Geeking Out About Food Pics


I had planned to head up north bit and roll some fat bike trails today, but the 0˚ temperature and windchill warnings made me think otherwise, as did and the work I had remaining on my kitchen ceiling, I’m, finally fixing a hole and some cracks after an upstairs leak last year. So I rolled an hour on the trainer, and made my third trip to Home Depot in as many days before setting about on getting my DIY on.

While I was there I finally picked up the supplies I needed to set about making a small ghetto light rig for taking photos of things like eBayable items, products and/or food photos. Mostly for the food photos I use in the crap nonsense posts I call Cat 5 Cooking (not to be confused with all the other crap posts, including this one).

Keep the following in mind: I KNOW this has little to nothing to do with cycling and this is a cycling blog. I do NOT consider myself a photographer (just someone who likes to take photos) and all the photos were taken with my new Nikon D3200 camera, which I am still learning (especially finding f-stop joy with the newly acquired Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 lens used here). This post is mainly about lighting, not the quality of the photos, subject, etc., etc., Thanks.

The photo above is of Tuesday’s lunch, I took it in our kitchen with lots of early afternoon natural light. In taking food photos, natural light is king, queen, etc.. Most folks know that, the only problem for me is that there little to no natural light available around dinner time during the fall and winter. As you can see in the photo directly below, indoor lighting gives off that nasty orange hue that know one likes (even with some Lightroom & Photoshop help).


Even at my early bird dinner times I have trouble getting enough natural light, so I read up on how to try to mimic it with a clamp light, fluorescent bulb and a light reflector (AKA a piece of white foam board).

Once everything else in my day was done (including that hour workout on the trainer) I set about making the light rig. It’s pretty ghetto right now, and I could use a second light and/or a brighter bulb but I am pretty happy with my first try results and the future possibilities.


The pic above (Soiled Sausage and Peppers Pasta), was taken this evening around 5:35 or so using ONLY the DIY light rig. All other lights were off and it was dark outside. I am pretty happy with how it compares to the first photo in the post.

Now the next photo was taken as I prepped some broccoli for Wifey. It didn’t turn out quite as good and is a bit more obvious that it’s not natural light, but in my opinion it still looks better than regular incandescent lighting would have.


The photos were shot RAW and I still did my thing in Lightroom and Photoshop to get the look I wanted. I’m also still finding it hard to get the depth of field I want while keeping the food in focus. All part of learning new stuff.

Oh well, we all need non-cycling related things to geek out about now and then I suppose. Once I get things more dialed in with the lighting, I’ll share more about the set up.

I swear, I will have bike related content at SOME point this week, the temps look SLIGHTLY better for tomorrow, so I have all my gear read for an early morning exit, so as to be back in time to greet B-Man and get some paint on the kitchen ceiling.


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