what is real

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I had the pleasure of taking a friend to try soy meat for the first time of his life at my favorite Thai vegetarian restaurant called Veggie Veggie. I had only found out after we sat down in front of the menus that he had developed a fear for anything made of tofu since he was a little boy. He ordered Pad Thai with soy chicken. After he had finished every strand of noodle and left with a plate of “chicken” pieces on the plate, I began to feel sorry for the soy chicken. I encouraged him, with some peer pressure, to finally take a bite. “Wow, it tastes like chicken. It’s so weird!” His gripe was that, “Why don’t people just make chicken with chicken?” “Because we don’t want to kill the poor chickens.” “Maybe they’ll make carrots with Chicken next.” “Perhaps. but if you think it’s weird to have chicken made of tofu, would you actually eat carrots made of chicken?” The root of his gripe was that the soy chicken looked and tasted just like chicken! I commended him for taking that first bite in the end. I accept the fact that everyone has very different affinity and tolerance for gastronomic adventures.

It turns out that people often make food that look like something else. Orzo, despite its rice-like shape, it’s actually a pasta made with semolina flour like many other types of pasta. Orzo salad is really simple to make. After cooking it following instructions to al dente, toss it with chopped fresh ripe tomato and Italian parsley, salt and pepper, olive oil, and some balsamic vinegar. Simple!

I took this set of orzo salad pictures with my favorite lensbaby. I had forgotten how much fun it is to play with its different properties. Due to its flexible accordion like lens tube, I can shift the focal point of the image. The picture above is focused on the right half of the plate, and out of focus on the left. I didn’t cheat by rotating the picture.

Also, you can stretch and compress the lens tube to focus on objects further or closer (macro). This means manual focusing. Lensbaby has properties similar to a tilt-shift camera lens. You can tilt the lens to change the perspective, or the plane of the lens relative to the focal axis. As a result, with the same aperture, I can change the focal plane, in essence the depth of field. Here are some comparisons. The shot on the left has non-tilted lens. So the objects behind the focal point become out of focus very quickly into a blur. With a slight tilt for the picture on the right, you can see that more objects, despite they are further away from the focal point, are still in focus. I use a lensbaby 2.0, which doesn’t allow you to lock in the position of the lens like in lensbaby 3.0. The second picture has a slightly different focal point. However, I think it’s sufficient to demonstrate the versatility and options that this simple little lens can offer.

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These close up photo of the orzo do a better job to illustrate the effect.

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I don’t yet understand but I don’t think the lens works perfectly with my canon rebet xt’s light sensor. I always have to step down a couple of notches to avoid over exposure. The lens is great at bringing out highlights in a scene, like that piece of tomato. It makes things look moist, glistening and real.

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This entry was posted by Maya.

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