Tag Archive: love


Yesterday was our 4th anniversary.  The past four years have had some ups and downs, but have, for the most part, been the most amazing four years of my life.  It’s not often that you meet someone who really gets you.  Someone who laughs at your corny jokes and likes a lot of the things you like, without just adapting to them.

Rose is that person.  She gets me.  She loves to encourage me and do things with me that she knows I love.  For that, I consider myself very lucky.  I could spend all day naming all of the things, but you would be bored and leave.  Let’s just say that she loves motorcycles and the Dukes of Hazzard.  Yeah, I am simple like that.

She doesn’t ask for much, so when she does, I try my best to do it for her.  Every year for our anniversary and her birthday, she asks me to make her a duck.  Duck is her favorite meal, and I enjoy it as well, so why not.    Last night was one of those nights.

I got the duck in the oven and had some time to kill, so I did the usual, Twitter, Facebook, yada yada.  After about an hour, I went down and peeled the potatoes and cleaned and sliced the mushrooms.  I was hoping to time everything just right to be done at the right time.  I can cook, but usually I focus on one or two things and that’s it.  With this meal, I had to make mashed potatoes, gravy with mushrooms, the sauce for the duck  and make sure the duck didn’t overcook.  Oh boy!

So, I got the potatoes boiling and started sauteing the mushrooms.  We saute them with a little butter, some garlic powder and Beau monde seasoning.  They then go into the gravy for some extra flavor.  If you’ve never tried it, get going!  It is amazing.

Below is the recipe I use from the Food Network website for the sauce.  I do make some changes to it while I am preparing it.  Feel free to do it by the recipe or doctor it up like I do.  Instead of using cherries, I use cans of Plums from Price Chopper and omit the scallions.  A word of warning!!!  This recipe requires the you flambe the mixture.  Please be very careful!  Fire is cool and all, but not when you burn down the kitchen!  If you can do this properly and without incident, the sauce is well worth it!

For the Brandied Cherry Reduction:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup brandied cherries, halved
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups rich duck or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set a 10-inch saute pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, about 30 seconds, add the shallots, garlic and cherries. Cook the shallots, garlic and cherries until the garlic is fragrant and the shallots begin to caramelize, about 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the brandy and tilt the pan toward the flame to flambe. Cook until the fire goes out, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar to the pan and continue to cook until it is almost completely reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and chopped rosemary. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, swirl the cold butter into the sauce and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Dinner was fantastic!  Everything came out just right and it tasted so good!  Especially the Plum sauce!  What a great night!

Happy anniversary, honey.  I love you.

-Me

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Selective color is one of my favorite styles of image manipulation.  I love the way the color stands out from the black and white portion of the image.  To do this, you take an image with a bright color and make most of it black and white, leaving just a small portion of color in the image.  This process can really make part of an image stand out and sometimes even make a not-so-great picture an amazing picture.  Here are some pics and the inspirations behind them…

The first image you saw a few days ago.  It is from my cousin’s wedding.  When I took this shot, it didn’t have the amazing sky that the others had.  It did have something else.  Romance.  Old fashioned romance.  My cousin Bo is a true Southern gentleman.  What would really portray his love for his new bride?  Black and white.  As I sat there analyzing the photo, I noticed that flowers really stuck out in this one.  As I type this I also notice that their shoulders and the way Melanie’s arm curves down to the bouquet sort of form a heart.  Maybe it’s just me.  I really fell in love with this image.

The kiss

The kiss

When we were setting up the reception area the day before the wedding, the ladies were putting bows made of tulle.  They did a wonderful job with the fabric and even incorporated leaves in it for the fall wedding.  Later that day, the sun was shining in through the windows and I just happened to catch it as it was glowing through the fabric on the chairs.  it was amazing, and it had a warm golden color to it.

Golden Bow

Golden Bow

Earlier that day, I had seen a few more of these chairs sitting in the middle of the dance floor, freshly decorated.  The three chairs in a row seemed like a perfect picture.  I added a little blur around the edges to draw your eyes to the chairs in the middle.  The leaves stood right out and I knew I had to make this one selective color.

Triple Bows

Triple Bows

The following weekend, Rose and I attended another wedding.  Our friends Mandy and Jeremy were getting married and I decided to bring the camera with me.  I figured I would sneak a few shots here and there.  Boy, am I glad I did.  The picture below was not a great picture, but it was of a ceremony I had not seen before.  The bride and the groom each had a container of a different color sand.   On the table was an empty bottle.  When they poured the two different colors into the empty bottle, it signified putting two things together that would never be separated, just like their marriage.  Although the picture didn’t come out well in my eyes, the colors did.  So, I began the process of selecting the colors and desaturating the rest of the picture.  I absolutely love the way it came out.

Two Lives Together Forever

Two Lives Together Forever

As Mandy was being walked down the aisle by her father, I snapped this next shot. The building they were having the ceremony in was dark, and I didn’t have my large flash with me.  So, I took the picture and made it pop.  I took the color out of all but the flowers.  I love the result.

Mandy & Her Dad

Mandy & Her Dad

At the reception of Mandy and Jeremy’s wedding, one of the guests stood out to me.  She was wearing bright red heels.  At one point during the reception, I joke that they would make a great selective color shot.  As she was coming in off the dance floor, I asked her to put her foot up on the chair.  Voila!  Add in a little border to match the shoe and this is what I got…

Red Shoe

Red Shoe

Rose and I took a trip to see her family in Honesdale, PA a few summers ago, and I spent a little time walking around her cousin’s yard.  As I walked around the front of the house, I found a wilting rose.  Instantly, I knew it would make a great selective color shot.

Wilting Rose

Wilting Rose

Of course, you know my love for motorcycles.  How could I do this post without including one?  Every Wednesday night during the summer, we ride with a great group of bikers.  The bike in the picture belongs to our friend Murph.  He is about 6’8″ tall and makes everyone I know look like a munchkin.  His bike is bright red with some anodized aluminum in it.  Perfect for selective color.

Murph's Bike

Murph's Bike

I hope you enjoyed.  I welcome questions if you are interested in selective color techniques.  Don’t be shy.  See you soon.