A tripod. I’ve decided that I have to just break down and photograph with a tripod until daylight savings comes back. Or, at least until we get through January. Right now, I envy people who live in cold but sunny places during the winter instead of a warm(er), damp, dark, rainy places. At least then I’d get an hour or two of decent light.
I started my Christmas baking this weekend with a new biscotti recipe titled, appropriately enough, Christmas Biscotti! How about that?
It was a bit of a dilemma for me because I realized I needed a new blog post but, I blogged most of my Christmas favourites last winter. So I had to try something new. The things us food bloggers must do! It’s incredibly stressful! (tongue in cheek implied here…)
Biscotti is an easy thing to make but I remembered why I’ve only ever photographed it once for the blog. Because it’s a giant pain in the patootie. That’s why. Cookies in general are hard (for me, anyway) but biscotti… arrrggghh…
Nearly pulled my hair out with these and I created an awful lot of chaos in my kitchen and office trying to find some props to make them interesting, trying to fake my way to more light and trying a hundred different setups and still not coming even close to the idea I had in my head. In fact, those pictures didn’t even make it here… was too frustrated by them. These are all Plan B photos. And I applied a Lightroom developer preset to get the retro feel to them (I tend to use develop presets when I hate the photos – they hide a lot of flaws…) but more on that below…
The recipe turned out really well though…
- ½ cup butter or margarine
- 1 cup sugar
- 2½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg divided
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup chopped glazed cherries (I used more)
- ½ cup mixed glazed fruit
- 1 tbsp finely grated orange peel
- ⅔ cup icing sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- combine butter and sugar until fluffy
- add sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves and mix till well combined
- add in 2 eggs and the yolk of the one you divided and continue mixing
- slowly add in your flour until - if you're using an electric mixer, you may need to do the last bit by hand
- combine the fruit, cherries and orange peel into the dough by hand
- divide the dough in half and form into two 11x2x1 inch loaves
- place on a lightly greased cookie sheet
- mix your remaining egg white with 1 tbsp of water and lightly brush over the loaves
- bake at 375F for 20-25 min or until light brown
- cool on the cookie sheet for about an hour
- cut loaves diagonally into ½ inch slices (a serrated knife works best)
- place slices cut side up on an ungreased cookie sheet
- bake at 325F for 10 minutes
- turn slices over and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until crisp.
- cool on wire racks.
- mix icing sugar and lemon juice together and brush over top and sides of slices for a zesty glaze
Food Photography Tips
I don’t know how much in the way of tips I can offer here because frankly, these are a combo of sheer perseverance and grinding it out and some Lighroom presets that I use when I want to “cheat” for lack of a better word. I call it cheating because I use them when I feel I didn’t do what I needed to do in camera, which means, to me anyway, that I failed at what I set out to do. Not to be confused with when I use presets just to have some fun! The preset is called Color Creative – CP 2 and it comes standard with LR.
All photos were shot with a tripod between noon and 4pm and all of them used a white reflector in order to coax some extra light onto the scene.
Image 1: f/5.0, 1/30, 100mm, ISO 800
Image 2: f/7.1, 0.8, 100mm, ISO 500.
Image 3: f/3.5, 1/40, 100mm, ISO 800
And here is a picture of Sammy, fast asleep amidst all the chaos. I even pulled his bed around to get to my prop boxes and he didn’t even stir. No interest in biscotti. Or photographs…