Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Light Graffiti, Take 2...

OK, this is ridiculous. I'm having too much fun with this technique and starting to get the hang of it. Next step: grab a tripod and take the show outside...

Click 'em to embiggen 'em.


YouTube Tuesday: AC/DC Excel

Someone has too much time on their hands...but I really like it. Get back to creating my TPS reports and stop wasting time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

OMG...new photography obsession...

Light graffiti. The concept is simple:

Go to a dark spot, crank your aperture as wide as it will go, set the shutter REALLY slow, "paint" with any source of light you want like an LED flashlight, mobile phone, etc. and create graffiti with light...and Bob's your uncle (Google that).

These are 5 of the 1st 7 shots I took...I still have no clue what I'm doing; Google "light graffiti" and be blown away by what others are doing. The settings on all photos are within a stop of these settings and the conditions were:

10-second exposure
27mm focal length
Auto ISO (I f'd that up...should have cranked it down to 200 to keep the obvious noise out of the photo)
LED flashlight
Pure darkness in the room

I can't talk...I'm too busy working up ideas...look at these...be inspired...

(as always, click photo to embiggen them to actual size)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A-Z Project: A is for APPLES

Well, here we go.

It's deep into fall, here in the PNW (Pacific Northwest, if you're not in the know) and I actually think it's fall everywhere else in the Northern hemisphere, though I never knew it for the last 9 years living in SoCal where it's perpetually stuck somewhere between late spring and early fall year-round. The leaves are setting a spectacular backdrop of red, yellow, green and orange across the azure sky as the cool fall breeze sets them in motion and the technicolor leaves flutter to the ground and create a blanket of color just waiting to be raked up and jumped in. Yeah, I dig fall in case you didn't read between the lines over the last couple sentences.

What says fall in the PNW more perfectly than apples? Nothing. So, we're using them as the 1st ingredient. It is low hanging fruit and I could have gone with asparagus or arctic char or artichokes? Sure, but apples are way cooler and more versatile and I like cooking with them so there. After seeing Bittman's podcast devoted to scones a couple weeks ago and then stumbling onto this recipe I decided it was a sign that scones were the delivery vehicle for the 1st ingredient in the project.

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and was instantly intrigued: apples and cheddar cheese in a scone? It was sort of a freakshow which means you just have to check it out and I'm glad I did. I followed the recipe pretty much as-is (it's baking, after all) but my big substitute was for Beecher's Flagship as the cheese. Again, we're in the PNW so let's use local ingredients as much as possible; you will undoubtedly see this cheese again before the end of this project as I fell madly in love with it the first time I tried it. I also used whole wheat flour (eh, wish I used all purpose instead) and opted for the goldencrisp apples we just picked up over the go-to cooking apple the Granny Smith.

How were they? Awesome. The savory from the cheese, the sweet from the sugar and the apple, the tartness, it really worked. I'm not a baker (more a candlestick maker, myself) and I don't know how much I'll be baking throughout this project but these were a big success.

So, it's on to B. No clue what I'm doing just yet but there are some good ideas floating around that I'm looking at. There are still some kinks in the process, the kitchen is a total PITA for taking photos with the incandescent lighting and other little things I'd like to work on but I'll probably get it all nailed down by Q maybe M if I'm lucky.


Friday, October 22, 2010


So, I didn't used to really enjoy food all that much. I ate plain things and not a wide variety of foods; cheese pizza, chicken fingers and really anything chicken were all I'd want to eat. I'm still a bit picky (some stuff I just can't do) and I still really love cheese pizza over most (that's a whole other blog post) but I've recently in the last couple years truly started expanding my culinary horizons and it's been great. What I'll eat now is so vast compared to say even 5 years ago and it never ceases to surprise friends and family what I'll order or even what I'll cook for dinner; it ain't chicken fingers, that's for sure. Most of all, I enjoy the art of cooking and cuisine. I don't eat out all that often but when I do I'd rather treat myself to something special and experience true artisans doing what they do best: create delicious, beautiful, edible art. Cue SRW.

