Posts in Category: thelife

A match for Bay

Baylor is 7 years old. He has been diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, a blood cancer. After two years in remission, he needs a matching marrow donor, now. Since matching is based on ethnicity, he will most likely need a mixed race donor who is also Asian and Caucasian.

If you are between 18-44 years old, willing and able to sign a consent form and provide a cheek swab, please drop by one of several donor drives, or send for a home kit to take the sample yourself at home! You could save Baylor’s life.

#amatchforbay #willyoumarrowme

Fresh Pear Pie

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Fresh pear pie, cooling over a rack with foil underneath to catch drips.It was very bubbly while hot. Shortly after taking this shot, I heard that a certain someone had eaten all three of those layered, buttery, crispy, pie crusty pears on top there. He was delighted about it and utterly unrepentant too. Once it cooled, we all enjoyed a slice. Okay, it was not quite cool, actually still rather warm and so it was way more gooey and saucy and just perfect. Did you bake this weekend?

I learned to bake a pie so I could make a cherry one for Cameron for his birthday a few years ago. Then I started making other pies too and I’m always curious about a new fruit filling. I was thinking that pears were probably too soft and delicate to withstand a bake whole but my concerns were assuaged by this recipe which was simple and quick. You don’t stew the pears in sugar and lemon juice but instead layer them, raw, with a mix that bakes up like a tangy caramel.

I started by making my favourite pie crust. Okay, it’s also the only one I know but it’s amazing. And I don’t even have a pastry cutter or food processor. I just use two butter knives. Or steak knives, as my mood takes me. After it had chilled overnight, we made this fresh pear pie.  The filling is perfect and firmed up nicely as it cooled. The crust on the edge is perfect. The middle though? It was a little soggy. Could have done with a few more minutes and my steam vents sucked. I’d like to try a lattice top crust with the next one. We used the sugar we had, Trader Joe’s organic. Not white, as called for in the recipe. And we added a half-tablespoon of cinnamon instead of the the teaspoon. Also brushed the top with milk and dusted with same sugar before popping in the oven. If I’d had a slightly rockier sugar, like turbinado, I’d have used it. Either way works though. As I always do, I’ve already imagined variations of this pie I’d like to try. Maybe add some anise or ginger? Trade the flour for ground flax seed? Use more pears, for sure! 😀

Okay. So apparently, I really wanted to share my thoughts about my pie with you. It was delicious. If you have any interest in pears or pies, you should make it. 😀

Lean in

Present

My son is turning five this month and so I’m thinking a lot about the last five years and how much we’ve all grown, how much love and life and laughter we’ve shared, how many struggles we’ve overcome… mostly about the love and life and laughter though, I’ll admit it.

The biggest lessons for me as a parent, come from Chésaweh’s constant invitations to be present, to live in this moment. It’s remarkable, and when I’m open to it and receptive then it can be breathtaking. I just want to remind myself of that, when I inevitably get overwhelmed or caught up and forget.

This was taken last summer, when I was shooting some of Cameron’s pots with my assistant. 😀

ajira darch photography my smiling boy

It’s been a while…

Did I get that Stained song stuck in your head now?

Well. Life has happened since I last posted. Unsurprisingly. They really meant it when they said ‘Time marches on’. Don’t ask me who they is. I have no idea.

I got hacked. Not as glamorous as you might imagine. Decidedly less so in fact. And more likely some bot built by a 6yo than the 6yo herself as she’s busy doing more interesting things. Anyway, I’ve not had access to post or edit anything on the blog for most of that time. Happy to be back. I’ve been posting more on my personal blog and that has been really good for me.

You may see a few wonky things about the site that I’m still working on resolving. I’ll get there. Thanks for being patient.

In about a month’s time I will have a 5 year old child. Mind. Blown. That’s been true throughout my experience of motherhood… I am constantly blown away by the experience… it is always more and different than I expect. My heart keeps growing and I keep learning.

I’m working on  various personal projects- which has been incredibly rewarding. Love staying excited about making photographs.

I’ve got a few slots open for March, so give me a call and book a lifestyle session today. It’s the perfect weather for it!

Every day is park day

Weekly photo prompt: Seen from a different angle

Do you do them? I see daily and weekly prompts all over the interwebs, from shuttersisters and iheartfaces to Fat Mum Slim and project life 365. One of my faves is the one my friend Shelly runs. Every week she posts a prompt on her blog and invites us to look at our lives a little more closely. I love them and I thought you might as well. Go look at this week’s prompt- Sun Flare. Wherever you post it, instagram/facebook/twitter/flickr/g+, make sure to tag your photo with #wpmyview so we can all see it.

Flare is one of my favourite things so I was quite excited about this one. It is just sooooo pretty. Honestly, it’s quite rare that I think there’s too much flare in a picture… it just adds that long summer days nostalgia to an image and I adore that. On the other hand, I can’t imagine an entire session’s worth of images done with flare. You definitely have to be a little more conscious of what you’re using it on.

Here’s an example of it in a photo of the kiddo, looking impish while playing on the sidewalk. It was pretty late in the day and the light was just gorgeous.

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Okay. I’ll concede that there may be a little too much in this one of Shelly. But it still makes me smile! I even love that haze and all it does is remind me of how warm that day was. And how lovely it was to sit in sun so bright, all I wanted to do was close my eyes and lean back, feeling the light on my skin. Listening to my friend talk and watching my family play. Warm, fuzzy feelings ensue.

