Mama, Don’t Tie Me Down: Shooting Tethered and Valentine’s Day

A time comes when every dog has its day, and for me, yesterday gave tethering to a computer its due. The session called for a square image that could fit onto a product package, and I was not shooting a square Hasselblad sensor. I thought about it for a few minutes and decided to try tethering my Canon EOS 1DmkIII to my Mac Pro and feeding into Lightroom 3 software. I have to admit that it worked like a charm. I was easily able to check my framing by shooting vertically and using the vertical lines as the guides, and then I merely did quick crop samples in Lightroom to see how the shot looked.

Being able to see the product on the actual screen without needing to load the CF card into the reader made the whole process ten times easier. So much so that I have to seriously consider only shooting product sessions using a tether from here on in. While my Mac Pro is far from ideal given the limited USB cable reach, I should be able to use my MacBook Pro as a dedicated tethered machine and mount it on a laptop platform on a tripod. A few kinks to work out, but I am rather excited to see how this could positively affect my workflow as catalogue season rolls around.

Speaking of rolling around…it was Valentine’s Day on Sunday – errr, actually since V. has school in Hamilton on Tuesday, we pretended. With a nice bottle of champagne, we made out way through a series of delightful foods that I prepared over the course of two days. French food demands perfection. I began by making a traditional cheesecake, which I immediately dropped on the floor due to the pan being uncollared. Poor Mingus was almost covered in thick cream cheese and vanilla! Fortunately, I was able to rescue half of the mixture and rebuild the cake. Using the fresh raspberries and blueberries from the day’s bowl session I made a Grand Marnier and cassis liqueur sauce that was topped with roasted almonds. The taste has improved by Day Three.

Escargot are an acquired taste, and I lost mine when I had to live on cans of these guys in Montreal during my salad days – good, cheap protein source, bad when you have to eat them. For our special dinner I placed the snails in garlic, butter and parsley before nestling each one into a cremini mushroom cap. They went well with the champagne, but what doesn’t?

The other main dish was legs of carefully confit’d duck. This was the first time I had fully submersed duck in its own fat for hours at a slow simmer. I prefer to keep my duck fat for potatoes over the winter months, but for Valentine’s I decided to splurge. On a bed of frisee lettuce with a mustard vinaigrette I found a perfect balance between fatty lushness and crisp bitters. It may not have been Alinea or Le Bernardin, but I think I did a pretty good job with what I have to work with. Mmmm, that reminds me of the duck breast confit in the fridge…

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