Mexican Dishes and Dragons

Well, this is the week when all of the meetings start, the week before classes start.  I’m stocked up on coffee and stay-awake stuff and ready to endure them.  Actually that is unfair; there are now and then tidbits of good information that come from them though the humor-yoga segment a few years ago is a classic of misdirection.  But we sometimes get data such as on the impacts of the budget lunacy that had escaped the rumor mill.  And we do get “Flex” credit – our brand of personal development requirements.

But it was also a week with some shooting in it.  Cynthia’s gig to do a cover for the Mexican Restaurant that was rescheduled, was done on Monday night and it came out pretty well.  Again, as has become our team approach, Cynthia was the lead and got the job, she styled it, I lit it, we both had our time at the camera helm depending on what needed to be tweaked, and in the case of this image, I did the post-processing.  The visual issues were subtle but important to handle and once again because the shot needed to contain both food and background we decided to do it as a composite similar to the Gaglione Bros. shot in a previous post.

Added to the “sport” was the fact that the place was open for business.  The approach was similar as well, we set up and shot the table of food with the bar as the backdrop.  The client really wanted to push the idea that they had a nice bar area and yet also concentrate on food.  Uh… OK… although one of the people told another one to just do the shots with their cell phone, we tried to muddle through as best we could… While the cover shot was using a planted camera Cynthia used a wild camera to pick up details of the food for ad and layout use.  Those are really superb and together the client should be very pleased with the package.

Here is how the cover shot was done.  The food shot was done with four lights.  The main was a softbox coming in high and slightly from the screen left; a fill light from a large octobox close to camera position, then two back/rim lights to accent the food items.  We also used a reflector to pump a little light back in the shadows.  The bar had a nice look to it to begin with but was really dark in the shadows.  So all that was needed were two lights bounced off of the ceiling to provide some base light for the camera, similar to the old video use of a base back light.

So here are the shots selected for the composite.

Here are the two shots used to create the final cover's image.  Both shot with Canon 5D Mk III and Canon 17-40mm f4L at about 24mm

Here are the two shots used to create the final cover’s image. Both shot with Canon 5D Mk III and Canon 17-40mm f4L at about 24mm

Actually the food was shot first but in the post processing I did the bar first and used it as a bed.  This is the original right out of ACR.  There I brought some nearly clipped highlights back, used lens correction to remove some barrel distortion from the wide angle lens then in Photoshop straightened the perspective, removed the people at the end of the bar

For the food shot, the background was dropped out and the remaining table and food were enlarged and raised a little for a better composition.  Some stains on the tablecloth where we had spilled some water were cleaned up, wrinkles minimized, then it was flattened and a slight vignette was added with a multiply layer and layer mask.

And here it is…

Final coposited image for use as cover for restaurant guide.  You can click on this shot to enlarge it.

Final coposited image for use as cover for restaurant guide. You can click on this shot to enlarge it.

We shot three dishes as options although this one is their signature dish.  The one I liked was a shrimp wrapped in bacon and stuffed with marlin.  It was REALLY good.

On Saturday we went after another type of shot.  The Perseid Meteor show peaked on Sunday night but neither of us could go so went out on Saturday night instead.  The desert sky was, as it always is, pretty incredible.  The Milky Ways was obvious in the sky as were the major constellations.  We saw meteors but failed to capture one.  But, we DID capture a mythical beast..

Here is a straight shot of the dragon.  It was light by bouncing light off of the tan sand all around it.  Canon 5D Mk II w Canon 17-40 f4L

Here is a straight shot of the dragon. It was light by bouncing light off of the tan sand all around it. Canon 5D Mk II w Canon 17-40 f4L

The sky was so vast that I also decided to do a fisheye version.  We were not the only ones with the same idea and it was actually quite crowded around the dragon so angles were a little limited at times.  But it is my profound believe that both the dragon and the sky will be there long enough to allow another try.

Fisheye version to show the incredible sky on a warm desert night.   Shot with Canon 5D MkII and Canon 8-15mm fisheye,

Fisheye version to show the incredible sky on a warm desert night. Shot with Canon 5D MkII and Canon 8-15mm fisheye,  Here you can really see the Milky Way.  I had to trim the circle down just a few degrees since it also managed to capture the tripod legs and one of my boots.

The exposures for both shots were at ISO 6400, f5.6 @ 30 seconds.  Since these were just for fn i did not apply noise reduction but they certainly could have used it.  I desaturated the noise primaries and darkened them, added some curves adjustments and a color correction to the sky and that was pretty much all I did.  I did shoot some other shots with some painting with light but forgot the depth of field from dragon (at about 10 feet) to stars is simply too great and so it was soft.  I need to go out and do it again with a focus stack approach.

OK, now off the the first round of meetings.

About ndking

Commercial Photographer and Professor of Photography at San Diego City College
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Mexican Dishes and Dragons

  1. Carole Massey says:

    Hello David: I hope to meet you one day, but in the meantime I love getting to know you through your blog! Thanks so much for your fabulous share today. The commercial shots and how you did it was so informative. Love the Milky Way and dragon shots!!! TOO COOL!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s