[SG] Food photography with Nikon Df | Part III - Outdoor Dining

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Moving into the last part of the food photography series, we explore the joy of snapping food in an outdoor environment where we enjoy the boost of natural lighting. That being said, no restaurants in Singapore would truly offer an outdoor dining environment without shelters of some sort considering the scorching heat we get during the day!

As we headed outdoors for a late lunch, we found a rather breezy corner with pockets of shade enough to protect us from the glaring sunlight! While we made ourselves comfortable at the table, we soon realised that the nearby tree which was offering us shade was in fact casting some unwanted shadows onto our food.

1/250s, f/4.0, ISO 800, 24mm
Apart from shifting our plates about to ensure that we get sufficient natural light source, some adjustments to the physical dials of ISO and shutter speed settings helped to make sure that the captured shot maintained the right exposure in the following shots:

1/250s, f/3.5, ISO 250, 55mm
1/250s, f/3.5, ISO 250, 50 mm
With a focus on showcasing the star of the dish, the hand-pulled crackling pork, I used a relatively high aperture of f/3.5 for the two shots above to control the light that passes through to my image sensor. This not only isolated my subject matter to make it sharper but at the same time create the desired bokeh effect where the surrounding elements blurred out.

With an intention to retain this set of shutter speed (1/250s), aperture (f/3.5) and ISO settings (ISO 250), I decided to save it under my custom settings menu A for ease of use later shall I need to switch back to this set of configurations while I go on to change my variables for my next shot.

Benefiting from the natural lighting, I also chose a lower ISO value of 250, contrasting the much higher ISO value of up to 2500 for a dim environment as illustrated in my previous post.  Once again, I was able to easily establish the appropriate exposure level guided by the viewfinder, hence arriving at the shutter speed of 1/250s for the two shots above.

While we enjoyed the occasional breeze that came our way, it however led to some unwanted shadows casted at our table as the branches and leaves on the nearby tree wavered. In order to swiftly capture the vibrancy of colours on the plate of quinoa salad, I switched to a higher shutter speed of 1/1000s, compensated by a higher ISO speed of 400 to increase the sensitivity of the sensor, which retained the richness in image colours in the following shot.

1/1000s, f/3.5, ISO 400, 55 mm
1/250s, f/3.5, ISO 250, 55 mm
Trying to steal a snapshot before the sunlight goes away, I repositioned myself and was able to pull out the saved custom settings configured earlier and shoot the quinoa salad at the same shutter speed, aperture and ISO without too much hassle!

Exploring the various dimensions of shooting under varying lighting conditions through Nikon Df certainly reinforced my passion for food photography as I continue my pursuit to shooting more calories-worthy food to tempt your taste buds!

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