5 Elements to a Successful Life

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Ah yes, the online presence we so fervently chase. Blogging a list of this or that to capture the attention of a relentlessly fickle reader/audience. Well, to some, perhaps. When we read a headline with a list we, without so much as a thought about it, envision another grab for SEO and all the trappings it can provide. We simply cannot help it, we have been conditioned to think this way by these devices. I like to think of it as some sort of mechanism to allow us to adapt and in some ways grow. Within this blog I plan on telling you the five elements of a successful life. Are there more than just five? Oh, I sure hope so.  Initially, I was imagining about ten or so but with the attention span you are fostering I thought five would be more manageable.

ONE

Believe in your ability to alter your world or situation. I have discovered that the older I grow, the less flexible I become. Well, yes, in the physical sense this is certainly the case but I am talking about my attitude. We have all done this…been at a job which seems not to satisfy us and we complain about it. I can see you nodding, it IS true. Complaining about your situation is the recognition stage. We have to acknowledge a situation isn’t to our liking before we can alter it. Right? Once you do this you are freed. You are free to select your action to alter your situation. Really? Is that it? YES. I mean, really, complaining then doing nothing is silly. DO SOMETHING! We have an innate need to get better through out lives and what better way than to chart our own course through action? You will be utterly amazed as you do it and arriving at your goal will bring great success and satisfaction.Wayne's Engine

TWO

Never miss an opportunity to make people laugh. This is a big one! I venture to guess you don’t consider yourself a comedian. Fair enough. Let me tell you a little story about one instance several years ago. I was at work, a large media company in Atlanta, and I was waiting to take the lift to the sixth floor. I was in the lobby so the trip was short. The lift door opened and there were several, perhaps six people, inside. A bit crowded I would say. I do recall there was this one chap with disheveled red hair and a fair complexion. I had no idea who he was so I extended my hand and told him my name. He, in kind, shook my hand and said, “Hello, I am Ed Sheeran.” I replied, “Nice to meet you Ed. Are these your groupies?” At that, they all laughed! I knew they were his people, not groupies, so I took the opportunity, ran with an idea and it worked. By the sixth floor the tension in the lift had dissipated and I got off to head to my little studio-the rest of the day went smashingly well.

THREE

Be engaged and don’t be shy about touting your talent(s).

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I understand if you’re shy about telling those who ask about what you do, most of us are and know you can overcome it. Shyness has no place in a successful life. Meeting new people is a skill. It involves a certain set of actions, attitudes and practice to master however it doesn’t take that long to do so. If you’re one of the shy ones you have to pop outside of your comfort zone, join a meet-up group or three and jump into them with both feet. Like anything in life, the more you do it the more comfy you’ll feel about doing it again and again. Above all, be genuine and listen to what others have to say. Being a great listener takes practice too-you’ll get there.

FOUR

Allow yourself more than adequate time for you.

This world can be overwhelming. The day to day is just begging for you to stop, wait, relax and take stock of what truly matters-your well-being.  Too often we get wrapped up in all the little details of life and we forget for and with whom we’re living. Ourselves.  The goal here is to unplug. No, not just turning off our devices but also our minds. Creating a relaxed mind does take effort too but on a separate wavelength from our active state. Meditation offers our minds to not totally shut down, but to not focus on anything. Those streaming ideas which access our brains from moment to moment are allowed to pass on by in the meditative state. “A review study last year at Johns Hopkins looked at the relationship between mindfulness meditation and its ability to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain.” This quote is from a February 2015 article in Forbes magazine by author Alice G. Walton, who covers the disciplines of  health, medicine, psychology and neuroscience. If you’re new to meditation there are many videos online to assist with this mindful practice.                                                                                                          

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FIVE

Be grateful for all your can.

One thing I am really thankful for is this guy!  For such a young man he truly has a handle on this life thing. If you do the first four elements in this list then reflect on your blessings, what could be bad about that? I appreciate you reading this far and I wish you the best with your life. Enjoy and share the joy by passing this along, it will improve your life and those of others. Thank you!

Photographic Scale

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Morning at Mather Point. Looking west along Grand Canyon’s south rim.

     Notice the tiny people in this photograph? See them yet?  There, in the upper left of the frame.  They are standing along the railing admiring the enormity of the scene before them.  OK, your brain has done one incredible piece of work. It has spatially put scale to work.

     Space is something we exist in all the time and we do take it for granted. The world around us moves and changes all the time and we blend into it and sometimes forget how incredibly beautiful it can be.  We often see elements, like the Grand Canyon, as a two dimensional image and think, “Wow, that is really big!” The same can be said of images of the night sky and the billions of stars which surround our planet.

     Being part of a larger space can be overwhelming, humbling and some might say spiritual. We believe the Native Americans who inhabit Grand Canyon, Navaho, Havasupai, Hopi and many others who have called the canyon home for hundreds of years are right about this sacred place.  Seeing Grand Canyon in either video or still images does not do it justice.  One has to be there in it’s midst to understand the power and respect it commands.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/199320623″>Experience Photographic Scale</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/bluberryproductions”>Bluberry Productions,LLC</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

      It is with great pleasure that we are able to visit such places. To be able to experience something so vast it causes one to pause and think/reflect on what a gift it is.

