Food Blogging is Hard (But Rewarding) Work

Let me take a moment to promote my Wife’s new food blog, Girl Meets Oven. She has spent a lot of time and effort getting this blog started, and we hope it becomes a smash hit. We’ve also joked (more seriously than joking, though) that we will need to get a treadmill and start working out more with all these yummy baked goods around.

As always, there is a full set of these photos available on my Flickr Photostream. Please take a moment after reading this post to explore them (or just jump right there). Every one of these photos was taken with a very basic setup consisting of my Canon 50D with a Bower SFD 52C flash on top, typically pointed at 60 to 90 degrees from the focal plane. All were taken with my new favorite lens for use around the house, my Sigma 50 mm f2.8 macro lens. I played with adjusting my flash exposure compensation a bit, and found that backing it off by 1/3rd to 2/3rds of a stop sometimes gave a bit better result, depending on where the flash was bouncing.

First off, we’ll start with our busy worker bee, who found herself the subject of my photo while concentrating on composing her own photo.

Photographer as Subject

Next, let’s take a close up look at some of the key ingredients of the cookies she was baking. Here are some cherry and chocolate chips, mixed together in a bowl:

Cherry and Chocolate Chips

And another macro shot of some ground cinnamon and nutmeg (I think):

Grated Nutmeg and What

Here’s another ingredients shot. We’ve got a mix of walnuts, dried cherries and chocolate chips in a coffee mug:

Cherries Walnuts Chocolate Chips

And finally, a few images of the finished product:

Cookies to Cool

Cooling More Cookies

Cooling Cookie

And again, there are more photos in this set, so hop on over to my Flickr page to check them out! No, I didn’t help much with the preparation and baking of the cookies. In fact, I probably got in the way a lot. But when it came time to eat these tasty cookies, I was more than ready to offer my taste buds up for the challenge!

Now, on to shopping for a treadmill. . .

Photo Experiment: First Macro Shots

My wife got me a new macro lens and macro ring flash for Christmas, so I thought I’d finally try them out. Why the delay? Well, the ring flash came with a couple of step down/step up rings to adapt to different lenses, but they didn’t fit my new macro lens so I had to order the right one. Yup, I picked it up yesterday and couldn’t wait to use it.

Remember, you can skip directly to the photo set on Flickr to see more photos from this set. You can also click on any of the photos below to bring up their Flickr page and leave a comment or set them as a favorite.

Pie Bird Head Monochrome

Hunting around the house for objects to shoot close up, I found this ceramic pie bird sitting on the shelf. I set the camera’s macro focus to 1:1, then carefully moved the lens closer to the subject until I got the desired focus.

Pie Bird Head 3 Monochrome

Next, I backed off a little bit to take this shot, trying to capture more of the bird’s head at (hopefully) a more interesting angle. Both of these were taken with an overhead incandescent light shining down and the ring flash attached to the lens.

Garlic Head 6 Monochrome

What is this? A ghastly beast emerging from the deep? Nope, just a nice macro shot showing the bottom of a head of garlic. I can’t help thinking the root cluster looks a bit like ominous tentacles reaching out for you.
Garlic Head 4 Monochrome

From this perspective at the other end of the head, it takes on the look of a stratovolcano shot from a helicopter hovering above it.
Lambourghini 2

Oh yeah, I also got a Lamborghini Reventón for my birthday last year. It’s a little bit difficult to get into it, so I’ve not actually taken it for a drive yet, but I suppose that’s to be expected from the Matchbox edition of this supercar. Still, I think I captured a bit of its speedy nature here. For this shot, I got a piece of plain white paper to use as a backdrop.

All of these were shot in our “makeshift studio” in our dining room. Lori has set up a very functional area just off the kitchen so she can take photographs for her soon to be launched food blog. Here’s a quick shot of that studio showing, from left to right:

  • A black and a white reflector board on glass shelf standards.
  • A compact florescent bulb in a desk lamp stand.
  • A large cooler on or over which can be draped various backdrops
  • Atop the cooler are a couple of bamboo place mats used for backdrop.

Makeshift Studio

This was a great setup for my macro experiments. Hopefully I’ll be inspired to take some more of these in the future, and perhaps I’ll contribute a few shots to my wife’s new blog.

Ceramic Sushi and Saturday Lunch

I’ll start off with the Ceramic Sushi. Saturday Lunch wasn’t very exciting so it is at the end. Be sure to visit the Flickr set for more photos. You can also click on the photos below for larger versions on Flickr.

I bought this cute little ceramic koi for my wife in Japantown, San Francisco during our last trip there. She was busy at a conference while I explored the city.


Bamboo with Ceramic Koi
Ceramic Koi


I picked our bamboo cutting board as the base. We also have some bamboo chopsticks. Hmm, fish, bamboo, chopsticks. Anyone for some Ceramic Sushi?


Ceramic Koi in Chopsticks
Ceramic Sushi can’t swim away, but it isn’t very tasty either


There is wonderful detail on this hand painted piece. Here’s a close up.


Ceramic Koi Close Up
Koi Klose-up


In these last couple of Koi photos, I used Gimp to try to simulate a grainy photo texture which you could get on film cameras by “pushing” the film exposure. I think they turned out pretty good. You will need to click through to Flickr to appreciate the effect.


Grainy Ceramic Koi on Bamboo
Don’t push me too much

Ceramic Sushi Now With Grain
Pushing with color


And now, What’s For Lunch? Chicken nuggets and barbecue sauce, of course!


What is for lunch today
Mmmm, chicken nuggets


Don’t forget desert. Home made Chocolate Cake!


After Lunch Cake
Lori made this. Once she makes her blog public, maybe I can link to it.


Like I said, lunch wasn’t terribly exciting. Hopefully by now you’ve gotten bored and have clicked on to better things than my little blog.

Just Whipped This Up: Home Made Blended Iced Coffee

Just whipped this up this afternoon. I was doing some work around the house and needed a quick pick-me-up. I noticed some coffee left over from earlier this morning and took stock of our milk and sugar supply. Yup, everything I needed was ready to go!

Into my blender I dumped about 16 ounces of room temperature coffee (DO NOT use hot coffee unless you’d enjoy a trip to your local hospital’s burn unit!) and the same amount of 1% low fat milk. Then I dropped in about 2/3 cup sugar. I sealed the lid up tight and blended on low for about 45 seconds to a minute. The milk instantly frothed up and the blender almost overflowed! When I do this again, I’ll have to remember to use less coffee and milk or risk making a mess.

Once blended, I poured this into a pitcher which I placed in the fridge. I then crushed some ice into a cup and poured myself a rich, creamy iced blended coffee drink which rivals the concoction they sell at various shops around town.


Ken’s Iced Blended Coffee Drink

  • 12-16 ounces cold or room temperature coffee
  • 12-16 ounces cold 1% our skim milk (same amount as coffee)
  • 2/3 cups sugar (more or less to taste)

Place ingredients in a large (at least 45 to 50 ounce) blender. Blend on low for about a minute until all the sugar is dissolved and the drink takes on a frothy consistency. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate. Serve over crushed ice.