When I get inspired I just need to go with it. Yesterday afternoon I had surge of creativity that demanded my attention, so despite my better judgement, I dragged out all of my lights and gear to begin the process of capturing what was in my head. This week’s project is to photograph a series of pepper grinders, some stainless tea/wine/parmesan items and two cutting boards for boxes. The pepper grinders present the biggest challenge, as I will probably need to ask someone to hold them for a few shots. Now that V. is not here, it is hard to just go ask someone: “Wanna be a hand-model. I can’t pay you due to budget, but you can have some I’m cooking food for your troubles.” Riiigghht. I think this might be a hard sell. There may be some shots of Mingus holding the grinders this week…we miss V. a lot for her help in the frenzy. But back to my creative vision….
I decided to shoot the first board with some expertly diced vegetables that might go into a mire-poix [the holy French combination of celery, garlic, carrot and onion], but that provided a nice catalyst for the colours and materials of the board itself. I decided to use a Paderno Santoku knife for the shot, because it is the one I tend to use when doing prep, and it compliments the red in the board. The light meter continues to become more and more essential to understanding the light around me. I cannot recommend enough that anyone interested in using lights should get one of these. When I read on the forums that no one uses these anymore because their cameras give them accurate exposures, I believed them. However, those photographers are misleading themselves. I now save so much time by taking a reading before I start. I look more professional. I can decide what exposure to use based on the various parts of an image versus having the camera do it for me. Switching to manual exposure, manual focus and a light meter has made me into more of a craftsman without a doubt.
The second shot had to compliment, yet contrast, the first shot to show why you would buy both boards as a cook. Personally, I use smaller boards for the more toxic foods like seafood and chicken. Why? I have to wash those boards often, so it saves energy to use the smaller board for that. For garlic and onion, I try to use an even smaller or separate board because their pungent tastes/odour lingers on the board so that it can never be used for fruit. Shrimp. I had these beautiful shrimp in the freezer, and their blue shells begged to be included in the image next to some lemons and parsley. In the real world, I would totally combine these ingredients for a nice summer dish. I decided to include a sushi knife I purchased from the Nishiki Market in Kyoto, as it is a knife I would use for shrimp, but it is not a competitor’s product. In fact, the knife is handmade by a small family in Japan, so while beautiful it will not confuse the customer chef.
It is a beautiful day in Toronto, so I am going to head out for a ride on the motorcycle to clear my head and pick up some food for the next shoot. I still have quite a few negatives to scan from Chicago and Japan, but some light may be more important this morning.