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How To Increase Your Photography Skills

How To Increase Your Photography Skills

Photography is fast becoming a popular hobby for the recreational hobbyist. Because there are so many different ways to take a picture, and so many ways you can make the same shot look different it provides a very unique experience. This article will offer some tips when it comes to photography.

When working with flowers or a lot of natural subject matter outside, try to take your shots on an overcast day. It seems like it wouldn’t provide enough light, but it will surprise you. This kind of diffused light eliminates any unwanted shadows making it the perfect time to shoot subjects outside.

Do not underestimate the disposable camera as a way to take wonderful photos. The technology has improved, and you can take shots equal to, and even better than, your durable film camera. Many disposable models also offer a built in zoom feature. New disposables are not the same old junk cameras they were ten years ago.

If you are taking pictures in the sun during the spring or summer, make sure to turn the flash on. Failing to put the flash on your camera can result in a bad glare, which can taint your photos. Once you turn the flash on, you can take pictures as you usually would.

Focus your efforts. When you are attempting to better your photography skills, you will be more successful if you choose subjects that interest you. If you love people watching or lively images, practice with those subjects rather than landscapes. Practice keeping your subject in focus while crafting a shot that excludes distracting elements such as telephone lines, trash, or conspicuous signs.

A great photography tip is to always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t shut off your creative vision when you don’t have a camera nearby. You should always be looking at things and visualizing. This is a great way to stay fresh creatively and to always be inspired.

If you are thinking about becoming a photographer, it is important that you go to college. Most companies will not hire a photographer unless they have some sort of education in photography. There are many websites that will provide you with the best collgees throughout the whole world for photography.

A random element that can give you unique photos is to change the lighting. There is an unlimited number of ways you can use light to change pictures. Using side lights can help to create silhouetting the subject to hide their features. It can also create back-lighting and mood. Using sync-flash can also help to create unique photographs.

Use your camera’s zoom feature to highlight your subject and eliminate nearby distractions. After you’ve framed the subject, take a moment to look around the frame to see if there’s anything creeping in on the sides that will end up being a distraction in the final image. If there is, zoom in a little until the distractions are gone from the frame. If your camera doesn’t have a zoom feature take a few steps forward and then re-frame your subject.

By way of conclusion photography is a very unique and interesting hobby because of the variety of things it offers. You can take pictures of plants, animals, scenery or whatever your heart desires. The better the quality of your pictures the more enjoyable it will be. Employ the tips from this article and photography will soon be your favorite thing to do.

Reality TV Chef Personalities Emily Ellyn, Nikki Martin & Giorgio Rapicavoli to Co-host 2nd Annual Cows ‘N Cabs

Orlando, FL (PRWEB) October 21, 2012

WHAT:    As part of the inaugural Winter Park Food & Wine Classic (“WPFWC”), a two-day festival curated by ABC Fine Wine & Spirits’ David Larue and his wife Tina and celebrated chef-owner of 4 Rivers Smokehouse, John Rivers, Cows ‘N Cabs (“CNC”) will return on Saturday, October 27 from 6 -10 p.m. The western-inspired food-and-wine walk around, which raised more than $ 40,000 last year for three local charities, will take place in Winter Park’s Central Park-West Meadow. The charity-driven event will feature wine and craft beer tastings, along with gourmet fare from restaurants such as Citrus Restaurant, deep blu seafood grille and Hawkers with produce sponsored by FreshPoint.

Hosts for the evening include a chef-studded line up of personalities from the Food Network’s “The Next Food Network Star” including Nikki Martin of season seven, Orlando-based Emily Ellyn of season eight along with recent Food Network “Chopped” winner Giorgio Rapicavoli. Sponsored by Spraker Wealth Management and created with the vision of finding a solution to break the cycle of poverty in Central Florida, 100 percent of proceeds garnered from ticket sales and auction items will be donated to the Community Food & Outreach Center and Coalition for the Homeless.

“After last year’s success of blending fine cuisine and charitable giving, we are proud to bring back Cows ‘N Cabs,” says Tina Larue, visionary of CNC. “The continued generosity of the many chefs and sponsors involved has made these special engagements possible.”

