Tuesday 25 April 2017

Edible Obsessions | Creamsicle Sundae Beta 5

Beta 5 Sundae Social | Creamiscle Sundae: mandarin sorbet, fior di latte ice cream, lemon-olive oil curd, vanilla short bread, shattered citrus salad, vanilla chantilly and crisp meringue shards

I am so happy that Beta 5 Sundae's have made an appearance earlier this season because it something I look forward to at the end of a long hard work day. I am a huge citrus lover and this Creamsicle Sundae was everything I could have asked for. The refreshing tangy mandarin sorbet was a burst of spring in my mouth that was then balanced by the creamy fior di latte ice cream. For those unfamiliar with ice cream making, fior di latte is considered the base to all ice cream flavours. It is just a rich milk custard flavour that is almost hard explain because it honestly tastes different to everyone! I thought it tasted like coconut, but my friend found it to taste more like sweet cream. I would say she was far closer to what fior di latte is!

Of course, no sundae is a real sundae without the toppings! There was a lovely lemon-olive oil curd which kept with the citrus flavour and of course no Beta 5 Sundae is complete without their signature vanilla chantilly! The vanilla shortbread cookies were a little too dry for my liking, but the crisp meringue shards were amazing! It was the first time I have had meringue served to me so wafer thin and added a lovely texture to the sundae.

The coolest garnish had to be the Shattered Citrus Salad. Up close, it looked like citrus pulp up close, but it also melted in your mouth. I did try googling it; however, I did not find any information on what exactly shattered citrus salad is. I am going to assume this is a Beta 5 creation! In one of their Instagram pictures, the caption uses "liquid nitrogen" as a descriptor, so my guess will be that a citrus juice is frozen with liquid nitrogen, but they are vigorously stirring as they pour in the liquid nitrogen. Either way, it was really yummy!

I cannot wait to know what the sundae flavour will be for the next social. I hope they do the Mango Bubble Tea one again!

I would love to meet up at Beta 5 for one of their upcoming sundaes to make it a real social! Would love to hear in the comments below if you interested in having a fun time with me and ice cream!


Monday 24 April 2017

Local Love | Vancouver is Blushing with Cherry Blossoms

Spring has finally sprung in Vancouver as the city is blushing pink with cherry blossoms! Unfortunately, it seems the weather has yet to get the memo as horrid rainy days continue with no end in sight. I was so thrilled that there was one day with bright blue skies, so I made it priority to get outdoors and take some pictures of the pink blossoms.

My favourite cherry blossom trees are right outside the Burrard Street skytrain station in downtown Vancouver. Because I am a total dork, I needed to figure out what variety of blossoms they were. The trees are Somei Yoshino (Yoshino Cherry) and are one of the most abundant single flower cherry blossom trees in Vancouver. You can also find them lining the West entrance of Queen Elizabeth Park as well as lower mall at UBC.

All the rain washing the blossoms away :(
I am a little bummed that I was not able to get out and enjoy the blossoms very much this year, partially due to the obscene number of rainy days, but also the fact the days that were sunny and clear happened to be days I was either stuck at work or studying for final exams. Cherry blossoms also tend to peak a week after blooming, so it is a very short window to enjoy them!

I am going to try and visit West 22nd between Arbutus and Carnarvon as those eight blocks are lined with beautiful blossom trees and ranked the best spot in Vancouver for cherry blossoms. Really crossing my fingers that the pink blossoms are still there!

Who else is living for the pretty pink trees in Vancouver? Let me know in the comments below!


Saturday 22 April 2017

Geek Latte | Rule of Thirds in Photography

Coconut Pudding at Holts Cafe
From all the composition rules in photography, Rule of Thirds is the most well known and most often used by photographers. In fact, many of us use it without even realizing as it creates a more visually appealing image.

The rule of thirds stems from the image being divided into thirds horizontally and vertically. The four intersecting points are known as the power points because our eyes naturally gravitate there hence why many photographers choose to put their subjects at one of the four points.

Nike Free Runs - the bottom of the sole hits the horizontal line. 
It is also common practice to put the horizon at either the top or bottom line or to align long objects with one of the two vertical lines. In my images, you will see me favouring the bottom horizontal line and the right vertical line. A lot of my images will have the subject off to the right because the english language in North America is read left to right, so I want the viewer to end on the subject when looking at one of my pictures.

Garden Party Floral Arrangement - The vase is aligned right
I really love how my two DSLR viewfinder's shows the grid lines for the rule of thirds so it really helps me not only create stronger images, but I even use it to help me keep my pictures straight! I would assume other DSLR brands also have the grid lines and if you primarily use your cell phone, majority of cell phone cameras give you the option to make the grid visible. So check your settings, because it really just takes the guesswork out of things!

