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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Imagine you're somewhere else

Sushi, serious looking chef in traditional sushi chef's uniform, ornate plate. Must be somewhere near downtown Tokyo. Or is it?

One of the best things to photograph when you're travelling is food and restaurants. Whether it's a roadside stall selling cockroaches in Thailand or a five star restaurant selling Duck a l'orange where you eat is often a great entree into the world you're journeying through.

But you don't always have to travel overseas to photograph a foreign eatery. This was taken just up the road from my house in a small ocean-side town with a population not much bigger than your average Japanese apartment block!

Globalisation means that in most parts of the world you can find foreign restaurants and these can be a great place to practice for when you actually get to a foreign restaurant in a foreign country.

For this shot I wanted to use natural light (as I usually try to do to retain the ambience of the surroundings). Because the chef was so statue-like and the sushi wasn't moving anywhere quickly I didn't need too fast a shutter speed (in this case 1/40 second on a tripod). That meant I was able to get away with an ISO of 200. The chef is actually a couple of feet back from the plate of sushi so I used a telephoto lens to bring him in nice and close and juxtapose him with his creation.

I always shoot in RAW for the far superior quality I get from the images, but even for those who shoot Jpeg I always recommend you shoot RAW in artificial lighting situations. Afterwards you can fine tune your colour balance until you get just the look you're after. As you can see here I have deliberately retained the lovely golden glow you get under tungsten lighting without flash, but haven't left it so yellow as to be ugly looking. Shooting RAW gives you a lot of flexibility in the look of your image.

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