Mike Anderson, the Senior Brewmaster from Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Jacksonville will pour Belgian Trio beer for all to taste and provide the first preview and samples of Anheuser-Busch’s new Goose Island Beer scheduled to debut in November. The Spraker Wealth Management Lounge will accommodate VIP groups for up to ten guests with exclusive banquette seating and exclusive bar service priced at $ 2,000 per table. Advanced reservations are required.

Attendees will delight in a live musical performance by Funky Blue Messiahs; an on-site photo booth; a competitive game of “Wine Ring Toss,” where guests can win bottles of wine; as well as a silent auction, which includes coveted items like round trip airline tickets provided by Jet Blue Airways, spa services, tickets to major professional sporting events, vacation getaways to Cancun, Las Vegas and more. Upon entrance, guests will pose in front of the step-and-repeat to capture the evening with images shot by MacBeth Photography and also be treated to a photo opportunity with “Bessy The Bull” of 4 Rivers Smokehouse.

Sipping for the cause continues at Cocina 214, the host for the Official After Party directly following CNC and ends when the last drink is poured. The late-night event will feature a 30-minute autograph session from the celebrity talent at 10 p.m., music and a WPFWC-inspired bar menu. Ten percent all of sales benefit the Classic’s beneficiaries. For more information and a complete list of sponsors and participating restaurants, please visit



VIP hour 6 – 7 p.m. / General Admission 7 – 10 p.m.


VIP ticket: $ 140 | General Admission: $ 110 Advanced

Spraker Wealth Management Lounge: $ 2,000 Advanced (ten guest maximum per group)


Central Park – West Meadow

150 North New York Avenue

Valet parking will be available on West Morse Boulevard

Paso Robles Daily News Publishes Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide

Paso Robles, CA (PRWEB) November 28, 2014

This holiday season, the Paso Robles Daily News is asking community members to shop locally and support local businesses – the preferred outlet during this gift purchasing season. “Nearly two-thirds of the money spent at locally owned businesses across the nation is reinvested in individual communities,” says Scott Brennan, editor and publisher of the Paso Robles Daily News. “When shopping with local merchants – whether looking for that perfect gift or treating oneself – more of the money stays close to home and will help support the parks, recreation facilities, libraries and other aspects of the area that help to make this community a great place to live.”

“Shopping locally helps all the small businesses in our community continue to thrive and helps create local jobs,” said Norma Moye, executive director of the Paso Robles Downtown Main Street Association. “The business owners and their staff are vital to our community, not just during the holidays but throughout the year, especially when it comes to supporting and producing the many events that we all enjoy. When we shop locally, we can pay things forward to those businesses and help our community thrive.”

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, the following merchants are offering their usual blend of hospitality and warmth along with extended hours and one-of-a-kind items to make this gift-giving season a jolly one.

Peaceful Moments by Sharon Rae

Looking for the perfect gift for that special someone who has everything? A gift certificate for a relaxing massage from Peaceful Moments by Sharon Rae is sure to be at the top of everyone’s wish list this holiday season.

As a special gift to her new and established customers, Sharon Rae is offering a complimentary 30 minute massage gift certificate with the purchase of any 60 minute or more gift certificate — so one can give a gift and reward oneself as well! Imagine relaxing, listening to soft music, and having a massage in a warm, comfortable, quiet room after a full day of shopping, cooking, or entertaining guests.

“I appreciate the support and confidence of my local clientele and I look forward to bringing more Peaceful Moments to new clients during the holiday season and into 2015,” says Sharon Rae.

Specializing in therapeutic and relaxation massage, Sharon Rae has been relieving pain and bringing calm to locals since 1995 as a licensed and certified massage therapist. Peaceful Moments is located at 225 Posada Lane Suite C in Templeton — and Sharon Rae makes house calls by special appointment.

Contact her today at (805) 391-4674 or peacefulmomentsmassage(at)gmail(dot)com for more information on the holiday gift certificate special (limit one per customer, offer expires Jan. 15, 2015). Learn more at

Country Florist and Gift

Throughout the holiday season, celebrations are widespread — from intimate gatherings to office parties, it’s all about spending time with friends and family. There is added reason to celebrate this year for Kay McLain, owner and designer at Country Florist and Gift, as she marks 30 years of serving the local community.

“Over the years, my customers have become my friends and family,” says McLain, “and I cannot say enough to thank everyone for their support over the past 30 years.”

As a special thanks to her loyal customers, McLain will hold a Community Open House at Country Florist and Gift, located in the Von’s Shopping Center at 1191 Creston Road, Suite 114, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 13. Stop by, congratulate McLain and her friendly staff, and stay for hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

“We will also be featuring sale items and there will be drawings and raffles for some very special gifts,” says McLain, “including items from Vera Bradley, Willow Tree, and Crabtree & Evelyn.”

Be sure to pick up a few unique gifts at Country Florist and Gift for those special someones on the shopping list — or perhaps a floral arrangement for a favorite hostess.

“There’s plenty to celebrate this holiday season in our community,” says McLain. “I feel very thankful and blessed.”

For more information on Country Florist and Gift, call (805) 239-3032 or visit — and be sure to “like” them on Facebook.

Paso Robles Veterinary Medical Clinic

When it comes to holiday shopping for friends and family, the staff at Paso Robles Veterinary Clinic would like to remind their local clients to pick up a special gift for furry family members as well.

Doctors Deb and Jim Weist offer the following gift ideas for dogs & cats: a new collar and leash, low-fat treats, a mani and pedi treatment, a bottle of aloe/oatmeal shampoo, and Soft-paws for cats in fashion colors. For the animal lover, gift consider a custom paw-print ornament, a new puppy or kitten wellness package, or money towards a friend’s veterinary account.

“We also encourage the community to consider helping those in need during the holidays,” says Dr. Deb. “Donate towels, blankets or toys to an animal shelter, help cover veterinary services for a homeless person’s pet, or purchase a gift certificate for a pet’s spay/neuter services.”

In addition, Dr. Deb says animals can undergo stress during the holidays, much like humans. To help, Paso Robles Veterinary Clinic has Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs available for purchase — both are natural stress relievers. When traveling over the holidays, Dr. Deb says safety comes first: ensure rabies tags are intact, health certificates are packed, and collars, harnesses, and leashes are readily available.

“On behalf of our entire staff, Dr. Jim and I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season with their pets,” says Dr. Deb.

For a limited time, all dog and cat exams include a free packet of Lean Treats. Call (805) 238-3140, stop by 725 Walnut Drive, or visit for more information on Paso Robles Veterinary Clinic.

Chili’s Grill & Bar

Whether shopping for friends or family members, there’s no doubt that everyone on the holiday gift list will appreciate a gift card from Chili’s Grill & Bar. Keeping with the holiday spirit of giving, Chili’s is rewarding those purchasing $ 50 in gift cards through Dec. 31 with an additional $ 10 gift card.

“Our gift cards work well for those needing to send a gift out of state or looking for a last minute gift — just go to to email or print out a card,” said Chili’s Senior Managing Partner Wes Williams, who oversees the Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande locations.

And purchasing a gift card at Chili’s doesn’t have to break the bank — diners will enjoy an appetizer and two entrees on the 2 for $ 20 menu, or perhaps the $ 36 option that includes two movie tickets to the Galaxy Theatres in Atascadero would fit the bill. Be sure to take a break from the hustle and bustle and treat the family to a nice meal this holiday season as well.

Known worldwide for its Tex-Mex menu, Chili’s celebrates its Texas heritage by adding a bit of spice and flair to a menu that includes a wide variety of food and drink options. Famous for its Big Mouth Burgers and some of the best fajitas and margaritas around, Chili’s specializes in offering several nutritional menus including gluten-free, peanut-free, and more.

“At our Paso Robles location, many local staff members, including our Kitchen Manager Saulo Gomez, are committed to our guests’ dining satisfaction,” says Williams. “Our commitment to community involvement through fundraisers, donations of time and resources sets us apart. Our entire team wishes everyone a safe and joyous holiday season.”

To purchase a gift card, call (805) 226-9226, stop by Chili’s at 2001 Theater Drive in Paso Robles, or visit

Paso Robles Main Street Association – Shop Local Campaign

There is perhaps no other organization in town that supports keeping shopping dollars local than the Paso Robles Main Street Association — and this is never more evident than during the holiday season. As an alliance of merchants, business owners, stakeholders and community members, Main Street is committed to preserving and bolstering a thriving downtown while serving the Paso Robles community.

Just in time for the holidays, the Annual Holiday Craft Bazaar on Nov. 28 will feature a variety of booths stationed throughout Downtown City Park with arts, crafts and handmade goods from local purveyors; admission is free.

“The Holiday Craft Bazaar has become a tradition in our community,” says Main Street Executive Director Norma Moye, “and it is a wonderful way to support local crafters. While there, visit some of the creative shops downtown and stay for lunch. In addition, there are several local businesses throughout Paso Robles that have great deals this holiday season.”

Be sure to stick around for the Downtown Lighting Ceremony on the evening of Nov. 28 when Mrs. Claus arrives to light the park trees at 5:30 p.m. — all are invited to share in the holiday joy with live music, candlelight caroling, free cookies, and hot chocolate.

“It’s our special gift to the community and a way for everyone to celebrate the joys of the season together,” says Moye.

For more information, including additional holiday events and local vendors, call (805) 238-4103 or visit

Recipe: st. joseph’s day cream puffs

Recipe: st. joseph’s day cream puffs

St. Joseph’s Day Cream Puffs (Sfingi Di San Giuseppe)
1/2 cup butter
Dash of salt
1 cup water
1 cup cake flour
4 eggs
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Combine butter, salt and water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Add flour all at once and mix well until dough leaves sides of pan. Remove from stove and cool. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add sugar, orange and lemon peel and mix thoroughly. Drop by tablespoonful onto a greased baking sheet, leaving 3-inch space between. Bake in 400 degree F oven for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 16 puffs.

Make a slit in the side of each and fill with the Pasticciera Cream or with Ricotta Filling.

NOTE: Italian pastries are not real sweet like most American pastries, but the flavor is exceptionally good.

Ricotta Filling
1 pound ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons chocolate chips
1 tablespoon candied orange peel, cut fine
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (add more if you like)

Cream ricotta well; add chocolate chips, orange peel and sugar. Mix well. Fill Italian cream puffs with the filling.

Pasticciera Cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter

Place sugar, egg yolks, flour, lemon rind and vanilla extract in saucepan and mix together well.

Scald milk and pour over mixture, beating constantly with rotary beater. Continue cooking on low heat, stirring with wooden spoon until mixture reaches the boiling point. Cook 4 minutes longer stirring constantly. Remove from stove and add butter and mix well. Pour into bowl and let cool, stirring occasionally to prevent skin from forming over top. Fill the Italian Cream Puffs.

New Technologies At Photo Studios With Digital Enhancement

New Technologies At Photo Studios With Digital Enhancement

Print quality, or resolution, is measured in terms of dots per inch (dpi). This is the number of dots that can fit into a line one inch long. Naturally, higher dpi equals higher resolution and sharper photos, text and graphics. So, if sharp photo detail and crisp laser-quality text is important to you, look for a printer with a minimum of 1200×1200 dpi. However, there are other important factors to consider when achieving ultimate print quality. Choosing between ink or laser color printing used to be pretty easy for most people, color laser printers were just too expensive, and an alternative were photo studios with digital enhancement.

When making your decision, consider the following:

Paper sizes and types will work on the majority of printers available, as many inkjet printers are very flexible and can provide accommodation from 4×6 photos to wide-format banner paper, and the whole variations in between. Laser printers are best for standard-size paper, such as 8.5×11 and 11×17 paper.

Also, you must look for high end photos, brochures and marketing materials. The advanced inks now available for inkjet printers provide the accurate detail, gloss uniformity, and regular results that high quality photos demand, for example, the wanes in photo studios with digital enhancement.

If you are printing photos to keep as family heirlooms or high end home business marketing objects such as brochures, an inkjet printer is the best choice for this specific job, more like the ones at photo studios with digital enhancement

Many printers include a standard paper tray capable of holding 100 sheets of paper at a time. How much printing do you do and on what kind of paper size? How many sheets do you use for a typical project, and how many copies or sets do you need is the questions you need to be thinking about.

However, laser printers also deliver high-quality and color matching. And, because of their higher speeds and lower cost per page, they may be your best choice if you need high volume color printing like the ones at photo studios with digital enhancement.

In your search, you should find documents with finishing requirements. Laser printers generally have more paper management options, such as high volume trays, duplexers and staplers. Print and copy speed refers to how many black or color text pages can be printed or copied in one minute. This rate is calculated in pages per minute and copies per minute. But in the end, it’s up to you to decide what is more important to you based on the type of printing you want to do, even if it’s not like the wanes at photo studios with digital enhancement.

San Franciscos City Club Presents: City Style From the Inside Out Fall Fashion Event

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) September 18, 2012

City Club of San Francisco is hosting an exclusive fall fashion event on Thursday, September 20, featuring men’s and women’s fashion shows, trunk shows and discussions of upcoming trends by some of the industry’s most notable names. The event, hosted at the 155 Society Lounges, begins with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and networking at 5:30 pm.

“Not only is this event about fashion, but it’s also about bringing together the City’s business leaders for a unique networking opportunity, designed to forge new relationships” said Victoria Welch, City Club’s club director.

Olivier Renault from Georges Creations will be flown in from Paris to showcase made-to-measure, custom fine menswear during a private trunk show, and will be holding discussions surrounding the latest trends and do’s and don’ts in men’s fashion.

During one of the fashion shows, a new women’s line designed in Los Angeles will be unveiled and available for special purchase, featuring classic looks perfect for business professionals, as well as weekend comfort looks right on trend.

In addition, guests of the event will be served delectable hors d’oeuvres and cocktails provided by the City Club of San Francisco’s culinary team. The social aspect of this San Francisco networking event provides an opportunity for business men and women to meet and discuss non-business topics.

City Club of San Francisco’s “City Style From the Inside Out,” is part of a series of lifestyle events that the club is holding. Future event themes include holiday gift giving ideas, wine, travel, and local artisan cuisine.

The City Style event is being held Thursday, September 20 from 5:30 pm until 7:30 pm inside of the City Club at the 155 Society Lounges at 155 Sansome Street 9th Floor. For information about event reservations at the City Club of San Francisco, call Victoria Welch, Club Director at 415-362- 2480 214.

About the City Club of San Francisco

The City Club of San Francisco is a private club and party venue that plays host to elegant San Francisco corporate events and personal gatherings. CCSF specializes in undeniably fabulous San Francisco wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, bridal and baby showers, and business meetings, networking events, awards dinners, seminars, workshops, retirement parties, anniversary parties, birthday parties, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, alumni receptions, bereavement packages, social galas, holiday parties and fundraisers.

In addition to its own world-famous art and architecture, CCSF actively promotes the art and culture of San Francisco through collaboration with premier arts and cultural organizations to bring unique programs to the Club and its membership.

CCSF members include business, government and community leaders who are actively involved in San Francisco and Bay Area civic affairs. One of the ways that the Club actively supports these activities is by providing a public forum to civic and business leaders to discuss events affecting the City and its people.

Philippine Fest set to launch at Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, BC

Richmond, BC (PRWEB) November 10, 2014

Aberdeen Centre and Symphony Hill (Symphony Hill Management Inc.) have partnered to stage Philippine Fest, an exposition on Filipino arts, culture, food, sports, and entertainment, which will be held at Aberdeen Centre on Sunday, November 23, from 1pm to 5pm there.

Philippine Fest will showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines, including delectable Filipino food products and delicacies, handicrafts, gifts, garments, heirlooms and artworks belonging to the famed Dimasalang group of artists in BC as well as noted Filipino tattoo artists. Makeshift kiosks will be erected around the mall to be adorned by festive Philippine-style Christmas décor.

