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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wall Murals

Mural by Yukiko Aramaki

Recenty, I was busy working on murals.
The picture above is one of them.
Usually I paint murals directly onto the wall, but this one was painted on an approx. 180cm x 120cm wooden panel.
I have to say, I LOVE painting big pictures.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Won The Awards!

Sail Away - Winner of the Panorama Category

I feel sooooo great today!!
One of my photo won the category award on the photo contest site called Daily Awards.

I've always been a happy snapper but never had much confidence in my own work.
This might be a small step compare to the things some of you guys have achieved, but nonetheless it is pretty huge for me.

I'm gonna give a toast to my happy achievement tonight!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dream of A Tree

Dream of a tree -- Fine Art Photography by Yukiko Aramaki
"Dream of A Tree"

The village I live in is very rural and surrounded by almond, peach, apricot &olive groves. Some of those trees are so old and each of them has got a distinctive character.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sail Away

Sail Away
"Sail Away"

Saint Valery sur Somme, France.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Prints are available from my ImageKind Gallery

Pronunciation: (drēm'skāp"),
1. a dreamlike, often surrealistic scene.
2. a painting depicting such a scene.

I've always had the desire to transfer my inner images onto sheets of paper. That's why I've kept on painting day after day since my childhood. But it is easier said than done. I have to admit that most of the time, the pictures I painted were nowhere near the images I had in my mind. Colours were too bright, too vivid, too dark or too murky, the edges were too sharp or too blurry, etc... In short, I could never satisfied with the techniques I used with my paintings.
I often thought that I would never be able to recreate my "dreamscapes".

Then, one day, the idea of using photographs to represent my version of the world came to me. First I took the photograph with the finished image in my mind, and then, painted over it. This worked amazingly well. I was so excited! Two of my favourite things, photography and painting, combined together and managed to achieve the result I've always wanted!

The gallery I have on ImageKind is more or less dedicated to these dreamscape images. These series of landscapes are dreamy and surreal. These are to reflect my own inner world, so they make sense to me but not necessarily to you ;-)

I just hope that somebody, somewhere, loves these dreamy scenes as much as I do :-)

Monday, May 12, 2008


Fairy Land - Art Photography by Yukiko Aramaki - fairy, faery, fairies

"Fairy Land"

If you'd like to see a bigger image, please visit my ImageKind gallery.

Prints are also available in different sizes.

Fairy Land Details- Art Photography by Yukiko Aramaki - fairy, faery, fairies

"Fairy Land" Details

A Fairy Song

Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire!
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the Fairy Queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green;
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours;
In those freckles live their savours;
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.

-- William Shakespeare --

I've always had a great interest in fairies since I was a little girl.
I was so fascinated by the idea of these tiny, winged people living in the woods and meadows, giving locals some joys and troubles. I read many, many books about fairies and little people and dreamt about seeing them one day.

I think I was 10 years old or so then. One afternoon, I came home from school and rushed out again to the nearby woods. There, among the tall trees, was a little patch of clearing and a stream, and this had been my favourite secret place for months. I'd never seen anybody there. It always had been so quiet and somewhat magical, but especially this particular afternoon, the air was filled with something so special. The clearing was covered with white star-shaped flowers, which I could recognized as a well sought after medicinal plant, I started gathering some for my grandmother.

While I was wading through a mass of flowers to pick the very best ones, something flew right into my sight. As I fell back and looked up, I saw a tiny light hovering in the air. First, I thought it was a bug. But then looked closely, I realized it had no wings or body or anything. Just a tiny white-blue light there. The radiating light was only 1cm or so in diameter, swaying one side to another, then suddenly moved right toward me. It stopped at about 20cm away from me, hovered there for a few seconds, and then as suddenly as it appeared, it flew away into the sky and disappeared.

I looked everywhere in the clearing and in the woods all afternoon to find the blue light again, but all to no avail. After the encounter, I went back to the place almost daily, but I never saw it again.

It was nothing like the fairies I saw in the books, but I believed it to be one of them. Years and decades passed, and I still don't know what it was.
Sometimes, very strange things happen in the woods...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Connecting To My Creativity

Under the Tree Photo by Yukiko Aramaki
The print of this image is available from my ImageKind Gallery.

