Photography 101 Day 16: Treasure & Close-up

What’s your treasure? Perhaps you found a coat at the thrift store like the one your grandfather wore, or took a once-in-a-lifetime trip through the Himalaya. Maybe you treasure your children, or your cat, or a quiet space in the woods. Show us an image that represents a treasure to you.

Beth and her beautiful smile
Beth and her beautiful smile

This assignment reminds me of the following words spoken by Jesus, thousands of years ago:

“Don’t save treasures for yourselves here on earth. Moths and rust will destroy them. And thieves can break into your house and steal them.  Instead, save your treasures in heaven, where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them.   Your heart will be where your treasure is.”  

I try to take these words of Jesus to heart by reminding myself that anything of material value will one day fade and pass away…even our very bodies will die and return to dust.

According to the Apostle Paul (…and I believe it true) there are only three things that will last forever.  In his letter to the Corinthians he writes,  “All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.  Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

Ivy and Josh with those smiles I love!
Ivy and Josh with those smiles I love!

I do not know the answers to life’s problems, but I am promised that one day the very knowledge of God will be mine.  Until that day I try not fret over things I can’t understand.   Instead I try to cleave to what I am promised will last forever…. faith, hope and love.  These three keep me sane, peaceful and happy, and one day they will issue me into my life eternal.

Without love all is lost for there would be no faith or hope.   Love is the thing I treasure most and one of the best ways to witness love is through the simplicity of a smile.

Just a few Smiles I hold dear

Josh and his smile when he was a just a little guy!
Josh and his smile when he was a just a little guy!
Beth and her smile climbs a tree...years ago!
Beth and her smile climbs a tree…years ago!
Corinne, my lady, getting kisses from Maggie
Corinne, my lady, getting kisses from Maggie
Josh and Maggie enjoying the waters of Lake Gaston
Josh and Maggie enjoying the waters of Lake Gaston
Josh and Ivy at West Point Graduation
Josh and Ivy at West Point Graduation
Josh and Ivy going on a Boston Harbor Cruise for Josh's 21st birthday
Josh and Ivy going on a Boston Harbor Cruise for Josh’s 21st birthday
Beth in New York City
Beth in New York City
Josh, Vicki and Beth
Josh, Vicki and Beth
Corinne, my lady, enjoying a tropical drink
Corinne, my lady, enjoying a tropical drink
Josh and Beth at Wrightsville Beach
Josh and Beth at Wrightsville Beach
Josh and Beth going to Grandma's house
Josh and Beth going to Grandma’s house
Josh climbs to the top of Mt Washington
Josh climbs to the top of Mt Washington
Advertisements

Saturday’s Mystery Ingredient: Chayote

IMG_2272My fingers have been itching to touch the keys of my computer all day!  Here it is, after 7 pm, and at last, I’m finally, able to scratch that itch.

Corinne and I just returned home from a trip to Connecticut to visit her father, who recently had to move into a nursing home.   Usually, this type of trip never constitutes a good time; however, it was better than we anticipated.   We found her Dad in good spirits even if he wasn’t a fan of the home’s cuisine.

We left Virginia Thursday afternoon.

Knowing of our trip I realized I would be unable to prepare a weekly mystery dish.

I’ve always been encouraged to plan ahead and for once in my life (okay…maybe twice) I put this good advice into practice and threw down some mystery hash in my kitchen Wednesday before our trip.  I was careful to record it with camera phone in hand,  so I could post the results, good or bad,  in Redhead Reflections.

The mystery ingredient I chose  is  a rather odd looking fruit/veggie called a chayote.

The chayote, a member of the squash/melon family, is the size of a pear with a green outer skin.  Anything that can be done with a cucumber, melon or squash can be done with the chayote.  It is quite the versatile little fruit as it can be steamed, boiled, fried, baked or eaten raw.

I peeled my chaIMG_2281yote, sliced the crisp flesh and popped it in my mouth.  It tasted like a cross between a pear and a cucumber.

It was delicious!  I had intended to cook the little critter but I enjoyed the taste so much I didn’t want to wait.

Instead I grabbed an apple, a red bell pepper, a lemon and proceeded to construct a fresh Chayote-Apple salad.

IMG_2283

First I prepared the Chayote by cutting it in half and removing the seed found in the center.

Then IMG_2291I sliced it and the apple. I squeezed the juice of one lemon over the fruit and then tossed it to coat well.  The lemon will provide a  necessary acidic component and at the same time keep the fruit from turning brown.

Next I thinly sliced a red bell pepper and added it to the mix.  IMG_2293

For the dressing  I mixed olive oil, honey, celery seed, thyme, salt and the juice of one lime.   This is poured over the choyate, apple and bell pepper and tossed.

The finished product looked rather nice and tasted even better!

IMG_2296

I will definitely revisit this yummy fruit again. Hopefully I will be able to resist the temptation to eat it right away and will be able to try it cooked in some way.  I’m looking forward to it!

You really owe it to yourself to go out  and pick up this funny looking fruit.  Not only is it low in calories but it is packed with vitamin C.

