Suzi's Blog

Merry Christmas 2013

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Suzen and I wish you a Merry Christmas. Actually, a Happy Holidays. As Suzen says, “Whatever your background or persuasion, everybody eats.” We all share the common bond of the table. And for almost everyone on the planet, bread in some form [flat, tall, thin, round, seeded, stuffed, rolled, gluten free, ...] is a glorious staple.

We hope the coming year presents you with happiness and peace. And bread. Lots of bread.

Brian and Suzen

On Photos and Rats and Strawberries: How to Shoot Your Food

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Suzie and I love our blog and the ability to share with your our culinary journeys. We’ve learned, from your responses and from what is happening on other food sites, that the opening picture is often worth far more than just 1000 words. If you compare our photos from a couple of years ago, you’ll see we are making photographic progress. One step, no one shot, at a time.

I love this picture and so do the others who have seen it. The thing is, this photo is one you could do. There is nothing “special” technologically about this shot. It was taken with a Canon T2i using the standard 18-55MM lens that comes with the camera. That’s a modest investment of a few hundred dollars, not thousands.

I did use a camera setting called AV where I could limit the depth of field, so the strawberry is in focus along with the rat’s nose, but the rest of the rat is intentionally fuzzy.

I did not use Photoshop or any other tool here. This is  just straight out of the camera.

What does it take to get a fun shot with these kinds of highlights and shadows? Patience. Just think a bit about the lighting and where those shadows fall. And it takes quantity. These are digital cameras, for pete’s sake, so just shoot. Take 20 shots, moving around with different angles and different focal points.

Experiment. And enjoy it! You want a good shot. Don’t try for perfection, although I kinda think this photo is pretty high on the scale. Just learn and get good. Some of your shots are going to be golden nuggets in no time.

Take shots when you are cooking, first of the ingredients on the table and then on the stove or in the pot or pan. After cooking as your serve, take your first plate and make it a showpiece to shoot. Wipe away those little imperfections: a trail of gravy or sauce, a crumb too many, a leaf out of place. You were taught as a child not to play with your food. You are now an empowered adult. Play away.

Ah, the rat. We had a visiting chef who tours the country. She may not want her name in the same sentence as rat so I will just say she is famous and wonderful and works in Colorado. She’s quite sane but I guess a bit superstitious. So she brings her plastic rat mascot — you knew it was fake, right? — and she asks people to put it somewhere while she cooks. She happened to have brought the most perfect strawberries — the rat is plastic but that berry is real and perfect. The rat looked hungry so I “fed” it. I had no plan on taking a photo, but how could I not come in close and personal.

The berries were great. The rat is home in Colorado.