Tom’s a lovely bloke and a great chef. When he took over the kitchen at Penny’s Hill cellar door in McLaren Vale, he gave me a call and we did a few small shoots to rebrand the new identity “The Kitchen Door”. Interestingly, the first thing he did was remove the door between the kitchen and the dining room.
This was a fun shoot for a restaurant. They wanted to look too cool so we got Kali Holmes, the amazing model in. It pays to work with professionals! (even though I ended up being payed a total of one gin martini for the shoot.)
My favourite shot is the first one below where I composited Kali in, one each side, in different vintage swimsuits, so it looks like twins.
Aaron the chef is now working around Asia and Dubai, and I hear the bartender is now in Sydney.
This red dress below was so expensive we weren’t allowed to drip the chicken nugget sauce anywhere near it, so I had to composite the dripping sauce in later.
I did this great shoot in Clare over a few days last year. We got to shoot at all of these different wineries, most of which I’d already been to. It was so much fun. Hard work and long days, but fun!
There’s an old saying with photographers that goes something like this:
Amateur Photographers worry about equipment.
Semi-Pro’s worry about light.
Professional Photographers worry about invoices being paid.
Hardware. I suppose as a professional photographer, I make sure I use the best equipment I can so I don’t have to worry about gear. I get the occasional “train spotter” come up to me while I work and try to strike up a conversation about their camera they use at home. I’m actually the last person to talk to about consumer and pro-sumer cameras because I haven’t had much experience with them before. The top level Nikons I’m familiar with are the D2X (my first freelance digital camera – before that we had D1’s at work.), the D3 and my current D4S. I had a look at the D5 but the minor improvements don’t seem to match the extra expense.
I did buy a D5300 as a second video DSLR, and to be quite honest, I hate it. I hate the feel of it, the sound of the shutter, the convoluted controls… It’s a real pain to use. Sure the pro cameras don’t have WiFi or GPS (unless you pay through the nose for add-on hardware) but my fingers know where all the buttons are on a D4S and it’s super strong and reliable.
I take literally millions of photos and I’ve only had to replace one shutter mechanism on the D3 a few years ago. It turned out, after the cost of a D4 camera hire and the cost of replacing the shutter, it would have been cheaper to fly to Sydney and have it replaced straight away. That’s one of the few downsides to living in South Australia.
After years of digital work, I stick with some reliable brands. SanDisk for CF memory (that’s right, pro-cameras still use CF cards, much to the disbelief of electronics store employees. Apple, the SD card reader on a MacBook Pro is almost useless.) I also use Sony QXD cards and Western Digital hard drives. It’s not unusual to shoot a large project that requires around 70gb of card storage, plus hard drive backups.
Lenses. The great thing about a pro-camera vs the D5300 is I can use any Nikon lens. I love old manual 50mm “pancake” lenses, obscure macro lenses, you name it. I haven’t used many other brands because years ago the auto-focus was really slow and vignetting was sometimes extreme. I’d be happy to try some new other lens brands in the near future.
Computers. Apple all the way. They work in a simple and easy way. Using a PC is a nightmare for me. Everything works in the most convoluted way possible. I can’t stand them! I currently run a MacBook and a MacBook Pro, both with 1 external monitor each to maximise palette space and make workflow easier.
As for software, I’ve been a Photoshop fan since version 5 in the late 90’s. Before that I was using Aldus Photostyler which was acquired by Adobe in 1994. Most of my training that wasn’t in the workplace was done at Regency Park TAFE. It was a great place to learn.
I suppose I’m quite set in my ways in regard to workflow, so other than some new plug-ins occasionally, I’m very happy to stay with Adobe Creative Cloud and the regular updates to Photoshop and Bridge.
I’ve still got a fantastic Nikon negative scanner which I used before moving over from SLR to DSLR and I’m really disappointed that OSX upgrades have meant I can’t use it any more. I’ve still got piles of transparencies that I’d love to digitise and put up online.
A good mate and one of Adelaide’s most talented and hard working musicians and music teachers.
Some great views in the old vineyards around the Barossa. Thanks to Schild Estate for inviting me.
German Cellar Hand.
Schild Estate. Barossa Valley, South Australia.
Photo: John Krüger
Head Chef Brent Potuszynski thought he’d like to show an action shot of pouring the Vichyssoise into the dish. I think it looks great. It tasted even better! There’s a hint of truffle in the quenelle and I love the tiny garnish.
Here’s a pic from a quick shoot with Simon to publicise an event he was catering in Clare, South Australia. He was waiting for me to set up and (slightly) impatiently drumming his fingers on the table. I like this shot better than the posed ones.
When I got the call to see if I was interested in shooting a small brochure for a wine company, I was pretty keen and in the end it turned into a pretty big shoot. The brochure tuned into a small book and we organised to shoot almost a full week at Joe Grilli’s house and then a day or so at his cellar door in McLaren Vale. Joe owns Primo Estate Wines.
This was a cookbook with a difference. The brief was all about family. Each shot had to have a family member in it somewhere because all of the recipes are old family recipes, passed down for generations. It gives the images a different feel having people in shot as well. Most of the close-up images of just food were quick grabs before we cleaned up and moved onto the next dish. Joe’s house is a beautiful open space building with great natural light, so we barely had to light anything, which gives the dishes a lovely warmth and natural homely look. Everything was cooked on site apart from a few slow-cook dishes and they were all cooked by family members. Occasionally Joe would say, “Let’s cook that dish next instead and we can have it for lunch.” Then we’d all sit outside in the sunshine, eat delicious food with liberal splashes of his olive oils and drink his Tuscan wines. It was fantastic! He’s a very interesting man to talk to and a delight to work with. He’d wander around the house chuckling to himself and he made such an impact on me and my own cooking style that I’m delighted every time I bump into him.
The book is still available via the Primo Estate cellar door and online www.primoestate.com.au/product/Primo-Style-Book
Below are some of my favourite photographs.
…photographers who couldn’t afford $1500 an hour helicopter hire hung off the edges of buildings and took photos like this.
Gotta love the small bar scene in Adelaide.
Nook Nosh on Unley Road. (That’s my sister-in-law Lisa in the background.)