aperture, for real.

I find myself wanting to talk to you guys throughout the day. Even when I don’t have anything to say, I want to say something to you. I’ll find myself at work thinking, “I really want to write something on my blog right now!” But of course I can’t, and like I said, I don’t usually have anything important to say to you.

Anyway, moving on.

So way back in the day (like two weeks ago), I talked about some photography tricks I’d learned, and I recently found out that I was changing the exposure rather than the aperture on my camera. But the good news is, I learned how to change aperture for realz!

So in honor of my learnings, I took some pictures of my flowers for y’all.

Before we get started, here is a great article my photographer co-worker found on aperture. He said he even learned a few things that he didn’t know! Like for instance, where the F-stop system comes from.

Photos.

So this was taken with my camera at F8. My camera only goes from 2.8 to 8, which isn’t as large of a range as a DSLR or other fancies, but you can definitely tell the difference between the highest and the lowest.

With my camera at F8, you can see that the camera is focused on the flower in the foreground, but you can still see a fair amount of definition of the leaves in the background. Nice crisp picture.

So my lens only opened a little bit when I took that picture, which allowed for the crispness in the background. This is all about depth of field, which wikipedia can tell you all about.

I had a larger depth of field for that first picture due to the low aperture, so more of the picture was in focus.

On to a higher aperture (which is confusing, because it’s a lower number. Read that article to understand!)

This was at about F5.6, and you can tell already that the leaves in the background aren’t as in focus as they are in the first picture. I’m likin’ it.

Let’s move on to F2.

Ooooooh creeeeeeepy.

Not really, but isn’t it sweet? Much sweeter than what I thought aperture was. Live and learn guys, live and learn. And write about it on the internet. Just a little friendly advice.

And for your watching and listening enjoyment, an ant, crawling on some of my flowers blowing in the wind. That would be like standing on top of Mount Everest in a hurricane. Brave soul.

love,

me

blackberry cornbread deserves a photoshoot.

I have a bundle of yum to show you! And a TON of pictures. I heard Tracy from Shutterbean and Joy from Joy The Baker talking on their podcast about how they take pictures of their food, and they both said they take several pictures of each step in order to get the perfect shot.

So I took several pictures of the cornbread that I made this weekend for a cookout we went to. I got the recipe from Shutterbean, actually, so I’m all about them on this post!

Blackberry Cornbread  (click for original source)


First, you mix your dry ingredients.

do you have any idea how hard it is to pour and take a picture at the same time??

On to the wet. Put those all together too.

Yeah, that’s butter.  No shame.

too much stuff in the background here.

better pouring shot

virtually impossible to shoot.

Mix them all together despite their differences.

Take lots of pictures of your blackberries.

First blackberry shot: in the container

Second set of blackberry pics: orange mixing bowl.

third time’s a charm: blackberries in my berry bowl 🙂

Okay let’s stop here and look at the difference between the last two pictures. I thought that I didn’t have enough light in my kitchen, so I had the overhead kitchen light on for the ingredients. But when I turned the light off to photograph the blackberries, I realized that I had made a HUGE mistake. Well, not that huge, but it was pretty major in the realm of food photography. The second picture looks so much better. See the horrible yellow light in the background of the first one? Lesson learned.

It may just be a preference thing, but I love the darkness of this picture. I like bright pictures, but sometimes a good dark photograph does the trick.

Pour the dough you had your husband mix together while you were taking pics of the blackberries into a greased 8×8 baking dish.

I made two batches so I had two pans, and it was fun to take pictures of both of them.

Same pan here, but without the cutting board underneath it. Less clutter.

Purple pan! You might think this would look weird, I sure did, but (due to the darkness in my soul) I actually like this one.

Start throwing blackberries as hard as you can into the dough so that the impact makes them sink to the bottom. Or if you’re boring or have bad aim, you can place them on top and use your finger to press them down.

More berries in the dough. I have really good aim.

Bird-shot.

you have no idea how hard this was. i had to take the picture with my left hand. don’t know what i was thinking.

