Thursday, February 17, 2011

Some Chinese New Year Shoots and Experience with LSD Batteries

It's Starting To Feel Like Chinese New Years...

So lately, I've been doing a little bit of food photography when I can. I've found it to be a good deal of fun and a great way to test out lighting setups at home.

Chinese New Year Horns ©Wing T. Wong - Gallery
It's amazing how you can get some really good looking photographs straight out of the camera, or with some minor contrast bumps, to produce a fairly delicious looking photograph!

The image above consisted of some pastry horns my mother made for me and my family. The bowl is a cute ceramic from a local kitchen supply shop. The red and gold background is actually a wall scroll banner I enlisted for a more present theme. The gold reflects nicely off of the ceramic. :)

Smores and Chocolate Chip Cookies from Lisa Ly, aka "The Clumsy Ninja Baker" ©Wing T. Wong - Gallery
Continuing in the Chinese New Year theme, I have another shot of some baked goods from Lisa Ly, a good friend and awesome baker. We recently had a reunion where she brought plenty of baked goods to share with everyone! Delicious! The photo above was setup the same way: wall scroll background, a simple ceramic to hold the food, this time a soy sauce dipping tray!

The Setup

Chinese New Year Horns ©Wing T. Wong - Gallery

Basically, I had a 4' long wall scroll which I lay flat on a table. The hanging end, I hung from one of my light stands, effectively creating a red seamless backdrop tiled with old-style Chinese characters.  

To the right and above, I had setup a 32" shoot through umbrella with one speed light, an Minolta 5600HS(D) trigged wirelessly via a PocketWizard PlusII. I could have triggered it using the wireless flash system in-camera, but the popup flash adds another point of light that I didn't want to deal with. Plus, it drains the batteries. :)

To immediate right, I had a small 12" disc gold reflector. To the left, right next to the camera, I had another 32" umbrella to provide some fill. An LP160 in optical slave mode was setup to shoot horizontally towards the setup, through the umbrella.

Camera on tripod, shutter set to 2 second delayed shot to minimize shake. Most shots were taken at ISO 200-320, 1/125th of a second shutter speed, and with the aperture at f/16-f/22, depending on the light. Speedlights were at about 1/2-1/4 power for the light on the right, at about 1 stop less from the light on the right. No ambient light factored into the shots. Shot with the 70-200/2.8 lens, most shots were shot in the 150mm-180mm range. On the A700, this puts the field of view at about 225mm-270mm if one were shooting full frame. Distance was about 3-4 feet between lens and subject.

A Word About Batteries

So, as the subject line suggests, this post has a little to do with batteries. I had recently bought 16 2400mAH LSD NIMH batteries. I had previously been using the 2700mAH NIMH(s), but because of the high internal resistance, the batteries would get quite hot after firing the flash a bit.  The new 2400mAH LSD batteries have very low internal resistance, so even after photographing the food lit only by speedlights, the batteries came out just a bit warm. This is after a 2 hour shoot. The batteries were not recharged prior to use. Just took them out of the wrapper and popped them into the flash. At the end, on the 5600HS(D), the indicator noted the battery was about 70% drained. I was pretty happy as I was getting a good blend of positives: LSD and low internal resistance + beefier capacity! I'll definitely be getting some more.

The brand is Imedion purchased through Thomas Distributing.


I shoot with Sony camera equipment, but am not compensated by them. Same story with PocketWizards, Lumopro, Manfrotto, Imedion, Thomas Distributing, Westcott, etc. Advertisement revenues, if any, are through Amazon/Google. All photographic works as displayed are Copyrighted and the sole property of Wing T. Wong. If you wish to use the images, please contact me first for details.

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