Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Food Photography 101

I'd been thinking about getting a better camera for months. I couldn't get decent closeup shots with my Cannon G9, but a better camera was just a dream. That is until last fall at the Hillsdale farmers' market when I was snapping photos at the Ayers Creek Farm booth. Another shopper asked, "How do you like that camera?"

"It's decent," I'd replied. "But it doesn't zoom in on details--flower petals, honeybees, sesame seeds. I'm dreaming about getting a Rebel."

"I'm thinking about selling my Rebel if you're interested, " said Anthony Boutard. "I need something that will take better photos myself."

I couldn't refuse the offer, and two weeks later, I drove to Ayers Creek Farm and bought Anthony's pampered camera. Everything, even the two extra lenses he'd included were in original boxes with original Styrofoam packaging and the CD and instruction manual. As Carol Boutard helped me carry the boxes she joked, "I told Anthony he forgot one of the twist ties." We both laughed.

But seriously, I'm so excited to get this well cared for camera and I wanted to learn more about photography. So I signed up for this class; because sometimes I need a kick to get started.

The assignment this week was shutter speed. I thought I'd get some good shots at the Ballard Farmers' Market. (Or maybe I just wanted another excuse to go to the market.) And after a few lame attempts at capturing dogs walking and sniffing each other and people strolling around and staring at food, I got distracted by the food. We're so lucky to have abundanat food at the markets smack in the middle of winter and we don't even think about it much anymore. And the stuff that's plucked fresh from the earth is so enticing.

Who could resist these Chioggia or "Candy Striped" beets?

Not really "shutter speed" photo, so I moved on and snapped a picture at the Patty Pan Grill. The veggies look enticing but hello the only thing moving here is the steam above them. The Patty Pan Grill, by the way, is my favorite place to buy tamales, if I haven't mentioned that already. But try these local veggies topped homemade salsa and wrapped in a tortilla while you're there and you won't regret that choice either.

At the end of the street, was this hot dog cart, with a man was grilling dogs. I made commented about veggie dogs and the man surprised me when he said, "I've got vegetarian hot dogs, too." Suddenly I was thinking about hot dog possibilities, and I wasn't the only one. Two feet away from me was a red and white basset hound sitting motionless, staring up seriously. She was so much like my Cooking Assistant, it unnerved me. Scent hounds are over-the-top obsessed with scents, especially food and they're so optimistic about getting a bite.
If that hound could have seen the grilled dogs from my vantage point, she'd have really been in heaven.

Back at home I used a macro lens for my soup project. I had to back up to get my Cooking Assistant in the frame. He was patient, waiting for me to get the right settings and to focus the lens. I'm not sure this qualifies as "action" for the class, but I can see my Cooking Assistant is up for more picture since he always snags a well-deserved reward for his interpretation of hamming it up for the camera.

No comments: