After a week of bad weather we are now back in Autumn, the leaves are changing and the colors have come alive as they tend to do here in Oregon. A couple of days ago +Linda Dean and myself took a walk along the river front in Corvallis. It's one of our favorite walks, it's beautiful, peaceful and of course lined with great restaurants and craft brewery's like Flat Tail and Sky High. We also love eating at Sada Sushi & Izakaya , they have great sushi. But for now back to the walk and the images we captured along the way.
The river front walk just comes alive in the autumn, the colors are vibrant and at sunset it looks incredible.
As most of you know by now brewing beer is one of our passions and last night we brewed one of our specials, Ginger Beer, the alcoholic kind as apposed to the non-alcoholic mixer variety. We also used this opportunity to film a special episode of "Don't Be Afraid!" for an up and coming YouTube channel we're working on. And as usual I was able to snap away when I wasn't using the camera for filming so I decided to take a few shots of +Linda Dean butchering a Ginger or two as she prepared them for cooking.
Ginger has a very medicinal quality to it, almost like a mild sedative when brewed into beer. It can be very relaxing and a fantastic stress reliever as well as making sure you get a great nights sleep when needed most.
It is also very spicy, very, very spicy but not in an overpowering chili or curry way. After you've taken a sip of the beer you can feel a wave of heat rise up through your palette, through your nostrils and sinuses and out through the top of your head. It is a very pleasurable and relaxing experience.
Ginger beer is definitely one of those beers that you sip slowly over an evening, you definitely won't be downing bottles of it like you can with other beers. It is perfectly suited to those dark, cold and wet winters nights. A good book or movie and a bottle of your home brewed beer is guaranteed to relieve any stress you might have.
The little bit of effort that is needed to make five gallons or even just one gallon is well worth it. We will be posting a YouTube video showing you in detail how to make your first batch but for now these teaser images will have to suffice.
I'm not sure why I was so surprised to find out that ginger beer would be so spicy. I guess my only real experience with ginger before we brewed our first batch were what we used to call back home, dunking biscuits, they are very hard, crunchy ginger biscuits that we used to dunk in our cups of hot tea as kids. This would soften them enough so that we wouldn't crack our teeth eating them.
We had a really great time filming and shooting this one and I can't wait to see the video on YouTube when the editing is done. Brewing beer really is very rewarding, there is something very nostalgic about it, it connects us not just with our past but also gives us a sense of what a D&D tavern might be like or what the Prancing Pony might be like in Bree. At least that is how I feel about it and it always makes me feel happy.
To finish off the Benton County fair series of posts I'm going to show some of the produce that was on display at the fair. As I mentioned yesterday this includes the biggest onion I've ever seen and I'd say it would be great in a salsa or fried with mushrooms and a steak.
The food on display looked great and I wouldn't mind living on this food rather than packet stuff every day. Not that we eat packet food everyday, we actually eat home cooked fresh food the majority of the time.
The eggs were really big and fresh looking compared to supermarket eggs that tend to be quite small and very thin shelled.
+Linda Dean was in absolute heaven and spent a long time studying the produce on show. She is currently building a home hydroponics system and hopes to match the produce on show at some stage in the future.
Produce was not the only thing on display though, there was also a large selection of very impressive and colorful flowers on display including this sunflower.
I like unusual looking flowers with interesting shapes and colors, they make for good shots and can look very impressive.
The organizers and staff of the fair really did a fantastic job with the displays and really showed off what people in the community had to offer.
And to finish up I'm going to show two great images that were captured by +Linda Dean. The first is of one of the hardworking staff members at the fair. If it wasn't for these guys there would be no fair rides every year.
The second shot by +Linda Dean is a great capture. Most days and nights we either see or hear the fire trucks racing by to help someone and deal with a problem. We tend to take these Firemen for granted so it was great to see them taking the time out to spend time with the kids at the fair.
We spent six hours at the fair on the first day and we had a great time and some good food. It was really enjoyable and we would definitely go back next year.
Following on from yesterday's post here is part 2 of the Benton County fair. As I mentioned yesterday one of the highlights of the fair is the animal judging. It's a great way for kids to learn how to take care of their farm animals and learn how to treat them properly.
+Linda Dean managed to get some good shots as we strolled around the edge of the arena.
The sheep judging was interesting, the owners hold up the sheep's head to show off the sheep's back and legs.
And while on the subject of sheep, we got to see our first sheep rodeo, kids rodeo or mutton busting to those in the know.
Since I was a child I've always loved old cars and trucks so coming across a couple of old Hull-Oakes Lumber Co. Mack logging trucks and a Ford TT was a real treat for me.
Classic Mack trucks restored and kept in great condition for future generations to enjoy.
Given the age of the vehicles and the lighting I thought black and white worked really well for the next few images, I love the shadows and lighting.
The Ford TT was really great to see, there can't be to many of these left on or off the road anymore so it was great seeing one at the fair.
I think that's a good place to leave it for today, I don't want to be boring people with endless scrolling down the page and there is still a fair few images to go including the produce section that had the biggest onion I've ever seen, it could have fed a house full and looked really delicious. But I'll save that for the Benton County Fair part 3 which I'll post tomorrow.
I don't normally go in for fairs especially since I'm trying to avoid junk food but we decided to go to the Benton county fair this year as it was my first time going to a fair in the US. And since I have the new camera it was a good opportunity to get some shots. It may not be the biggest fair but it has real charm and plenty to keep you occupied and enjoying yourself for hours.
Our first stop had to be food, we walked the full line of food trailers to the very end and found a nice little Italian sausage place. Home made, fresh, spicy Italian sausage and yes, it was as good as it looks.
