Category Archives: Photographic technique

Automated machinery 2011

I ‘m always a bit suspect of video and movie guys that do a few ” stills” on the side. I don’t think that you can really do justice to video or photography trying to do the two at once, they really are separate skills.

With this job I reversed the process, and became the still photographer that shot a bit of video on the side. It still needed scripting and timeline skills and a careful appraisal of where the video  was going as it was being shot.

Generally speaking , photographers these days are expected to have some moving image capability, even if just shooting short videos for the internet. Most modern cameras have some video capability,  often of a high quality. 

Once long , long ago I did do some video and movie training so have a basic idea on how shooting and editing film and video is meant to work .

Because of that a couple of years ago I was asked to shoot some video for an automated machinery company. Apparently I know one end of a video camera from the other which qualified me .

At that time they needed something a little more than still photography to use in and interactive sales presentation they had developed.

The video was never edited or used in a short film format the way it is here. The machinery is considerably speeded up in this video otherwise it would be pretty  dull viewing.

It was a race against time to shoot video as the machinery was having its final test run before disassembly and shipping overseas. A time line and shot list had been worked out beforehand but sometimes it was a  matter of waiting while the engineers adjusted something and ran another test before we were able to shoot .

There was no opportunity to set up and move lighting around and the conditions were quite  dark. The fact there was a rainstorm for most of the time we were shooting didn’t help matters much. We shot on a Canon Dslr that gave very good results at higher iso settings.

Blame Stanley Kubrick and 2001 a space odyssey for the  use of Johann Strauss’s ” The Blue Danube” – but I couldn’t resist it .

 

 

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2013 The Complete New Zealand Seafood Cookbook – the upgrade!

 

cpmpleteseafood coverOver late 2012 to mid 2013 , Alongside the Auckland seafood school and Penguin books, I worked on The Complete New Zealand seafood cookbook  . I promise its all delicious! An update to the earlier book , it is a MUCH bigger (288 pages , hardback) and thoroughly comprehensive review of New Zealand seafood recipes.

Styling and propping again was by Athena Sommerfeld .

Chefs involved were : John Campbell, Steve Roberts, Colin Doyle,Mark Dronjak, Marco Edwardes, Petra New and Steve Roberts.

One of the bigger challenges on this shoot was to keep the images light and airy to give a sense of the delicate flavours on offer. A range of backgrounds was created and adapted for use , some out of stuff found at the side of the road. As the shoot progressed  as recipes were finalised , decisions would be made as to which backgrounds would be used, with care to make sure the backgrounds didn’t over whelm the food.

As before , natural light with some modification was used. I think it maintains the natural colours of the food much better than studio flash.

Grilled Caesar salad with barbecued scallops and prawns.

Grilled Caesar salad with barbecued scallops and prawns.

 

Tea steamed salmon with Thai red curry  and coconut cream emulsion.

Tea steamed salmon with Thai red curry and coconut cream emulsion.

Moroccan- baked chermoula fish with couscous

Moroccan- baked chermoula fish with couscous

 

Whole steamed snapper with ginger , basil and chili.

Whole steamed snapper with ginger , basil and chili.

White bait flan

White bait flan

Seafood chowder

Seafood chowder

Asian crab cakes with peanut and sweet chili dipping sauce.

Asian crab cakes with peanut and sweet chili dipping sauce.

Market fish with butter bean puree, scallops and chrizo with salsa verde.

Market fish with butter bean puree, scallops and chrizo with salsa verde.

Chapter opener  Barbecues and grills.

Chapter opener Barbecues and grills.

Petra cooking moneybags

Petra New steaming moneybags

Frying fish!

Frying fish!

Marco Edwardes

Marco Edwardes

Steve Roberts

Steve Roberts

The complete New Zealand Seafood cookbook

Snapper with green pea puree and crispy shrimp polenta.

Snapper with green pea puree and crispy shrimp polenta.

Snapper and chorizo tacos

Snapper and chorizo tacos

Parmesan and olive wafer stack with seared tuna

Parmesan and olive wafer stack with seared tuna

The complete New Zealand Seafood cookbook

Poached monkfish in potato and tomato casserole.

Poached monkfish in potato and tomato casserole.

Citrus paua with herbed butter

Citrus paua with herbed butter

Seafood crepes

Seafood crepes

Crispy tiger prawns with lime and chili

Crispy tiger prawns with lime and chili

 

Colin Doyle

Colin Doyle

BBQ squid

BBQ squid

Snapper with green pea puree and crispy shrimp polenta.

