1.000 Paper Napkins…

… (that`s 7kg!) arrived within a massive parcel from Good Old Germany today.

Bought largely unseen, this beautiful collection once meant for crafting will now be used for my food photography… One different napkin every day for three years – theres all sorts of themes – summer, elegant (just look at the black and white photo of the cutlery!!!), Christmas, Halloween, even football.¬†I`m feeling inspired and also a bit pushed. ūüôā

Now that all my colleagues had their holidays and while I`ve also got my EMA (End of Module Assignment) from uni due mid September, I expect to be working a little less over the month of August, and I plan to really use this also for my cookery (which, in my case, always includes taking photographs).

BTW, I still haven`t blogged about the course I`ve been taking in February (!) about receipe writing (morning) and food photography (afternoon), have I? I must!!

I `ve been working halfheartedly on my cookery book for about a year now (I started in July 2015), so now it` s time to move it to the next level, refine the receipes and photographs, start writing them up “properly” and maybe (but probably not yet…) make some first attempts at designing the pages.

At the weekend, I`m going to have another go at the tomato and feta stew, and, beside a little surprise, I`m going to post this in my food blog (and link it to here!) if I finally end up happy with it ūüôā

Once again, ganz, ganz vielen lieben Dank fuer all das tolle Material, liebe Ruhrpottperle!!

Retina Photomarathon – Edinburgh, 2016

On Sunday, we finally went to enjoy the fruit of our labour last Saturday – the Retina Photomarathon Exhibition in Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre!

I deliberately held off the blog, although I already mentioned this rather exciting project here. And let me tell you, it was hard work. Much harder work than we anticipated and far from spending a nice day in town with a couple of girlfriends snapping some pictures.

The projects were often challenging, and the first ideas that came to mind not always feasible, so there was a lot of walking about, looking around and looking to get inspired.

The pictures had to be taken in a particular order, so we could be really stuck with one¬†or walking large distances to do them all. It turned out to be a good thing that we did not always stick to the first idea we had in mind for something, as a great many people, for example, photographed cakes in “pink”. We were a great team, each with their own strengths and ideas, which we brainstormed constantly during the day to everybody`s benefit. As the day came to an end, our feet were aching, and we just wanted to get finished, so there were instances where we shot a bit less mindfully just to be able to move on.

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my pedometer that day…

While there were a few mishaps for a few people along the way, the last picture was sadly spoilt for everyone. We noticed on the day, and when we were told during the week by email that there was a fault with the cameras, it was a relief, because we were not the only only ones.

We were amazed at the creativity we saw at the exhibition, but that`s good, because we all want to develop ourselves, so it`s good to look towards those who are nearer the goal already. Nevertheless, I felt a proper sense of pride when I walked through this exhibition and saw my own shots displayed among those of such a great many very gifted people!

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my entries

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proud photographer

All entries can be seen online here sorted by topic, with the cover photo being the winner of each category (my camera was no 30).

12 vor 12 or: Just an Ordinary Day

Today, I`m going to take part in 12 vor 12 – always wanted to, never did. The idea is to, on the 12th of every month, post 12 pictures of what you have done this day – and to ensure you really make this an ordinary day and not design it to look good on the pictures (I always loved this “antidote to showy facebook”-element :-)). With many people in my reading list taking part every month, there` s always a very refreshing collection or pictures to see – pictures of people doing nothing more glam than going on with their day to day lives.

So here comes my debut:

Before I`m allowed to make my own coffee, I have to do this: Switch the tap on for Amber, our Abyssinian cat. We didn` t know this before she moved in with us, but on reading this up, we learnt that Abbies are famous for their love of water, and there are pictures like this all over Instagam:

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After she had her morning drink, she will let me know that she would like access to her conservatory by rattling the keys:

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A dutyful servant to Mylady, I`ll come and open the door for her before returning to my computer.

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After an hour or so of doing fun things over my morning coffee and breakfast, it`s time for work: Leo and I are studying the last book of the first module.

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My husband takes our washing out and brings back fresh berries from our own garden.

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And while he goes to yoga, the cats and I do a bit of tidying up.

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As usual, Leo is more a hinderance than a help Рconstantly demanding kisses and cuddles Рand who could resist those glacier blue eyes?

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I then cook our dinner, so it`s almost ready when I come home tonight.

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I never work a Tuesday, so I go to town…

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… run my errands (today: Chinese Supermarket, Middle Eastern Supermarket and Indian Eye Brow Threading Parlour – oh, how I love the multiculturalness of Leith Walk, above)…

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…¬†and then see my friend and her children for an hour of learning German.

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Home for 7. Dinner was good, but a bit rich with a whole packet of Feta in it. Early night, I think.

 

 

 

ATTENTION SEEKING OR: OF GIVING AND TAKING

WHAT IS FREELY GIVEN DOES NOT HAVE TO BE TAKEN.
WHAT IS FORCEFULLY TAKEN CANNOT BE GIVEN.

I read the first bit in some book, and the context was sex, where I have major issues with this quote. I added the second bit myself.

It makes me think of attention seeking behavior more than anything else.

Imagine a child who doesn`t get enough love and attention at home for whatever reason. Hoping that this will get him noticed, this child may start misbehaving, but mum is seeing right through him and chooses not to reward this kind of behavior. Child may become even naughtier, and mum starts to punish by total ignorance. Meanwhile, other children start ignoring him, too, because he`s so annoying.

Also, any attention he is given will not be volunteered or loving, and he may be old enough to know, feel or question this and continue to behave in a way that he hopes will bring him the kind of attention he really wants. It`s really draining for others and doesn`t make him seem a likable person¬†at all ‚Äď problem exacerbated, actually.

But eventually, he may no longer be able to act in any other way.

(Blog inspired by a discussion about Cristiano Ronaldo. We were wondering why he acts the way he does while he is already lavished with attention for his great talent and also from women.)

Why are women so mean about other women`s weight?

I sometimes get the impression they totally relish it when another one puts on weight or otherwise doesn`t look good in this department. (I rarely hear this kind of talk about skin issues or bad hair days.)

Today, I overheard yet another conversation which was just plain nasty. She`s off sick from work, and everybody knows she isn`t ill, so noone who would evoke warm feelings in the first place. Someone asked about her, and someone else said no, she hasn`t spoken to her again, but she`s seen on Facebook that¬†she is currently in Turkey, and there were photos of her sunning herself in a bikini. The moment she said “bikini” the whole focus shifted and became rather ugly.

A women at my old work lost more than half her weight and then put it back on. And some of the women were pleased about it. When I lost weight myself a year or so later, this woman was my inspiration for keeping it off. I don`t don`t want to gain weight again because it doesn`t conform to my beauty standards or would cause me health problems, it`s because I don`t want to make myself vulnerable to nasty comments. I could easily afford another few pounds, but I couldn`t deal with the sneering. I just don`t have enough confidence to be, leave alone become or regain, fat.

I don`t particularly like envy comments either, but I can deal with them because I can see them for what they are. But against fat shame, you`re utterly defenceless, at least in the short term and definitely when you are at an age where you probably have to work really hard to not get even bigger.

I think most women have or had body issues at some point in their lives, and this makes me even more puzzled if I encounter such behavior. I also know women who were big themselves, lost the weight – and with it all the tolerance and compassion they were so wanting for themselves.

Please could someone shed some light? I really want to understand, at least sort of…

 

Another Blog about Photography

I`m highly aware that I`m writing about photography all the time at the moment, but it`s what I`m into a lot right now. I always was, to an extent, but it`s amazing how much creative energy I`ve got since I left my last job and no longer work full time.

Smartphone vs Camera

As I`ve added so many new photos to my library, I` m currently in the process of deleting some old ones, and I`m fascinated. For a long time, I thought I did not need a proper camera because my smartphone made decent enough pictures. Now, after only a year or so of owning a proper camera, I am properly shocked at the quality of what I thought were nice photos.

(Crete, 2013, shot on Samsung Galaxy S3)

The drink and the boat are photoshopped, because even at my then standards, the quality of the original was intolerable. What I still like in all is that they all capture a mood, and I instinctively applied what I know know is called “the golden triangle” – there are three different things in each picture which each take up roughly a third of the whole image, making it overall very pleasing to the eye. Technically however, they are … dull where there was no natural sunlight, and not sharp where subjects were too far away.