The event will also feature fun activities such as the traditional Filipino “parol” (Christmas lantern)-making; and native sports demonstrations for the young and the young at heart.

Philippine Fest is supported by the Consulate General of the Philippines in Vancouver.

A display of uniquely-Filipino entertainment numbers- cultural dances, modern song and dance performances and exhibitions, a mini fashion show will be staged, including the launch of a new Filipino amateur singing competition, “The Next Pinoy Star!”

A game show called ‘Sweet 16’ will give participants a chance to win valuable prizes, including a education grants from Sprott Shaw Collage; smart phones; long distance, phone accessories, home phones from Timestel; and many other prizes including an airticket from Vancouver to New York donated by Philippine Airlines. There will also be a photo booth for free pictures taken with family and friends using a wide choice of holiday backdrops.

Another entertainment number to be shown would be segments from the acclaimed song and dance presentation called, “Historama”, a unique and artistic retelling of Philippine history.

Culminating the day’s celebration is a presentation from the Philippine Department of Tourism on Asia’s No 1 beach, Boracay, featuring breathtaking, white sand beaches (Voted No. 1 by Travellers Choice Award) and other beautiful tourist attractions in the Philippines.

About Aberdeen Centre:

Aberdeen Centre is a property of Fairchild Developments Ltd, a subsidiary of the Fairchild Group of companies based in Canada with substantial interests across a spectrum of business.

About Symphony Hill Management Inc.:

Symphony Hill Management Inc. is a Canadian based events company focus on the Filipino market in Canada.

About Even 8 Events Management Production:

Even 8 Events Management Production is a planning, management and production company focusing on Filipino-Canadian concerts and events.

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Deer Population Survey Methods

Deer Population Survey Methods

Our wildlife biologists are starting to conduct annual deer surveys. We commonly use attractants like C’mere Deer in conjunction with our trail cameras for our annual population analysis. Hunters can also use the attractant to see what the composition of their deer heard is as well. C’mere Deer works very well when used on native forbs that are still green and agriculture plants but you should avoid cultivated legumes. If you are getting a lot of camera shots without deer you can solve this problem by using the C’mere Deer powder or liquid concentrate and make a mineral pit in front of the camera. Very seldom will a deer not investigate the pit or dig giving the camera plenty of time to trigger. It is best not use C’mere Deer on dried vegetation that has reached its full growth. Look for plants that are green and succulent whenever possible.

C’mere Deer attractant can also be used in conjunction with various baits to increase the number of deer at your photo stations. Remember that you want to see every deer that is on your property. You will need to count the age class and sex of each animal. Good trail cameras with high pixel counts will certainly help in this endeavor. Do not forget to look closely at each fawn as you should be able to see the pedicels on male fawns. This is an important component of the sex ratio in your deer heard. With practice you will be able to identify each animal on your property on sight. Properly placing your C’mere Deer attractant and or bait so the camera will be able to catch each animal will definitely increase the accuracy of your survey.

It is important to also use the same photo stations as you have in past years. Using baid and inconjunction with C’mere Deer as an attractant will normally attract every whitetail deer on your property. Using the same photo stations from year to year will give you a general population trend. Trends will show how you are doing in managing the wildlife habitat on your property. If set up correctly there should be no dead spots between photo stations. The scent of C’mere Deer attractant will help assure good coverage of the herd.

However it is also a good idea to place photo stations with trail cameras in additional areas. Start by placing cameras along property boundaries to catch deer whose territory just touches your property. Also place additional cameras in islands of isolated cover such as swales in the middle of a large agricultural block. In addition you can place some random cameras photo stations through out the property to eliminate any missed individuals. The information from these additional photo stations should not be mixed with the survey data from the standard annual photo stations. The use of additional trail cameras may provide you with more complete information on each individual dear that is using your property. Again the use of C’mere Deer attractant should bring any deer to your cameras.

