Chocolate Covered Apples

Just the other week, I was out with friends in Dundas, Ontario. While it’s minutes away from where I live, I haven’t actually stopped by to check the area out. So when I saw the opportunity to eat at Bangkok Spoon Deluxe with friends, I thought it would be a great way to stop by and check out the area.

Afterwards, we stop by Beanermunky Chocolate. Celebrating their 5th year anniversary in Dundas, Ontario, they gave out chocolate covered apple samples. Best ever! While I plan on returning to the shop to buy more treats, I decided to try making these treats on my own. While not perfect, they were pretty good for a first try.

I went to Bulk Barn to buy these items. While I didn’t have to buy Belgian chocolates, I decided to do something different. Last time I made frozen chocolate dipped bananas, I used dark chocolate. While okay for the most part, I made it only once. Belgian chocolates sounded amazing. They were also twice the price of other chocolates. The result was that it gave a rich, creamier taste. I would do it again. Just a note – you don’t need a lot of chocolate if you have only a couple of apples. I didn’t even use all of the chocolate I bought.

Ingredients:

Apples
Belgian Dark Chocolates
Christmas nonpareils
3 TBS Canola Oil
Candy Sticks

Chocolate Covered Apples

Chocolate Covered Apples

Chocolate Covered Apples

To melt the chocolate, I melted it on a double boiler. (I took a truffle making workshop a while ago.) If you melt chocolate directly on a pan over heat, it will burn easily. Also, once melted, it won’t take long before it will start to clump. I’m not sure if it’s because I had the pot on low fire or if it’s the Belgian chocolates, but it didn’t clump as fast.

Melting Chocolate on a double boiler

Once I melted the chocolate, I lower the heat to keep the chocolate melted without clumping. This will allow me to cut the apples and put in the candy sticks. Being my first time, it was a bit messy. Once the stick was on, I can easily just dip the cut apples into the melted chocolate and then the sprinkles. I had the wax paper all ready to put the chocolate dipped apples onto. I put a few onto a plate and the chocolate stuck onto the plate. I put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to freeze quicker. Afterwards, it can be kept in the fridge.

Note – probably best to serve it the same day it’s made.

Result
Chocolate Covered Apples//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Chocolate Covered Apples//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Chocolate Covered Apples//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

I would definitely do this as a treat at the family Christmas party.

Ghost Tour at Fort George, Niagara on the Lake

Ghost Tour at Fort George, Niagara on the Lake//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

For the first time, I attend a Ghost Tour and it’s at Fort George. While I do not know what to expect, there’s a bit of excitement growing as groups of people gather in the gift shop. Tours run every 30 minutes and each tour is approximately 1.5 – 2.0 hours long. This tour does run throughout the year, but it is seemingly more special as Samhain approaches.

Kyle, our tour guide, has been working at Fort George for over 20 year. He wears a period cape coat/Victorian cloak similar to what Sherlock Holmes would wear except in black. He lights a candle in a lantern which would guide us through the darkness.

Aside from the basic warnings of staying on the path since it’s so dark and we could trip and fall, he asks us not to call attention to group from the spirit world when it’s so close to Hallowe’en. The group is seemingly in agreement since we probably don’t want to be put in a vulnerable spot if something were to really happen. Or at the very least, I don’t want anything to happen to me and therefore would never dare to call attention from the spirit world. Kyle mentions that he doesn’t know if anything will be seen that night. It really is unpredictable if, when or how something will show up.

According to Kyle, all the stories told during that evening are true. Before its inception, they had to research and ask those who have lived and worked there. Of the many stories that come through, only a few were worthwhile to tell. As the tours began, stories also started coming from those who worked there as well as from visitors who have taken the tours. Many years later since its inception, they have a good collection of stories to tell.

As the tour begins, I could tell from the way Kyle speaks that it’s going to be good. Because it’s not like the amusement parks Hallowe’en themed events, Kyle has to rely on how he tells the stories to entertain everyone. Honestly, he did a very good job of it. The intonations, the pauses, the humour and honesty of having to think on the spot as we stop at one point for the tour group ahead of us to finish.