My bet is that you will love it as much I did.

I’ve included the recipe below and also a recipe for cooking the little critter.

Apple Chayote Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 chayotes, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/3-inch dice
  • 2 sweet apples, unpeeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 bell pepper any color
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 fresh lime
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl; toss gently.
  2. Cover and chill at least 2 hours, tossing occasionally.  (The recipe also called for 1/4 cup of roasted and salted cashews…I was fresh out of nuts)

Chayote Squash Side Dish

251801

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Olive Oil

1 clove Garlic minced

1 Chayote Squash cut into 1/2 inch slices

1/2 tsp.  salt

Ground black pepper to taste

1/2 tsp white sugar

1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add garlic, squash, salt, pepper, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Stir together and cook 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add vinegar to the squash mixture and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, until the squash is slightly wilted, but still firm and crunchy. Taste, and add more salt or sugar if needed.  (This recipe compliments of Allrecipes.com)  

IMG_2269

Next weeks mystery ingredient:  Tomatillo

Photography 101 Day 15: Landscape & Cropping

Today, snap a picture of a landscape. Focus on the gestalt — the entire setting as a whole, like the shot above of the English countryside in Kent — rather than a specific subject or focal point within the scene. The setting itself is the star.

Thunder storm working up over the Shenandoah Valley
Thunder storm working up over the Shenandoah Valley

Above is a photo I captured one Sunday after church.  Corinne and I decided to take a day trip on Skyline Drive.  While up on the mountain we were able to witness the makings of a thunder boomer.  It was pretty awesome to be able to see this from a distance.

Rye Beach New Hampshire
Rye Beach New Hampshire

The landscape above was taken at Rye Beach New Hampshire.  As I recall it was rather cold that day and the moisture was heavy in the air.

Trophy Point, West Point New York
Trophy Point, West Point New York

This photo was taken on the United States Military Academy at West Point.  Corinne and I went to see Josh, my son,  a cadet there at the time.  The couple seen in the far distance is Josh and Ivy, his girlfriend.

Photography 101 Day 14: Scale & Observation

Today, play with scale: you can use anything and everything to help convey size in your image, from your Chihuahua to your Mini Cooper, to an aerial view or perspective from a penthouse floor.

Today’s Tip: Don’t just point and shoot. Observe your scene before pressing the shutter, considering how all the elements in the frame interact with one another. Make an object appear larger through a ground-level POV. Place two things side by side in an unexpected way.

Loved this exercise!  Below are a few photos I had fun with by manipulating scale.

Me and my BIG foot at Hampton Beach
Me and my BIG foot at Hampton Beach
Me and Mr Sam Adams enjoying the beach!
Me and Mr Sam Adams enjoying the beach!
My
My “little” blue bird surveying the property
Me and Sam Adams getting a little
Me and Sam Adams getting a little “tipsy”
Luna wondering how her mom is going to drink such a
Luna wondering how her mom is going to drink such a “BIG” beer
Beth, my daughter, taking it easy on Thanksgiving Day
Beth, my daughter, taking it easy on Thanksgiving Day

Photography 101 Day 13: Movement & Motion

Our lives are made up of big events and tiny moments. Ultimately, life is fleeting, and oftentimes it’s these small moments, this motion, that we love to document.

Movement is a great way to convey time and fleetingness.

I love capturing moments in time.  They become my little time capsules that I pull out, from time to time, to relive the action caught on film.   The following photos are some of my favorites.

Danica, my Carolina Dingo, lunging through New England snow.
Danica, my Carolina Dingo, lunging through New England snow.
Danica taking a good roll in the snow
Danica taking a good roll in the snow
Maggie, our Golden, swimming in the brine waters of the marsh.
Maggie, our Golden, swimming in the brine waters of the marsh.
Whale leaping from the ocean just off the shoreline of Gloucester Massachusetts
Whale leaping from the ocean just off the shoreline of Gloucester Massachusetts
Tale of the whale with a sea gull overhead
Tale of the whale with a sea gull overhead

Photography 101 Day 12: Architecture & Monochrome

From geometric patterns on skyscrapers to the ironwork on historical buildings, there are many opportunities to capture the beauty and complexity of architecture.

Train your eye to look for architectural elements that translate in black and white: sharp lines and patterns, defined shapes, large surface areas, and a mix of very light and very dark colors.

My son, Josh, was in his second year at West Point when I took these photos.  I had driven from New Hampshire to spend the weekend with him.  We decided to take a trip into New York City.  The following are photos that I captured in the big  city, save for the first one which is a caption of a stained glass window at West Point.

Be sure to click on each photo for a better view 

Stained Glass taken on the campus of West Point.
Stained Glass taken on the campus of West Point.

