Preview shots because Saturday was filled with a series of activities and my chest cold is sending me to bed now, in protest. More to follow.
December 7, 2013 by Gail Aguiar (Gail at Large)
December 6, 2013 by Gail Aguiar (Gail at Large)
Friday night was an event shoot: a fundraiser by artists (including cousin Marta) to raise money for Liga Portuguesa Contra o Cancro – NRN (Portuguese League Against Cancer) at Câmara Ambígua in Matosinhos, the same gallery where she had her Peixe show in October. This being an area of interest for me and a language-free way for me to begin volunteering, I offered my photographic services to shoot the event.
Paulo drove me to the gallery before the show started so I could get in some shots before people arrived, which was the only way to shoot all the pieces individually. He also carried my equipment during the evening and acted as my assistant during the show. If you’re also looking for an assistant, he accepts payment by Mastercard, Visa, or cookies
The exposition launched on Friday night and on Sunday afternoon the art will be sold by live auction. Each of the 51 pieces was produced by a different artist whose creations are made using paint can lids, identified only by a number but not by name.
I wanted to get these photos edited and online quickly to help the auction on Sunday. The full album can be viewed as thumbnails, full-screen slideshow, or a smaller version autoplaying in the slideshow below:
December 6, 2013 by Gail Aguiar (Gail at Large)
We passed by the Mosteiro (monastery) de Moreiro last Sunday when we were giving a food bank volunteer a lift home, and I asked Paulo to return so I could shoot this music-themed Christmas tree. I thought it was clever how they used simple objects to decorate it, which appealed to my minimalistic style when it comes to this time of the year. It’s also hardy enough to stay outdoors. It would probably get rusty if it rained, but there hasn’t been any for so long I’m forgetting what that’s like.
I’m including the signboard for the Portuguese-speakers. If I only posted this once I got around to translating it myself (sadly not possible to copy/paste in Translator), it would never get posted!
December 5, 2013 by Gail
I’ve come to the conclusion that if you do the following things, you won’t be reminded that Christmas is coming:
- don’t watch TV
- don’t listen to the radio
- don’t look at flyers that end up in the mailbox
- don’t go to the shopping mall
This week it was easy to do all of the above, and Christmas became a thing that showed up in the various RSS and social media feeds (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Feedly). I was at the mall briefly last Sunday, and Santa was drawing a very large crowd, like a rockstar.
I’ve stated my reasons before, why I’ve avoided Christmas, starting with a trip to Cuba where the state has all but discouraged any religious celebration. If I had my way, I’d escape to Cuba every Christmas.
Except this year. This year is different because I’m married to a Catholic, and I’m living in a Catholic country. In some ways, I’ve come full circle: I was born in a Catholic country as a non-Catholic and then moved to a secular country, where everyone expected me to be Catholic by virtue of where I was from (because the Philippines is VERY Catholic). 39 years later, I’m making a return to living with Catholicism.
Now I’m a resident of Portugal I’m going with the flow, and the flow definitely includes celebrating Christmas. With that in mind, since this is my first Christmas here, I wanted to have an idea of what to expect in terms of traditions. I did some Googling around, read some blogs, looked up traditional Christmas food, that sort of thing. I found this slideshare that someone made which gives an explanation about Christmas and New Year traditions. I think this was created for a grade school project.
I’m sure my husband will weigh in on it, if he has an opinion
December 4, 2013 by Gail Aguiar (Gail at Large)
This is a piss-poor pic from my old Blackberry when Beano (RIP) was still in good shape, but it perfectly illustrates what life is like when the household is feeling under the weather. Also, Beano was super-cute hiding in the blankets, something he did quite often.
Found a lump at the end of the bed, but it snores. Beano is the only cat I know that will hide under the covers even in summertime.
Yes, Casa Aguiar has not been immune to the seasonal illness(es) this week. Paulo started being symptomatic on Saturday when we went to Vile do Conde for the mushroom workshop, then stayed home from work on Monday and Tuesday with uncooperative sinuses. During these four days I was symptom-free, for the most part. Paulo worked from the couch via his company laptop and caught up on his recorded sci-fi shows between bouts of sleeping through the misery.
Then, when we was well enough to return to work, Paulo’s sinus symptoms apparently migrated to me, skipping my sinuses (mostly) and heading straight for my lungs. Yuck. I’ve had pneumonia before, three years ago, and I hope to never have it again, so I was careful to keep a low profile. I cancelled my weekly language exchange and sadly turned down an invitation to a movie premiere. Boo… but it was for the best, because the weekend will be busy and the last thing I want is to be sidelined even longer. I hate the dry coughing and my lungs feel like they’ve been invaded, but I distinctly remember what pneumonia felt like and that’s not what this is.
