Category Archives: Photography
Spring is here, Mythos is on the green as well as playing with the melting snow!!!
Before our friends flew back to Hong Kong, we took them to the famous Wonders of the World in Canada – Niagara Falls. After that, we visited 2 wineries at Niagara On The Lake, Inniskillin and Peller Estates. Finally we had fine dining at Treadwell – Canadian farm to table cuisine.
(All photos were taken using Panasonic GF1 with 20mm f/1.8 pancake lens)
It wasn’t the first time Deb and I had been to Treadwell despite the 2 hours drive from Toronto, we found that the chef Stephen Treadwell is so creative and most importantly they have 7 course tasting menu with wine pairing. That’s why we decided to go back. Also, we support local food – all the wines/herbs/veggies are from the Niagara region. It is NOT easy to find the same quality fine dining experience with similar price range in Toronto, the only places we had been to were in Quebec.
Although we are not professional food critic, yet we have been to Michelin 3 star restaurants in Las Vegas, Molecular Gastronomy in Quebec, and traditional restaurants in France, Spain and Italy. I guess we are qualified to give some reviews. Check out our Food and Cooking section on this blog.
My Comments – I wouldn’t talked about each course individually since overall they tasted extremely good in taste and well balanced, I could actually tasted different level of details that the chef put into the food. The smoked whitefish, salmon and 38 days aged beef tenderloin were just outstanding, everything were so fresh and packed with flavor. The creative part was the salmon skin was deep fried separately and it tasted awesome. The use of poached egg was interesting in the potato soup, but the smoked whitefish just balanced the taste perfectly. Surprisingly, the Souffle was even better than those we had in Paris, it was so smooth!!! Chili Ice Cream was so unique and paired extremely well with raspberry wine, must have.
The only comments I would say is the homemade garganelli and raviolo have room for improvement. Note that it has nothing to do with al dente or not, the texture on the bite has overpowered the meat inside or around it, perhaps maybe make it slightly thinner. Also, green beans were used in one of the courses, the taste was totally fine but the look was a bit ordinary, I would look for some more interesting shape beans instead.
My rating for Treadwell:
- Taste: 4.6/5
- Creativity: 4.6/5
- Plating: 4.5/5
- Service and Environment: 4.5/5
- Price: 4.4/5
- Overall: 4.52/5
James Treadwell (son of the owner) was so friendly and we enjoyed the experience so much. Definitely strongly recommended. Remember, it’s farm to table cuisine and it’s more down-to-earth style fine dining, you don’t need shirt and tie. If you are looking for Foie gras, Caviar or gold flakes, go somewhere else. It is an Art that you need to appreciate that the chef brings from the farm, and taste the creation process behind it. Compare to many restaurants in Toronto, many so called “fine-dining” are cookie cutting business, you need to experience yourself to tell the difference.
This was a family gathering trip, totally 8 of us went to Bahama on Royal Caribbean Cruise. I didn’t bring the DSLR to Cococay since I wanted to swim, but then both 24-70 f/2.8 and the camera body was splashed by the sea water at Miami South Beach – it was really fooked and repair cost was around $500 CAD. Sigh…
This year was in a rush taking photo of Mythos and Rini in the basement, so that quality wasn’t as good but thanks to Photoshop for post-processing. Mythos and Rini were moving around so much and it was so difficult to capture a good shot, as you can see their poses were a little bit odd. I didn’t have time to do another session, so here we go – Meowy Christmas and Happy New Year!
After 5 years of having the Greece photos on the wall (from our wedding and honeymoon in 2006 – my first time of using a DSLR), Deb and I both feel that it’s time to have a change. We decided to replace them with a new Europe theme – Spain and France. With over 4000 photos from the 2 trips, I picked 6 of them which wasn’t an easy task. In Photoshop, I then tried to arrange them properly. To have ultimate balance, here is what I have chosen:
- 3 with very dark color (all indoor with strong shadow and highlight)
- 3 with bright color (all ourdoor, all HDR – 2 grass and 1 stone floor)
- 2 buildings – one facing left and one facing right
Next, I went to Costco Photo Center to develop 11″x14″ ($3.99 for 1 hour service), totally around $27 CAD with tax. The quality is pretty good!! It’s printed on Fuji photo paper with glossy finish, not bad.
