I had the pleasure of working with chef Paul McKinnon again last week, shooting his amazing food at the Bridge Bistro at Kirkby Thore (www.thebridgebistro.co.uk). I’ve shot Paul’s food before, when he was at the George and Dragon, so I had high hopes that we were in for a good day.
As ever, Paul’s food was beautifully presented, with his customary attention to detail that makes shooting food a pleasure.
The down side to this kind of shoot is that I’ve been permanently hungry throughout the entire image editing process. If it’s making my mouth water, I must be doing a good job…
A Few Technical Notes:
Yes, you shoot still life on a tripod. Obviously. That makes sense, that’s how I was taught, that’s how I start every still life job. And by the time I’ve finished a couple of lighting tests I’ve grabbed the camera and I’m back to shooting hand held.
I hate tripods. Really. Unless I am absolutely sure that the shutter speeds are too low to get more than one in five shots razor sharp, then I’m going with hand held.
Tripods make you think and plan everything two steps ahead. Tripods do help prevent some accidents. But they also stop happy accidents. More than anything tripods stop you reacting to what’s happening the viewfinder; an instinctive shift a little left, just a tad down and smidge of a tilt clockwise becomes a big deal that involves three knobs, four levers and a spirit level. And really, in this post-film age, I really don’t need that kind of nonsense.
The Bridge has fabulous big windows on every available vertical surface, each covered by loverly wooden blinds. My plan was to stick a big maxi-lite reflector on an Elinchrom head right outside the window. Cumbria is in a middle of an uncharacteristic season that is apparently called ‘summer’. It involves a lot of very clear blue skies and very, very bright sunshine that rendered the maxi-lite obsolete. So, that was the key light sorted. Everything else is just filling in the shadows. These are all shot with the great stacks of available light, along with a couple of 400 Watt-second Elinchrom heads, one with a 60cm softbox with an added gold deflector, and the other with honeycomb.