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Happy Pi Day!!

Hi Folks:

It’s that time of the year (3-14) where we get to celebrate all things irrational, and so as we’ve done for several years now we thought we’d add a recipe or two. Mike’s Auntie Dona – at various stages in her life – ran a bakery, a restaurant, a catering service for several small airlines, and a cooking school. She was also quite a character. Wherever she is now, she likely has flour in her hair. These recipes are hers.

In case pastry has become your bête noire, here’s the one I used in the bakery and still do.

5 cups flour, 1 lb. lard, 1 tsp. salt… blend with pastry blender. Break 1 egg into a cup, beat and fill with water. Add to flour and stir and knead until it’s ready to handle. Seeing as how you’ve got that great lump of pastry there, make a pie or two, some butter tarts, turnovers (apple pie filling, zipped up with cinnamon and a few raisins) or raisin squares or just bake the shells and store them on a shelf. They’ll stay good for ages.

Now about those butter tarts. This recipe I gleaned from an old Mennonite cookbook and have used constantly over the years. Surprise, no butter in butter tarts.

Dona’s stolen recipe for butter tart filling

2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 cup brown sugar, handful of raisins. Beat the hell out of the eggs with your balloon whisk. If you don’t have one, stop right now and go and get one. I mean, really. Then put in the sugar and beat until you have big glutinous bubbles on top. Add your vanilla and raisins, put in tart shells and bake. Do use a 2-lb jam can to cut out your tart shells, 4-lb size for turnovers. Don’t bake butter tarts or anything with an egg base in a high oven. 325° at the most. I find 325 is best for these as a nice crust will form and they look beauteous. Gravy ladle fills the easiest. The amount makes 1 dozen.

So there you go. Have some fun with it! And since you have pastry dough left over, maybe put together a pumpkin or lemon pie or something. Check our Food section for more recipes.

Hugs,
M&M

An HDR Comparison

Hi Folks:

When you mention the term HDR, many people’s thoughts automatically jump to tonemapping and the results that can produce. That’s not what this post is about. If you don’t understand what HDR is all about or why you might want to use it in your photography, I suggest starting here: Why Use HDR? I’ll wait…

Okay, welcome back. I recently acquired a Sony A7R III and one of the features of this camera is that it has a very wide dynamic range – 12 to 14 stops are claimed. To that end, HDR capture with this camera isn’t often necessary. However, a friend of mine and I were out at Victoria’s famous Butchart Gardens last weekend and I wanted to try bracketing a few exposures just to see. Now, when it comes to the question of how many exposures to make and at what EV levels, there’s really only one answer: it depends. It depends on the scene and it also depends on the camera you’re using and what capabilities it has. For my experiment I decided to shoot 5 bracketed exposures at -4/-2/0/+2/+4 EV. Here’s an example of one of those combined images after having been pushed around a bit in Lr.

Water Dragon
Continue reading “An HDR Comparison

Happy Bearthday!

Hi Folks:

The earth is 4.5 billion years old, and life appeared 3.8 billion years ago. Compress those into one year, and today is life’s bearthday! So, Happy Birthday to us!! Go out and celebrate!!

Dallas Road Sunset

Holland Point, Dallas Road, Victoria – photo by Marcia

Hugs,
M&M

Now, on Leap Years…🤔

The Five Love Languages

Hi Folks:

At one of our hugging sessions last summer, one person who stopped to speak with us asked if we were familiar with the five love languages. We weren’t, but we were thinking French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish … However, that’s not to what he was referring. Instead, he was referencing the book written by Gary Chapman, “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts“.

In essence the five love languages are:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch

Hugging ticks several of those boxes. 🙂 If you’re interested in learning more about what Gary has to offer, check out the link above!

Hugs,
M&M

Bogey and Pretty Eyes

It's Random Acts of Kindness Week!!