Snapper with green pea puree and crispy shrimp polenta.

Grilled crayfish

Grilled crayfish

Snapper and chorizo tacos

Snapper and chorizo tacos

Flounder Papiettes with prawns, spinach and lemon beurre blanc

Flounder Papiettes with prawns, spinach and lemon beurre blanc

Seafood soup with garlic crustini

Seafood soup with garlic crustini

Crispy tiger prawns with lime and chili

Crispy tiger prawns with lime and chili

Mussels steamed in thai red curry with citrus.

Mussels steamed in thai red curry with citrus.

Citrus paua with herbed butter

Citrus paua with herbed butter

Grilled crayfish

Grilled crayfish

Baked market fish with white bean puree, fennel salad and orange oil.

Baked market fish with white bean puree, fennel salad and orange oil.

 

 

Colin Doyle

Colin Doyle

 

John Campbell

John Campbell

Steve Roberts

Steve Roberts

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy scallop and noodle soup

Spicy scallop and noodle soup

White bait flan

White bait flan

Prawn , fish and steamed moneybags.

Prawn , fish and steamed moneybags.

Herb and panko crumbed fish fillets

Herb and panko crumbed fish fillets

 

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2008 The New Zealand Seafood Cookbook

the-new-zealand-seafood-cookbookIn 2008 , I worked with Penguin books and the Auckland seafood school to produce the New Zealand Seafood Cookbook . A large book and project , it covered 191 pages and 66 recipes.

Styling and book design was by Athena Sommerfeld

A number of different chefs were employed by the school to produce the recipes, with support staff from the school who sourced products and did prep work.

Keeping the food looking fresh was a priority. Natural lighting was used ( somewhat modified with reflectors and diffusion ) because it really seems to maintain the natural colours and tones better than artificial studio lighting.

The work was shot over two weeks . Consistency with the light and also the different styles of the chefs who worked on the book was  a priority , also selecting the appropriate dishes and materials for the shots. Sometimes seasonal food considerations became an issue .

The book has sold  well and now is almost at the end of its second edition .

chofish1

Chapter opener – pies , one pot casseroles and bakes.

fish121208 0127

Chapter opener – pasta , rice and noodles

seafood book

White baked alfonsino with seasonal vegetables

seafood book

pan seared gurnard with seafood and tuscan olive risotto

fish121208 0138

chapter opener – pan seared, deep fried and sauteed

seafood book

simple grilled leatherjackets

seafood book

sesame crusted tuna with asian greens

scampi

grill- fired king prawns with a fresh asian salad and mango / chilli lime dressing

seafood book

citrus stuffed fish parcels

seafood book

paddle crabs

seafood book

Asian style barbecue oysters

seafood book

ocean fresh snapper kokoda

seafood book

pacific rim fish cakes with citrus/coriander dipping sauce

seafood book

sensational seafood chowder

seafood book

thai pipi,cockle,mussel, lemon grass & coconut broth

seafood book

trevally baked in a citrus salt crust, with mustard and tarragon aioli

seafood book

the ultimate fish pie

seafood book

the ultimate fish pie

seafood book

mediterranean barbecued kingfish skewers

seafood book

salmon foil parcels

seafood book

crayfish bisque

seafood book

white bait fritters

seafood book

salt and pepper scampi

seafood book

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Tindall foundation 2012

Supported by the Tindall trust

A practical session in the clinical training and education centre at Middlemore hospital.

Supported by the Tindall trust

Demonstration of airway clearance

Supported by the Tindall trust

Midwifery student Katerina Komene with Ripeka Kururangi, her daughter Shelyn and newborn son Tureia Joseph.

Supported by the Tindall trust

Members of the roundabout Meadowood, a group supported by Know your neighbors.

Supported by the Tindall trust

New Zealand housing foundation homes are designed to support healthy , stable communities

Supported by the Tindall trust

Cui Yu Ling and Liu hai Ying in an English for the elderly class.

One of the small but interesting jobs I completed in 2012 was the annual report and calendar for the Tindall foundation .

I was working with Peter Dowling and Alessandra Zecchini from Oratia media.

 

 

 

The purpose was to illustrate some of the work the Tindall foundation  funds in the community.  The groups supported by the trust included healthcare and housing , also language for immigrants and an Midwife programme .

