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A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bruschetta with Argula Pesto (DHSPC #6) & Some Photography Frustration

My recreation of Con Poulos shot from Donna Hay's Seasons cookbook

I continue to be completely challenged by my ability to get excellent food photos. I've bought books, I've read and practiced lots of techniques described on photo blogs. I've upgraded to a DSLR, I've upgraded to a nicer lens, I've purchased umbrella lights to help with these never ending gloomy Washington days...and it still all feels like it's to no avail.

But if I'm anything I'm stubborn determined enough to not give up yet. I look forward to the day I feel warranted enough to splurge on a class or workshop but until then I'll just keep reading and practicing.

So when I came across the the Donna Hay Styling & Photography Challenge (DHSPC) on Junglefrog Cooking I figured this might be a challenge that I could learn from.
Original Photo from the cookbook Seasons

So I decided to take it on. This month's Donna Hay challenge is a photo originally taken by Con Poulos. The task is to make the recipe and try your best to style and recreate the photo.

Making the recipe for Bruschetta with Arugula Pesto was definitely the easiest portion of the challenge for me.

Into the food processor I put the basil, arugula,
roasted pine nuts, Parmesan and garlic.

Gave it a few whirls,

then drizzled in some extra virgin olive oil and voila a beautiful  rustic pesto.

Good stuff.

I cut and toasted a baguette

rubbing some garlic on the rough edges after it was toasted. This recipe actually called to grill the bread but evidently I read that after I had already made the whole dish.
Attempt #1 using milk and white linens

I spread the bread with the pesto, topped the pesto with some prosciutto and sliced fresh mozzarella cheese.
Attempt #12 switching linen and changing to water bottle.

  A perfect appetizer or for me a great late lunch on this day.

With the easy part over the hard part was next trying to recreate the same photo. Let me tell you this was a fairly impossible task for this novice.

I tried over and over moving things, trying to catch the right light and I just couldn't get that same angle of light.I couldn't find a plate that had the same proportion to the bruschetta either.

I  perceived the original photo to be somewhat antiqued looking, maybe almost a 60's/70's feel ? I'm not sure... but obviously this was far above my skill level.
My final recreation

My final photo that I feel is even remotely close to the original is one that I edited in Picasa and used the "warmify" effect on. Then I also used the "vignette" technique to darken the corners. Which really doesn't match original at all since it's edges seem blurred than darkened.

Although I don't feel remotely successful in completing the challenge I am satisfied in my attempt to push myself to learn more.

Here's a link back to the DHSPC page scroll down to find the recipe.


  1. O how cool that you participated in the challenge! And well done on taking the time and effort. I think in terms of likeness.. Your angle seems to be slightly higher then the original and the knife is quite large in comparison to the toasted bread. Also the light is softer in your shot then in the original. I struggled with that too since obviously we're all depending on the light that we have.. :)
    But overall great effort and glad you joined! Hope to see you again next month!

  2. SO proud of you that you finished the challenge ... I gave up ... we have seen little sun in my part of town ... and time has been scarce ... go and see for yourself ... VERY unsuccessful ... great job.


  3. I think you put in a great effort! Yes, the plate size was definitely a challenge to find the right proportions - glad you learned a lot, I did too!

  4. It is so challenging when you don't have the right light. These challenges are a great learning experience though. I think you will find that they will make you a better photographer overall, even if this one didn't turn out exactly as you would have liked.


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