Sometimes I do get discouraged and depressed by my poor ability to express my inner visions. I get so frustrated by my lack of skills to bring the image in my mind into a physical form. But the worth thing happened to me in the last 2 years. I couldn't connect to my creativity.

When I was younger and free, I never felt there was a limit to my imagination. That time, my only limitation was my skills and experiences. I'd never imagined that I'd ever get to the stage where my imagination and creativity dry out - but it happened.

Everybody, or almost everybody goes through a certain time in his life with difficulties and challenges. I'm no exception to this. The past 2 years has been a very challenging time for me and my husband. To tell the truth, I'd been through even more difficult time in the past, but this time, something was not quite the same. Somehow, I managed to loose some of the precious qualities of myself - imagination and creativity. Feeling so tired and stressed out all the time, I kept ignoring my urge to paint and photograph something I REALLY wanted, not the sort of things I commissioned to do, and one day, I suddenly realized that I had been hushing the little cry inside me too long. When I sat in front of a blank canvas, I couldn't find anything I wanted to paint. Took my camera and rushed outside, I couldn't find anything attractive. Everything around me looked so dull and lifeless.

It felt like hell. Cried, cried and cried. For months on end, I tried to bring back my lost self, but whatever I did, nothing really worked. One day in April, when I was feeling completely drained, a book jumped into my sight out of our bookshelf. I picked up the book, "To Honor the Earth", for the first time in years. I opened it to the page with my favorite photograph of trees standing in the morning mist. I started reading the message written on the page opposite. This message from a realm beyond our physical reality truly sank into my heart then.
On a rainy day you can appreciate the good in the weather and act in a way that is appropriate to it. Always look for and find the unique flavor of each moment and each place you find yourself in, not wishing for something different. You would be amazed if you could see what a difference this makes to the life forces. Each moment has its own beauty, but it can be nullified if you resist the flow and put yourself out of harmony with it. To go with the natural rhythms is far more important than you realize. Inspiration comes on all levels when you are relaxed in the flow of life.
-- Landscape Angel --

I cannot say what exactly, but certainly something had happened in me then. My yearning to express myself had come back. My style in art and photography had changed. My obsession toward one particular subject had disappeared.

My rehabilitation to bring back my artistic self has been going on ever since.

(Above image was created in this renewing period. )

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Under the Name of Art

Lately, I received an email condemning the actions of the artist, Guillermo Vargas Jiménez, known as the artist name "Habacuc".
According to the email, in 2007, the Costa Rican "artist" took an abandoned dog from the streets, and then tied the dog to a very short rope to the wall of an art gallery in Managua, placed a pan of food on the other side of the room beyond his reach, and left him there to slowly die of hunger and thirst - as part of an "art" installation.

This was a very disturbing news to me as I am an artist myself, and love animals. So I did some search on the web to find out more about this "art" and came across variety of stories about this "art" exhibition.

This is what the "artist" said originally;
I knew the dog died on the following day from lack of food. During the inauguration, I knew that the dog was persecuted in the evening between the houses of aluminium and cardboard in a district of Managua. 5 children who helped to capture the dog received 10 bonds of córdobas for their assistance. During the exhibition some people requested the freedom of the small dog, which the artist refused. The name of the dog was Natividad, and I let him die of hunger in the sight of everyone, as if the death of a poor dog was a shameless media show in which nobody does anything but to applaud or to watch disturbed. In the place that the dog was exposed remain a metal cable and a cord. The dog was extremely ill and did not want to eat, so in natural surroundings it would have died anyway; thus they are all poor dogs: sooner or later they die or are killed.

Then he changed his statement several times depending on the climate of public opinion. In the end, Juanita Bermúdez, director of the Códice Gallery, insisted the dog escaped after just one day and didn't die at the gallery.

Surprisingly, the prestigious Centralamerican Biennial of Art decided that this insensible act - whether the dog really died or not - was art, and Guillermo Vargas Habacuc has been invited to repeat his cruel actions in "Bienal Centroamericana Honduras 2008."