Sprinkle sugar all over the top.

i’m basically a pro by this point.

Guys, you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to take a picture of yourself doing something with your other hand. I need a stunt double.

Close.

Closer.

Jackpot.

Stick ’em in the oven.

I took pictures of them in the oven. Not the best idea if your oven looks like this.

Annnnd this is what my kitchen looked like afterward.

War zone.

Get over it. No one’s perfect.

Sorry, I’m getting defensive. I’m just trying to be honest with you guys!

Take amazingness out of the oven.

Okay, back to perfection. I do believe, however, that my sugar sprinkling skills were hampered by my attempts at capturing the sprinkling on film.

Little brighter this time.

Close up. I like close up shots. It makes me feel cool.

Another angle. I told you I took a lot of pictures! This isn’t even all of them, if you can believe it.

Moving on. Psych!

Oooh that’s a good shot. Looks like a beautiful blackberry cornbread landscape.

So happy, togetherrrr…..

Another picture almost exactly like the last one, you ask? Why, don’t mind if I do!

And now, for the grand finale. Strawberries for emphasis.

More to come. Many more to come.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Or are you just sick of all the pictures?

Step back for a moment.

Then head right back in for the kill.

Ok guys I have a lot more pictures I could show you, but for now I’m going to quit teasing you and give you the recipe for this goodness.

ingredients:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups blackberries

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease an 8 inch square baking dish. Mix and whisk cornmeal, flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix and whisk buttermilk, eggs and butter. Stir into the flour mixture. Spread the batter into your purple baking dish. Scatter 1 cup berries over top of the dough and press them into the batter until mostly submerged; scatter remaining berries on top. Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar. Try, just try, taking a picture of yourself doing it. Bake until golden around the edges and springy to touch, about 25- 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes or so. Serve warm or at room temperature. Graciously accept compliments for your excellent baking skills.

Oh, and I think I’ve misled you about what aperture is. I think what I was messing with on my camera was exposure, which apparently is different from aperture. Sheesh. But I think I like the real aperture even better than the fake aperture! So that’s good news. I have so much to learn though!

love,

me

oh p.s. what are your favorite pics?

justin beiber likes pulled pork tacos too!

So Justin Beiber and I were hanging out this weekend, and he mentioned these awesome slow-cooker pulled pork tacos that I made for us one time, so I decided I would make them again for my parents.

he dressed for the occasion

That’s my brother next to him, it was his 30th birthday, which is why we were all out to dinner together. We had a fabulous time.

This taco recipe is from Real Simple. My friend Katie made it for me a few months ago, and I have not served it to a person who disliked it.

oozing with confidence

Ingredients

  • 2 cups salsa, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • kosher salt
  • 1 2 1/2-pound boneless pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of excess fat (mine had a bone in it but I just took it out…)
  • 18 corn tortillas (I used flour too, it’s really a matter of preference)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

I got my meat from this awesome place right down the street from my house called Porter Road Butcher. If you live in Nashville, go there. They have a great selection of high quality meat, and the people who work there are super fun and want nothing more than to make their customers happy.

Directions

  • Combine salsa, chili powder, oregano, 1 tsp salt and cocoa powder in slow cooker, add pork and turn to coat. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours

i’ll take all of it, thanks.

  • 20 minutes before serving, shred the pork with two forks and stir into liquid. It should look as amazing as the above picture. Heat tortillas according to directions.
  • Serve with cilantro, sour cream, lime (don’t forget this, we did this time and I was so sad!), and more salsa. Die of happiness.

victory

Yes, they taste as good as they look. Guys, y’all really need to try these when you have people over that you need to impress. I know Justin was impressed.