Hi Folks:

Yesterday marked the beginning of Random Acts of Kindness week, so of course we went out hugging!! The credit for the saying goes to Anne Herbert, who in 1985 suggested committing “random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” in her book, “Compassion 101.” Since then the idea has taken on a life of its own, but it needs all of us to keep it alive! It need not be difficult or complicated. Kindness is always a good idea! However, if you’re looking for some ideas, be sure to check out the Random Acts of Kindness.org site and their sister site, PassitOn.com. Great stories and resources, including kindness kits for teachers, can also be found at the Ripple Kindness Project site.

Take the opportunity to be kind today! And tomorrow. And… you might just find it growing on you. As for our continuing hugging adventures, so far this year we’ve shared hugs with Ambassadors from 12 countries (this is our 10th year; so far we’ve hugged people from at least 82 countries in total) and yesterday we shared our first hugs with visitors from Canada’s Nunavut territory! They didn’t seem to mind the absence of -50°C temperatures. 🙂

Hugs,
M&M

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Hugging 2019... Tempus Fugit!!

Hi Folks:

Hugging 2019

Believe it or not, we started this post over a month ago, and it’s already February 3rd. So much for our “Welcoming 2019” title! Ah well… Continue reading “Hugging 2019… Tempus Fugit!!

City of Angels

Hi Folks:

On most evenings, around sunset, you’ll see groups of people gathered along the Dallas Road walkway that runs along the south shore of Victoria. Every sunrise and every sunset is unique, but sometimes the Earth just outdoes herself. This was January 24, 2019, at Holland Point.

Marcia’s image first. This is a composite of 10 cell phone images, joined up with Autopano Pro and pushed around a bit in Lightroom.

City of Angels 1

Mike recently received a new Sony A7RIII camera and has been playing with it a bit. Three images here, at different focal lengths:

City of Angels 2

57mm

City of Angels 3

24mm

City of Angels 4

12mm

Obviously, the sky and the ocean deserve most of the credit here. Okay, that’s it. Now go out and make some photographs!

Hugs,

M&M

2018: A Photography Retrospective

Hi Folks:

As we close out 2018, many photographers choose to offer their best 10 or 12 images of the year. We did something similar with our 2019 Photo Calendars post, but we wanted to offer our favourite images from the year as well. Perhaps not coincidentally, they were both featured in our upcoming calendar.

Marcia’s first:
Dew DropsVictoria is known as the city of flowers, and Marcia loves to do flower macros. The timing on this one allowed her to capture some of the morning’s moisture as well, and if you look in the spheres you can see continuing reflections of the flowers!

And Mike’s:
Coquihalla RiverThis is a composite image of 30 images, made on the trail near the Othello Tunnels outside of Hope, BC. Fortunately it was a relatively windless day, so the images stacked together added to the sense of flow in the water without too much movement in the leaves on shore.

Creating a retrospective is a worthwhile exercise for every photographer. We went through over 12,000 images to choose the 12 for our calendar images! With digital it’s easy to shoot a thousand images a day, but how many of them are your best work?

Now go out and make some images!

Hugs,
M&M

Happy Holidays!!

Hi Folks:

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Festivus, Solstice or Saturnalia, the arrival of Sinterklaas or Grandfather Frost, Hanukkah, Mawlid Un Nabi, Kwanzaa or something entirely personal, we send you love. Create an amazing 2019!!


(Merry or Happy Christmas In Different Languages 🙂 )

2018 Christmas card

2019 Photo Calendars

Hi Folks:

This is the ninth year now that we’ve made our MS Word photo calendar templates available, and as with the past several years, we’ve also created a series of templates and calendar images you can use with Lightroom or other graphics software. As we’ve done before we’ve also added a full-page calendar option, below. 

I created a template in MS Word that allows people who don’t have Photoshop, Lightroom or the equivalent to make their own photo calendars, so we’ll cover that first; the Lightroom stuff is below that. I used MS Word 2016 to make the template, but saved it as both a Word 2016 file and a Word 97-2003 compatible file. Basically it’s a series of tables, one for each month, that look something like this:

Continue reading “2019 Photo Calendars