 

 

 

Supported by the Tindall trust Supported by the Tindall trust

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Miss Melicious Cupcakes 2012

Miss-Melicious-Book-Cover-858x1024

Approximately the middle of 2012, I worked with the very talent Missy Fleming and Penguin books to produce a book of cupcake recipes.

For those of you who may not know her , Missy runs a cupcake shop called Miss Melicious Cupcakes, in Te Atatu, Auckland where she bakes cupcakes from early in the morning until late for a growing and satisfied clientele. As a sideline , she also makes the most fabulous custom cakes for special occasions.

With Missy’s grand plan, some simple props and styling assistance from Athena Sommerfeld, a series of scenarios for each style and flavour of cupcake was created, from the Elvis , to the Colin and Cherry bomb. From the selection below, which do you think is  your favorite?

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Bailey’s baby

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Cherry Bomb

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

French toast

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Gingerbread man

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Flaming apricot

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

The Fat Elvis

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

The Colin

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Pupmkin Pie

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

After 8

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Beet Box

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

The Aloha

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Lady Grey

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Feijoa

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Hello Kitty

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

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The New Zealand Gluten Free Cookbook

glutenfree14February 2012, I completed photography on the New Zealand Gluten free cookbook , published by Penguin books. The recipes were produced by gluten free chef Jimmy Boswell with assistance from Penny Oliver, who stepped in to complete the book when Jimmy had an unfortunate accident.

Glu tten Free cookingGlu tten Free cooking

The food was photographed in natural light to preserve the appearance of the natural colour and texture. Styling by Athena Sommerfeld, was kept simple and uncluttered so the attention stayed on the food, the look and lighting consistency was maintained despite having to deal with changing locations and weather

Glu tten Free cooking

Gluten Free cooking

The challenge , as always , is to keep the food looking appealing and interesting, keeping it fresh while in front of the camera.

The range of food was quite extensive , from baked products to meat and pasta dishes. It didn’t necessarily follow that angle and lighting on one dish would work for the next.

Glu tten Free cookingGlu tten Free cooking

Glu tten Free cooking

Glu tten Free cooking

Glu tten Free cookingGlu tten Free cooking

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Food photography class at the Gourmet gannet, Muriwai

(more examples available at www.foodphotography.co.nz and www.seanshadbolt.co.nz )

The inaugural food photography class for food bloggers took place last weekend at Muriwai at the gourmet gannet workshop www.gourmetgannet.co.nz.  All partcipants all found it useful , but had particular concerns that I thought I could address further in this post.

The basics of cameras is always a good place to start, and some of you found apertures and shutter speeds confusing. Simply put : With the aperture , the higher the number the smaller the hole and the smaller the whole the more there is in focus . With Shutter speeds the higher the number the faster the shutter speed and the better ability to stop fast motion. So if you are pouring cream or sauce in a picture , you might want to consider this. The two are interrelated so in any given amount of light  they need t0 be adjusted to get the correct exposure , and then creative decisions taken as to  whether you want more in focus or you need to stop movement for some reason – or if you are hand holding the camera you will need the fastest shutter speed you can use to make your details crisp and sharp. If you need to acheive a small amount o focus then a wide aperture and a fast shutter speed need to be used.

In focus with detail

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Food Photography

Shellfish for the New Zealand Seafood cookbook

www.foodphotography.co.nz

The New Zealand seafood cookbook

 

 

Food photography.

(more examples available at www.foodphotography.co.nz and www.seanshadbolt.co.nz )

The number one rule in food photography is the food must look fresh and inviting. Generally if it can’t look fresh, it means it isn’t fresh and is very difficult to make it look otherwise. Food only stays suitable for photography for a few minutes after being prepared, so you need to be ready in advance to photograph it.

There are very few tricks involved. For consumer law reasons, you have to be able to eat what is photographed. The most common technique is to spray water or oil on to the food to keep it looking moist, but even this is not often used. Food can be manipulated with tweezers and arranged to make it more camera friendly and don’t hesitate to do this if you think it means a better picture.

Equipment and technique.

Professional food photographers generally use expensive medium format digital camera equipment to produce photography. It gives a very high quality result for books and magazines.

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The 50mm lens effect

I was recently reading an article where a photographer received criticism from another that he used zoom lenses too much .His point of view jumped around all over the place and he might do better to stick to single focal lengths and to develop a more singular  point of view.

