Jumping: the landing

One more post about the show jumping event I attended a while ago (previous ones: jumps and take-offs): landings. After the flight phase, the horse and rider have to prepare the landing. The difficulty for the rider lies in keeping balance, while allowing the horse to use its front legs in a way that the combined weight doesn’t damage its front limbs. In the fourth picture you can see the angle of the pastern, absorbing the impact – it is the less blurred part of the picture, so the stillest one. Furthermore, horses have no collar bones, so the impact of landing is received by muscles and tendons, instead of more breakable joints.

The rider changes position, from staying close to the horse’s neck during the flight phase to leaning slightly backwards, ideally on a vertical line. The rider in the fifth picture is leaning forward, maybe the horse made a big jump that was hard to follow? It sure takes a lot of practice to properly ride your horse on such jumps (thanks Scottish Rider for sharing your experiences during training!), so I prefer to celebrate the moments of good coordination 🙂

 

 

 

Jumping: pictures of take-offs

I wish to write several posts about aspects of horse jumping that I observed at last Friday’s competition. Today I write about the initial phase of the jump, the take-off. It is less often portrayed in photography, and in my case it was mainly the result of inaccurate timing than a conscious decision – still, I caught on film a bunch of interesting moments.

Horse jumping looks really crazy when you realise it involves galloping full speed towards the obstacle. Notice also how the rider changes the body position during the take-off (see Wikipedia for further info on jumping techniques)

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This pair is jumping willingly…

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… while this pair looks concerned…

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… and this horse refused to jump:

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and these two pictures caught the moment when the horse has both front feet below the body, right before the jump, and look unnaturally still:

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Stay tuned for further posts about this event!

Photography: my first steps

I have admiration for great photography, but I am a beginner. Unfortunately, I was so afraid of bad results that I haven’t properly tried out the nice camera I have at home since a couple years, a Fujifilm FinePix. However, yesterday I attended the first day of the Longines Global Champions Show in Berlin, and I brought the camera to snap a few pics.

I ended up taking pictures the whole day, and piled up one thousand of them! Thank you, digital cameras and large SD cards! I can’t imagine myself daring so much, if I had to spend money on film and development. And thanks to the camera for letting me snap great pictures, without requiring me neither a good eyesight nor photography background. In fact, all pictures in this post are done with fixed zoom and the default camera preset.

Time for the pictures! I want to share my thoughts about taking pictures to a horse show jumping competition. The first ones that come to mind are portraying the flying moment over the jump, and I managed to snap 4 pictures with an acceptable timing and focus, here are two of the best:

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A few pictures were correctly timed but out of focus – I decided to keep them, and I find them somewhat artistic:

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The important point is that for every of these good(ish) pictures, I took tens of pictures with no horse, or a nose, or a tail:

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I think the picture with the best focus AND with a horse in it is this one:

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… while this is the blurriest (that I like nevertheless):

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I took many pictures of the riders and horses negotiating turns, the rider with the eye and attention on the next obstacle (in the second picture, the horse is not turning yet):

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I managed to get a single picture of a horse hitting a pole (poles are held in place by small, almost flat supports that allow the pole to wiggle but stay in place if it is lightly touched, but fall down at moderate to hard impacts. There is no danger that the horse remains trapped in them), also because it happened quite rarely:

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There are many other pictures that I find interesting, in their unprofessionality; but I am afraid to make this post too long, so I want to end with this nicely timed picture of the suspension phase of the gallop:

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Time for final considerations and to-dos for myself:

  • I enjoyed taking pictures, especially after I decided to focus on something else than getting the standard jump pic;
  • … therefore I saw many more aspects of the riding competition, and collected a lot of impressions along the day;
  • I was OK with making an awful lot of pictures, but only 1% that I could be proud of, and show to others;
  • I realised that I need to learn more about photography principles, if I want to access the potential of this camera;
  • I enjoyed the fact that the camera compensated most of my mistakes, thus motivated me to improve – it is otherwise hard to see if bad results come from my skills or from the equipment.

Stay tuned for more pictures from this event in some future post, and let me know your feedback in the comments! Thanks in advance 🙂

 

Picnic at the park

I recently have been so inspired by this list of 50 activities to do on your own, published by Jo Chunyan, that I printed the picture version of the list and hung it in my living room.

