Hello – pause for a quick thought

hello

This has nothing to do with photography or creativity, but without good karma what is creativity anyway, so I’m just going to say it.

This morning I was in and out of the supermarket at a super speed, getting icing for the cake which I had to ice in 20 minutes to get to the school event in time. Outside sat a lady, a little older than me, with dark hair, dark eyes and an accordian. I greeted her as I rushed past and on the way out I said goodbye. She wished me a good weekend and I returned the good wishes.

I was not the only one going in and out – in fact it was a busy Saturday morning, but I didn’t hear any other greetings. On the way home I gave it some thought – Why was this so important to me?

Well, you see, I was taught that in the Xhosa tradition (and in many other African traditions too): when you meet someone you greet them AND you should  follow up a simple “Hello”, with “How are you?”

The Hello (Molo) implies – I acknowledge that you exist.

The How are you? (Kunjani?) implies – I will briefly pause to interact with you, because you are worthy of a moment of my time. (Not to do so is considered to be extremely rude)

I believe everyone has as much of a right to be on this earth as I do, we’re just dealt different cards. I can’t fix everything, so I greet – especially those who sometimes are made to feel invisible. After all, a little bit of human dignity can go a long way.

Later today, I greeted a man I’d met before and automatically, without thinking asked how he was. The response was one of surprise. He paused and looked at me and said he was well. He asked how I was and I said I was also well. 🙂 Maybe I should have answered, “Ndiphilile” – I am alive.

Surprise!

Ta-Da!!!  Welcome to simply pause – my fresh, new blog site!

I decided that pause needed a little bit of an upgrade, call it a facelift or a breath of fresh air.The posts will be similar to what I posted in pause, but I hope that you will find this site easier to get around and prettier too!

I have quietly been working on this in the background, for a while now and wanted it perfect before I showed you, but I just couldn’t keep it quiet any longer! I just had to share it. What do you think – Wait! Don’t answer yet! Have a look around first.

You can start things off by signing up in the bar to the right, under FOLLOW SIMPLY PAUSE to have new posts emailed to you!!! When you do, all new posts will automatically be sent to you as I press the publish button. AND you always have the option to Unsubscribe, automatically at any time. Magic!

The big P takes you to my Pinterest page and see – I got the Pin-it button to work too! Give it a try!

Under RECENT POSTS you will find the same posts that I posted on pause. It’s a nice short-cut to get to where you want to be quickly, if you want to catch up on recent activity.

My Photos is a beautiful big gallery for people to get an overview – purely of the images I’ve taken.

Photo Stuff has the posts that relate more to Photography, while Food is where you’ll find recipes and food talk (I know you’re not stupid, I just thought I should spell it out it anyway). I’ve used the photos from the posts as links to take you where you want to be quickly and easily. Have a look! Do they work? I’ve just transferred a couple of old posts from pause to start off with, but if there are any specific ones you’d like to see here, let me know.

This time I’ve really kept things simple to start off with, but I hope this site is going to grow substantially in time and that you’ll really enjoy what I come up with as we go along.

So now, WHAT DO YOU THINK? Have you signed up? Please somebody sign up! Wanna try my Comments Section below?

 

Basic Indugence

Every photo tells a story. 

There was almost no post this week. But I’d secretly promised myself to post something every week.
Hmmm. So. Well. Basically, I’d been reading my food photography book, and she keeps reminding me to find the story behind every image I create. “There’s always a story”, she says. When you know the story that lies behind your image, then choosing lighting and colour and props and angles and composition, becomes so much simpler.
So there I was, feeling sorry for myself when… I saw a story I had to tell.
Enjoy!
                                                                                              .
chocolate and wine 2
                                                                                            .
chocolate and wine 1
                                                                                              .
chocolate and wine 4
                                                                                                  .
chocolate and wine 3

back to basics – tomato love

 

Back to Basics - i love tomatoes

I had these tomatoes sitting in my windowsill and every time I wanted to use one, I found myself reaching for some other tomatoes from a different bowl. These just looked too beautiful! Subconsciously, I was saving them for a photo. So eventually, I gave in and stole a little time to photograph them. They were just too photogenic to ignore.

 

Tomatoes are a real basic in our home. They’re always on our shopping list. Normally they go straight into a blue bowl in my kitchen windowsill, where they’re meant to slowly ripen, deepening in colour and flavour – but they tend to get eaten first!

I use a variety of types and really believe the more the merrier – cherry, plum and of course tinned tomatoes! In salads, I’m the one who fishes out all the tomatoes and adds one or two salad leaves to my plate for decoration. And for the cherry on top of a fry up – the best thing is little helping of fried cherry tomatoes – cooked with balsamic vinegar until they pop.

Pasta? with cherry tomatoes roasted in the oven with olive oil, served with fresh basil and maybe some feta cheese or pesto? Perfect. What would boerewors* be without fried onion and tomato mush, served in a fresh white roll? And curry without tomatoes sambals?