Thankful it’s not worse!
December 3, 2013 by Gail Aguiar (Gail at Large)
If you’re not into smartphones, photography, mobile filters, or social media, your eyes have surely glazed over already at this title. And if you’re an iPhone user, you might’ve been using VSCO for a while now. It’s not news.
If you’re none of the above yet the name VSCO sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because I’ve mentioned it in March when I went to San Diego, and you’ve been seeing VSCO applied to some degree on nearly all my photos here for most of 2013.
VSCO (Visual Supply Company) is a film emulation program that’s built for editing programs — mostly Adobe products — and their mobile app is called VSCO Cam. Both are designed to tweak the pixels to look less digital and more like film. You could say it follows fashion tendencies to glom onto things retro or vintage for mass appeal. In any case, for those of us who are actually old enough to remember film, it has a certain nostalgia. For the youngsters, the appeal is more fashion-oriented.
Since I use VSCO already for my regular editing, I was looking forward to the Android release. Sure, I use the Instagram app to make my crappy mobile pics look more interesting, but the filters are really limited and I like more control. However, I didn’t buy my phone for the camera and I refuse to spend a lot of money on a mobile phone, which leaves me to tweak mobile pics using free filters. It’s my preference — I’d rather spend my money on high-quality photography, and that doesn’t include anything that comes out of a phone.
VSCO finally released their mobile app for the Android platform today, and of course like most newly-released mobile apps (eg. Instagram) it was buggy. It was slow to load, and kept crashing when I’d send a pic to it from the gallery. I tweeted my gripe and got a surprisingly prompt response from VSCO Cam’s support (within an hour). Chalk one up for VSCO! I’ve seen other Android users make the same complaint in the Google Play Store, let’s see how quickly VSCO responds with an update. [Edit: an update was released December 5, two days later. Looks like they've fixed the export to VSCO problem.]
If it sounds like I’m writing a sponsored post for VSCO, let me assure you I would most definitely give full disclosure if that were the case. I’m just an ordinary product user. To the other VSCO users out there, whether you’re on Android or iPhone, happy fake-film-shooting!
December 2, 2013 by Gail Aguiar (Gail at Large)
What’s with the title that sounds like a grade school textbook cover, you ask? Well, this post is about mushrooms — including the magical kind — which brings us to mushroom identification. Very important when you’re walking through the woods and lean down to pick some mushrooms and wonder if they’re edible or not. These little things can be deadly, or tasty, or good for you, or not. Food or foe, wouldn’t you want to know?
Paulo and I went to a mushroom workshop in Vila do Conde on Saturday, which first took place at the Centro Ciência Viva (Living Science Centre), before moving to the nearby woods for a field trip.
The Science Centre in Vila do Conde has a photogenic ceiling. The building used to be a jail, and the place where the ceiling currently is was the patio, around which they built this tower.
From there everyone in the workshop carpooled to a wooded area by a residential neighbourhood about five minutes away. Our guide, Carlos Venade, with the help of some eagle-eyed spotters in the group, found some varieties and he explained each mushroom type as we encountered them. My Portuguese isn’t enough to follow the explanations, but Paulo stepped in to translate for me from time to time.
I think everyone’s favourite thing was to squeeze the mushrooms that spewed spores through their “blowholes”:
If you think you know mushrooms, you should really talk to Carlos Venade. It doesn’t take a grasp of Portuguese to see the guy can identify plants at twenty paces. And when you begin to find out how many different species of plants are in the average forest, it is truly mind-boggling. Paulo’s attended workshops led by him before, about aromatic and edible plants, and that was a motivation to see this one.
To have a sense of wonder about the planet means we should also be more conscious of how to preserve the ecosystems, through understanding nature. For example, how mushrooms and trees have a mutually-beneficial relationship (hint: mushrooms hold a lot of water).
After a couple of hours in the field we were down to the last bit of light. The workshop continued once the group made our way back to the science centre, with a screen presentation and a couple of baskets of mushrooms for demonstration. There was even tea and very edible mushrooms in olive oil served with bread and butter (with tiny mushrooms mixed in) afterwards, which made me thankful I’m not allergic to mushrooms because they are very tasty… I even bought a jar of marinated mushrooms to take home and gave it to my in-laws.