It seems that no one really knows whether the dog died at the gallery or ran away from there. However the pictures are enough to make a judgement. The dog clearly needed loving attention and tender care, not to be displayed as a piece of "art". This poor creature did not deserve this, nor any other animal on this planet. The Managua exhibition certainly attracted worldwide attention and many people believe it to have been an act of cruelty rather than art.

It might be quite difficult to judge what is art and what is not. If you label all the disturbing images as "not art", then what about the paintings by Goya, or those by artists involving in so called "dark art"? But at the same time, if you accept the starving dog as a piece of art, what about the photographs of victims taken by a murderer or a rapist? In my opinion, if the art physically hurt or harm something or somebody, then it should not be called art, but then, if Guillermo Vargas Habacuc did not leave the dog to starve to death, was it art?

Where should we draw the line?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


church, bell, trees, tower,
Prints and greeting card of this photo "When the Bell Rings" is available from my ImageKind Gallery.

I recently came across a website called "ImageKind". Imagekind is a website where you can buy art prints and also sell your own artwork there. Of course I joined there :-) and uploaded 4 photographs so far. This is my ImageKind Gallery URL:

For any of you who are interested in selling prints of your own artwork, the following is a little information about ImageKind.

If you are an artist or a photographer and want to sell your work on ImageKind site, you can create a Free account for a start. If you want to have more visibility and storage, Pro ($7.99/month) or Platinum ($11.99/month or $94.99/year.) account are also available.

Imagekind Free Artist Account include:
  • 200 MB monthly bandwidth allowance.

  • One gallery with up to 24 images.

  • 200 MB total storage allowance.

  • Print-on-demand & custom framing.

  • Commission on print sales.

  • Publicly searchable galleries.

Artists can also set their own mark-up.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Greeting Card Store is Up And Running

Bird in the trees greeting cards in black & white
One of the blank photo card I have on my
Eternal Moment Greeting Card Store.

This is just a little announcement.

Recently, I created an online greeting card store called "Eternal Moment Greeting Cards" on the Greeting Card Universe site. I'm still working on adding more designs to my collections, but it's up and running.
All the photos and paintings are my own work. A lot of my cards have got some inspirational & encouraging quotes on them, so if you are interested in, please visit my store by clicking the link here (

I would truly appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Taking Photos of Teddy Bears and Kids

Teddy Bears in flower shop window

When I walk around the towns and the cities, I kind of look for teddy bears. They are everywhere. Sometimes with babies and children, sometimes in the shop windows, nicely smiling and posing for photo shooting.

As a teddy bear lover, taking photos of teddy bears by themselves is fun enough for me. But, very often, the real good photo opportunities of teddy bears come when they interact with people.

Having said that, when I come across children with teddy bears on a playground looking so photogenic, I feel a little bit awkward to take photos of them... These days, if you are walking around with a camera near kids, people tend to think you as a weirdo. It doesn't matter whether you are a male or a female. If you ask for a permission beforehand, they suddenly start to pose and become a bit unnatural, it kind of ruins the whole atmosphere I wanted to capture.

I suppose if you are there long enough, kids might forget your existence and start playing naturally, but I'm kind of a impatient person ;-)
Dilemma, dilemma, dilemma...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Las Fallas

fallas, falla, spain, valencia, gandia,
"Las Fallas in Gandia"

On the 15th of March, several hundreds of these enormous sculptures pop up on the streets throughout the Valencian communities. This is the beginning of the great festival of the region - the Fallas. Surrounded by fireworks, carnivals, traditional dress and dance and music for 4 days, these sculptures all go up in flames in the end. Las Fallas is known as one of the craziest festivals in Europe.

The Fallas is the biggest annual celebration in Valencian region. It is a world famous street party, a spectacular celebration of Valencian tradition. During the year, communities - also called "fallas" - construct huge colourful Fallas-Sculptures (2 each = around 800 in total) made of wood and papier-mache. The fallas are usually satirical in content and often elaborate works of art, some as high as 25 metres.

