I’ve always been a big naysayer of taking pictures via a phone. I mean a phone is a phone and a camera, a camera. Why get all mixed up. That’s why the two exist independently of each other :D .
That was until now.
Increasingly I have been seeing a lot of images by people who are not ‘photographers’, but who want to capture moments spent with their family or friends and eventually where a meal or snack is the magnet. Even for those loners, sometimes, food is big on their list of private moments caught forever. They are not the bloggers, they are not the reviewers and certainly they are not doing it just to ‘fit in’. They are people like you and me, who live in the moment and for the them even if it means a quick snap off their phone cameras, the moment is treasured forever. So agree, not always is your ‘camera kit’ with you (even if you are a photog) but your phone will always be. Whether it gets lost or stolen, that’s another story but a phone is now an extension of the physical anatomy and with it the phone camera :) .
A few days back, I was feeling too beat to cook a meal. Was in the process of going back and forth a few projects, catching up a little socially with friends and acquaintances and just the usual humdrum of life. It had been awhile since I shot anything edible. That reminds me. Something I’ve always wanted to do might just come to fruition finally. Let’s get to that after it’s cooked. I’m a little superstitious, increasingly so nowadays.
Back to present. So whetting my options on what to order in, I finally settled for a feisty pizza (total bummer it turned out to be). It was to me just another pizza on just another day. But this day, something in my head clicked it as I took the first bite and for a change I had my phone pretty close to me. I wanted to understand, why and how people so spontaneously take pictures of what they eat, apart from many other things. Hence, not considering it for too long, just went straight in as well.
I’m quite sure there are better food pictures using a phone camera of a pizza. The point is not in the technical details this time, although to an extent keeping a few in mind, won’t harm at all. The point here is to just capture that moment, whatever it may be, because once over, it will never come back. I was quite pleased with how the image turned out and how people reacted to it on my Instagram (yes, I am on instagram now :) ) feed as well. The colors, the lighting and more importantly, the emotion it evoked. I still keep looking at it and smiling to myself. It was totally unplanned, but that totally made my day! :D
Instantly, I was wondering what beverage I could pair it with. I’m not a person with very strong tastes ( ;) , you have to take my word for it) and also something that was readily accessible. I had this image from a previous trip to a cafeteria in my home town, which again I shot pretty much on the spot, having nothing else but a menu card to help in a bit of a light setup. However, in this instance it was from the big toy which I happened to be carting around. Still, like I mentioned, no fore thought whatsoever, point and shoot it was. It was a cloudy day, so the diffused sun cover definitely helped and also that I was sitting next to a window wall. Next time you are at a place, make sure to get a seat next to a light source and yes, please do show some courtesy and check with the staff at hand if you are allowed to shoot. I did and I will always ask.
These days, with technology being on top of things constantly, the picture quality coming off a phone has vastly improved. To those old-schoolers like me, let it not deter you. For those who have grown up with the phone cameras..just don’t be too rushed either in capturing your satisfying meal. Think over the frame and lighting and try and avoid too many of those preset filters. It doesn’t digest well all the time. Have fun and let others drool over some great smart phone imagery.
Until next, stay healthy and keep on clicking food!
I had been wanting to make pasta at home, from scratch, for ever. I even bought the apparatus that makes life so much more easier to live. For some silly reason it kept getting put off…until now!
Yes, yesterday was a ‘pasta making project’ day. In spite of a very late night I woke up all enthusiastic about accomplishing the task at hand and not for once did I let it linger. After the much required cold-coffee (it’s soaring Sun rays here) and the mandatory newspaper reading, yes I still prefer to read it traditionally than have someone keep updating their social media and telling the same thing :p ) it was Get, Set, GO!
I found it a perfect opportunity to dive right back into my photography as well. Sometimes, you just got to do it and not think about it or plan for it too much. Sometimes, if you plan too much ahead, things just don’t go according to the plan! :)
Why I called it a project is because it took a good chunk of my time in getting it done. I was for the first time ever, making my own pasta! The realization of that, has opened so many doors (proverbially)!
When I set out the pasta maker on the table, however, I was faced with two primary challenges when it came to shooting it. One, that it was a glass table and Two, the pasta maker was steel. Both highly reflective surfaces.
