Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Under the Table

It is Christmas Eve dinner with the family. A simple dinner of Seafood gumbo. I always seem to get an image or two of the dinner table for Christmas and Thanksgiving but I've really been inspired by my friend Stephen Dirado who has hundreds of dinner table images he has taken for years with friends and family. He has recently been exploring what is happening under the table as well as what is going on on top of the table.....so what can I say, imitation is flattery.
Brina is a beautiful dog and she wanted her portrait made so I clicked the shutter again.


Tommy Williams said...

It's awfully hard to photograph and participate at the same time in dinner pictures. I have been experimenting a lot lately with photographing food that I cook but because I don't have the luxury of (or desire to) cook food solely for the purpose of making photos of it, I have to scramble. The lighting in our kitchen is terrible for photographs so I have even set up a flash in an umbrella with some reflectors around. I get good shots, but I can't put much of my head into cooking while I'm messing with the photos.

And the same thing happens with shots at the table. I find I can either withdraw from conversation (and even eating) and just watch for good photographs, or else my photographs are nothing but quick snapshots during a lull in the conversation or between bites of food.

We spend so much of our time eating that I think it should be a prime source of photographs, especially for people like me who make most of their photographs out of the everyday, but I rarely get anything I'm happy with.

What sense did you get when you took these latest Christmas table photos?

Billie said...

Tommy, I agree with you on all the points you make. I can't tell you how many times I've said I'm going to make photographs of something I'm cooking but I forget to follow through at the appropriate times.

My friend Stephen Dirado...I gave a link to his dinner photos....uses an 8x10 view camera and flash and sometimes a reflector. He directs the participants based on something that has happened earlier so they are not candid. Stephen has done this for so long and so many dinners that people expect him to at some point get up and slide film into the camera, tell everyone what to do and pop the flash. He uses the view camera all of the time so he is very fast. Some work and some don't but the ones that work are really interesting.

Another friend, Frank Armstrong has set his canon rebel on a tripod and used the remote control to make pictures every 5 minutes or so. Seen as a slide show it is another very interesting way to "see" a dinner.

The first "record" of the dinner that I posted, is just that a record....but I think what is happening with the dog is kind of interesting.

I also think that there is a huge difference in making pictures about the "table" or making pictures of the people and their interaction. I don't think you can do both at the same time. Well, maybe sometimes if you are lucky.

I keep saying that I'm going to make pictures of the dinners we make as well as the dinner parties we go to but somehow I keep getting lost in the moment and forget. But I doubt I'll ever stop making a "record" of the family during holidays. BTW, these were shot at 1600 ISO with the 5D. I think the new Nikon has raised the bar on useable ISO, so maybe the next camera I buy will be have less noise at 1600 or 3200 ISO.

Tommy Williams said...

That's amazing that those photos are staged. There's a lot of what looks like natural action in them. It's one solution to the problem and it appears to be a successful one.

You must be more sensitive to noise than I am since I'm happy with my 20D in most situations at ISO 1600 and the 5D is much better than the 20D. The Nikon D3, though, like you said, has changed the game. The truth is, Canon probably isn't much, if any, behind Nikon--the 5D is two years older than the D3 after all. But I do look forward to the 5D MkII.

I also look forward to seeing what you do with pictures around the dinner table.

CC said...

I started reading your blog last Spring because I was considering a move to Mexico. I also have a passion for photography and am in love with your images. I work in sales for a magazine but am trying to do something more with photography although I don't know what to do with it! I just know that is what makes me happy. I studied photography in college almost 20 years ago and am finding my way back. I started a blog - www.fstop2008.blogspot.com in an effort to at least do something with my images and hope that things will come together. Thank you so much for your inspiration.

Billie said...

Courtney, I'm very happy if I have been an inspiration for you. Keep up the good work that I see on your blog. All I can tell you is to keep on making images and learning. I hope that my blog gives you a true sense of what it is to live in SMA just in case you are still considering moving to MX