Day 76 – Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to me… Wow, another birthday – this year I am 41 … and to be honest I am pleased to be 41 and impressed with where I am compared to two years ago… when I turned 39 I was 5½ stone heavier (35 kilos) and I vowed to be down to the weight I was when I got married by my 40th birthday – I achieved that goal … and amazing to say a year on, and I have kept the weight off, which I understand is the hardest bit about any weight loss journey … but I proof that anything is possible… you just have to be determined and stick with it … no matter how hard the temptation and that way eventually you can have your cake and eat it!

So today I am 41, and I can have cake… I am choosing my cake wisely and am going to enjoy a lovely slice of homemade battenburg cake. My favorite cake! I am also going to have a go at taking some photos of it in my new studio … this time with a dark background – despite using the same white cloth as yesterday behind, and opting out of all 41 candles as it was a fire risk!

Details:

  • Sigma 17-70mm lens
  • One studio flash light (left) and dark shed
  • Reflector (right)
  • 3 candles
ISO 100, F10, 1/200 sec - Studio flash
ISO 100, F10, 1/200 sec – Studio flash – 23mm zoom

It was really hard to work out where to angle the light so that it was not reflected too much on the background .. it was a case of trial and error and moving the light around. Also if I practiced without the candles lit – they added more light than you think. I also got an odd green reflection of something in the background.

ISO 100, F11, 1/200 sec - Studio flash - 23 mmm zoom
ISO 100, F11, 1/200 sec – Studio flash – 23 mm zoom

The shot below with a slower shutter speed, and without the flash, shows just how much light the three candles give off too .. it is tricky getting the balance right – as I want the feel of candles but the detail of the cake.

ISO 100, F10, 1/10 sec - no flash - zoom 23mm
ISO 100, F10, 1/10 sec – no flash – zoom 23mm

A slightly faster shutter speed – the fastest I can go with my studio lights and the background in darker… the only other way to decrease the colour is to move the light further away (not possible due to shed size), reduce the light (already at its lowest), soften the light with a cloth or similar or increase the aperture. A narrow aperture will let less light in.

ISO 100, F10, 1/250 sec - Studio flash - 23mm
ISO 100, F10, 1/250 sec – Studio flash – 23mm

I was already using a barn door and honeycombe on the light to direct it on the cake, for this photo I reduced the light further by covering the barn door with one of the covers from my reflectors, you can see how the light has been reduced slightly, and I have lost that odd reflection in the background.

ISO 100, F10, 1/250 sec - Studio flash 23mm
ISO 100, F10, 1/250 sec – Studio flash 23mm

For the final idea I zoomed in a little, I think this makes the foil that the cake was on less distracting… although the candles have burnt down … so now I think it is time to blow them out, and put indoors put the coffee machine on and enjoy a slice before my teens get home from school and eat it all! Happy Birthday me!

ISO 100, F10, 1/250 sec - studio lights - 50mm
ISO 100, F10, 1/250 sec – studio lights – 50mm

Key learning points:

  • Look for something else to present the cakes on other than a reflective surface – it bounces the cake all wrong…
  • I am not a professional baker – you really need to be a perfectionist to get all the details right – my cakes are a little misshaped … but then they are also real… and taste amazing.
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