Now, I’m not one to get too overwhelmed and I knew if I’d pass on the opportunity, I won’t be photographing it again. For sure! I mean like, really it won’t happen.
Then what I did next, was not very pleasing! Especially to people who are fanatic about cleanliness. While one cooks, it needs to be ‘seen’ too! Right? What’s cooking without a little mess?
So, I got around collecting all the ingredients and spreading it sporadically on the table. To counter the reflection of the machine showing up in the glass table, I mounted it on a wooden plank. It also doubled up for sturdiness, so that was beneficial. Who said there’s no method in madness ;)
I also sprinkled a lot of flour all over…but over time I did get quite messy by itself. I just initiated a wee bit!
First up, the flour well with the eggy water.
(Tech Spec: f/5.6, ISO: 250, 1/3s, 105 mm. Natural Light from left with reflected light from right)
Again, I had been wanting to shoot raw eggs…why?? Umm…I just like the way the light hits it and it reflects off the yolk! Strange ‘likes’ haha. I managed to kill two birds at the same time. Shooting the egg, done!
By the time the dough was knead and rested, the table and surrounding elements looked as though some flour/egg twister had gone through the space! I was a happy photog!
The only little element that was distracting was a slight gap between the board and the linen on the side. I strategically placed a fork of a fairly vintage era to add to the table.
And since I was not directly in front of the machine, it did not catch any of my reflections either. All in all, quite pleased.
(Tech Spec: f/5, ISO: 250, 1/4s, 42 mm. Natural Light from left )
P.S.: You are not allowed to make any comments on the straight edge of the dough sheet. This is Not a baking class and not being messy, or cutting in straight edges, I tend to be a little rough on the sides! Lmao!
As I cut the sheets into Fettuccini, I noticed the transperancy of the threads. Hence, moved to a different point of view and let the light pass through. The out of focus rolling pin and the edge light it had, added to the charm of the whole composition. All I did was to move myself…and not anything else, not too much.
(Tech Spec: f/5.3, ISO: 250, 1/6s, 66 mm. Natural Light from left )
(Tech Spec: f/5.3, ISO: 250, 1/6s, 66 mm. Natural Light from left )
Here I let the uncut dough sheet and the machine’s natural geometry frame the Fettuccine threads. I love the way it weaves back and forth. :)
Well, end of the day, although my hand ached a bit from all the manual roll-cutting, and it had been a while since I shot, with some heavy glass attached, I was quite happy from the outcome. I had text running through my head to write, I had some pictures and I had pasta to eat!
(Tech Spec: f/5.6, ISO: 250, 1/15s, 105 mm. Natural Light from Top left )
Normally, everyone knows how cooked pasta looks like so I didn’t want to go the usual route of showing the finished product. But rest assured, they were gone soon after they were served! Pasta, et all!
The recipe was adapted from the book that was included with the maker. It says, Traditional Pasta Dough using Semolina and All Purpose Flour as the base and Eggs and a dash of Olive Oil.
The machine itself has given me some ideas to use for other purposes. But that we will leave for another day, another post ;)
and Beep beep boop! That’s how I am welcomed everytime I log in to my wordpress account. That’s what I’ve been doing also..beepity beepity boopity hop with my posts here. Seriously folks, my apologies. The perils of having to travel a lot (err..between two cities, nevertheless..) is a being away from all of you and away from what I enjoy doing (again..err..that is the photography part of it).
October has been
tragically chaotic. Meh…I don’t wanna rant about it anymore though..cause it’ll just bring about another disastrous episode of wallowing in it and we don’t want that here..do we?
Nada. Be happy..that’s the ‘essence’ of life. :) So sunny side up it is. The Egg Version of sunny side up..will follow soon..right now..I,m talking life!
Why I call it the “Egg”dog is because I got eggs in there (so random…sheesh) but lets talk about how that yellow fellow comes for the bite. As a food photographer my obvious choice of light is to convey a moment, an emotion, to make you want to eat what you see..and see what you eat..if you will.. :)
Time of shot taken: morning. In fact a little late in the morning. Really..it doesn’t really matter as long as you have a fair amount of light and a bit of awareness on how to manipulate it to your liking. Do you want it diffused or harsh? Do you want it bluer or more sunny..or even orange to convey a specific mood. It all comes down to personal choices. One doesn’t have to be overly creative with the setting/ and even choices but have at least a fair idea of what you want. Some people, I know…(sshh..be good ok! don’t tell ) take food shots with their phone camera..instagram it to death..like literally..(but hey!instagram..is well..INSTA…but it’s not Instant Noodles…so what..it’s still instant!)..ok I was just having a dialogue there with my alter ego that represents some of the people I know.. ;) Total digression!