I was coming to the same conclusion over the last couple of years. Modern zoom lenses are great quality and have their place . they can be incredibly useful if you are stuck in one position and unable to move in closer  or out further, I use them a lot in aerial photography as it saves having to continually manouver the helicopter to the right position.

Modern point and shoot photography has also become very convenient with zooms that go from wide to ultra telephoto in the flick of a switch. But there is nothing like a few boundaries to help develop your own point of difference.  A lot of my still life photography is based on one lens and I wanted to see if this could apply in other situations.

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Portrait Photographs

business portrait for use in internal communications

 

Shona Jennings for More Magazine

Portrait photography is always one of the main parts of any photography business and mine is no exception . While many photographers might have one particular style of portrait , generally most professionals might have to work in many different styles to cater to different clients. There could be the executive or business portrait , the actor/actress portrait, the candid portrait or the illustrative or character portrait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aerial Photography in Auckland

Aerial photography in Auckland is something I produce on a regular basis, Mostly for the bigger property companies around the Auckland area and shooting industrial property and commercial office buildings to give a sense of the location in regard to the rest of the city for prospective investors.
Shooting from the air is never entirely predictable and an apparently suitable fine day can be spoiled by a thin layer of cloud covering the area that is only visible when flying overhead. Wind can be a factor and it can be a lot different 1000 feet up to to on the ground , not to mention cold, even in summer.

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How retouch a picture 2

In this image , I used retouching to add to the numbers of people available for the image. This was an image created for a Pr company to publicise 250 years of Guinness stout.
The ideas was to create a publicity stunt where 250 people would assemble themselves on a field in the form of a giant Guinness glass. Unfortunately on the day numbers came up short so as a publicity stunt for press it didn’t really happen. However with a bit of retouching and creation of additional people to boost numbers a useful illustrative piece could be created – so the day didn’t go wasted!
In this case I was down the rankings for photographers as the press people got the pole position so not having the right angle created some extra work. It wasn’t a particularly simple job to retouch and took a day of intense people creation so not to have too much repetition in the image – The human eye is very good at picking up repeating patterns so it was important there not be any looking exactly the same.
On a more technical note – I shot the scene with both Canon 35mm and Hasselblad medium format digital cameras. The medium format camera gave me some additional colour depth and field flatness ( because I was able to use a comparatively longer lens ) which made finalising the retouching much easier.
Below you can see a few of the before and after shots .

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chicken meal

Photography around the block

am a photographer based in Auckland , New Zealand. You can see some of my work at www.seanshadbolt.co.nz

I have been in business for about twenty years, through the most intense time of change the industry ( and many industries ) have seen in the past one hundred years or more . When I started in the industry, my employer still used a half plate ( 6×8 inches ) view camera to take passport photographs, 35mm film wasn’t generally used in the commercial world as scanning technology was still quite primitive and the bigger the original transparency or negative the better. Photographers didn’t need to know much about the technology at all, just how to make a good image on a piece of film . 

These days it seems like a digital madness . while it is great to have all this technology at our fingertips to be able to control the quality of out put to clients , at the same time the amount of new software needed to be learned for both photo production and delivery is extraordinary. And just as you think you have it all sorted out it changes again. Life with a roll of film seems so simple by comparison.
In the past I used multiple formats of film for the production of images . Everything from 4×5 large format film to 35mm and medium format roll film in multiple formats from 6×4.5 to 6 x 17mm sizes. I sill like to shoot a roll of transparency film once in a while to see what a” real ” photograph should look like , but almost all my work is now done on digital equipment for the sake of convenience for both me and my clients , although if the need arises , I still use film . Now the question has changed form ” what format do you prefer to use ” to – how many megapixels do you use. In my opinion , once megapixels moved past the 16 mp range , the question almost is academic .
Originally in digital land I used a 6mp Kodak 760 camera and the files from that camera were used from thumbnail to billboard size and were all satisfactory – at the correct viewing distance..
Nowadays I use 21mp Canon cameras and 22 and 39 mp medium format Hasselblad cameras and apart from the smoothness in the files , the main reason is the ” look ” the larger cameras give – richer and deeper colour and incredible detail. If the images need to be cropped , or details selected and enlarged , then the bigger the file the better, so higher megapixel count cameras give photographers a little bit of insurance in this regard

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