FOCUS: A child, 3 flowers, and focusing the sun, by Kyoto Twist Solar Cooking Society

For this weeks photo challenge I’ll address all 4 of the suggestions made about “focus”, including a special app. And I created a 5th category – focus on the sun. I’ll end with a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. Here it goes . . .

1) A photo of something or someone in focus, against a blurred background.

This is my grandchild Emma. She reminds of all the children of the world.

Emma July 2010


2. Photograph the same scene or subject using different aperture settings  . . . .

A Study of Roses

   A study of roses 2

A study of roses 3

A study of roses 1


This past weekend I went to the mainland for a solar cooking demonstration and fundraising event. My wife Francis’ blog – Disappearing in Plain Sight – also has an intriguing post about this wonderful weekend in Lund BC. This photo is from on the ferry looking back to Vancouver Island.

3. Share a panorama or landscape in sharp focus, in which you can see details far away  . . . .


Ferry home from Powell River-2



4.  Use a camera app to force focus (or blur) in an experimental way.


I’m going to ‘twist’ to the theme a bit because I came up with a “do it yourself “homemade app.

Me and my niece Jade focus in the Mylar of a hybrid solar-electric oven!

Jade and Bruce's reflection in solar cooker's mylar


5. Focusing on the sun (I made this one up!)


The solar electric oven is plugged in at my friend Jacks kitchen on the morning of the solar cooking demonstration.

Hybrid solar-electric oven


Below is Jack (and his wife Maryanne’s) “small and beautiful” home. Jack volunteers as program co-coordinator for the Kyoto Twist Solar Cooking Society. He has spent over 30 years in building partnerships with NGO’s (non governmental agencies) in poorer countries throughout the globe. These groups help develop different types of programs and more efficient and safer methods of household cooking that use less fuel, so people can have more income to feed their families.

Jade, Bruce, & Jack at his home


“Fifty percent of the wood used in the world every year is burned as fuel and eighty percent of that is for cooking. Forests are being cut down so people can cook their food. The trees can never be replaced fast enough to keep up with the demand and the smoke from cooking fires is a major cause of eye and lung disorders and greenhouse gases in the world.”


“The Kyoto Twist is supporting solar cooker projects in the world to reduce both poverty and greenhouse gas emissions.”

“A gradual ‘twist’ in our priorities and lifestyles will help alleviate these two realities, and make a better world for all of us.”

Photo and text from Kyoto Twist Solar Cooking website



Below, Jade and I demonstrate 2 cooking methods.

On the right is the inexpensive and lightweight “cook-kit” panel cooker. It is made of cardboard and aluminum foil reflectors which focus solar energy into a pot enclosed inside an oven bag.

On the left (behind the photo-card) is a heat retention cooker – food is first brought to a boil from  a wood fire or other heat source. Then the pot is placed into this insulated basket. The food continues to cook without using any more external energy. 

Amazing, eh?

Bruce & Jade at Solar cooking Demonstration of Cook-it


And here I explain how  a small parabolic collector can focus sunlight to run a sterling engine.

. . . a bigger solar aperture equals more power.

Bruce explaining  a solar parabolic device

Solar Cookers International is an umbrella agency with resources and links about solar cooking techniques and programs. Promoters, organizers, and solar cooking groups are located in many countries throughout the globe. “Kyoto Twist” is one example.  Here is a fantastic link to the

Solar Cookers International Network

kyoto Twist Solar Cooking Society Annual General Meeting


Finally, here are solar cookers and trainers in action and on the ground in Africa . . .

1/3 of humanity lives in or near the tropics. This includes all of the Caribbean, much of Asia, Africa and parts of Latin America. These people are amongst the world’s most materially impoverished yet sun rich.

photo compliments of Kyoto Twist

A trainer helping participant to get sun orientation

“Solar cooking powerfully addresses all eight of the UN Millennium Development Goals to alleviate extreme poverty.”     Kyoto Twist Solar Cooking Society website

Please consider a donation to help build more ovens and provide more trainers, and kindle the fires of love, so to speak. To do so, go to the the Kyoto Twist Solar Cooking website. We are a registered non-profit society.

