Saturday, June 07, 2008

Food Gallery: My Top 10

I've been tagged by a meme! It's been awhile since I've been tagged. I think because my blog still flies under the radar out in the blogosphere. But that's not the case for my fellow blogger, Foodhoe's Foraging, who gets a lot of tags. So she's the one that passed on her tag to me.

But this latest tag is pretty easy and fun. It's asking bloggers to share their Top 10 favorite food photos. Since photos are a big part of my blog because I love taking pictures, it was easy coming up with my Top 10. Well, almost easy because I did have a hard time narrowing my list down to just 10 favorites!

So here's my Top 10 in no random order. The first is above, and it's my photo of figs. Taking photos of food that I buy and bring home is pretty easy because I can control the styling and lighting, as opposed to when I'm out "in the field." And when the fruit is as seductive as a fig, sometimes all I need to do is place them on a white plate, get up close and click away.

I get a lot of my favorite shots of food at the farmers' market. This particular shot was so perfect in lighting because it's at this particular farmer who has a black netting as a roof for the stand. The black netting defuses the light, so instead of harsh sun on the tomatoes, I got this beautiful soft light. Plus, it didn't hurt that the tomatoes looked so luscious.

Of course I do some dining reviews and it's a struggle to get beautiful shots at a restaurant with dim lighting. So my favorite shots are when I eat during lunch at a restaurant with windows and lots of natural light. This is a scallop salad at Wood Tavern in Oakland. It also helps when the restaurant plates its dishes so dramatically like they do at Wood Tavern.

Sometimes my favorite shots are just those that's all about timing. When I went for dinner at Laiola in the Chestnut Street neighborhood in the Marina, the sun was setting and creating some amazing color in the clouds. And when I looked up at the Laiola sign, I saw the clouds reflected in their windows and I thought it was such an amazing combination. Snap!

My favorite photos involve nice arranging of food, a good lens and great lighting. I sometimes have difficulty balancing lighting in my studio apartment, but for some reason my friend Jessie has great warm lighting at his home. So the few times I snapped shots at his home when invited for dinners, all the photos looked so romantic like this shot of a cheese platter. It helped that I used a macro lens so I can get up real close and get the blurred background.

Travel photos are always fun, mostly because the beauty comes in discovering new things and seeing new sights. And again, it's all about capturing a moment. This is one of my favorite shots from my Vietnam trip I took in January 2007. In a market in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, I saw this guy just sitting there just watching time go by. I thought it was so cool how he looked so calm in this extremely bustling market. It was a real moment in time for me.

Again, capturing a moment with interesting lighting that tells a story are the things that make a great photo to me. This is at a cooking demonstration at Williams-Sonoma and the chef was scooping up a stew. The lighting from behind him created this back light that made the hot steam of the pot very visible, which really made this shot show how hot and fresh this dish was.

When I cook at home, I try to style it so it looks really yummy so you'll want to make it at home! One of the easy recipes that's my favorite shot was this chocolate dipped cherries I made. They tasted so good, but deciding to plate them on this blue plate and separating them in an odd arrangement instead of a perfect row made this really ethereal like photo, don't you think? BTW, it is cherry season so you can totally make this yourself.

I'm always on the look out for interesting compositions when I'm out and about shooting shots. So while at the Boulangerie at Hayes, I was sitting inside enjoying my scrumptious lunch when I looked out the window and saw the sign reflected in the light and I thought it was so an interesting shot. Snap!

Sometimes my favorite shots happen by accident. (OK, so it's not sometimes, but most of the time!) This is a shot of a bellpepper that I shot at home awhile back. I was shooting black and white film (yes, in the old days when they had film!) and I must have shook my hand as I snapped and the lighting probably sucked so it didn't give enough light for the camera to capture a clear photo. So what turned out when I got the film developed was this interesting blurred shot that for me looked so seductive and abstract. So that's how this mistake turned out to be one of my favorite food photos.

Now I have to tag five other food bloggers. And since most of the people I would tag were already tagged by Foodhoe (!), I'm just going to tag blogs that I read and love their photography. So I hope they'll consider doing this tag because I do admire their photography and would really love to see their thinking behind coming up with their Top 10 shots. (And even though they don't do this tag, you should still visit their blogs to check out their photos.)

1. Steamy Kitchen. (Jaden creates some amazing photos and have blogged in the past about how she did them.)
2. Hungry Hedonist. (This girl really knows how to eat. She goes to some amazing restaurants and then comes out with great photos all. the. time. I am so jealous of her restaurant shots.)
3. Chez Pim. (Pim is one of the most famous food bloggers in the Bay Area and has some beautiful photography. I know she says she likes taking pictures, so hopefully she'll share her tips.)
4. Becks and Posh. (Here's another famous Bay Area-based food blogger whose photos I admire. I also like how she makes the cute little frames, very nostalgic!)
5. Delicious Days. (This is an international blog and pretty big, so I don't even know if they believe in meme tags, but I'm going to tag them anyways because the photos are in another level.)


Anonymous said...

I *love* your photos! What sort of camera(s) do you use?

Sam said...

thank you for the mention. I have been a little bit despondent about my photography recently. I am currently in the process of cataloging 3 years worth of photos. I think it might take months rather than weeks to complete this task, but I happen to be looking for my favourite food pictures as I go anyway, so I might get to your meme one day, but it won't be for a while.

Single Guy Ben said...

Thanks, I use a Canon Digital SLR. It's the Rebel family. I used to have the Rebel for 35mm film, but switched to digital two years ago and never looked back! The great thing is I still use the same Canon lens from my old camera with my digital ones, so my favorite lens is the macro to let me get up and close, then creating the blurs in the background.

Sam, I'm sure you have a lot of photos over three years. Don't get overwhelmed! Just do a little at a time and I bet you'll have fun thinking back to when you took them. Just don't forget to share you top 10! :)

SteamyKitchen said...

Very cool meme!! Thanks for including me...I'll post in the next few days.

Anonymous said...

Yay Chef Ben, those are awesome pictures and I love all of the thought you put in explaining why each pictures works. Very nice pix too btw, very artistic. Strangely enough, I think my favorite is the one from the cooking class at WSI! The steam and backlighting are lovely and compelling to look at.