DSCN0439 (2)

View of NYC from Ellis Island
View of NYC from Ellis Island
My son Josh with NYC in the background
My son Josh with NYC in the background
Inside building on Ellis Island. This is where the immigrants congregated after leaving their ships.
Inside building on Ellis Island. This is where the immigrants congregated after leaving their ships.
Josh gazing at the sights of Time Square
Josh gazing at the sights of Time Square
View from Empire State Building
View from Empire State Building
Another birds eye view
Another birds eye view
Our dear lady of liberty
Our dear lady of liberty

Photography 101 Day 11: A Pop Of Color

The colors in our photographs are evocative and rouse emotions within us. Color can elevate a mundane image into something intriguing and meaningful, and can tell a particular story within the frame.

Today, pay attention to how color affects your images. Experiment with one color, and think about how to feature it prominently.

For my color I chose red.

Below are two photos I took in New Hampshire.

10622930_10205389371398729_7387190621852560309_n

I saw the scene above, while out on an autumn run.  It struck me how the red seemed isolated as if a captured prisoner among the greens and grays.   I used the rule of thirds to position my prisoner and then muddied the background with the intention of making it pop.

This photo below was taken on a snowy night during the Christmas season.  Again I used the rule of thirds to position the red bow, even if it is a little off.  The bow makes the house look as if it is a Christmas present and the glow from the window seems to promise a Yuletide warmth within.

537298_10203077462162443_1083556528_n (2)

Horror…My Plaything…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Toy Story.”

What was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you see any connection between your life now, and your favorite childhood toy?

annex-price-vincent-bat-the_01As a child, (call me weird) one of my favorite things to do was to watch horror movies. Of course I loved the popular Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolf-man movies but others I enjoyed were Village Of The Damned, Creature From The Black Lagoon, and my all time favorite, the 50’s version of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.

It was during the mid to late 70’s that I discovered a character known as Bowman Body.  This caped Bowman Shockboogie man had a white face, black eyes and a silly looking band-aid atop his bald head.  This want-to-be vampire hosted a television show called Shock Theater.  At the beginning of the show, Bowman Body would rise from his casket and proceed to warn the audience of the coming horror that would soon invade their living room.  He did this around midnight every Saturday and so I tried to keep my sleepy little eyes open until then.  Once the horror flick began I had no trouble keeping my eyes open!

1401x788-king_finalI still love horror, suspense and most things that go bump in the night, but I’m not a fan of  gore.  In my opinion a well written spooky story has no need for it.

As an adult I’ve carried this fascination over in the books that I read.  I love nothing more than sitting down to the writings of Stephen King.  Actually, I think, he just may be my all time favorite author.

This genre captured me as a child and it still has me prisoner.  At present I have several frightening tales playing out within my mind and something is pushing me to put “pen to paper” and try to create my very own horror classic!

The Power of Words

Power-of-WordsOur words are powerful.  King Solomon, considered one of the wisest people to ever live, once said, “Words kill; words give life; they’re either poison or fruit…you choose.”

We choose the words that come out of our mouth.

Remember…we may have to eat them.

I would rather eat fruit than poison.

Saturday’s Mystery Dish

Corn Tamales

tamales (1)

Tamales originated from the Mayan civilization as early as 8000-5000 BC.  The tamale is made from a starchy dough called masa.  Masa, usually corn based, is enclosed within a leafy wrapper and then steamed or boiled.  The leafy wrapper, usually corn husks, are removed before eating.  Tamales can be filled with pork, chicken, cheeses, fruits and vegetables.  The masa is first placed within the corn husk and then a filler of your choice (meat, cheese, fruits or veggies) is added.  The corn husk is then folded similar to a burrito and placed seam side down and steamed until done.

Today’s recipe, Fresh Corn Tamales,  compliments of Food Network.

IMG_2175 Ingredients:

7 ears of fresh corn

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter/room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup harina de maiz (dried corn flour)

20 dried corn husks, soaked in warm water for 30 min.

IMG_2180

Soak corn husks in warm water for 30 minutes.

IMG_2181

Cut corn off cobb…be sure to scrape cob to get all the yummy sweet corn milk

IMG_2183

Puree corn until it reaches a coarse consistency

IMG_2192

Cream butter and sugar

IMG_2193

Add salt and baking powder

IMG_2196

Add egg and mix

IMG_2198

Add harina de maiz and mix

IMG_2199

Add pureed corn

IMG_2202

Mix together until soft dough forms

IMG_2212

Put spoon full on corn husk

IMG_2215

Fold similar to burrito and secure

IMG_2209

Prepare steamer

IMG_2218

Place corn husk packets in steamer

IMG_2220

Stem for 1 hour.  Check water level periodically and replace as needed.

IMG_2249

With tongs take out corn husk packets and place on wire wrack to cool for 30 minutes

IMG_2250

After 30 minutes tamales should be ready to unwrap

IMG_2257

Unwrap and enjoy!

This dish tasted so much like corn pudding!  So sweet and moist.  Delicious!

IMG_2221

Had some leftover dough and decided to put into mini muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees.  The outcome was quite delicious!  Also it was not as tedious as wrapping in corn husks!

IMG_2228

These little nuggets were scrumptious and disappeared quickly!

Any suggestions for next weeks mystery dish?

If so please leave suggestions in the comments area!  Thank you so much!!