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Archive for August, 2013

Organics: Daybreak Mill

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Nicole Davis of Day Break Mill

Organic” is a huge buzz word these days at grocery stores and farmer’s markets. But getting to see it up close and personal is a lot of fun and very interesting.  That’s exactly what I got to do at the  Daybreak Mill, just out side of Estevan, SK.  I connected with Nicole Davis, owner and proprietor, earlier in the year and she jumped on board with my project.  When I first met Nicole, I was a little bit awestruck. First of all, she didn’t fit my mental image of a farmer (a picture a guy, 50+ in a plaid shirt, jeans and a mesh farm implement ball cap). 🙂 Nope, I was greeted by this beautiful, 20 something blonde girl who just happened to own and operate an organic mill. 😎 After our introductions, she toured me around the facility explaining about the various processes from cleaning the grain, to grinding it to selling it in the office.

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For Nicole, organic farming is in her blood. Her father was and is an organic guy too, so she comes by it naturally. But the more people actually consider organic food, the more appealing it becomes. Most people are aware of the chemicals that are used to spray crops for pest or weed control in traditional farming. But lately, it is the genetic changes are raising more alarm in people’s minds, as well as their bodies. Suddenly everything these days is “gluten-free”. But nobody very few people had gluten allergies/intolerances years ago. So what changed? Organic people will argue that the food itself has been changed, either by selective breeding of the crops or more recently, genetic modification. It is causing problems for more and more people, especially the GMO stuff that can be found in almost all processed foods.  As people become more aware of these changes, the market is responding. Demand for Organic grain is increasing nation wide.

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Nicole’s Daybreak Mill ships product across the country. And product they have! When we think of grain, the average person thinks of ‘wheat’. But there are so many different kinds available! Einkorn, Emmer, Spelt, Red Fife, etc. all of which are available for sale the Day Break Mill. In fact, Einkorn is the oldest grain that was farmed by humans some 10,000 years ago. It is still being grown today. And it is delicious! Nicole gave me a sample of some. We cooked it up like you would rice and ate it as a side dish.  It actually felt neat knowing that I was eating food that has been unchanged for thousands of years! But then again, I’m a sucker for tradition. 😎 Their organic granola and pancake mix is delightful too, our kids gobbled them up!

Einkorn cooked

Einkorn cooked

I can’t say enough good about Nicole and her team at Daybreak. They are all tremendous people who really love and care about what they are doing. They are passionate about Organic farming and the products they sell. And, as the market demand grows, you can find their products in more and more places all over Canada. But you can also buy direct from their mill too – which I encourage everyone to do, especially if you live in SE Saskatchewan.

Nicole in a field of 1 week old Einkorn

Nicole in a field of 1 week old Einkorn

It was a lot of fun to meet with Nicole and her team and I am grateful for the experience. If you are starting to think about Organic products, you owe it to yourself to check out the Daybreak Mill! 😀


Kenosee Wedding

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We shot a wedding on Saturday up at the beautiful Kenosee lake. I was a little worried to say the least when we got there and it was down pouring with that relentless “I’m gunna wreck your outdoor wedding” kind of rain. Thankfully, it let up just in time for the ceremony that took place at the visitor centre overlooking the lake. 1931 fieldstone has that amazingly beautiful and classy look no matter what kind of weather. It truly was a glorious spot! Corey and Kelly rolled with the weather punches with poise and grace and everything turned out beautifully. And, we got to make some really cool images. 😎

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One of the very last shots of the day was this glorious enchanted forest spot down by the lake. We were able to light it to further enhance that sweet golden light filtering through the trees. I shot this with the 70-200 f/4 at 175mm and f/4. With the compression from the longer end of the telephoto lens it really smooshes everything into a bokehlicious wonderland! 😎 All in all, we had a great time with a wonderful bride and groom in a glorious location! 😀


LumoPro LP180 and Nikon CLS

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Use this Setting to sync with Nikon CLS

This is a total Photo Nerd Post. If that applies to you, please read on :cool:.

So I was doing an advertising campaign shoot yesterday and I decided it was high time to try out my new LumoPro LP180 flashes on a real job. I was shooting a high key setup that required 4 flashes to do. I setup my Nikon SBs as key and backlights and I wanted to use the LP180 as a kicker.

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Susan’s Basement Studio setup

So I set it up and took some test shots. Nothing worked. It was like the LP180 was killing all the other flashes’ signals. So I turned it off, everything worked perfectly. Weird. 😈 Then I remember that I must have the slave mode in the wrong setting. So I changed it and still the setup wouldn’t work. I was totally buffaloed. I was able to borrow an SB-910 to help me finish the shoot but when I got home, I had to figure out what the heck was going on. I setup the flashes and started running through the slave mode settings on the LP-180. When I got to S2-3, thats when the magic happened. Everything was working perfectly and my two LP180s were triggering just fine within the Nikon CLS. I was using my SU-800 commander remote which I love, but I tested it also with the pop up flash on camera. Worked perfectly. So, if you shoot Nikon CLS and want to use the awesome LumoPro LP180 flash alongside your Nikon kit, fear not! It works flawlessly in the S2-3 slave configuration. Cheers! 😎

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2 SB-600s, 2 LP180s, 1 SB-900

 

 


Competition

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So we went up to the grand metropolis of Moosomin, SK last night to take in the Fireworks Competition. This year’s combatants were CanFire Pyrotechnics vs. Canadian Pro Importers & Distributors Ltd. We missed the show on Saturday night, so we don’t have anything to compare Sunday’s offering with. It was still super fun! Everyone always loves fireworks, especially when they are choreographed to music. 😎 Our experience involved screaming and/or puking children so it was doubly rich! 😯 But once we got over that, it turned out to be a nice night. 😀 Put the fuji x100s to work. I am always blown away by that little camera. It is so, so ideal as a walk around, do anything, take anywhere camera.

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I played a bit with the fun Q menu and tweaked the contrast of some of these images to give them that crazy “over blackened art look”. But the skin tones in the color images are unbelievable. If I was lost on a desert island and I could only have one camera, it would be the x100s! 😎


Personal Project: Organics Intro

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Organic Red Fyfe

Living in a very agriculturally rich region of not only Saskatchewan but also the world, I’ve always been surrounded by farming my whole life. I’ve always had an appreciation for anyone who can make living at it. Just think. What other occupation in the universe is affected by so many variables that are totally out of your control? I’d hazard a guess that farmers, if they sat down and considered how much risk they face each and every crop year, they’d probably pack it in and go sell real-estate! 😉 Just kidding! Farming is in the blood and there is no escaping it.

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Alvin Scheresky

It is interesting though over the last few years how much change agriculture has seen. I talk with some of my older parishioners (90+) who still remember stooking grain by hand. And now, there are combines that can harvest 1800 bushels an hour. Interesting to me is that in the face of all of these advancements in technology and science and agribusiness, there has emerged the Organic Farming movement. Right in our own backyard, Alvin Scheresky was one of the pioneers of Organic farming in our area. I had the pleasure of meeting him earlier this year when a portrait was needed. He won the Organic Hero award. It was in visiting with Alvin that my interest was further perked into Organic farming, so much so that I decided to make a personal photography project out of it. When I met with Alvin, he was reading a book called Wheat Belly. It’s a very interesting concept that puts forward that the grain we eat today IS NOT the grain of the past. Indeed, wheat as we know it is nothing like its original form due to cross breeding and further Genetic Modification (the GMO you hear so much about). This process has changed grain so much that it is now a foreign substance to the body and is causing digestive/allergic problems for a broad spectrum of people (not just Celiacs ).  YouTube has an informative video by William Davis on this topic. 

Another documentary that got me thinking was this one called Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of our Lives. Often I have heard criticism of the Organic Farming movement that proponents use fear to try to persuade people to their opinion. And, I’m sure a bit of that does go on. But watch this video. It’s very eye opening – and dare I say, scary? 😎

 

After my shoot with Alvin, I connected with Nicole Davis. She bought the Daybreak Mill in 2012 and has been heading it up since. I was able to go and get a tour of the Mill facilities and learn a lot more about organic grain production, cleaning and milling. That will be the next instalment of my Organics Series.

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Nicole Davis: The New Face of Organic Farming