The reason I made this recipe: I love hot sauce especially Tabasco sauce. But, life happens. I forget to buy hot sauce when I go to the store. I run out. Sometimes I like variety and look for “Tabasco-like” sauces in the huge array of different sauces at the store which usually ends up a disappointment. I also like really hot sauces and many on the market are either pure heat or pure flavor with not enough heat.

This is a very basic hot sauce and fits well with my philosophy of keeping recipes simple and easy to remember. This recipe is a bit on the sweet side and you can tone this down by adjusting the sugar.

Special note: Be sure and wear gloves when handling habanero peppers.

Ingredients you’ll need
• About 5 standard size habanero peppers
• 1 cup white vinegar
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 small can of tomato paste

Instructions
Before you begin handling habanero peppers, you’ll want to put on a pair of latex or vinyl gloves. The oils you get on your hands can cause intense burning sensations. For most people, this isn’t evident at first, but after about twenty minutes it can really burn, especially if you’ve touched your face or worse yet rubbed your eyes.

If you’re allergic to latex, there is a variety of non-latex gloves on the market that are made of things like Vinyl, nitrile, and neoprene. I prefer standard medical gloves because they’re available at most popular department stores, and fairly inexpensive if you shop smartly.

First, rinse the peppers really good with warm water. On a glass cutting board or plate, trim off the stems, cut the peppers in half, and remove the seeds with a teaspoon or small paring knife. Some people like to leave the seeds for added heat, but I remove them because they usually don’t blend well and you end up with seeds in your sauce which I don’t like. Discard them immediately to keep the oils from coming in contact with people or utensils. I like to just wash them down the garage disposal in the kitchen sink .I do not recommend using a wooden cutting board because the oils can/will saturate into the wood. A glass cutting board is ideal if it can be washed in the dishwasher. Otherwise, a small dish works fine and it should be placed immediately in the dishwasher after use.

Blend the peppers in about a cup of white vinegar. It’s a good idea to put the vinegar in the blender first, turn the blender on, and then add the peppers and the sugar. Once the mixture is blended well, you can check for consistency. It’s normal for the sauce to be thin at this time and it can be thickened by adding a small amount of tomato paste. I usually start with about a tablespoon of paste, and normally will end up putting about a third of a can of paste in.
Once the desired consistency is reached, it’s time to simmer. Place your sauce in a pan and heat it slowly until it’s just about to boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes.

Let the sauce cool, place in a sauce bottle or container you prefer, and enjoy.
Cleanup

Habanero oils are difficult to wash off and hand washing doesn’t always do the job. It’s a good idea to put all used utensils and anything that has come in contact with the peppers directly into the dishwasher.

Video  —  Posted: March 16, 2014 in Articles

Hello Twitter

Posted: March 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

I’ve reported the Twitter account and am still trying to have it deleted. This is a very long and difficult process.

My email address is lightpainter0@gmail.com

I own the name Dark Fox Media and am the only person that’s ever used the name.

 

Peace.

Ape Cave

Posted: August 1, 2013 in Photo Shoots

I’ve been to the Ape Cave several times to explore and photograph over the past few years. It has a fascinating history both in a geological sense, and in the way it was discovered and named. This is a fun adventure that most people can enjoy as long as they’re in reasonable physical condition.

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Most of the lower cave is easy hiking.

Ape Cave is a popular attraction located near Mount St. Helens. Technically it’s not a “cave” because it’s really a tube formed long ago by lava flow. It’s about 1-1/2 miles long, and the main entrance is roughly at the halfway point which separates the upper cave from the lower cave.

 

The Parking Area

The parking area is a fee area, so you need either an annual forest pass (available at the visitor’s center about 12 miles up the road) or you can pay $5 on the spot for a single day use. There’s a restroom available here, but it’s similar to what you’d find at any state park. I usually keep some single pack Wet Ones (the anti-bacterial kind) in my pack to wipe the seat down if I have to use these. It’s also good to have some hand sanitizer on hand (forgive the pun) because there’s no running water in these restrooms.

 

The Main Entrance

The main entrance to the cave is just a short hike up a trail from the parking area. It’s sort of a hole in the ground with a stairway that leads down to another stairway that enters the cave. This entrance is at about the halfway point that divides the upper cave from the lower cave.

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View from inside the main entrance, looking back at the first stairway.

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The second stairway of the main entrance. Going straight at the bottom leads to the lower cave.

 

The Trail

If you continue on the trail past the main entrance, you’ll eventually get to another smaller entrance at the very end of the upper cave. The trail itself is pretty easy hiking, and you encounter some interesting sights along the way. There’s some old lava formations in a few areas. There’s also an open area with some old rock formations. If you hike here in mid to late March, you might find a field of bear grass as you see in the photos.

