October 15, 2008

Beetles, Deeba's Cake and Food O Grafie!

I am feeling a bit 'lighter' now and more energetic than before. I think the goldenseal remedy is something my body has been looking for and agreeing with.


With the weather is improving, apart from unpredictable and unsuspected Spring rain. The ground without rain in days seems quite dryish. A sign of dry Summer, perhaps? One of these days, what we've been doing is just keeping the ground moist, to anticipate dryish long Summer ahead. I have applied straws around the ground of my strawberry plants and while I am doing this, I notice some white disgusting spit under the leaves and some are caught near the base of the plants. I thought who the hell ever spit on my plants. Certainly not my family. They don't spit, unless it is brushing teeth time. When I look closely closer, I pick a twig and take it off of the leaves, there it was the little bugger who's disguised.


I don't know whether it is a good bug (I suspect that the larvae comes from that green beetle--not a metallic one fishermen used to use as the fliers), but I never think so, for the enzyme that covers these larva burn the leaves. And what are they going to do next? They'll eat my plants. So, every evening since then, I always go to the garden and spend 30 minutes to check them under the leaves and at the base of the plants. Squeezed! Sorry, but they have to go. Wrong spot, mate!

Deeba's cake

My baking mojo is back. I've made a promise to myself that I'm going to try Deeba's Chocolate Coffee Almond Meringue Cake. It's quite nice. I can't really taste the meringues in the cake, really, after it's left in the fridge for a while, it's somehow 'melt'. Would there be any difference with thicker meringues, perhaps? The sponge is nice, though. I like it. I brush each layer of cake with coffee syrup, made from espresso and sugar. If you guys tempted to make this, too, please read the recipe at Deeba's blog.


I'm Participating on Food O Grafie, as a part of food photography event, hosted by Zorra of Kochtopf. I can feel that food photography has already become my passion along with domestic cooking/baking. I love my camera and I love taking pictures.

I am using Canon EOS 400D, yes a bit behind your latest model from Canon, but like Zorra says perfect camera does not exist. Perhaps upgraded camera will offer more optical advantage, functions and features from those were born before them. I am quite comfortable with my camera. Its body is just perfect to grip and lovely big LCD monitor at the back. It's pretty easy to manage, the white balance, aperture, and everything else.

When bought this camera, the lens attached was only 18-55mm and then until July this year I start using Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM, a fast lens I adore up to now. I love its DOF and I just love it's closeness to capture the object. It's perfect for food photography. I love it. Shall I say it again? I love it.

With 18-55mm lens itself is alright to capture food. And it is great to capture natures. Can you believe that I use this lens to capture these insects?

bumble bee loving it

Can you compare with 50mm lens, see below?

don't shoot!

That's because 18-55mm lens is as good as 50mm lens to capture nature. Now, let's compare food photos I've taken from JVC old digital video camera (my first gadget in photo shooting), Canon Powershot A520, Canon EOS 400D with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens and same camera with different lens 50mm f/1.4.

Video Camera

chocolate praline

Canon Powershot A520

green cheese roll

Canon EOS 400D 18-55mm lens

green pandan macarons

Canon EOS 400D 50mm f/1.4

parnsip chips #2

Perhaps, you can see the differences? Good on you! What I can only say, through learning I always can take a lesson from each gadget, the weaknesses and the strength. To cover the weakness of a camera, is it possible? Not sure if it is something optical, like the amount of resolution a camera can offer, variable shutter speed, etc, but it can always be creative. For in my opinion, food photography is also about food styling. If the food looks good and I can take a good photo of it then I can give the audience a proven fact that the food looks appetizing and it DOES look (read: taste) good.

My photos are not always award-winning ones and it is not my intentional goals to collect as many awards as possible, but it is just nice to be able to share my photos with as many people as possible and it feels good when people enjoy looking at the photos and appreciating my works. I like learning from others and through photo events I can learn more. Although a photo event's results sometimes is slightly disappointing when to know there are more other undiscovered good-looking photos deserve the awards, it is still an event I can go for to learn more stuffs in food styling from other foodie bloggers.

I adore most of my flicker buddies' photos because they are really producing good-looking food photos. They put great efforts on producing good photos.

