Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Today at the collaborative blog that I write for, Focusing on Life, I posted a story about my chicken tortilla soup, just the story, no recipe.  Well, after several people have requested the recipe, I decided to post it here.  So here goes:

Chicken Tortilla Soup

3 chicken breast halves, including skin & bone
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
2 32 oz. cartons of chicken broth + 1 14.5 oz. can of chicken broth
2 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
2 chipotle peppers in abobo sauce (or less if you don't want it too spicy)
1 medium sweet onion
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
olive oil
1 bag frozen sweet corn
cilantro, chopped
avocado, chopped
tortilla chips

Cover chicken breasts with water in large pot; add garlic powder and salt.  Bring to boil and then lower heat to medium and cook for approximately 30 minutes until chicken is done.  Remove and let cool.  Dispose of cooking water.  Chop onion and saute with garlic in olive oil until opaque.  Add onion/garlic, one can of tomatoes and some of the chicken broth to a blender and blend.  Pour into same pan you  used to cook the chicken.  Add second can of tomatoes, some chicken broth and chipotle peppers to blender and blend. Pour into cooking pot.  Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, shred chicken, discarding skin and bone.  Add chicken, corn and cilantro to soup and heat for 1-2 minutes.  Break tortilla chips into serving bowls, spoon soup over chips and add avocado.

That's all there is to it.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Behind the Scenes Mouseover

I have been enjoying all the amazing techniques I've been learning in the Behind the Scenes class with Kim Klassen and Xanthe Berkeley. One technique that Kim uses a lot is called a "mouseover" where you can move your mouse over the photo and see the before and afters. To create the image above, I used two of Kim's textures, "Epiphany" and "Sunday", both at soft light. I liked this so much that I ended up printing it at 12x18 and framing it for my studio!  If you want to see the "before", just move your mouse over the  photo. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Persistence and finally . . . I did it!

A while back when I was taking Xanthe Berkeley's Capturing Time Capsules class, she taught us how to create an animated gif file.  I had troubles with it and ended up never learning the technique.  Now in the Behind the Scenes class Kim and Xanthe are teaching the same technique and I was determined to figure it out.  Success!  This is a very simplistic attempt at it, but now that I know how, you will definitely be seeing more animation in my blog!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sunflower Love

I had picked up some sunflowers at Trader Joe's a few days ago but hadn't had a chance to take them outside for a photo shoot.  Then this afternoon I noticed that the sun had gone behind some clouds and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try to capture some sunflower love! Their color just makes me happy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Behind the Scenes Questionnaire

Our assignment for Behind the Scenes this week is to answer these five questions on our blog.  We have been talking about using lists in blog posts, so here we go:

1. What makes you happy?....in 5 words or less....?

Family gatherings (especially at the beach!) We actually (see #3 below) have one planned -- a week on the beach in California in August. Can't wait!

2.  Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to be a really good singer.

3.  Which words or phrases do you overuse most?

"Actually".  And I hate it when I hear other  people say it! In fact, I didn't realize I was saying it until my grandson started using it and I said, "I wonder where he gets that?" and my whole family looked at me like I was nuts! I am actually trying VERY hard not to use  it.

4.  What is your favorite movie, book or both?

Movie:  "Out of Africa"
Book:    Anything by Anna Quindlen.

5.  If you could go anywhere in the world for a creative retreat, where might it be?

Greece is one  place I've always wanted to visit and would love to shoot there. All the gorgeous blues just call my name! I would also like to spend some time shooting in New York City.

So that's it!  I am loving this class so much!  Can't wait to try all the new things I've learned.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Wonders After the Rain

We had rain yesterday.  I can't even remember the last time we had rain, and that's the way I like it.  Being a desert girl, I'm happy to have 360 days of sun a year and hardly any rain and yet I still get moody when it does rain.  I know, I know, we need it, but still.  So I decided to take my bad mood and  my camera outside and try to forget about the rain.  It's amazing what you see when you really open your eyes.  This little seed pod hanging from a tree, cupping water, really enchanted me.  I don't think I'll be as unhappy to see rain the next time it comes around.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Marblecam for iPhone -- Fun!

I saw an  image that someone had posted on Flickr recently and was fascinated by the technique they used.  I asked them how they did it and they reported back that it was an app for the iPhone called MarbleCam.  MarbleCam takes pictures that look as if you had focused on a glass marble with a macro lens. I didn't waste a minute and immediately downloaded it.  It's a free app, so I thought I'd try it.  Well, let's just say I'm a little bit addicted!  Can't wait to try it on a lot of different subjects.  You can read about it and download it here.  If you give it a try, let me know what you think.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Playing with Filters

I picked up some gerber daisies at Trader Joe's and they are the prettiest color!  Decided to take a few shots of them and then play around in Photoshop with some artistic filters.  Love the way it makes the image look like a watercolor painting rather than a photograph.  If you click on the image you will be able to see the effects of the filter a little better.  Just a fun little play on a hot summer day!