This week started Seattle Restaurant Week and I'm stoked. There are 100 restaurants participating and they are some of the finest restaurants to experience in Seattle; Chili's, Claim Jumper and P.F Chang's aren't gonna make the cut. Several of the locations offer 3-course lunch menus for $15 while all of them offer $25 3-course dinner menus that showcase the chef's talents and the cuisine that you can experience there at any time. Really, it's just a big marketing event but it is brilliant and wildly successful for the restaurants and patrons. The opportunity to eat at these world class restaurants and sample a full 3-course meal for a price that in most cases is probably 50% less than what you should be paying is awesome. They get you hooked on coming back, you get a cheap(er) meal that's out of this world and it opens your eyes and palette to truly brilliant cuisine from some of the world's most talented and recognized chefs.

Sadly, I'm low on funds right now so my being able to eat at a new place every night ain't gonna happen this time around but I will get to sample a couple places. Yesterday I went with my good friend Amy to The Pink Door down near the Market for lunch and it was incredible. Their lasagna cannot be described; it is fantastic as was the eggplant relish with Marcona almonds. YUM.

If you're here in the Seattle area you owe it to yourself to go check it out before it's done; it's worth every penny. I guess there's a 2nd SRW in the spring that I am setting my sights on and saving up the funds so I can sample many of the restaurants that I've had on my list to try for quite some time now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Dungeness Crab Spaghetti from Del Posto

Here's a cool video of the entire process of making the Dungeness Crab Spaghetti at Del Postro. It's strangely fascinating and I'd very much like to try this dish when I someday make it to Del Postro.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let's Cook From A-Z, Shall We?

This should be fun.

I love to cook. I love gimmicks. I'm a crafty, creative mofo, far more than my choice of occupation would lead you to believe. With that said, I have a fun new project I'm embarking on.

I will be cooking a main dish (or side dish, which will really be the showcase item) from A to Z, in order. I'm not going to cheat and serve 3 items and knock 3 letters off the list at a time because that's just lame. Some letters will be a bitch but I'll make it work, trust me. It's going to take some time but it's going to be a lot of fun. I'm sure I'm not the only person that's ever done this but I'm the first person I know that's done it, so that's something.

I won't use simple low hanging fruit (C is for Corn) but will use it as the inspiration for a dish (C is for Corn Chowder with Chorizo and Chiles) that hopefully showcases the specific food item beautifully. The point here is to showcase a specific food in a dish, not just reference that it's in there. No, they won't all be alliterative as in the previous example; that would be a bit too kitschy, even for me.

I will be photographing the project as best I can with the Nikon and hopefully providing some beautiful photography along the way with some delicious dishes and good narrative to make it interesting. Oh and for the most part I don't use recipes when I cook I just sort of make it up as I go, just as you should when cooking; it's art, not science, people. With that said, if I use a recipe or base my dish off a particular recipe I will be sure to post it but don't expect much. If you've ever cooked with me or I've cooked for you, you know what to expect.

So, hang tight and very shortly we'll be posting the 1st dish both here and on Facebook.

SoDo Graffiti Wall

My latest photo adventure was in search of a wonderful art-form: graffiti. Not necessarily the gang-banger tagging type but more of the artistic type; people that given an assignment could create some super rad art anywhere you wanted using spraypaint, markers, brushes, you name it.

I read online that there's this wall in SoDo on the back of an industrial building between Starbucks HQ and the Amtrak rail line that's a "free wall" or somewhere that graffiti artists can do their thing without fear of static from the authorities or by defacing public property (if they cared about that sort of thing).

Well, I hit jackpot. The wall is insane. What's here transcends the simple name "graffiti" and really should be called art. I snapped 175 photos in about an hour and a half and was really pleased with the results.

Check out the Picasa album here and trust me: the photos don't do this wall justice.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Banksy Simpsons Intro

Banksy is a graffiti/street artist from the UK, in case you didn't know. Actually, nobody knows who he is; his identity, whereabouts and where his art will appear are unknown. His images are legendary and without knowing it you've probably come across some of them at some point in time. There's always controversy, political and social commentary, juxtaposition and all sort of counter-culture references in his work but I love them; they are visually stunning. Anyway...

He was asked to direct the opening credits/intro to the Simpsons a couple nights ago and oh boy, did they get Banksy. Check out this very dark intro that's super cool, weird and, well...Banksy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Leaves are Waterproof

This is by far one of my favorite photos of the year; maybe one of the best photographs I've ever taken. It rained all day yesterday and today I went outside and found this leaf sitting next to the grill and it sparked a little photo session with the fun water effects on a tree out front. Untouched, it's brilliant from the colors to the water effects to the composition. It's certainly going to make my portfolio. Click on the photo to embiggen it and get the real flavor of this one...

That'll do, Bryan.