And in winter, my friend makes the most divine Lamb stew, slowly cooked in tinned tomatoes. (Now I’m drooling!)

Tomatoes

The more I think about it, tomatoes really are a basic necessity in our home! So this is a little ode to tomatoes, cooked, fried or a just a sweet, fresh little plum tomato popped into your mouth…

 

What’s your basic? I have a friend who always has cream in her fridge and then some people cannot do without cheese… Love to hear from you, in the comments below!

 

Back to Basics - tomato love

 

(* boerewors is a South African beef sausage, made with a mix of spices, usually includes coriander)

Back to basics – 2 simple steps to improve your photography

Screen shot 2014-06-12 at 10.22.02 AM

Can you believe it’s already June? We’ve had a lot of visitors recently and we’ve been busy busy busy. Time’s flying and it’s not always easy keeping up. When it gets like this, I find the best way to cope is to simplify everything. Find the essentials and just let go of the rest.

So I’m on this mission to go back to basics.

In photography, the best back to basics tips that I can give are to:

1) simplify what’s in your image
2) simplify your light source

To simplify what’s in your image, find an angle that cuts out the background. Go in really close or turn your subject around to include as little clutter as possible, in the background. A wonderful trick, if you’re photographing children, is to go in slightly from below and use the blue sky as a backdrop. The opposite is to get them to lie on the ground, you stand on a chair and use the lawn as your background. In that way you simplify everything in your shots and the main subject really stands out.

Simplifying your light source, makes it easier for you to see where the highlights and shadows are – and makes for a more natural looking image. If you’re outside, it’s quite simple – the sun or overcast sky is your single main light source. Sometimes this light can be a bit harsh, though. Try sitting your subject on a light neutral coloured blanket. The light that comes from above will bounce back up into the shadows, making the shadows a little lighter and your image softer.

Inside things can be a little trickier, so simplify.  Switch off your house lights and switch off your flash! Try using natural light. Choose one window as your single light source and get your subject right up close to it. One article I read suggests that you place your kids’ table or play area right near that window. Then they’ll generally be in the right sport for you to take pics. A favourite chair in that spot will also work! Then try taking your shots with the main light source to the side of your subject. That way your image will have a balance of light and shadow.

Here’s a quick and basic photo challenge:

Get your child to sit in that chair that you’ve moved right near the window or glass door. Now you squeeze up right up to the window, so that the light source is coming from the side, but you’re seeing the slightly more of the lighter side of them. Switch off your flash. Get them to show you the latest Lego toy they built and tell you about it. They don’t have to smile, just sit and chat to them and click away. Or even better – get granny to sit there with them and read them a story…

I have a lovely series of photos where my children were sitting in some white couches, right near the window, where lovely soft light was streaming in. The light bounced up off the white couches, (under their chins and into their darker eye sockets) and created a lovely soft glow. My longer lens allowed me to come in close, without disturbing them – so that only the couches and the plain white wall got into the background of the shot. Then, I simply captured their expressions while they were watching TV.

Simplify and I can guarantee you’ll get some good shots!

Basic Country Quiche

Country quiche1

I simplified here. I went back to basics. No props or background. One light source from the top left corner. And a simple, wholesome, country quiche.

I got good highlights on the pastry and the cheesy surface, but enough colour to make you drool.  The whole image is light and airy like the Quiche. Yum! The Recipe is below…

Country quiche 2

Country Quiche 3

The Recipe

Yes, it does taste as good as it looks!

If you have the basics in the fridge, you can add almost anything to it to, and turn it into something awesome. Serve with a simple salad, or for you wintery lot – add some steamed veggies.

Basics:

One large sheet of shop-bought, pre-made pastry

6 eggs

2 large dollops of creme fraiche (No creme fraiche? try full cream Greek Yoghurt?)

300-400g grated cheese

bacon bits

Veggies of choice:  In the photo above, I used dollops of creamed spinach and grated carrot, another time there was broccoli in the fridge, but my favourite was chopped leek and mushroom.

Got the stuff, now what do I do?

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and grease a shallow dish. (This one is about 30cm in diameter)

Place the dish on the pastry and cut the pastry a little larger to cover the base and go up the sides.

Line the dish with pastry.

Cut the remaining pastry into thin long strips.

Place the bacon bits and a half the cheese on the pastry.

Lightly fry or steam your veggies of choice and add as the next layer, leaving gaps for the egg to fill later.

Beat the eggs and creme fraiche and pour over veggies.

Cover with the remaining cheese.

Place the strips of pastry over the top in a criss-cross manner and paint over them lightly with a little egg.

Bake for 30-40 minutes (depending on the ingredients and your oven)

You can prepare the salad and set the table in the meantime

Serves 4

Enjoy!