Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Digital Camera 1: Assignment 3

The third week of the workshop, we discussed aperture and its impact on a photo. Aperture simply put is the opening in which light can pass through. A larger aperture allows more light in and a smaller aperture limits the amount of light. The funky thing with aperture is that the actual numbering system is backwards. A large aperture is a small f-stop number and vice versa.

via Wikipedia

In addition to controlling the amount of light, aperture also controls the depth of field. A large aperture will give result in a shallow depth of field. This means that things behind and in front of your point of focus will be out of focus. A small aperture will give you a large depth of field. Large depth of field will allow for everything in your frame be sharp and in focus, relatively.

I LOVE working with shallow depths of field. I love being able to achieve that creamy blurred background. Now do not get me wrong, it can be over done or done completely wrong, but when it is right, it is oh so beautiful.

Now the secret is not in your camera or your photography skills, but in the lens itself. You have to have a lens that will allow you to open the aperture up really wide. Kit lenses (the one's that come with the camera) do not allow you to. You can cheat by doing two things. 1) Zoom in as far as you can. 2) Get really close to your subject and make sure the background is far enough away from your subject. I am lucky enough to be able to borrow lenses at my leisure from my boss. My standby is a fixed 50mm lens that enables me to go up to f/1.4. I use this lens on all of my baking photos and have started keeping on my camera at all times as it is a great all around lens as well.

The assignment was to play around with aperture by setting up your shot and taking it at multiple aperture settings. Styling food against a distracting background is something that I would not normally do, but it gave the best example of the purpose of the assignment.

Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes.
Photo by me!
Lens: Nikkor 50mm f/1.4

I have to make a confession: I knew all this depth stuff before taking the class.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Taste of PDX - Broder

A long time ago (try circa 2005), a friend introduced me to a quaint cafe in SE Portland called Henry's Cafe. Til this day, I still remember the drool inducing french toast paired with fresh lemon curd. I swear it was heaven in my mouth. A few years ago, I tried to take Jake back to the same cafe, but to my surprise, it had been replaced by a swedish cafe. The place still looked the same, same tables, same chairs, same open grill, but had a very different menu. It was that day that I was introduced to ebleskivers and have been enamored with them ever since.

I don't remember the name of the cafe, but I know that it is somewhere on SE Clinton St. This morning, while catching up on my blog reading, I came across a photo taken at Broder Restaurant. Of course seeing that the restaurant was located in PDX, I started poking around their website. The menu looked amazing and instantly I was hit with déjà vu. "This menu looks really famililar, I wonder if it's the old Henry's place? I thought to myself. Then I perused the photos they had posted on their website. And wouldn't you know, it IS the old Henry's Cafe!
via Peaches by Plums via b is for bonnie (Photo by Bonnie Tsang).

via Broder

Aebleskivers with lingonberry jam and lemon curd.
via Broder

I wonder if this is the lamb burger Jake ordered?
via Broder
Oh home and amazing food, how I miss you.

Friday, April 22, 2011

No Soup for You!

"No soup for you!!" Seinfeld anyone? Here's a link to clips from the episode.

I am not The Soup Nazi. And I am far from being a cupcake nazi. In fact, I do not possess the ability to tell people "no" (people outside of my immediate family that is). 

In order to keep my sanity for the next 119 days, I have decided to take one thing off my plate...baking requests outside of family functions. This morning I put the following message on Facebook and on my webpage:
The Delightful Cakery kitchen will be closed until August 29, 2011. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.
Every minute between now and August will be focused on completing our handcrafted wedding.
Thank you, Celia.

I love seeing peoples reactions to my sweet treats, but I do not want to add more things to my already too long to-do list. I sat down yesterday and created a list in which I gave myself small jobs to do every single night for the next 30 days. The exception being Tuesday nights since that is 2.5 hours of photography class. It is a bit overwhelming to see that every single night, there is something to work on. But they are small bits of a bigger projects, so it should not be too bad.

via Delightful Cakery

Let us hope that I do not lose any of my baking skills during this hiatus.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Washi, wa-shee

I have been the financial nazi in the house, for the last 20 months. Every time Jake has an idea for the wedding, I say exclaim: "Do you know how much that is going to cost!?!? A. LOT." Yeah, we are kind of backwards from the norm. But what is normalicy?