Also, you can always crop your images in post production to align the horizon or subject to fit the rule of thirds. If I am editing a portrait, I always crop it to have person's face at one of the four pour points. However, this is only just one compositional aspect in photography! A perfectly centred subject can be just as striking!

If there is anything in specific you would like me to discuss in future posts, definitely leave me a comment below!


Thursday 20 April 2017

Edible Obsessions | L'otus Cake Boutique

It only took my four months, but I finally visited the much talked about L'otus Cake Boutique! Did I mention that I live a mere two minute drive away from their storefront in Richmond? 

It seems like Vancouverites cannot get enough of L'otus' signature Mille Crepe Cakes as they are often sell out before closing. In fact, I read somewhere that it is suggested to call in advance and reserve a slice of cake to ensure you are not disappointed if they sell out. Definitely a testament to their popularity! 

Between my friend and I, we had a slice of the Matcha Mille Crepe and the Philllipino Mango Mille Crepe cake. This was my first time trying Mille Crepe Cake and it was delicious! I now understand why everyone was so excited about Mille Crepe being available in Vancouver. I am certain you can find them else where in the Lower Mainland too, but the quality and depth of flavour may not be the same. 

The Matcha was heavenly with its decadent alternating layers of paper thin crepes and the smoothest matcha cream ever! I honestly could eat that matcha cream on toast every morning! I appreciated the chef focusing on highlighting the matcha flavour and did not try to overpower it with sugar. I was also very surprised by how easily I was able to cut into the cake with just the edge of my fork. 

We also shared the Phillipino Mango Mille Crepe which was again their paper thin crepes, but this time with alternating layers of fresh whip cream and slices of the imported mangoes from the Phillipines. The mango was delicious and had a lovely fragrant mango taste and I wish I could just take some mangoes home to eat! Those of you who did not know, mangoes are my favourite fruit! 

Between the two, I cannot pick a favourite since I equally love matcha and mangoes! Both get a huge thumbs up from me! 

The only downside was the price point of the individual Mille Crepe Cake slices. Each cake slice was $8, with the exception of the Phillipino Mango which was an astonishing $13! I do acknowledge that a lot of time goes into creating the many layers of the cake and the imported mango from the Philippines must be expensive; however, it still felt far too overpriced for a bakery. At restaurants, desserts are comparable in price, but you are paying for the service, atmosphere as well as how the dessert is presented. 

I was very disappointed by the look of the mango cake since it had zero garnish, the top was left as the plain crepe. Frankly even some piping of whipping cream and a few pieces of mango would have helped make the $13 feel a little less steep. The other cake slices had some very minimal garnishing, but still nothing that will wow you. 

Let me know in the comments below if you love Mille Crepe and if you have tried the ones from L'otus!


Friday 14 April 2017

Local Love | Sarah Bryn and Her Make Wild Studio

Sarah Bryn with her beloved Canon 5D Mark III
Being Her Own Boss

Sarah Bryn was the first photographer I ever worked with on a photo shoot. Believe it or not, I was actually her first real client that she did a photoshoot with! Since May 2016, I have watched Sarah go through the ups and downs of establishing a photography business in Vancouver. At just under a year into business, Sarah knows what it takes to be a true business babe. 

Sarah has always wanted to be her own boss. Beginning her photography journey in the Winter of 2015, Sarah hit the ground running with a Canon 5D Mark III and Sigma Art 50mm lens in hand. She immediately discovered that she wanted to work with people - capturing connection and the human experience. She loves shooting couples and portraits, and always wants to challenge herself to make new and creative art!

“I’ve always wanted to own my own business, and to be my own boss. The sky is the limit! There’s always something to learn, and an aspect of either my business or my craft to work on.”

I have seen Sarah’s company evolve extensively in the time frame of only a year! There is a lot that goes into starting your own business and Sarah can definitely attest to that. 

