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Archive for January, 2013

As there seems to be snow everywhere apart from the two places where I spend most of my time (Dundee and Edinburgh) I thought I’d dig into my old photos and find some that I took during the terrible weather a couple of years ago. This led me to find a collection of photos I took as part of my course around that time.

As part of the course we got to choose a subject to document as part of our documentary photography module. I decided to do mine on being green. Many years ago I studied Countryside Management, which with hindsight was probably not the best choice for a suburban 18 year old who had an idealistic attitude towards the subject but very little experience or knowledge… Saying that I did enjoy the course, it was very interesting and I met some lovely people.

So many years later I’m still interested in conservation and the general idea of ‘being green’, and like many people I do find it difficult but I try my best. My original idea was to do a documentary that looked into the connection between money and the ability to be environmentally conscious – it’s much easier to buy ethically sourced food when you’ve got lots of money to do so, it’s a bit more difficult for those living on the breadline. In the end I decided that this would be a very difficult idea to photograph effectively, especially as a student in their first year of a photography course!

I simplified the idea and decided to do my documentary on ‘being green’. I liked the fact it was a fairly open subject that could cover lots of different areas, although in the end that ended up being a bit of a problem as it was too open. I needed more coherence as there wasn’t a strong enough link threading the different images together. Despite this I really enjoyed the process and I’m happy with different photos I got, and it was really interesting visiting different people who were involved in something that fell within my admittedly vague subject of ‘being green.’

So I’m going to post a few different sets of images over the next few weeks, rather than lump them altogether as I did originally.

This first collection is from the The Hermitage of Braid. This is a great little nature reserve that is just out of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Ranger Service cover it. I was drawn to it because it was an area where the trees are carefully managed. A lot of work is done to remove non-native species and encourage the growth of native trees in an effort to improve the biodiversity. This can look fairly alarming as you can wander through the area and see piles of logs beside the path and areas where trees are being felled, but in reality it is all done to help keep the area healthy and help the local flora and fauna thriving.

 

This was my favourite shot of my trip out there. I wanted to get a shot of the piles of trees that had been chopped down, but also capture the beauty of the area itself. I like the contrast between the fairly ugly sign with the chopped down trees against the winter wonderland background and the almost symbiotic relationship between the two.

Logs03

 

Deadwood   Tree Felling

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As you may have guessed from a blog primarily about food and photos of food, I love eating. I also have a fair few interests that involve sitting on my arse. You can probably imagine this can sometimes lead to me putting on a bit of weight that I don’t necessarily want. I think the problem is finding exercise that I enjoy that can be done mid week after work. I really like getting out into the country and going for a walk, but that happens far less frequently that I would like. I’m also not very competitive, which is a bit of a hindrance when combined with an innate laziness.

I’d been after something to encourage me to do more exercise for a while, preferably something that could help me forget the fact that I was actually doing exercise. I’d heard of Zombies, Run! before but thought I wasn’t quite fit enough to use it yet since I’d never really tried running much. Luckily they’d been kind enough to release a 5K training version of it. This is a way of building up your ability to run, but starting slowly. You walk for a minute and run for fifteen seconds, changing the ratio of the two until you should be able to run 5K after a certain number of weeks / months. All the while you are listening to a story about zombies that helps explain why you’re running around like a lunatic, and listening to your own music. This sounded perfect for me.  A geeky story and a simplistic computer game tied in with running – It even displayed your route with statistics and the map looked like it was from a zombie video game. What could go wrong?

Zombie

I could fall down at the end of my third run in a horribly embarrassing and equally painful manner. That’s what could go wrong. During my run from the zombies a simple pot hole in the pavement caused me to go flying and sprain my lovely, lovely ankle. Thankfully I had made it past the large gym window full of genuinely fit people on their pothole free treadmills. I picked myself up and shambled home in a manner not dissimilar to that of the imaginary zombies that I had been fleeing from just moments before.

My ankle is still pretty sore so I’m gonna start swimming again for the next few weeks whilst my ankle heals. Fingers crossed I’ll not drown. When I’m all healed though I’m definitely going to try this again as I did find it surprisingly fun. It’s a nice simple way to get started (you mainly walk during the first few sessions, hence my super-slow pace in the screenshot above) but this stops you overdoing and completely tiring yourself out, and having a zombie story is a good way to keep your mind off the running.

One final thing that I have learned over the past week, is that I very much doubt I would survive a zombie apocalypse. I am hoping that this one, terrifying thought will be enough to get me fit.

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Whilst doing a bit of food shopping the other day I found a little basket of these one clove garlic bulbs. I hadn’t come across these little oddities before but they looked pretty interesting so I snapped them up. It turns out they’re technically not actually garlic, but a variant of the species Allium ampeloprasum which is the same species as a leek. Thanks Wikipedia!

I thought I’d get a couple of quick snaps whilst I was doing it – for the photo folk excuse the massive colour balance difference, I didn’t realise I was shooting in JPEG and I was in a  hurry anyway as I was bloody starving.

Here are the little buggers. The ones that I got were actually pretty small considering the name, but I do believe you can get bigger ones.

Garlic

Anyway, I had been planning on giving some garlic a good old roasting for a while, and I thought this would be a good one to use as it would be good for dipping and I was generally quite excited about eating a weird massive garlic clove. I wrapped it in a little foil parcel with a glug of olive oil, put it in the oven on a medium heat (170-190) and let it sit there for a good 30 minutes I then took it out the foil and let it cook again for another 5 or 10 minutes. It should be really nice and soft at this point and perfect for dipping nice crusty bread into it. I put mine in a ramekin with balsamic vinegar as I wanted to get the garlic and the vinegar with each dip, but just on it’s own with another drizzle of oil would also be great.

Roasted Garlic

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I may be over a week late but I’ve got here eventually! I had a great Christmas and New Year and I hope anyone reading this did too. My break was full of lots of food and drink, as I’m sure many other peoples were and I’m still feeling pretty sluggish from the over indulgence.

Now I don’t really do full on, super strict New Year’s resolutions any more as I’ve never kept to them in the past, but I do always have a few things that I plan to do. One of them this year is to try and post more things on this blog. I’m enjoying blogging but I don’t really feel like part of any blogging ‘community’ so maybe I should try and become more involved… I always have good intentions but I’m the first to admit I can sometimes be a bit lazy so we’ll see how it goes.

In addition to blogging more I’m wanting to take more photos. Since finishing my course and getting a new job I’ve not taken as many photos as I should, so I’m wanting to take more photos and then this will give me more stuff to post on my blog.

Another plan for the new year (and this is one I give myself every bloody year) is to try and lose weight and improve my fitness. I’m thinking if I occasionally post stuff on here about how I’m getting on it may encourage me. It will probably also bore most people half to death so I won’t bang on about it, and it’s mainly just to try and get a bit fit.

So a quick post just so people know I’m alive and that more posts will follow. You lucky, lucky people.

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