Old Recipes

Because my grandparents lived with us at the time of my grandmother’s death, I have inherited a collection of old books, recipe books, photos and other memorabilia valuable to me, if not to the rest of the world. Mimi was a wonderful cook, something she learned when she went to finishing school In Boston (she also learned etiquette, French, and Italian, among other things). This still life for Be Still 52 includes Mimi’s Fannie Farmer Cookbook and little notebook of her favorite recipes written out with her Parker pen in her signature turquoise ink.  I didn’t grow up baking, so the recipe card is from one of my first recipes for Christmas treats- Seven Layer Cookies (no baking!).I’m enjoying working in my garage “studio”- even on a drizzly day with the garage door open!


Edited with Kim Klassen’s chill and one of the magic textures.

Square, Top Down, 2 Sides

This was fun- and trickier than I thought! The BeStill52 challenge was to create a square, top-down composition where subjects were arranged on two sides of the square, leaving some negative space.  Now, I am a big fan of negative space- but somehow these compositions were hard for me. I struggle with top-down photography anyway. I’m short, so getting the bird’s eye view involves standing on a chair or ladder.  The second photo was easier for me, because I deliberately used small objects and shot it standing on the floor- yippee!

The photo below is of two old photo albums- my grandmother’s and my father’s.  I didn’t see either of them until after my parents were gone, so wasn’t able to ask questions about them.  I’m so curious about the open album on top- look how the photos are cut and arranged artistically! My father graduated from high school in Wolf Point, Montana about 1919 (!), and these photos appear to be of him and his high school friends.  Was my father really a scrapbooker? I wonder if one of his girlfriends put the albums together for him. Anyway- it is VERY cute! My grandmother’s album features family photos from the 1920’s, often involving camping trips and excursions to the beach. The photo of the three children is my mother (left) with her brother and sister- taken around 1915.

20141129-DSC_7307_melinda_anderson-EditAnd here is the photo of smaller objects- much easier to photograph!

20141130-DSC_7314_melinda_anderson-EditBoth photos are textured with Kim Klassen’s breakfree texture for Texture Tuesday.

Butter and Eggs

After doing mostly abstracts for the last couple weeks, it’s time to catch up on BeStill52. The assignment from a couple weeks ago was butter and eggs. I decided to make Egg-in-a-Hole for breakfast (something my daughter does for her kids), which fit the bill!


Pears and a Bowl

Today I’m posting the pear still life photos I did for the latest BeStill 52 lesson.  They were especially fun to do, because, with the help of my husband, I have been setting up a little mini “studio”(also known as a craft table) in our garage for still life and macro photography.  With the garage door open, I have beautiful natural light (unlike in the rest of our house).  When it gets too cold or when it is lizard, snake, and bunny season, the garage door will be down and I will use artificial light. Right now I have a pole lamp; we’ll see  how that works out. I do have a speed light too and reflectors of course.  I was inspired by Carol Hart’s post (on openhart.com) about using her greenhouse and her video of working in her home studio.

So here they are (the top one was textured with Kim Klassen’s painterly texture for Texture Tuesday):

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Kim’s Pears

This morning I went to Michael’s to buy some gray and some brown paper to use as backgrounds for still life photos and to Albertson’s to buy some pears to photograph.  When I got home, there was a new BeStill 52 lesson up- featuring PEARS!  We have a choice of photographing a bowl and some (or just one) pear or having an editing play with her pear photo.  I have full intentions of photographing my pears, but had fun playing with her photo as well.

So- this is KIM’s photo- edited two ways. The first is with a warm black and white preset I made a long time ago which has become one of my favorites.  I added a couple layers of Kim’s chill texture (a new favorite) in Photoshop.


I added some yellow tones to the highlights and purple to the shadows and increased contrast a bit in this image.  In Photoshop I added Kim’s painterly texture.kim_klassen_pearsbypainting-EditWell, that was fun!  Next I will do my OWN pear photos- stay tuned!

Four Things

I’ve been on a roll with my still life lessons- this is for Lesson 21.  We were challenged to create a still life using four things: bread, twine, linen, and scissors.  I added some leaves and a pumpkin, because it is almost Halloween.  I used my new tea towels from my daughter- and the other items were purchased for the assignment- some cool bonsai shears, some twine (no longer an essential household item- at least for us), and a loaf of sourdough bread (my husband was so happy). I also used my new white beadboard for the backdrop- thank you, Barb Brookbank for the idea!