Since the limitation is to select vertical photos, there were a lot of good photos cannot be used. Sigh! Compared to Greece photos back in 2006, I think my photography skills have improved a bit, right? Here are the best photos from both of the trips:
We spent 2 weeks in France in May 2011 and we planned our own trip instead of joining any tour. Attraction highlights: Paris, Seine River Cruise, Champs-Elysees, Arc De Triomphe, Chateau De Versailles, Louvre, Reims, Orsay, Notre Dame, Montmartre, Eiffel Tower, Provence, Marseille, Nice, Monaco and Cannes. We have taken so many photos, and here are some of them.
Nothing really special on sale at Pet Stores, so Mythos and Rini were resting at home on boxing day under the sun, relaxing…
If you are into photography, you know that composition and lighting are the keys to a good photo. Lighting creates shadows and hightlights which make an object become more 3D. Generally speaking, studio lighting has 2 types: continuous (hot) and strobe (flash). To keep the cost as low as possible, I chose to build the continuous softbox lighting.
There were tons of DIY lighting projects on the Internet and I didn’t re-invent the wheel. Basically this project was inspired by Strike Down Photography and combining with others. Do a search on Google and you will be amazed.
Material and Costs
- Fabric from Fabricland (bought when they were on sale 70% off)
- 2 x Dimmer and alumium/duct tape (Home Depot)
- 2 x 500W Worklights (Canadian Tire 50% off)
- Westcott lighting adapter ($17 from Henry’s Photography Show)
- 4 x 23w energy saving bulb (like 100w, Home Depot)
- 2 x Utility Light for spot light + energy saving bulb (Can Tire)
- 20 x foam board (Michaels 50% off)
Total cost was around $170 CAD for this project (3 softboxes + 2 spot lights).
Build in details
It was pretty straight forward, yet, it took me some time in measuring and cutting the foam board that wrapped around the worklight. Then, glued the aluminum foil using white glue to create the interior reflection. By using the black duct tape to reinforce the integrity of the whole structure was very important, I also added a piece of wood at the back for the 2 worklight softboxes to add additional strength. To make sure the light was working, I worked on the dimmer by connecting the wires and plastic tied them on the metal pole.
As for the removable white diffuser, I simply cut out a frame from the form board and wrapped it with the white cloth. Using hot glue to glue everything together firmly. Since I had some rare earth magnets around, so I glued them on the softboxes as you can see in the photos.
As for the big westcott adaptor softbox, it was supposed to either place it on the ground or hang it on the ceiling but I haven’t decided yet. To build everything, including hanging the fabric took almost 2 full days.
Verdict: Still has Room for Improvement
I am always amazed by the photos taken in Hollywood/Victoria Secret models – my original goal for this project was to create the “butterfly lighting” effect, which is way far from being accomplished. Well, I am new to studio lighting, so the placement of the lights were tricky. The other thing is the color temperature, the 500W halogen lamp is having around 3000K which produces a yellowish warm tone. Well, it’s good for Christmas but I am not sure if that’s good to shoot a Victoria Secret model, so the next attempt is to get it to 4000K-5000K.
For the time being, I am satisfied with the result but definitely still have room for improvement. All in-progress projects photos were taken using iPhone, Panasonic GF1 and Canon DSLR. The final “studio shots” were taken using Canon 5D MarkII with 24-70mm f2.8.
Special Thanks to my friend Frank and the baby Brandon for being my model.
[Oct 14, 2010 Update]: One of my photos taken at Brooks Farm was published on Toronto’s Tonight Newspaper! That is pretty cool!
Friends at MLG decided to have a fall’s event for the kids, so we went to Brooks Farm on the ThanksGiving long weekend. I didn’t bring the DSLR because I was so lazy, so all photos were taken using GF1, it did a pretty impressive job. However, if you have professional eyes and compare to my Canon DSLR album, you can tell the difference.
Originally, our photography theme at Edward’s Garden was to shoot ants, but due to equipment issues, we have to shoot something else - like bees, insects and little baby Brandon. Of course, my favorite was to take some HDR photos without tripod too! In fact, taking photos of baby Brandon reminds me of taking Grace and Alex’s wedding photos some years ago, their son Brandon is 1 yr old already! Time files.
(Photos were taken using Canon 24-70 f/2.8 and 17-40 f/4)