Tuesday, March 06, 2012

New Blog URL

Sorry it has been so quiet for the past few weeks on this page. I have been working on something new & exciting - a new blog!!! You can find it at http://www.angelaandrieux.com/blog.

Explore-Capture-Create: exploring the world, photography, and all things creative

A handful of my recent posts are available there, but to dig into the archives (including my California to Sicily posts) you'll have to visit this page: http://anglouise.blogspot.com. This page WILL NOT be deleted, but all updates and new posts will be at http://www.angelaandrieux.com/blog.

Please hop over, update your RSS reader, and follow me on my new, updated blogTag along as I explore the world, photography, and all things creative. I hope to see you there!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Just for fun

I just discovered Wordle! This is what it came up with the text from my last few blog posts...I think may have mentioned Nutella once or twice! :-)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

World Nutella Day - 2012

This year marks the third year that I have participated in World Nutella Day! My contribution to creamy, chocolatey, hazelnutty goodness for 2012 is Nutella Gelato. I just sat down to have a bit and it is absolutely amazing!

Swirling in the ice cream machine

Just out of the ice cream machine, headed to the freezer

The crown jewel of my day - Nutella Gelato!
The recipe: Nutella Gelato
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
In a saucepan combine the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and Nutella until it dissolves. Chill mixture completely before pouring into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions to freeze. To serve, scoop gelato into serving bowls.

After making the gelato I had four egg whites left over so I decided to try my hand at making meringues.  Bring on the sugar high!!

Bonus recipe: Meringues
adapted from AllRecipes.com
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C). Butter and flour a baking sheet.

In a glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy using an electric mixer. Sprinkle in sugar a little at a time, while continuing to whip at medium speed. When the mixture becomes stiff and shiny like satin, stop mixing, and transfer the mixture to a large pastry bag. Pipe the meringue out onto the prepared baking sheet using a large round tip or star tip.

Place the meringues in the oven and place a wooden spoon handle in the door to keep it from closing all the way. Bake for 3 hours, or until the meringues are dry, and can easily be removed from the pan. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature.

A big thank you to  Ms Adventures in ItalyBleeding Espresso, and World Nutella Day for hosting this awesome event!

Friday, February 03, 2012

The Brick

The Argus C3 Rangefinder, produced from 1939 to 1966, was dubbed "the brick" by photographers due to its size, shape, and weight. I came across an Argus C3 in an antique shop a couple of years ago and, knowing nothing about it, had to have it. I had no idea if it worked, nor did I care. I paid $15 and thought it would look great sitting on a shelf.

My "brick" has been sitting on display in my parents' home on an antique tripod that belonged to my great-grandfather since I bought it (at the time I was living overseas and didn't need the extra weight in my suitcase). This past Christmas I was fortunate to spend around three weeks with my parents and one of the things I did while I was there was give this little camera some TLC, but first I took pictures - lots of pictures using my mom's awesome macro lens. I've dubbed this series "The Argus Rangefinder Collection" and I love how they turned out!

The Argus Rangefinder Collection

What do you think?

Prints, artist-signed notecards, and more are available on my website at http://www.angelaandrieux.com/argus.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

This Sunday is....

Did you think I was going to say something about the Superbowl? Nope! This Sunday is WORLD NUTELLA DAY!!! Chocolatey, hazelnutty goodness is way more important than football! (at least in my world) ;-)

Want to participate? Here's how:

Make a recipe using Nutella. Eat Nutella with a spoon. A big one. Make art with Nutella. Wax poetic about Nutella. Cuddle with Nutella. Strike a pose with Nutella. Re-live your first experience eating Nutella. Offer Nutella as a sacrifice. Have a Nutella-eating contest or a Nutella party!