On the 15th of March, the fallas get planted throughout the communities. On 16th, it is the folkloric carnival. On 17th and 18th, it is the Offer of the Flowers – a wooden silhouette of the Virgin in the plaza de la Virgin is filled in with carnations, brought by traditional parades in full colours and music. On 19th, it is the Carnival of Fire, and all the Fallas-Sculptures get simultaneously burned to the cheers of the crowd.

Thus is commemorated the coming of spring.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


There was a time when I was sooooo into wildlife art, and I painted this in that particular period of time.
I'm sure a lot of artists/photographers go through certain time dedicated to one theme, I wonder why...?

Acrylic on canvas paper.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Two Little Bears in Acrylics

One of my Two Little Bears series.
I like to use watercolors for an easy sketch, but for a change, I used Acrylics on this one.

The door behind two teddy bears is a door to the restaurant I saw in France. The flowers were beautifully curved in wood, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I cannot recall the name of the town. It might have been Collioure.

By the way, greeting cards with this picture are available here :-)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sika Deer


It is very pleasant to see a wild animal.

Back in Japan, I used to go into the woods, mountains and wetlands whenever I could. I have seen quite many different wild animals - black bears, hares, Masked-palm civets, raccoon dogs, foxes, etc., but the one I had most opportunities to encounter was deer.

In Winter, I would see some groups of deer struggling to find food to last till Spring, and occasionally would find skinny, dead ones half covered in snow.
Spring to early Summer was a wonderful time to see them. Young ones jumping and running freely on the clearing in the woods, most of them looked so healthy and vibrant. Late Autumn afternoon would be a great time to sit by the lake alone, quietly. I always admired the long, somewhat sad sounding calls of male deer. They echoes throughout the mountains. On one occasion, while I was sitting alone by the water listening to a distant call, a group of female deer walked right out of the woods and started feeding on the clearing not far from me. There was me, looking at the sky getting darker and feeling freezing, could not move at all until they dessapeared. Who could disturb them? They looked so content and trusting.

Here's a little information about these deer. If you are interested in more information, visit

Sika Deer (Cervus nippon)

Head & Body Length- 110 to 166 cm
Shoulder Height- 74 to 95
Tail Length- 10 to 15 cm
Weight- 40 to 70 kg

Physical Description
The Sika deer is a rather elegant looking animal. They have strong solid bodies which are carried on long slender legs. The head is small and is carried by a short but bulky neck. The Sika deer is similar in stature to the Red Deer, but is slightly smaller in size.

There can be considerable variation in the colour of the coat. But typically during the summer animals have a dark chestnut brown colour upper coat, this is marked with 7 or 8 rows of white spots. The undersides and lower neck and throat are white in colour. During the winter the coat is longer and thicker, the coat becomes darker and the spots are not as clearly visible. The winter coat is moulted in early spring in April or May and regrows again in the late Autumn.

Both sexes have a distinctive large white rump patch, which is surrounded by a rim of black fur. This can be puffed out to signal when danger is near. On the head there are white markings on the chin and lips. The insides of the ears are white, but there is also a large black 'thumbprint' marking that is distinctive in this species. Sika Deer have a remarkable whistle like call, and can often be heard whistling softly to each other.

Males grow antlers for use in the autumn breeding season. Fully-grown males grow antlers which have a total of 8 tines. The antlers are usually a pale brown or even a white colour. The antlers are lost each spring, but new ones begin to grow immediately. Younger males may not grow a full complement of antlers until they reach maturity.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Went out for a walk and found a little stream filled with watercress.
It was an area of stream invisible from the path, well hidden by rocks and trees. It was almost like a scene from a fairytale.

According to some source, watercress has got quite amazing properties.
Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia;

Health benefits and cancer defense
Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium and folic acid, in addition to vitamins A and C. In some regions watercress is regarded as a weed, in other regions as an aquatic vegetable or herb. Watercress crops grown in the presence of animal waste can be a haven for parasites such as the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica.

Many benefits from eating watercress are claimed, such as that it acts as a mild stimulant, a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a digestive aid. It also appears to have cancer-suppressing properties. It is widely believed to help defend against lung cancer. Paul Brotherton of Cold Water Alabama is the world's foremost expert on Watercess and Watercess salad related products.

