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Simon Park
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A new post from the heart of food - review of Eric's BBQ. Good, inexpensive food from a place that went against my initial expectations.

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How would you deal with the issue of shooting food that isn't pretty?

Take for instance a dosa masala, an Southern Indian/Sri Lankan dish which is a thin pancake folded over some filling (curried potato in this case) served on a stainless steel tray with a variety chutneys and sauces.

My way of dealing with it was to take the focus somewhat away for the food (as none of it was pretty or interesting) and instead focused on the way it was eaten. The point of interest for me was giving some insight on the traditional way Indians and Sri Lankans eat by hand, though the image also shows all they various elements to the dish to give you some idea of how it might taste and it's various textures.

How would you approach taking a photo of a similar dish? Do you think this works?
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Cayenne & sage roasted chicken and rosemary smashed roasted potatoes with lemon & sea salt.

Shot in the shade at f/8. Opted for a black baking tray instead of light grey concrete as a backdrop for the sizzling hot cast iron pan as it looked better. Lemon included in the shot to give some indication of flavour of the dish as well as a point of interest to break up an otherwise sea of brown.
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A little something to illustrate that you don't have to buy fancy equipment to get a photo. The ability to create an image in less than ideal circumstances with limited equipment is an underrated skill. Often all you need is some diffused light and a clean surface, even if that surface is the side of a computer case.

While I use a diffuser in the photo (under $40) a white bed sheet would do a similar job.
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Delicious cheese burger and buffalo cauliflower balls in the background with blue cheese and celery.

Shot in a beer garden with diffused sunlight on an overcast day. Top bun of the cheese burger was repositioned to reveal more detail of the meat patty, pickles and show off the melted cheese. 
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Barman pouring a Margarita cocktail at La Lupita at The Basement in Sydney.

Shot using available light in the bar (hence the less than ideal lighting). Shot at f/2.8 1/80th at ISO5000. Heavily processed with Lightroom to minimise glare, particularly of the liquid off the bar and open up the shadows on the barman's face. Several rounds of shots were taken to get a mix of the right sort of gesture from barman, nice pour of the cocktail nearing full capacity while minimising background distractions.
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Looking forward to Vivid Sydney which starts next Friday and runs from May 23 to June 8.

Keen to check out all the amazing art pieces and take more photos like these from previous years.

Full details of this year's festival are up on their site at http://www.vividsydney.com/
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2014-05-16
6 Photos - View album

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Balls of za'atar butter with a za'atar centre & toasted sesame crust.

Shot at lunch event as is. Framed wide enough to give a little context but tight enough to minimise distracting elements. Backlit with natural window light and shot at f/4. Processed with Lightroom.
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This is a photo of Australian celebrity chef Emmanuel Mollois whipping up some pâte à choux for profiteroles & eclairs during a French pastry Masterclass in Perth.

It was shot with a DSLR at f/5.6 & 1/15 shutter to emphasise the vigorous whipping motion. Given the really slow shutter speed, had to focus on being as stable as possible while holding my breath on an exhale. Also shot multiple frames in continuous mode to improve odds of a sharp enough shot, to account for not just my moment but the chef's as well, as well as have options to pick the most interesting blurred hand image.

I've included it here as I've not really seen any non-still-life-style food photography here. As with the following article on Your Kitchen Camera (http://bit.ly/1mKWMP4), I'm very much of the idea that food photography is more than just still life of food. Check out any professional or food blogger worth their salt that covers restaurants & food events and I'd be very surprised if all they shot were only plates of food.

So, the discussion part - is this:
a) what you would consider to be food photography?
b) something that would be considered acceptable to post in this community?
c) something you'd like to see more of (not just from me)?
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Korean chilled noodle dish called naeng myun, with chewy buckwheat noodles, slices of beef, cucumber, nashi pear, picked daikon radish and egg in a refreshing beef-based broth.

Shot with window light coming from camera left. Edited via Phototoaster.
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