I think I have finally broke. I just made an impromptu purchase. I always think my purchases through, but not today. I completed the transaction before I gave myself any time to second guess my actions. Weird.

Want to know what I bought? I bet you want to know. I purchased two rolls of washi tape.

Um, what is washi tape? Well, according to Wikipedia, wa means Japanese and shi means paper. Therefore, I purchased Japanese paper tape. I have no idea what I will be doing with it. Your guess is as good as mine. But I just had to have it.

via Tiny Prints Blog.
For ideas on what washi tape can be used for, click the photo above.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dear Val and Matt

Dear Val and Matt,

Happy WEDDING Day! YAAYYYYYYY! I hope you have a wonderful day that is everything you have dreamed of. I know you you have been working so very hard on it for oh I don't know, maybe like the last 16 months! Have a blast and enjoy every single moment of it.

Photo by me.

P.S. Val - I'll see you on the other side. I'm expecting a full power point presentation on the ins and outs of pulling it all off!

Friday, April 15, 2011

4 months

We are 126 days out! I am this close -->||<-- to freaking out because it seems a bit too real. As we get closer, I'll be hammering out more and more projects. Some I will share with you here, and some I will keep a complete secret until the day of. There is a lot of details, guess that is what happens when you are Type-A and have an eye for details. Wait, was that an oxymoron?

Moving right along...with the done list:
  • Just days after my meltdown, we found and booked our cinematographer
  • We have chalkboard speech bubbles for our faux-to-booth. What is a faux-to-booth you ask? Well, you know what a photobooth is right? You know that box with a camera in it, a small bench that barely fits your ass and half of mine? Oh and it takes photos of you in 4 poses? Well, we are not having a box, but we will have a camera set up for folks to ham it up in front of. Drunk friends with some fun props should end is some hilarious photo keepsakes.
  • We have mustachios on a stick! Our planner told us to keep it a secret, OOPS!
  • We, (and by that I mean, our planner) renegotiated our contract with our venue and saved ourselves a ton of money. I saw that the website for our venue had been updated with options that were not there a year ago. Of course I had to follow up on it. Worse case they tell me "no".
  • I have been working on our ring pillow. I'll show you the trial and the finished product when I finally finish it. Ugh is the word I'd use right now.
  • My girls and I planned my bachelorette party. Can you say VEGAS!? Sorry, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, at least that's what the saying goes. This will be my first trip out to there EVER. I'm pretty sure that this will be pretty epic.
  • We purchased my wedding band. More on this when I actually have it in my grubby hands.
  • We finally have all of the fabric for my Chinese dress picked out. The buttons however remain to big GIANT pain.

Now onto the to-do list:
  • Suits/Tux rentals
  • We need to find a tent company. Oh and we may be able to save money by splitting the costs with the couple who are getting married at our venue the very next day.
  • Welcome dinner venue and caterer
  • Morning after brunch venue and menu
  • Transportation
  • Finalize the centerpieces
  • Finalize the dinner menu
  • Print, assemble, and send invitations
  • The maid of honor still needs a dress
  • The mother of the bride still needs a dress (do not get me started on this)
  • Table numbers
  • Programs need to be designed, printed, and assembled
  • Menus need to be designed, printed, and assembled
  • Guestbook - I think I have an idea, just needs to be executed
  • Cardbox - aiya...another big GIANT pain that I have been avoiding. I may end up outsourcing the project and completely scrapping it to save my sanity.
  • Chair signage - do we even need signage? seriously?
  • Welcome packages for out of town guests - oh...there is so much to do for this alone...again, maybe I should just outsource.

I think there is a shit-ton more that goes on the to-do list, but I do not have the brain power, nor do I even want to begin to list them all for my own peace of mind.


5 months

Clearly, we are now days away from the 4 month mark, but to do one post on two months of work might be over kill. So I've decided to break things up. For the most part, you have already read about most of what we did five months out, but I'll relist them as a quick recap.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Digital Camera 1: Assignment 1

I have completed 2 weeks of my 8 week photography workshop. Last week's session was really REALLY slow, but it picked up some this week.

Our first assigment was go take photos of things that interest us using the Program mode. Program mode is essentially the same as Automatic mode, except the flash does not pop up on you. Personally, I hate program mode, but that is just me. 

Here were my submissions. Note: we were not supposed to touch them up for submission, the photos posted here have been slightly edited for contrast.

