Saturday, February 18, 2012

Field Work

The sunshine has been good for getting outside with our family.  The winter has been so mild.  Ezra is certain summer is just around the corner because, "the snow is melting." 

We rode with Unlce BJ and Mike yesterday in the dozers.  It was very muddy, perfect for little boys and big boys.  My camera filter was spotted with mud, which was giving a texture to the images I didn't like while taking the pictures, but while processing them, I noticed it added a "dirty" effect, so I left them.  You can see the mud spots in the sky of the images.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Snow on Cedars

Nothing says southern Iowa road ditch like a Cedar tree. 

The further south you drive, the more numerous they become.  As we drove to Northwest Iowa last weekend, I observed the plants that grow in the road ditches along the farms.  Bushy-odd-poor-dirt-loving trees like Cedars are less abundant there.  This red-ish bush tree is the first invader of open land like pasture and road ditches.

Last December I watch two guys with chain saws jump out of a truck and head for the ditch.  They don't just use them for Christmas trees in Missouri and Arkansas.  

 They make a beautiful sight when they are full of fresh snow. 

The Cedars pictured here are growing along the Skunk River bottom between Oskaloosa, New Sharon, and Peoria.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Color Palettes,

I spelled Gleaner wrong above... This image would look sharp with a the dark slate color painted wall.

This picture is one of the only professional pictures I remember getting taken when we were young, outside of the ones for the church directory.  I remember it being in what is now that hotel across from Wiggs in Osky.  Pastels is funny for a family with lots of boys, but I think they were sort of in style, maybe?  I especially like Mike in pink.  I do definitely remember some arguments about who had the better colors - Mark was content, I don't think Mike and BJ were.

It is interesting that none of use have kids with as dark of hair, yet anyways.  My hair here is in the middle of turning from blond, on the ends, to the dark brown of my brothers.  I was blond before this - I would have been in first grade, and Mark, Mike and BJ would have been in fourth, fifth, and seventh grade?  Kurt and Karl would be about five months old? - so fall of 1989.  I think the Christmas Eve after this was when our barn burned down?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Chili and Blue Cheese Corn Muffin Pancakes

The following soup recipe is usually made at our house around the time of the SuperBowl.  I recieved the recipe from D. Brandes, who won the Brookside Christian Reformed Church Chili cook off with it in 2007 or 2008.  I made it this weekend for a party, and was asked for the recipe.  Here you go!

1 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T butter
2 pounds chicken
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
12 ounces beer (your favorite brew)
1/4 cup cayenne pepper hot sauce (optional)
One 15 ounce can tomato sauce
Mild Buffalo sauce from Buffalo Wild Wings (I use Cookies Hot Wing sauce - made in Iowa) to taste. 3/4 bottle
1 can northern beans

One 8.5 ounce Jiffy brand muffin mix
1/3 C milk
1 large egg
2 scallions, finely chopped
3/4 C crumbled blue cheese (4 ounces)

1.  Heat a medium dutch oven or large skillet over HIGH heat.  Add olive oil, and butter.  Add the chicken and cook, breaking up the meat.  Add garlic, celery, onion, carrot and jalapeno.  Season with salt, pepper, cumin and coriander.  Add the beer and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Concentrate the flavor of the beer by reducing the mixture over medium heat, 8 minutes or so.  Stir in the hot sauce, tomato sauce, northern beans and buffalo wings sauce.  Reduce heat to LOW and simmer the chilli for 15 minutes.

2. Prepare the corn muffin mix with the milk and egg according to directions for corn pancakes.  Stir in the scallions and blue cheese.  Heat a nonstick griddle or large skillet over MEDIUM heat.  Nest a small piece of butter in a paper towel and rub over pan.  Drop rounded Tablespoons of batter into the pan.  Cook the pancakes until bubbles from at the edges, then flip them and cook until golden all over, about 2 min per side.  You will have enough for 20 pancakes.  Serve 2 pancakes with each mug of chili.

Learning New Things

There is no end to learning new things in the photography field. I heard a quote somewhere that creativity is only limited by knowledge.  So in other words, creativity requires learning new things.  I've been learning about Real Estate Photography the past few weeks, and enjoying pressing my learning curve.  It isn't simple, and is actually quite complex to explain, so I won't try to describe it.

Basically it creates dynamic images, bringing out the details of the subject.  I've been using it some for my farm photography.

I was first introduced to it when we needed to sell our house in Grand Rapids.  We had one of the best, smartest, real estate agents ever, who also happened to help us find and purchase our house in 2006, and went to our church.  He photographed our house, and we sold our house in just a few months in the WORST real estate market - Michigan in 2009/10.  I know God had something to do with it too.

I used my parents cabin for my first attempt.  What do you think? 

Color Palettes, Day 6