Food, Photography and Lifestyle Blog

Archive for March, 2009

HKPC Strobist Group Food Photography Meeting


Tonight we had an event organized by my Flickr Buddy Malcolm, to go and shoot some food in a restaurant called La Mer Brasserie in LKF Tower, LKF Hong Kong.

La Mer Brasserie

La Mer Brasserie

 

The idea was to give more people an insight in how to handle food, lighting and styling in a restaurant setting.

Almost all who came along had some sort of lighting equipment with them so as you can see from the overall image it was a real flashing event! Full of Softboxes, Umbrellas and Flashes.

We were 9 people and ordered a number of dishes, to come out slowly from the kitchen, well prepared by Chef Jimmy, and took turns in shooting the dishes.

I in particular like my Canon 100 MM F2.8 lens and wanted to see if I push the aperture to F16 and F 18 if I would get more pleasing results and more DOF, as I was just rejected by a stock agent, mainly it seems due to not enough DOF in some of my Images. In some way it worked but I was really not used to shoot in such a dim and colorful area, which posed problems with focusing and white balance.

Anyway I think it was a great learning experience for most, there were even few people there who didnt even have a flash, so imagine what a learning curve they took!

I am personally still stuck with quite close up shots of food as I havent found my way yet with food styling, I am always creating uncompelling images by wrongly placing things like cutlery, napkins and combining colors.

Anyway thats perhaps a new workshop we can organize, one for food styling!

Thanks to Malcolm for organizing this!

 

Coffee Machine, yes I have something for proper Coffee Machines, they turn me on!

Coffee Machine, yes I have something for proper Coffee Machines, they turn me on!

Coffin Bays on Ice

Coffin Bays on Ice

 

 

Caramelized Scallops, does it get any better?
Caramelized Scallops, does it get any better?
Seabass and Clams

Seabass and Clams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

 

Bunch of Ghosts playing with their toys and food!

Bunch of Ghosts playing with their toys and food!


How to Smoke your Salmon on the Table


As my snack post with the Smoked Salmon in the Jar was so popular, I

Salmon, Smoked in a Jar

Salmon, Smoked in a Jar

thought let me add a little tutorial to this as almost anybody could make this at home pretty simple.

 

 You should start with this recipe for Smoked Salmon first .

That should be your base, as the Salmon needs to be cured and also Smoked properly first for a long period.

After this you can proceed slicing the Salmon or even consider cut it in Cubes, or even Tsar Nicolay Fillets if you prefer that.

Smoking Gun Kit

Smoking Gun Kit

 

Next you put your Salmon on the Skewers, and place them in a bowl. Add some Smoking Chips to the Smoke Gun, and set it alight, Turn the unit on and push the muzzle into the jar, to let the smoke enter, remove and close jar immediately.

For a stronger flavor, let sit longer in the jar!

Smoking!

Smoking!

Do NOT breathe in to much of the smoke, always do this in a well ventilated area, preferably under and exhaust fan, remember smoke is smoke and while it can impart a nice fragrance, it can also be harmful to your lungs if you breathe in too much of it.

 

On smoke Guns, I recommend you don’t buy any of the old models that Poly-science made, as the wooden cup would easy burn out as well as get clogged easy. The Newer Model which you can see here is with an aluminum cup, cant melt or burn and also aluminum fan blades. You can order your gun here, and they also sell small sets of specialized sawdust for smoking! http://www.cuisinetechnology.com/thesmokinggun.html

Old model dont buy this one

Old model dont buy this one

Happy Smoking!


Food Photography and deception


I just had to share this, any readers I have right now, you must know I am into food photography, however I am also an avid critic on Images that dont show the true picture.

I mean I know marketing is important, but its also important to show the truth or you will end up with something like this:

http://www.funtasticus.com/20080324/advertising-vs-reality-a-product-comparison-project/

This cannot be what we food photographers want on our name do we?

Something to think about, after you shot, who is going to edit, what are they going to do with the image, do you want your picture to be used to promote something that is not whats in the package?

hmmmm……


Prawns


So I set off today continuing my blue background thingy, not that I only have a blue gel, but just it matched the prawns better then the orange or green I have. Anyhow the goal was get a nice picture of my prawn with an icy cold background, to emphasize on how fresh it was 🙂

Raw Prawn

Raw Prawn

I pointed 1 blue gelled strobe at the wall, and presented my subjects raised on a small table, hiding the flash behind it. I then added a small softbox left, and above, trying to shine light both from the back as well as some fill from the front, I then added a silver or gold reflector on the right to provide more fill.

