Friday, April 18, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunting: Still Life

Choclo or Peruvian corn is a large kernel corn from the Andes.  I spotted this basket at a food stand near the salt mines in the town of Moray.  The colors of the kernels really caught my eye so I took a few minutes to photograph them. 

I added a bit of HDR toning to give a more artsy effect.

And if you're wondering where my PH subjects came from, here's a wide shot of the fields where the Peruvians grow their corn.  This was taken in the town of Ollantaytambo where I based myself for 12 days while exploring the Sacred Valley.  I had just come down from the Olly fortress and while sitting in this shaded hut I could hear the rustling of the corn leaves and the irrigation stream that feed them directly behind me.  It was a beautiful sight, it was a wonderful day and it remains to be a great travel memory for me.

And to give you a perspective on how large these kernels are, here's a photo of my trout dinner in Cuzco which was served with these delicious big kernel corn.

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!  

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

American Idol Season 13: Competitor's Choice

Tonight each Idol recommended a song from the 80's that they thought their fellow contestants should perform.   Each contestant selected one of the songs that were chosen by their competitors to peform.

I really enjoyed learning five interesting facts about the Idols like CJ being a neat freak and having to clean up after Dexter, Caleb having a fear of spiders (I can relate), Dexter's fear of flying and Sam being terrible at sports.   

And here's how I rated tonight's performances: 
Jena Irene sings Creep by Radiohead (chosen by Caleb)
C.J. Harris sings Gravity by John Mayer (chosen by Caleb)
Alex Preston sings The A Team by Ed Sheeran (chosen by Dexter)
Caleb Johnson sings Family Tree by Kings of Leon (chosen by Alex)
Sam Woolf sings Sail Away by David Gray (Chosen by Jessica Meuse)
Jessica Meuse sings Gunpowder And Lead by Miranda Lambert (chosen by Sam)
Dexter Roberts sings Muckalee Creek Water by Luke Bryan (chosen by CJ Harris)

And here's how I rated the Duet performances:
Jena Irene & Caleb Johnson sings Gimmie Shelter by The Rolling Stones
Sam Woolf & Alex Preston sings Let Her Go by Passenger
Dexter Roberts, Jessica Meuse & C.J. Harris sings Compass by Lady Antebellum

I really enjoyed all the performances and it will be sad to see any one of these contestants be eliminated.  Best of luck to all of them. I think that they'll all go on to have successful music careers post Idol.

Although I enjoyed all the performances, I've decided to start throwing all my votes for the best performance of the night rather than splitting my votes.  And here's how I voted:

And that's my Recap!  Keep on Rocking AI . . . .

Friday, April 11, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunting: Stones

Since I could not find any small stones on Machu Picchu, I went to my photos from the Moray Inca Ruins where I went to see these ancient circular Inca Terraces. 

While there I noticed this pile of rocks and small stones to form a kind of Carin.

In fact, I found several piles of rocks and stones. 

It was a very pretty day and the surroundings were very beautiful.

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

American Idol Season 13: Songs from 80's

The one good thing about the judges using the save last week is we got to see Sam Woolf perform again this week and second, we don't have to watch the Idols sing to save their lives for the rest of the season.

Tonight, the Idols perform songs from the 80's and I really enjoyed seeing the Idols be mentored by David Cook to help prepare them for their performances.  

Here are my top three performances of the night:
Alex Preston sings Every Breath You Take by The Police (I totally disagree with JLO.  I loved that he put his own Alex Preston creative spin on this 80's classic. I liked it so much that I downloaded his song on iTunes)
Sam Woolf sings Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper (loved the acoustic delivery)
C.J. Harris sings Free Fallin by Tom Petty

Here's how I rated the rest of the performances (from best to least liked):
Dexter Roberts sings Keep Your Hands To Yourself by Georgia Satellites
Jessica Meuse sings Call Me by Blondie
Jena Irene Ascuitto sings I Love Rock N' Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Malaya Watson sings Through the Fire by Chaka Khan
Caleb Johnson sings Faithfully by Journey 

Sadly, I think the three remaining girls may end up in the bottom three.