Continue…where was I?hmm..oh yeah!
I wanted to be little bright and cheerful and not evocative. Appetizing yes, not moodily so. Most people..have this for breakfast to start their day on a high note. They do wind down with a peg or two so that’s for another day to play with feelings! :D
It’s so important to get some good hand picked veggies especially if they are going to be presented raw in a sandwich or a salad..etc. Hence, when I did go shopping and picked up the greens I knew if I were to do the shoot..then I better hurry up. I don’t have a slicer at home and seldom cut perfect rounds of tomatos and onions..hence another crucial aspect was to to prep a little slow so as to get the best you can. Having said that I wish I had also changed up the third slice (from top) of tomato. But I guess hunger was also in the race..so let it be. ha ha!
I wasn’t too troubled by the design on the plate because I knew I’d be using shallow depth of field and in the end it actually wasn’t so bad..cause of the plant design (repeated word..this is a blog about my food images, not a grammar test..ok whatever..Oh Stop it!).
I boiled the egg just till it was a bit on the well done side..reason for this was to hold it’s shape when I halve it. Now..plating was a issue. Not. I just put next to the dog and had to figure out the best angle. I wanted the yellow to pop and take attention because I knew since the bread was as it is brown and bigger in scale the eggies will get burnt to the back. Hence had to be careful not to blow out the whites yet keep the yellow fairly in check. Light wise..we have been having cloudy days, so there was no harsh shadows to think of. It was further diffused as the glass pane that it enters through is frosted hence double diffusion. My head actually was trying to get light in the opposite direction without having to drop the shutter speed. Speed was important…remember …hunger vs pictures..
Tried rotating the plate a few times for that appealing angle and then snapped away gloriously. How much is too much is a constant decision for me when it comes to the pepper and salt garnish. I don’t add too much to my food..hence I apply the same logic to my pictures. If I don’t eat too much of the pepper (despite the fact I have to eat later), I don’t want to See too much of it either. Just a pinch fro high (not on top of a ladder :p ) so that it doesn’t clump down in one lot..and has an even courage. The black popped instantly on the yellow background and that contrast helped me get a good focus. Backlight with a bit of fill from front with the help of a white cutting board ( so basic..) and a one hand dance to hit the trigger..paid off for a filling and content breakfast later..phew…finally!
I did bring it in to PS and bump up the blacks a bit just to saturate the tomatoes and leaves. A touch of highlights in the extreme right corner, text to give it a mag feel. Voila! done. Happy Me! Happy To Be Shooting Food Again! All Over Again ;)
The sunny side up egg, or bulls eye (didn’t know bulls eye was yellow…really?), or fried egg..whatever you call is soon to follow, cause that presents me with the challenge of reflections and ya’ll know how much I love challenges (no they don’t…yes they do…No!..Yes…No…stop it…)
Bye everyone..until next…stay happy..and happy shooting (eating..)
Hellos to my food blogger world!
Saturdays are normally for siesta..but for me it’s the time I get maximum to unleash my true colors, away from the maddening city life. Although an extrovert by birth, I find myself increasingly pushing the my – own – world button over the weekends. But to tell you the truth that button is pushed on some karmic cyclic level, whatever that means, lol! :)
So, out comes my big speedlight, an umbrella which I never use for a rainy day..or a sunny one for that matter and a reflector and although Saturday’s are meant to laze and not put too much effort, once I start getting into the thick of things, I pull out all stops and I can’t seem to stop, just like when you have the first hot piece of perfectly cooked French fries. What an analogy!
Another confession. I am very skeptical about using strobes for food & drink. It has a pretty steep learning curve and unless you practice the life out of you and the strobe power pack, it’s safe to say it’s not an easy cookie to learn swiftly. UNLESS..you yourself are a quick nut yourself. Cookies and roasted nuts. I’m salivating! Okay, stop thinking of ‘eating food’.