At the end of the evening, I personally didn’t see anything. This said, I did feel a pressure on my head that I know for sure wasn’t a headache. It comes and goes real quickly. This was just before Kyle mentions that a few psychics refuse to go beyond a certain point. While I don’t want to give too much away (you must go to find out for yourself), there’s this uneasiness as we head down the hill towards the tunnel and into the tunnel. While I tell myself not to go inside, I start taking small steps. I tell myself to stay near the back or outside. But no….being vertically challenged, I stay ahead of the pack because I want to see and hear better. I’m worried nothing of the spiritual world would be behind me but I still continue moving forward to stay near the tour guide, Kyle. I keep my back against the wall to….you know….be sure no one else or thing is behind me. I’m scared at this point. As soon as we’re out of the tunnel, I feel better. While Kyle mentions that the tunnel is nothing really significant aside from the fact that it’s a lookout point, he does tell a few stories that sends shivers to everyone (or to me at the very least). Kyle gauges how well the tour is going from how reactive we have been to the stories throughout the tour.

By the end of the tour, I am satisfied I attended. I wasn’t able to get many photos since it was held in the dark except for the lanterns that helped guide us. I recommend this tour.

Inside the tunnel

Ghost Tour at Fort George, Niagara on the Lake//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A lantern in the barracks

Ghost Tour at Fort George, Niagara on the Lake//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

An electric lantern in an officer’s home

Ghost Tour at Fort George, Niagara on the Lake//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Autumn

I love fall because of the moderate temperatures and the changing of colours. Here are some of what I captured – old and new. The first few locations are taken in Hamilton and it is known as the Waterfall Capital of the World. While I’ve only been to a handful, I hope to see more in the next few weeks while the weather is great. Many of these trails are located along the Bruce Trail which run about 900km from the Niagara Escarpment to Tobermory.

Tiffany Falls

Tiffany Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Tiffany Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Tiffany Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Tiffany Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Tiffany Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Devil’s Punch Bowl

Devil's Punch Bowl, Hamilton//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

<Devil's Punch Bowl, Hamilton//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Devil's Punch Bowl, Hamilton//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Rattlesnake Point (Milton)

Rattlesnake Point, Bruce Trail//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Springridge Farm (Milton)

Fall Season at Springridge Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Springridge Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Springridge Farm Tractor Trailer Ride//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Springridge Farm Store//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Springridge Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Chudleigh’s Farm (Milton)

A day at Chudleigh's Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A day at Chudleigh's Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A day at Chudleigh's Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A day at Chudleigh's Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Tractor ride//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A day at Chudleigh's Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Riverwood Conservancy (Mississauga)

Red Maple Leaf, Riverwood Park//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Along Hamilton’s Waterfront

 

Known as the City of Waterfalls, Hamilton has implemented a program to promote its beauty and to detract from the “Steel Town” reputation. There are also initiatives to help develop and revitalize the downtown core and waterfront.

Confederation Park
Confederation Park, Hamilton//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Cootes Paradise
Cootes Paradise//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Cootes Paradise//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Cootes Paradise//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Cootes Paradise//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Sunset at Cootes Paradise//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Pier 8
Sunset at Pier 8//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Sunset at Pier 8//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Pier 8//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Ráfaga - Unleashed//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Ráfaga - Unleashed by Veronica and Edwin Dam de Nogales//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls
Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Downtown
Downtown Hamilton//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Downtown Hamilton//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Matsuri – Japanese Summer Festival 2016

During the summer when most people are not working during evenings and weekends, that’s when I start work. Whether freelance or for the company I work for, I work when people are available. So when I get a chance to catch a summer event or have time to hang out with friends, I appreciate the time off.

Here’s what I saw at Mississauga’s first Matsuri – Japanese Summer Festival:

Omikoshi
Matsuri - Japanese Summer Festival//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Nagata Shachu Taiko Drumming
Nagata Shachu//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Nagata Shachu//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Nagata Shachu//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Nagata Shachu//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Mayor Bonnie Crombie Addresses the crowd during 35th Sister City Anniversary Ceremony between Mississauga and Kariya
Mayor Bonnie Crombie addresses the crowd//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Breaking the Mirror Ceremony
Sake Wine Cask Breaking Ceremony
Sake Cask Breaking//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Shishimai – Traditional Japanese Lion Dance

Shishimai - Traditional Japanese Lion Dance//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Fuu-Wa Japanese Group Singers
Fuu-wa//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

J-pop: Niji no Conquistador
Niji no Conquistador - J Pop//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Mississauga Kendo Club
Mississauga Kendo Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Mississauga Kendo Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Toronto Kimono Club
The Toronto Kimono Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Toronto Kimono Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Toronto Kimono Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

STORYTiME Contemporary Street Dance Performers
STORYTiME Contemporary: Street Dance Performance//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

STORYTiME Contemporary: Street Dance Performance and Workshop//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

TBC Buyo Group
TBC Buyo Group//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Kimono Fun Club & Others
Kimono Fun Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
https://greceln.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php
Kimono Fun Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Kimono Fun Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Scenes from Point Pelee National Park

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Did I ever tell you how much I like going to Point Pelee?

