is quite verdant and full of the promise of life’s boundless energy.

May your day be filled with similar energy!

Technical Details

This image was captured with an iPhone 5S using the standard Camera app.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Around the House

This doesn’t hold water

I’d like to kick off something new this week: a photo challenge, in which I’m asking you to participate, if you like.

Part of my reason for this new feature is that I want to work some new photography, some new excitement into my more routine work of landscape photography.  My inspiration for this comes from some of the recent posts by Instamatic Gratification and the discussion I have had with Caryn about her recent posts.  She mentioned that she was photographing some items around the house just to break out of a rut.

Therefore, I am starting this new series off with the topic ‘Around the House’.  Here’s my first image:

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Storage Facility

For those who’d like to participate in this weekly challenge, the rules are the following:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please use the tag #fpj-photo-challenge
  • Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week
  • Have fun creating something new!!

Let’s see where we can take this.

Technical Details

This photo was taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III using a EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.  Exposure was at f/9 and 1/60 second at 1600 ISO.

Lighthouses – Bass Harbor

A beacon for seafarers

Lighthouses are always great subjects for photography, as they often are located in picturesque locations and their architecture makes them stand out from their surroundings (intentionally).

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Bass Harbor Light

The lighthouse at Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island, Maine, sits on the rugged rocks on the southern tip of the island.  Of course, Mount Desert Island is best known as the home of Acadia National Park, which is a truly gorgeous park with lots of trails and easy access to many areas, including Cadillac Mountain.

This lighthouse dates back to the 19th century with the original monies for its construction being appropriated by Congress in 1855 and its construction completing in 1876.

On the day that we visited the area, it was nigh impossible to get a wider angle view of the lighthouse without a significant number of tourists in the shot, so I opted to frame the shot with the trees, which I think worked pretty well.

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III using an EF 24-105mm f/4 lens.  Exposure settings were 1/40 second at f/10 and 160 ISO.

Monday Food Fix – Pasta

Move over Marco Polo!

This week’s theme for the DailyPost Weekly Photo Challenge is Dinnertime, which ties in rather nicely with the Monday Food Fix.

How about some pasta for dinner?

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Basic Ingredients

History of Pasta

In the 1st century AD writings of Horace, lagana (Sing.: laganum) were fine sheets of fried dough and were an everyday foodstuff.  Writing in the 2nd century Athenaeus of Naucratis provides a recipe for lagana which he attributes to the 1st century Chrysippus of Tyana: sheets of dough made of wheat flour and the juice of crushed lettuce, then flavoured with spices and deep-fried in oil.  An early 5th century cookbook describes a dish called lagana that consisted of layers of dough with meat stuffing, a possible ancestor of modern-day lasagna. However, the method of cooking these sheets of dough does not correspond to our modern definition of either a fresh or dry pasta product, which only had similar basic ingredients and perhaps the shape.  The first concrete information concerning pasta products in Italy dates from the 13th or 14th century.

Historians have noted several lexical milestones relevant to pasta, none of which changes these basic characteristics. For example, the works of the 2nd century AD Greek physician Galen mention itrion, homogeneous compounds made of flour and water.  The Jerusalem Talmud records that itrium, a kind of boiled dough, was common in Palestine from the 3rd to 5th centuries AD, A dictionary compiled by the 9th century Arab physician and lexicographer Isho bar Ali defines itriyya, the Arabic cognate, as string-like shapes made of semolina and dried before cooking. The geographical text of Muhammad al-Idrisi, compiled for the Norman King of Sicily Roger II in 1154 mentions itriyya manufactured and exported from Norman Sicily:

West of Termini there is a delightful settlement called Trabia. Its ever-flowing streams propel a number of mills. Here there are huge buildings in the countryside where they make vast quantities of itriyya which is exported everywhere: to Calabria, to Muslim and Christian countries. Very many shiploads are sent.

Itriyya gives rise to trie in Italian, signifying long strips such as tagliatelle and trenette. One form of itriyya with a long history is laganum (plural lagana), which in Latin refers to a thin sheet of dough, and gives rise to Italian lasagna.

According to historians like Charles Perry, the Arabs adapted noodles for long journeys in the 5th century, the first written record of dry pasta. The dried pasta introduced was being produced in great quantities in Palermo at that time.

In North Africa, a food similar to pasta, known as couscous, has been eaten for centuries. However, it lacks the distinguishing malleable nature of pasta, couscous being more akin to droplets of dough. At first, dry pasta was a luxury item in Italy because of high labor costs; durum wheat semolina had to be kneaded for a long time.

There is a legend of Marco Polo importing pasta from China which originated with the Macaroni Journal, published by an association of food industries with the goal of promoting pasta in the United States. Rustichello da Pisa writes in his Travels that Marco Polo described a food similar to “lagana”. Jeffrey Steingarten asserts that Arabs introduced pasta in the Emirate of Sicily in the ninth century, mentioning also that traces of pasta have been found in ancient Greece and that Jane Grigson believed the Marco Polo story to have originated in the 1920s or 30s in an advertisement for a Canadian spaghetti company.

In Greek mythology, it is believed that the god Hephaestus invented a device that made strings of dough. This was the earliest reference to a pasta maker.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, dried pasta became popular for its easy storage. This allowed people to store pasta on ships when exploring the New World. A century later, pasta was present around the globe during the voyages of discovery.

