Wouldn't it be nice to be fishing on a warm day instead of hiding from the cold?
As you've probably noticed, I've been posting a lot of food photos lately. It turns out that if you want a food photo that's nicer than your typical Instagram shot you'll need to put some thought into it. I made one attempt at a food shot by just winging it and the photo was horrible. So I had to put some more thought into it.
I've been a longtime listener of the This Week In Photo podcast and one of the regular contributors is the very talented food photographer Nicole S. Young, so I bought her book. Her book is full of great tips and ideas, but also assumes that the reader has a tabletop to work with, I clearly don't. So what I had to do was take her setup ideas and adapt them to the tiny truck.
When selecting the gear to shoot with I had to make several compromises. First off, I still have to be able to get the shot, otherwise this whole process is pointless.
Next up, the gear has to be small enough to store it out of the way. We don't have much storage space and every little bit counts.
And last, it still has to be fairly small when setup. Karen has to be able to cook with the entire thing setup. She needs far more room to work with than I do if we want the food to look and taste great.
So follow along in the captions as I setup the mini studio. Sometimes I make small changes, but the general idea is the same for each shoot.
So there you have it, a fairly basic and easy to setup studio for the truck. I'm sure that as time goes by I'll come up with some creative ideas to mix thing up a bit.
What a delight to get to shoot such a colorful bird in such a colorless environment.
Somehow I've made it pretty far into my life without every eating a bunch of different fruits and veggies. Since meeting my girlfriend I've been introduced to a whole bunch of new stuff, including the pomegranate.
I was quite amazed at the complexity found inside this little red ball. Not only does it look complex, but if you don't know what you are doing, it can be a wild pain in the butt to eat it!
While setting up for a shoot I grabbed a small bowl of mushrooms to test my lights with. When I first got this on the computer I thought it was a throw away. But I started fiddling with it anyway and really liked the way the mushrooms popped when I pulled the color from the table.
It's a cool crisp morning, the sun is rising and is a few hours the heat will be miserable. However, the dirt road runs under the forest canopy where it stays reasonably cool all day.
It's difficult to keep fresh herbs on the truck, and nearly impossible to find them in places that have truck parking. So when we happen to get some, we cherish them and make sure we get the most we can from them.
I went out to visit a friend on the Hood Canal and left before sunrise. As I rounded the bottom of the canal the sunrise was starting to show some promise. So I found myself a little place to park, setup the camera and waited, this is the result.
It's kinda funny, I never thought I'd have a nice picture of a bowl of uncooked noodles, but that's exactly what I have. So how does that happen?
When testing new light set ups I need a test subject so I just grab something nearby that is a similarly size to what my real subject is. In this case it was a bowl of noodles that had been set aside. When I was do e I just happened to have a nice photo of a bowl of noodles. Go figure!
It's a goofy job we have sometimes. Things go wrong and we sit for long periods of time, often with limited or no access to services. Other times we go days on end where we barely have the time to stop for fuel.
On this day we were quite lucky, in the morning we had the time to do laundry and some grocery shopping. Later in the day we had a couple hours to stop and make a meal. So we parked in a rest area and we both started doing our thing.
For this I tried a new lighting setup and am thrilled with how it worked out. I'm sure our truck looked quite silly to anyone who walked past. I had an umbrella on the dash and reflectors in the windows!
Karen, once again, did a fabulous job making this meal. I'm not sure what was better, the veggies or the tofu! As always, you can click through and try you hand at making this yourself.
Is it shipwrecked, or waiting for it's next trip?
Dotted throughout the woods at my parents cabin are these stumps from the old forest, from when it was logged. This is one that my sisters and I used to play on when we were kids. It is hollow and the opening was big enough that two of us kids could fit in it at one. The small section of rope we used to raise and lower ourselves with is still there, though I wouldn't dare use it today.
If you read my non-photography posts then you know that last summer I spent several weeks off work resting my back at my parents cabin. Karen came up to take care of me, including cooking for me. This was my introduction to her wonderful cooking.
One of the first dishes she made for me were these tofu tacos. She was a bit worried I wouldn't like tofu, but this has become my favorite way to eat tacos. They work great for any meal and are fairly easy to make.
We recently spent 17 hours stuck at a New Mexico weigh station. Once we realized we weren't going anywhere for awhile, Karen started cooking and I setup the mini studio. As soon this photo was made I was chomping away at these delicious treats.
You can click here to find out how she makes them!
Water can be a difficult thing to capture in a photo, especially the cold murky water of the northwest. Do you keep it realistic? Go for the surreal? Try to walk that fine line? Freeze the movement? Blur the movement? How do you put it in context?
Pour some water from the jug into the pan, set the pan on the cast iron, wood burning stove, start fire. When the water is warm get a wash cloth and soap and start bathing.
While at my parents cabin I noticed these little red flowers at the end of the driveway, the neighbor lady planted them. The surrounding area was rocks and other ground level wild bushes, not great in a photo.
So to eliminate the background I would have to use the method taught by Arthur Morris: Use a big birding lens and get real close. This causes the background to melt into the lovely sea of creamy green you see here.
This may look like a warm fall day, but it is actually a fridgid, windy winter day in Wyoming. Our little rolling home is what keeps us comfortable on these cold days.
Part of shooting food on the truck is learning how to setup for the shoot. How am I going to make the most of what little space I have? How do I light it? And most importantly, how am I going to make it not look like I'm in a truck?
This was one of my early test shots. Karen was setting up to cook so I grabbed the food and started playing around. The first shots were ok, but this later shot is my favorite from the experiment.
Even better than this photo, was eating the meal! These are the ingredients that went into the Thanksgiving meal featured a couple weeks ago.
"Won't you get tired of each other?"
That is one of the first questions people ask us when they learn we are living in a truck together. In the last two months we have spent all but one day with each other, side by side, talking, driving, cooking, sleeping and so on. If these last two months are any indication, then no, we won't be getting tired of each other any time soon.
"How long have you been married"
This is the next most common question people ask us. I just lie and say six months and move the conversation on. Apparently, the majority of people still think we are living in sin if I tell the truth, so it's become much easier to just answer this way.
Living in the truck together has created some of its own challenges. Right now, storage is our biggest problem. All of our storage bins are nearly full, and that's after creating a ton of new space that the truck didn't come with. We added cabinets to the top bunk, drawers inside of the factory cabinets and a storage bin on the catwalk. Even with all the new space, we still have food trying to attack us from all angles.
On a photography related note, I had to cut WAY back on the gear I keep on the truck. Karen wants me to bring it all, but there just isn't room for it. The bulk of what I left in storage is lighting gear, the modified body and Minolta lenses. I have ordered a few new items to make photographing food in the truck much easier though. Soon I'll write a post about some of the techniques I'm using to get good photos in the truck.
Karen has done a wonderful job of adapting to cooking in the truck. I gotta give her a ton of credit, the food appears and tastes as though it was cooked in a full kitchen. She is blogging about learning to adapt and the great meals she is able to cook on the truck. You can find her blog by looking in any of my recent food related posts.
Now that we are settling into our new lifestyle, I'll be getting back into the routine of blogging weekly. We have already had a ton of adventures that will make for some fun stories.
I have a small soft box that attaches to my one TTL flash. I rarely have a shiny object to shoot so I took this opportunity to grab a knife and setup a quick shot. Managing reflections in a shiny object is very difficult, but with a little practice, it can look pretty nice.