Tech Specs: ISO:500, f/10 (for good clarity and details), 1/100s (safe sync speed with flash for my camera), flash output : 1/4th power (Yongnuo 465), Nikon D90,
Nikkor 18-105mm, f/3.5-5.6
Ok, so here’s the behind the scenes action.
It’s a small vacant room of about 8’x6′. Crammed everything I possibly could and pushed my back literally at the wall. As is evident, the flash was double diffused since it was hitting the camera straight on. The lens hood was not used and so the double diffusion helped. The small screen you see in the pic right after the umbrella is a DIY scrim. Helps a ton for that clean uniform look as opposed to light coming from a window with grills. On camera left is a regular round reflector (white side facing product, obviously..duh..), held up with a reflector arm (thank God, I get some additional hands at times such as these), camera right, I held up a foam core board, mnus extension arms..basically with my own :p . The whole setup was fired by a remote to trigger the camera and speedlight.
It might seem a bit blown up in the image above but I took multiple ones, varying the shutter speed and light intensity on the speedlight. However, if Getty Images chose this for their stock library, I’m more than happy :)
The only thing I would have added to the stage would have been a couple eggs. My favourite prop, especially when there is a whisk involved..they so go together! I don’t think they’ll be splitting up too soon. Haha!
What’s on your plate this weekend?
Happy week ahead. Experiment and let me know about your spaces.
Nothing much to brag about, but yet trying to keep up with the blog, lest I fall behind again. :p
As mentioned last time, I was busy with a small exhibition and sale for a very talented fine artist. That kept me on my toes and also another set of photography assignment for another client. But in all of the hectic schedule at work, I finally managed to step out and get a little retail therapy in order to keep my polarities in sync! Thanks to a good friend who is also an image make over expert, I even got a new mirror image..a.k.a a well overdue haircut. But why am I talking about all these things here? Well because, I also was gifted this little treasure which is so proudly my new home page image. Keeping with my mania of food and photography. A very apt and thoughtful gift!
At this rate, I’ll be soon having my pic in a boiling cauldron as well! Ha! The above image was shot pretty randomly for want of more time. Backlit by a huge window and a board of foamboard in the front to soften the shadows a bit. Where I am at, we are having extremely temperamental weather, so had to just shoot and get it out of the way. I was incidentally making a pot of coffee alongside! Coincidence? No, intentional! Can’t wait to have it around my neck! An occasion for a selfie..yaay! :)
Have a great week folks. Tell me what your shooting? What are your favorite mealtime stories?
Or is it?? I am so glad to be back after what seemed like an eternity! To whomsoever has been keeping an eye, thank you ever so much for your patience. It is true, that blogging doesn’t take too much of creative juice, but for a person like me who is in a perpetual blender of varied activities it certainly needs a bit of shake up ever so often.
But wait! I have an excuse! Aha! Me and no excuse for my absence from a blog that deals with food pictures..no way. Not to rant a lot about it, I had to take some time out for my anatomy that literally went under the knife, and a surgeon’s knife at that. Unfortunately, the hangover took a little longer than I wanted it to take. But heck, that wasn’t up to me..right..so I know you guys will pass me on this too. One final time! PLEASE!
However, during the medical hiatus, I rediscovered my interest in the subject of food and drink photography in a completely new way. Learnt so much more by unlearning a bit. That my friends, is to be tried by all. If you feel saturated, do not fret..just desaturate your perspective and look at your work anew.
I’ve also managed to start on another pet project of mine which is to photograph people. In all their raw essence (pun!). I will blog about it at another corner, not sure how much I can regularly (but I did warn you about it, in the beginning, didn’t I? ;))
I’ve met some crazy clients too. Yes! yes! I’ve been busy with ‘client’ work. Many whom I can relate my craziness with and many just plain ‘ol crazy. However, in all of the springing back routines, I missed out on the first edition of the Indian Food Blogger’s Meet. I told myself it’s okay! Next year, it will only be better having taken care of the teething problems by the organizers.
I’m a little packed in with an exhibition I’m helping yet another client with and may not post over this weekend but there are some images I definitely want to share on my continuous learning path. For now, leaving you guys with a quick image (an outtake from another shoot subject) for it’s a sweet comeback! Happy Weekend. See you soon, I’m alive and will be kicking up a storm! :D