A View From Above

Hey, hey, hey! A week exactly after July 4th! So much for my foresight! 🙂

How are you guys? I’m very excited about today’s post, not because I’ve managed to sign much earlier than last time, because it’s exercise time again. Oh, yes. Thanks to Aparna’s initiativve with the photography bit on her blog My Diverse Kitchen, I’m trying to at least stick to all the projects. To be really honest, I haven’t been clicking much recently because of my event engagements, which I like to pursue as well, and although this time’s exercise is quite an easy task..I’ve slackened up a bit and am posting some earlier images of mine.

Also, I’m just not being able to give the blog more time than I would like but nevertheless have the assurance that I will keep this going. I have managed so far, which in itself is quite unexpected by my own lazy standards (lazy to use the writing muscles). I’m happy. As the saying goes, a drop of water can make a mighty ocean..a post at a time can make a postbook :p (what a poor analogy)!

Alright, the pleasantries all done, lets get to the more visualy appealing part. As per the project exercise, this week’s theme is bird’s eye view or simply shot from above the plated dish. It could be in a bowl, so don’t start panicking about it being ‘plated’. You get the idea..just get to it!

I have a few submissions for this topic, one not only because I tend to take a lot of images from this perspective (also called the 90 degree shot or the aerial view) but I like the way certain types of food capture better from this point. Especially, if they happen to be Indian style breads, lentils, soups, etc. basically those dishes that are not layered or doesn’t have much height. Think pancakes. However, if you go through Aparna’s images on the same topic, you’d notice how cleverly she’s stacked the salt crackers and still shown a layer technique shot from above. That’s something I’d love to experiment and try on my own.

So, to begin with, a simple image of some orange slices, placed very randomly and without any forethought. However once I picked up the camera to shoot this, I found the orange a bit too overwhelming in the low light and all I did to break the monotony was to introduce the green of a kafir lime. That’s another topic to be covered altogether and I’m quite sure it will pop up soon but for now, just played around with different placements of the lime and found this as a good option. The brown mat underneath balances the overall image with its earth tone.

The technicals were: Exposure Program: Manual, Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority ISO: 400, Shutter Speed:  1/4secs, Aperture: f/8, Metering: Center Weighted Average,

Focal Length: 48mm, Lens: Nikkor VR 18-105mm, Camera: Nikon D90

Notice here the ISO has been kept high and since I chose aperture priority of f/8, the camera’s shutter speed was automatically set to 1/4, which makes hand-holding a tad difficult. But I still did and there was a slight blur to the image. Hence, with a bit of post-processing I salvaged the image by giving it an abstract appearance. Job done! 🙂 🙂

The next two are my all time favorite. Can there be more than one all time favourite?? Hmm..One wasn’t staged while the image with the chillies was but was not part of the initial plan. I’ll explain. Here’s what I had for lunch once.

Exposure Program: Manual, Exposure Mode: Manual, ISO: 100, Shutter Speed: 1/60secs, Aperture: f/1.8, Metering: Pattern,

Focal Length: 50mm, Lens: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D, Camera: Nikon D90

Everything about this image is simple and just came together. I guess I should be capturing more of my simple lunches.. 😉 when things don’t need so much of an effort. And trust me, for the hottest summers, it just tastes so right as well! Give it a shot, both via your camera and for the tastebuds. Wish, I had posted this for the Less is More concept. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll find a whole lot more ‘From Above’ pictures in due course! An image captured and exported straight off camera, except for the watermark addition and a slight extra blur to the mat. Given a focal length of 50mm and a wide open aperture, lots of light ensured the background went into off-focus quite a bit before adding a pinch extra!

And now, the piece de resistance, if I may say so myself! Chuckles.

Exposure Program: Manual, Exposure Mode: Manual, ISO: 4o0, Shutter Speed: 1/80 secs, Aperture: f/1.8, Metering: Spot,

Focal Length: 50mm, Lens: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D, Camera: Nikon D90

Yup! That’s one with a trump card. And I say this because this was not the initial setup. The initial setup included a variety of hard spices and oil. After getting my shots for those, I was clearing up the prep table and all but the chillies were put away. In this staged image, I had placed a white plastic cutting board for enough light to be thrown up. When, I saw the red chillies against the white, I had an immediate idea to set a very oriental composition inspired by the shape of the chilly itself. Quickly rummaged the kitchen to find an appropriate enhancer and found this soup spoon fit the detail best. Diffused light came in from top and behind the subject, had a foam core board placed on top (hand-held) to open up the shadows inside the spoon since it has an edge. Corrected for whites in post-process although I did over-expose the image and the use of negative space came to the forefront rather satisfactorily! Apart from the color, composition, minimal style (all elements contribute to general photography principles as well), I just love the feel. All in all, happiness! What do you guys think??

Before I sign out, a quick shout to all those who’ve been stopping by my site and supporting the post by liking them. I appreciate your appreciation and would love to hear your comments as well. Please feel free to put in your two cents and a dollar too, if you care to ;)! Happy happy July days!



Filed under Main Course

8 responses to “A View From Above

  1. The photography techniques you have explained here are very helpful! Will be visiting your space often for tips and tricks!

  2. I particularly like the oranges and the last one. A useful post covering many aspects.

  3. Hello there,

    I came across your site via Aparna’s exercise in food photography. I really like the your last short very much as well (also because of my preference for rather simple compositions in general).
    Interesting explanation of the pictures, yes. I wonder what the picture would have looked like without the foam core board. Can’t really imagine the effect … I’ll probably have to try out on my on 😉

    Best regards,


    • There’s nothing like experimenting on your own and arriving at very different yet interesting results. From as much as I can tell, no matter how much a one tries to create another image of the same photograph, the results do differ. So, do give it a shot and see what you get. Love to see your attempts. Thanks for stopping by here! Cheers!

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