Monday’s Food Moment – Pomegranate

Another red superfood!

The Punica Granatum produces a  a fruit that has become extremely popular during recent years, as it’s one of those superfoods that you just shouldn’t do without!

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Pomegranate Seeds

The pomegranate is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and was cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region since ancient times. It is widely cultivated throughout India and the drier parts of southeast Asia, Malaya, the East Indies and tropical Africa. The tree was introduced into California by Spanish settlers in 1769. In the United States it is grown for its fruits mainly in the drier parts of California and Arizona.

Loaded with anti-oxidants and also having anti-inflammatory properties, the pomegranate deserves the designation of superfood!  The only drawback it has, is that it can be a little tricky to extricate its delicious seeds without making a mess.  Two great techniques are shown in this BBC video on removing pomegranate seeds.

Hope you enjoy the photo and remember to get some pomegranates, when they are in season!

Technical Details

This shot was set up in my studio using a product table, on which I put just a smidgen of glitter to add some interest.  The pomegranate seeds were arranged with great care to ensure they looked their best.  Using two studio lights with softboxes, I dialed them in for just a bit of shadow and f/6.3 at 100 ISO and 1/100 second exposure.

Camera used was a Canon EOS 5D Mk II with an EF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM lens.

Monday’s Food Fix – Margaritas!

Salt or sugar?

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Mmmm…Margaritas!

Hold on for a moment, you say! Margaritas aren’t food!  I beg to differ with you, as a margarita without salt on the rim and some lime, just is not a complete margarita.

So, on this Monday, please enjoy yourself a margarita on me!

Have a wonderful day!

Technical Details

This image was lit in my studio with a single strobe in a softbox, and a reflector to reduce the shadow a bit.  The ice is fake… in a comfortable studio, ice just melts way too fast!

Monday Superfood Fix

Red and green

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Superfoods!

Strawberries and kale are both superfoods, as many of you know.  Both are full of antioxidants, have cancer prevention properties and strawberries have anti-inflammatory benefits.  Plus they are both delicious, so what could be better?

Hope you enjoy them or do you prefer other superfoods?

Technical Details

This is an image that I took a couple of years ago, when I was taking a food photography class.  My goal was to achieve a simple, timeless image that had lines and colors working together.

Lighting for this image was done with a single studio strobe and a reflector to lighten the shadow.  Camera for this shot was a Canon EOS 5D MkII with a 24-105mm f/4L lens; F-stop was set to f/6.3 at 1/100 second.

Valentine Sweets

Candy, candy everywhere

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Sweetness!

It’s upon us!  The day that must be loved by dentists universally, as their consumer base is expanded!  According to a 3-year old CNN article (Valentine’s Day Statistics) $1.6B is spent on candy for Valentine’s Day.

And what did I do to help this a couple of years ago?  Photograph more candy, of course, just in case there wasn’t enough consumption yet!  But no need to worry, as I didn’t eat the candy and brushed my teeth!

Have a very Happy Valentine’s Day, and remember to brush!!

Technical Details

I shot this in my studio, so camera settings are not really germane, but I will share that the lens I used for this is a Lensbaby Composer with a glass optic.  If there’s interest, I’ll be happy to do a post on Lensbaby at some time this Spring.

Worcester’s Best Chef Competition – pt 2

Did I mention food?

As promised, I will share some more photos from the Worcester’s Best Chef Competition event that was held on January 31st.  I hope that you enjoy some of the flavor that I’m bringing to you in this post!

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Chef in action!

In this first shot, you see Chef Anthony Bairos in action, cooking his dish in front of attendees, who are eagerly awaiting a taste.

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Quail was delicious

Speaking of dishes, one of my favorites was this quail dish; it was cooked to perfection, and so good that I came back for seconds!

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Perfect tenderloin

Not to be missed was the tenderloin with quinoa and delectable sauce, which just about flew off the serving table.

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A little sangria

Of course, with all that great food, one might get a little thirsty, which can be taken care of at many stations, such as here with sangria.

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Dessert is served!

 

No meal should be considered complete without some dessert.  Culinary students from several local high schools created wonderful desserts to compliment the other offerings.

Daily Post Photo Challenge – Vibrant

What is more vibrant than kumquats?

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Juicy Kumquats!

