Scavenger Hunt #31 – Window

For the 31st Scavenger Hunt, I decided to create all my images within an overarching theme of “Board games” – and maybe take the opportunity to talk about said games during this post.

One of the words was “Window” and, while it may seem hard to have a board game themed image for that, there are two games that I know of that use the theme “let’s build stained window panels”: Sagrada, and this one, Azul Stained Glass of Sintra. Since I own the second one and not the first one, that’s the one I went for 🙂 Azul Stained Glass of Sintra is the second game of the Azul series (there’s currently, I think, three of them). They are abstract games that have the same core mechanics: tiles are randomly put into groups in the middle of the table. Players take turns taking all the tiles of the same color in a group and placing them on their board. Full lines give points; extra tiles count for the line count negative points. It’s a game we enjoy a lot… probably because it’s exactly our level of “cutthroat” 😉

I ran through a quick simulation between two players before taking a picture around what would be roughly early-mid-game, and this was the original picture, which didn’t require much edit work:

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA 50mm F2.8 Macro
Focal length50 mm
F-NumberF/8
Exposure time1/30s
ISO800

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Window album.

Scavenger Hunt #31 – Tea

For the 31st Scavenger Hunt, I decided to create all my images within an overarching theme of “Board games” – and maybe take the opportunity to talk about said games during this post.

Tea was… not easy. There exists a few board games that have tea as a theme, but I don’t own any of these. There’s a Tea card in Sushi Go, but that felt like a bit of a stretch. I finally decided that it was “my theme, my rules” 😉 When it comes to tea and games, my strongest association is role-playing games; the teapot that’s used in this shot is actually a gift from one of my game masters who really wanted a proper device to make tea (and that teapot is called Le Device 🙂 ).

I went for a bit of creative license, though, because the game I represent here is Dungeons & Dragons (the character sheet is 5th ed, the rest is 4th ed :P), and we didn’t drink much tea during D&D 🙂 D&D (and many role-playing games) is a narrative game where the players get to interact with a story, set in a high fantasy setting, under the guidance of a game master who knows and controls the setting and the obstacles of the story.

There’s been a lot of takes for this image, because I wanted the setup and angles to be just right; and I recruited my husband to give the impression that there were other players around the table too 😉 For this shot I used my Platypod, which may be one of the first times it gets used “for real”, and it helped a lot getting low enough on the table for the shot I wanted.

That’s the original shot – edits were pretty light on this one.

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8
Focal length36 mm
F-NumberF/10
Exposure time1/60s
ISO1250

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Tea album.

Scavenger Hunt #31 – Sparkle

For the 31st Scavenger Hunt, I decided to create all my images within an overarching theme of “Board games” – and maybe take the opportunity to talk about said games during this post.

One of the word was “Sparkle” – and what’s more sparkling than diamonds? Hence, I had a pretty straightforward theme with the game Diamant. Diamant is a push-your-luck game where players collect gemstones in a dangerous (think Indiana Jones-dangerous) mine. The more they dig, the more they’ll bring home – but if they fall into a trap they don’t bring anything back!

Here’s my original picture:

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA 50mm F2.8 Macro
Focal length50 mm
F-NumberF/8
Exposure time1/80s
ISO1000

This was most definitely not sparkly enough! Which meant that I need to add some sparkles to my diamonds… which meant that I created my first ever Photoshop brush. I mostly followed this video: Photoshop Tutorial: How to create a Star Brush Set. So I played with that for a while, and then I added a few (okay, a lot) of not-at-all-subtle digital glitter on my gems.

It was a lot of fun, and I’m actually quite happy with the final image!

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Sparkle album.

Scavenger Hunt #31 – Float

For the 31st Scavenger Hunt, I decided to create all my images within an overarching theme of “Board games” – and maybe take the opportunity to talk about said games during this post.

For “Float”, I was first playing with the idea of boat/ship themed board games. I could find a few ideas, but nothing necessarily very convincing. Instead, I got out a game that doesn’t see much light these days, namely “Hey, that’s my fish!”, where the ice sheets on which the penguins stand are definitely floating.

In “Hey, that’s my fish”, players control a few penguins that try to feed themselves. They start on an hexagonal grid made of tiles and can move to other tiles in a straight line to arrive on tiles that have 1, 2 or 3 fish. When a penguin leaves a tile, their controlling player picks the tile in their reserve, making the board emptier and emptier… and the penguins’ situation more and more precarious! It’s a fun game, except for two things: 1/ I *always* lose because I suck at it 2/ the setup time is way too long for the game time.

To make the picture, I setup the game and played a few rounds quickly until I got a situation making clear that the penguins are floating on some small pieces of ice. I had setup the game over a sheet of blue gift paper to symbolize some water, and I played around a lot with the different penguins to avoid seeing all the same figures everywhere and whatnot.

