To all ye who want to paint with light ...

I should have started this blog many moons ago as I started experiencing the joys of rediscovering the art of photography. But as the saying goes - it's better late, than never!
So, here I am, in the hopes of recording what I learn as I progress from ignorance to enlightenment; about what my eyes can see that my camera can capture; and, what my mind imagines and my camera paints with its capabilities.

Please feel free to add any comments and share your wisdom (tips or tricks) that you have picked up along the way.

And do check out my How-To and Birding pages as well.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcake


After my lazy version of the Chocolate Lava cake turned out to be a flop, I was looking for another recipe that had chocolate in it.  I will try the lava cake again and let you know how it turned out, but for now, here's something else.

I had Red Velvet cupcakes in mind for a while now as well, so I recently went and dug the recipe out from my archives (and yes, my archive for recipes to try is quite a large one, so stay tuned for future recipe posts).

I adapted the recipe from the original, which I almost always do (call it some kind of cheap pleasure at perpetually wanting to bend the culinary rules; mind you, I never break the law, though!).  I mostly used my own measurements for flour and butter as I normally use for my regular cupcakes, simply because I like their light and fluffy texture.  However, I found the Red Velvets a little bit on the heavier side, probably because of the buttermilk the recipe called for.


Please read on for my version of the recipe.  Not too many images this time, as I baked in the evening, and there wasn't much time to try out different setups.  I also wanted to try my hand at using artificial lighting for my food photography, and this was actually one of those exercises.  I don't have very high-end lighting equipment, but what I have right now will need to be tweaked a little further, so I can get some nice results.  An exercise for another occasion.


The Cupcake
Self-raising flour - 150 gms (5 oz)
Cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Unsalted butter, softened at room temperature - 1/4 cup
Granulated sugar - 150 gms (5 oz)
Buttermilk - 1/2 cup
Egg (large) - 1
Pure vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Red food coloring - a few drops

Low Fat Cream Cheese Frosting
Icing or confectioner's sugar - 1 cup
Low-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature - 125 gms
Unsalted butter, softened at room temperature - 50 gms
Milk - 1 tbsp
Pure vanilla extract - 1 tsp
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Line a muffin pan with cup cake liners and set aside. 
  2. In a small bowl mix together the first 5 ingredients and set aside.  
  3. In a separate bowl, cream together the sugar and butter, until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the buttermilk, making sure it's combined.
  6. Add the remaining half of the dry ingredients and buttermilk; combine everything together but do not over mix.
  7. Add enough food coloring to get the desired red color for your cupcakes.
  8. Using a spatula mix the batter thoroughly making sure nothing is left on the sides of the bowl.
  9. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop the batter evenly into your prepared cupcake liners and bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick  inserted  in the center comes out clean.
  10. Let the cupcakes cool completely before you frost them.
  11. To make the frosting, simply put all the frosting ingredients into a bowl and mix well with an electric hand mixer.
  12. Mix until well combined and the frosting has a thick-ish consistency.  You can adjust the consistency by adding a tablespoon of milk at a time if it's too thick, or adding a tablespoon of sugar at a time if it's too runny.
  13. Frost the cupcakes either with a little spatula or use a piping bag fitted with a plain large tip.
  14. Let cool in the fridge for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow them to set a little before serving (if you can resist them anyway)

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Just a quick post on the snowstorm that's been throwing things out of gear here in Montreal and the surrounding areas over the last couple of days.  I decided to work from home because I had a really hard time driving back in the snow last evening.  The car skidded a number of times and once I got home, I had an even harder time trying to get the car into the parking spot.  There was way too much snow and it felt like I was driving into a snow bank.  I was nervous as hell, this being the first major snowstorm I've driven in, and I just didn't want to risk driving back and forth today, especially after a freezing rain warning.

I had wanted to get to the last row of trees you see in the background.  The white field of snow beyond that row of trees is actually the frozen river :)

My bedroom blinds were pulled down, so I hadn't a clue what was happening outside since the morning, till I got up to go to the kitchen to grab something for lunch.  Lunch was forgotten when I saw that the snow was coming down in humungous flakes.  I donned my protective clothing, packed up my camera, picked up my tripod and headed out into the snow.  

I was optimistic about being able to get close to the river, because I wanted a shot of the Champlain bridge across the river in the snowy haze.  But no such luck!  The snow was at least 6 - 8 inches deep, and there was no way I could go in there.  I didn't have a lot of time, since I had to get back to my work, so I just put down my tripod any where I could and shot off a few frames.

I'm not totally satisfied with the compositions for a couple of reasons - I had to hurry back, and you cannot really do a lot when you are strapped for time.  I was using my 17 - 50 mm lens, but the snow prevented me from going further back to be able to get more of the scene.  So, I just mostly stayed in one place and did what I could.  Additionally, the snow was getting on my lens and it just didn't feel safe.  So, I packed up after about 10 shots or fewer, and headed back home.  I got some curious looks from the occasional drivers who were brave enough to be on the road - I just smiled back at them, knowing what they might be thinking - what a crazy woman she must be! ;-)


The white blotches in this image is snow on my lens :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Photo shoot from the past

Last year (it sounds like some time in the distant past already) I actually did a number of photo shoots for different people and occasions, but didn't really get a chance to post any images from those shoots.  However, I thought I would set that right, since this blog should ideally reflect all my exercises in photography at any point in time.  And they say that it's better late than never, isn't it!  So, the images are better late, because it gives me a chance to go back and see what I have really done by way of portraiture and how my skills and style have evolved.

I'd also like to mention that I now have a photography page on Facebook.  It would be wonderful if you stopped by and "Like"-ed the page, since I know you stop by here often because you like me! Jokes apart, it would mean a lot if you dropped by and said "hello" on FB.

Here are some images from a few of the photo sessions:















eoit-158 (1)







Sunday, January 1, 2012

Here's to Sweet Beginnings!

Just wanted to make a quick posting to mark another year of blogging.  Hope you'll stick around with me in 2012 as I go forward with my photography.

I baked these cupcakes a couple of days ago.  You can find the recipe for the cupcake in an earlier post.  The only thing I changed from the earlier recipe was to omit the strawberry flavouring and add pina colada flavouring instead.



Happy New Year, everyone!  Wish you the best of health, peace and love!