Monday, April 30, 2007

Little ol' wine drinker me

Well. I got drunk again. I did some good works before hand, tidying up the front garden and digging some weeds out. That felt good. Then making dinner and having a beer. That felt good.

Then having dinner and drinking a bottle of rioja. It was £3.99, I'm not trying to be poncey here. It also was very nice indeed. The evening ended with me nursing a whisky and falling asleep.

Sunday, however, started with my mouth feeling as if it had been swapped for the insde of the vaccum cleaner. This coupled with a sore head a general feeling of tiredness has led me to beleive that sobriety is much preferable.

I think I'll stick to every other weekend for the devil's buttermilk.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I have broken my abstinence (maybe I should seek medical help?).

Last night I had me a beer. Well, two beers to be precise.

Beer no.1 was a "Clotworthy Dobbin", brewed in Kilkeel no less. It was a nice dark "chewy" ale with a very bitter aftertaste. A rude awakening after such a long time.

Beer no. 2 was a "Coopers ale" red label. Very nice and refreshing after the bitterness of the local brewing. I enjoyed them very much indeed. I did feel a bit tiddly half way through the first though. An odd sensation filled with remembrance. I had some food and calmed down a bit.

I don't think I shall return to the pattern I frequented in the past. My sleeping has been marvellous, though the alcohol imbibed last night had a deleterious effect on my rest. I felt rather more tired this morning than than I have in quite some time.

All things considered there is a bottle of rioja with my name on it in the wine rack. ( No, I am not a hoity-toity wine snob, the rack is there to hold the bottles for a short time until they get empied, like). I also intend to have the last of the Cretan raki and maybe a snifter or two of whatever Talisker I have left from Christmas.

At the weekend of course.

Can't get all giddy and throw caution to the wind just yet.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

On Mount Olympus, well, kinda...

My sister in law had just had her first two rolls of film developed.
I already know she has an "eye" and a feel for good composition through her commenting on images in photography books I have. Never my pics....thems the breaks, huh?

It's her first two rolls , she has only an inkling of the technical controls of her camera. Yes, it has a built in meter but this is learning the hard way. I think it will stand her in good stead.

He pictures were of family and friends and a couple of fields of sheep and photos taken in botanic gardens in Belfast. My first comment was "Focus?" as a few were woefully out. I did warn her that it was the technical aspects I would be commenting on first.

One picture she took she explained that she saw it first before she raised the camera to her eye. This was the secret, I told her. Do that all the time, make the picture in your minds eye first and then use the camera.

I have impressed on her the importance of learning all the "rules" as once she has mastered them she can then learn to ignore them when she needs to, to achieve the image she wants. To this end I bought her a copy of 35mm Photography by Michael Langford in the Ballymena Library sale yesterday, for peanuts. --I was amazed it was still on the shelves as that section had been shopped to bits, but I digress. This book will help her with the technical side of things as my sparse lessons are not going to be enough.

She took a picture of her friend walking away through a pergola in botanic gardens that would be perfect for an album cover. High praise indeed and well deserved. Composition is excellent, her shutterspeed was off and that is what makes the shot, giving it a blurry dreamy look. A straight shot wouldn't have the X factor. I used this as an example to show her that her "mistake" was great but that she had to learn how to know when to make it on purpose. She totally got this and hopefully is reading the book cover to cover, endlessly like I did in the 80's.
Is this what it is to get older, enjoying someone else's enthusiasm for something that feels like a part of who I am?

As opposed to vicariously living ones life through another?

Couldn't resist that one. Heh.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My Birthday Dinner

As birthday dinner in all it's glory.

Words cannot describe the joy it is to be cooked for.
Can you tell I do most of the cooking in our house?

I really , really appreciated this. No. Really.

A starter of goats cheese on lambs lettuce with a vinagrette dressing.

A main course of vegetable fricasse with baby boiled potatoes. there was corn on the cob on the side ( too big/messy for the plate).

The pudding was chocolate brownie and vanilla ice cream. The brownie was home made.

