For the last day of this week’s marathon I have a baked potato recipe. This is another easy recipe I found on Taste of Home. There are so many wonderful recipes to choose from top 100 recipes, it was difficult to decide what to cook.
I bookmarked lot of recipes but had to eliminate some as those were either desserts or very rich in calories. I baked this potato on Wednesday and since this is a very easy recipe, I even considered cooking something else. Since I already bought the potatoes, I went ahead and baked it.
The plan was to bake two potatoes, one for me and one for husband. He already complained that I made potatoes twice in the last 3 days and did not want anymore potatoes. Hence baked just one potato for myself.
Photography Corner - The day I baked these potatoes, it was gloomy and rained all day. Since it was gloomy and there was not sufficient natural light, I thought of doing a moody shoot. In the past I would have never consider taking food pictures on cloudy & rainy days but not anymore.
Though I prefer pictures taken on sunny days, I have learnt to utilize the little natural light available on gloomy days to take decent enough pictures for the blog. I was happy the way these pictures came out and thought of sharing how I took these pictures. Before I go further, I am no expert in food photography or photography. I am still learning photography.
Since I was planning on doing a moody shoot, I chose dark background, dark backdrop and a dark colored printed napkin. As for styling, I wanted to do simple styling and used the same baking sheet in which I baked the potatoes.
I started off with the potatoes on the baking sheet and I felt the sheet was empty. I needed more props or elements in the frame. I decided to place a bowl of chili powder and salt. When I checked my props, the the bowl in the images is the smallest bowl I have and the other bowls I considered were wooden bowls.
Since I had only one bowl of that size, I used same bowl for both salt and chili powder. Once I placed the bowl, I still felt the frame was empty. I placed two springs of cilantro in the back to fill the frame. I still felt the image had lot of negative (empty) space behind the baking sheet. So I placed couple of solid napkins; brown and green, though those napkins are barely visible in the images I picked to use for this post.
I setup my shoot near a window. Source of light was from the right and I used a black board as a bouncer on the left. I also used a black foam board as a blocker on the right, blocking some of the light coming from the right in such a way that half the baking sheet is blocked and the light falls only on the potatoes. If you observe the first two photos, the area between the backdrop and the tray is dark.
I usually take 4 -5 shots from one angle with different settings. Sometimes the images that look decent in camera end up looking over or under exposed on the laptop. Similarly, though I shot dark images, once I downloaded the images I liked the images with more light. So I do not know if I can still call these moody images. I hope this photography corner is helpful to some of you and I by no means am an expert in photography. I actually wanted to do a separate post for photography corner as it had enough matter to have a post of it's own. Since I already shared similar setup images in the past here and here (this post has behind the scene shot), I did it here itself. From next time I will do separate posts for photography.
Camera - Nikon 5100
Lens - 50mm prime lens
Aperture - f/4
ISO - 200
White Balance - Cloudy
Shutter Speed - 1/15 for the first image and 1/10s for the last two images
Pst Processing - I used Picasa to sharpen and watermark the images. These images were shot in JPEG.
Source: Taste of Home
Total Time: 1 hour
Preparation: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 50 minutes
- 1 large Baking Potato
- 1 ½ - 2 tsp. Butter, melted and divided
- Pinch of Paprika (I used Chili Powder)
- 1 - 2 tsp. freshly minced or finely chopped Parsley (I used Cilantro)
- Salt to taste
- Pepper Powder to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Wash potato and pat dry.
- Using a sharp knife cut the potato in half, lengthwise. Slice each half 6 times, not slicing all the way through. Fan the potatoes slightly. I cut my potato 5 times but would recommend cutting it 6 times, yielding 7 pieces per half. Again, do not cut it all the way through.
- Place the potatoes on a baking sheet or a shallow baking dish.
- Brush the potatoes with ½ the butter.
- Sprinkle chili powder, salt, pepper and cilantro.
- Bake uncovered in a 350 F preheated oven for 50 minutes or until potato is tender.
- Drizzle remaining butter and serve.
- Sprinkle more chili powder & salt if necessary.
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Mireille Roc (@ChefMireille) says
so simple - perfect to go with any meat dish
Stunning pictures. I love the moody look of these pictures.
Gish I wish I had selected this..your picture looks so wonderful and makes me want to try right away..and the clicks are so pretty and great mood setting..:)
This was one of the potato recipes I bookmarked too, but ended up making the cheesy potato recipe instead. I love to read your photography corner Usha, it is really informative reading your thought process on how you come up with the setup. Keep these posts coming.
Nice tips on getting gloomy pictures. The potatoes looks so yum..
I came back to this post to read leisurely. I don't get moody photos right and its always under exposed. More practice, I guess. Love your detailed explanation, makes me want to give a try again!
very inviting and amazing click. till day light saving I using the shady and cloudy white balance only. Sometimes it comes ok but at times I screw it up..
Srividhya, I have not tried shady WB. If cloudy doesn't work, I just go with auto WB. Most challenging time for me in terms of picking the right WB is during sunset.
Suma Gandlur says
I too have bookmarked this recipe to try later. It is hard to tell that these images were taken on a gloomy day if you haven't mentioned so.
Suma, I still have difficulty getting good pictures on gloomy days. Most of the time they come out ok.
Lovely clicks Usha,I too love the cloudy white balance which gives a very nice rustic look..Nice photography tutorial .
Yum yum yum
Priya Suresh says
Hard to resist to this beautifully scored potatoes.. I want to make some soon.
Great clicks as usual, Usha :)) that big sized potato is new . Recipe looks so tempting !
I love the way the potato is cooked. Nice photography tips.
Sandhya Ramakrishnan says
That looks way too delicious and I have this planned for next week as well. Love your tips on photography! Thanks for sharing 🙂
This is another recipe that I bookmarked from there.Looks totally scrumptious.