The invention of the first tomato sauces dates from the late 18th century: the first written record of pasta with tomato sauce can be found in the 1790 cookbook L’Apicio Moderno by Roman chef Francesco Leonardi. Before tomato sauce was introduced, pasta was eaten dry with the fingers; the liquid sauce demanded the use of a fork.

History of manufacturing

Pasta manufacturing machines were made since the 1600s across the coast of Sanremo. The extrusion press produced large amounts of uniform pastas. The consistency of shapes and texture of the pasta manufactured by the extrusion press is believed to be superior to handmade pasta. This technology spread to other areas including Genoa, Apulia, Brindisi, Bari, and Tuscany. By 1867, Buitoni Company in Sansepolcro, Tuscany in the upper Tiber Valley became one of the most successful and well-known pasta manufacturers in the world.

Technical Details

This image was shot with my Canon EOS 5D Mk II with an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens.  Studio lights were used to get the specific look that I was after.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Dinnertime

Shot of the Week – vol 13

We’re all quackers!

A bit of a late post this week, as the day was absolutely gorgeous and the shot is from today…

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Working with Quackers!

Yes, folks, these are ducks that I photographed, as our youngest dog, Dora, was herding them!  Our youngest Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Dorothea Lange, enjoys herding, and, in addition to herding sheep, she also herds ducks.  In this photo, these are big ducks, which tend to keep their distance from Dora, and, therefore, are harder to herd than the smaller ducks, which are also called Call Ducks.

Dora has a lot of fun doing her herding, as she finds it a welcome break from agility, which is fun too, but none of the obstacles move on her 🙂

Technical Details

This image was captured with my iPhone 6S using the standard camera app.

Sunday Morning – Old Love

Relaxed and inspiring

Sunday’s are a great time to start the day off in a relaxed manner; set aside some time to watch a Premier League game, listen to some music, have breakfast, it’s all without any sense of rush.

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Old Beauty

As you saw a bit of the landscape of Skye earlier this week, I thought another vista might be welcome.  This island is just amazing and these landscape images are only a beginning of a much larger set that I have to capture some fine year.  It’s amazing to see how the view changes, as clouds move to cast shadows in different locations.  You can probably understand why I love these old (geological) formations.

As some of you may be aware, I’m also learning how to play guitar, which is a slow process that is highly rewarding in engaging the brain in a different manner and a great way to unwind from a day in the high technology world.  As I very much enjoy the blues, its expressive capabilities seemingly boundless, Eric Clapton is certainly among my all-time favorites.

That’s why this morning, I’m spending a little extra time listening to Old Love, a song from the Journeyman album.  This song was written by Eric and Robert Cray, inspired by Eric’s recent divorce from Pattie Boyd (the muse for Something, Layla and Wonderful Tonight); you can hear the pain in this song from the difficulty of letting go.  I’m adding this to my study list to see how well I can learn to play this.

Here’s Eric Clapton’s Old Love from his 24 nights at the Royal Alber Hall in 1990:

Hope you enjoy your Sunday!

WPC – Dinnertime

Warning: you may get hungry

This week’s theme for the DailyPost Weekly Photo Challenge is Dinnertime, which suits me just fine, albeit a bit restrictive, unless we all agree that we can have more than one dinner per day 🙂

Let’s start this week with some comfort food…

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Ready for dinner?

Pasta and cheese casseroles have been recorded as early as the 14th century in the Italian cookbook Liber de Coquina, one of the oldest medieval cookbooks, which featured a dish of parmesan and pasta. A cheese and pasta casserole known as makerouns was recorded in the famous medieval English cookbook, the Forme of Cury, which was also written in the 14th century. It was made with fresh, hand-cut pasta which was sandwiched between a mixture of melted butter and cheese. The recipe given (in Middle English) was “Take and make a thynne foyle of dowh. and kerve it on peces, and cast hem on boillyng water & seeþ it wele. take chese and grate it and butter cast bynethen and above as losyns. and serue forth.” (“Make a thin foil of dough and cut it in pieces. Put them in boiling in water and seethe them well. Grate cheese and add it with butter beneath and above as with losyns [a dish similar to lasagne], and serve.”)

The first modern recipe for the dish was included in cookery writer Elizabeth Raffald’s 1769 book, The Experienced English Housekeeper. Raffald’s recipe is for a Béchamel saucewith cheddar cheese—a Mornay sauce in French cooking—which is mixed with macaroni, sprinkled with Parmesan, and baked until bubbly and golden. The famous British Victorian cookbook Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management included two recipes for the dish. One recipe states that “The macaroni, (which should be “tender but perfectly firm, no part being allowed to melt, and the form entirely preserved” – lest one be tempted to cook it for so long it actually disintegrated) is then topped with more cheese, pepper and breadcrumbs, before receiving a final dose of melted butter for good measure and being placed before a “bright fire” to brown the crumbs, or grilled with a salamander broiler.

In the United Kingdom, during the 2010s, it has seen a surge in popularity, becoming widespread as a meal and as a side order in both fast food and upmarket restaurants

Now that you’re hungry…what is your favorite mac and cheese recipe?

Technical Details

This image was shot with my Canon EOS 5D Mk II with an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens.  Studio lights were used to get the specific look that I was after.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Dinnertime