Food shooting at Asti with an exhilarating lens. Yummy sharp.

Ravioli. Asti. ©2014 Kirk Tuck

First of all I'd like to thank everyone for the comments and e-mails congratulating my family on Ben's graduation. It was heartwarming to read all the good wishes for us. He's looking forward to one last, action packed Summer in Austin and then off for new adventures. 

And speaking of new adventures I wanted to give you a quick look at some food images that we did on the fly, during our video shoot, at Asti Trattoria here in Austin, Texas. Chef and owner, Emmett Fox does a fabulous job turning out wonderful food and we've got a handful of SD cards with many beautiful, moving shots of the beautifully plated food. Close up motion pictures of food is one area where I don't believe a slider can be over used....

But what I really wanted to show off was the 35-100mm f2.8 X lens for the Panasonic G cameras. When I made my switch over from the full frame Sony cameras I had a few concerns that I might not be able to get the same, luscious, shallow depth of field and biting sharpness that I used to take for granted with the 70-200mm 2.8 lens. I was wrong. If anything I think the lens for the Panasonic cameras is a much better optic, overall, than the aging Sony lens. It is discernibly sharper, wide open and the colors are wonderful. Especially welcome when you consider the differences in camera sensors. 

These images were all shot at either f2.8 or at f3.5. They started life as large Jpeg files and I've done very little post processing to them. If I were highly proficient at PhotoShop I'm sure I could do lots of little magic steps to make every image look just a little better but I am happy with the almost untouched files. What did I add? A little contrast and a tiny bit of shadow lifting. That's it.

I feel like I hit the jackpot with the 12-35mm and the 35-100mm lenses. They cover a great range, have the same look and feel, operate in the same way and even offer good, solid image stabilization. 
With the recent addition of the 7-14mm I am a bit disappointed because there are so few new toys to lust after. I guess when people bitch about a camera system having a limited range of lenses they aren't complaining because there is some sort of image they are unable to shoot, rather they are making a statement about how disappointing it is not to have more things to buy. 

While the GH4 is not a perfect camera (a bit too much noise as we move up the ISO ladder) and I'm sure I'll be first in line for the GH5, I am delighted with everything that's come out of the lenses. 

Finally, there is an old myth that says all food that gets photographed is doused with motor oil, burned with torches and covered with glycerin and food coloring. Happily that is never the case in my work on in casa de Asti. When Chris and I finished photographing this food we munched on it with happy abandon before moving on to our next shots. It was delicious. But we could see that through the lens.....

I should call images like this: Stuff we shoot between sliding the cameras.

Seafood and Risotto. Asti. ©Kirk Tuck

Ravioli, v2. Asti. ©Kirk Tuck

Seafood and Risotto v2. Asti. ©Kirk Tuck

Carpaccio Salad. Asti. ©Kirk Tuck


Anonymous said...

Those shots are making me want to eat. And on the all you can eat subject...

As an amateur it has taken many years of kit building But I have everything I could ever need right now and I agree about that empty feeling of unrequited G.A.S. once you have an ideal lens set.

The truly scary part is no longer having any excuses for not making great photographs!!!

Casey Bryant said...

Kirk, what focal length do you usually prefer for these food shots?

Anonymous said...

"Finally, there is an old myth that says all food that gets photographed is doused with motor oil, burned with torches and covered with glycerin and food coloring."

Not really a myth. In the 1970s I worked on a lot of both national and regional food spots. The use of two part smoke was commonly used to get that piping-hot look. They once flew a woman in from NYC to airbrush the turkey 8-D

Times and styles change -- that doesn't make what happened in the past a myth.


Doug said...

Kirk: Absolutely beautiful shots. I just finished dinner and I still want to try the food. Looks amazing! I'm very close to making g the move to a GH4. You mentioned high Iso concerns. Could you be more explicit? Thanks. And congrats on sending Ben off!

Anonymous said...

I'm still running the 'old' GH3 and new GX7 with the same lens combo, and agree entirely with your assessment of the system. Interestingly, I also use similar adjustments in post. I shoot almost exclusively in RAW, and then typically - but not always - add slight sharpening and contrast. I love that the images are never over saturated but still provide great resolution and dynamic range. It's not the same as my previous FF system, but mighty close, and for the convenience and user friendly nature of the system, it's tough to beat. Always enjoy your posts!

Andrea said...

If I recall correctly, the tomato used with the ravioli is called a "Pachino". I hate it with intensity. At a wedding lunch, the first dish served was a plate of spaghetti covering a bed of pachini. Pushing down my fork on the plate resulted in one of them EXPLODING. You can't understand how much sauce is contained in an 2-inches long little tomato. My face and shirt were painted red, and I spent the rest of the lunch in a very miserable state...