Degustation Menu at Sono - OH YES!

My birthday celebrations continued last night, with dinner at the delicious Sono, in Brisbane's Queen Street Mall.

Michael, my parents, one of my food-loving besties from Sydney and I shared the Sono degustation experience for over four hours....and every morsel of it was fabulous. I would definitely recommend the Zen option!

I loved having my new G12 on hand - far less intrusive than one of the big DSLR cameras, although we were in a private room, so it wouldn't have been a problem to pull the big guns out.

Here's what we ate, and some pictures. The photos may not do the food justice - the sake was flowing fast and furiously, but the entire evening made for a completely unforgettable Japanese meal!

* Zensai
* Assorted sashimi
* Steamed white fish with enoki mushroom and cherry leaves
* Wagyu steak grilled on magnolia leaf
* Deep-fried lobster with tea leaves and wonton skin
* Duck and prawn in yolk vinegar sauce
* Assorted sushi
* Miso soup with clams
* Dessert platter

A new decade, a new camera, a new 365 challenge!

Today is a bit of a milestone birthday for of those birthdays with a whopping big 0 in it. One that throws you into another decade. One that makes you wonder where the last 40 years went...

But it's a good thing. A GREAT thing, especially when there's lots happening and lots to look forward to!

Photographically, I want to keep challenging myself, and have decided to start another 365 challenge - 365 of 40 it's going to be. A photo everyday of my big old 40th year. Or is it my 41st year?

Anyway,  I've got a new toy to do it with too....a sparkly new Canon PowerShot G12 (Thank you Michael xx). A Point & Shoot! Quelle horreur! As much as I love my 5D II and 7D cameras, I wanted a  compact camera that I could carry with me everywhere, but which still afforded full manual control. And after the fun of my first 365 Challenge I wanted to get back to taking a photo everyday.

So here is Day 1's photo (one of the first birthday cards I received this morning), and a shot of the latest Canon addition to the Surplice-Coppola household :)


Experimenting with an HDR'd panaroma

I wanted to try something I hadn't done before - a panaramo processed in HDR style. Some people hate HDR processed photos - and yep, they can be over the top, but like anything in photography, it's all subjective.

The Brisbane River, just outside my window, provided an interesting scene for a panarama - now the Rivercat stops at Teneriffe Pier, there are always boats drifting about.

I took 13 sets of bracketed shots on my 5D II, and then set about experimenting in CS5.

First, I created the three panos (the under exposed layer, the correctly exposed layer and the over exposed layer) using Photoshop's Photo Merge feature. I then tried to run those (rather enormous files) through the Merge to HDR Pro feature - it said the file sizes had to be the same....

I tried to re-size the files, but fiddling with pixels all proved a bit time consuming and ultimately didn't work. Finally, I ran the Merge to HDR Pro for each of the 13 bracketed shots, and stitched them all together in PhotoMerge to create this pano.....

I need to work out how to control the colour banding a bit more effectively, but it gave me a feel for the process. I'm keen to try it again - perhaps on a tripod and at night, might make an interesting alternative. In any case, it was great to be out at that time of the day with the camera. 

The large version of the image is available on my Flickr stream.