 

I am sorry because as usual I was to pre-occupied to think of taking a set up shot, but the above should explain enough.

I shot most of these with my 100 mm F2.8 Canon lens, no CPL hense some flare can be seen.
And I used 2 Canon 430 EXii flashes, the one on the background I think was set at 1/4 power and the one from the left and above at 1/2, the gel used was normal gel from a stationary shop, no color balanced stuff or so. The camera used was a Canon 50D. Settings were roughly F13, 1/160th shutter at Iso 200.

I am quite pleased with the look of them, but please give me some comments and feedback as to what you dont like about these images.

Thanks!

 

Another Raw One

Another Raw One

Hey at least this one we can eat!

Hey at least this one we can eat!

 

And these dipped in Soy Sauce with some Chili are just delish!

And these dipped in Soy Sauce with some Chili are just delish!

OK this one is definitely not a Prawn, but he is the Star of every day to me!

OK this one is definitely not a Prawn, but he is the Star of every day to me!


Parents


My mother is not feeling very well for a while already, she has a cough since many months now which drives both herself mad and tired, as its exhausting but also drives my dad and anyone else around her to the brink. In 2 weeks she will be taken into hospital, for further observation and investigation. Being the only Son and having all their grandchildren in Hong Kong, its a time where you start to think…..I am now thinking maybe it will be a good thing to try and go home this summer for holiday again. Its always a costly thing though, a drain on the account with 5 people needing to fly over. Anyway I hope she gets better soon and hopefully then some time soon they can come and spend some time here with us instead. I leave you with some pictures from last years holiday in Belgium, Holland and Germany!

 

What better to then bike and scooter, in HK this is almost impossible

What better to then bike and scooter, in HK this is almost impossible. I love it how my kids are lined up here, from left to right, from big to small under the watchful eye of Mom

 

Emilie, Alex and Jens in Antwerpen Zoo, King was hiding?

Emilie, Alex and Jens in Antwerpen Zoo, King was hiding?

Opa and Oma in the voortent of de Caravan, enjoying a good glass of wine!

Opa and Oma in the voortent of de Caravan, enjoying a good glass of wine!

 Emilie, me and Jens slept in the Caravan as Jens was still a bit a difficult boy and needed his own routine/timing and we dindt want to deprive Opa and Oma of their sleep!  Jens loved to sleep there, maybe its because he is used to Hong Kong shoebox sized flats? Anyway I have to admit its a caravan with all the comforts!

 

Opa turned 70, opening presents at Breakfast

Opa turned 70, opening presents at Breakfast

Its always such a joy to see Opa busy with his hobbies, his animals and his garden with 100s of fruit and vegetables are his life!

Its always such a joy to see Opa busy with his hobbies, his animals and his garden with 100's of fruit and vegetables are his life! Can you imagine he was a Jeweler before?

 One of the thing I love about my parents is their love for hobbies, nature and natural things, they keep chickens, bees, a dog and have a garden that accommodates at least 4 different kind of apple trees, plum trees, pears, cherries, walnuts, Kiwi’s, Peaches, Raspberries, crossberries, and a huge vegetable and fresh herb garden in which they produce things according to seasons!

 

Lots of people came to celebrate his 70th birthday! Guess who was cooking?

Lots of people came to celebrate his 70'th birthday! Guess who was cooking?

 Its nice to see over many years how friends grow and stick together, there were people which i knew when i was a small kid, it was a great time to catch up with everyone, brothers and sisters (not mine, i got none) , uncles and aunties, old and new friends were all there!

as always bussy bussy bussy, replacing a old fence with a new one to keep the dog, Cotton in!

as always bussy bussy bussy, replacing a old fence with a new one to keep the dog, Cotton in!

 Pa loves his Garden and space, as well as their awesome house, which is really great, lots of wood and glass, they almost like live in their garden! but what I love most is my Dad and Mom together do almost everything themselves, its their hobby, need a new fence, need painting, need some new fruit trees, or some trees to be cut down……they just enjoy this kinda stuff.

 

Oma teaching Emilie Knitting

Oma teaching Emilie Knitting

 Emilie never really took up knitting yet, what for in a tropical place like Hong Kong? I am not particularly waiting for a pair of knitted wool socks, but one day, I am sure it will coem in handy when we move to colder weather.

The three wild boys on the trampoline

The three wild boys on the trampoline

 The Trampoline is my parents neighbours, they went for holidays anyway so asked if we could borrow it……..I can tell you if you have kids and the space, get one! never seen any of the kids, my wife and myself and even Opa and Oma happier then on the trampoline! Little Jens couldn’t be kept off of it!

 

Jens never got enough of the trampoline, till this day he still talks about that, was the right choice Mom!

Jens never got enough of the trampoline, till this day he still talks about that, was the right choice Mom!

 So here he is under the watchful eye of Mommie!

Beauty of a day, beautyful people and 2 real Hongkies out of place in Kinderdijk

Beauty of a day, beautyful people and 2 real Hongkies out of place in Kinderdijk

 Kinderdijk was great going into the windmills etc, we had some awesome but very windy weather, hey its Holland you know its like always windy, but we all enjoyed, I just like this picture a lot as those two big honkeys could never loose their Hongkines, of needing to wear big shades and look cool all the time!

 

Market Place in Antwerpen, Belgium

Market Place in Antwerpen, Belgium

King driving Opas lawnmower

King driving Opa's lawnmower

 I particularly like this image, as King who is my stepson, had trouble to get the lawnmower going, as he is so tiny, skinny and light, we had to prop several bricks on his seat first so the safety switch wouldn’t keep cutting power to the motor! He had great fun driving it and I had a great panning shot instantly!

 

What an awesome BBQ is that!

What an awesome BBQ is that!

 What  great BBQ we had, my Mom and Dad picked this one up for very little money and it swings, great for slow cooking!

Opa and Jens doing some well needed bonding!

Opa and Jens doing some well needed bonding!

King never got enough of Belgiums delicious strawberries!

King never got enough of Belgium's delicious strawberries!

 

Jens in 2006, on Omas home made Quilt

Jens in 2006, on Oma's home made Quilt

 

A rather unflattering picture from 2006 of my wife but its so Dutch!

A rather unflattering picture from 2006 of my wife but its so Dutch!

Miss you guys, hope we can come to you this summer or you can come to us!


Photographing Glassware


Empty Glass on Blue

Empty Glass on Blue

This post was inspired by Fhansen photos (link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/76924374@N00/ )who is one of my Flickr contacts, who has some absolutely awesome shots of wine glasses and a bloody mary, his shots stayed with me until now, many weeks after I had seen his. His shots were so crisp glass shots….i kept wondering how he did it. he did share some tips with me once after seeing some of my shots and as I always have trouble taking good shots of Glassware, I thought I have to revisit that now. 

Glass half full

Glass half full

Excuse my ugly walls, I didn’t have any graduated background materials which I would prefer to use for this, but since this is just a learning experience I thought….oh well…so what you will see here used as b/g are my wall, some silver or black paper and sometimes a foam board.

Champagne Coupe

Champagne Coupe

What I have learned over time is to light the background and let the light come through the glass, instead of adding fill, or lighting from above/the front. So what I have done here is place 1 light with a snoot and a blue gel directed from the side, above, level and below on the background. You can clearly see I used different angles, and not always succesfull….also my snoot isnt round but more oblong shaped, I tried to fix that, but didn’t do too well.

White Wine

White Wine

In most shots I have used 2 white or black foam boards on either side of the glass, and even sometimes mixing them, i.e. one white left and a black left, to add those beautiful black or white reflections on the sides of the glass, stem and foot.

Varying success I have to admit, but for a first try also not too bad. I didnt quite get it sharp, perhaps I been stupid and rely on AF here as I can imagine its tricky to af on glass, and I also realize I would have better used a black reflective base to put the glass on to add something to the shot.

The glasses were quality Riedel glasses however not new so you can see some wear and tear on them.

Glass

Glass

Anyway I thought this is worth sharing with you all and as I am anyway waiting for a skype conference call for WACS at 4 am HK time, I thought might as well do my best on this.

I will now resort to filling the glasses and emptying them until my call is over. Expect a grumpy man in the morning at 9 am 😉

Cheers

Chef


Just some snacks


Have just about had it with all the b/s the last few days, so am not gonna say much, just leave with some pictures of some snacks, and the thought of waking up with my lovely wife besides me and the kids joining in the early ealry morning for some muffins, milo and coffee in bed! B/s bug sorted that is!

 

Cocktail Prawns

Cocktail Prawns

 

Smoked Salmon, smoked in the jar

Smoked Salmon, smoked in the jar

Smoked in the Jar

Smoked in the Jar

Pitas and dips

Pita's and dips

 

Party Platter

Party Platter

Satay

Satay

Prawn Toast

Prawn Toast

 

Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls

Tinned (FFS!!!) sardines on toast

Tinned (FFS!!!) sardines on toast

Thanks for the attention and sorry for the attitude, tomorrow is a better day!