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Product Shooting

This shoot was for a catalog being distributed in US market for assorted baskets.

There was minimal fuss in a hotel room with the chefs taking care of the food. Bringing in 2 duffel bags worth of assorted lighting gear was a bit too much. After some test shots with a combo of ambient room lighting and a fully open window only 2 580 EX II Speedlights were used. The shoot was done in under 8 hours with 2 cameras tethered to a Mac. The images were used for both print and website usage.

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Week-Ender #79

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Ramen (ラーメン, rāmen?, IPA [ɽa̠ː.me̞ɴ]) is a Japanese noodle dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat- or fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork (チャーシュー, chāshū?), dried seaweed (海苔, nori?), kamaboko, green onions, and occasionally corn. Almost every locality in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen of Kyushu to the miso ramen of Hokkaido.

Macdy_RmnTpe_007Ramen is of Chinese origin, however it is unclear when ramen was introduced to Japan. Even the etymology of the word ramen is a topic of debate. One theory is that ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese 拉麺 (la mian), meaning “hand-pulled noodles.” A second theory proposes 老麺 (laomian, “old noodles”) as the original form, while another states that ramen was initially 鹵麺 (lǔmiàn), noodles cooked in a thick, starchy sauce. A fourth theory is that the word derives from 撈麵 (lāomiàn, “lo mein”), which in Cantonese 撈 means to “stir”, and the name refers to the method of preparation by stirring the noodles with a sauce.

Tonkotsu (豚骨, “pork bone”; not to be confused with tonkatsu) ramen usually has a cloudy white colored broth. It is similar to the Chinese baitang (白湯) and has a thick broth made from boiling pork bones, fat, and collagen over high heat for many hours, which suffuses the broth with a hearty pork flavor and a creamy consistency that rivals milk or melted butter or gravy (depending on the shop). Most shops, but not all, blend this pork broth with a small amount of chicken and vegetable stock and/or soy sauce. The noodles are thin and straight, and it is often served with beni shoga (pickled ginger). Currently the latest trend in tonkotsu toppings is māyu (マー油/麻油), a blackish, aromatic oil made from either charred crushed garlic or Sesame seeds. It is a specialty of Kyūshū, particularly Hakata-ku, Fukuoka (hence sometimes called “Hakata ramen”).

Source- Thank you Wikipedia!

This bowl of ramen was devoured at The Mall in Taipei at the basement food court but don’t let food court turn you off this chasyu ramen was NTD250 (approx. PHP375 or USD8.50) The Mall is at the Shangri-La Hotel on Dun Hua South Road, Section 1, Lane 236, #26 (106台北市大安區敦化南路一段236巷26號).

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SWEET DESIRES

Arrived at the location for a photo session to be welcomed by a sweet and buttery soft aroma. So inviting but picking one up was an absolute no-no. A client had them dressed according to her desires and they were waiting for pick up. Touching one of the sweeties now would entail being busted for harassment.

Still, shooting them would take a few being manhandled and posed. I asked the hostess if she could gingerly turn a few of them. Good thing she agreed to my request and the session went without a hitch. Then I wanted to push a bit further to photograph just one of them. But the sweeties wouldn’t have it, they were shy and needed to stay within the group.

Have an occasion that requires custom sweeties to your desires? Or just feel like having a dozen of these at your beck and call? Living in the Metro Manila area? You are in luck.

More details in the next post.

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COFFEE CAKE: A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY

It does not contain coffee but a great soul mate for it.

Superb with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as the spongy-ness of the cake absorbs the creamy flavors. While the layered apples provide the texture.

Coffee cake, don’t be mislead.

This journey was captured on a  Canon 50D + EF 50mm f1.8II (aka Nifty-Fifty) or the EF 85mm f1.8 in the natural ambiance of a cooking space. Recorded in RAW format, converted to TIF and finished off in Photoshop CS2 aided by a Bamboo tablet for good measure.

Thanks for viewing. Off to enjoy good coffee (while still post processing the thousands of photos)- there’s never enough time for it.

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CANON G7 & JOHNNY ROCKETS MANILA

The Canon G7 hadn’t been used for some serious photography in months. Until, I heard about Johnny Rockets had opened up in Manila. JR is an American themed franchise burger restaurant. Since it’s only been a few months after it opened the place will still be clean and great for a casual shooting experience.

Always try to bring a stealthy camera to shoot at restaurants.

The whole hamburger/milk shake experience was okay. Do a Google and judge for yourself. It’s just too bad the pricing does not match the recent economic situation. Had the price points been lower, probably, Johnny Rockets wouldn’t be a flavor of the month or more likely a flavor of the-every-few-months.

Very pop culture ala American 60's diner style

American 60's style diner complete with service uniforms of that era.

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Open kitchen is good but when it gets busy the exhaust aren't good enough to get rid of the oily buttery stench of beef getting cooked

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The eye-popping-wallet-draining prices tucked away in a very neat no bs menu

The double burger for sharing and a sexy glass of Coke, yes, regular.