I never really knew this place existed until, oddly enough, I played Hangman on the computer. The word Point Pelee kept coming up. It was an odd word and I never knew it existed. One day, curiosity got the better of me and I did more research on it.

Located in Ontario, it’s the southernmost point in Canada and lies just below the 42nd parallel. It is as far south as Rome, Northern Spain and the northern border of California. It is also known as the Carolinian Zone where the average temperature for the year is 8°C. As described on the official Parks Canada site, “Early scientists called this region the Carolinian zone. Now, it is more generally referred to as the eastern deciduous forest, except in Canada where the term Carolinian is still popular because of its southern flavour.” Considering the massive size of Canada, this zone is only a tiny fraction of the country. The reason it stays warmer than Laramie, Wyoming (which is considered the center of the continent and on the same parallel as Point Pelee) is because it is surrounded by large bodies of water that helps to maintain heat better. It serves as a migration center for birds in the spring and fall and plays host to 370 species of birds.

This year, I managed to make two trips to the park and only because I was working on location in nearby towns. With the three hour drive from where I live to get to Point Pelee, it’s difficult to make it there on its own, unless I make a weekend trip to the area. It just makes it more difficult for sunrise and sunset photography. The park does operate from 6:00am – 10:00pm in the summer and it does change depending on the time of year it is. As you can imagine, if I really wanted to, I’d have to make an effort to leave at 3:00am just to make it to the gate at sunrise. That is why when I did so, I appreciate being able to get the sunrise shots all the better.

Without further adieu, here’s what I captured in recent weeks:

Lookout Point
Lookout Point, Sunrise at Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lookout Point, Sunrise at Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lookout Point, Sunrise at Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Marsh Boardwalk
Marsh Boardwalk, Sunrise at Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Yellow Pond Lily (Spatterdock)
Yellow Pond Lily//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Yellow Pond Lily//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Photographing for Social Media

© Grecel Nepomuceno All Rights Reserved

 

Summer is around the corner and it’s time to experience, capture and share moments. Not as often as some others, but I have checked into places, shared food porn photos of the best places I’ve eaten at, and Instagram’d away of places I’ve visited with my sidekick, Sock Monkey. While it’s fun, I put in a little extra care and thought on composing photographs since every social media platform is different on how they display images. I put together a cheat sheet on what to think about when composing. Also, I do like adding my logo and invisible watermark (metadata) along with editing my photos in Lightroom and/or Photoshop. Not everyone has to do it, and I do admit it’s a lot more work for the few clicks it takes to upload photos to social media, but it’s also too easy for people to download images from sites like Instagram. Check out my quick tips below along with a more enhanced look at various social media sites from LouiseM.com’s site.

RomanchaGlacier_GlacierAlley//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

TierradelFuego//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

NovaScotiaLandscape//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

FacebookCoverAndProfilePhoto//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A better view of these tips can be seen on my official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/grecelnepomucenophotography/posts/643978345740742

Here’s a more detailed look at various social media sites via LouiseM.com:

http://louisem.com/2852/social-media-cheat-sheet-sizes

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Published in: on May 13, 2016 at 1:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Martial Arts Videos

Recently, I collaborated with a friend to put together two martial arts videos. Mainly, I wanted to give videography a try. Having trained in martial arts for several years myself, I appreciate working with a Martial Arts World Champion. Check out these videos:

Bo Form

Wushu Form

A Beautiful Day

© All Rights Reserved

© All Rights Reserved

On Saturday, May 3rd and Sunday, May 4th, I grabbed my camera and decided to learn how to do time lapse. Initially, I took a cable release and stood there as the sun started to set. I set my Nikon D7000 on timer with 9 photos per click and 3 second delay between photos. I ended up spending almost 50 minutes. While the sunset was beautiful, I’m sure there was a more efficient way to do time lapse as I’ve seen several examples of night photography with star trails. There are cable releases specifically made to have a timer on them. My camera can also do intervals. You can set how long you want it to run with x number of photos to be taken and how many seconds or minutes you want it to wait between each shot. This is far more effective as I went online to do more research. I was limited to the number of shots I can take since I only had a 16gb SD card and I shot in both RAW and Fine jpeg formats.

