Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Red River Gorge - Gray's Arch

Instead of Black Friday shopping like millions of American, this was what we did the day after Thanksgiving:


f/10, 1/200, ISO 400

We went to Red River Gorge again and this time we took a detour at Gray's Arch.

f/4.5, 1/200, ISO 1600

The hike up to the arch was quite adventurous.
I kept thinking "don't do some crazy jump and get my arm stuck", like that guy 72 hours who ended up cutting his own arm off.

f/4.5, 1/200, ISO 1600

We climbed over rocks underneath this cave-like structure.
Lola was quite a mountain goat that day.
It was pretty sweet to watch Jake helping Lola up and down the rocks. He would climb down a three feet drop first then turns around and catch Lola.

f/4.5, 1/50, ISO 1600

 Almost there!

f/4.5, 1/60, ISO 1600

We had delicious leftover turkey sandwich up at the arch before continuing on our hike.

f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 800

It was a beautiful day to spend with my family, it was more than what I am thankful for.

p.s.  I signed up for a half marathon for end of March!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Finish Line

On Thanksgiving Day I ran towards the finish line (I am the girl in blue long-sleeves. Photo credit: Jake).

f/5.6, 1/500, ISO 1600

Not just the 5K finish line, but I crossed the finish line of my cooking marathon.

f/4.2, 1/20, ISO 1600

My sister had a brilliant idea that we should stuff the turkey.
I was going to make the classic bread "stuffing", or more like bread dressing.
This stuffing is awesome, it had wild rice, fresh cranberry, and all the good stuff.

f/4.5, 1/20, ISO 1600

My own finish line consisted of mashed sweet potato, garlicky brussels sprouts, fresh cranberry sauce, herbed bread dressing, berry strata, and pumpkin pie. Along with endless refills...

f/4.5, 1/15, ISO 1600

Yum yum yum! I conquered my own finish line.
(or num num num as my sister would say)

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I am thankful for my little family of Jake and Lola.

I am thankful for my sister who flew from California and surprised me.

I am thankful that she signed up us up for a turkey trot 5K race this morning, and I completed the race with new record time.

I am thankful that the turkey is finally in the oven.

I am thankful for my sister who made another dessert for the big meal tonight.

I am thankful that the Packers are undefeated.

I am thankful for those who love and care for me.

Finally, I am so thankful for my readers. Thank you for reading!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mise En Place

Mise en place, simply means "everything in place" in French.  In terms of cooking ,that means to prep all ingredients before cooking up the dish. That was exactly what I did today, putting everything in place. I diced 5 cups of onions, 4 cups of celery, mushrooms, and cubed a pound of bread.

f/4, 1/80, ISO 1600

That was not half of the things I put in place today.

This beast almost became the nightmare. Almost.

f/5, 1/60, ISO 1600

After chopping for an hour, I had the hardest time "de-winging" the bird. I looked through Joy of Cooking and various YouTube videos. Let's just say it was not a pleasant experience holding a bird's wings for a period of time. But it I did it. After three hours of reducing and reducing, I finally got some awesome turkey stock for stuffing tomorrow.

f/4.8, 1/50, ISO 1600 

Wait, there's more to my day than "de-winging".
Fresh cranberry sauce and mashed sweet potato. Yummmooo!

f/5, 1/20, ISO 1600

Although this may seem like a lot of work and time in the kitchen, I love it. I like being busy and feeling like I am the master of this little corner of mine. I conquered the turkey wings today, wait till you see tomorrow's dinner.

Happy Pre-Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Probably 99.8% of my pictures were taken with the auto-focus function, i.e. I let the lens do its focusing until I hear the little "beep-beep" and I see the focusing red dots, I click. Even though I thought that means the picture is focused, the result shown on my computer screen is another story. This is especially true for me under low light conditions. I would take lots of pictures in my kitchen and the pictures almost always come out blurry. Until I learned this rule of thumb from Miz Booshay:

Rule: The shutter speed should not be lower than the number on the lens.

For example, this picture was taken at shutter speed of 1/15s and lens 20mm. The shutter speed 1/15 is less than the lens number 20mm =  blurry!

f/5.6, 1/15, ISO 3200

Here are more examples of what happens when I didn't follow the rule:

Lens at 40mm, shutter speed 1/6s...what was I thinking?

f/5.3, 1/6, ISO 1600

Delicious blurry cornmeal pancake

Lens 26mm and shutter speed 1/13s

f/6.3, 1/13, ISO 1600

This would have been a good strawberry shortcake...except at 42mm lens and 1/30s shutter speed.

f/5.3, 1/30s, ISO 1600

In Miz Booshay's post on focus, she mentioned 9 other tips on achieving sharpness and I thought this rule was the easiest to keep in mind (and steady hand) without messing with a tripod or trying to understand how lens work. Anyways, hopefully I will be able to remember checking my shutter speed before snapping or else I will be posting more blurry pictures.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thoroughbred Antique Gallery

Last week I went to Thoroughbred Antique Gallery downtown Lexington for the revealing of my calendar pictures.  I could tell most of the attendance that night were fancy-pants. It could be the tweet blazer with elbow patch, suede shoes, and LV bags. Antique shopping is pretty big here. This is where the rich spend their money, no not in the mall, but here where they can buy a $795 used jockey jacket.

f/5.6, 1/20, ISO 3200

$50 can buy yourself one fancy china plate like this.

f/5.6, 1/125. ISO 3200

Or more dollars this floral china set.

f/5.6, 1/60, ISO 3200

I am not sure if I would rather own this beautiful dish set or go on a shopping spree in Target. I think I will choose Target. Maybe when I am rich and I don't feel so out of place while in an antique store. By that time, I think I can skip the dollar corner in Target and continue with my shopping spree.

f/5.6, 1/50, ISO 3200

Don't get me wrong, I love looking at antiques. Most of all, I like seeing where the items are from and knowing how they are priced. I like to think those green dish set were once owned by a young lady like me.