We appreciate you reading our posts and invite you to share them if you feel so inclined.  If you would like us to feature something specific here on our blog, let us know by contacting us at our Bluberry Productions,LLC web page Thank you again!

 

The Proper Way to Successful Sourdough

Well, it is no secret that home made bread, especially sourdough, has been in existence for just about ever! It has that distinct aroma and tangy flavor which many love and some do not-if you are reading this, you are NOT in that latter category. My friends say to me, “you do know they sell this in the grocery store…” I just laugh and say “I do know that, that is not MY kind of bread!” Yes, I am a sourdough snob through and through. It may come from the fact that I grew up where it was said to be the best around…in Los Angeles, California. Although they say the best is sometimes confused with that other California city, San Francisco. No matter where you sit on the sourdough bread continuum it can be accurately stated that all tastes have their place.

Much of the tanginess of the bread comes from the starter and the length of the fermentation process. In my experience, off and on over the past twenty years of baking it, I have discovered that the worse the starter smells the tastier the bread will be. Sort of like cheese. You enjoy cheese too I hear. Starter is the yeast culture used to leaven the bread. I made my starter a few years ago and used a recipe I found online which took 17 days to accomplish-BE PATIENT. Good things take patience and persistence. You know that.

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Walnut Sourdough is one of my all-time favorites as it turns this odd shade of grayish lavender color as the fermentation and baking progress. I added 1/3 cup of walnuts, finely chopped, to my normal sourdough recipe and was very happy at the way it turned out. I have to thank San Luis Sourdough of San Luis Obispo, CA for the idea. I looooved that walnut sourdough bread they had in the 1980s and 90s. So much so that I devised my own version and am posting it for you here.

Perfectly Bread Sourdough Recipe

ingredients:

3.5 cups of bread flour (may be more of a little less depending on the atmospheric humidity)

2.25 tsp salt

1 TBS sugar

1.5 cups sourdough starter (again, home made is best)

2 TBS olive or vegetable oil (butter may also be used)

I love baking by hand so here is how to do that. Yes, if you have a good sturdy stand mixer you can use that too. Here is the link to my video in which I made Walnut Sourdough, just omit the nuts if you don’t care for them. This recipe is great as it lends itself to adding just about anything to it; Black Garlic, Herbs, bacon, Asiago Cheese, Roasted Bell Peppers etc. Use that imagination God gave you and post YOUR results! I would love to see what you can do.

Happy baking,

Chef Charlie Continue reading “The Proper Way to Successful Sourdough”

La creatividad esta en tu cabeza

Federico J. Vasquez

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Toda actividad humana esta inpregnada de un con un proceso creativo, que varia  segun la actividad que deseamos realizar, todo comienza con una idea, y termina con la ejecucion de la “obra”.

Estamos acostumbrados a la visualizacion de las artes formales: la pintura, la escultura, fotografia etc., cada una con herramientas especificas para la ejecucion y con permanencia mas o menos larga.

Pocas veces pensamos que el proceso creativo toca tambien actividades mas efimeras, como por ejemplo el cocinar,  o un simple corte de pelo.  No se rian!  Es la verdad. No quiero decir que hacer un corte de pelo es un  arte formal, pero lo que si quiero decir es que tambien sigue el porceso creativo.


 

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Al principio solo tenemos una maraña de pelo, nosotros imajinamos el resultado final, y con las herramientas idoneas  ejecutamos la idea que tenemos en nuestra cabeza.


 

 

 

Photography Using Glass

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Photographer Federico J. Vasquez

When it comes to the aspects of photography which cause us to stop and think we are in agreement that composition is key and not always easy to execute. OK, when it comes to composing a person in a portrait, that is pretty simple. Still life images, on the other hand, offer some distinct challenges. Design elements come to mind. Form, shape, orientation in space and a host of other ideas and concepts whirl around in our minds until we commit to what we want.


The other week we were setting up some glass candle holders for a shoot and decided to use both natural light and speedlights although not at the same time. The diagram below shows the initial setup using sun through a window on the right of the frame coming from a set of french doors. The result was pleasing but just not what we wanted. Again we have to define what we want before we can achieve it. We tempted to change things a bit. Trying different things is how we get there.

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Photographing objects offers unique challenges

Our next shot depicts a slightly different angle on it all. Instead of the natural light we decided to make a soft box out of a white paper sack and a speedlight. This was better as we were able to move it around without too much effort. The results? Well lets just say they were what we were looking for. One thing though-when shooting glass objects be careful to not have the surroundings reflect in the glass and always wear black clothing to minimize reflections.

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With a white foam board as our background an elegant simplicity is achieved.

Summing it all up, the way one places the light in relation to the subject greatly impacts the shot. With glass objects especially. Try some of your own glass objects using both sunlight(diffused) and studio strobes or speedlights. We would love to see what you come up with!

We have to say thank you to Michael with you tube channel Good Light! Clips for inspiring us to do this work. His channel offers so many other great ideas for lighting in all set ups, check it out! In the mean time-get busy with that camera!