A few days ago I met a friend in Center City for some coffee and macaroons. We talked about how crappy it is to go job hunting, but more importantly we talked about artsy stuff like photography and design. And not only did the talk get me excited about food photography again, but there was a food photo shoot happening while we were at the cafe! It was a glaringly obvious sign that I need to re-ignite the flame.
Last night I made dessert. I took a trek up to Whole Foods for some delicious props (butterscotch blondie brownie, red raspberries, and Steve’s Small Batch Bourbon Vanilla ice cream (and there is definitely Bourbon in there!). It ended up costing me more than my bottle of wine. All in the name of art…
I set up the camera and bowl before I started cooking; I knew the hot fruit mixture would melt the ice cream very quickly. I cooked peach slices, banana rounds and mashed red raspberries in some butter, palm sugar and a pinch of salt, and spooned it over the ice cream and brownie. (It’s important to have that pinch of salt in your dessert so the sweetness doesn’t overwhelm the dish.)
Getting back to it!
It’s summer, and that means that there is no shortage of beautiful food to photograph. Time to get back at it!
My macro lens is here! I am super excited! What a fun thing it is – totally different than the lens that came with my camera. I am going to have so much fun with it. Tonight I just did a little stuff with it – nothing formally set up; I just wanted to see how it worked. This is going to be fun!
Bananas on the counter – the detail is amazing with this new lens!
Brad and I recently went to our friends’ house for some delicious meat. Justin is once heck of a griller, and we had ribs and pulled pork. It was heavenly. The above picture is of the amazing ribs we had (Justin even made the sauce!) and below is some meat that Brad made for us.
Sometimes we like to find relatively cheap meats at the store and find something delicious to do with them. We found some beef shoulder, and Brad turned it into a wonderful dish with tender asparagus and garlicky mashed potatoes.
Tonight’s meat is crispy pork. Brad found some meat with a nice layer of fat on it. He scored it, boiled it to render the fat, and is now deep-frying it. The pops of the oil are making me a little nervous, but Brad assures me that all is well. He told me to warn you all that making the pork this way “gets a little crazy”. Indeed.
It snowed! It feels like it snowed peacefulness – there is something about snow falling that calms me like nothing else. Today’s culinary adventure was to bake a cake. Brad and I are going to visit friends tonight – they are making the ribs and pulled pork, so I volunteered to bring dessert. A perfect excuse to make a chocolate cake! I went to Wegman’s yesterday and picked up some good chocolate.
A little expensive at almost $1.00 an ounce, but totally worth it. Smooth, creamy, no funny aftertaste that chocolate sometimes has… I highly recommend it.
Today’s cake was a learning experience. I never made Devils Food Cake before; it has three layers. I had two 9-inch cake pans and one 8-inch cake pan. The top of the cake is a little off-center, but I think it adds to the charm I suppose I could have turned it to a different angle… next time.
This is definitely not a diet cake. In the whole thing (icing and cake) there is over a pound of butter, almost a cup of cocoa powder, and a pound of bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate. It’s going to be ridiculous. But it’s the kind of ridiculous that’s best shared with good friends!
Brad and I spent the better part of today baking bread and making sauce to fill the freezer. The bread with the seeds = banana bread. Banana bread is the positive result of forgetting about a few bananas for a week. The loaf on the right is Brad’s free-form whole-wheat/quinoa bread. The recipe is from a wonderful book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois. We use the book often; if you are at all interested in making your own, healthy bread, I highly recommend it.
We went for a walk over the weekend. It was freezing!
Today I bought some new toys. After reading through my food photography book, I decided that my first accessory purchase should be some lighting. So I bought a new light and a reflector. I picked up a couple other fun things, too – a new tripod and a remote shutter release, which I love! I played around with the white balance editing on these pictures.
Last night we made some pseudo-Mexican. We threw a bunch of stuff together – Brad made some pan-fried chicken. It was delicious! We seem to always have Mexican-food stuff in the fridge and the cabinets, so it’s easy to have a spicy meal at a moment’s notice.
I am still playing around with aperture on my camera. This was one of those meals where Brad said “Don’t you want a picture?” and I ran over with my camera. So far, aperture is the thing I can set quickly and actually have a clue about what I’m doing.
Brad is really good at getting the avocado out of its shell. There is almost always an avocado on our counter. We buy them in various stages of ripeness – sandwich on Sunday, guacamole on Tuesday, tortilla topping on Thursday. Yum!
My first action shot was of Tapatio! How totally appropriate. Today when Brad and I looked at these pictures, he brought up a good point of how Sriracha (rooster sauce) would look better at the end, since Tapatio is very liquid-y. But I prefer Tapatio on my Mexican food and Sriracha on my Asian-inspired dishes.
The phrase “Romantic Glow” makes me laugh a bit. For tonight’s picture, I wanted it to be glow-y and dark. Brad bought some avocados yesterday, and since I LOVE avocados, they seemed to be a perfect subject for my photo. I played around with ISO and shutter speed tonight. (Thank you, Anna, for the easy way to remember what ISO I should be using!) I even discovered how to use the two-second self-timer! Which means that a whole bunch of avocado pictures came out blurry (and I thought I had a steady hand!) and a few came out not so bad. So to my wish list, I am adding a remote shutter release, or else I’ll just keep using the self-timer.
This one is my setup: