Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day 75 - Search for the ultimate espresso

I recently received a used espresso maker. With some guidance from coffee experts on twitter I am slowly learned the ins and outs of making a decent cup of espresso (thanks @chrissrkay and @bessyn for the insight). According to Chris the most important rule in brewing the perfect shot of espresso is fresh beans. Chris suggests no more then 2 weeks from the roaster; any longer than that and it starts to go flat. A quick search for local roasters revealed Java Blend on North street is a reputable local roaster that also sells retail. Unfortunately, they are not open on Sundays, but I plan to check them out this week. Bessy recommends their ethiopian blend.

Chris recommended the Intelligentsia BlackCat or the 49th Parallel Epic. I wanted to find out what the fuss was about with these beans so we went on a coffee crawl today in search for the ultimate bean. After a stop at Brooklyn Warehouse for brunch we were pointed to the Smiling Goat organic espresso bar on South Park St. They use Java Blend Roasters for their beans. Awesome. They also have some of those funky beans Chris had mentioned, such as the Intelligentsia Black Cat. Excellant.

Geoff Creighton made a cup of the Black Cat and accommodated my request for a picture of the day with one of his incredible art creations. Pictured above is the dragon. I have no idea how he makes this art in the crema but it tastes as good as it looks. The Black Cat is smooth yet powerful. Was that a hint of citrus and currant? I felt like I was doing a wine tasting. In any event it was a fantastic, enjoyable cup. I don't think I can drink Tim's again. In addition to being an exceptional, artistic Barista Geoff is a photographer who specializes in artist head shots and portraits. Check out his work here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Day 74 - Spider Web

I was happy to see Charlie's web survived last weekend's storm. No sign of Charlie today but his home provides subject matter for me on this rainy, cold day. Rain drops provide good definition for spider webs.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 72 - Rose

I dropped into Sobeys today after work for some groceries and noticed roses in the entryway. I liked the pattern in the center of the flower.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 71 - Neon reflection

I seem to be on a water kick....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 70 - Water drops

After dinner I was looking at the dishes in the sink, wondering how they could possibly wash themselves, and noticed water dripping from the faucet. I've seen some cool water drops in Flickr and thought, how hard can it be? After many attempts at capturing the drops I have concluded that: a) photographing water drops is not easy; b) I am not very good at photographing water drops. This was the best of the lot. Will have to do some research and try again.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day 69 - Yellow scooter

The return of clouds brought the return of soft lighting; today seemed like July again. Spotted this scooter next to Park Lane. There was something about the combo of the bike, mold and rust on the round door that grabbed my eye. Soft lighting brings mysterious moods to images for me.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day 68 - Two favourite red wines

As Bill rolls through I am not feeling particularly adventurous; I have no interest in venturing out to watch the action. I am content listening to the wind and rain from the comfort of home. So my photo of the day will be a boring indoor shot.

I thought I'd share me and Leah's current favorite 'house wines,' i.e. good wines in the sub $16 price range that we've been buying lately to have on hand for BBQs and impromptu guests dropping over. In our household these two wines have competed for top spot in the red wine category this summer. Surprisingly, both are from the US.

My favourite value this summer is Sterling's Vintner's Collection Cabernet Sauvignion. This Cab Sauv is a wonderful, elegant red that has been on sale all summer at NSLC outlets for $15 (normally $21 bones or so). This wine is nicely balanced with dark fruit and a full but soft texture. It is not over oaked. The styling is more subtle than the big, over the top 'fruit bombs' common in new world cab sauvs. It has been a constant companion for me when grilling meats on the BBQ this summer.

Our other favourite is the Hogue's Cabernet-Merlot (blended 55% Cab Sauv 45% Merlot), made by Hogue winery in Washington State. Their 2003 is a well structured red showing fresh fruit, a hint of oak and a dash of spice. The tannins are smooth. The wine shows tons of personalty and is a standard 'go to' wine in our household.

Unfortunately, the Hogue is being discontinued by NSLC and is currently sitting in the discount section in the larger outlets for $12. Do yourself a favour and go buy a case while it lasts.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day 67 - Local Strawberries

Great to see local strawberries at Sobey's. We bought some. Yummy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 66 - More flowers

Makes me feel like going to Hawaii.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 64 - Last flower days

Not many decent looking flowers left in the season. I like the center of this Echinacea.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 63 - Spidey sense is tingling

Our backyard seems to have alot of spiders this year. I don't know what is worse, walking through cobwebs or the thought that these little fellas could be stuck in your hair/clothes at any point.