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The trail continues past the main entrance and leads to the upper end entrance to the cave. It’s a very nice hike, about a half hour long.

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Bear grass field on trail going to the upper cave entrance.

 

Lower Ape Cave

To access the lower cave, just continue straight when you get to the bottom of the stairway and you’ll be hiking the lower cave. This is the easier hike which tends to make it more popular with most people, especially those with children.

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The lower cave is fairly easy, but still have some rocks to traverse.

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The “Meatball” is one of many points of interest in the lower cave.

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The lower cave finally ends at a dead end. There’s a space to belly crawl a bit farther, but I’m always too fat and lazy to go any further than this.

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Very end of the lower cave. You can see the crawl space behind the guy in this photo.

 

Upper Ape Cave

To access the upper cave, you must go around behind the bottom of the stairway and you’ll see the cave continues. This is the upper cave. This is more technical than the lower cave. To traverse all the way through the upper cave to the far entrance you’ll be climbing over and between rock piles. I highly recommend a head light and gloves for this area.

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One of the first obstacles in the upper cave. You have to climb over the rocks and through the hole on the left.

Near the end of the upper cave is a “lava fall” where lava once flowed over like a waterfall. It’s about eight feet up and you’ll have to climb up it to continue. Unless, of course, you begin your hike at the entrance at the upper end in which case you’d be climbing down.

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Lava Fall

 

About The Environment

Though Ape Cave is an easy and family friendly hike by most standards, it is not for everybody. Being underground presents different challenges then a normal hike on a wooded trail. The air is cold and damp all year, so you really need study shoes and a decent jacket. Water drips from the ceiling constantly, so it’s wise to have a hood or a hat. I’ve seen too many people go down wearing t-shirts and flip-flops and are miserable after about the first ten minutes. I also recommend having a good pair of gloves, especially if you’re going to the upper cave. There’s a lot of places you’ll need to grab onto rocks and rock walls to get through.

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This scene is typical to what much of the upper cave looks like.

 

Lighting

It’s pitch black so you need a good reliable light source, and you should also have a backup light. Some people prefer to use lanterns and flashlights. I recommend using a head lamp because lanterns and flashlights take a hand. In some places, you will need to grab rocks or walls to traverse rocks. This means you’ll want your hands free as much as possible. Whatever you choose to use, be sure it has fresh batteries, or full can of gas if you’re using a gas lantern. Luckily during the summer there’s always plenty of people going through the cave. But, if you happen to be last person down there that day and you lost your light source, you could potentially be stuck down there a long time trying to feel your way out which would NOT be fun. BE SAFE!

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Photographing in Ape Cave is fun and challenging.

 

My list of recommended items to take on an Ape Cave adventure:

Small backpack, headlight, extra flashlight, study shoes or hikers, rain jacket, hat, gloves, bottle of water, spare batteries, sense of adventure.

 

A quick note to photographers:

Ape Cave is fun and challenging to photograph. Some challenges I’ve found are mainly the lighting and water problems. Working in a pitch black environment is very difficult because it’s like being on the moon. Your light source only illuminates what it’s shining on and everything else is pitch black. There’s no ambient light to illuminate the shadows. Simple tasks like changing lenses, attaching accessories, and even taking things out of a bag can be difficult especially with a flashlight in one hand. This is why I prefer and recommend having a decent headlight to keep both of your hands free for equipment.

Another challenge is the water. There’s constant drips from the ceiling which are way worse if it’s been raining. If you have rain gear for your equipment you’ll want to use it. Shooting in Ape Cave is much like shooting in the rain, only without the light.

The terrain is very rough. Tripods work well, but I’ve found (the hard way) that light stands don’t. If you’re using speed lights they can be difficult to set up because there’s not much level ground. I bought some small tripods, the cheap little ones you get that have the spider-like adjustable legs. These work very well for setting up speed lights because you can adjust your legs separately.

 

About this article:

Thank you for reading, and if you find any inaccurate or errors please email me as soon as possible.

Monique_WEB

I spoke with Monique briefly about this project through Facebook, and I was immediately interested. She had a concept for creating a video featuring her and a model conducting a photo shoot at her studio. It would be a TF project and would include the talent of a beautiful model and singer, Katie Reeves. Katie’s hair and makeup by Deann Tschantre, and part of the wardrobe designed and supplied by Tina Marie Fisher.

Dominck (sound) and I met with Monique, Katie, and Tina to put the plan together. This was a really fun project and offered me the bonus of working with some top talent.

Watch the video

Behind the scenes

Recording Katie Reeves

Model – Katie Reeves
Makeup & Hair – Deann Tschantre
Still photos by Monique Marie Photography
Tulle skirt provided by – Items by Tina Marie Fisher

To see more of Monique’s photography follow this link.

