Eating Our Way Through Victoria!

Hi Folks!

Well, on this one night of the year where perhaps more candy is consumed by more people than any other night, we have two restaurants to share with you from this past month.  Both are places we’ve been meaning to go to for some time… Continue Reading →

Photo of the Month – October

Hi Folks:

End of the month again, and while Hallowe’en is tomorrow, I’m not going to post pictures of zombies, ghouls, ghosts or other Hallowe’en characters.  I thought I’d mention something else entirely: serendipity.  Roughly defined as a ‘happy accident’, serendipity from a photographer’s perspective often comes about from having a camera at just the right moment, to capture something you might otherwise have missed.  Most of my photography is landscape work, and while I do go out on photographic expeditions, I usually have a camera with me wherever I go – even if it’s just the camera in my cell phone. Continue Reading →

Using the LR/Enfuse plugin for Lightroom

Hi Folks:

There was a question on Twitter today asking people about their favourite Lightroom plugin.  While I have a few that I use (including Jeffrey Friedl’s export plugin for Flickr), one of the plugins I use the most is the LR/Enfuse plugin from Timothy Armes.  In essence the LR/Enfuse plugin allows you to combine multiple exposures into one image, and I use it in three different ways: Continue Reading →

Eating Our Way Through Victoria, and…

Hi Folks:

September was a pretty busy month for us in terms of food – and when I was at the Bengal Lounge at the Empress Hotel the other night I remembered I hadn’t written that blog post yet.  So, without further ado…

Nando’s
Nando’s restaurant in Victoria is on the NW corner of Pandora and Government streets, across from Centennial Square.  One quick note: while there is an emergency exit door on Pandora, one can’t enter that way.  The main entrance is around on the Government St. side.  A note in the window would help, as we redirected several parties while we were there.  Nando’s is one of those places where the aromas enticed us every time we passed, but we’d never gotten around to trying.  So we did.  The essence of Nando’s is ‘Peri-Peri chicken’, reportedly a centuries-old collaboration between Portugese sailors and their discovery of the East African Bird’s Eye Chilli.  The chicken is marinated for 24 hours and then slow-roasted over an open flame.  It’s hard to describe the atmosphere at Nando’s – more upscale (and healthier) than a fast-food restaurant, but one orders from the menu at the counter and the food is brought out to your table.  Take-out service is also available.  One can choose the level of ‘spice’ desired, from Mild-Medium-Hot to Extra Hot.  We decided on Medium, which Marcia was quite pleased with, and I took advantage of some of the hot sauces on the table.  As sides there are rice, potatoes, salads and vegetables.  The food is tasty, and while the server did come by our table once to see how we were doing, we were essentially abandoned at that point and I had to bring what was left back to the counter in order to have it wrapped for home.  In keeping with our policy of only writing about places we would visit again, this one makes the cut on the strength of the flavours.

In the middle of September we took the ferry over to Saltspring Island in order to take in the Saturday Farmer’s Market and also the Saltspring Fall Fair.  Both were wonderful; it’s been some time since either of us have been to a traditional fall fair, and the freshly made Aeropress coffee we discovered at the market was worth the wait.  We picked up some organic apples and veggies, and a taste of a Blizzard cookie sample brought us back to buy a whole one.  We had intended to go to Auntie Pesto’s Café in Ganges for a late lunch, but by the time we arrived at 3:00 we were told they were closed – quite simply because they’d run out of food.  That’s either bad planning or a serious recommendation; we’ll go with the latter and try them the next time (when the Fall Fair isn’t on!)  As an alternate we went to the Tree House Café instead.

The Tree House Café is not (to my secret disappointment) a restaurant built off the ground in a tree, but it is essentially an indoor/outdoor patio with a tree growing up through the middle of it.  Quite fun, actually.  We had a table right beside the trunk of the tree, which was handy when the rain began to fall as the leaves kept us ‘mostly’ dry.  We loved the eclectic atmosphere (so typical of Saltspring – if “typical eccentricity” is even possible) and the made-to-order lunch menu, and will definitely go again.  Maybe next time we’ll go for dinner and take in the live music on offer.

