The stories behind the images

The stories behind the images
chairs, rome

Friday, April 23, 2010

buon appetito!

The story behind the image:

Photographing food can be a lovely way to capture the essence of a country, particularly Italy where food is such an important part of the culture. On our last visit Dianne and I joined a cooking class on the Amalfi coast and not only had a wonderful time making the food, we also thoroughly enjoyed shooting the action in the kitchen.

We made crocchette (using the potatoes in the scales above):
We made gnocchi:
We also made a classic local dessert, Delizia Al Limone:
(consider shooting the different stages of a dish)

When shooting in a working kitchen you'll find your backgrounds quite busy/distracting/messy/not all that attractive so you need to be aware of that when composing your images. You'll have to either zoom in and get close-ups of the food (as in the images above), or you make the most of the background and include the kitchen and some of the chefs (as in the images below).

The best part of the class was eating the wonderful food we had prepared:

At various times during the class Dianne and I were torn between wanting to learn how to make these delicious recipes and wanting to capture the images in front of us. This will always be the photographer's dilemma - being in the moment or capturing the moment. Have you also had that experience? We would love to hear your stories...

Photoshop post-production for scales image:
Levels layer to increase contrast.

Equipment and settings used:
Camera - Canon EOS 5D
Settings - f2.8, 1/800s, ISO 800, auto white balance, neutral picture style, shot in RAW
Lens - Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM LENS
Focal length: 70mm

Happy shooting and buon appetito, from Lisa and Dianne at Capture Italy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

colours of positano

The story behind the image:

It was late morning in Positano and I was down at Spiaggia Grande (the main beach) with my camera. Surrounded by bright orange and red lettini - beach beds - and umbrellas, with a clear blue sky above, I was in colour heaven for photographers!

Colour has messages and meanings most people would only subconsciously be aware of. As a photographer, I use the visual weight of colour to add impact in my images.
Remember the colour wheel from school art classes?

The colour wheel - in this case, my son's umbrella! - helps us understand two important concepts which we can use in photography:

1. Opposite colours on the colour wheel, also known as "complimentary colours", work very well together in compositions - for example, in the beach image, the orange and red of the lettini against the blue of the sky. (fyi, "analogous colours" also work well - these are the colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel.)

2. Some colours are advancing colours, some are receding. Reds and oranges are colours that advance - they appear closest and strongest in an image, they demand your attention. Blues and greens recede - they appear further away. Using colours in this way can add depth to our images. For example, in the beach image, the orange and red lettini immediately attract our attention and draw us in; then using diagonals and some greens, the interesting middleground takes our attention to the top of the cliffs; finally the blue of the sky draws our eye up into the distance to our final viewing resting point. The colours have provided a pathway through this image, and have created a distinct foreground, middleground and background.

Below are some more examples of complimentary colours.

Red and green:
Orange and blue:
Yellow and purple:

Below are some examples of analogous colours.

Reds, oranges, yellows and greens:

Reds, pinks, mauves, blues:

Photoshop post-production for positano image:
A layers level was applied to enhance contrast.

Equipment and settings used:
Camera - Canon EOS 5D
Settings - f14, 1/100s, ISO 100, auto white balance, neutral picture style, shot in RAW
Lens - Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM LENS
Focal length: 40mm

Happy shooting, from Lisa and Dianne at Capture Italy.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

roman trattoria

The story behind the image:

Dianne and I were wandering the streets around Campo dei Fiori in Rome. This wonderful poster of the very famous Italian actor Albertone - actually he was a Roman, and was a beloved resident and icon - caught our eye. The scene of him eating bucatini is from the 1954 comedy "An American Man in Rome".

(Albertone died in Rome in 2003. His funeral attracted a million mourners, the largest crowd of its kind - only surpassed by Pope John Paul II's funeral two year later.)

In this image shot by Dianne, the poster draws us in. From there we start to look around the image and see some classic Italian elements - the checkered tablecloths, the decaying facade of the building, the shutters, the terracotta colours, the shrine to la Madonna above the trattoria.

Above the shutters there was some washing hanging on a line, which can be seen in the composition below.

This image is pleasant enough, although I prefer the first image where the strong foreground interest with the poster and tables dominating the image works well. The image above just has too much in it and is lacking a strong point of interest. When composing your images, you need to remind yourself every now and then that less is more.

With that in mind, I focused on the shrine. These are everywhere in Italy. As you walk the streets, remember to look UP!

Photoshop post-production:
Dianne used a levels layer (to increase contrast).

Equipment and settings used:
Camera - Canon EOS 400D
Settings - f9, 1/200s, ISO 1600, auto white balance, landscape picture style (for rich colours), shot in JPEG
Lens - Tamron AF 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) LENS
Focal length: 18mm

Happy shooting and Buona Pasqua (happy easter!), from Lisa and Dianne at Capture Italy.