Into 2017

But first what did we learn in 2016?

Your sourdough bread is only as good as your starter, I thought mine had died (although I have read that’s not possible) but it was a miserable, vinegary smelly liquid when I neglected to feed it. However equal quantities of rye and white flour plus their combined weight in water every day for three days had her back on her feet again, and the bread (imho) is looking good.

Choose a recipe/method and stick to it and make it over and over until you have a consistent result, don’t flit from one to another always looking for the one that “works best”

Get books! because whilst scrolling through infinite websites/blogs is good, sitting down and looking through books is sometimes a better idea (and better for your eyes too) I got some great books in 2016.

_nch9805

And I did finally get to join SERV as a blood biker.

Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers is the full title and basically we collect and deliver essential supplies by motorcycle to hospitals and the National Blood Bank out of hours 7pm – 6am (365 days a year) the purpose to support the NHS and keep ambulances and paramedics on the front line.

It can be blood and blood products plasma, platelets but also samples, medical records, X-rays, spinal fluids even surgical equipment, we never know who it’s for but often the calls are very urgent and bikes are more effective in traffic.

Here is a link with more information and one of a number of videos outlining our duties and service to the community.

http://www.serv.org.uk/site/

..and it’s been going a while

More to come

 

Advertisements

Creating mood

So another Eurovision song contest comes and goes and the Scandi fever can subside at least for a year, it would have been a bit much if Sweden had won (was a good song mind) having hosted it last year oh goodness me was it really 40 years ago that ABBA won …etc etc

A couple of fun shots recently made with a couple of chefs illustrating how you can change the mood of a photo with light, expression and some attitude. In addition to the energy and personality of the subject in a photo it has been said that sometimes it’s not what you light in a photo it’s what you don’t light and a closer study of the portfolios of masters such as Gregory Heisler and Dan Winters illustrate this point to the max. Shadows are most definitely your friends.
In fact a photographer can make you look any way he/she wants just with a few adjustments of lights, hands up who as a kid has ever held a torch under your chin in the dark and laughed at the ghoulish image! Yes under normal circumstances faces don’t look great lit from below.
These pictures below were all shot with basically the same lighting which was 2 flashheads to the left of the scene bouncing their light off a big white sheet hanging between 2 trolleys, very simple. A reflector was positioned or removed on the right hand side as needed.

Bread rolls and beer

I used beer instead of water in the dough for these rolls but the thing is the beer here from the supermarket is limited to a maximum of 3.5% alcohol so it doesn’t taste that beery, it looks like real beer but the taste is a bit on the watery side if you want to learn more about alcohol in Sweden…this from Wiki:

Sweden has a government alcohol monopoly called Systembolaget for sale of all beverages stronger than 3.5% by volume. Minimum purchase age at Systembolaget is 20 years, but 18 at restaurants and bars with proper permission.
Beer is legally divided into three classes. Class I (maximum 2.25%), called lättöl (“light beer”), is sold without restrictions (although shops often set their own age restrictions). Class II (up to 3.5%), called folköl (“people’s beer”), is sold in regular stores, but with the minimum purchase age of 18. Class III, starköl (“strong beer”, over 3.5%) is sold only in Systembolaget stores.
Here is some Guiness at 3.5% and another supermarket beer, I like the bit where it says “same great taste as the pub” never-the-less the rolls tasted great!

The Spring Equinox

 Like every year at this time on a clear moonlit night they gathered around the stones and waited

…and like every year nothing happened! sorry chaps it’s just a photo!
Today it’s the Spring Equinox at least according to Julius Caesar when he created his calendar back in 45 BC. In loose terms (according to some) it’s when the day and night are of equal length although today, here in Sweden however it means another rainy day as far as I have seen.
But we do have some Daffodils in the garden threatening to come out and the shrubbery is also looking about ready to green up. So this weekend will be the first official gardening weekend and no doubt the neighbour hood will be alive with the buzz of electric garden tools and the chug-chug-phut of poorly maintained mowers. Happy spring!