Back in Victoria, a friend invited me to dinner in exchange for some help.  We went first to Santé Gluten-Free Café on Quadra, but they were closing within 20 minutes of our arrival. Another one for the list; so many restaurants, so little time…!  Instead we went to My Thai Café on Cook Street.  A little ‘hole in the wall’ family restaurant, don’t let this dissuade you.  The food here is very good.  Again my friend and I went for ‘Medium’ on the heat level, and it was just about as much as she could stand.  If you can take the heat, they can definitely dish it out!  We’ve been to a few Thai food restaurants in Victoria and would recommend this one.

And finally, another place on our list of ‘must-dos’ was ‘Habit Coffee‘ in the Atrium at the corner of Yates and Blanshard.  They have a second location on Pandora in Chinatown but we haven’t yet been there.  We’ve been to a number of excellent coffee shops in Victoria, each one unique.  The atmosphere at Habit is definitely more urban, with a modern, industrial look.  They do make excellent coffee, and they’re serious about sustainability with everything from composting to CFL light bulb recycling and reclaimed wood used in construction.  They have a ‘Sustainability’ page on their website that explains more ways they’re going ‘green’.  Being in a building that’s targeting LEED Gold, perhaps it’s not surprising.  They also have healthy cookies and other delicious treats available.  Next time we’ll have to check out Zambri’s restaurant next door…

Okay, that’s it for now.  Wherever and whatever you’re eating today, remember to take the time to celebrate the food, the company and the very act of eating.

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. You can read more of our Food posts and restaurant reviews here.

Do You Manipulate Your Images?

Hi Folks:

A few years ago photographer Alain Briot did an article for the Luminous Landscape titled, “Just Say Yes” as a way of answering this question.  The thing of it is, the answer is ‘yes’ for everyone, but a lot of people don’t seem to think so.  Thought I’d write a short (for me) blog post about it.  To begin with, we’d best get that word ‘manipulate‘ out of the way.  From Dictionary.com:

ma·nip·u·late

[muh-nip-yuh-leyt]
verb (used with object), -lat·ed, -lat·ing.

  1. to manage or influence skillfully, especially in an unfair manner: to manipulate people’s feelings.
  2. to handle, manage, or use, especially with skill, in some process of treatment or performance: to manipulate a large tractor.
  3. to adapt or change (accounts, figures, etc.) to suit one’s purpose or advantage.
  4. Medicine/Medical . to examine or treat by skillful use of the hands, as in palpation, reduction of dislocations, or changing the position of a fetus.

See, that’s not so bad.  If you asked the average photographer whether or not s/he is able to ‘handle, manage, or use‘ his or her camera, ‘especially with skill‘, I don’t think they’d take offense.  Still, somewhere along the way the idea of manipulating one’s images has taken a wrong turn.  There are a couple of reasons for this, I think.  One is the general idea that photographs (unlike paintings or drawings) represent ‘reality’.  If a photograph is seen not to represent some form of reality, people can take offense to this.  The other is that programs like Photoshop allow those with the skill to create graphic manipulations that have no bearing on ‘reality’ at all. Continue Reading →

Photo of the Month – September

Hi Folks:

One of the basic tenets in photography is that every image has to stand on its own merit – as the saying goes, “Nobody cares what you went through to make that photograph.”  Still, I’m reasonably proud of the image below because of the circumstances in which it was made.

About the middle of September Marcia and I took the ferry over to Saltspring Island to take in the market and the Fall Fair, and we caught a late afternoon ferry to return.  There was a storm brewing, so, fool that I am, rather than being safely ensconced in the cabin I was out on deck making photographs of the clouds.  This image is a panorama stitched together from 19 images, shot handheld on a moving ferry.  The 19 images were stitched together in Autopano Pro, and the final image was pushed around a bit in Lightroom.  I trust you’ll enjoy it!

Now go out and make some photographs!

Mike.

Saltspring Island Storm Clouds

Saltspring Island Storm Clouds