The last word I give to Martin Luther King Jr.

50 years after his dream, lets re-awaken it.

MLKJrQuote abour service


Postscript – here are two more of my previous solar cooking posts:

The Encouraging Crocuses of Spring + Curious George = Solar Ovens!

Nostalgic for solar hot dogs, circa 1979


Regards to all . . . Bruce

10 thoughts on “FOCUS: A child, 3 flowers, and focusing the sun, by Kyoto Twist Solar Cooking Society

  1. Pingback: Communities In Partnership – a story of belief, innovation, perseverance and hope | through the luminary lens

  2. A GENERAL COMMENT – Jack emailed about the photo from Africa, which I credited to kyoto twist:

    “Bruce, the woman who took the photos I am pretty sure is Sperancea Kakuba Gabone . She is the driving force behind our projects in northern Tanzania. She did two projects in the peri-urban community of Majengo and then in the Maasai community of Olonaike. I have attached the most recent project’s application which gives as much information as I have on that project. The previous one in Olonaike had excellent results in terms of uptake and impact. the women used the solar ovens and the hay baskets to a considerable degree and really expressed their appreciation.”

  3. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus | wholeyjeans

  4. hurray for sun, cooked food. thanks for promoting this wonderful option, Bruce. I foresee having one, myself. and if only it came with all the necessary patience to use it rather than the accessible (for me) speedier cooking methods.

    • So true – if I’m really busy on a job away from home, I’ll reheat meals in the microwave. When the solar oven comes out, it’s nice that once the food is in the oven, everthing is ready to eat 2 or 3 hrs. later, sort of like a crock pot. And if I set the oven so the path of the sun moves directly in front of the oven and then past it, I don’t even have to adjust the oven. Generally food can take 50% longer to cook, or a chicken might take twice as long. It does take patience. I’ve heard that an elderly couple from arizona, actually designed their kitchen so that a solar oven was built into the wall! That is really cool – or hot, I mean. 🙂

      In the poorer countries where they are being used most (3 million sun cookers and counting!) the obstacles can be huge in terms of lifestyle. The trick had been for promoters to design ovens and efficient cooking methods that fit into peoples lifestyles, not the other way around.

      Here at “the lake”, we ourselves have many sunny days we don’t pull out the sun oven. Now – only if it was in the wall of the kitchen, along with a back-up heating element!!?

      Cheers to the sunshine – Bruce

  5. Wow, Bruce. Just Wow. In West Virginia, there is a saying: Every time you flip a switch, you are destroying our mountains and killing our babies. Not because of wood, but because of the mad rush to get at coal. Same issue, just different energy source. Cooking with solar is very inspiring! Seems to me that this might make a good grade school and/or high school project in every school around the world. Not sure about the aluminum foil, for example – that takes a huge amount of water to process. There are alternatives, no doubt. Good job!!!

    • Thanks Susan. There are few people who are not awestruck upon seeing a solar cooker in operation. One naysayer once jibed “what do you do when it’s dark?” It’s a legitimate question (I guess). That why I love the Solar electric model – Indians are innovative indeed!!

      Coal burning leaves a sad testament. In my view, it’s a crime against humanity, that solar power technologies of all forms are not accessible and used by everyperson on the planet. Of course the main reason that hasn’t happened it that there is no profit from free sunlight. Except for the earth of course.

      If only we had a truer ledger, solar would win over coal by a long shot!……

  6. Pingback: In Focus #photography #Farms #photochallenge | Moondustwriter's Blog

    • For the poor people, especially women and children, they have to walk hours to find a few twigs to cook their food. Sometimes this can be very unsafe. Aso the smoke is so unhealthy for them. So solar does indeed save trees, and at the same time it saves the people too. Thank you Sachem, for your kind words of encouragement and blessing.

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