A Father Speaks Out title page3 WEBversion

I met Steve Bragg about a year ago when a friend-of-a-friend approached me about creating a slide show for his daughter’s celebration of life. Like many people, I tend to have something of a soft spot for these types of things. And when I found out this was for a local fallen soldier, Mikayla Bragg, it was especially important. Being a veteran of the military myself, I consider military people by brothers and sisters.

Over the course of the year, Mr. Bragg and I kept in contact and I shot some video of the monument dedication to his daughter at Mark Morris High School. This past fall, he approached me about creating another video for him and his family. This would be a different kind of project. It seems he had some problems with The Daily News, Longview’s local media outlet, regarding some articles they published about the nature of Mikayla’s death.

We scheduled some interview time, and I talked with Steve Bragg in depth about Mikayla’s life, death, and the preceding issues with The Daily News and other media outlets. Once the footage and script was put together, I recruited the help of a friend of mine that is a very talented voice-over artist.

This is a story that hits home for many reasons. It is not a story people can ignore by turning a channel. This story is right here at home, and happened to one of our neighbors. This is a tragic tale of heartbreak.

A Father Speaks Out (watch the film)

I would like to thank my friend, Evelyna Castro for her excellent work on this project.

Link  —  Posted: March 16, 2013 in Film

Heaven and Hell

Posted: November 17, 2012 in Photo Shoots

This is a composite photo that I put together after being invited to film an angel themed photo shoot. This was actually inspired by the cover art on Black Sabbath’s album Heaven and Hell which was released in 1980. The original art is much like this photo, showing three angels sitting together smoking cigarettes and playing cards.

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During the planning stage of the photo shoot, I had suggested this idea on their Facebook page and several models wanted to do it. Since I was filming the event, I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen but took my still camera just in case. Toward the end of the day several models had asked me about it, but other sets were happening at the same time and people were going back and forth from set to set so it was difficult to get three angels at the same time. Tanja, (center) had talked to me about it several times and I knew she really wanted to put this together so, with the other two models we made it happen.

Here’s the original photo;

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Special thank you to the models; Sarah Ann Olson (left), Tanja Ross (center), Jordan LeBlanc (right) for your talent and working with me on this photo.

Thank you to Angie Faro (makeup artist for Tanja) for her beautiful work.

Also, thank you to Mindy Mortensen Thornburg and Korie Nicole for inviting me to their Fallen Angel photo shoot.

Night Photography

Posted: August 19, 2012 in Photography

Most photographers would agree there are not a lot of opportunities to photograph stars in this area. This is partially true but you need very special conditions. The three major challenges are the weather, the moonlight, and the ambient light emitted from the nearby cities. But, if you’re determined enough, you just may find a window of time when you have nice dark skies. This requires a clear night with no moon, and a location isolated from the cities.

Night Sky shot near Mount St. Helens

Most people notice that the ambient light in the city and surrounding areas make stars difficult to see. I’ve found the Mount St. Helens area is excellent for star visibility if you don’t mind making the drive. Obviously there are places out of town closer to set up, but this area is nice because you don’t have a lot of traffic on the roads after the hikers and bikers leave for the day. In the Lava Canyon area, camping is prohibited so most people are gone from the area by dusk.

Photo shot using long exposure and speedlight with purple gel.

A lot of great photos can be made with the risen moon, especially using it to illuminate the landscape. But the light of the moon washes out a large majority of the dimmer stars. This photo was created with the addition of a Nikon SB-800 speed light with a purple gel. With this photo, I had to experiment with it for a while mainly because with the super wide coverage of the 11mm fisheye lens the light of the speedlight kept showing up. So, I had to carefully aim the light at the tree while holding it just above and behind the camera.

Kimi at night “light painted” with a flashlight.

On another night, my favorite model Kimi accompanied me for a few photos under the stars. We got a late start but we spent a good hour or so working with the starlight and some different lighting techniques. Photos like these can be technically difficult to set up at first, but once you get the feel for them its a lot of fun. This photo was done with a 30 second exposure to bring in the stars, and the model was briefly illuminated using a flashlight.

Silhouette created using a long exposure and off-camera speedlight.

In this photo we used a long exposure of 30 seconds, and during this time I set a speedlight off behind her several times to create the silhouette effect. The first ones were barely visible because I had the speedlight turned down to 1/32 power so with this one I set the light off about five times. The multiple flashes created a bit of a blurring effect around the silhouette.

Model, Kimi posed on rock using long exposure and speedlight with gel.

This is another example of using long exposure, only this time we were only concerned with the model and not the stars. This type of photos is a bit easier to deal with and easier to post process because you don’t have to deal with the noise issues that come with using high ISO settings. This photo was done using ISO 200 and a shutter speed of about 15 seconds. Note that the shutter speed in this type of photo has no significance, only the aperture and power of the speedlight setting come into play.