P.S. I’m working on my food photography skills, and I feel like I’m learning a few things just by trying lots of different stuff and taking tons of pictures. I’ve also been messing around with iPhoto and have tried out a few enhancements. I’ll tell you more about them soon.

love,

me

east side pride and kitty neighbors

I am sitting outside of Starbucks in the morning breeze listening to a bird sing what sounds like an urgent song, using every tweet and chirp he has ever learned in his life. I hope he’s okay. He’s sitting on top of a telephone pole pacing, occasionally flying up for a second, and returning to continue his message. It’s almost as if he is trying to speak through the telephone receptors. He is on high alert! It’s amazing the noises they can produce. I wish I knew what he was saying. I would try to help him.

Anyway, I digress.

I went walking with my pup yesterday morning, and I decided to take my camera along to practice my mad photog skills on some of the adorable houses in my neighborhood. I have absolutely no idea what the best way is to take pictures of houses, so I just, well, I just kind of guessed.

No special camera effects, just an attempt to be a bit more intentional with my shots. Let’s see how we did.

If you don’t know where I live, I have a house in an “up-and-coming” part of Nashville called East Nashville, and it’s pretty hip. In fact, apparently Travel and Leisure ranked us one of the most hipster-friendly cities. No big.

I live in Lockeland Springs, which is, in my opinion, the most adorable part of East Nasty.

yeah, we have a sign. deal with it.

Most of the houses over here were built in the early 1900s, some of them even before. Many are in disrepair, but fortunately a lot of them are being restored to their former glory.

the colors, duke, the colors!

I actually looked at this house when I was hunting, and it was blue at the time. Built in 1899, this baby had a little too much “charm” for my taste and budget. But someone is obviously putting a lot of love into it, and I would love to see the finished product someday. Yeah, I’ll totally be that snooping neighbor.

do you see the fairy?

I also love the gardens in my neighborhood, they range from pristine to flourishing to veritable forest, and I adore them all. Can’t see the house very well but it too is adorable.

i just wanna play in it.

Isn’t it great how you can barely even see this house behind the gorgeousness? There are tons of gardens that slope down the hills of front yards, and the commitment that must be involved in those amazes me.

red door! look at the red door!

I mean…could you get any cuter. Is quainter a word? I’d like to request that it become one if not. Could you get any quainter. I sure couldn’t. And the fern. Love. Ugh I need to get one.

My neighborhood is also hip and cool because there are fun little restaurants peppered throughout.

do you know the muffin man?

Sweet 16th Bakery is literally right down the street from me, and although I must admit I don’t frequent it, I do appreciate its adorableness. Don’t even care if it’s a word. Even the color of the building makes me giddy! Love it.

gimme some

Okay, it may not be pretty, but it’s good, and the inside is as pizza shoppy as you can get. And they have gluten free pizza! Not that I care at all, but the sign says it. If I were gluten free I wouldn’t exist. Not hopping on that train anytime soon. Not that I don’t think it could be beneficial, but I live off of gluten.

ok, at least the sun is cool in this one.

So I’m pretty sure I will never stay here, but I still think it’s awesome. A bed and breakfast right down the street from me! Not to mention it’s across from Italia. Top O’ Woodland, they call it, and I just want to peek inside sometime. It looks scary from the windows. I’m sure it’s great.

gorgeous. just stunning.

Okay straying from the theme for a second, but I’ve decided that one cannot be too hip without being a bit ghetto, as well. Once the ghetto is gone, the yuppies come. So I even appreciate my 4 Stop Market. Not just because the guy at the counter said surely I couldn’t be old enough to buy beer! Ssstop it….

(disclaimer: I was not buying beer before work yesterday morning. This was on a completely separate, appropriately timed occasion.)

need i say more

And oh yeah, there’s The Lipstick Lounge. Why of course I’ll take you there when you visit me! We can dance the night away. But wait, what lies only yards away from the LL and the 4 Stop Market?

secret garden

Don’t you just want to live here?? I do, but I also don’t mind living here:

disregard the sign behind us.

Wait, that’s not me yet. I just couldn’t help myself. These are my kitty neighbors, and I want to steal them. Actually these are three of like seventy.

don’t worry i’ll guard you!

This is us! Home sweet home. And Ayda sweet Ayda. Who could ask for anything more? Well, I could use some ferns.

love,

me