Soft Boiled Eggs

This morning I thought I’d have some soft boiled eggs. I haven’t had them in a while so I looked up cook times and followed the suggestions. Commenting on the photos used with the post about cooking soft boiled eggs, the person posting the recipe said to remove the shells before serving, something that I thought was a bit off. You see, my wife is British and every time I’ve had soft boiled eggs they have been served in an egg cup. I like egg cups! No need to fully remove the shell before serving just use a small sugar spoon, remove enough to get going and dig right in!
Boiling Eggs
While I was eating my first egg the sun was coming in through the sliding glass door to our deck. The nice direct sunlight made the yellow of the egg yolk burst into color. It helped that the plate that the eggcup was on was a nice bright blue so the yellow of the yolk really popped. What a sight to see when you are enjoying your breakfast! Then a cloud pass in front of the sun and softened the light and brought out details on the egg, shell, eggcup and plate that were not as easy to see in the harsh direct light.

After seeing this I remembered what someone once said at a class I was teaching. “I read online that food should be shot on a white background to show off the food.” Mind you that class was walkabout class in DC and had nothing to do with photographing food. My initial thought was how boring. My second thought was, that I could not remember one time, in 18 months of working is a studio where we did a lot of food photography, had we ever shot food on a white background. Here at our house our countertops are mostly black with white and grey flecks of color. The plate is bright blue. The eggcup has a gold rim and a print of a dutch boy riding a bike on a white background. The wheat toast was a bunch of nice warm brown tones. Nothing I was looking at was white except for the eggshell, the egg white and the background of the eggcup.

My point here is this, in food photography, as in other photography let the light do the work for you. Change the quality of the light and the feel of the image changes. Use props and backgrounds to help tell the story you want to tell. Don’t get stuck thinking you have to shoot this subject this way because someone online said you have to. Play around! Besides, playing around is one of the big reasons we fell in love with photography in the first place?

For those of you who are thinking “where are the photos of what you saw?” Well, I was paying attention to the light. Storing the look and feel of the light in my memory banks for future use. Besides, I hate cold soft boiled eggs!

Finding Inspiration

How do you find the inspiration that helps you create the images you really love? Finding inspiration at the best of times can be very frustrating. If you have a deadline and need to send ideas to someone for a project you can multiply that panic. When ideas are not coming and you are getting close to the deadline true panic can set in and shut you down. Deadlines can cause panic with a very paralyzing effect.


Being open to all the possibilities and all the possible creative influences is one way to unlock the inner creative ideas that you have. Do you have a song that you have been listening to over and over in your head? Play that song and start listening to it. Not just hearing it, the music and lyrics, but really listening. Get the lyrics and following along as your song plays over and over. Let yourself drift in the lyrics and melody and watch what you mind’s eye creates. You may see an image you just have to create.

Do you have a favorite film that you haven’t watched in a while. Get it out, watch it straight through and then go back to that one scene that you just can’t forget. Look at the lighting, the set, the wardrobe, the actors and listen to the dialogue and sounds that accompany that scene over and over. There is something about that scene that you like so find it and use that as inspiration for an image.

Music and films have always been a big influence in my life. You may have something else that you feel is a big influence in your life. Open yourself to the possibilities of that influence and see where your mind takes you. Inspiration is where you find it. Sometimes it’s the journey toward inspiration that leads to great images.

Waiting for the right light

Saturday night was a great night! It was the night of the 2nd Annual Celebrate the Summer Solstice, an all night shoot in Washington, DC. We started at 7:30pm, an hour before sunset Saturday evening and went all night until 6:45am, an hour after sunrise Sunday morning. Most of the people who started didn’t make it the whole night. When 6:00am rolled around there were only 6 people, of the 20 – 25 that started the evening,  still out making images.

US Capitol at Dawn
US Capitol at Dawn

I’m glad I made it through the night with a wonderful group of photographers. I hope they had as much fun as I did. It’s not as easy as it used to be to pull an all nighter but it’s still fun! You get tired and you want to pack it in and head home. If you can hold out and keep going, you can be rewarded with some great morning light! The image above of the US Capitol is from 5:18am. Just before dawn when the sky is starting to brighten up and some great colors light up the sky. I’m glad I waited for the light to get like this.

Morning Light
Morning Light

This image was made at the last stop of our journey, the National Museum of the American Indian, just before 6am. I knew that light like this was possible but I was very happy to see just how good the light was. If you know the building, you know that the color of the stone is a golden yellow to start with but when the first light of dawn hits it, it comes alive with color. The angle of the sun has to be just right for the rays of light to get under the large overhang and light these surfaces. With a little bit of planning, being in the right place at the right time and waiting for the right light, you can get some great images!

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