Photography lesson 2: try a black & white/monochrome conversion

When conditions may not be perfect for shooting say a landscape shot – high noon or overcast/dull weather for instance, try converting your shot in to black & white or monochrome – often you’ll be surprised at the result! The shot below I was about to pass by until I converted it to black & white using Adobe’s Lightroom software and it brought out the moody atmosphere of the afternoon as the clouds were rolling in to Melbourne.

Bridge Over Southbank

Happy Australia Day!

Spent most of the day down at Bondi Beach (starting at sunrise however the cloud cover prevented the taking of any beautiful shots, collected my thong (see pic below) to compete in the havaianas thong challenge.

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Went back just before lunch where we all lined up on the beach to be counted before entering the water with our giant thongs and all joining up to form a human chain to try and break the world record (set at Bondi Beach in 2009!).

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But – even though we surpassed the 2009 world record by an amazing 300 people (with 1262 of us!), we were beaten by Cottlesloe Beach in Western Australia who had a whopping 1301! Congratulations WA but hopefully we’ll take the title back next year!

This evening went in to Darling Harbour to watch the Australia Day fireworks and i’ve got to say they were quite possibly the best fireworks i’ve ever seen – even surpassing Sydney’s NYE fireworks display – and that’s saying a lot!

Hope everyone else enjoyed their day as much as I did and we are all extremely lucky to live in this beautiful country. Happy Australia Day!

Recipe: Traditional Tomato & Basil Bruschetta

I love traditional tomato & basil bruschetta and i’m not sure where I found this recipe but it is absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious! Serves 4 as an entree.

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INGREDIENTS
6 ripe egg or roma tomatoes 
1 sml red onion
6 basil leaves finely sliced
Pinch of salt & pepper 
20ml olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Ciabatta bread
1 clove garlic
Parmigiano reggiano (to serve)
METHOD

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Bring a pot of water to the boil and put in the tomatoes for 30 seconds until the skin starts to blister (if you pierce them with a fork first it will help them blister faster). Peel, de-seed and roughly chop the tomatoes and put them in a bowl with a tiny amount of finely diced red onion (literally one or two slices of the onion), basil leaves, salt & pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Mix well. This is your bruschetta topping.

Slice the ciabatta and brush one side with olive oil. Put the slices onto a tray in the oven oil side-down and cook for 5 mins or until crunchy. Remove and rub the olive-oil side liberally with the garlic, top with bruschetta mixture and top with parmesan shavings.

Recipe: Singapore Chilli Mud Crab

For many years i’ve been going to Kingsley’s Steak & Crabhouse at Woolloomooloo to enjoy their Singapore Chilli Mud Crab & Prawns and for a long time wanted the recipe. Originally it was published in Gourmet Traveller but then a slightly modified version turned up on the web and I find this to be the closest to the real thing. Here it is: The Best Singapore Chilli Mud Crab recipe ever!

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INGREDIENTS
5-6 birds eye chillies
30g garlic
30g ginger
50ml peanut oil
700ml tomato purée
150ml water
1 cup tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 lime juice
1 tbsp black bean sauce
80g palm sugar
30g cornflour
Pinch salt & pepper
Peanut oil, extra
Mudcrab
Coriander
Lime wedges
METHOD

In a food processor individually blend chilli, garlic and ginger until roughly chopped. Add the peanut oil to the mix. Put aside and cover in fridge.This is your chilli base.Clean food processor and then blend tomato purée, water, tomato sauce, lime juice & black bean sauce. Add palm sugar, cornflour, salt & pepper. This is your chilli sauce.

Add extra peanut oil to wok. When smoking & hot, add the mudcrab. Toss in wok for 30 seconds. Then add Singapore chilli base first and toss for 30 seconds. Then add Singapore chilli sauce and cook with the mudcrab for 5 minutes until sauce is of even consistency. Garnish with fresh coriander and lime wedges.

Photography lesson 1: wait for the light

I went to Kirribilli in North Sydney this evening to take a few Harbour Bridge/Opera House/Cityscape shots and just as I was about to pack up and leave this beautiful blue cast came across the sky and allowed me to capture the shot below. Lesson learned – wait at least 30-45mins after the sun has dipped below the horizon before you pack up and leave a site!

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