Comparing apples to apples and the difference between dark and light

Sounds heavy eh? bear with me…

Here’s the apples to apples bit, two shots I made yesterday of the same subject from two different angles, different lens’s as well. Who can guess how the lighting set up was, in other words what kind of light did I use and how many and where were they placed?

 
And now the dark and light, I was looking at notable blogs and came across this one which had great photography in fact it won the Saveur best food blog 2013 in the photography category, called vkreesphotography.com it is a food blog by Vanessa Rees who is in Brooklyn USA and what particularly caught my eye was two of the sections in her portfolio called dark food and light food, on closer inspection it turns out it’s the overall colour key of the image so more dark in the picture especially background is dark food, and lighter background equals light food right?
I have included two screenshot examples from her excellent portfolio below to illustrate the point.

Photo credit: VK REES PHOTOGRAPHY

Photo credit: VK REES PHOTOGRAPHY

Check out her blog and photography portfolio here vkreesphotography.com

Sunny but cold

That’s how the weather man would describe today’s weather, it was as we say “fresh” on the beach this morning and the sea is still frozen out as far as the eye can see.
Good day for staying in, Maggie has taken to the newest creations from Hawkes’ Hounds (more on that here) and now hides amongst them when I get a camera out.

The subject of my still-life project today was these rather lovely wooden table boards, not sure what the official name is here but they are used as sideplates and the spade-like spoony looking things are used to spread butter, really nicely made and from not far from us along the coast in Trelleborg the manufacturer is a chap called Bengt Åkesson
I used a technique to light this picture which simulates dappled sunlight which is something we are particularly looking forward to around these parts!

…and finally

If you arrived here looking for my http://www.nickhawkesphotography.com site I have put that site hosted by livebooks on hold for the moment and re-directed the URL to here. 
Still plenty of pictures to see on my Flickr page too.

A long time ago

My special guest on the blog today is someone who influenced me when taking this picture below, a painter, from Spain, his name is Juan Sánchez Cotán. Any of you interested in still life will no doubt be familiar with his name.
Click on this image to view on black background.

He was born in 1560 in the town of Orgaz, near Toledo, Spain. Cotán began by painting altarpieces and religious works. For approximately twenty years, he pursued a successful career in Toledo as an artist, patronized by the city’s aristocracy, painting religious scenes, portraits and still lifes. These paintings found a receptive audience among the educated intellectuals of Toledo society. He executed his notable still lifes around the beginning of the seventeenth century, before the end of his secular life. An example (below) is Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber (painted in 1602, and now in the San Diego Museum of Art).

On August 10, 1603, Sánchez Cotán , then in his forties, closed up his workshop at Toledo to renounce the world and enter the Carthusian monastery Santa Maria de El Paular. He continued his career painting religious works with singular mysticism. In 1612 he was sent to the Granada Charterhouse, he decided to become a monk, and in the following year he entered the Carthusian monastery at Granada as a laybrother.

His style and the aspect I particularly like…

Sánchez Cotán established the prototype of the Spanish still life, called a bodegón, composed mainly of vegetables. Characteristically, he depicted a few simple fruits or vegetables, some of which hang from a fine string at different levels while others sit on a ledge or window. The forms stand out with an almost geometric clarity against a dark background. This orchestration of still life in direct sunlight against impenetrable darkness is the hallmark of early Spanish still life painting. Each form is scrutinized with such intensity that the pictures take on a mystical quality, and the reality of things is intensified to a degree that no other seventeenth-century painter would surpass.

He depicted few artifacts, other than the strings from which vegetables and fruits dangle, this being the common means in the seventeenth century of preventing food and vegetables from rotting. Even if the objects are arranged so that they seem close enough to touch, they are nevertheless distanced. For all the realism with which they are depicted, the isolation of each object, heightened further by the black background, lends them a monumental, almost sculptural gravity.

Juan Sánchez Cotán ended his days universally loved and regarded as a saint. He died in 1627 in Granada.