Well, I guess. People have preferences on what's average and what's excellent. All I can say is that keep producing and improving the styling and doing more experiments on many styling can make myself go forward with more progress. I believe that a good camera in a good hand will produce good stuffs.


MiNDY said...

so happy that you are better now. the cake looks good. kayana kudu dicoba nih.

Peter G said...

Protect those strawberries Arfi!...LOL Love the cake...you did a great job. And it's great to read about your photographic exploits...I am in a similar boat myself.

Y said...

I should look into growing my own broad beans some time! Do you think they will survive well in a pot?

Yay to the return of your baking mojo! That cake looks awesome and I love that picture of the parsnip chips. I'm so glad to be able to share in your photographic adventures - you're truly inspirational :)

Arfi Binsted said...

Mindy: thanks dear sis.

Peter: I sure do, P hehehe... love strawberries!

Y: thank you :) about broad beans, I am sure they'll thrive in pots as long as you keep the soil moist. If you're busy, you can leave your house by putting little stones/pebbles on a pot saucer, pour some water, and then put the pot on top of it. This water will moisten the soil while you're out. I love gardening and I just love the rewards they give us. It's miraculous!

Nazarina A said...

Salaam Arfi,

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and sister you have this wonderful gift that the Almighty has bestowed on you and that is taking beautiful pictures, but first you had to make it beautiful to capture and portray to us! I totally believe that it is not the amount of money that one spends on a camera, but the way the object is depicted and presented e.g your macaroons and your gardens! Breathtaking!!!

The Almighty has given us this sensory system that no one is able to duplicate, certainly not an inanimate object like a camera.Light rays coming from an object fall oppositely on the eye's retina and these light rays are transmitted into electric signals by cells and reach a tiny spot at the back of the brain( "center of vision")The signals are then perceived as an image and the marvel of it all is the brain is insulated from light and that means that this "center of vision" is the darkest place!!!! And yet we can observe a luminous, bright world in this pitch darkness!!!!

No camera can attain this!

Oooops, I did not mean to ramble but I just wanted to say you were right, It definitely is not the type of camera, but it is by all means the photographer!!!

Forgive the lengthy comment!!!

eliza said...

yeah...itu paling benci ngeliat busa2 dari binatang itu. strawberry ku gak ada gituan sih, tapi juga gak banyak tanamannya.

Passionate About Baking said...

Thanks for trying the cake AB...looks great to me. The thing I liked about it was it was so 'well-behaved' & cut perfect slices. Yes, the meringue doesn't stay crunchy for long, but a thicker meringue adds to texture & flavour. I liked your idea of the coffee glaze..
All your pictures are amzing & yes, it's the eye more than the camera. it's wonderful that you do so much beautiful justice to nature around you. I have a Canon G9, which is a P&S, but I'm happy with it. I wish I had more time to explore but with 24 hours in a day...*SIGH*. I'm glad you are feeling better!! Much love Deeba

Happy cook said...

Happy to know that you are feeling better.
Love that chocolate cake, i have seen in deepas place.
I always think you photos are beautiful

Jescel said...

i enjoy your photos, so thank you. and your food looks so good too. how much post-production efforts do you do for your pictures? do you use those photoshop too?

Ivy said...

I love the pictures with the insects. I always wanted to take pictures like these but never had a good camera. The cake looks great.

Cakelaw said...

Gorgeous photos Arfi - the heart shaped cake is wonderful. You go girl with those bugs - they undo all your hard work, so I have no sympathy for them. I'd be happy to have a slice of your almond meringue cake, by the way - I'm sure that the slice in the photo has my name on it ;)

Yasmeen said...

Cool photography tips, I've lot to learn from you,Arfi.:) Here is another award for you,please check out in your leisure.
And the CAKE is irresistibly good:)

nicisme said...

Your photos are so beautiful - I come here and feel so happy! Thanks for all the camera info, I would love to upgrade one day...
PS. I've had my eye on that meringue cake too!

zorra said...

I agree 100 % what you said about food photography.

Your photos are always beautiful!

Thanks for your participation in food-o-grafie #1.