Post Date: January 19, 2019
I don’t usually make big resolutions for the New Year. Why wait for January to start on something new? I worked this summer to improve my train pictures and was happy with the results.
That being said, there are a couple of areas that I’d like to improve and the New Year does provide an opportunity to start something I’ve been putting off. First, I really need to make my reading reports shorter – I am sooo wordy. Second, every time I take pictures of my cooking I think to myself that I’ve gotten kind of stale in my shots: opening picture of packaged ingredients followed by mis en place. Looking at it one way, it’s a style. Nevertheless I’d like to figure a way to spice things up.
Enter Matt Kloskowski’s on-line Fresh Start photography course. My friend Tomas M. introduced me to Matt’s videos a few years ago and I’ve followed him closely since then. Tom and I took time off work a few years ago to attend Matt’s full day course on Adobe Lightroom at the Portland Convention Center; I became even a bigger fan. Matt is personable and demonstrates complicated topics in an understandable way. Recently Matt has started his own training business and I’ve also taken a few of his on-line Lightroom and Photoshop courses.
This January Matt started a six week “Fresh Start”program to help improve our photography. Unlike most of his courses in that it is more photography focused – rather than editing – and is spread out over the six weeks with a different subject introduced each Monday.
The first week we were challenged to take pictures of food in the house. Part of the challenge was to use natural light and use some colored paper as props. I bought a few large sheets of colored paper at the local art store and a a bunch of sheets of colored 8.5×11 paper at the local drug store.
His sample was candy and lots of the students followed suit. Candy makes a great subject – it is so colorful; but – in another New Year’s Resolution – I’m cutting out sugar. I decided to use spices as my subject and to make use of my tripod. Working with the colored paper I realized that contrast was going to be a big part of the picture. I threw down various sheets of paper and worked on arranging the spices.
I asked for Carla’s input and she wasn’t a fan of the the green paper I had so I tried a colored T-shirt. I like the texture it provides. But I can’t see using that during real cooking shots.
Extending the idea of a textured background, I thought it would be fun to spread some kosher salt on the paper.
I was a fan of using the white salt on black paper.
Part of the course is to upload your best picture(s) of the week. Buying into the idea of contrast, I used this one.
I liked this background a lot. Looking back on it, I’m not a fan of the two bay leaves looking like wings. And the chili powder is too dark. I like this one with the stray leaf adding some balance.
Matt suggested we print them and hang them somewhere in the house to get used to the idea. I cropped all the pictures to a 1×1 ratio and thought it would be nice to print three of them and mount side by side. But I just couldn’t bring myself to use all that black ink. Plus printing from LightRoom is a whole subject all by itself. Publishing on the blog and Flickr will have to suffice
I’m enjoying the course; this exercise really helped me look at my shots differently. I’m looking forward to next week’s challenge.