Shedding light on the subject

(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 52mm. Exposure: 1/80th @ f/2.8. ISO: 400)

The photos that run on our food page every Wednesday are often shot in
the studio. It’s easier that way to control the variables such as
lighting and background. Occasionally, though, we go on location for
the food shots.

(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 31mm. Exposure: 1/160th @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)

The Record’s NewsBites feature highlights recipe by a newsroom staffer.
Last weekend I shot managing editor Don Blount at his Stockton home
baking tasty blueberry scones. I could have used my portable light
set-up, but I opted to use the available natural light. He donned a
tall chefs hat and did his best impressions of Chef Tell and Julia Child.
I shot him preparing the dough, baking the scones and then got photos of the
finished product.

(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 32mm. Exposure: 1/125th @ f/2.8. ISO: 400)

I approached the shoot with the concept that baked goods tend to be
comfort foods. If a kid skins a knee, mom (or dad) makes him or her feel better
by baking some cookies. I wanted to give the shot that sense of
warmth and coziness. To achieve this, I used a narrow depth of field
technique. This lends itself to available light. Much of the picture is
out of focus, with only a thin strip being sharp. It gives the
impression of being close to the subject, a feeling of intimacy.

(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 55mm. Exposure: 1/80th @ f/2.8. ISO: 400)

Don put the scones in a basket lined with a cloth napkin. I noticed
some nice light coming through a sliding glass door in the dining room.
The dining room table was a bit too far away to take advantage of the
light. Unable to move the light source closer and not wanting to
rearrange the boss’s furniture, I just picked up the basket and walked
it near the window.

(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 31mm. Exposure: 1/160th @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)

With the camera in one hand, I held the basket in the other, moving it
around so the light gently fell upon the scones. An added plus was that
sunlight reflected off a concrete patio just outside. It filtered
through bottom of the basket and the fabric of the napkin and added
some highlights to the photo.

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