Homemade tomato soup (Tillmook recipe) and grilled cheese on sprouted whole wheat bread.

Apparently, April is national grilled cheese month. Who knew? My instructor sent this photo over after seeing mine.

Heritage Bundt Cake. Click on the photo for recipe and details.

Gluten free banana bread with 70% Callebaut chocolate. Click  on photo for recipe and details.

The class did not spend hardly any time on my photos during the critique session, so I'll take it as a good thing. It may have helped that we were running into overtime.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Milestone: cinematographer

I'm sure you all remember my melt down here. I would like to take a moment to thank you all for being so nice. None of you called me out on being such a bitchzilla/bridezilla. Let's be honest, I sounded like a whiny little brat, "woah-is-me, nothing is going my way." I am a very detail oriented person, but there is no excuse. Just goes to show you that one should not blog while in a heightened emotional state.

Moving on. I started my search for a videographer on Thursday, March 17. I found them less than 24 hours later on Friday, March 18. But me being me, did not book immediately. I wanted to see what else was out there and compare prices. However, I did book 10 days later on Monday, March 28. 

Let me back up first. I just said videographer, but the title says cinematographer. Here is a quick vocab lesson. Videography - simply put, is the act of capturing moments on film. Cinematography is the art of capturing moments (and feelings) and presenting them in a movie-like experience. I always knew that I wanted a cinematic film, I just did not know that there was a term for it. Don't get me wrong, there are some great videographers out there that have a cinematic flair. 

Back to the search. It was a long shot. Video is one of those things you should book early, like your photographer and your venue. I got a lot of "sorry, but we are already booked." I even started thinking out side of the box, to Florida. I enlisted the help of my photographer's wife, Lucia. That woman is amazeballs. I've said it before and I'll be saying it to the end of time. She sent me a complete list of her favorites around the country in addition to suggestions from FL as well as the passing along the video vendor their last Boston couple used.

In my search, I was smitten with three cinematographers:
While Monachetti and Focal Point were unavailable, Boston Wedding Films (I will refer to them as BWF from here on out) were!!!

My engineering nerdiness came full out during my chat with BWF. I asked specifically about the equipment they used. Most wedding videos are now taken on dSLRs, not those giant camcorders that I remember seeing as a kid. I asked how they did the awesome sweeping motions that are as smooth as butter. I asked them how they did the super cool defocusing to focusing shots. As it turns out, with the advent of dSLRs, it means they use the same lenses as a photographer would, giving them tons of artistic options. 

BFW instantly picked up that I understood what dSLRs were and how different lenses worked to give different depth of focus and light sensitivity (aka no, or very little, on camera lighting required). We chatted for an hour about this and that. We probably could have talked forever. Honest truth, I couldn't stop thinking about the conversation I had with them. We just "clicked." BWF is VERY passionate about what they do. They pride themselves on quality, consistency, and the art of capturing a moment that cannot be repeated. Seriously, can you tell that I'm smitten by them?

Meet our cinematographers:

via Boston Wedding Films.

You have no idea how relieved I am to have this item checked off. We will have the video of my dreams. I cannot wait to get started! Also, I'm completely humbled that not only are they shooting our wedding, but they WANTED to shoot our wedding (aka, I wanted them as bad as they wanted me). I think this union was meant to be.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Back to School

I'm going back to school y'all. OK, not really, just only kind of. You've seen all the pictures I've been taking with my new toy since Thanksgiving (I'd attach links, but it is basically every post with photos published since December).

My photos are just OK, but I did buy a pretty high end camera with lots of bells and whistles that I should learn how to use and not just use the thing as a stupid expensive point-and-shoot (as I currently do now when I feel like I'm under pressure to just capture moments). Who buys an advanced dSLR when upgrading from a point-and-shoot? Oh wait, that would be me.

(via Mansurovs)

Anyways, I do not want to just take mediocre photos or use it only in auto mode. My friend C, (Hi C!) has been taking workshops through the New England School of Photography for awhile now and loves it. So far her focus has been on film photography and film development. Following in her footsteps, I signed up for a 8 week workshop on digital photography. Class starts tonight, I cannot wait! Wish me luck.

