Muffin Magic!

Muffin Magic! It melts hearts and it also melts in the mouth! Anyday, anytime immediate comfort gauranteed! I picked up a batch baked by a friend’s friend’s friend. the power of social networking sites and its marvellous platform for home based entreprenuers. I had been craving muffins/cup-cakes for long and I had been wanting to try out a lemon chiffon cake as well. Too darn lazy..actually not lazy..just too pre-occupied with more urgent tasks at hand to complete so didnt get around baking any. And one of my initial experiments at getting a lemon sorbet had turned into an absolute disaster and hence a little shy to deal with lemon apart from the juice variety ;). I digress.

After I ordered these lovely light muffins, the next immediate and most predictable action was to get some images. The obsessive photog in me..tho let her guard down and downed one among six as soon as the box was ripped open. Unfortunately, I didnt save the packaging to include in the shoot..which I thought of much later..next time. Again, mother of mine was hesitatingly offered and she succumbed. So, that left me to shoot with just 4! I had promised my (new) friend, that I will try and send some images before they are devoured. But 4? What could I possibly do with 4? So as I ate and indulged in every morsel of my little muffin, I lined up two and shot on the diagonal. Nope, I don’t have any set-up images for this one. My back-up camera battery was discharged (lesson no:1~always have your batteries charged! Even if you don’t use them, storing them for long periods of time does dry up the cells), so all I can help here is with a quick explanation of the entire scene. There was no natural light as this shot was taken around 5.30 on a cloudy evening. Internal lights were flourscent, so I turned the WB (color temperature) dial to flourscent preset (most cameras have these, don’t start sweating), dialed an approximate value of f/5.6 for aperture since I wanted a very shallow depth or a blurred out background to keep focus on the front muffin, had to slow down the shutter speed to 1 second as I needed maximum time to let enough light in, and since I was shooting with a long telephoto lens of 70-300mm, I also bumped up the ISO to 640 so as to make the sensor more sensitive to light. However, the downpart of such high ISO is noise (grain) in the shawdow areas. It becomes more apparent after post-processing. But hey, check this image out and you be the judge:

All this was yesterday.

Today, I had some more time and still 4 muffins in the jar. Just tinkered around an old bag of fabric/pieces of cloth and tried to create a setup. A very basic one, but what I deliberately looked for was a color that would offset the yellow and let it pop out. I chose a brown, in fact two of them. One with a brown base and white stripes and another with white base and brown stripes. I just went with the flow and setup the below image with the latter.

Although another cloudy day it was slightly more bright. I found a spot where there were two windows perpendicular to each other and aligned a table accordingly. Spread out the fabric (which is incidentally an old shirt), made sure I ironed it out first.

Set down the four muffins onto a brown plate, in such a way that it looked full in the frame. Zoomed in close, to show texture on top of one of the muffins and then went onto to get the picture. BUT HOLD IT!! The second image was from a normal Point & Shoot! YESSS! I needed more zoom than what my fancy shmazy dSLR gave me, for this one. But for more control, I turned the dial to manual mode and fed in these variables: aperture f/4.0, shutter speed 1/40s at ISO 100. Normal WB that is to say at Daylight preset. This is straight out of the camera. I didn’t crop much from the frame, so you do see some amout of empty corners. But a tighter crop will give you a feeling that there is more muffins in the plate. Lol!

It’s not exactly a fantabulous image..but am keeping it simple so you understand how things are done, behind the scenes and in front of it. Here’s hoping it will fire you up to think of your next food image!

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