Thinking more about food photography

This last week in Turkey I learned a lot, I mean really a lot. In the area of ostensible purposes of the trip (Turkish cooking, photographing food) I’m just beginning to …erm… digest the learning, but this morning’s feedings are a good place to begin to try to articulate a few of my discoveries. There may be many more posts along these lines, as I process more photos from the trip and begin to construct narratives out of their constituents.

Nobody will be surprised that our first stop, even before going home, was Home Kitchen Cafe (it being 10ish, and we having driven 3+ hours from the park’n’fly hotel we’d flopped in after a day of flying Istanbul-Paris and then Paris-Boston). And Home Kitchen never disappoints:

Lobsterpalooza at Home Kitchen
(The photographer may be forgiven the softness of focus cum camera movement… it was the iPhone, I hadn’t had tea yet, the iPhone is a barely adequate image-maker, etc.). Of course I ordered the lobster migas, I mean who wouldn’t? And when it arrived I did my usual iPhone grab shot:
Migas con langosta
Now, that’s not too bad, even straight out of the phone and up to Flickr with no processing. Not ineptly framed, even some parts (cilantro, mostly) in pretty crisp focus, but not carefully thought out. Quotidian might be a good way to summarize the image. That’s what I ate, and very happy I was to eat it.

I did have the real camera with me, so I did a couple of shots with that and they provide food (so to speak) for thought. First I did Betsy’s lobster stew:

lobsterstew
…and I’m reasonably pleased with the result in that the (notably shallow) plane of focus is about where I’d intended it to be, though the overall composition is less than carefully considered, and that reflection in the upper right hand corner is a distraction. A lot sharper than the iPhone effort. And so on to my migas:
migas2
Now here the plane of focus is just too shallow –should have stopped down a couple of notches, but that would have meant I couldn’t hand-hold the camera without movement. Or I could have changed the ISO (or fetched the tripod), but I was in too much of a hurry to, well, eat. I did try a top shot:
migas3
but that was even less competently executed, focus-wise. Of course it wasn’t until I saw these in Aperture that I found things of which to be critical, or (perhaps more hopefully) to think about constructively. Which is to say that readers of this blog will be hearing more along these lines as I unpack the experiences and the imagery of the week.

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