In Hunterville around Oct/Nov is one of the highlights on New Zealand’s event calendar. The day features the Miss Hunterway Competition – “a beauty show for real bitches”, a Dog barking sound off and the Shepherds’ Shemozzle – a race pitting man and dog against other men and dogs along a fear factor type course (they do one for kids as well).
In the past the notorious food stop has included – sheep eyes, pints of cream, bread buns, raw eggs, pints of beer, freshly dug carrots (with dirt), warm coca cola, bulls testicles, and vinegar. The food is expected to be forced down at the food stop as fast as possible by red-faced shepherds having just run/jumped and crawled several kilometers with their ever faithful dogs beside them all the way.
Photographing food at Ortega Fish Shack I was reminded of a portrait I photographed earlier this year. Mark Limacher (owner of Ortega) was asked to provide a portrait to advertise a cooking class he was taking at Ruth Pretty Catering. To keep to the fishy theme of the restaurant Mark and Peter (chef at Ortega) decided to go the extra mile – this was the resulting photo.
Events are always places you find food on the move. Recently I was providing photography at an event at the Langham Hotel in Auckland and pointed my camera at food on the move. The results of the photographs are always random using long exposures – maybe 15th or 1/8th of a second and panning the camera while keeping the food in focus. The photographs seem to suit this method as it matches the waiters streaming into the room delivering plates of fine New Zealand food to the awaiting guests.
Asparagus, one of the harbingers of spring, reminds me of the difference between living here in Wellington and in a city like London. Instead of year round supply we get proud announcements at Moore Wilson Fresh proclaiming the first arrivals from Tender Tips in Levin. The photographs here show some of the Tender Tips operation.
A certain teenager in our house oozed creativity but was a reluctant participant in the kitchen. On some occasions the creative spirit rescued food disasters…a few years on a she was the top illustrator when she graduated from Massey University in Wellington. What is the lesson? Let children play with their food.
Multiple awards in the Cuisine cheese awards establish Hohepa as one of New Zealand’s preeminent boutique cheese making operations. The staff at Hohepa could not have been more generous with their time while I photographed the cheese making operation in Hawkes Bay.
For a slice of India in Wellington you could go to a restaurant but a more authentic experience is the local Diwali Festival held each year in Wellington and Auckland. Although nicknamed the ‘festival of lights’, for me the undoubted highlight is the food and the frenzy that goes with it.
“Can you eat the food you photograph?” or “what are all the tricks to make the food look so good?” are the two questions I am most often asked about as a food photographer. Surprise registers when I say pretty much the only thing used is a little olive oil .
The only time I can remember a trick is when we put raw new potatoes in a salad, as with cooked potatoes the skins slide off . I would say lighting, fresh ingredients and props are the keys to a strong food photograph however some food photographers try other approaches – check this video out
In Wellington, away from the looky looky crowds, Photospace is one of the places I go for good coffee. James, who has some old Italian built machine (he bought two from trade me – one for spare parts) prides himself on the quality of his brew. If you are a regular visitor to the gallery you probably will have sampled James’ offering – if not, take a walk up the marble staircase, contribute koha, look at the art…you might be offered one too.
I ran into these little piggies at Ti Kouka, an organic farm in Hawkes Bay. I have been told that less than 1% of pork production in New Zealand is organic. Although this number is unconfirmed I figure these piglets are pretty rare.