Nov 022012

As some of you may have noticed, I have been a bit lacks in updating the blog lately. I love creating new recipes and can’t wait to get the camera out to capture the perfect shot. But unlike my fellow food bloggers who make it seem so matter of fact… fix dinner, hold off the kids and hubby, snap some photos, eat… that’s not the way we roll here. Dinner is often planned on the fly and I find I have to be very intentional in planning, setting up, and photographing my dishes. Oh, and it’s gotta happen before noon, as that is the only time of day that I get any measurable amount of natural light in the house.

So why the absence? I thought I would be blaming the kids’ soccer schedule OR going back to school OR farm choirs OR even that I have just been super busy working in the kitchen. And all of these have been partially responsible until a month ago, when early one morning as I was leaving for school, I did a nose dive down the front porch steps. Actually head first might have been less eventful. Instead thinking I had finished descending the stairs, I started walking to the car. Instantly I realized I had miscalculated and had another step to go. Flailing in shear panic, I hit the ground breaking my left foot and shattering my right ankle.

After surgery and while under the euphoria of pain medicine, I mistakenly thought, “Oh, wow, I get all this free time to read, plan, and write!” Ha! It has just been recently that I have been able to read more than a couple pages in one sitting or stay awake for more than a couple hours at a time.

Because this is a food blog and aside from perhaps a post on pickled pigs’ feet, I’ve hesitated posting as feet aren’t exactly a topic of culinary interest. But I really wanted to thank everyone for all the wonderful emails and cards. And to ask that you continue to be patient with me over the next couple of months. I still occasionally burst into tears for no obvious reason and believe I can accomplish much more than my body will allow. Other than that, I am definitely on the mend!

 Posted by at 7:08 am
Aug 012012

For years, our business had a web site with a blog on the side. Our site was professional, informative, and well, not exactly cold, but not warm and engaging either. Bored with our static online presence I was looking for something more dynamic. It was time to give our blog center stage. But that meant I was going to need a continual stream of interesting photos for our new show and tell format.

So I was on the hunt. I read every web site and article I could find on cameras and food photography. I finally decided on an older model Canon EOS 550D with a 50 mm f/1.4 lens. The price was right and the added features of the newer models were not needed for what I was doing.

lamb chiliBut who would have guessed there was so much involved in still life photography. I think my photos are getting better or at least I hope they are. I find I am naturally starting to think my way through how I want to style a dish as I am cooking. But when the time comes for the photo shoot, there is still so much to consider. What dish shows off the food best? Does it need accessories to better cue the viewer about hidden ingredients? Is the light right or are the shadows too dark? Oh, darn, is that frig in the background too distracting? The list seems to go on and on.

So I have been practicing by taking photos of all the dishes we make in the kitchen for the farmers markets. These won’t necessarily be added to the blog but I can use them as marketing tools.

The shoot the other day included Three Bean Lamb Chili, one of my favorites. This dish is full of great ingredients including a stout beer. My kitchen window has the best light, so I snapped the shots there and then ran to the office to download the photos. It had been a busy day so after a quick look, I returned to the kitchen and finished cleaning up. It wasn’t until later that I sat down to review each photo.

I had simply spooned the chili into the bowl, not really moving any of the ingredients around preferring a more natural look. Or so I thought. But then I began to really look at all the photos. How is it that all the tomatoes are on one side of the bowl and all the kidney beans on the other? I mean, how is that possible! It’s hardly noticeable from the front shots, but my favorite shot, of course, is an overhead picture that clearly shows my blunder. Ugh!

three bean chili

It wasn’t a total loss, as I’ve unquestionably learned the most from my less than successful photos. For example, never, ever rush. Take a breath if necessary, and just enjoy the moment. And always take an extra minute to focus on each of the different elements of the photo.

Who knew there would be so much to see thru the lens.

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 Posted by at 12:00 pm