Tuesday, August 30, 2011

back on track

The last few weeks of the 365 project have felt a little off. It's difficult to describe, but I just wasn't quite as happy with some of my pictures. I think a lot of it also has to do with how the photos relate to each other—color, style, and such. If the shots from a given week or month don't look good together, it makes me feel like I'm getting off track. That makes me sad. But! This was a good week with pictures I mostly like!

First, Saturday's picture: Elsa with a chocolate mustache. Steve and I weren't planning to go to the SF Street Food Festival that day in our neighborhood, since it was completely mobbed last year. We tried to go with Dan and Carmen, saw the hoards of people and chaos, and decided it wasn't worth the effort to make sense of it all. We bailed and got burritos at La Taqueria instead. I certainly didn't want to go through that again, but I felt like the festival was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. After all, I had no other ideas for a picture that day.

This year, the organizers of the festival did a much better job. They spread the whole thing out over several blocks, which made it more manageable. There was still a little chaos, as the lines for vendors stretched through and across Folsom Street, where people were trying to walk. Steve saw the line for Flour + Water, where I wanted to get food, and suggested we just go home. I, however, insisted that we give it a try. We had come that far for lunch, we might as well just get in a line and get some food. Probably only five minutes later, we had our porchetta sandwiches, some fried peppers & corn, and a watermelon & mint limeade. Success!

That was enough food for lunch, and we were able to just walk down the street towards home afterward and look around. One of the things we saw was a stand with chocolate mustaches on sticks. We immediately thought of Carmen and bought her one. Then, when we delivered it to her, it was decided that I had to take a picture of Elsa with it. She started smiling behind the 'stache, which was about the cutest thing ever. Suddenly, I no longer wanted to use a shot from the street food festival as picture of the day.

232/365 baby's first mustache

You know what else I noticed this week? I feel better when I take a food picture at home now and then. After the break from my first 365, I thought I only got jumpy when I didn't pick up the camera every day. Now, it seems that the same is true when I don't keep up my project from last year too. (That would be the 52 Weeks of Food.) I gave myself permission to stop after finishing the year, but I still feel disappointed in myself if I go too long between the food shots. They've become something of a staple in this 365. However, with the busyness of the summer, we've sort of fallen out of the pattern of making something new and photographing it on the weekends. This week, it felt good to get back to that, even if the "something" wasn't exactly new.

My plan for Sunday's picture was to shoot Steve's lamb naan (Indian flatbread). He's been making it for years, but my only pictures of it were from 2006, when I wasn't exactly what you'd call an experienced photographer. (I'm probably still not, but I certainly do better now.) It was time for a reshoot, in any case, but I had another thought that afternoon. I didn't have anywhere to be, and Steve was home, so I should finally try those pistachios that had been sitting on the dining room table for a few weeks.

And so commenced the Great Pistachio Experiment of 2011. Signs pointed to me not being allergic to them, but I had to actually try one to be sure. A tiny shaving first, then a nibble from one half, then the rest of that half, then the other half... No reaction. I'm not allergic to pistachios! This means I can have all sorts of things I've been avoiding for years, including pistachios on top of the Indian rice pudding that Steve makes. Since he was already making Indian food, in the form of naan, for dinner; we added rice pudding to the menu. It turned out to be a better photo subject for the day than the naan anyway, since it incorporated the pistachios, and since it was finished much sooner—before dark, even. Surprisingly, this was also the first time that I've taken a picture of Steve's rice pudding. It's a favorite of Carmen's.

233/365 rice pudding

Luckily, the lamb naan was able to wait for its photo shoot until Monday. I had some of the leftovers for lunch that day, so I just set up a shot on the kitchen table before microwaving the flatbread. What makes it so good is the mango chutney and raita that Steve makes to go with it, so of course, those needed to be in the picture as well. I ended up having this for lunch 4 out of 5 days last week, which was not a bad thing at all.

234/365 lamb naan

Moving on from the food photos, I tagged along with Carmen and Elsa to run errands in Noe Valley on Tuesday. We got some iced chai at Fiore Caffe on the way home, and I snapped a picture of the counter from where we were sitting. Also taken that day was the Elsa elf picture, which I didn't think was quite as exciting when I was editing the photos. Dan and Carmen ended up loving it, though. (They might be a little biased...)

235/365 afternoon at fiore

I waited a bit longer than necessary to go looking for Wednesday's picture, after spending the afternoon planning for our time in Barcelona. I had to go play for a Gypsy rehearsal that evening, though, so I went out for a minute with my camera before I needed to leave. I expected to find some flowers, but I found a neighborhood cat instead. I got a few shots of Leia in, at which point Aroara appeared. Then, Leia decided to go after Aroara... Apparently, she's a bit of an instigator and thinks she owns the place.

(No cats were harmed in the making of this photograph.)

236/365 swoosh

On Thursday, we had tickets to see Henson Alternative's Stuffed and Unstrung, a Muppet improv show. I had gotten an email about it in July, with the option to call and purchase tickets earlier than the lowly non-subscribers. After clicking through to the show page and watching the video, I was sold. It looked like the coolest thing ever, especially for someone who grew up watching The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and pretty much anything else Jim Henson-related. I also found out on Thursday that there was a talkback scheduled for after show, with Brian Henson and rest of the show's cast. The whole evening was great fun; just being in the same space as a wall of 80 puppets was pretty awesome. The awesomest I could do for a picture of the day was a photo of the sign outside of the theater, but I'm okay with that.

237/365 stuffed and unstrung

Keeping with puppet theme, Friday morning seemed like a good time to take a picture of Elsa's kitty finger puppet while I was watching her. It had been an option a few weeks before when we were babysitting, but I had been too busy to take any pictures at all then. This time, Elsa slept for the entire 3 hours that I was watching her, drugged on baby Tylenol to treat the fever from her 2-month shots. I was going to call the picture "puppet up," after the rallying cry for Stuffed and Unstrung, but I went with "easiest babysitting ever" instead, since Elsa was sleeping in the background and all.

238/365 easiest babysitting ever

Later that afternoon, Carmen and I took Elsa to Hayes Valley for some shopping, consumption of ice cream made with liquid nitrogen, and purchasing of macarons. Elsa didn't really appreciate the whole outing, since she was getting hungry by the end—no ice cream or macarons for her—but Carmen and I had fun. In the next post: pictures of the macarons and some other stuff, not yet photographed.

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