They may not be your everyday fruit, but kumquats positively brim with all that is good for you: vitamins, fibre and a tartness that wakes you up!

In response to Daily Post Photo Challenge – Vibrant

 

Hope you enjoy!!

Worcester Best Chef Competition

Great food, camaraderie and competition!

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High End Dishes to Taste!

This Sunday, I have the privilege to be one of the photographers, who will be covering the annual Worcester Best Chef event and competition at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA.

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Chef Brian Treitman in Battle Mode

The event attracts the best restaurants and chefs in the area to dazzle everyone with their finest offerings.  The tasting is spread out over multiple floors within the beautiful facility, and the attendees not only get to taste what local restaurants can do, but also get to vote for there favorites.

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Plenty of Ingredients

After the voting, the competition commences between the top vote recipient and two other chefs, who are selected by the judges based on what they tasted earlier in the day.  In true Iron Chef style, the three chefs battle each other on stage to come up with their finest dish within 30 minutes.

The winner is determined by a panel of esteem judges, and gets the trophy and prestige of being Worcester’s Best Chef for that year!

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Cleaning Up

The event is fun for all and nobody goes away hungry, given the smorgasbord of delectable food!  If you want to find out more about this event, please check the Worcester Best Chef web-site at Worcester Best Chef.

If you’re lucky, there might still be a couple of tickets available, as attendance has been outstanding each year; the local gourmets flock to the event in droves, as you’re not going to get bette food anywhere in the area.

Hope you enjoy some of the images from past years, and I’ll be sure to post some after Sunday.

How did you learn photography? (part 3)

Photographing agility competitions allowed me to hone my camera skills

Building more skills

Photographing agility competitions allowed me to hone my camera skills, exposure and scene understanding and quick decision making to get just about any shot in an instant.  Add to that an understanding of just about any breed of dog and how they jump, so that I could just about guarantee that I’d catch them in their best look, and I was in demand for dog sport photography.

The one missing element was the personal satisfaction that I was stretching myself creatively to a level that I felt I could.  I had joined a camera club and enjoyed the interaction with other photographers, and this did help me determine to some degree what I wanted to do as a next step.

My true desire was to be able to produce images of the quality that one would expect from a professional photographer; the kind of image that you see in a magazine or in advertising or in a gallery.

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Macaroni and Cheese

So I made a list of the skills that I needed:

  • Lighting a subject under various circumstances
  • A well-developed artistic eye
  • Ability to pose subjects for a pleasing result
  • Knowledge of tools to produce the final image

A pretty basic list, which can take thousands of hours to master.  Time to get serious about learning!

Learning approaches

In addition to the books that I already gathered, I started taking some workshops and seminars and participating in group shoots.  Each of these approaches had their merits and helped me learn in different ways.

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Solitude

On-line courses were great in terms of fitting into a hectic work week, and getting a lot of well-prepared technical or artistic information in written form for later reference; each course required me to submit assignment shots by a certain time, which were then critiqued by the instructor(s).  I took classes ranging from flash skills, conceptual photography (Solitude) and food photography (Macaroni and Cheese).  Food is definitely one area of commercial photography that I enjoy; after all, who doesn’t like food?

Workshops were fantastic opportunities to learn skills within a day or two and often get lots of hands-on work.  I worked with some great instructors, who are truly inspiring.  Rick Friedman’s workshops on Location Lighting taught me how to use Speedlights to light just about any situation creatively and for the effect that you want.  Bobbi Lane’s Portrait Photography workshops added a lot of portrait lighting for effect skill to my bag of tricks, as well as posing models.

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The Lady has Charm

Working with models was also crucial to my development as a photographer; even though most of my artistic work is landscape and abstract, working with models taught me to recognize the importance of managing lines in any shot.

What have I learnt?

Clearly, I have developed as a photographer over the past 10-12 years, and I have received recognition for a number of my images.  During that time, I have learned a lot of technical skills and unlocked some of my artistic ability, but more than anything I have achieved a level of confidence that allows me to take on just about any situation and come up with a solution for getting the shot that I want.

In the next part, I’ll go over some of the strategies that I use to get these images and what I see as the continuing journey of acquiring knowledge, skill and enjoyment from photography.

Hope to see you for that one!

Mama Cormier

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