Remember that the early deer seasons will be starting soon so now is the time to do your early season scouting work. You can use deer attractants like C’mere Deer and photo stations on public lands to determine what animals are present there as well. Information is power when it comes to deer hunting. The harder you work at this time of year the luckier you will be on opening day. Depending on where you live it may be too early to define travel patterns that will last through the fall. However, using good quality trail cameras and an attractant like C’mere Deer will help you discover what animals are using a broad area of habitat.

Recipe: the ultimate decadent chocolate cake

Recipe: the ultimate decadent chocolate cake

The Ultimate Decadent Chocolate Cake
16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
10 eggs, separated
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Kahlúa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (yes, 250 is the correct setting!). Butter a springform cake pan. Dust the pan with unsweetened cocoa. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler. When melted, slowly add 3/4 cup of sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until they are a lemon color. Add 1/4 cup of the hot chocolate mixture to the yolks and mix together. Add another 1/4 cup of the chocolate mixture to the eggs and mix. Continue this process until all the egg yolks are blended with the chocolate.

Return the chocolate mixture to the double boiler and cooked until slightly thickened. Add the Grand Marnier or Kahlúa and vanilla extract. Mix well.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer, slowly adding half the remaining sugar to the egg whites, and beating until soft peaks are formed. Slowly add the remaining sugar and cream of tartar to the egg whites. Beat until stiff. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites.

Pour the batter into the springform pan and bake for 3 hours.

Remove from the oven and cool. Handle the cake carefully because it can fall slightly. When room temperature, slide a knife around the sides of the springform pan and then remove the sides. Using a large knife, slice between the pan and the cake. Place the cake on a plate. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and chocolate shavings.

Serve within several hours after removing it from the springform pan.

Serves 12.

Practicing the Art of Peace

Practicing the Art of Peace

Aikido is a modern martial art that is founded by spirituality and philosophy influenced by the Omoto-kyo religion associated with the Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba. The etymology of the word Aikido stems from three Japanese characters. “Ai” literally means joining, with “ki” meaning something like spirit, and “do” meaning way. Loosely translated then, the meaning of Aikido is the way of joining the spirit.

The Aikido way is to align body and mind with the spirit or ki and it said that the only way to be able to do this is through cultivating a relaxed state. It is in this relaxed state that nothing is forced or contrived so the mind and body naturally join the spirit or energy and everything becomes one. It is this oneness and cultivation of relaxation that this martial art paradoxically gets referred to as the art of peace.Its founder Ueshiba was a pacifist and it is said that he taught Aikido as a peaceful means to end aggression.

Although spiritual and philosophical development is important in Aikido training, it has to be put to practical means and examples in actual practice of Aikido techniques and methods.Aikido training usually consists of two parties. The first is called uke or the receiving body and the other is known as nage (although this term varies depending on the Aikido style being taught) who gives the technique being taught.

This concept of uke and nage can be likened to the Chinese yin and yang because in Aikido, uke and nage are not separate entities. They are two parts of one where the Aikido training can be learned with give and take from both parties.For instance, one of the first techniques taught in Aikido training is how to throw and fall safely. It is the task of nage to prevent injury to uke so he can learn to land safely when thrown.

Furthermore, in Aikido training, the receiver or uke usually initiates an attack against the nage whose aim is to neutralize the assault with an Aikido move or technique.This way, both the uke and nage learn from each other and the Aikido training is not successfully executed without oneness between the two. It is in the give and take of these two entities in Aikido training that the principles of ki and other fundamentals of Aikido techniques are learned.

Such fundamentals are the principles of adapting, flexibility, calmness and blending. In the case of uke and nage, Aikido training teaches uke to be more flexible and relaxed so that nage will not be able to catch them unaware and throw them off balance. On the other hand, nage learns to blend and adapt to be able to control and assuage the assaulting energy from uke.Aikido training however is not exclusive to practice and parries between just two parties. In fact, Aikido training involves instruction for multiple attackers.

This is called randori and is a vital and required lesson to be learned in higher levels of Aikido training. The Aikido training for multiple attacks is done “freestyle” where a person can further expand their knowledge by practicing and performing Aikido techniques beyond the structured environment of the uke and nage. These are only two methods of Aikido training. There are many other training methods and techniques that follow the core value of Aikido. | Copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved.