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Jun, 2017
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Chef



Open fire cooking in a restaurant in Cape Town South Africa. A chef fires up whole fish and seafood on an open fire. He knew exactly what he was doing as the food was delicious.
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Awards

Won Contest Finalist in Cultures of the World Photo ContestFebruary, 2018
Won Contest Finalist in Social Exposure Photo Contest Vol 9August, 2017

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Behind The Lens

Location
There are days that you head out with all your camera gear with the sole purpose of capturing some amazing images. Sometimes you win, sometimes you dont. Then there are the days where you happen to have your camera with you but you havent really been seeking out shots. This was one of those days. My girlfriend and I had decided to take her mom out for dinner. I'd been snapping a few images here and there on the beach front of Muizenberg, Cape Town, when we decided to grab an early dinner at a seafood restaurant on the strip. I took this photo at this restaurant.
Time
By the time we sat down at the restaurant, it was 5:30pm. The sun sets on average at 6:30pm in April in cape Town so magic hour was approaching.
Lighting
The lighting was a combination of soft artificial light, light from the flames and natural diffused light coming through the large windows. The diffused natural light was largely due to the sun reflecting of the ocean and beach. The restaurant has high ceilings and an entire window front. I noticed this soft natural light coming through and new this would make for a great photo. I just didn't have a subject at that point in time as we were sitting further to the right of our subject and hadn't noticed him yet.
Equipment
Normally for portraits I'd use my 24-105mm or if I can hire in a Canon 50mm I'd use that, but this day I only had my 70-200mm lens and had to make it work. I also used my trusty Canon 5D MIII. There was enough ambient light so I didn't need a tripod.
Inspiration
I think the lightining inside the restaurant was a trigger. I knew there was a photo to be taken somewhere. I noticed this chef in the middle of the restaurant cooking over live coals. Every now and then the flames would flare up. At this point in time we were sitting further right of the subject and I didn't have a great composition. Suddenly the window we were sitting at flew open. The wind was quite violent and although waiters tried to keep the window closed it kept flying open. It was then that we decided to move.This was quite lucky as we landed up sitting right in front of the chef. It was then that I noticed the brick texture of a pizza oven behind him. Orange flames could be seen behind him and in front of him. I watched him for awhile and he noticed I was itching to get a photo of him. I asked and he agreed to me taking some snaps. Although there were a few of him not looking down the lens this one captured him perfectly.
Editing
Very little post-processing was done on this photo except for adjusting contrast. I dropped the exposure by a bit more than half a stop and then increased the carity and pulled down the saturation slightly.
In my camera bag
My Canon 24-105mm lens is always in my bag, but very often I take my 70-200mm Canon with as well. I love this lens although it being quite bulky. The speed is great and the images are always amazing. I also carry around some extra batteries, cards, a polarizer, a tripod and an intervalometer. You never know when you need to quickly setup a timelapse, or long exposure.
Feedback
Sometimes it is difficult to find a shot. Everything needs to come together but if you persevere and break your surroundings into smaller and smaller subjects, you'll find a shot in any and every situation. Take a square meter in your garden or outside in the street, try and find a subject in this small space. Then compose and expose it. Try different angles. Low angles on the ground. High angles with a top down view. Tilt the camera slightly. Over expose, under expose. Try different lenses, try at different times of the day, or even different seasons in the year. Try long exposures and if you can try with some ND filters. Think out of the box and be creative. The wonderful thing about knowing your camera and the rules of photography is that you can break them. The rules that is, dont break your camera! Practice, practise, practise. Review your work and then start all over again. You'll be amazed at your results and this forces you to see subjects where previously you thought there were none.

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