(screen capture of the NESOP Spring newsletter)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oregon 2011 - Conclusion

Sorry that I'm dragging these updates out. It is a mixed bag of emotions as I recap our trip. It is almost as if I am reliving our short time back home. In doing so, I also re-live all  the emotions that go with it: the anticipation, the joy, the fun, the excitement, the closeness, and of course there is the sad.

Anyways, back to the recaps. Last time I left off with a tasty snack at Mojo Crepes. As the clock drew closer to 4pm, Jake and I parted from the sibs and headed west to meet up with some of my oldest and closests friends. Two families: the D family and the B family is how I will refer to them.

I HAVE to see them on every trip home. Not only to see my friends, but also to see their kids. First up, the D family. I have known K since the first day of high school. I met C in college. They have two of the cutest little boys, B (4 years old) and S (he just turned 2!). Now for family B. Funny story. I actually first met J the summer before senior year of high school at engineering camp. Yes, we are giant nerds, we know. I remember meeting L just before the first day of college at one of our scholarship banquet dinners. Back before they booted me from the scholarship program. That is a story for another time. Come summer time, all of us ran in the same circle. And we have remained friends ever since. Oh J and L have a beautiful little girl who is also 4 and they are expecting a new bundle of joy in July. It was tough to say goodbye at the end of dinner. The next time we see the D family will be in August and the next time we see the B family will be next year as they will not be flying out to Boston.

Once we were home, I concentrated on packing up my bags, while Jake hung out with the sibs. I am not an emotional person. If anything, I am your stereotypical engineer that just likes to deal with facts, none of that emotional, touchy, feely mumbo jumbo. I barely shed a tear when my parents dropped me off at the airport when I took the one way flight to Boston. But this time, it was different. I could barely hold it together. I did not want to say goodbye. I did not want to leave. I also did not want to go to bed. Going to bed meant that morning would come. And with morning, our flight back to Boston would come.

Well, morning came. Suffice to say, I was a huge mess at the airport. I was doing pretty well until TSA took my very expensive bottle of conditioner that I purposefully purchased in OR to save on taxes. It was 5 oz! I mean come on. Boston's TSA let me thorough security with 10 oz bottle of detangler! Oh yea, PDX took that away from me too.

Until next year...

Did you miss a day?
Oregon 2011 - Day 4
Oregon 2011 - Day 3
Oregon 2011 - Day 2
Oregon 2011 - Day 1

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Project Mustache

3/16" wooden dowels - ($2.49 - 25% off + tax = $1.99)
9"x12" black felt - ($0.29 - 25% off + tax = $0.23)
3/16" black foam board - leftover from Project Bubble
mustache templates (here, here, and here)
exacto knife
hot glue
white gel pen, chalk, or fabric pencil

The felt I picked up from the local craft store was really flimsy. I wanted a way to stabilize it. I could have followed Lisa Welge's tutorial and used hot glue or used craft foam sheets as suggested by Tiffany Kelley, but of course I can never do things the easy way and I also wanted to use up leftover pieces of the foam board from my previous project.

I took mustaches from each of the templates, cut them out, traced them onto the foam board and cut them out with the exacto knife. This was a very painful and tedious process as mustaches are not straight lines. 7 mustaches later and not a single cut on my fingers and hands, I call that a great accomplishment. P.S. I was a bit neurotic and chose to make sure to cut off all the white pen marks.

Next, I traced the templates onto the felt and cut them out. I probably should not have used my gel pen, but I was too lazy to go find the chalk. Of course a fabric pencil would be a much better choice to begin with.

After everything was cut out and lined up well, the felt was hot glued onto the foam board. Originally I wanted to have felt on both sides, but after talking to my friend S, she reminded me to keep things simple (duh!) and that trying to figure out how to hide the wooden dowel was not worth the effort. (Hi, S! And thank you!)

Lastly, the dowels were glued on at an angle. Why at an angle? Have you tried to hold something up to your face while keeping your elbow straight down? Kind of difficult right? Exactly.

Eat your heart out Etsy, the grand total for this project comes to $2.22!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Nursery inspiration

This colorful story board totally inspires me:

via Elizabeth Anne Designs 

Wouldn't it make for the cutest baby girl nursery? Wait a minute...

via Me and Wee. Click on the photo for more photots.

via Armelle Click on the photo for more photots.

Oooof, did I just go there? Yeup, I went there. Now I just need inspirations for a boys room...

******** NO we are NOT expecting ********