Highs and Lows of Photography in the Kitchen
Sunday 27 September 2015 — Category: Cooking & Food
While my Swiss wife and daughter were visiting their family in the Old Country for a month this past summer, I had the run of the kitchen. You know the old saying ... “While the cat’s away the mice will play!”
So during their absence I played the gourmet chef wannabe with my first attempt making pretzels, my first time cooking on a Himalayan salt block, a couple of not-so-successful eggs-periments, and more!
Of course, every gourmet chef wannabe needs an organized kitchen and the proper equipment. During this intensive season in the kitchen, I realized it would be useful to have a few more pieces of equipment, which I was able to obtain quickly and easily through my best friend, Amazon.com.
Then I realized that the kitchen could be better organized to suit my culinary needs. And since the cat was away, I didn’t need to get her permission first!
Once again, Amazon came to the rescue. After comparing the available options, I chose the four shelf organizers shown in the photo to the right. Clockwise from the top left, they are the:
After arranging every last pot and pan on the kitchen table, I got a ladder from the garage, climbed to the top, leaned over the table without toppling over, and took the photo to the right.
But I was unhappy with the photo, for a couple of reasons. Because the collection was so big and the table too small, numerous items had to be stacked one on top of the other, obscuring the individual members, and true size, of the collection.
Secondly, because of the low light, I had to use a high ISO, slow shutter speed, and large aperture, resulting in less-than-satisfactory image quality. I realized that if I wanted the best results, I must take a different approach.
So I moved the table out of the way, and arranged all of the pots in pans on the floor, with nothing stacked on top of another (except lids). Then I moved the table close to the collection, and set up my Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 carbon fiber tripod on top of the table.
After securing the legs with sand bags, I extended the center column and put it in its horizontal position, acting as a mini boom, so the camera could dangle over the pots and pans as far as possible.
Climbing up on the table, I took a few shots. Having the camera on a tripod instead of being hand-held allowed a lower ISO, and smaller aperture and a longer, blur-free exposure. The resulting image quality was much better, as you can see for yourself if you click on the images to the right and examine the larger-size versions.
Once I was satisfied with my photos, it was time to finish reorganizing my kitchen! Because I absolutely love cooking with cast-iron skillets, I wanted to make sure they were all conveniently located close to the stove, without one being stacked inside the other. The Rubbermaid Pan Organizer Rack proved to be an ideal solution, as you can see in the photo to the right.
After I had arranged all of the pots and pans in multiple cupboards, it was time to indulge in some more photography. This time, instead of placing myself and a tripod-mounted camera high up on a table, I abandoned the tripod and sat on my butt on the floor.
Because of the very low light, I used one of my favorite photographic tools to improve the situation. As I revealed in a previous picture, a Fotodiox Pro LED 209AS light, mounted on a Joby GorillaPod Original mini-tripod with ball head, came to the rescue once again — as shown in this behind-the-scenes photo.
All in all I was quite happy with the shelf organizers I had purchased, and the resulting new and better organization of the pots and pans in the kitchen.
When the cat came back from her trip to the Old Country, she was very surprised — and somewhat disoriented for a few weeks. But after getting used to the new arrangement, she seems satisfied as well.
I was also happy with the photos which documented this process. Whether high on a table, low on the floor, or hovering over what’s cooking on the stove, I am finding that photography in the kitchen is fun and rewarding.
For more shots taken in the kitchen (and a few at restaurants), be sure to browse the entire Food & Cooking 2015 album. And stay tuned, because there is a lot more ahead!