After we had our breakfast it was time to take a look around and see what the fair had to offer. Llama's have to be one of the most unusual looking animals I've seen, kind of half way between a Camel and a Sheep with the weirdest looking teeth.
+Linda Dean has always been a horse lover so the fair was a real treat for her. She got to spend some time saying hello to the ponies before we headed into the 4H small animal barn.
The 4H small animal barn is a great way for kids to show off their pets and enter them into friendly competition. We keep guinea pigs ourselves so we had an interest in seeing some of the animals on display and there was some real cute guinea pigs and bunnies on display.
Apparently we looked very suspicious to the pigeon below. I have no idea what kind of pigeon this is but the coloring is beautiful, I'm used to the normal everyday grey and white pigeons you see around cities.
This next image was taken by +Linda Dean and is one of the cutest bunny pics. It really does look like it came straight from a Disney movie and Linda captured it perfectly.
Heading back outside we encountered a hay wagon giving people rides around the fairgrounds. It was drawn by two of the most friendly draft horses, they had beautiful coloring and were very curious about us.
And that's about it for part 1 of the Benton County Fair posts, I will post part 2 tomorrow with images from the animal judging.
I just spent my second 4th of July in the US and this year we had fireworks to celebrate as well as a new camera. This was also my first time shooting fireworks so it was a learning experience all round. Fireworks are a bit more tricky to shoot then I thought they would be.
I'm happy with the few I got, I actually took over three hundred shots but I wasn't happy with a lot of them. It was a positive learning experience though and I really like the way these few turned out.
Talon is extremely photogenic in my opinion and that makes my life a whole lot easier. He seems to get that from his mother +Linda Dean.
Both of them had a great time running around while I had fun snapping them. None of the these shots were posed though, they were all spontaneous which I prefer. Spontaneity is far more natural looking than posed shots.
I loved the way the sparklers lit up his face, it turned out really well and I'm very happy with the shot. Shooting fireworks to me though involves a lot of luck, sometimes it works great and sometimes it turns out rubbish. You just have to have patients with yourself and your camera and it will come together for you in the end.
We set off different types of fireworks but the shots of the sparklers turned out the best as far as I'm concerned and that is why I'm only showing these few for now. We had a lot of fun, we set ours off at around ten and our neighbors across the street started theirs at midnight so we got two shows to have fun with. It was a good test for my new Nikon and I am very happy with it.
An early rise and a long bike ride out beyond Philomath to the Provenance Farm collection point. We got a great deal on a whole lamb, 42lbs of lamb to be precise and we had to go collect it. Neither myself or +Linda Dean had been out there before so it was a new experience for both of us and neither of us were disappointed. For me, well, a farm is a farm, they all kind of look the same with a similar layout and similar buildings. Not this one, from the time you arrive at the front gate feels like it's out of a movie. Babe or something similar, the gardens are beautiful and very well kept with a ton of color.
They even had a recent arrival for us to pet and she was even willing to pose for us, if only for a short time before madly leaping around in excitement.
Unfortunately it was very overcast when we were out there but I did my best to try and capture as much of the color as I could. The gardens were just full of color from flowers and berries, the flowers especially were very spectacular which gave me a great excuse to test the new camera to see what it could do. +Phil Bowyer was also looking for a review of the Nikon D5200 so what's a better way than to show off some shots taken with it.
I'm very happy with it, even with the bad light we had this morning the shots came out pretty well. It's really great at capturing the color of the flowers and does an amazing job with clouds I think. I was also shooting with a polarizer this morning.
The pictures come out really crisp and vibrant even in bad light and I love the way it captures each individual vein of the petals and leaves.
The shots come out very natural and are not over cooked unless you want them to be. The camera has a HDR setting but I haven't played around with it yet, I normally prefer using +Snapseed to edit when I want the really spectacular clouds and the stormy skies in my images and Snapseed is incredible for those effects. It can also handle fine touch ups too if need be.
One thing for certain, someone on that farm is going to be eating some fantastic Jam or Jelly to anyone from the US later in the summer and autumn. They're definitely not short of berries, Marionberries (as pictured above), Blackberries, regular and Yellow Raspberries and Red Currants.
It would be incredible to wake up to this garden every day and I'd imagine would help start you off on good terms with the world, especially on those summers days with blue skies as far as the eye can see.
It even managed to capture the Wasp on the flower which is something I was never able to do very well on the old camera. I need to get more practice in with insects as the summer rolls on.
The above image for some reason looks like something out of Star Trek, like it could have been used on the set of the original series, not sure why, it just does.
I love how sharp the images are straight from the camera compared to my old one which tended to be fairly grainy at times unless the light was perfect and very bright.
On our way home we passed under an old railway bridge that crosses the bike path through the woods and I decided to stop to get some shots, I thought the above was interesting and had a story to it though it's not known to me. Still though, it kind of sparks the imagination just looking at it.
This was +Linda Dean tracking a Chipmunk in the trees, it got pretty angry the longer we hung around, running down to a lower branch and yapping at us...you could imagine it waving a fist and shouting "Get off my lawn!!!".
And to finish, another nice capture of Linda thinking "get that damn thing out of my face, I am dealing with an angry chipmunk here and also gasping for a beer...craft beer...from a bottle!!!"
So our adventure to the Provenance Farm collection point went great and we're home, loaded with enough lamb for the summer which will be nice. And if any of you are in Oregon and are looking for fresh farm beef, lamb, chicken, turkey and eggs, then you should definitely check out Provenance Farm. You won't be disappointed and they are some of the nicest people you could meet.