Here are the calendar photo displays.

Can you tell which pictures are mine? Hint, there are two pictures.

f/4.5, 1/80, ISO 3200

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This Week

This week is my last push before a few days of beak for Thanksgiving. On Monday I gave a lecture on fat metabolism and exercise. I was so nervous that I finished the lecture 15 minutes earlier. Yikes. Then my week is not completed until I finish two papers, one exam, and another exam on next Monday. Busy, busy, busy. So I did something yesterday that would cheer me up.

f/4.8, 1/80, ISO 1600

I bought a turkey!

Planning this Thanksgiving meal is pretty exciting for me and I will be updating you on my meal-prepping progress.

Here is the meal plan (so far; hover over for recipe link):
Classic Roast Turkey and Giblet Gravy
Maple-Pecan Sweet Potatoes
Caramelized Onion and Sauteed Green Beans
Herbed Bread Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Pie

All classic Thanksgiving dishes, just the way I like it.

Anyway, more studying for now and more food talking later. Have a good week.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bubbles of Light

I have been taking lots of pictures during this lovely autumn weather with plenty of sunshine and beautiful fall colors. But I noticed that some of my pictures are turning out like these:

Bubbles of light in the photos

f/10, 1/25, ISO 400

Like this horse was taking a bubble bath...underneath the sun

f/14, 1/15, ISO 400

Besides the fact that Lola did not want her picture taken, bubbles of light filled this one too...

f/8, 1/100, ISO 200

At first I thought it was time to clean my camera lens, perhaps the dirt particles had caused this phenomenon. Could be true. But it turned out to be lens flare. This happens under very bright conditions in which the light does not go though the intended path in the lens, and instead the light is reflected within the lens before finally reaching the film.

Although I should practice capturing bubbles of light in a more "artistic" sense, flare makes images look washed out with loss of contrast and color saturation. No good.

Here is what I need, a lens hood that can reduce the amount of unnecessary light entering the lens.

Hmmmm....I think Christmas is around the corner.

Anyway, I can't complain about this sunny fall weather I am enjoying and it's even better that I accidentally "discovered" this bubbles of light.

On a final note, a big thank you to all the brave men and women in the military. Happy Veterans' Day!

p.s. Regarding the previous post on Claiborne Farm, I might have gotten a little confused over the annual fee for each horse. I meant to say "cover fee per occurrence"...think in breeding term.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Claiborne Farm

This past weekend we had some family visiting, so we took them to Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky.

f/14, 1/125, ISO 400

This year the farm is celebrating its 100 years as a successful Thoroughbred breeder and caretaker.
You might know a horse named Secretariat from that Disney movie.
This was where he was conceived, raised, and lived his whole life at.

f/8, ,1/400, ISO 400

It costs the farm over $5 million each year to take care of the horses residing there.

The annual fee for this horse Pulpit is $50,000 and his earnings throughout his career is $730K.

f/5, 1/125, ISO 400

This guy Arch, $30,000 annually just to take care of him.

f/5.6, 1/125, ISO 400

I am in the wrong business.
I ought to give horse breeding another thought...

f/5.6, 1/640, ISO 400

I was amazed learning how much each horse makes from races and breeding. Astonishing.
This explains all the fancy houses in my neighborhood.

f/16, 1/400, ISO 400

The horse "circle" here is a whole new and complicated world to me. Mares, stallions, foals, Breeder's Cup, Thoroughbreds, needless to say the horses' fancy names. But I was happy to learn that horses love peppermints, like the ones you get in restaurants.

With a $750K price tag and this horse here prefers a cheap peppermint?

Yeee Ha!

f/5.3, 1/50, ISO 400

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vegetable Gardening - Finale

The persistent frost every morning has left my vegetable ready to say good bye for the year.
Our carved pumpkins have been rotting outside for a week now.
And Lola is eager to get her "view" back.

f/14, 1/100, ISO 400

The cherry tomatoes did not have a chance to turn red and I am left with a a pound and half of them. Fried green tomato, anyone?

f/5.6, 1/640, ISO 400

f/5.6, 1/320, ISO 400

Taking down the garden was definitely more work than planting seeds. I have nothing to look forward to for the next six months.

f/10, 1/100, ISO 400

Nothing but dozens of soil-filled pots.

f/10, 1/25, ISO 400

Despite the spider-mite invasion, my balcony-pot gardening was a success this year. I made lots of roasted cherry tomato on pasta, sautee green beans, and stuffed peppers over the summer. If only I have an actual plot to plant more. For now, I am going to plan on what other veggies I am going to plant next spring.

f/10, 1/25, ISO 400

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Photo Contest - Results!

Remember I submitted photos back in September for Henry Clay calendar photo contest?

I heard back from them last week....

and they chose two of my three photos!!

Yipee! Woot! Woot!

f/5.6, 1/800, ISO 800

f/18, 1/100, ISO 800

When I told my Dad about this he asked if it was the camera (which he bought for me) or my skills. I would like to think it was a bit of both. Having my photos chosen for a calendar shows that I am improving in my photography skills, that I am getting somewhere. I was told that my photos would be displayed at a art gallery during the calendar revealing event later this month. I am pumped. I knew snapping tons of pictures everywhere I go would help. Practice makes perfect.
Pin It