Uploading and doing minor edits took a long time but in the end I was happy with what I got. On the fourth try, I took a little more time in ensuring the camera was set perfectly, i.e. focus. It was an oversight. I focused on the subject and switched the lens to manual mode thinking it would help time lapse run smoother. I did learn how to do animated gifs over a year ago and tried to apply the same principles on Photoshop to create a time lapse. I also wanted to compare how much better, or easier it would be to create a time lapse on Lightroom. I found that it was a lot of work to manage all the layers on timeline in Photoshop. At the most for one time lapse, I had about 500 photos and at the very least, I had about 150. On the other hand, Photoshop has a lot of good editing features as well as having a lot of options when converting to a video for rendering. With Lightroom, there is a plugin to create a video. I did see online that there are some extra features if you have it. In this case, I did not. After completing my edits, I went to Slideshow, converted the photos to create a slideshow and exported it as a video. Here are the results:

Click on the links:
A Sunday in Mississauga

Mississauga After Dark

For more, check me out on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/greceln_ifoxygn/

A Glowing Effect

I recently visited Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto and it was an awesome experience. I chose a non-holiday weekday to be sure I didn’t have to deal with a large crowd. If I wasn’t so tired, I probably would have taken more time to photograph and see every corner of the place. I’m sure I missed a few spots.

As a photographer, there were a lot of challenges, mainly the various lighting conditions for each aquarium. My Nikon D7000 goes up to ISO 6400, then H.03, H.07, H.1.0 and H2.0. Working at the lowest possible ISO is always best but you have to look at the situation and make adjustments. Indoors are often darker and you also have to see if the subject can sit still or not. The shutter speed has to be fast enough so the fishes won’t get blurred as it passes by. A minimum of 1/125 is good. I pushed my ISO to 6400 which is the max I’m willing to work with. It is grainy at this point but if I had gone higher, the quality would be far worse. In some situations, photos were darker but manageable in post editing.

I read on some tips and tricks on how to photograph at a public aquarium. Some suggest that you have to keep your camera flat up against the glass to reduce glare and reflections. Or block out as much light as possible. I’m sure all these are plausible…. if I can just make a request to management to shut off the lights outside of the aquarium to create a studio experience. Holding the camera right up to the glass was hard with the fishes swimming right up to it.

Another difficulty I had was photographing the jellyfish. Their edges were less defined. I did get some good photographs. While processing the images, I checked some examples of jellyfish photos. Many of them were glowing and I wanted to achieve that same effect. Here is how I did it:

Original

© All Rights Reserved

© All Rights Reserved

Dark Version and Light Version

In Lightroom, I created two virtual copies of the same photo and changed the settings to create a light and dark version.

© All Rights Reserved

© All Rights Reserved

© All Rights Reserved

© All Rights Reserved

Final Photograph

In the menu bar of Lightroom, I went to Photo – Edit In and chose Photoshop. I used Photoshope CS6. I opened both the light and dark versions. I selected the dark version and copied and pasted it onto the light version. There are now two layers, the lighter one being on the bottom in the layers panel. I closed the dark version without saving. I like to Layer from Background and name it Original. Then duplicate that and call it Edited. Then I lock the Original layer. I turned off the dark layer for now by clicking on the eye. I created a selection around the jellyfish and saved the selection. With this selection saved, I can also target the same area for other adjustments. I chose Refine Edge and adjusted the Smooth and Feather section. With the dark layer reactivated, I used the eraser tool and reduced the opacity to less than 50%. With the selection on, I erased the image to reveal the lighter jellyfish below. The image within the selection was only erased. With the selection still activated, I went to the Adjustment section and chose Brightness/Contrast. A mask was created. I kept adjusting until it gave the glow I wanted. Contrast helped the image to stand out more. To make the background darker, I chose the same selection and inversed it. I created a mask by going to the adjustment layer again for Brightness/Contrast and punched in a negative number. I’ve also used Vibrance on some of my images.

Here is the final image:

© All Rights Reserved

© All Rights Reserved

This is one way of making something glow. If you Google how to make something glow in Photoshop, there will be all kinds of samples such as creating a soft glow effect of a scenery to making text glow.