  1. Do something, anything with Nutella. Make a recipe, take a picture of yourself eating itwith a BIG spoon, make art, wax poetic, re-live your first experience eating Nutella. Have a Nutella-eating contest or even a Nutella party!
  2. Take pictures and/or upload a video then blog about it ON February 5th, 2012. In your blog post, include links to Ms Adventures in ItalyBleeding Espresso, and World Nutella Day as well as the World Nutella Day badge/button (below – right mouse click, Save image…). Please try to post ON FEBRUARY 5 so that we can create a true chocolaty hazelnut wave across the blogosphere on World Nutella Day!
  3. Email nutelladay [at] nutelladay [dot] com with the subject “Nutella Day Entry” and include:
  • Your & Your Blog’s Name
  • Your Post URL/Permalink
Some other ways to participate:
Different than prior years, we’ll be highlighting a selection of the most interesting happenings/recipes/videos/Tweets about World Nutella Day on Monday, February 6, 2012, but in the meantime, please feel free to post this announcement on your blog to spread the word!
And if you want to use an organic or other type of Nutella substitute, go for it! It’s all about the chocolate and hazelnut love!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Just beneath the waves...

On my trip up north my mom and I stumbled upon something very cool - a catwalk underneath the Avila Beach Pier! We happened to find this enchanting (and somewhat spooky) location at low tide where the waves would ebbe to show a world just below the usual waterline.

We didn't have the right equipment with us to capture the beauty that day but I was able to go back the next day, tripod in tow, and neutral density filter in hand.  The conditions weren't quite as good when I went back - the waves were bigger (causing the pier to shake a bit more) and it was a bright sunny day (which made for a more drastic contrast in light underneath the pier).

Even though it wasn't ideal I grabbed the opportunity to practice a skill that I've been longing to master - smoothing water using long shutter speeds.  I threw my camera in Manual, cranked my aperture as small as it would go (to minimize the light entering the camera and maximize my depth of field) and played with my shutter speed to find the right combination to maximize my detail in the highlights and shadows while being slow enough to smooth the water.

Here are my favorite shots:

ISO 100, 175mm, f/36, 20 sec

ISO 100, 115mm, f/36, 20 sec

ISO 100, 51mm, f/29, 20 sec

ISO 100, 24mm, f/22, 8 sec

Did you notice all of the starfish!? They were mesmerizing to me! I don't think I had ever seem them in their natural habitat before, only in aquariums.

What I learned: If I could go back and reshoot this I would choose a day that was overcast, and that the waves weren't quite as big.  (Did I mention that there was a high surf advisory when I was UNDER the pier?)

With overcast skys I could dial back my aperture a bit to my lens' sweet spot, probably around f/16 and would have gotten sharper images.

Finally, I would take a bit more time to compose my shots.  I was admittedly a bit spooked being under the pier by myself with the surf surging just a few feet below me. As a result I wasn't able to fully concentrate on what I was shooting.

Overall, I'm really happy with my images. I'm really looking forward to practicing this technique again.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Making a Photograph

Several of the photography gurus that I follow stress the difference between taking a photograph and making a photograph.  What is the difference? Taking a photo is simply pointing and shooting, hoping for the best.  Making a photograph takes time - time to carefully choose a location, paying attention to light, composing the shot, and possibly spending time in post processing to make my artistic vision a reality.

The following photograph was made on a day trip with my mom up Highway 1 from San Luis Obispo to Cambria and back. The shoreline at Cambria was our first stop. I pulled out my tripod, borrowed my mom's neutral density filter and made my composition.  I wasn't done there, though.  This High Dynamic Range (HDR) image is a composite of five images. Pressing the shutter was just the first step of many.

Wedgewood Accessway - Cambria, CA
Here are the original RAW images:

Why did I need five images? My goal was to capture detail in both the highlights and shadows.  In this scene capturing that range required five images.  I was able to determine this while I was shooting by watching my histogram as I modified the shutter speed. In the darkest image I made sure that the histogram wasn't touching the right side of the graph.  In the brightest image I ensured that the histogram wasn't touching the left side of the graph.

Darkest image - histogram isn't touching the right side of the graph

Brightest image - histogram isn't touching the left side of the graph

The next step in making my photograph was to combine these five images into one using Photomatix Pro.  Again, my goal was to maintain detail in both the highlights and shadows, but now in a single, composite image.

Tone-mapped image from Photomatix Pro
Once I have the tone-mapped image I can start making my artistic vision take shape. I did a bit of cropping, and added a bit of contrast, and then for the final touches I took the image into Topaz Adjust to bring out detail and color.

The finished photograph
I MADE this photograph. It is my artistic interpretation. What do you think?