This was my original picture:

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA 50mm F2.8 Macro
Focal length50mm
F-NumberF/8
Exposure time1/25 s
ISO500

I wanted to give more texture to the “blue sea” – so that was my next step after the basic edits. I separated the blue background from the game pieces and played around with Photoshop creative filters until I got what I wanted. I’m somewhat unhappy with the blur because it’s not aligning with the DOF blur of the pieces; I considered fixing it after I noticed it, but I got lazy. Bah, room for improvement for the next ones!

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Float album.

Scavenger Hunt #31 – Fairy Tales

For the 31st Scavenger Hunt, I decided to create all my images within an overarching theme of “Board games” – and maybe take the opportunity to talk about said games during this post.

“Fairy Tales” ended up being a surprisingly hard concept to come to: I had a few games that I could make work with a bit of a stretch on the word, but nothing super convincing. There exists also a game called Fairy Tale, but it’s, as far as I know, out of print, and I do not own a copy. I knew where to borrow one, so it was definitely a backup plan. With the “I don’t have anything that obviously fits” out of the way, I looked at the board game shelves and went through the games one by one. That’s when the Dixit concept hit me.

Dixit is a party/social game that contains a lot of very pretty cards. In a round of Dixit, the current player (the “story teller”) gives a word or a story about a card she has in her hand. All other players provide cards from their hands that fit that word; the goal for them is to find the card that the story teller chose in the collected cards. The goal of the story teller is to have at least one player find her card, but not all of them. The challenge then becomes, for the story teller as well as for the guessers, to find the one card that’s “guessable, but not obvious”… or that has a common enough interpretation to be able to play on the luck factor.

It turns out that “fairy tale” is a fairly common theme in Dixit – I wouldn’t say that it’s a theme that comes at every game, but not far from it. Surprisingly enough, the number of cards that not only evoke, but strongly evoke the word in the whole deck of cards is fairly low. Still, I found a dozen of them, and arranged them around the scoring/guessing board. To represent the scores of the 12 imaginary players, I… threw a die 12 times and put a random bunny on each of the obtained scores 😉

It took me a few attempts to get an angle that I found pleasing, while not displaying too much empty space around the cards, and finding an arrangement of the cards that would make them all at least somewhat visible. This is the original picture (which is significantly messier out of the cropped frame, as you can see 🙂 ), with no particular edits except what was needed to make it presentable 😉

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8
Focal length27mm
F-NumberF/14
Exposure time1/13 s
ISO800

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Fairy Tales album.

Scavenger Hunt #31 – Ink

For the 31st Scavenger Hunt, I decided to create all my images within an overarching theme of “Board games” – and maybe take the opportunity to talk about said games during this post.

“Ink” would have been a slam dunk word a couple of Hunts ago – I do have a (now somewhat on the side) calligraphy hobby, and I would have gone that way and taken the opportunity to get my nibs wet, or something like that 😉 If not for the desire to go for an overarching theme, I would probably have done that, or experimented with ink-in-water shots. Instead, I do own a game called Railroad Ink, for which, at least, I have the expectation of having the only picture with that interpretation in the album.

Railroad Ink is essentially a “multiplayer solo game”, in that there is absolutely no interaction between the players during the game. It’s a “roll & write”: a set of dice is rolled every round, and players write stuff on their sheet, and repeat until the game is over (in this case for a set number of rounds.) In this instance of roll & write, the dice represent roads and rails (and lakes and volcanoes with the expansions), and the players compete in making whatever the dice throws at them build the best road & rail network.

For this picture, I played the whole game and counted my score. I had initially managed to mess up the sum and given myself 10 extra points, oops… had to retake the shot after that ;). Then I setup things to show the box, to make the relation to the theme crystal clear, and another player mat to fill in the picture and have a bit more interesting stuff than my table.

The major difficulty was to get proper angles and setup so that the image would look good (and avoid unfortunate @#! reflections); but with this initial picture, the edits were completely straightforward.

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA 50mm F2.8 Macro
Focal length50 mm
F-NumberF/11
Exposure time1/40s
ISO400

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Ink album.

Scavenger Hunt #30 – Pantone Color of the Year 2021

Lists of words for the Scavenger Hunt usually contain a color. This time, the color was a bit particular: “Pantone Color of the Year 2021”. It turns out that said Pantone color had not been released yet and, although it rarely happens, this year, there were two: Ultimate Grey and Illuminating (which is a bright yellow).

My initial idea was to take a B&W picture with selective coloring of a yellow bath duck. It turns out that basic yellow bath ducks are surprisingly hard to find – I found a lot of “themed” ducks, but no… archetypical bath duck. (And I don’t own one either.) Since this didn’t happened, I was on the lookout for yellow and grey things on one of my photo walks. It turns out that the light on this parking building was a very nice golden yellow, and that the building itself was concrete grey. Neither shows much on my picture of said building:

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8
Focal length24mm
F-Numberf/9
Exposure time1/80 s
ISO160

But a bit of editing put it back to how I saw it initially. I’m not super-satisfied, neither with this picture by itself nor by its use for the theme (it is pretty weak), but I’d much rather have a weak submission than no submission at all, so there! (Also, looking at it a few weeks later, I’m wondering what crossed my mind for that crop. It’s weird and distracting. Bah!)

And for the Scavenger album: the Color album.

Scavenger Hunt #30 – Upside Down

For “Upside Down”, I zeroed on the “upside down cake” interpretation fairly quickly – I just missed a recipe and an occasion, and both presented themselves during the time of the hunt. The usual “upside down cake” in France would be Tarte Tatin (upside down apple pie) but I wanted the concept to be recognizable by the larger Scavenger audience, so I went for a pineapple recipe, which looked like the most common meaning of the concept 🙂

I went for Nigella’s recipe: Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and it was (to my taste at least) absolutely fantastic cake 🙂 I messed up a bit on two occasions: a/ I used syrupy cherries instead of candied cherries (because candied cherries are actually surprisingly hard to get here – although since then I found them 😉 ) b/ I put too much of them in places they didn’t belong – which means they kind of bled through the pineapple. I also made the initial mistake of not centering the cake on the plate when I first removed it from the pan, and moving it to a more central position involved a lot of care.

Still, I made a lot of pictures, and that’s the one I ended up choosing. Some were better just after I got it from the pan because it was still steaming, but, well, see previous point about centering. It also took me a fair amount of trial and errors to get an angle I was happy with.

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensSigma 28mm F1.8 EX DG Aspherical DG DF Macro
Focal length28mm
F-NumberF/10
Exposure time1/20 s
ISO800

The edits were on the slightly more involved side of things because I wanted the background to be a clean black (and it wasn’t in the original picture, due to KITCHEN). I also went for a less purple aspect of the cherry bleeding, which felt better to me. I do regret a bit not seeing that I had lost significant light in the cherries on the border – could have been better on the edit there!

For all the interpretations of the word from my fellow Scavengers: the Upside Down album.

Scavenger Hunt #30 – Clouds

Clouds eluded me for a fairly long time – did I want to take pictures of proper clouds (very weather-dependent to get pretty ones, not something that can be relied to much in December in Zürich), make egg clouds, create clouds for a diorama with cotton? And then it struck me: we DO have a game where players control clouds, and I didn’t even have a board game-themed picture yet!

The game is called Petrichor; we mostly bought it because it had such a unique theme, but I must admit it’s still on the “pile of shame” of games we haven’t played yet. It’s a pity, though: I ran through the rulebook and played a solo game for this picture – I did mess up a rule (and my messing up of that rule is visible on this board 😉 ), but other than that the status on this board is a “real” game status 🙂 I took several pictures with different angles, and I settled on this one:

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8
Focal length38mm
F-Numberf/6.3
Exposure time1/20s
ISO800

It’s mostly dark because I underexposed because I was too lazy to get the tripod out; and the processing was limited to the usual crop/light/color adjustments.

For all the other interpretations of the word by my fellow Scavengers: the Cloud album.

Scavenger Hunt #30 – Warming

The word Warming almost stumped me. Until, as I do every winter, I arrive after Christmas, and I go “urgh, I missed Glühwein AGAIN this year.” Glühwein (mulled wine) is a staple of Christmas markets and, while it still can be found in various places after Christmas and/or on ski resorts, it’s just not the same for me. This year, at least, there was the excuse of no Christmas market for me to miss it, and not just “getting distracted and forgetting about it”.

And at some point I made the connection between “warming” and “Glühwein” and my decision was there: I would make some Glühwein, drink it and be merry, and get pictures in the process. I started with the recipe of David Lebovitz – Vin chaud: Hot Mulled Wine – and tweaked it a bit. For one thing, I do want cinnamon in my mulled wine, so I added some. And for a second thing, well, the Swedish version does at least one thing right, and that’s the addition of raisins and almonds – so I did that as well. But I was quite happy to see that Lebovitz’ recipe had a star anise in there, because it makes for a visually interesting spot in the pan!

Anyway, I followed the recipe, and made pictures as it was cooking.

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8
Focal length58mm
F-Numberf/6.3
Exposure time1/20 s
ISO2500

The post-processing was, once again, very straightforward – crop, exposition, colors (I went for a slightly, well, warmer tone – that seemed adequate), and SHIP IT!

And for the images of my fellow Scavengers: the Warming album.