Last weekend I checked out at Barnes and Nobles a book called Plate to Pixel that a friend recommended.  The pictures are beautiful and the book is very motivating.  I realized within the first chapter that the point and shoot camera I purchased six months ago is very limited.  It takes great pictures but has few manual options.

I hope to buy a digital SLR soon, but until I can afford that purchase I need to learn to take the best pictures possible with my camera.

So, this Labor Day I spent the day practicing my food photography when most people were resting from work and enjoying the sunshine.  Late in the day I wished that I was on the beach or on a bike ride, but the experience was very helpful.

I learned the best spots to set up my table, paid attention to the light source, and tracked the light in my house throughout the day.  What I did know was that the light tapers off around 3pm.  What I didn’t know if that the Eastern morning light is magnificent!

For breakfast I ate a wonderful meal of scrambled eggs with Vermont Cheddar cheese and chives, an avocado, and Ezekial bread.  For my birthday all my friends gave me cooking or kitchen items, so I had some great new props.

I bought these dandelion greens at Whole Foods.  Aren’t they beautiful?  As I said, my camera has a very limited manual setting but it is forcing me to be more aware of the light.  I can only modify the ISO.  ISO is traditionally used in film photography and indicates how sensitive the film is to light.  The higher the number the more sensitive the film is to light, but the larger the grain is in the photograph.  I was a journalism photographer in high school and I remember purchasing high ISO film for sports photography but the pictures always turned out grainy.  This photograph was taken with an F-stop of f/2.8, shutter speed of 1/8 sec, and ISO of 80.

This photograph was taken with an F-stop of f/2.8, shutter speed of 1/50 sec, and ISO of 400.  The main difference I see between these shots is that the first has magnificent color.  It’s like the light is passing through the greens, giving them a translucence.  The second shot seems flatter, like the greens are plastic.  I thought the higher ISO setting would produce a brighter shot, but since my camera adjusts by increasing the shutter speed it seems to let in less light.

I took many more shots, but I won’t bore you.  My head is already spinning enough.  It’s time to get out and cook!

What journey of photography are you on?

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