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Ginger Cardamom Cookies

Ginger Cardamom Cookies w/Long Exposures

I’m still living in denial about the utility of flash. This doesn’t trouble me often, because when I’m out and about, I don’t usually mind shooting at f/1.4 and cranking the ISO if I have to. But some things just don’t look good that way, and food is (usually) one of them.

Ginger Cardamom Cookies w/Long Exposures

I face other barriers when trying to photograph food, one of the most prominent being that, while I can sometimes cook delicious food, I have never been able to cook food that is at all photogenic or even amenable to food styling. This issue is easily circumvented, however, by using someone else’s food, which is what I did here, with these cookies, which were both delicious and attractive.

Unfortunately, the kitchen they were baked in was small and dim. The only light available was what slipped in through the window past a lot of tree branches — and, even less useful, a bare incandescent bulb that I know by experience to be very hard to white balance after the fact, even shooting RAW and with a reference point.

Fortunately, while I still labor under the burden of my anti-Strobe prejudices, I finally got over my anti-Tripod ones, and so I was simply able to kill the incandescent, bust out my Manfrotto 055XPROB with its horizontally postionable center column, and slap my 55mm f/3.5 Micro on there for a few ten-second exposures.

It took me a while to get usable perspectives. In order to get all the cookie I needed without getting a bunch of unpleasant visual clutter, I set up almost directly over the cookies. I had to make sure that neither the camera nor the tripod was between the cookies and the dim window light — the difference between illumination and shadow was insignificant to the eye, but (when I accidentally blocked what light there was) very significant to the sensor after tens seconds. : )

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