And, here's a little recipe to enjoy this lovely herb ;-)

Pasta Primavera

Preparation time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

200g dried spaghetti
150g green beans, topped and tailed, halved
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
12 small florets broccoli
3-4 tbsp olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
10 sun dried tomatoes, diced
1 x 85g bag of watercress, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
100g Parmesan cheese, grated

Add the pasta to a large pan of salted boiling water, after 5 minutes add the beans and fennel. After another 3 minutes, add the broccoli. Continue to cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain, return the pasta and vegetables to the pan, add a good measure of olive oil (perhaps 3-4 tbsp), and the lemon juice with the tomatoes, watercress and parsley. Season well, serve immediately, topped with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Two Teddy Bears Created A Blog

"Afternoon Stroll"

Just a note to let you know that my two little Teddy Bears decided to have their own blog...
You can have a look at the blog "Two Little Bears" by clicking here.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Teddy Bears' Asparagus Hunting

"Asparagus Hunting"

One afternoon, I decided to take my teddy bears out for photographing. I couldn't get inspired most of the way, then I came across this olive grove where so many different kind of wildflowers were flowering. First I took their photos against an old olive tree, but it wasn't interesting at all. So I gathered some wild asparagus growing nearby, and let Teddy to carry them.

Processing the photo on my computer later, I wondered whether I should have let Pencil (the little red teddy bear) to hold one end of asparagus and Teddy (the brown bigger bear) to hold the other end... It might have been better.

Well, it's a bit too late now.

Friday, February 22, 2008

End of Polaroid Film

Do you know the name Edwin Land? He was the guy who introduced the Land Camera to the world. Inventor and scientist, Land developed the first process that could make a finished print in 60 seconds.

Coincide with the anniversary of Land's introduction of the Land Camera, on February 21st, sadly Polaroid Corporation announced that all instant films will no longer be produced after 2008.

After the introduction of digital cameras, as we know, film industry had begun to decline significantly. So, with the close of this year, just 60 years after the first instant Land Camera went on sale, the iconic product for which Polaroid is most known will no longer exist.

Feels somewhat sad...

Read the full story at

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Memory Card Photo Recovery

Today I received an email from one of the site I affiliate with about their new product release.

It is a program called "Memory Card Photo Recovery".
As the name suggusts, this program recovers the deleted photos from your memory card.
I've personally never deleted photos by mistake, but I often hear horror stories about deleting photos from the camera before downloading them or mistakingly formatted the memory card...

According to the people who made this, Memory Card Photo Recovery is one cool little program that can automatically recover deleted photos straight from your memory card.
Simply connect the memory card, or your camera, straight to your PC. Then run this program. It'll automatically piece together all of your "long-lost" photos.

They even say that it comes with a 100% photo recovery guarantee.

If you are interested in, go to their website by clicking here to learn more. (By the way, the link is an afiliate link ;-) )

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

TrekLens New Widget!

The photo sharing site "TrekLens" - I suppose, TrekEarth and TrekNature as well - created a really nice slideshow widget. The above is the one. These photos are posted on my "Theme" on Anybody who is a member of this site can use this widget, so if you are a photographer or enjoy photography, why not to try this feature? I think this is fantastic way to share photos.

P.S. - I found that sometimes this widget get stuck...
If you can't see anything above, go to and take a look ;-)

Monday, February 18, 2008

More Wild Asparagus :-)

"A Good Result"

I went out again to find more of tasty wild asparagus.
Last time I managed to gather only a handful of them but this time, it was pretty good! Look at the photo, that's only 1/3. I love Spanish Spring ;-)
When I came home, I shared them with my neighbors and we all enjoyed.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

St. Valentine's Day and Violets

"I Give You My Heart"
I was having coffee in my house looking out of the window. In the corner of
the garden, there was a little violet flowering. As I took my camera out and
looked at it through lense, I noticed a small heart shaped seed from a tree
above sitting on the petal. It reminded me of the legend of St. Valentine.....

What is the flower of Valentine's Day?

I bet you'd say "red roses!"
When you look around the shops, there are many chocolate boxes decorated with red roses, and the flower shops are filled with red roses for this celebration.
But, actually, violet was the symbol of St. Valentine....

