Over to You

Doug Lan­don takes ad­van­tage of Florida’s out­door fairs to sat­isfy his ap­petite for mouth­wa­ter­ing food photos…

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Your sto­ries, this is­sue’s photo com­pe­ti­tion win­ners, and more

I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in pho­tog­ra­phy and did a lit­tle bit back in the film days. How­ever, it was a hobby, and I couldn’t af­ford the money or space for a de­vel­op­ing lab. When dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy fi­nally came to pho­tog­ra­phy I knew it was my chance to ful­fil a long-held de­sire. The books and photos I was study­ing made it ap­par­ent that a point-and-shoot wouldn’t han­dle my pho­to­graphic as­pi­ra­tions. At that time the pop­u­lar en­thu­si­ast D-SLR was the Nikon D70. I pur­chased one and have never looked back.

As Nikon has up­graded its cam­era range, I’ve up­graded mine. I sold the D70 to up­grade to the D90, and then up­graded to a D7000, which is my cur­rent cam­era body. The won­der­ful thing about Nikon cam­eras is that they re­tain a good por­tion of their value and al­ways seem to have a solid re­sale mar­ket.

My pho­tog­ra­phy in­ter­ests are var­ied. I like por­trait work as much as land­scapes, and ac­tion pho­tog­ra­phy as much as stu­dio. I’m al­ways look­ing for any­thing that might make an in­ter­est­ing sub­ject. In west­cen­tral Florida, where I live, the time to do things out­doors be­gins in Oc­to­ber and runs through to March. Dur­ing this time west-cen­tral Florida

Space and shoot­ing lo­ca­tions are lim­ited… flex­i­bil­ity is key, so a flash unit for fill-light and a good mid-range zoom are a must

hosts nu­mer­ous out­door fairs, fes­ti­vals, art shows and the like. And there’s al­ways food. Lots of food. Most peo­ple love eat­ing, as do I. But for me, the food ap­peals as much to my pho­to­graphic hunger as it does to my stom­ach’s hunger, and it’s al­most al­ways the case that the food ven­dors pre­pare their food in full view of the pa­trons.

Cap­tur­ing at­trac­tive food shots at fairs can be a real chal­lenge. There sim­ply isn’t the op­por­tu­nity to pose, light, and do other things to make the dish look like it be­longs in a cook­book. Space and shoot­ing lo­ca­tions are lim­ited and peo­ple are ev­ery­where. The ven­dors are gen­er­ally not in the mood to pose as they’re serv­ing cus­tomers. Flex­i­bil­ity is key, so a flash unit for fill-light and a good mid-range zoom are a must. It can of­ten seem like try­ing to cap­ture ac­tion at a sport­ing event, even though the food it­self doesn’t move.

The light sources are gen­er­ally a mix be­tween sun, shade, and var­i­ous types of ar­ti­fi­cial and neon light­ing. Depend­ing on the ven­dor lo­ca­tion, the food might be in bright sun­light or shade. The golden hour has no mean­ing be­cause the ven­dors’ trail­ers and trucks are gen­er­ally stain­less steel and highly pol­ished, which means bright re­flec­tions from sun­light of any kind. In fact, a low sun sends light into the ven­dors’ trail­ers and usu­ally cre­ates hard shad­ows, whereas a high sun keeps the trailer in­te­ri­ors in shadow, so cor­rect ex­po­sure with a lit­tle fill-flash makes for a more pleas­ing photo.

Over the years I’ve man­aged to cap­ture a good va­ri­ety of photos of the food of­fer­ings. I can tes­tify that the food is as good as it looks!

01 Dip IN Nikon D90, Nikon AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 1/1250 sec, f/8, ISO400

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02 All th e Trim­mings

Nikon D7000, Nikon AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 1/40 sec, f/11, ISO400

03 Heaven on a stick

Nikon D7000, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO100

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04 Get th e check

Nikon D7000, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, 1/100 sec, f/8, ISO280

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