Less is More

Yes and that is the theme of the monthly excercise by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. I infact was feeling a little hesitant about whether I’ll be able to complete this task on time as I’m pre-occupied with some other assignment off late and was a little blue. Today, however, I got off work early and on the way to my house I made up mind, come what may..I have to take this time and do something today. I hadn’t shot any images for a long time and I certainly was getting all uptight about it. Although Aparna did mention that it was okay to link up an old post, I took it upon myself to do something new..not just for the excercise but for my own fulfilment. Sometimes one has to just push oneself if one is determined. No matter what other chores or errands..if you are passionate about your creativity..you JUST have to get down and find time for it. Be it a whole day or only a minute..you will feel a whole lot complete. It need not be photography but since I am a micro chip hidden somewhere in its body…every second or every alternate second..i think about this lovely subject. The learning never ends..and its a wonderful world you’ll keep exploring. So lets get on..without further ado!

The theme’s minimalistic. I love it, cause it saves me on dressing up my shots. Lol! Actually, I’m still learning a lot about styling and food presentation through trial and error and when this theme came into focus this month, I couldnt be more happier. At last, I can just concentrate on my subject and subject alone. Happy! Most of my current images have less of props but as Aparna also mentions in her page, it is important to envision the final result. With and without additives. If it makes sense..to add..do so..with a little discretion. If not, just focus completely on your main dish and give that all your attention in terms of framing and composition as well as the technicals. I just hope by now, most who are following mine or any similar food phtotography blog or tutorials..are relaxed about the kind of gear they have. Once that is a rested topic of discussion, then sky is probably just a high jump away.

The image below was taken with my Sony H-50 (a point and shoot), using natural light. The container is in effect a plant holder. I tried to go with a very simple composition. Nothing too distracting or imposing.

This was a hand-held shot, close to being an overhead capture but a bit short off. The techs for this image; aperture :3.5, shutter speed of : 1/25secs, ISO at 100. Exposure mode was Manual but this being a Point & Shoot it was in Autoexposure program, that is to say it doesn’t have the manual focus ring at a focal distance of 16.9mm. Light came in at 3’0 clock and 12’0 clock (that is, it was backlit as well) and a soft box baffle was used as a fill-in reflector. A similar setup as with one of the egg-story images which you can find here.

So, this could be an example of simple straight-setups without much fuss. Make sure, however, whatever minimum is present in your frame along with your food or main subject brings complements it. For eg. a de-clutterd and unfussy background. Very important. If you think of using a busy background or a loud print for your table cloth or serving platter..it might take away from the main emphasis. Try and use simple and plain serving ware with foods that have a lot of texture or dimension and if the dish is a smooth puree or clear soup..you could possibly experiment with a patterned platter. Again, nothing too loud. You get the idea!

So, finally coming to today’s attempt. And a concsious effort it was. Chocolate on my mind for a long time..photography on my mind for a long time. Bringing them both together, again on my mind for a long time! This afternoon..it all HAPPENED! When you dream..it’s when you wake up and strive for it that it becomes reality! But I digress.

Verdict: A cake in a cup! Yes, my very own..WHOLE SHARE OF CHOCOLATE CAKE! Eggless. I didn’t know we had run out on eggs, so I quickly searched for a recipe which I found here..and without thinking twice..got all the ingredients together and off it went into the micro-wave. Fast, under 2 minutes!! Find the method here. Hard not to dig in immediately..but managed. 🙂

Tech Specs: Aperture @ f/2.8, Shutter Speed of 1/30secs, ISO at 320, Focal Length at 50mm. Lens used a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8

Yes, I know..don’t yell..pattern and texture! 🙂 . It all comes down to your style. It does not clash..because I’ve toned down the blue in the mug, and the brown cake is offset with the orange in the background. NO! I did not use an orange paper. This is the setup of the image.

Wow! It almost looks like a mini-studio :D! And I’m just showing off with that speedlight. It wasn’t used. The light to the left was an old spot-light which I managed to salvage from a box of trash about a week back. (oops..you see my scales too..!I was weighing in the cupcake..hehehe..before and after ;)! )

As always, I did try a few shots with some additional props..in this case a spoon on top of the cup and a book on photography (Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, a must must read). In this case, I decided against it. The orange hue is basically effect of the warm light reflected by the wooden work top. I have used mixed-lighting and it can be tricky. So, don’t get too stressed. Just go with what you’re used to now. There’s still a whole lot of ground to cover. Trust me, this is just the tip of the ice-berg.

An interesting episode happened. Soon after this image setup shot..my  memory card filled up and as I was downloading the images on to my system, my mother made a brief appearance. She tucked in!! I had just begun to try out different styles and my subject was disappearing! hahaha! Well..it was a daughter’s effort of treat making..obviously the aromas and flavors have to tempt! But if I wanted some for myself, I had to act fast..err..read shoot fast!

This is how it looked when it was lit from top. Here, in this shoot setup you do notice the lens has been switched to longer lens. Here’s two from that pool.

As is also evident I used two foam core boards to open up the shawdows on the mug.  And as you can see there’s a lot happening in the frame with the book added..hence my decision to remove it! As for the crumbs, there’s always photoshop!

Now, your chance to give it a shot. It’s pretty much as simple as it sounds. Don’t get too het up about it! Enjoy the shoot and then dig in to your preparation! Have fun, not fret! If you need more help..there’s always us! 🙂

Here’s one last image that I’d like to leave you with. The light came in from the left and slightly to the top. Time taken was 1530 on a cloudy day so opened up my aperture and slowed down shutter speed to allow as much light as possible. No reflector was used in this image and in post process, it was cropped into a square frame. Hope you guys like it’s simplicity!

Aperture: f/1.8, Shutter Speed: 1/25sec., ISO: 640, Lens: 50mm, Exposure Mode: Manual, Exposure Program: Manual, Lens: 50mm Nikkor




Filed under Main Course

2 responses to “Less is More

  1. Good to see you join in this month too. Nice to see your photographs are not “less is more-ish” but that you’ve also filled the frame with all three. The Marie biscuits are my favourite.

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