Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hirsch’s Homestore Food Photography Workshop Feedback

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So last night it was the Hirsch’s Homestore Food Photography Workshop in Milnerton, and it was fun! There was a good turnout of just over 30 people plus staff, which made the whole experience manageable and interactive.

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Setting up took about 45 minutes and Jean got the risotto going so long, so that once the guests arrive, we could start shooting shortly after. Everyone was entertained to a lovely cup of cappuccino and something to nibble on, courtesy of Hirsch’s staff.

We were set up in the beautiful Elba demonstration area.

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My wife and my sister-in-law took the responsibility upon themselves to document the event for us.

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A R62000 screen was made available as the monitor so everyone could see. I now want one. And that is a problem.

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The missus and I before things got going.

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Nardo van Eck from Hirsch’s introduced us and we got going. I pre-empted all Canon vs Nikon questions immediately and said I’d shoot either one, depending on who gives me the most money. The same for the Mac/PC debate.

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As is the case with these things, it took a couple of minutes before the guests realised they may interrupt and ask questions at any time. Also, Jean’s irreverent conduct and counter-heckling quickly settled the atmosphere and soon we were on our way with a good two-way workshop-presentation.

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Quickly enough Jean had roped in some volunteers who were frying mushrooms and grating parmesan. The latter handled by good photographer mate of mine, Peter Lambert.

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The first dish we photographed was the risotto (top of this post). We spoke about lighting, lenses to use, ways to do this at home, and we discussed styling, getting input and having a jolly-good discussion.

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I talk with my hands, and check out that screen!!

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I’d like to believe those are the faces of people being informed and entertained, but they’ll need to tell you if it is indeed so.

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Jean got some help with making a Caprese salad.

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Discussing the Caprese salad. I talked them through some rudimentary ACR processing and retouching on Photoshop.

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They settled on this as the final layout and shot.

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Then Jean pulled in two volunteers to come and style one or two shots for the sponsors of the ingredients as a closing exercise.

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And Jean posed for another with his olive oil sponsor.

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I was kept busy with the ensuing Q&A with questions seemingly being more retouching focused than anything else, which surprised me.

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….and while they were there, most also took a stroll around the shop to covet some appliances or pieces of home entertainment.

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The evening was ended with a price-giving and then it was time to pick up and get going. In my case that’s a bit more of a process. The feedback was very positive and I'm very glad for this opportunity. Thanks Hirsch’s!

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Nardo, Jean and I at the end of the evening.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

FREE WORKSHOP

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DISCLAIMER: I did not write the bio on the invite. I feel rather uncomfortable calling myself “renowned”.

So, I’m not big on doing workshops. I’ve facilitated a couple of classes at Cape Peninsula University on Technology, and this and that, and have enjoyed the interaction for the most part, but have been a bit disillusioned by the flood of photographers hosting workshops these days, simply because they cannot find enough work to earn money. Not that there is anything wrong with a legitimate workshop and well-planned event, and you get your money’s worth, but I’ve been hearing too many complaints about big amounts of money spent on days where the lecturer on the day was a waste of time and money for all involved. I think there are very worthwhile photographer-teachers out there, and if only they’d offer workshops, I’d be too glad to part with some dosh.

Anyways, Hirsch’s Homestore in Milnerton approached me to come facilitate a workshop – FOR FREE – at their store on the 17th of July. Jean Nel from Flamed Food will be creating some beautiful dishes and styling them in order for us to shoot. The whole workshop, including food prep will be about an hour, so it promises not to waste your time.

It’s not meant to be an exhaustive study of food photography, but rather a glimpse into what it takes to do images of food, and a couple of tips for you to try at home.

Come along and check it out. Please RSVP to the email address supplied.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Danie Nel WEDDINGS: D&L

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For this wedding of my good friends and family in the faith, I travelled to Gauteng. Our bride is from Russia where D had been visiting her and winning her heart (after meeting through Facebook acquaintances… I think… or through our church’s social network….). I was keen to see what opportunities this would bring. I’m no stranger to foreign and mixed nationality weddings, as by far the majority of weddings I do are actually international weddings in South Africa. The last couple from Russia I photographed insisted on an African beer-drinking ceremony at their wedding in the Slangkop lighthouse. This time around however, there were some chain-saw cake-cutting and throwing of glasses and drinking of vodka out of a shoe, but other than that, it was just pretty darn awesome.

I might also mention that within half-an-hour of arriving in Jo’burg, I was given a GPS and a Toyota FJ-Cruiser and told: “You’ll pick up the bride and her mother, and take them to the venue 60km away. Don’t lose them.” I’m from Cape Town. I barely get from the airport to Sandton without calling in air-support. Anyways, in for a penny, in for a pound.

I’m not gonna say too much, just share a bunch of pics. You can check my Facebook Page for a more complete list.

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You just have to love the Russian/Gypsy/Balkan shawl  L and the bridesmaids wore. I don’t recall if there is any significance to it, but it’s pretty cool and unusual. Which translates into cool pics.

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There simply just isn’t that much to do about making a guy look good. He shaves, he get’s dressed, he’s done. 20120601_026420120601_0401

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The anatomy of a genuine, real, first kiss. The couple held to absolute purity standards as dating couples, making this event so much more meaningful and special. My wife and I followed the same route, and it is a non-negotiable as far as I’m concerned.

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After the group portraits, it was time for some fun couple and entourage pics. Note to Cape Town photographers shooting up north. The sun sets early. By 5:30 it was dusk, and light was low. I was shooting with flash, but what’s great though is you can shoot wide open and still get quite a bit of ambient light, nice sunsets and everything saturated. You run out of light fairly briskly though, as there is no Atlantic Ocean reflecting sunlight into the sky for another hour or so after sunset. When the sun goes down there, it’s down.

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Some Russian drama…. Ok, it’s a bit Andrew Lloyd Weber, but hey, it looked cool.

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The bride brought some props along, and in the end, it made for some fun pics. I’m not a huge fan of propping normally, and would only do this on the couple’s insistence. In this case, I’m glad they did.

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The MC was well prepared for the job, as he is also married to a lady from Russia and could give the guests some insight into making inroads into Russian familia… He even has a convincing Russian accent, but it could just be that his wife don’t want to hurt his feelings and tells him that it’s convincing. However, it sounded pretty good to me.

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The best man is required to drink vodka from a shoe.

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I don’t think chain-saw cake-cutting is the norm in Russia, but it was a fun idea. Why not totally blow the normal stereotypes out of the water? I think chainsaw-cutting cakes are probably more likely in Canada, but with all the fake Russian accents and James Bond anecdotes doing the rounds that night, why not? By the way, I have it on very good authority that none of the Russian Bond bad guys’ accents are any good. In fact, no Russian accent on TV is probably convincing. Much like the Afrikaans accents in Lethal Weapon 2.

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The first dance happened in a little gazebo outside, with the temperature outside at about 5 deg C, but it looked great though.

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and so forth and so on…..

Again, awesome time shooting this .