March in Vancouver has been suffering from an identity crisis. It doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do. One minute, gorgeous blue skies, crocuses, warm breezes, the next snow, then hurricane force winds, then rain, them some blues skies… often all in the same day!
Do you take the umbrella? Do you wear boots? The coat with the hood? Why is there a torrential downpour on the side of the street I’m standing on but it’s not raining at all on the other side (this happened to me on Friday on Robson street…)?
One thing I do know about March is… Daylight Savings Time!!!! Some people celebrate the spring equinox, but food photographers celebrate daylight savings time. Oh what a difference that extra hour of light makes for us!
I have been a slacker in the kitchen. I have so many exciting work projects on the go right now, including one that’s taking me to Ottawa next month for 8 days (Ottawa food scene… I’m checking you out!) and I’ve been sick twice in the last month. Still recovering from the last bout which I think was the flue. The first time in 15 years I haven’t had a flue shot and whammo! Down for the count.
I knew crisis level was being reached when cookies had to be purchased last week. The only time cookies ever get bought around these parts are when Oreos are being craved. Oreos are an acceptable cookie to buy. These… these were Chips Ahoy Double Chocolate Chewy things and they were horrible (but not so horrible they didn’t get eaten…ahem…)
So this weekend I took a much needed recharge weekend. I started by taking Friday off and meeting up with my lovely friend Louisa, from Luli Designs and we decided to give the very popular Meat & Bread on Cambie a try. Do not be deterred by the lineup that goes well out the door – it moves very quickly. Louisa picked the Meatball sandwich and I had the Porcetta & Salsa Verde sandwich and we both topped it off with Fentiman’s Cherry Tree Cola. Ooooo… all this crispy pork bits in my sandwich… sooo good!
I mention this as a little lesson in re-purposing… the cola bottles were so awesome that I had take them home for future props. This is the sort of thing I do (it’s sooooo much cheaper than buying stuff). With nowhere to rinse them out and nothing to put them in for the ride home on public transit, we stuffed the tops of them with napkins and put them in my purse. I clinked and clanked a bit but, I got awesome bottles! And as you can see, I’ve already made use of them 🙂
One sure sign spring has hit are all the Garage Sale signs that pop up on lampposts and telephone poles at every intersection. Nothing says spring like a good clear out. So I decided to have a kitchen clear out and make “Garage Sale” cookies. I used up all my bulk odds and ends on these cookies (cookies are like casseroles – you can fill them with whatever you like!).
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 2½ cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or chunks
- 1 cup toasted chopped almonds
- ¾ cup toasted coconut
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Combine sugars and butter and beat till light and fluffy
- Add vanilla and eggs until well combined
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt
- Slowly stir the flour mixture in with the sugar/egg mixture
- Add chocolate, almonds, coconut and cranberries and stir in by hand until combined
- Drop by tbsp onto lined cookie sheets
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden
Food Photography Tips
First of all… all the cookie photos were taken outside! At 4pm! This makes me happy. I love shooting food outside.
Second of all… I’m having a mini rebellion from photos with perfect dishes, perfect table linens, perfect cutlery and perfect food. I wanted these to have the feel of sitting in the park, on a weekend, going through the newspaper looking for all the sales. Crumbled cookies, half drunk soda, coffee shop paper napkins, park bench, grass.. you get the idea.
I didn’t use anything except the camera – no reflectors or white board.
Photo 1 1/500, f/4.0, 100mm (macro lens), ISO 200, no exposure compensation
Photo 2 1/200, f/4.0, 10mm (macro lens), ISO 200, no exposure compensation
Photo 3 (I’m skipping the sandwich shot) 1/100, f/10.0 (notice the higher f-stop for the overhead shot so the depth of field is larger and more of the images is in focus), 100mm (macro lens), ISO 200, no exposure compensation.
Post processing on all three was pretty minimal – just some sharpening and contrast adjustments.