Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Who Ate All The Pies?

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At last, I was able to step away from my manuscript and to a little shooting for a new client today. Steve Turner runs Who Ate All The Pies?, the finest gourmet pie bakery I know of.  I have to say, Dunedin is becoming a great town for food and beverage, from boutique beers and its famous cheese rolls to whisky bars and fine dining.  And shooting for these establishments definitely has its perks.

Due to a slight glitch in communications at the bakery I arrived without a good brief and the bakers weren't prepared for an intrusion by a flash-popping photog. That wasn't the only challenge. It's a typical small bakery with just enough room to work, not to pose or shoot, there's lots of stainless steel and few places to hide lights, and the overhead fluoros lend things an inorganic blue/green ambience. James Hacon who who had organised the shoot was delayed in a conference call and I was aware of the clock ticking on client time. Not to worry, time to improvise and get to work.

Bakery. No brainer: Shoot product coming out of the oven. Easy - CTO gel on one of my Canon flashes, into the bottom of the oven and another flash bouncing off the ceiling to light Steve. It looks realistic, but it's normally black as night inside the oven and those pies actually just came from the fridge. You can tell because Steve's wearing hygiene gloves, not oven mitts. But we got the look we wanted.

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Thankfully James' call ended and I got a brief: He wanted some shots to tie into a promotion around the international rugby games we'll be having in Dunedin as part of the World Cup tournament. He'd bought a bunch of team jerseys so we had some fun with a few ingredients around the bakery. The family sized pasties made the perfect rugby ball for the England jersey, potatoes seemed right for Ireland, and for Argentina we went into the freezer of the butchery next door for Steve to pack down in a scrum against a side of beef. Georgia? No problemo, a quick Google search and we learned that as well as rugby, the Georgians are fond of a clear grape liquor called Chacha. A borrowed shot glass was all that took. Running out of interesting backgrounds, I decided to pull Steve out front of the shop, have James hose his coffee machine in blue light to contrast against the red jersey, while Ray held up my new 40cm ezy-type softbox with the 580EXII inside for Steve. I'm looking forward to using that bit of kit some more.

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Steve and James were happy. I came away with a Venison, rosemary & red wine pie, Ray with a Beef, bacon and tomato one, so we were pretty happy too.   It wasn't exactly the well thought out Rembrandt lighting session I'd like to do, but when the pressure's on, sometimes you just have to kick for touch.

Now I'm waiting to hear about some largish projects I'm bidding for, which will be interesting.  Also hatching up something very exciting on the pho-tour front.  An announcement on that is still some way off, but worth waiting for.

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