I loved the idea of giving value to time and activities done alone: in fact, there are many things on that list that are done outdoors, and/or involve physical activity, or let you improve the state of your home, and so on. For the shy personality of mine, it is a gentler invitation to get out and move my body, without the implication that I must interact with people or exhaust myself – and most importantly, that time alone can be spent in many ways (more than those 50, for sure!), which include my current indoor favourites: decluttering my room and reading.

Long story short, today the sun was shining, so I picked up two items from that list:

  • 42: Go to the park with some sandwiches, a picnic blanket and a good book
  • 49: Take a photo to depict each hour of your day (I actually read it as: take a picture of the same place at one-hour intervals)

Out I went to the park nearby with my packed lunch (I had leftovers from yesterday’s pasta, and fresh fruits and vegs, so it was really quick to put together) and a book that I have to read for my Montessori diploma.

I ate, read, dozed, smiled to passers-by, and took three picture at one hour interval:

Then I left because it had become too warm and sunny, but it was a great time outside, relaxing and interesting 🙂

 

Food blogs I follow

I wish to thank the food bloggers that inspire me with their stories, recipes and pictures, I hope you find joy from their posts too. It’s a long post, because I wanted to show a picture from each blog, I hope you enjoy them!

I start with Papaya Pieces: admire her wonderful berry cupcakes…

BBC Food Programme: 28-minute podcasts, funny, interesting, about ingredients or places or people, all around food. There are gems like: The Apple – how British a fruit?

Cookies and Chemistry: I love Cindy’s motivational posts, food photography tips, and life thoughts:

Charismatic Baking: nice balance of recipes and meditations around life!

Der Brotdoc (in German): worth a visit, even only for the pictures:

Cooking without limits: clever food photography tips and wholesome recipes:

The Little Vegan: lots of ideas for vegan versions of common recipes, and many vegan-from-the-start recipes:

frauke’s delicious fritid: mostly dessert recipes, simple and tasty:

My Lighthearted Kitchen: bilingual posts (English and French) about cooking and motivational thoughts:

Ricette Veg: my friend Madi’s food blog, where she posts traditional Italian recipes:

Green Cooking Blog: a 17-year-old foodie shows a great mix of creativity, cooking and photo skills:

Happy food-blogging everyone!

From the kitchen: bread #28

I am so proud of my 28th baking result that I have to post pictures immediately 🙂

I used a recipe from Brotbackbuch n.2, namely Roggenmischbrötchen (mixed rye and wheat flour buns) in order to use a generous amount of my rye sourdough, that was almost dripping out of its container.

I took some time to understand the format of the recipe, but then followed it without issues. I made 8 buns and let them rise under a cloth (a piece of BOMULL fabric by IKEA, that I received as a present from valhalla – actually, as the wrapping of a briaccola):

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Notice the separation folds: they keep the buns from sticking to each other, and partly decide how large the bun will rise. I put a good amount of flour on the cloth to prevent sticking.

After about an hour of rising, the buns grew twice the initial size, so I preheated the oven and tried a new technique to put them in it, using a half-circular wooden tray that I had from a small electrical pizza oven. It worked like a charm:

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The buns cooked nicely for 20ish minutes, in two batches of 4:

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And here they are:

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The black and orange tool is a temperature measuring device. It is super useful in the kitchen: I used it to check the temperature of the oven, but I most often use it to measure the temperature of oil in a pan, so that it doesn’t overheat, and is hot enough to start browning onions.

Here is the detail of two crusts:

I am going to taste one, as soon as it cools down a bit 🙂

I hope I inspired you to bake your own bread and buns!

My beloved lakes and rivers

Since I moved in Berlin, I have been enjoying its numerous lakes, rivers and canals. I have a special crush on the Dahme, which joins the Spree in Köpenick, one of the boroughs of Berlin I like most.

Evening in Köpenick

The quiet atmosphere of the river reminds me of Lake Maggiore, close to my hometown in Italy. Winter makes the sky of a darker shade of light blue, which contrasts with the houses’ warm tones.

Isola Bella, Lago Maggiore

I can’t say I miss Italian lakes, when I have such pretty landscapes in my neighborhood.