12 von 12 or: a Day in Pictures

My Morning Coffee.

This picture is part of a new photo project, which I (sporadically!) started a few weeks ago and which shall be revealed when it is a bit more advanced. I`m excited about it, because I think it is beautiful, interesting, marketeable, and it also has a personal meaning to me.

This picture also introduces our new coffee machine from Lidl. Our beautiful cherry red Gaggia died after a long and happy life, bang on on the day that these were on offer and received excellent reviews. I find it (and its accessories) a bit light in weight, which I still haven`t got used to, but it is easy to use, makes good coffee, and it looks stylish, too.

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My lillies have come out!! They are beautiful and fill our whole kitchen with their lovely scent! In addition to a really generous collection with more flowers, those were a gift from an individual who wanted to give me something just from her. I feel loved!! Fortunately, our cats do not seem interested, as lillies are poisonous to them.

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Tearing out pages from my big Pukka Book to free it up for another hobby project (which I will talk about a bit more in a later post). While doing so, I discovered a rather interesting page I wrote while studying the first module of my Business Degree (I just cannot believe that I`ll be starting module 4 in only a month` time!!): What makes people happy at work:

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Breakfast. Scrambled egg is always a winner.

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Liking today`s page of The Accumulator :-):

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Today, I`m going to dehydrate some tomatoes (sprinkled with salt and oregano, drained overnight – drink the juice!) and apricots (flavoured with cinnamon).

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The latter were not bought for dehydrating, but getting a bit mushy, so I decide to bake a cake with them, adding a twist to a cherry crumble from a book which must be more than 20 years old. (I just noticed that I wrote 13 August on the receipe, and I got a feeling I know why, but I promise that these are yesterday`s photos!!)

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Bit burnt, but highly likely because this was my first attempt at coconut flour:

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Coffee and cake at my friend`s house. We are a group of three, and one is missing, but couple time with each is important, too… You can see her mirror image on the tiles, but she knows about the blog and says “that much” is okay. 🙂

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A rather honest picture of my dinner:

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The other half arrived late from a day out, and he bought some fish and chips which the other members of the household feasted on:

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What`s Instagram coming to?

I used to really like Instagram, and actually prefer it to Facebook. However, I am starting to get quite frustrated with it recently, and actually for pretty much the same reasons as Facebook. I used to think Instagram was for enjoying good photos, but this no longer necessarily seems the case.

The “follow/unfollow method” is so popular, that it`s actually got its own name, which comes up on Google. I actually started to take the time to find my unfollowers and do the necessary. I could name two which have followed and unfollowed me twice more after that. I`d lie if I said I do not care about the number of followers I have, but I do care about the reasons and want to be followed for genuine enjoyment of my content.

Another word which I didn`t know existed until rather recently is “thirstbait“. I already knew exactly what it was and was glad to see that`s got its own term, too. I try to entertain my followers with good quality photography relating to a few recurring themes, and I was proud when my followers reached a three digit number and my likes reached twenty, but when i compare myself to the, often very mediocre, accounts of those girls who post little else but close-ups of their own body, I just cannot help but wonder… No, not jealous at all, just a bit sad that narcissism (and its encouragement) seems to have arrived here, too… 😦

Sicily Day 3: Mount Etna and Wine Tasting

If there was one excursion we were going to do, of course, it was going to be Mount Etna. The Trip was a mixture between a jeep tour and trekking, in a small group of 7. After discovering Mount Etna, we went wine tasting at Gambino Winery:

Mount Etna from Piazza in Taormina (Day 2):

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Discovering Mount Etna for ourselves – but I have to say, it was (comparatively) cold up there (at a height of 3000 metres):

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Wine Tasting in the most beautiful setting ever – of course, I don`t expect anyone to find these photos very informative, but the whole setting was so pretty, I have to share:

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One more drink at the pool before an early night:

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Sicily Day 2: Discovering Taormina

Taormina was a 20 min bus ride away from us. It was recommended that we go either before 11am or after 3pm, because in between, the half-hourly bus would be so full that it would just drive past.

I had read in advance that Taormina is a shopper`s dream or nightmare, and I must admit that I wanted to buy at least 10 dresses at dizzying prices (and therefore treated myself to just one, which fully consists of midnight blue lace). I still don`t know when to possibly wear this, but I`ll sure find an occasion for it! (as Truth of the Matter was once again: I found the Italian women incredibly well dressed, but on second thought, I had to admit that almost none of their outfits would be suitable for me to wear at home without getting weird looks, as in Britain, I would just stand out too much.)

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Me, posing on the piazza (from here, you could see Mount Etna, which I will show in my next post):

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Of course, the G7 Meeting had taken place here just 2 weeks prior to our arrival, and we still saw some of the remnants:

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Prettier things in other corners:

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A nice break in a wonderful beer garden, were “proper” seats were rare and nibbles complimentary:

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And no, no amphitheatre for us. But been told it`s worth it.

Sicily Day 1 : Discovering Letojanni

Letojanni is a small place, which we have chosen for the hotel, which was just magnificant. It was on a hill (you go down to Letojanni with an escalator), and the views are simply stunning from just about everywhere you are.

Letojanni itself is, to my liking, uneventful. A beach promenade with restaurant and some dark skinned men selling jewellery and colourful clothes, but if you want to go shopping or clubbing, you will need to take a bus (20 min!) to Taormina. This probably means that, even in the high season, Letojanni will not be too busy. You can do excursions to other places, there is a few places to drink, and the prices in the hotels were good and the environment pleasant. There were two bars (two sister hotels connected), so you had a choice (one had life entertainment which I didn`t always like!!).

I`m going to show you more pictures of the hotel, but today a first impression from our first walk through Letojanni.

View from our balcony (Hotel Olimpo):

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A first stroll through Letojanni:

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Memories from Crete

I can`t believe this holiday was more than 7 months ago (September last year) and I have still not posted any pictures of it. I wasn`t going to, for it was our third time to Agios Nikolaos, Crete. You kind of run out of things to photograph, but I have progressed since our last visit (in both equipment and composition of my photograph), and I have quite a few followers here, who are interested in travel pictures.

Our previous visits were always July, but last year, we went in September, when the weather was just about to turn – it was no longer as hot, but, apart from one shower of rain, still beautifully warm – we spent most of our time at the beach or pool (as said – third time!), no longer needing shade and swimming in the sea, and the other half still took a proper sunburn for not using sun lotion!

Our first walk round the place… bush rose petals being swirled around by the wind, and me against a white wall, once again scarily looking like my mum.

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This is where we went in the evenings, when the sun was gone, but when it was still too early to go out and enjoy the night life:

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And here`s the reason… When in Southern Europe, I`m forever photographing cats – and those ones were beautiful, glossy, and very well cared for. In Chania, on the other side of Crete, we met a couple from Birmingham who purposely took ham from the breakfast buffet and then went out looking for cats. The woman invited us along, but here`s my husband`s limits…

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A day out in Elounda – beautiful place, which I definitely recommend fitting in!

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Fisherman in Agios Nikolaos plus cat (who we actually saw bagging a head :-):

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… and we actually had a day of rain:

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Drinks by the pool… I never drink Campari Orange (or any other cocktails apart from Capirinha) at home, but abroad, I somehow fancy things like that…

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One beach pic – just one:

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This is where we spent most of our time, actually – relaxing, being warm, drinking chilled white wine and swimming in the sea…

(as ever, holiday booked with EasyJet Holidays. Good bargain at this time of year, and notably less busy, though still nice and lively…)

Edinburgh: A Sunday out in Town…

There was a Vintage Fair on the Grassmarket on Sunday, and we took the opportunity to go out and visit my beloved Edinburgh again. Sadly, I don`t have enough reasons to go there these days. The fair was nice, a good mixture of clothes and jewellery, bric-a-brack, vintage cars and bikes, performance and some (obviously not vintage!! :-)) food stalls.

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I took the opportunity to take out my “new” “velvet” coat in sea blue (courtsey of a friend who bought and never wore it) and bought a cute little red polka dot dress for a fiver. Dita von Teese, eat your heart out!! I bet ou wish you`d seen it first! And yes, I totally wore that to work!!

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The Royal Mile – that`s cobbled streat exactly one mile long that`s leading to the Castle…

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A gorgeous little coffee stall under a cherry tree opposite Waverley Station

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Photo Editing

I am a massive fan of photo editing. Although it`s sometimes put to me that my photos no longer look natural, I think even the best photograph only ever becomes a real piece of art once the photographer has put his own touch to it: enhanced, changed or created a mood, colour or perspective.

I am, of course, only talking about street photography here, which is the category that I see myself fitting into. Although I`m forever planning to give it a go, I do not deliberately style a scene in order to capture a particular look or mood – I`m far away from the stage where my vision and inspiration comes before the photo. I just snap while going on about my daily life, and then I let the photo inspire me to do something with it.

Its easy, and it`s so fun! I don`t even use professional filters, but would like to, probably rather daringly in some cases, show you some of the original snaps which, with very little work, became the photos I publish, primarily here and on Instagram:

  • Late afternoon jogging session. The edited version looks almost haunted with enhanced light and shadow, but the orignal wasn`t, really.
  • This finished selfie with my cat looks like we were lying in bed, but I`m afraid the truth was rather less cute. This is the only original in this post which isn`t really the original – I cut off the bottom, as I don`t want to show quite so much nudity.
  • Some photos can be changed from average to good just by cropping and removing the colour.
  • Others come to life only if colours are enhanced – the photo that made me money,  plus another two, which were similarly snapped on a smartphone in less than average indoor light conditions (can`t find the original cat photo, so posted a similar one from the same session):
  • Some filters (I think this one was EyeEm) can enhance the effect of light sources which are in the photo, which greatly enhanced the athmosphere in this picture of an old pub in the Old Town of Edinburgh here (apart from cropping out the yellow lines at the front and white van at the back, which were, of course, an absolute NO):
  • More selfies: I`m afraid my hair wasn`t really that red, and nor are my eyes that green, leave alone my skin that flawless:
  • This sunset was rather beautiful, but became breathtaking when a simple Instagram filter made it look as if the sun was still hovering over it:
  • Okay – this one was styed, but the application of colour nonetheless made a difference:

I hope I was able to inspire you, and in any case, I think I`ll be collecting some “before and after” pics like that for a sequel.

This blog is to be taken in lieu of my usual 12 photos of the 12th of every month. If  I would have partaken in this today, you would be looking at 12 photos of me working, studying and doing other boring stuff. Plus, this topic had been planned since a while 🙂