I`m almost grieving for the photos I haven`t got. I may go back to Italy but not Charleston, SC. But at the time, I was pleased with what I came home with and happy to show them on facebook (where the standard of holiday snaps,of course, is generally low). It`s just since I visit other sites online, that I` m saying I like to think I have a good eye for composition (and I`m pleased to hear others agree), but I still need to work my technical skills.

Although I already did a course last year, this was tought on a Canon, so I now bought a book that`s specifically about my Nikon D5500. While people keep recommending photoshop, I think this is too advanced for me at the moment- there are several free apps, which all do different things and together meet my needs. I` d hope if the raw picture is of high quality, it won` t need much correction, and any editing would be for artistic reasons (the fun thing).

Photo Marathon

Jointly with two other photo-mad friends, I`ll be doing this rather exciting activity in 2 weeks. For 12 hours on 16 July, we are going to get 12 tasks and a disposable camera that`s able to take 12 photos. And that` s the challenge: you can only take one picture per project so need to really think about how to approach this. You get a set of 4 tasks each at 10am, 2pm and 6pm, which means that you`ll probably have to stay in Edinburgh, where the fringe festival is now under way.

Although there`s prices for the best entries, ALL submissions will feature in a free, week long exhibition of what will probably be a large and diverse collection of pictures of Edinburgh and the Fringe festival. I already saw this project last year but did not feel quite ready for it, but this year, I` m incredibly excited about it!!

Home Exhibition

Meanwhile, I now started my own little exhibition at my home.¬†I`ll tell you about this another time, as apparently, most people don`t like to read blogs exceeding 500 words. ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

scared of the telephone

I used to be one of those teenagers who was constantly reprimanded for spending too much time on the telephone. At one point, my parents seriously considered getting me my own number and having me pay for it. (This was the Eighties!) When I was physically with my friends and didn`t need to phone them, we phoned other people, playing pranks. I used to do telephone marketing in foreign languages, and then, of course, I moved to another country and relied on the telephone to keep contact with my family.

Then email arrived and slowly but surely replaced the telephone. I found it less intrusive. Sometimes, I would spend an hour emailing back and forward with my sister, surfing other websites while doing so and munching away without her complaining about the noise. Then came messenger, and then facebook, and phone calls became less and less. Someone once said he didn`t like facebook because it dilutes personal contact by seemingly replacing it. Although I kind of agreed, I didn`t take the warning.

Last year, I was organising my own big birthday party. I never usually celebrate my birthday, but this was a big one, so everyone was invited via facebook. Unless they worked with me, in which case they received a group email.

And then people started to phone me about it and asked for me to phone them back when I wasn`t in. And I was scared. I dialed their numbers willing them not to be in, so I could leave a voicemail, which would then prompt them to leave a message on facebook. Although both were relatives, we never phoned each other, and we hardly saw each other either. It wasn`t necessary. We were all on facebook. I¬†was surprised myself at how stressful I found the prospect of phoning them now; and how relieved when both conversations “went well”.

A few months ago, something happened at work. My colleague texted me on a Sunday before I came back from holiday, and I just couldn`t wait to speak to him, so I asked for permission to call. It felt weird talking to him actually two good colleagues from my own living room, as if we crossed a boundary. We drank from the same cup and spoke about our periods, but we never ever phoned each other outside work or work related nights out.

I wonder how I could allow this to happen. Being scared to telephone people I`m related and close to. And I honestly think social media has done this. If it wasn`t for facebook I would have seen or phoned those two relatives more often. If it wasn`t for texting, we would all phone each other to arrange nights out and would feel less awkward doing so on occasions when texts won`t do. And if we didn`t have email, I`d have those hour long phone conversations with my friends at home much more spontaneously and rather than schedule them just because we can. Phoning feels intrusive now, but it never used to. Smartphones meant to bring us closer together, but I really wonder whether they made us grow further apart instead.

I have one friend who always phones me rather than text or email, and she`s a self confessed technophobe. I sometimes phone her, too, just to prove to myself that I`m still brave enough to do so.

I wonder who`s still visiting friends and family without calling ahead? We don`t. But we used to all the time.

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