Thursday, February 27, 2014

the start of another wedding season

My wedding season will start this weekend and my thoughts go back to my very first wedding video shoot. As it was then and will be again this year, I'll be shooting solo, with 1-2 cameras throughout the day, depending on the current situation. My passion for photography, and for the last 2 years now, videography, comes from a desire to tell a story, a people story. I am very grateful for the families that have seen me fit to document their weddings.
The video  below was, and will remain to be, my first wedding video. That day is indelibly recorded in my mind: the sun, the birds, Catherine's ethereal beauty and Aaron's quiet confidence. Catherine's  visage naturally just called for the camera to linger on her.
My video gear was very minimal and with a couple like Catherine and Aaron, simple but "content-rich", that all that's needed.

Canadian Math, with Shaun Majumder

Math would be more palatable, if Majumder were to teach it.

what really matters in a marriage, and in a family

When all is said and done, what matters in a marriage and in a family, what makes it thrive and endure, is the food. It's the planning of the meals, the preparation, and the communal effort that goes into each and every meal. It's the discussion at the meals (and of the meal itself), it's the remembrance of past meals, and it's the dreams of future meals. It's eating together for supper, not just whenever possible,  but making it possible. It's remembering the mini milestones in our lives with memories of meals.
Careful  consideration must be given to the ingredients that go into a meal. A holistic view must be taken, encompassing where the food comes from, and the different layers of food distribution. This is not a call for totally organic food but rather, a call for knowledge as to where the food that we put in our mouths come from. There is no bad food and good food; just good and bad choices.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

iPhone Diaries #671: Great Indian Food: fancy-restaurant taste at home-made prices

You know how it is. You go to a mid-range Indian restaurant, order the usual vegetarian offerings: Black Lentil Curry, Spinach and Paneer Cheese Curry, Basmati Rice, and some Naans. It's a long wait; after all, these dishes are supposed to be made from scratch. The entrees come out in elaborate metal dishes but the servings look… oh so small. And the price is not so small ($11.00 CDN). No doubt the meal is delicious but do they have to cost that much for such a small serving? Well, it could be the training and expertise and the fresh ingredients that go into them
A few days ago, at our local budget grocery store, in the ethnic food section, we came across this:
For $4.39 a package, it was worth a try. It took 15 minutes to prepare and the taste rivals that of any Indian restaurant I've been to. As is expected from any authentic Indian dish, the ingredients are basic and as natural as can be.
I believe that good, honest products need to be promoted and I found these products at No Frills and Loblaws/Zehrs. This is their Facebook page, and this is the Kitchens of India. Enjoy!.

iPhone Diaries #670: The best tasting (home-made) Kimchi

February 23rd.
Kimchi is Korea's national dish. During South Korea's involvement in the Vietnam War its government requested American help to ensure that Korean troops, reportedly "desperate" for the food, could obtain it in the field;President of South Korea Park Chung-hee told United States President Lyndon B. Johnson that kimchi was "vitally important to the morale of Korean troops". It was also sent to space on board Soyuz TMA-12 with Yi So-Yeon after a multi-million dollar research effort to kill the bacteria and lessen the odor without affecting taste. ~Wikipedia

iPhone Diaries #669: Prelude to Kimchi

 blendered onions, apple, asian pear, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, and chili pepper,
 napa cabbage,
 green onions,
dikon radish and Voila, (see next blog entry)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

an OR photo outfit by Sony

You have an open body cavity  a foot or two from where you are standing, doctors and nurses surround and are hunched over  the patient, their eyes  seemingly shooting darts into you with the demand to take the shot, NOW! In particular, with cardiac patients, hearts visibly beating under the lights, I literally have seconds to take the shot(s). And these shots have to be well-exposed,  in focus, and with very generous depth-of-field (which can be a challenge given the short shooting distance). There cannot be retakes/reshoots.
The equipment has to be light with ergonomics for the cramp space (mindful not to brush your scrubs against anything). Since it's next to impossible to use the viewfinder (this would necessitate leaning over the body cavity), I've come to rely on a flipping finder (so only the camera is over the body cavity) with my arms extended out. And when using a finder, i.e., Live View, I'll need to get in focus and maintain focus, fast!
Enter the Sony SLT camera, in this case, the a57 (could also use the a65, or the new a6000). The one thing these cameras have in common is their fast phase detect auto-focusing system using Live View. Small, light, and very inexpensive, these cameras also have flipping high resolution screens (and NOT articulated finders which make you view the scene away from the lens axis, e.g., Canon 70D). For my lens, I use a 30 year old Minolta 50f2.8 macro, which is as good as any modern macro for sharpness and chromatic aberration, and available on eBay or on Craigslist for $200 (mental note: buy the next one that comes up on craigslist for under $200). For my ring flash, I use the lightest, least expensive, and most power efficient (2 AAA's lasts a long time) flash available: the Metz 15 MS-1. It connects wirelessly, avoiding the cables and the flash body mounted on the hot shoe (see the Nikon with the Sigma flash, below).
Shown below are two setups used in the past that were the standard, until I "discovered" Sony's phase-detect Live View.
left: Nikon D90 with 120mm Medical-Nikkor and battery pack (6AA's)
right: Nikon D90, Micro-Nikkor 85f3.5, Sigma Ringflash (4AA's)
3 times the weight and volume of the Sony setup, primitive Live View, static LCD, manual focus
almost twice the weight of the Sony setup, top-heavy and awkward, static LCD with primitive first gen contrast detect autofocus.  But this lens is very sharp! February 20th.

Friday, February 14, 2014

iPhone Diaries #668: just another day in paradise...

… and it's still going to be a beautiful day!
Shot at 6:30 am while waiting for the bus, processed on the Magisto app after getting on the bus, finished video by 7:15 am. February 14th.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

(some of) the teas in the cupboard

Egyptian camomile
 "Dragonwell": Green tea from the West Lake Region, Zhejiang Province, China
 "Blue Eyes": apple, hibiscus, rosehip, cornflowers
"Mango Madness": apple, white tea, orange peel, pineapple, mango, orange slices, tangerine, safflower petals, strawberry, marigold blossoms.

iPhone Series #667: just another day in paradise

Monday, February 3, 2014

dedicated to Ben

There is trouble in my mind
There is dark, there is dark and there is light
Lay your hands over my eyes
As I look deep, through valleys deep and wide
Across the borderline for the empire in my mind
You are the reason I don't sleep
You are the light that's breaking through the leaves
And you know how hard I try
To believe I have something good inside
All the barricades, I climb for the empire in my mind
I have known love, somewhere in time
I've been lifted up, I've looked honor in the eyes
I got no reason, I got no rhyme
I cannot deny there's a darkness that's inside
I am guilty by design and now I realize
The temptations made me blind to the empire in my mind
There is no order, there is chaos and there is crime
There is no one home tonight in the empire of my mind
There is no distance that I don't see
I do have a world, no limit to my reach
I wish, I would, I wish, I might
forsee a line tonight, separating wrong from right
As I am only born to try and maybe that's the reason why
I'm afraid someday I'll find there is no empire in my mind
 - Lyrics by Jakob Dylan, The Wallflowers

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A tidbit

In this week's Negros Chronicle, the headline news is on the supposed rice monopoly in Negros. Is there any relevance to the mention that "Filipino-Chinese" are involved? Heaping blame on a hard-working sub-group totally disregards the complex socio- economic  reality, deflects attention away from everyone else's inaction, and relieve's the government of any responsibility IMO.