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Pulling focus

So, while I was shooting Cameron‘s pots the other day, and specifically when I was shooting that gorgeous celadon jug that you saw yesterday, I had an assistant who suddenly decided that he wanted to be in the picture. So he jumped in. And I couldn’t even be mad at him because, I mean, well… look!

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He chose this edit, btw. I had a different b&w in mind but he liked this one best, so we went with it.

East Bay Open Studios

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Cameron is showing his work again at The Potter’s Studio as part of the East Bay’s Open Studios which happen annually and present an awesome opportunity to explore the art and artists right here in these neighbourhoods that we live in. We’ve enjoyed picking up the directory and randomly selecting artists to visit. And every one was a memorable experience. Artists are so interesting! We also loved seeing all the children and families and really people of all ages everywhere. Definitely a good Sat afternoon activity for anyone! So this weekend and next, go meet and support your local artists!

Hope you’re planning to be out and about today. We’re heading to the Chocolate and Chalk Art Festival in the Gourmet Ghetto in Berkeley, and then we’ll pop in to see Cameron make some pots. And Chésaweh will more than likely join in and make some as well. Come and see Cameron’s gorgeous pots. This jug is one of my favourites and held my wedding anniversary (9 years woohoo!) tulips beautifully. Just seeing them at the kitchen table every morning made me smile.

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You’re invited! Cameron Sharp Pottery at The Potter’s Studio Spring Show

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Hey everyone! Cameron is participating in his first pottery show, at The Potter’s Studio in Berkeley on the first two weekends in May, 10am – 6pm. His work will be out on the shelves for you to touch and fall in love with and then hopefullly buy! 😀 Please come, have a look and say hello! We’d love to see you there.

Have a look at his blog for more about how he got into pottery and why he loves clay!

Love is love is love

that glorious summer light

peach cobbler

I felt I’d mastered The Pie (after baking three cherry and two apple pies over the course of almost two months – hah!) so I thought I’d try a cobbler. Boy oh boy was that more complicated than expected.

First of all, people don’t agree on what a cobbler actually is so everyone has a variation. Some have a cake-y topping, others a harder, more biscuit-y one and yet others use a simple pie crust just on top. For some reason, this recipe looked the most like a cobbler to me so I tried it. It didn’t work out too well, was too thin and damp… although I did manage to force it down. I just tried to make it again but used a variation based on this recipe and I liked the outcome but still found it off a little bit. Clearly I’ve got to keep making this until I get it right. Right?!

Anyway, I’m no food photographer but I’m learning. Here’s a few shots of my most recent effort at peach cobbler.

What are you doing with the summer bounty of fruit?

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excuse the mess

One photo, three ways.

Ms. Fabulous herself, Alex Beadon, (London based super creative portrait photographer and photoshop maven) has a challenge she likes to issue to fellow photographers about once a month, called Edit This Photo. She posts a picture of hers for anyone to download and edit however they wish. Then she puts them together into one post and we get to marvel at the differences and similaries in our collective creative visions. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed on her blog and I think I may have mentioned it here before.

Anyway, this time I did not get my edit to her in time. Even though I did it (for a change) within a day or so of her posting the invitation. I just did my edits, got them ready (resizing and sharpening for web), saved and then promptly forgot about them. D’oh! 🙂 So I thought I’d share them here instead! 😀

Here’s the original:

 

Annnnnd, here are my edits! Loved them both!

I don’t typically do very dramatic editing on my work. I like it to be clean and as reflective of reality as possible. I’m usually more focused on the expressions or story being told. My number one goal is to get the photo as close to perfect as I can in camera. That being said, sometimes I know when I’m taking the photo that I’m going to bring out certain aspects in my virtual darkroom. I know that to get the image to look more like I’m seeing it in my mind’s eye is beyond the camera’s ability in that moment, and some post-shooting processing will be required, and I revel in it.

Other times, I know going in that what I’m capturing in camera is just the foundation and all the real work will begin once I’ve got the image in Photoshop. Once I’m there, I let myself go and experiment with whatever strikes me. With these images, I definitely did that. It didn’t take me too long as I knew what I was going for but I didn’t constrain myself at all and if I accidentally stepped into something that looked better than I imagined, I went with it. All that to say that it was FUN!

 

With the black and white edit I knew I wanted DRAMA and mystery. With that tiny smile, she looks like she knows something we don’t… almost coy. I imagine that she’s just about to raise her eyelids and bat those maginifecent eyelashes at us while she laughs at our consternation in delight. (Yeah, images speak to me. What can I tell you?)

You KNOW I love black and white. So deeply. I still think film renders black and white best, and typically prefer to shoot it in film when I can but I am also enjoying the thrill of the chase in trying to find a digital black and white that comes close to being as beautiful. I want deep blacks and crisp whites with lots of detail and a vast tonal range in the greys. Sometimes I like a little silver, yellow or brown to add some depth and warmth but sometimes I just want it straight. There are many, many variations out there. I love Alex’s silver direction action. I adore Totally Rad‘s various b&ws, I’ve got a couple I made myself that I LOVE and my favourite is the monochrome my camera makes. I’ll show you some SOOC sometime so you can see what I mean.

 

 

Check out Alex’s post where she shared everyone’s edits! You’ll marvel. I promise! HA!

 

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