January 20, 2012

so it has come to this

I'm photographing fruit.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I actually set out to photograph a homemade snowflake marshmallow, floating in a cup of creamy hot chocolate. I made the hot chocolate, filled the cup, put the marshmallow in a baggie in my pocket, grabbed my camera, and headed out my back door into the first big snowfall of the year.

I nestled the cup in freshly fallen snow and then proceeded to accidentally dunk half the marshmallow in the hot chocolate.

Now, bear in mind that my hot chocolate/snowflake marshmallow photo vision did not include my pristine white marshmallow being covered in brown hot chocolate. In my hot chocolate/snowflake marshmallow photo vision, the snowflake stayed pristinely white, floating dreamily atop the steaming cup of hot chocolate, its edges slightly melty, but not so melty that you couldn't tell it was a snowflake. Just that perfect, blend the edges amount of melty.

But, here I was with a half white, half brown snowflake marshmallow. I tried to be open minded and proceeded to dunk the entire marshmallow in the hot chocolate in hopes that I could convince myself that brown is the new white, but I'm not gonna lie.

It wasn't pretty.

You can see my dilemma.

I decided to grab the marshmallow out and take it into the house and rinse it off in the sink.

Good plan, yes?


The snowflake was already well on its way to melty, as I'd made the hot chocolate screaming hot because I knew I would be setting it in the snow, thereby potentially hindering its marshmallow melting capabilities.

See how well I plan out my photo shoots?

I bet right about now you're all wishing you could just spend a little quality time in my head.

It's a fun place.

So, since the marshmallow was disintegrating, and rinsing it off in the sink was no longer a viable option, I did what every single one of you would have done, and I tried to lick the chocolate off the top of the marshmallow.

(Don't even try to say you wouldn't have licked the marshmallow.)

Now is probably a great time to survey the audience to see how well you all think that plan worked.

You may be wondering why I didn't just go in the house and grab another marshmallow.

I didn't grab another marshmallow because I only made one snowflake marshmallow. I only made one snowflake marshmallow because it is very difficult to get snowflake marshmallows out of snowflake cookie cutters and still retain the snowflake details. In reality, my marshmallow looked more like a starfish than a snowflake, which I am going to choose to blame on the snowflake cookie cutter instead of the snowflake marshmallow maker.

As you can see by the absence of hot chocolate/snowflake marshmallow pictures, the photo shoot was a total bust, and I ended up standing in the snowstorm, drinking the hot chocolate and licking marshmallow goo off my fingers.

Drinking hot chocolate in the snow may sound dreamy and wonderful, but as I was mad and muttering naughty words in between sips, the whole winter wonderland thing was a little lost on me.

By the way, do I win a prize for using the words snowflake and marshmallow more than five hundred times in a single post?

Okay, since I love you too much to send you off to your weekend with nothing more than slightly lame pictures of citrus and a post about licking a marshmallow, I'm going to share my latest photography discovery with you.

I've always struggled with white balance. I've never been happy with any of the white balance settings (cloudy, shade, etc.), so I've always left my white balance on auto and done my best to adjust the color in Photoshop. Not the best option, by far.

A couple months ago, I hired a photography teacher to help me with a few uber technical photography related things that I wanted to better understand. We also talked about my white balance dilemma, and he showed me how to use a white balance card to correct my photos in post processing.

The top picture shows how my camera took the clementine picture on the auto white balance setting. It was a snowy, gray day, and the lighting was very cold. You can see the heavy blue cast in the picture.

Normally, I would have to warm up the photo in Photoshop in order to get the colors right, but by placing the white balance card in one of my photos, I am able to click the Camera Raw white balance tool on the white balance card in the photo, and Camera Raw then makes the adjustment for the right white balance. I can then synchronize all the other photos taken in those same lighting conditions to that white balance setting.

Clear as mud?

That's what I thought.

I use Photoshop CS5, so I'm not sure if the Elements versions have this feature, but I'm loving the little bit of help it's giving me in color correcting my photos.

So, I'm going to spend my weekend trying to find something more exciting than an orange peel to photograph.

Perhaps rocks.

Or dirt.

Hope your weekend is fabulous!


  1. you crack me up teresa...every.time! oh what we don't do for blogging? are your fingers still sticky as you type? nice orange!


  2. Too funny! Thanks for taking us behind the scenes of a photo shoot. This sounds exactly how my photo shoots work (or don't work). I shot a bowl of clementines two weeks ago!

  3. Well, if I could take pictures of clementines that are as beautiful as yours, I might ONLY take pictures of clementines! ;)

  4. Thanks for the lesson...I am forced to take lots of food photos too...-25 with the windchill today. brrr xo

  5. I was smiling until I got to the chocolate licking, and then I started laughing out loud! Hope you can enjoy the snow, marshmallows or no- we're unseasonably warm here in VA. And thanks for the tip! :)

  6. I would have done the same thing, with the marshmallow that is. Your pictures are very professional looking. If only I knew what you meant by white balance! Do I have it on my Nikon coolpix? Maybe I need to learn about my camera. Thanks for the giggle!

  7. Oh dear you poor thing...nothing more frustrating than a creative vision soiled by a naughty cup of hot chocolate...I too would have cursed it and then drunk it.

    Excited for you to about the white balance...It is satisfying to master these things with ones camera.

    Blessings Kelsie

  8. ha ha ha ha ha!!! i think i would feel quite at home in your head :) and perhaps vice versa!
    lovely oranges... makes me want to go peel one right now. except i froze it for a smoothie.