This guy's name is Charlie.

On a positive note dreaming of spiders is a sign of good luck. Also if you see one spinning its web it is a sign of good fortune. Most of them are harmless critters that help people by eating insects. I don't mind them, but I certainly don't like them crawling in my hair.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 62 - The Seahorse

The Seahorse Tavern was Halifax's first establishment licensed to serve beer. It was also the bar that I met my wife. It also has a cool sign.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 61 - Washer toss

Played washer toss in the backyard today. Changed up my grip, shooting much better.

Day 60 - Fan required

Hot hot hot hot hot day. Holly shows a good way to keep cool.

Day 59 - Cottage day 3

Got within 6 feet of this guy.

Day 58 - Cottage day 2

Day 57 - Cottage

Spent a few days at my family cottage in New Glasgow (Black Point). Lauren kicked my behind at Ring Toss and found some cool hermit crabs, Abby struck some beach poses and did some dancing and Molly the dog ignored me (she is camera shy).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 56 - Sushi day

After a long flight back from Vegas about all I could manage was Sushi, at Hamachi's new location in Hydrostone.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 55 - Never ending day

One of the tricks Las Vegas plays with your mind is that you do not have a clue what time of day it is. Oxygen is constantly pumped into Casinos and hotel rooms to keep you alert and ready to spend money. The lighting of the interiors are designed to make it seem like it is never ending daytime. This town never does sleep. This shot was taken at 2 or so in the morning in the Venetian.

Day 54 - Water and Light Show at Bellagio

No visit to Vegas would be complete without checking out the water and light show at the Bellagio. Magnificent.

Day 53 - Las Vegas Lobby Bellagio

One could easily photograph hotel lobbies for the entire weekend in Las Vegas and be happy. The decadence of the Bellagio ceiling lobby was my favorite. You are greeted above your head with two thousand hand blown glass flower light fixtures by artist Dale Chihuly. It is a frequently photographed work of art. Nonetheless I was struck by the vivid colours and felt compelled to take a version of it myself.

Day 52 - Las Vegas Strip

I had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend with the guys in Las Vegas. There was not much time for photographing so I'll have to make another trip to do the city justice.

We stayed at the Flamingo. It is the best value for the money - cheap, a great central location on the Strip, a good pool and retro yet modern styling. When it comes to accommodation save your money for the food, bars and shows. I highly recommend the Flamingo. Click on 'hot deals' here for best prices.

Intermission - Vegas video mashup

Made it home safely from Vegas. It was a great weekend. I am on vacation this week and was at the cottage for the past few days so I am way behind posting images. I will try to get caught up over the weekend. In the meantime here is a short video of some Vegas sights set to "Losing It" by the talented Kutiman.

I had a blast shooting our trip via short 10 second clips. The Canon G9 is a capable little video camera and is stealth, which is perfect for inside casinos. This is my first time using iMovie so it is a bit rough around the edges.

In other news my blog made the Coast this week! I am pretty happy about that.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Day 51 - Vegas eve

Off to Las Vegas tomorrow morning with friends Andy and Craig. Weather has pushed 40 there lately so it should be hot. Looking forward to a good time with friends and some interesting sights to photograph.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 49 - South end construction

It goes on and on and on and on and on and on....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Day 48 - The Fly

Day 47 - Poolside

We enjoyed a lazy day in the pool on Sunday with nieces Abbey and Lauren.

Day 46 - Amherst bound

Went to Amherst for my 20 year high school reunion. Before heading to the party I dropped into my sisters for a visit and enjoyed chatting with my niece Abbey. Her favorite new dance style is jazz. She posed for a shot and showed me her jumps.

This is Sophia. She has never had a dance lesson but has significantly better moves than me. I see a future in contemporary. She also kicked my butt in washer toss.

I had an enjoyable walk down memory lane with dear friends. I can't believe it has been 20 years since I graduated high school. I am not feeling that old.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Day 45 - Last day car payment irony

Our last day of car payments and the car would not start. Dead. Nadda. After a failed jump start attempt we got a tow.