Apples on a Tea Towel

After doing travel photography for a couple weeks, it feels great to get back into still life photography! I’m catching up on lessons for Be Still 52 (and Texture Tuesday), and today’s photo is for the most recent assignment, where we were challenged to take a photo based on a painting. It was helpful to be provided with a link to a Pinterest board of stilllife paintings, and I chose one of three lemons on a striped tea towel.

I am currently lemon-less, so used apples from my friend, Debbie, who had to rid her kitchen of perishables in preparation for traveling to Nashville.  I do have some wonderful new tea towels, however- a gift from my daughter!


My image has darker lighting than the painting from which I drew my inspiration, but is lit from the left, as was the original image.  I textured it with Kim Klassen’s monday and chill textures.


Up at Sunrise

After a day of acclimating to being home from our road trip, I began to look at some of the lessons I’d missed in BeStill 52.  One jumped out at me right away, because it featured photos of cows. Cows! It turned out that the lesson challenged us to change things up, to do something different.  For Kim Klassen, this meant cows; for me it means traditional landscape photography.

I am pretty intimidated by the kind of photography that involves neutral density filters, polarizers, higher f-stop numbers (deep depth of field), tripods, composing a landscape shot, and, especially, getting up early to find the perfect light.  This is the kind of photography that the people in my camera club are good at. Upon reading the lesson, I realized that I had been dabbling in that on our vacation, well, actually on most of our vacations.  I always excuse my mediocre results by explaining that I never get up early enough to get the perfect light.  Well, this time I did.

I didn’t have to get up especially early, get in the car, drive to the scenic spot I had scouted out the day before, hike in,  and then set up among other photographers all with better equipment than I have.  All I had to do was roll out of bed, grab my camera, and walk out the door of our hotel room in Moab- because this is what was outside:

20141021-DSC_6030_melinda_anderson 20141021-DSC_6013_melinda_anderson 20141021-DSC_6003_melinda_anderson-Edit-EditThis is the same scene that I photographed in the sunset shots I posted Friday.  What a view!

I didn’t use any filters (although my ND ones would have been useful if I’d brought them!), but did bracket my shots just in case.  So. . . I think this foray into early morning landscape photography qualifies as changing things up.  Next time, maybe I will actually drive somewhere!

Still Life Adventures

I almost didn’t post today- we JUST got back from Yellowstone and are beyond tired! I did manage to put together several fall still lifes for BeStill 52  in the few relatively quiet moments during our visit ((you saw one of them on Friday). I gathered some leaves with the boys, and added some pinecones and bits from my daughter’s flower arrangement. Here are two versions of the same photo, the first with Kim Klassen’s daysofold preset (modified) and the second with darkday.


And here’s a peek at what happens when you try to set up a still life with a three-year-old in the room.


Fall Leaves

After bemoaning the fact that I can find no signs of Fall at home, I am so happy to report that Fall has begun here at Yellowstone! I haven’t had a chance to get out to capture the landscape, so I created a little fall still life during Henry’s “quiet time” yesterday.

20141002-DSC_4556_melinda_anderson-EditLinking up with Friday Finds.

An apple, a sunflower, a cup- and more!

I finally got back to some still life last week, inspired by my new mug that I picked up at the grocery store.

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A week or so ago, I entered 6 photos in the county fair.  I haven’t done anything like this since high school, when I entered my crocheting.  And the big news is that I earned 4 first place ribbons and one second place! Here is one of the winners, Sunflower Mystery (you might recognize it):

Photo Sep 27- 2 19 48 PMThe other 3 first place winners were Feathered Gold (the owl feather), Point Arena Lighthouse (from a couple years ago), and Rodeo Dreams (a photo of Henry standing on the fence watching a rodeo). Dusty Jeans got a second place.  A photo I took of prairie sunflowers did not place.  And. . . I came home with 14 bucks for my efforts! We won’t mention that the printing and matting cost more than that.  But I will re-use the mats.

It was raining cats and dogs- and, evidently, hawks while we were out at the fair on Saturday.  We drove back through flooded streets while thunder crashed around us- and found this guy in the backyard.

20140927-DSC_4321_melinda_anderson-2I took this shot through the sliding glass door (which was covered with raindrops)- when I opened the door, he flew up the hill and disappeared.