  9. Hahaha....I enjoyed what you wrote about the marshmallow and hot chocolate! I really liked the pictures of the fruit, very nicely done!!

  10. you really are too adorable teresa! And I still love the orange photos.

  11. ...Okay, am I the only one here that wants to see the snowflake marshmallow? Seriously, I live far enough away from you that if I ask for you one day, not soon, but one day to make another snowflake marshmallow and share it with us that you won't come and thump me on the head. Yeah, I'm far enough away. *giggle*wink*

    ...Lovely orange. :o)

    ...Peace & Blessings

  12. That sounds like something I might have done--best laid plans! It was a very pretty picture in my head though! I have so much to learn about using my camera and appreciate the information you give us.


  13. A hoot! Can so identify! Best laid plans, well can easliy be diverted by snowflakes marshmallow, chocolate and the list could go on. Hope you are able to have some more piping hot chocolate with a marshmallow and enjoy your winter wonderland fro the the porch. Sounds divine!

  14. Isn't it funny how we plot and plan our little photo shoots. They always seem so perfect and creative in our minds and then we try to execute and nope...thanks for sharing :)

  15. You got me laughing out loud... unfortunately, no one else is home to wonder what I'm up to! I always look forward to the rantings of your quaint little mind...

  16. Ok, I would have licked the marshmallow outside as soon as I dunked it. Second, have you thought about cool whip instead of marshmallows? Spread cool whip on a cookie sheet the same thickness as your cookie cutter & freeze until firm. Cut shapes out of it & refreeze until you're ready to use! Tray again! :o)

  17. I got a huge kick out of reading about your photo shoot gone goopy. Question is.. did you make the marshmallow from scratch? I know these two sisters who make homemade marshmallows.. it's quite something.. in all kinds of flavors. I love your blog. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  18. Teresa, you are a hoot! I, too, would have liked to see the snowflake photos gone awry! And if only someone could have photographed you!

  19. You are delightful Teresa . . . no sticky fingers for me . . . the color orange did it . . . off I went to the grocery . . .

  20. Have you tried freezing a layer of cool whip on a pan and then cutting it with a cookie cutter. I saw a heart floating in hot chocolate on pinterest & that's what it said they had done.

  21. oh darn! the fresh snow sure would have been the perfect backdrop! i love jenny's idea! you'll get 'em next time! LOL!!

  22. Oh did you make me giggle...love your description of your marshmallow and hot chocolate fiasco...maybe it was a fiasco, but it sure made for fun reading. And orange peels are definitely more appealing than rocks or dirt. Happy Weekend!!

  23. No matter what...you make me laugh AND you take terrific photos!! Keep warm and enjoy the hot chocolate!!!

  24. haha! Yes, that would be very frustrating!! And I'm sure it would have been a beautiful photo. I'm sure there will be another snow day to try it....just make more than one snowflake marshmallow next time!

    1. just wanted to come back and say I saw on pintrest that you can spread whip cream on a cookie sheet and freeze, then cut with a cookie cutter. You would have to be quick, but maybe that would work for your hot chocolate shot.

  25. For some reason your blog will not attach to my blog roll???. I have tried typing I have tried copy&paste...hmmm anyway I thought I was a follower but seems I wasn't. I have not been here in a long time...I just did some major speed reading back to Nov 2010!
    Congratulations on your son & daughter in laws wedding...it was beautiful!
    As always your garden, farm & pictures are beautiful! I really enjoyed the pictures of your zip line over the pond...and the bride!
    Your receipes are so pretty & your colours stunning in your kitchen!
    Funny you talked about Once Upon A Time,,,,,it is filmed here & they rented a mirror off of me!
    Well I have enjoyed the journey....Thanks for inspiring!

  26. The difference between your two photos is amazing. Who wants to eat blue fruit. I took a photography class on Saturday and the instructor showed us how to use a white screen thing (sort of looked like one of those pool floats that folds up into itself) to tell the camera what the correct white balance should be. By that point of the class I was sort of lost and my mind was wandering, so I have to go back through my notes and see if I can figure it out when I'm more relaxed. I'll check out your card trick too. And yes, I would have eaten the snowflake even if it wasn't partially brown.

  27. Ok, I have no idea in Hell what you are talking about with the white balance but I am going to save this post on the off chance that I will one day understand. I'm an optimist at heart. Also, I would have tried licking the marshmallow way before I would have tried to rinse it.

  28. That is very interesting. I often don't have a problem with WB but when I do, I REALLY do. I will have to look for said button as I have PSE9, and also for such a nice little card!

  29. I could totally relate to this post and I literally laughed out loud. I feel your pain. Because I live in a place with very little and limited limited light (Fairbanks, Alaska) I often take my photos outside in the winter time. I can not tell you how many times I have dropped cookies or such in the snowbanks due to the fact my fingers were freezing in below zero temperatures trying to take pictures. Just yesterday I stood outside muttering at 35 below zero because I was taking pictures of ice cream outside! Ice Cream, at 35 below. Can you believe that? Good to know I am not the only crazy one.
    Thank you for the tip about the white balance. Our sun sits very low in the sky in the winter time. It is like taking photos in a constant state of sunset. This will be really helpful for me.

  30. Hi! Found you through "Into Vintage" blog and so glad I did. Been reading for an hour!!

    This post made me LOL! I love how you tried to lick the marshmallow clean!

    Newest Follower,