Eggnog 2009 @440When you think of something that’s cooked, you don’t think cold, creamy and over ice. That’s why I decided to have fire in the background of this eggnog version. The correct exposure for a good fire shot is what it is. In other words, you can’t control the light the fire is putting out— so when you’re setting up for this shot, first get a beautiful fire photo, then light your subject in front to match.

My good fire photo, with my aperture wide open (f3.5 on my 55mm macro lens),  gave me a 60th of a sec. exposure. I wanted a short depth of field so that the edge of the table and the fire would be completely out of focus. You can control your exposure, even with an automatic point and shoot by changing the ISO setting, that’s the setting that determines how sensitive your camera is to light. With a low ISO (100) setting you’ll need brighter light to make a good exposure then if you set it higher (ISO 400, 800 or even 1,000). What you sacrifice at the higher speeds though is image quality. Your photos will be much more grainy the higher ISO setting you use.

I then placed a bright spot light behind, and a much less powerful fill light in front to the left. I adjusted the strength of these lights to match my given fire exposure. With whatever lights you use, you can control how bright they are by simply moving them closer or farther away from your subject. You can see how much stronger the spot light is because you can see its shadow but no other.

Another important thing when working with fresh ingredients, such as the whipped egg whites, is to have your photograph all ready perfectly exposed with a stand in glass, then take another test shot with just the eggnog in it. Only then, when your shot is just how you want it, add the whipped egg whites and nutmeg.

Eggnog cooked X3@440

4 Wonderful responses to “Cooked Eggnog: Photographing Fire”

  • Jim Azevedo

    Thanks for the excellent information. Here’s wishing you a warm and wonderful new year.

    • Donna Turner Ruhlman

      Thanks Allison—I need all the help I can get, especially when it comes to writing. Michael missed that one.
      Happy New Year,

  • Natalie Sztern

    That’s the beauty of the blog: writing without an editor and STILL getting our point across, cause everybody knows exactly what you are saying anyway, …LOL