I just had another brownie. Marvellous. Nigel Slater recipe for those who are interested.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Old father time

Well, it is my birthday and I am 38 today.

I nearly killed myself yesterday dissembling a hedge in the front garden.
While there was a meeting of bloggers in bilfast, I was sweating in the sun, cursing and generally getting rather annoyed with a hedge that had roots that seemed to emanate in all directions.
First my secateurs fell to pieces in my hands after clipping two branches. Goddamn cheap shite.
That'll larn me, eh?

A knife I keep for gardening ( a Frost/Mora for those who are interested ) was then used.
It kinda slowed things down a bit. I had to fill 5 of those big garden waste bags with hedge bits. Took me hours.....
Then I had to get the axe (Gransfors bruks Forest axe) out to beat the stump into submission. I wasn't about to let it get the better of me.
Chopping done it was then time to get the stump out.
That is when I discovered the root system,well, after I had worked all the way round it with a garden fork and it wouldn't budge.
I spent at least 45 mins cutting those damn roots.

Finally the thing came out. Yaaaaaaay.
A tidy up and job done.

Felt good.

Today I feel like I have been beaten with sticks.

What a way to feel on your birthday.

Mrs M is busy downstairs cooking the next course of a wonderful 3 course meal.
I shall be posting pics of the food tomorrow. I got some fab presents too.
A book of photographs by John Sexton and a book of rainforest photographs by Thomas Marents ( I missed a calling, I really did....). I also got a framed print of John Coltrane to hang on the wall in the study, niiiiiiiice. Some clothes, always a good thing for a clothes shopaphobic like myself and a bay tree. Fresh bayleaves, magic.

Oh, yeah I can now afford to go and get a wideangle zoom for my D200.

Heh, lens or laptop? I need the lens more than the laptop.

I will be ordering the lens this coming week.

Happy birthday to me !!!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Donegal 2002

Nikon FM2
Nikon 50mm f1.8

No idea of aperture or shutter speed but probably f8 or so and probably 1/125 sec.
No tripod ( I know shame on me...)
Kodak T400CN 400asa.

Much tweaking in photochop -Curves, burning in, sharpening for the web and dirty great slices taken off the top and bottom to make it a panorama. Taken with all this in mind too.
Visualise the end result and it pays off.

I shall have to add this to my online reservoir as you wouldn't really get the soles of yer shoes damp yet.

Photography practice

Nikon D200
Tamron 90mm F2.5
1/250@ f22
Nikon SB800 and SB26
Cheapo Wireless flash triggers
Home made diffusers
Remote camera cord.

Off camera flash using a Nikon SB800 and SB25 triggered via radio triggers.
Full power on each flash with heavy diffusion on flash to left of subject and very light diffusion on flash to right.
I found that the foamy sheeting that my flatpack computer table came wrapped in is colour neutral and makes for a fantastic light diffuser. Wahey !
Four layers in a square taped up with gaffer tape and I used this over the flash on the left.
One piece taped over the right flash. Not much diffusion, really.

I like this teeny tiny strobist lighting setup. Beats farting about with big studio lights.

More work tonight so maybe some posting tomorrow then.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Getting old

I am not happy with this getting old lark.
I drove 250 miles yesterday and was knackered last night and am still feeling tired today.

It must be my age. Which is 38 this Sunday. God , I feel old ( Is it blasphemy if you don't have any religion?).
How nice it is, that "the powers that be" organised a public holiday around my birthday.
I like that.

I spent last night boiling up chickpeas for cooking ( they had been soaking all day ) .
Well, I only needed to put them in a pot and boil the bejasus out o' them for 20 mins and then turn the heat down low for an hour or so. I didn't feel like doing much other than sitting on my ass and scanning some old negs.

Scanning is bloody tedious but not as tedious as having to clean up the resulting scans in photochop afterwards. That is no fun. Still, better than having to spot prints, which I have never been any good at whatsoever.

I am going to indulge in some macro pictures of garlic tonight. Results on flickr later.

My flickr account is NOT under the name Mudflapgypsy though.
Check the link on a preceding post.

There I've said I'm gonna do it, I have to now.
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