M is for…

M is for… Mustard and for Mysterious Macro function that is almost as random in its results as my bread slashing!

Red Mustard

We have been growing this brilliant variety of Mustard in our little raised bed this year. I love it. It grows fast and well, the slugs and pigeons leave it alone, and it is just mustardy enough not to bring tears to my eyes like some of these alternative salad leaves do.

Once it flowers it forms little seed pods which I mean to collect and try and use in something but they are much hotter than the leaves. I really recommend this leaf as it is delicious and piquant in salads and is a real looker too.

Celia made her own mustard recently and SincerelyEmily has written about it in this post too. I am going to try soon as well, got to try and keep up with all these talented bloggers!

Onto the Mysterious Macro function. This new little Lumix TZ 18 is far more complicated than the old one and I keep messing up the settings and then every so often quite by accident I take a shot like this of the fennel flowers.

Pressing buttons and reading mysterious menu messages. My eyes glaze over at talk of shutter speeds and apertures and white balances and focal fields. It’s one of those subjects that I almost ‘get’ and then lose again. Over and over. I want someone who understands the way I learn things to teach me how to do it.

Any one want to swap skills out there? Is there anything you have tried to learn and just can’t get the hang of?

It’s not bad outdoors too for such a small camera…

Dower House, Stoke Park

From the same point I managed to zoom in like this!

This is a shot of the Dower House, Stoke Park built in 1553, it is one of Bristol’s landmark buildings, you see it on your right as you drive into the City on the M32. It has been turned into private accommodation now, but has a long history as a mental hospital. I went there as a student and performed puppet shows for the patients and it was a sad old place then. I can’t look at it now without remembering those days.


Do have a look at Chiot’s Run’s (the host of the Alphabet in August) lovely post on Potagers if you have a moment today.

10 thoughts on “M is for…

  1. emilydev9

    Hmm, I always thought the macro setting was for small things; it allows you to get close and pick up detail, e.g. for flowers and bugs. That said, most of the photography I’ve done in the past 3 years or so has been with my phone, which has no settings whatsoever!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Yes, that’s correct ! Have another look at the pictures. See the fennel flower picture – that’s the macro setting. The fennel flowers are tiny in reality.

      Fennel in flower

  2. Misk Cooks

    I’m interested in your mustard leaves, and also wonder which alternative leaves make your eyes water. It will give me an idea of this plant’s potency.

    I also find the same when comparing my old vs. new-ish Panasonic Lumix. The macro was more intuitive on my old camera. The quality is better on my new one though.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I can’t remember exactly, last year we sowed packets of those mixed (mesclun) salads that you get in all the garden shops and some of the mustards in there were much hotter, they had dark green leaves. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to chillis and horseradish in particular, I love them but they all seem to go up my nose with a whoosh and make my eyes water…

      I just need some lessons that’s all. I have downloaded the manual but I can’t transfer what I read to what I do when I am taking the photos. I am not good at diagrams and spatial stuff and I have trouble with applying the basic concepts of the programme. In theory I understand it but it all goes out the window when I am prowling around the garden :)

  3. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Magnificent mad mustard may make many jars of moreish mustard to munch! :)

    I really should read the instructions on my Lumix as well. I love them both, but I’ve never been able to get the macro functions to really do anything. One tip from my friend Dan who’s a Lumix fan, she leave the white balance set on Auto and thinks it does very well in most conditions. I’m always fiddling with it though..

    1. Joanna Post author

      Ah so strange, I definitely wrote a reply… where has it gone? I am going to try making mustard very soon… I had no idea it was so relatively easy. Your friend Dan takes wonderful pictures and I think I just have to concentrate and give it all my attention one of these days, and not just press buttons semi randomly… :)

  4. heidi

    I like mustard and mesclun mixes- maybe I should plant some next year.
    I can’t help you with the camera stuff- I’m just limping along with the Canon I inherited from my son ;)

    1. Joanna Post author

      This red leafed mustard was speedy to grow and seems to tolerate quite wide changes in temperature and watering conditions. We have grown three short rows of it this summer so far. It might also be a good one to grow in a salad box too.

      Thanks for the camera solidarity thoughts too Heidi :)

  5. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Macro is my favourite function, everything else I’m not so sure about but macro and I are good friends. My camera learning consisted of…fiddle, fiddle, fiddle…oh dear quick turn it off… turn it back on and settings have reset themselves…usually.
    I wish I could learn by reading, but unfortunately it’s learn by fiddling.

    1. Joanna Post author

      My fiddling seems to end up with all the settings on the little programmes all over the place and not being able to focus at all… I end up giving it to Mr Camera and he puts it all back again how it was, but that’s not really the point is it? I should be able to sort it out. As they used to say at school, “Must try harder”.

      I love your photos as I am sure you know though. You have an artist’s eye :D

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