The Smoke House Double burger for sharing and a sexy glass of Coke, yes, regular but refillable

I had the Patty Melt, 1/3 pound patty with carmalized onions and 2 kinds of cheese all sandwiched between toasted rye bread

The Patty Melt, beef patty with carmalized onions and 2 kinds of cheese all sandwiched between toasted rye bread and of course, fries with chilli

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Thick and creamy strawberry shake that could not pass through the vacuum of the straw provided no matter how hard you sucked

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While chowing down the staff dances to the tune of Fame blaring from the digital juke box, yes, really-the dancing is even choreographed

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You pay for the smiley ketchup container so might as well enjoy it

FIT FOR AN EMPEROR

Some months ago, I partook in a meal that was fit for a Chinese emperor. It involved 10 courses without the mandatory fried rice or noodles so associated with Chinese cuisine.

The experience was in a rather small culinary school in Manila. Set in it’s dinning room with two tables and full crimson red carpet typical of Chinese restaurants. But if you were looking for ambiance normally found it wasn’t there nor the waiters in black pants with colored vests. It was just all about the food.

I apologize but it seems there are only 7 images instead of the 10. I must have been too mesmerized by the gastronomic experience and forgot to shoot the other courses. Sometimes, the palette is just more important than the photography.

All photographs were captured with the Canon EF 50mm 1.8 II– the best bang for the buck in Canon’s lens line up and a great all around prime offering.

Deep fried prawn balls stuffed with quail eggs.

Deep fried prawn balls stuffed with quail eggs.

After the appetizer, the soup.

After the appetizer, a thick soup with bean sprout.

Third course of radish with scallops to cleanse the palette.

Third course was a refreshing radish with scallops in the middle and moss garnish to cleanse the palette.

Perfect sea cucumber and broccoli with superior sauce.

Perfect sea cucumber and broccoli with superior sauce.

The original, the rich but light to the taste, egg foo yung.

The original, the rich but light to the taste, egg foo yung.

A lightly fried pork belly dish with preserved black oysters and mustard greens all topped off with superior sauce.

A killer braised belly of pork with preserved black oysters and mustard greens all topped off with superior sauce.

Finally dessert, almond pastry with a sweet yellow bean paste.

Finally dessert, almond pastry with a sweet yellow bean paste.

Chahan-Japanese fried rice

Chahan-Japanese fried rice

All I wanted was to have a good meal in the company of friends and shoot a few photos at the same time. That I got and more. While I started to shoot the ramen image (below) a waitress walked by and told me over my shoulder that I can not shoot their food. Okay, I was a bit taken back by the comment but still proceeded to capture a few more images before digging into the food.

Chasyu ramen-Japanese noodle soup with pork slices

Chasyu ramen-Japanese noodle soup with pork slices

Thing is, I respect and understand their reasons for not allowing photos taken of their food but at the same time I paid for the food and just wanted to capture a moment. Anyway, as you can see, the food were very well presented and tasted great. Especially the thick, flavorful broth of the ramen. I didn’t like the noodles though they were too thick and felt like they belonged in a fast food Chinese restaurant. I would’ve preferred thickness somewhere just a tad more than soba noodles.

Next time, I’ll still order the ramen for the broth with the tasty and generous serving of pork chasyu slices. Oh, the chahan was really good and half way through devouring it the chicken yakitori finally arrived after 20 minutes for 3 sticks. To be fair they were cooking about 40 sticks at the same time and I guess the coal takes awhile to get the chicken going.

I’d share the name and address of the bistro/convenient store style establishment but I would not want you to experience the delirious service of the staff coupled with the lengthy cooking time of the yakitori.

Yakitori-chicken barbeque

Yakitori-chicken barbeque

Then again, I think any ramen/chahan fan will enjoy this place. You can even get something from their convenient store front to go at it during the week. Yes, all Japanese products from candies for the kids to fruits that were had carried from Japan. A beautifully marbled slab of Wagyu beef is available as well for PHP700 per gram. That’s PHP7000, roughly $150 USD, per kilo.

It was an accident during a sunny warm day. We were looking for a place to have lunch off the beaten path. Lost among the little hilly roads that had confusing road signs and not a soul around to ask for directions. There were nice cozy houses that lined the country road but they looked empty even if there was a car or two parked in the garage.

The place for superb and fresh vegetables. This is the future...

Green house row shot from inside the farm.

We drove on turning at corners that looked liked it would lead somewhere nice. All of a sudden we pass an open gate that had a long stretch of driveway leading into what seemed like rows and rows of green houses. And so we turned the car around, drove down this driveway half expecting to be told to leave the premises. But that wasn’t the case. A hired hand waved us into a rocky-pebbled parking area that exposed a little office that had beautiful vegetables all laid out for sale.

Our wives proceeded to pick and choose our wonderful loot for the weeks meal. I was going to shoot the loot when we got home but it was too late in the night and decided tomorrow morning would be better. Anyway, I get great sunlight coming through a window for a light source.

The treasures to be had!

Part of our loot shot at the store

When I got up the next morning I was stunned to see all the tomatoes: big red ripe ones, cherry tomatoes still on the stem were all picked off and stored in the fridge! Along with the beautiful capsicum and eggplant sitting in the chiller tray… ah, well… Next time I’ll be sure to get extra for my shoot if we can still find the place.

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