Up Against the Boards

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….

This image is actually over-exposed, which is why the meter helps.

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.

This image is shadowed by my hand blocking the light to read it.

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.


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