And another weekend comes to an end and already it is Monday. This weekend I attended a food photography course, well Plum Kitchen and I eventually attended a food photography course. We are both missing the sense of direction gene completely. We made it out to Muriwai, West Auckland and somehow ended up right at the beach, and somewhat off piste as it were, despite having been to Gourmet Gannet, our venue for the day, before and having the help of Google Maps on the ever handy iPhone. Intrepid explorers we are not.
|Tip #1 inventive ways to soften the light|
It was kindly organised by Alli over at Gourmet Gannet who arranged for Sean Shadbolt to come and share some of his wisdom with a group of us, a fair few of whom, I think it is fair to say, are nearer the amateur end of the scale when it comes to food photography.
It was a morning well spent and most useful for me was getting more familiar with my camera on the manual setting. I have become way too
lazy reliant on the auto settings, and then there is my iPhone. With a few clever little apps I can take a picture and with a few taps I have a pretty picture. Easy and almost instantaneous.
|Tip #2 - inventive way to check colour tones.|
However, I do like to learn and I am hoping to see some improvements in the photo taking department over the coming weeks as with a little perseverance and practice I should be able to get a little better to grips with my Canon EOS and hopefully produce some photos that I actually like.
Being a class full of food bloggers we weren't short on food. I rustled up some brownies. These ones are from Nigella, so you can trust that they will be suitably chocolatey. A few moments mixing everything together, 25 minutes in the oven and you have a tray of chocolatey goodness.
Their only flaw; I should maybe have gone for more colourful food for my first attempt at photography post class. Brown food really is not a best friend to photographs. With my "real" camera I still don't think I have anywhere near the photo I want despite having taken around 60 photos on the manual setting on my camera, various shutter speeds, aperture settings and what not. Yet on my iPhone, I may not love, but certainly have a few photos that I like. You can decide for yourself...
Chocolate Brownies, courtesy of the domestic goddess herself, Nigella
1 1/4 stick unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
About 160g (6oz) milk chocolate, chopped into small chunks (or 1 cup chips) - I used Whittaker's Milk Chocolate.
Icing sugar (confectioners' sugar) to dust, optional
Foil-lined baking pan or foil pan, about 13 x 9 x 2 inches.
Preheat the oven to 190C (375F).
Melt the butter over a gentle heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Once melted add the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until it is blended with the melted butter.
In a bowl whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt and then stir it all in to the pan with the butter and sugar mixture. The mixture be very dry at this stage, but that is OK. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Whisk together the eggs with the vanilla extract in a small bowl than mix it in to the brownie mixture. Stir in the chopped chocolate and quickly pour it all in to the foil-lined baking tine or disposable foil pan. Spread the mixture evenly and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes. It should, will look set and dry on top but touch the surface and it will feel still a little softer underneath. You are aiming for a slightly gooey centre, so if you are using a cake tester it should come out with a little chocolatey and not perfectly clean.
Place on a cooling rack for a few minute before cutting in to 16 pieces and dust with some icing sugar (confectioners' sugar).
These chocolate morsels can be made 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Just layer with baking paper to avoid them sticking together and thaw overnight before eating.
They are light and full of chocolate flavour, even better every other bite there is a little nugget of pure chocolate.
I will taking half in to work to work to help everyone get through Monday and the rest popped in the freezer to have little chocolate treats on hand.
So what's the verdict on the photos...camera or iPhone??
Personally with these photos I prefer the iPhone results, however I think that may mean I just have a fair bit of practicing and learning to do. Plus I do like a fair bit of mucking around with my photos as I like to use different effects rather than a straight photo and the iPhone makes it so easy! They say practice makes perfect, although with photos, as with art, I do believe that it is all in the eye of the beholder. Saying that I am looking forward to digesting all I learned on the weekend and becoming better acquainted with my camera.