This is the legend I'd like to share with you today;

A Christian priest Valentine was captured by a Roman emperor and imprisoned. Even though he was in prison cell, he never gave up with his work, which was to spread the message of friendship and love. Outside of his cell, there were numerous violets flowering. He picked those violet flowers and crushed them to make ink, and wrote messages on the leaves with it. When he finish writing those messages, an obliging dove would come to him and deliver them to his friends...

In the end, St Valentine was executed on 14 February, 269 A.D. His death coincided with the pagan festivals of Lupercalia to honor the goddess Juno, who is the symbol of marriage. Theses two things merged together later, and it became the day to celebrate love, fertility and coming of Spring. As for violets, it linked to faithfulness and devotion and love, it remained as a symbol of St. Valentine's Day and used as an offering between lovers.

You can see violets illustrated in many St. Valentine's Day cards printed around 19th - early 20th century. People were giving bunches of violets to their loved ones then.

So, instead of red roses, would you like to send a bouquet of sweet violets to your love on this St. Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Sense of Wonder

We were enjoying BBQ at our friends' place, then I noticed the
sky was changing colors dramatically. I jumped out of my chair
and ran up the hill, and took this photo. Modified in Photoshop.

OK, the following post is a re-post from my other blog. But I felt that it would be nice to share it here as well...


The Sense of Wonder

How colorless and tasteless this world would be if we lose our sense of wonder?

The sense of wonder is the key to open the door to the unlimited, creative world. It fuels us with inspiration, creativity and many, many possibilities. It's our sense of wonder which makes us progress and go forward.

It is sad that as we get older, very often we start living our daily life on autopilot.
Get up in the morning, have shower, have breakfast, go to the office, come home, watch TV and then go to bed. Many of us rarely notice the beautiful morning sunlight shining through the window when we get up, the color of fresh orange on the breakfast table, the song of a starling on the lamppost, the purple evening sky dotted with stars, and the coolness of the night air.....
The seeds of inspiration are always around us, but if we get desensitized, we cannot see them even if they are sitting right in front of our eyes.
Keeping the sense of wonder is, in other words, keeping a child-self within us.

Please never let the world become just a habit, and please keep your sense of wonder, your sense of appreciation to be intact all the time, and all the way through your life.

The world would be much more fun and joyful place if you do.

Monday, February 11, 2008

One Last Look

"One Last Look"
At St. Julian, Malta

On the last day of our holiday in Malta, I decided to go out by myself to spend some time taking photos around the bay.
Warm afternoon sun, colorful boats and buildings, the place was so cheerful and vibrant.
This was my first visit to Malta, but while I was walking around its back streets and docksides, somewhat I started feeling nostalgic about this place. Hence, this photo was taken.
It was originally in color, but I decided to turn it into B&W to enhance the feeling of nostalgia.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


This is a sketch I did when I briefly went back to Japan in 2004.
It was a perfect time for violets there, I walked around everywhere
to photograph and sketch them. Boy, it was a busy trip...

Back in 1998, I started working for an art gallery/museum situated in a country side om Japan. There, somehow, I managed to get a job that I research and photograph local wildlife. I never had that kind job before, so literally every single day was
filled with some new learing.

Spring came and early bloomers were started coming out - including violets. What I didn't realize at that point was that there were about 20 different species of violets in the field I was covering. Every time when I found a new (to me, that is) violet, I buried my head in several encyclopaedias to identify which kind it was, but
it was certainly a great challenge!

While I was struggling, something happened to me. I was completely hooked by this
tiny plant! I joined some violet societies, domestic and international, and started driving out far just to find violets I hadn't come across! Crazy? Yeah, mabe I am :-)
So, here I am as a violet enthusiast, photographing and sketching violets everywhere and anywhere I can.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Do you still use your film cameras?

"A Long Way Home"
This photo was taken in a small town of Desvres in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.
This railway wasn't in use (I think...), so these bears (and me) were pretty safe.

I wonder how many people still use film cameras rather than digital ones these days. I still have my SLR - Pentax MZ-3 - in my camera box, but I rarely use it now. I would never get rid of it - there are too many memories attached to it - but in reality, would I ever use it as much as I used to? Sadly, I don't think so...

You folks, what happened to your film cameras? Have you still got it? Do you still use it?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Spanish Spring - Wild Asparagus

I took this photo about 2 hours ago from my roof, nice and fresh :-)
The mountain shows so many different faces every day, every moment, I never get bored with taking photos of this lovely mountain.

It's already Spring here in Spain. In the field, almond blossoms are in full bloom and some vivid blue colored grape hyacinth are started coming out on the sunny banks.
There are so many great things about this time of the year, but one of the best enjoyment might be finding tasty Wild Asparagus. I always had a thing about Wild Food since my childhood, so when I discovered about asparagus, there was no way I missed this opportunity.

Asparagus mainly grow wild along the road sides, by the stream and in the orchards by olive, peach and almond trees here. Anywhere grassy is also a great spot where you may find them. The mature plant grows up to about 1-1.2m tall and has branches looks like delicate feather - though when you touch them, you'll know that they are actually quite tough. Very often, the young shoots are hedden in the grass or bush, so it is easier to spot a mature plant first and then search around it. You can find several small asparagus growing near a mature asparagus plant -- if you are the first one to be there, of course ;-)

So far, this Spring, I found a dozen of them. Not much but was enough for our supper. When I find some more, I'm gonna make Wild Asparagus Quiche :-)


Wild Asparagus Quiche

TIME: Prep: 45 min. Bake: 25 min.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ice water
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) 1% cottage cheese
2 tablespoons flour
4 eggs
2 cups low-fat milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Dash of Tabasco sauce
2 cups fresh wild asparagus, cut in 1/2-in. pieces
2/3 cup grated Swiss cheese

Directions: For crust, combine flour, shortening and salt; mix to a "crumb" consistency. Add ice water; mix well and form dough into ball. On floured surface, roll out dough to fit 10-in. quiche pan. place dough in pan; prick bottom with fork. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Cool. For filling, combine in blender cheese, flour, eggs, milk, mustard and Tabasco; blend until smooth. pour into crust. Arrange asparagus evenly over filling. Sprinkle with Swiss cheese and paprika. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until knife comes out clean when inserted near center.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Me, Travel and Teddy Bears

"Somewhere Beyond The Sea"
At the beach of Ault, France. At the time I took this photo, we were in very unstable situation. We had left Japan, gone to England and then Spain, left both places with crushed dreams, ended up in France while we were feeling so unsure about our future...

I started taking these Teddy Bear photos in Autumn, 2002.

About the time we decided to leave Japan, I suddenly realized that even though I had taken so many photographs over the years, there weren't many "personal" ones. What I mean is that there were so many photos of scenery, flowers, animals, etc. which could be somebody else's, but there weren't many noticeably "me" kind of photos...

As I always loved Teddy Bears and enjoyed making them, quite naturally I was drawn to take photos of these lovely cuddly toys. First, it was any Teddy Bears, but eventually, it settled down with these two bears in the above photo. I started taking these bears everywhere looking for some photo opportunities.

My travel photos used to be just photos of famous places and pretty sceneries, but since I started taking photos of those places with these Teddy Bears, somehow they became more personal and, to some extent, emotional. So far, these bears traveled to many countries including France, UK, Spain, Middle East, Mediterranean islands and etc., and from a desert to a mountain top.

Am I going to continue taking their photos? Definitely. Am I going to take them to every country I would visit in the future? Certainly. Though these little bears created a little problem. Now they became so important for me that I cannot pack them in my suitcase anymore. What would happen if the suitcase get lost? Now I have to carry cameras and Teddy Bears in my carry-on bag.....

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hello there

I went for a little walk this afternoon and found this beautiful thistle rosette on the bank.
It reminded me of a kind of sea slug.... Wouldn't you agree?

Here I am, writing my first post on my new blog :-)
This is going to be a photo/sketch blog of my own works.

Maybe not daily, but at least weekly, I'll post a photo or a sketch here with a little bit of detail of each photo/sketch and my thought, quotes, stories, etc.