Evaluate the Photo #1: Milford Sound

I realized this has become more photo blog than anything else. And that many of you are fellow photographers.

For the longest time, I resisted called myself a photographer. I don’t have skill and dedication. I just happen to wield a camera more often than not. But when my harddrive of photo archive was stolen, I was emotionally devastated. I found myself bereft. That’s when I realized just how emotionally attached to my photography I am.

So as I start labeling myself as someone who is serious about my photos.. I want to start soliciting feedback. On anything. Composition. Technique. Perception. Interpretation. Please don’t hold back.

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This photo was taken at Milford Sound, South Island. New Zealand. Any thoughts? I personally found it too busy but am please how clear the sun came out.

Wait.. that’s my lunch!

I was eating a late lunch at the outdoor balcony of a cafeteria. The usually packed narrow galley was empty except for me. Something soft knocked my head forward and, startled, I reflexively rocked forward. I sat back up befuddled. I looked up to see a blur of brown. It took a good second before I realized: my plate was empty.

A falcon had swooped down from behind me, wing brushing my head aside as it came over my shoulder, and grabbed the chicken off my plate. Fortunately, I already finished eating.

Oddly, it dropped the chicken. The falcon then perched on the closest tree, lowest branch, watching me. I waited a while before going to pick up the chicken, least someone slipped on it.

So, now what? Usually a wait staff clears the table so I was free to get up and leave. But I didn’t want them to clean up a mess the bird may make.

I tried to continue reading.. it was unnerving when an enormous predator of a bird was sitting there, staring me down. I gave up, and picked up the lunch tray to take inside. I reached the door and juggled with the tray to free up a hand to open the door. As I turned to walk in, I realized the bird had swooped back over my shoulder, only because I had shifted the tray to one hand, it was on the wrong side.

The bird was enormous. Wingspan over 5 feet. The wait staff jumped to my aid when they looked up to see the beast just flying by.

Only in Africa.

Restaurant Review: Foxtrot Oscar

Seriously.. unless you lived just around the corner, I have no idea how anyone would have found this place, Foxtrot Oscar. If it weren’t for the Gordon Ramsay name. Unlike his other restaurants in London that I’ve sampled so far, this one has a small neighborhood gem kind of feel.

The space was narrow. I felt like our party of five were greedy, taking up three tables that jutted out into the center aisle. Yes, aisle, like a plane. On the opposite side of the room, more like an arm’s reach away, were lined with many couple’s table, with a cushioned wall bench running the whole length of the room. It’s date night on this Saturday evening.

The furniture was simple. The accents were minimal, mostly the bold wall colours with the spaces of seat cushions on the bench. Framed photographs hung on the wall, mostly black and white, I believe. I remember finding the one closest to our table confusing because it was of a location unrelated to the restaurant or London, in colour, and seemed disproportionately small compared to the larger frames on the opposite wall. But of the exact subject matter, I have already forgotten.

As a person who rarely eats beef, I found my menu choices limited. The menu is already small, more like a dish of every main protein. The mussels tempted me, but struck me as a main I would normally be able to make on my own. I didn’t need a Ramsay dish to set the bar so high I would be discouraged from cooking it on my own again!

I ordered:
– Pan fried gnocchi with peas, broad beans, sautéed morels, rocket and Parmesan
– Side of buttered spinach
– Dessert… I forgot. Something with salted caramel ice cream.. and fondant? Other than that the honey comb on it is amazing!!!

The gnocchi was amazing. I was afraid of the heavy feeling that comes after a carb-rich dining out meal. But the portion was just perfect.. the balance of the peas and arugula helped prevent the sense of coming down with scurvy. And the gnocchi were crispy! Making it super yummy and a bit different. I had to resist licking my bowl.

Amongst the rest of the table:
– Chilled tomato gazpacho, cucumber and black olive
– Spring pea, broad bean, mint and aged feta salad
– 28 day dry aged 10oz shorthorn sirloin, beer battered onion rings,
horseradish crème fraîche
– Dingly dell pork chop, crushed peas and spiced tomato chutney
– a lot of other gnocchi orders
– Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream
– Chocolate brownie with milk ice cream
– Various drinks around the table

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I think its small size makes service confusing. In larger places, the wait staff are assigned zones. Given how small this restaurant is, we seem to be served by every single member of the front of the house staff. Shouldn’t be a big deal but we’ve caught the team in their communication gaps. Each person was extremely gracious and helpful, but as a team, not as cohesive. Which is such a shame, because I couldn’t find a thing to complain about the food.