Captured by Sarah | Winter 2016
Building a Successful Photography Business 

Off the top of her head, Sarah rattled off just a few things she has to do as a business owner:
  • Creating a brand/website/marketing strategies/client experience
  • Deciding on what you want to offer as a business and who your ideal client is
  • Managing leads, clients and all of the info for each person, including where they are at for payments, sessions and print orders 
  • Creating pricing packages that cover all of the business costs while still being reasonable for a potential client
  • Figuring out a workflow and organization for photos, clients, invoicing etc
  • Researching new products and tools to improve your business. For example, image delivery options and finding products and prints to offer
Make Wild Studio was not something that came together in a single night. Numerous months of work have been put into developing the brand as a whole. I find it very smart for Sarah to be thinking long-term with her branding. She made a deliberate decision to not include “photography” in her business name because she wishes to have the freedom to expand her business in the future - perhaps into design or blogging. 
"When building a business, it's important to put the time and energy into setting it up the way you want to before you launch. NOW is when you are able do things like decide on the products and services you want to use and offer, the small touches that make you unique as a creative service, as well as set up a rock solid business plan and workflow. You want your clients to have a flawless and branded experience, so make sure to take the time to really figure things out and deal with potential problems before they come up with a client!"
Captured by Sarah Bryn
Part of setting up a business is establishing your market, and setting up packages and pricing. Sarah explained that with photography, the shoot time is only one aspect to consider. There is also the time you put in for post production, client communication and anything thing else that comes with delivering images or products to your client. Sarah made a good point that your creative skills are worth the money you are charging. However, when setting your rates, you also need to take in consideration your past experience and the local market for your industry. 

After deciding what packages you want to offer to your clients and your rate, then the real hustle begins - building your clientele! Social media is an excellent tool for reaching perspective clients, so this is where a marketing strategy comes into play. Meeting with other creatives (in and around your field) also gives you the opportunity to share clients and cross promote. 

Most importantly, always, always, ALWAYS continue to do your own creative shoots! This gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself artistically and further showcase your own personal photography style. It also helps keep your clients and potential clients interested in your work as you are producing new and unique to you work. Craigslist advertisements and Facebook groups are also a great way to find people who are interested in collaborating on a project. 

This picture is literally my favourite photograph of me!!! Captured by Sarah Bryn | Spring 2016
What I Wish I Knew

Sarah never imagined being behind the lens as she had always been a performer, so photography was an unknown for her. Whenever pursuing something unfamiliar, it is helpful to gain some insight from industry professionals. I asked Sarah to share what she wishes she was told before establishing Make Wild Studio. 

Ultimately, do not be afraid to go slow, so you can put together a solid business plan and more importantly to learn your craft and gear! The creative work you create is definitely worth the money; however, it is good to do some shoots for free, so you can build your body of work. Decide what you want to offer as a business and do NOT feel pressured to offer everything. Learn and grow and become exceptional at doing what you love, but also understand your style will not be everyone's cup of tea. Lastly, if you passionate about your work, it will reflect in the final product and help you create an exceptional business. 

Captured by Sarah Bryn | Winter 2016
It was so interesting to learn the ins and outs of running a photography business from Sarah. Check out more of Sarah's work on her website: www.makewildstudio.com and Instagram @makewildstudio 


Saturday 8 April 2017

Geek Latte | Depth of Field

Focus point on the first card (1/45    ISO 100   f/4.0) 
One of my favourite aspects of photography has to be Depth of Field. It is something so easy, yet can really make a good picture amazing! Having a DSLR really gives you so much more control and creative liberty over your photography. From what I know, you cannot really achieve different depth of fields with a cell phone or tablet camera and not even with a simple point and shoot. This is just one of the many advantages of shooting with a DSLR. 

So what is Depth of Field?
Depth of field refers to the distance between the nearest and furthest object that will be focused in the picture. This is contingent on where you set your focus point.  

The aperture or f-stops is what is used to alter the depth of field. There are other variables that contribute to the depth of field such as focal length and the distance at which the subject is from the camera, but to keep things simple, I will not be discussing them.

Focus point on the second card (1/45    ISO 100   f/4.0) 
When composing a picture, I always consider the point of focus and how much depth of field I want. I begin with point of focus as that is what I want sharp. I consider depth of field only after I have established my focus point.

Large Depth of Field (large aperture; smaller opening) will have more distance in focus. 

Shallow Depth of Field (small aperture; bigger opening) a shorter distance is in focus. 

Focus point on the third card (1/45    ISO 100   f/4.0) 
Another important part of depth of field is from the point of focus, 1/3 infant and 2/3 behind will be in focus. This is something to consider when deciding where to put your point of focus because it affects what parts of the scene will be in focus. 

Personally, my 50mm lives on my camera set at f/2.8 as I love working with shallow depth of field. It makes the pictures more interesting and captivating because I am keeping the attention on the subject only. 

I was trying to get the whole bus in focus hence why the bigger f-stop (1/60   ISO 1000   f/8.0)

Since aperture does affect exposure, by choosing to go with a bigger f-stop, the image will become darker, so you will need to compensate by increasing the shutter speed and ISO. A small f-stop, the opening in the camera will be bigger; therefore, more light will enter the camera giving you brighter pictures, but a more shallow depth of field. 

I really want to stress that photography is subjective and there is no right or wrong. It is all about being creative and by having a better understanding of your camera's settings, it only gives you the power to choose how you want your pictures to look!

If there is anything specific you want me to discuss photography related, please leave me a comment below!