And here's how I rated the Duet Performances (from best to least liked):
Alex Preston & Sam Woolf team sing The Girl Is Mine by Michael Jackson
Dexter Roberts & Jessica Meuse sing Islands in the Stream by Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers (If Jessica was this good and animated in her solo performance, she would be in my top three).
Caleb Johnson & Jena Irene Ascuitto sing It's Only Love by Tina Turner  Bryan Adams
Malaya Watson & C.J. Harris sing I Knew You Were Waiting by Aretha Franklin & George Michael

And here's how I voted:

And that's my Recap!  Keep on Rocking AI . . .

Friday, April 4, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunting: Rocks

This week's theme and next week's theme is giving me the opportunity to post more photos from my trip to Peru, specifically those from Machu Picchu!   This is a photo of the Ceremonial Rock (The Sacred Rock) which is located near the Guard House.  One theory about this Sacred Rock is that it had some kind astrological significance (based on its location and positioning) and it served a purpose in the practice of some type of sacred rituals for the Incas.  

I have to confess that I found this week's theme challenging. I wanted to make sure that I posted the right photo of a rock for this week and a stone for next.  I was feeling pretty confident since I have tons of photos from Peru until I asked myself what was the difference between a rock and a stone? 

Google informed me that a rock is a solid material of the earth's crust.  It is large, hard or soft, and an immovable non metallic mineral matter.  But on Machu Picchu, the Incas were able to move these massive size rocks. And they were able to carve and shape these rocks dispelling everything that I've read about the definition of what is a rock vs stone. So now I'm back to being confused.    

After mulling over this issue for a couple of hours, I finally just had to realize that the Incas were an amazing civilization with capabilities that defies any normal definition or simple explanation.      

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

American Idol Season 13: Where it All Began-Their Audition Songs

Tonight the Idols performed songs from their original audition. In addition to their individual performances, each Idol was paired off with another contestant to perform a duet.

But based on tonight's performances all the idols have definitely stepped it up. It's great to see how much they have all improved over the weeks with each performance.   I still really miss Majesty though.    

Here's my top 4 performances of the night: I usually pick my top 3 but my third pick was a tie between Jessica & Malaya. 

- Caleb Johnson sings Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin. I haven't been a really big fan of Caleb, but he won me over with his performance tonight. I heard something very soulful and raw in his performance tonight which I had not heard before and I loved it.  

- Alex Preston sing his original song, Fairy Tale. He is so talented. I loved his performance tonight. 

- Jessica Meuse sings her original song, Blue Eyed Lie. I would totally buy her song on iTunes.

- Malaya Watson sings Ain't No Way by Aretha Franklin. I thought this was one of her strongest performances in the competition and I loved it.

Here's how I rated the rest of the pack: 
CJ Harris sings Soul Shine by the Allman Brothers
Jena Irene sings Rolling in the Deep by Adele
Sam Woolf sings Lego House by Ed Sheeran
Dexter Roberts sings One Mississippi by Brett Eldredge

Here's how I rated the Duet Performances:
Jessica Meuse & Caleb Johnson sing Stop Dragging My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks & Tom Perry
Jena Irene & Alex Preston sing Just Give Me a Reason by Pink & Nate
Dexter Roberts & CJ Harris sings Allright by Darius Rucker
Malaya Watson & Sam Woolf sing Lucky by Jason Mraz

And here's how I voted:

And that's my Recap. Keep on Rocking AI . . .

Friday, March 28, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunting: Trees

I enjoy traveling during the Fall Season when the leaves on trees changes from green to bright orange, yellow and even brown.  

Here is a beautiful walking path I found on Petrin Hill directly across from Prague Castle.  Most of the leaves have fallen on the ground which seems to brighten this walking path for the walkers.

On the opposite direction down the hill most of the trees are bare, but even leafless trees can present a beautiful view when you have a picturesque town like Prague in the background. :) 

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

American Idol Season 13: Singing With The Band

This week the Idols pick a rock and roll song to sing with the Idol Band.

And here's how the night went:

Alex Preston - Don't Speak by No Doubt
Majesty York - Shake It Out by Florence and the Machine
Dexter Roberts - Boondocks by Little Big Town
Malaya Watson - The Long And Winding Road by The Beatles
Sam Woolf - Hey There Delilah by Plain White T's
Jessica Meuse - Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac
Caleb Johnson - Dazed And Confused by Jake Holmes
Jena Irene - Bring Me To Life by Evanescence & Paul McCoy
CJ Harris - If It Hadn't Been For Love by The SteelDrivers

I have to say that all the Idols did really well tonight and it's very difficult to have to pick my top three. 

Considering what songs they chose to perform, their creativity, uniqueness and delivery, here are my top performances of the night:  Alex Preston (loved his jazzy rendition), Majesty York (I'm so glad to see her back on track and feeling confident after being in the bottom three. There's something really authentic and positive about Majesty's performances that I really love.) and Jessica Meuse (I thought this was her best performance in the competition and besides I'm a big Fleetwood Mac fan and she sounds so much like Stevie Nicks). 

I'm not sure who will get eliminated, because they were all pretty good.  But if I had to pick a bottom three, I would have to say Dexter Roberts, CJ Harris and Malaya Watson. 

And here's how I voted: 

And that's my Recap.  Keep on Rocking AI . . . .

Friday, March 21, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunting: Technical

I really enjoy photography as a hobby and it complements my other passion, travel, very well.  But there is a very technical side of photography that does not come very easily to me.  

I've taken photography classes to learn exposure settings and composition, with the latter being my favorite.  I really enjoy composing my photos and taking workshops at travel shows to learn about things like the Rule of Thirds. 

And learning how to frame my shots to make it look more interesting as well as capture the story behind the images better. This is also one of the reasons why I enjoy PhotoHunting because it is fun and I enjoy learning how other photographers capture their images and the creative takes everyone has for the weekly themes.

Since my technique isn't the best, prior to my trips I like to research the subjects I want to photograph.  I'll Google the images to learn from other photos and then I like to practice with getting the right exposure and finding different focal points to capture my images.  

But while traveling there can be factors like some very uncooperative weather that can affect some of my best laid out plans.  In those situations, I just try to do the best that I can.

When in doubt about my technical skills, I will admit to throwing my camera settings on the green auto button to take a few "just in case" shots. But rather than calling it cheating, I like to consider these shots insurance just in case my manual settings don't do the subject justice. After all, I may not get another opportunity to return to the country I'm visiting to photograph these images again.   

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!  

I'm off for my B2V weekend . . . but I'll check in to see what other's did with this theme. I found it challenging and it took me a while to figure out what my take would be.  I googled, I searched in my photo library. Nothing. And then I saw my camera. :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

American Idol Season 13: Top 10 Sing Billboard Charts Top 10 Songs

Tonight the contestants take on the top 10 songs from the Billboard Charts and there is very little room for mistakes. The judges still have their one save to use, but so far America has voted very well.

And here's how the night went:

M.K. Nobilette - Perfect by Pink
Dexter Roberts - Cruise by Florida Georgia Line
Jena Irene Asciutto - Clarity by Zedd/Foxes
Alex Preston - Story of My Life by One Direction
Malaya Watson - When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars
Caleb Johnson - The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga
C.J. Harris - Invisible by Hunter Hayes
Jessica Meuse - Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People
Majesty Rose York - Wake Me Up by Avici
Sam Woolf - We Are Young by Fun/Janelle MonĂ¡e

I think Dexter and Caleb have been singing well and consistently throughout the competition and I couldn't quite figure out why I just wasn't liking them as much as the other contestants.  It wasn't until I watched Alex Preston perform tonight that I finally figured out why. Singing well and consistently just doesn't scream American Idol winner to me. Alex is unique, creative, talented and has his own signature sound. He is not just a singer and performer, he is an artist.  I feel the same way about Jena and Majesty. I think M.K., Malaya and Jessica are also talented but on a level just below them. 

My top performances of the night:  Alex Preston, Jena and Majesty (I'm not sure why Keith Urban didn't like her arrangement, dude!). 

I think C.J. Harris and M.K. might be in danger of being in the bottom three this week. Based on tonight's performance I think C.J. had the weakest performance of the night. 

Now that most of my favorites are in the top 10, I'll be voting only for my top three pics of the night.  And here's how I voted: 

And that's my Recap. Keep on Rocking AI . . .