To all ye who want to paint with light ...

I should have started this blog many moons ago as I started experiencing the joys of rediscovering the art of photography. But as the saying goes - it's better late, than never!
So, here I am, in the hopes of recording what I learn as I progress from ignorance to enlightenment; about what my eyes can see that my camera can capture; and, what my mind imagines and my camera paints with its capabilities.

Please feel free to add any comments and share your wisdom (tips or tricks) that you have picked up along the way.

And do check out my How-To and Birding pages as well.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 257 - Food for the Hungry Soul

The word "Soul" here has two intended meanings - soul as in a person (like when we call someone a "poor soul") and soul as in the Spirit - the essence of a person. 

Food feeds the soul, but when that soul is my son, it has to be good food!  But for me, food feeds my imagination, after it has nourished my body, of course.  

This dish, the Chicken Biryani, is a favourite with most Indians, and likewise a favourite with my son and me.  And although it could become a little elaborate, over time I have learned to simplify the process so I can whip it up quickly and on demand.  

The Biryani, a rice dish with add-ins, can be made with most anything - beef, lamb, chicken, shrimp, eggs and even vegetables!  I love making this really hot and spicy and colourful.  However, having run out of the orange food colouring, I had to use red, which in my opinion turned out pretty cheesy.  But as I don't usually like to judge a book by its cover, digging into the biryani sent my taste buds spinning on a deliciously pleasurable journey (although I say so myself)!  

Reminds me of a line from a commercial for Maggi Instant Noodles from when I was growing up in India - Fast to cook, good to eat! 

The best light for food photography would be - you guessed it - ambient daylight.  However, since I don't have the luxury of cooking dinner in the middle of the afternoon, I have to make do with the flash.  I set up the external flash at 28 mm, 1/4 power level, to bounce off of the ceiling, placed to the right of the subject.  

Both these shots are almost straight out of the camera - the exposure was fixed marginally in the first one.  The second one is SOOC.

The shots were taken with the 18 - 55 mm lens.  The reason is simple - I find it really helpful to either shoot with this one or the macro lens as they allow me to be flexible with the focussing distance and angles.  I chose a very shallow depth of field (f/4 and f/4.5) and a fairly fast shutter at 1/180s.

And just a little note to those who have referred to my tutorials page before - I have removed that page and added a new How-To Blog.  Please feel free to check it out.  I hope to upload more findings from my various experiments in the future.


  1. Yummy, Toni - I have tasted your Biryani, it's out of this world. Thanks for teaching me how to make it :). Love the second composition.

  2. Thanks, Swati! What would I do without you! :-)

    BTW - I like the second compo as well, but took the first one because I need a close-up of the biryani for my recipes. The 2nd one looks like it could be anything, but the first one does resemble a biryani.

  3. The second is the winner for me, Toni!!! It's just beauitfully composed and those lights are perfect!!!And to think it's SOOC. You're off to a good start with your food photography!! Way to go!!!

  4. Thanks a lot, Noreen! I'm trying to get better at food since I have to write my own recipes for my classes. I need to get some decent photos for them as well.