observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

  • Welcome to my photo journal

    Living on Vancouver Island in B.C. Canada Diane loves the scent of forests and rain, the rhythms of the sea, and holds discoveries and stories in high regard.

    Where mornings begin with a drum roll! --Diane M Schuller

    Updated on random Mondays ... simply an online journal of an ordinary life. Come on in to enjoy a breath of West Coast air.

    Bread, beautiful bread

    Have you always thought baking bread was a long, laborious task? Well it’s time to shake that notion right out of your mind. First, I have a confession to make: I do make homemade pizza dough nearly every Friday night. I do it the long way by dissolving yeast in warm water, adding it to the flour, mixing and kneading, letting rise for an hour or so, then more kneading. A person needs to plan and have time for THAT! But, here’s the great news! Twice in the last month I have come across two different people who are making beautiful artisan bread but without all that time and without all that kneading.


    Crusty aromatic bread that looks like this loaf I baked yesterday. I replaced 1/3 of the flour with rye flour even though this is the first time I’ve ever made this particular recipe and it was delicious. We enjoyed it still slightly warm married with a variety of cheeses and homemade chicken vegetable soup. You’re still wondering how this is possible. I let time do the ‘kneading’ and rising.

    I used the recipe and instructions for the No-Knead Bread out of The New York Times (print it while it’s still online) adapted from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. Your patience will be rewarded if you let time do the work. It’s also called an 18 hour bread because that is how long you leave it (and that’s with no major mixing, no mess, no kneading) overnight to rise and proof. But since all bread needs that second rise for that excellent artisan texture, I’d suggest building in about 20-24 hours from the time you add the ingredients to your bowl to when it comes out of the oven.

    I added my ingredients in a bowl right after clearing the supper table and let it do its thing overnight. The next day at lunch I punched it down, shaped it and let it rise (yes, no kneading) for a couple more hours. When I was ready for it a few hours later, I put it in the oven.

    Give it a try. You won’t believe how easy peasy it is and how absolutely fabulous it is as well. I’m thinking I may make two next time and give one as a gift. The smell when it comes out of the oven is divine but the flavour will knock your December socks off!

    PS: As you’ve likely noticed I’m swamped and haven’t had much time for blogging. This will likely be the case until after Christmas though I’ll try to post once or twice before then, if possible. Enjoy your bread and let me know how yours turns out!!

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    And the winner is …

    Drumroll please.

    The winner of my People’s Choice 8 x 10 photo print is:

    Cis of Cicero Sings. She wins her choice of one mounted (but not framed) 8 x 10 from my “possibles” gallery. For her people’s choice she choose 6331 (brilliant spider web with bokeh) and 3339 (red boat hull on still water).

    spider web

    As I mentioned in my original post, I made a second draw and the winner of the second place draw is:

    gnubee (and I don’t believe she has a blog or Flickr account)

    For second place in this draw I am making a pair of handmade photo cards using the 2 photos gnubee selected as her people’s choice, 6331 and 3339 (the brilliant spider web with bokeh and the hull of the red boat on still water).


    Congratulations to both winners! Thank you to everyone who entered — your feedback was so very helpful.

    The purpose of the draw was so I could get an idea which photos might have wide appeal when I open my Etsy shop. I have an account all set up but now I’ll get some prints professionally produced to add to the shop. Watch my blog for the grand opening!

    As you can see, both the winners chose the exact same photos. That’s not surprising as the trend right from the beginning indicated both those photos as favourites. As I had guessed, the poppies were the next popular images so those may be added to the shop prior to spring.

    My watermark will not appear on the winning prints and notecards, nor on any prints purchased at Etsy.

    Thank you everyone for your valuable feedback!

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    If Wishes Came True

    If wishes came true, I would want to be photographed by Annie Leibovitz.

    You know how people are creating lists of things they want to do before they die. Well, I haven’t done one of those lists and this wish of being photographed by Annie Leibovitz is simply a wish or a dream. It’s not something I’d try to make happen because she would never consider some nobody like me. She photographs famous people, politicians, and celebrities. But a gal can always make wishes.




    Annie Leibovitz has another book out, Annie Leibovitz at Work. I was reading a description of the book and now I’m wishing for her book! At least that is something that can come true.


    Ever wonder what Annie Leibovitz’s favourite photography books are? Wonder no more, she tells us all right here!

    What are you wishing for, or dreaming of?

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    Shifting Landscape of our Life

    They’re lonely these days since I pick up my camera far more often than I type out strings of words.


    This year I’ve been concentrating on my photography plus the planning and then the launching of my photography as a business. In doing so, my freelance writing has been drastically reduced — by design. The last major article I have written is soon to be released in Dogs In Canada magazine’s December 2008 issue. It’s an article I did based on an interview with musician and activist Matthew Good.

    I continue to write a weekly environment column, “Everyday Earth Wise,” for Grande Prairie Ink!, a local lifestyle newspaper. Yes, the environment is another of my passions. I’ve been green for decades, before it was ever cool to be green.

    As we go through life, the landscape of our life shifts, changes, and moves in different directions. Have you found your passions have shifted? Or perhaps you’ve finally followed a lifetime passion? Tell me about it, or if you’ve written a post about it, leave a link in the comments so we can read about the shifts in the landscape of your life.


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    Picture This

    One of the things I love photographing are animals, whether domestic or wild. I’ve mentioned before how much I appreciate that animals live in the moment so they’re not worried about how they look, what angle you’re wanting, or whether their hair is mussed!

    This lovely gal didn’t have to worry about mussed hair did she? Though you will see a bit of mussed hair in a photo of another beauty a bit further down in this post.


    In the case of dogs and cats, I do my photo shoots on location: either in the client’s home or at a park or other outdoor area. The important thing is for me to blend in so I can catch those quiet moments or the ones where they’re being frisky and full of spunk.


    I love the way Henry’s lip is caught in this shot. He was continually on the go and had the most wonderful expressions every time he’d stop and re-assess his surroundings.

    Of course, I love photographing other beautiful creatures equally as well.


    If you’d like to see more photos of dogs, horses, other critters, and wildlife, click those links to view a small sample I have posted at Flickr. If you live in Alberta or British Columbia and would like for me to come take photos of your pets, please contact me (see the sidebar for my ‘coordinates’). Enjoy!

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    How many of you actually remember that soft drink? I was never one for soft drinks but, as a kid, I always loved their logo. Speaking of logo, I finally have a logo for my photography business. I likely won’t begin using it on my photos and adding it here until next week (need to learn the in’s and out’s of applying it). Now for a different sort of 7-up below.


    Jamie at Umbrellablog tagged me for sharing 7 random or unusual things about myself. I am breaking with my rule about participating in these but I decided to participate but minus the tagging. Thank you for thinking of me Jamie. I thought it may be a good idea to share more about me other than just the photography. So here’s my 7-up!



    • I’m an only child and I only had one child.
    • I am deeply and innately drawn to bodies of water: ocean in particular, but also rivers, lakes, streams.
    • I’m also a writer and, in addition to the short stories, a few poems, and numerous magazine articles published, I’ve also won two writing contests in which my stories were produced for radio.
    • I’ve survived cancer but lost my dear and precious mother to cancer.
    • We have three dogs and feed them a species-appropriate meat-and-bones diet.
    • I’ve been environmentally friendly for decades and for the past two years have written a weekly environment column for a local newspaper.
    • I live in a rural northern area of Alberta and miss being near the city VERY much; I do enjoy country living but we’re much too far away from any urban centre.



    where we live

    where we live

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